'Critical Role' Reveals Tragic Backstory That Was Hiding in Plain Sight

The popular Dungeons & Dragons series Critical Role just pulled the rug out from under its audience with one of its most tragic reveals yet.

Critical Role is a popular webseries featuring a group of voice actors who play Dungeons & Dragons every week. The series has drawn a large fanbase not only because of how accessible it makes D&D feel, but also the high quality storytelling that takes place in every episode.

The show's current campaign has followed the Mighty Nein for just over a year, showing the group's evolution from a band of misfits to a party battle-tested adventurers that double as a surrogate family for one another. Each character has their own backstory unrevealed to the group, which often leads to surprising revelations in the middle of episodes.

Last night's Critical Role had one of the biggest reveals yet, as the goblin rogue Nott the Brave revealed her past to the rest of the party. We've known for a while that Nott, played by Sam Riegel, isn't a normal goblin as she hated other goblins and seemingly wanted to be permanently transformed into another race. However, the last two episodes revealed that Nott wasn't originally a goblin at all.

The first hint came in last week's episode, when the party arrived at Felderwin, a town recently attacked by the Krynn Empire. Nott went in search of a halfling alchemist named Yeza Brenatto, but learned that he had been captured by the Kryn. After discovering that soldiers had taken (or killed) Yeza, Nott went in search of Yeza's son Luke and later revealed to the party that Luke was her son.

In tonight's episode, Nott revealed that she was born as a halfling named Veth who had married Yeza and given birth to Luke. Goblins kidnapped Veth and her family, but Veth eventually created a distraction to allow her husband and son to escape. After Veth killed the goblin leader, the other goblins drowned her in a nearby river, and Veth woke up the next day in a goblin body.

The crazy thing about the reveal is that Riegel about his character's origin for months. Nott spoke Halfling, had the ability to use alchemist tools, and had sent out packages to her halfling family several times. Nott's well established hatred of water was also explained as mental trauma due to her dying in a river, and her origin also explained why a goblin had such motherly instincts for other members of the party. Nott's full name "Nott the Brave" was even an anagram for Veth Brenatto, a clever clue that no one could have realized until last week.

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Riegel is usually the trickster of the Critical Role cast, but he's also responsible for some of the show's most powerful moments. While fans knew that Nott wanted to permanently polymorph her body somehow, we had no idea that she had such tragic motivations.

The Mighty Nein decided to go off in search of Nott's missing husband last night, so it appears that Nott and her backstory will be in the spotlight moving forward. If you want to see the full power of Dungeons & Dragons as storytelling in action, be sure to watch Critical Role every week at 10 PM ET on Geek & Sundry's Twitch channel. Episodes are also uploaded weekly on YouTube.