Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Critical Role

Go To

Being a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Critical Role has its fair share of horrifying moments.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

    open/close all folders 
  • The Vox Moronica one-shot is mostly light and funny, but there is one scene that is rather scary. Snugglelord sets a house on fire because his subordinates failed to break its door or pick the door's lock. The occupant tries to escape the flames and smoke, but can't because the lock is jammed by a broken pick. Matt narrates them coughing and banging on the door, and the three adventurers are arguing about something petty instead of helping them. Eventually, the door opens and the occupant is revealed to be a little halfling girl. She escaped the flames to arrive at the mercy of an Antihero Team that is heavy on the anti. Making it still worse, Snugglelord tries to get her to call him "daddy" which even the kill-happy Ulfgar said was creepy.
  • The infamous Intimidation roll from Once Upon a Fairytale Cruise, made even more jarring as H Michael Croner's Scarecrow was portrayed as a literally brainless twit, but gets a beautiful first roll, which just encourages him to go the whole hog with Scarecrow intimidating one of the pirates by unstitching his burlap head open and breaking the poor bastard.
  • Liam's Christmas one-shot, despite having the players play as cute, funny elves, had some creepy moments, such as fighting those Krampus-type creatures, the initial trek through Halloween Land, going through the tower and finding rooms filled with desecrated corpses and bloody hooks, pieces of dead leprechauns in garbage piles, the worm king (who's clearly an expy of Oogie Boogie), and the Hollow King, the latter of whom has two retractable jaws and drags Chutney off to what can only be guessed as Hell. This is supposed to be a fun Christmas adventure, right?
  • In the vein of "fun" adventures, the Red Nose Day 2019 special has Matt re-imagine the humble red nose into the MacGuffin of the quest, the Sphere of Generosity - then goes a step further by having the Big Bad attempt to replicate its power. And fail repeatedly. The result - dozens of red orbs scattered all over the floor, which not only have minds of their own but More Teeth than the Osmond Family. Like flying piranhas, but harder to hit.
  • The surprise attack conducted by Sylas Briarwood during the Dalen's Closet oneshot certainly counts, particularly to Percy and Vex. They, and the majority of their friends and guests, are knocked unconscious by the wine they received as a wedding present and serving at their reception, kidnapped by Sylas, wake up chained wrists and ankles on the edge of a cliff, looking up at their old enemy who then proceeds to throw them off the cliff and into the ocean, leaving them to struggle to get out of their chains before they drown. Oh, and through all of this, their months old baby is left unguarded.
    • Just imagine that you're Percy, trying and failing to swim your wife to safety even when chained with heavy manacles, but then being forced to abandon her to breach the surface long enough to scream for help... but not before watching her sink as she finally begins to drown.
    • To make things worse, according to the art book, it was most likely either magic or drugged food that allowed the Briarwoods to overthrow the de Rolo family in Whitestone.
  • During the Cinderbrush one-shot, Taliesin hexes someone and inflicts Delusional Parasitosis on them: a delusion disorder where you believe that you are infested by insects that are crawling under your skin and no amount of scratching can help.
  • Liam's gurgles as Ray (a mook from the Lorelei oneshot) in her death throes are disgusting and nightmarish at the same time.

    Special Episode: The Screw Job 
  • Being an "evil campaign", there was bound to be some backstabbing among party members, but even then, seeing a party member kill another on-screen is chilling. Tarvis finishes off two unconscious characters, Devan and Dren, by attacking them and causing them to auto-fail Death Saving Throws. The way he executes the first is incredibly disturbing, slowly thrusting a knife into their unconscious body while Dren, who was in love with Devan, is Forced to Watch. And he rendered the second unconscious by strangling them with his whip.
  • The one-shot ends with The Shrew returning to deliver a Total Party Kill by sucking all the moisture out of the party members' bodies, "like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark ". Mitigated somewhat by the fact that they were all horrible people (with the possible exception of Obby), but still, not a good way to go.

