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Tear Jerker / Critical Role

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Because yes, nerdy ass voice actors playing D&D can make us get emotional.

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

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  • Campaign One: Vox Machina (2015-2017)
  • Campaign Two: The Mighty Nein (2018-2021)
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  • Campaign Three: Bell's Hells (2021-present)

Other Series:

One-Shots:

    Special Episode: To The Poop! 
  • Overall, it is a very funny episode that doesn't take itself seriously. However, the climax is unexpectedly sad and grim. The town of Sandpoint is enjoying a festival, and Matt describes the jovial atmosphere. Then the five Two-Tooth goblins show up, burn down a tavern, damage a newly built cathedral and kill five adventurers over a rock, and not a particularly special rock. The horror in Matt's face and voice as he roleplays the adventurers is quite depressing, not even Black Comedy. The Bard is so traumatized by the heads of his friends flying into him that he can't perform, and then Matt judges that this lowers his AC enough for him to be killed as well. Grief for his friends killed him; that is tragic.

    Special Episode: The Screw Job 
    Special Episode: Liam's Quest: Full Circle 
    Undeadwood 
  • Arabella uncovers the possibility of resurrecting her dead sister, but she and the others face off against her zombie (and that of an undead Wild Bill Hickock). Thanks to how the dice rolls went Arabella ends up being the one to put her sister down.
  • A failed spell roll made Aloysius temporarily lose his emotional connections to all but his oldest memories. He is told by Swearingen that fellow party member Clayton was the bounty that he was sent to collect. The two end up facing off in a gun duel, to the horror of the rest of their party (and that of the players).
  • Clayton doesn't try to throw the duel exactly, but he keeps trying to shoot the gun out of Aloysius' hand. Aloysius ends up killing him.
  • You can see the exact moment when Travis realized that his goading Khary into trying the healing spell caused all of this to happen.
  • Anjali wanted to have Miriam try and intervene to prevent the duel, but Brian did not allow it. Probably the right call, but it still hurt her, and him, and the audience.
  • Aloysius closes Clayton's eyes as a sign of respect and staggers off, leaving a distraught Miriam to weep over the body while a teary Arabella and Reverend Mason try to comfort her.
  • To top it all off, the epilogue reveals that Clayton was in fact innocent of the crimes that made him an outlaw. He had to do hard things during his time on the run, but nothing like what he had been framed for.
  • The Stinger gave us some of the cast decompressing in the immediate aftermath of the ending. The sequence ends with Marisha and Khary pointing out that Aloysius is going to be very upset in 6 days when his emotional connections return.
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    The Adventures of the Darrington Brigade 
  • Buddy the ogre is a very large and intimidating figure, but as Mac states, "[he] is a very special ogre." Buddy is so simple minded, he's often confused as to why people are attacking him, when he just wants to be friends. The entire cast love him to pieces and want to protect him, even though he's the party tank.
  • The possibility of Tary replacing Doty thanks to Hazel's audio recordings leads to a very worried, "Tary?" from the automaton.
  • Things have not been going so well for Tary and the dreams he had for the Darrington Brigade: he's cash poor, the family estate is crumbling, and no one wants to help him in his mission of founding a "non-profit" adventuring guild.

    The Nautilus Ark 
  • Captain Glass was asked to pilot the ark that would save humanity, while her own family didn't win the lottery to get aboard. The fact that she agreed speaks to her level of professionalism.
  • Dr. Nomen loses her snake and only friend Virgil early on, and searches for him and misses him throughout the entire one shot. She sadly cradles his snake skin before killing herself to prevent the inevitable chest-bursting.
    • Because she was born in the Johnson Corp labs, Nomen considers Mother (the ship's AI) as her own mother, and tells it "I love you" before she kills herself. Mother, for its part, assures her she successfully completed her mission and is proud of her.
  • While Sarge and Nomen die due to the alien parasite, Glass and Forrest choose to steer the ship away and blow it up to prevent any chance of it infecting the rest of the human colony. Dr. Wiser is the only one who survives.
  • With the reveal that Forrest was a synth all along, there was some fear from the cast that he would turn evil. But it turns out he was sincere in his desire to help the crew and stays with them until the end, calling them his family.
  • The whole premise that a meteor hitting the moon and splitting it in half would cause the planet to slowly become uninhabitable, and that only those who won the lottery to get on the ark would survive is as sad as it is horrific. Imagine all the families, friends, and loved ones split up, or forced to choose between surviving apart or dying together.

Other:

  • Liam mentions in a Q&A session that he took a vine of the very moment Pike died. It's...actually pretty hard to watch. Travis and Laura are both screaming off-camera, and Taliesin gives a complete deadpan "Oh hell no." Not to mention Ashley's expression.
  • Orion left the show permanently after Episode 29, after being absent for Episodes 28 & 29. Thankfully, the fans have been very understanding, Matt reassured everyone that the players and Orion are still friends, and everyone wishes him well.
    • Unfortunately not entirely, Orion has visibly had a hard time since leaving the show, and is no longer considered a part of the Critter Community.
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    • Overall, the situation with Tiberius and Orion. While Orion's attitude is inexcusable, and the community is entirely justified in disowning him, Tiberius was a beloved character many is sad to see gone.
  • How Vex'ahlia and Trinket first met.
  • When a character is dead at the start of an episode or a break, their player is missing from the table unless they're needed for something like a post-death vision of the Raven Queen. Talk about putting a literal hole in the viewers' hearts...
  • One of Campaign 2's episodes of Talks Machina has Laura discussing the fate of Trinket, and one of the crew looks up the average lifespan of a bear. It's only 10 to 20 years, 30 in very rare cases, meaning that Trinket might have died during the Time Skip between campaigns. Laura is devastated, though she argues that his exposure to magic and time inside the Raven's Slumber necklace might have extended his life.
    • Fortunately, someone remembered to look up the effect that being an animal companion to a Ranger has; Trinket will live as long as Vex lives, barring unfortunate circumstances. Laura was ecstatic!
  • Red Nose Day 2019 features Special Guest Stephen Colbert as a fan-created character, Capo the half-elf bard, with a bee for a familiar with a measly 1 hit point. When the confrontation with the undead necromancer Big Bad begins, Stephen has the bee attack the necromancer, then reads out "he has 1 hit point" like he just remembered the fact - and the necromancer counters with 21 necrotic damage. Which translates into the bee scoring a sting into the necromancer's neck, then looking Stephen in the eye and giving a thumbs up before being splattered with a single slap - oddly reminiscent of a certain scene from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Stephen looks visibly shaken as the impact of the Heroic Sacrifice sets in. And then triggers the electronic sound from his LOTR Deluxe Cave Troll figure.
  • All Work No Play: Unplugged. Liam and Sam are catching up in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine over video chat, and the stress is clearly wearing on the both of them. Even with the occasional moments of comedy, Liam spends the entire first episode looking about 2 seconds away from bursting into tears.
    • The episode with Khary Payton will shake you to your core when he begins talking about how he's been brought to tears over how humanizing it feels to finally feel heard and not ignored after what's transpired over the murder of George Floyd.
  • While the Narrative Telephone stories are usually hilarious, and this one is no exception once the rest of the cast get to it, Liam's is particularly sobering once he revealed on Twitter that the three children represent Eodwulf, Astrid and Caleb and the story is an allegory for how the Empire corrupted them.
    • Laura's second story too has a sobering moment: Santa Claus's Expy, who just saw the Mighty Nein ruin his hard work with food, decorations and presents because of their distrust, asks them why they are acting like anyone ever did something nice for them. As we know, most of the Mighty Nein came from a Dark and Troubled Past and some of them never experienced unconditional kindness until they found each other.
  • Exandria Unlimited episode 2 has two Ashari survivors, from a party that was nearly wiped by fire elementals, learning how Fearne had not only tamed one of them with little effort but turned it into a regular-looking monkey for a Team Pet. Having seen all their friends die horribly, one of them is unable to even stomach its presence.
  • While Critical Recap is usually a comical affair, the Recap for episodes 48-69 ends with Yasha being mind controlled by Oban. As the party runs, the last thing they see as the doors close is Yasha with berserker rage in her eyes... and tears. The tone of Dani Carr's usual "Oh, Mighty Nein." Catchphrase is downright heartbreaking.
  • The Mighty Nein Origins: Caleb Widogast comic delivers a few kickers.
    • Trent forcing the children to get their long hair cut, while keeping his luxurious mane. It's a classic cult/controlling/abuser tactic, both to mold them into the military/assassin image, and because Trent wants to dictate everything about them, including how they look. It's no wonder that Caleb keeps his hair long, both because young Bren had long hair and as a middle finger towards Trent.
    • Not only does Trent Ikithon's false memory implicate the Ermendruds as being traitors to the Empire, he also has Leofric threaten to disown Bren should the boy choose the Empire over family.
    • Leofric and Una Ermendrud embracing, with the original Frumpkin between them, as they are unable to flee their burning house. Judging from the angle, Frumpkin was looking out the window at Bren as he dies. There is also a panel from Bren's point of view, with Frumpkin's shadow against the window, pawing at it.
    • Eadwulf, Astrid, and Bren forming a codependent relationship to survive their horrific training and abuse from Trent. In different, better circumstances, the three of them could have come by these feelings and acted on them in a genuine unadulterated manner, but the implication is heavy that Trent fostered (and thereby tainted) this relationship. This is possibly why (according to Liam O'Brien) Caleb does not identify as polyamorous, even though he was in a polyamorous relationship. They did what they had to do to survive regardless of possible orientation.
    • We finally have a scientifically reasonable explanation for Bren's Heroic BSoD - he had a traumatic brain injury from being knocked unconscious by Eadwulf with a huge rock and left there for who knows how long until villagers (and Trent) showed up. This was because he had lashed out at Astrid and burned her face, snapping at the death of his parents. The three children were turned towards each other, then forced to turn against each other in order to survive.
    • There is no indication that Eadwulf was religious in the comic book. In Campaign Two, however, he is a follower of the Raven Queen. He could have turned to religion as a coping mechanism for the death of his parents (he is shown strangling his father to death as his mother is already dead, while his partners looked on) or any of the deaths he caused before and during his career as a Volstrucker.
    • Doubling as heartwarming in a slightly twisted way: an unnamed villager angrily tells Trent that "[Ikithon's] monster burned his own family alive!" They knew Bren. They knew that Trent broke and warped the boy into this monster. Never in his right mind would Bren Aldric Ermendrud murder his mother and father. Trent, however, breaks out his classic victim blaming act, claiming that Bren had been behaving erratically and violently. Fridge Horror also sets in: there is no indication Astrid and Eadwulf's murders were discovered. Blumenthal's people could very well have blamed the deaths of the Becke and Grieve families on Bren, forever tainting him as a spree killer.
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