    Special Episode: Liam's Quest: Full Circle 
  • Liam's descriptions of the hellscape the de-aged group finds themselves trapped in, including skinless jungle cats and plants that may or may not be filled with blood.
  • Liam describing the bloody demise of the entire party, one after another, to the increasing shock of the rest of the table.
  • Liam admits that the scene where the party is killed on the desolate beach is based on an actual nightmare he had. It actually sounds worse than what happens to the party because he was alone.

    Call of Cthulhu Shadow of the Crystal Palace 
  • Taliesin's Call of Cthulhu one-shot is steeped in it. At one point, as Taliesin describes a pair of "shadowy hands" grabbing them, the lighting shows shadowy hands around him.
  • There's grainy old black-and-white photos of all the players, which combined with the music may remind some folks of the ending of The Shining.
  • The first sign of things going wrong happens about halfway into the episode. The group run into the security guard they met earlier, except he has his back always turned to them, has no reflection in the window, and constantly repeats "Nothing to worry about, just go about your business."
  • The final hour of the episode ratchets up the tension dramatically, as the group start to lose their lanterns one-by-one (the only thing that keeps the Shadow People at bay), which leads to Characters Dropping Like Flies. By the end, only a freak Critical Success (a double 0 on a D100, i.e. a 1/100 chance) saves the three survivors from a Total Party Kill.

    Meta and Extras 
  • During the Critical Role panel at PAX Unplugged 2017, Matt answered an audience question about what the deal was with the Gith skull the party had found in General Krieg's home. It turns out that it contained the long-dead soul of an imprisoned and brutal Githyanki pirate captain, and that if the person holding the skull freed them (either through attempting to use the promised wish or by breaking the skull), it would have replaced their soul with the Githyanki's. Not only would Vox Machina have had to deal with one of their party suddenly being an entirely new and evil person, but the Githzerai who had imprisoned the pirate in the first place would have been alerted and began to hunt them down. It's a really good thing they gave that skull to Allura.
  • In the Campaign Wrap-Up, Matt reveals what would have happened if Marisha hadn't rolled a Natural 20 when Keyleth put her hand in the Siphon under Whitestone. The DC on the roll was 18, so a Natural 20 was pretty close to what she needed. Failing would've resulted in Keyleth being sucked through the Siphon into The Shadowfell, taking an average of 150 points of damage, more than enough to kill her at that point. This is made even worse for two reasons: firstly, Keyleth had snuck away from the rest of the party to do this, so Matt says he would've had to explain to the players "Keyleth is gone, and you don't know where she went." The others would've been none the wiser that she was dead, and right after their victory against the Briawoods at that. But even worse, when Vox Machina arrived at the Shadowfell... they would have had to fight an undead Keyleth.
  • In the same Wrap-Up, Matt finally revealed what the deal was with the Theater in the Feywild. If you stay there, your soul is pulled in and forced to become a part of the theater. You start as an audience member, and might eventually take the role of one of the main cast. When Artagan said to avoid the theater, he meant it! Vox Machina going there could've led to the creepiest TPK ever.
  • The Bro Force episode of Travis Willingham's Yee-Haw Game Ranch begins with a disclaimer about "graphic puppet violence." It may make you laugh... until the evil warlock Bast'Alar summons an Eldritch Abomination name Specimen.Exe that violently and bloodily rips of T.N.Tina's head. Travis and Brian have a freak-out, especially after Tina's head (complete with trailing viscera) is hurled at them. Meanwhile, Tina's headless corpse twitches next to Bast'Alar as he gloats over his victory.
    Travis: What the fuck just happened? What do you guys do in-between these episodes? What is the matter with you?
  • The villain in the first volume of Vox Machina Origins is Iselda. She originally appears to be a particularly cruel thief's guild member, until it turns out she's a Lesser Marilith, a very dangerous demon.
  • Although it later gets warped into something completely unrecognizable, Liam's Narrative Telephone story is very much in the spirit of German Fairy Tales, recounting the tale of three children who wander too far from home and run afoul of the Waldhexe, a hag who eats part of each of them in order to sustain the land. Made more chilling by Liam's reveal that the story is a metaphor for Caleb's backstory, with the Waldhexe representing Trent/the Volstruckers and the children that lost their mind, an eye, and their heart being Eodwulf, Astrid, and Bren/Caleb respectively.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: