WizKids has just released a range of Pre-Painted Critical Role miniatures for use in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. With a large range of sets to be released, the first three Factions of Wildemount are now available. These sets are the Dwendalian Empire Set, the Kryn Dynasty & Xhorhas Set and the Clovis Concord & Menagerie Coast Set. Bringing to life characters from the campaigns of Critical Role, the likes of Pumat Sol, a blood hunter and new dragonborn subclasses are included in pre-painted glory. However, aside from being collector’s items are these any good for all D&D or Pathfinder gamers? Let’s find out.
The Dwendalian set includes 9 miniatures, two being small dwarven farmers though to a pale skinned warhammer wielding dragonborn. The farmers could easily be found in any field of crops, in a local tavern or attending a market, not looking out of place in any. The same cannot quite be said about some of the other miniatures, though that doesn’t mean they cannot get the same level of usage. The soldier and guard minis for example could be found in any castle or perhaps be escorting the Dwendalian Aristocrat character through that busy marketplace.
Featuring the popular shopkeeper, Pumat Sol, from the second season of Critical Role, this is potentially going to be a fan favourite from these miniatures sets. While there is only the one miniature instead of the 3 arcana duplicates from the show, with his height it’s still a miniature that’ll grab attention. Even for those that haven’t seen Critical Role this is a great towering shopkeeper mini or even a Firbolg player character.
Two different dragonborn minis are included and the two are visually very distinct. The Ravenite Dragonborn has white and blue skin, is much taller and stronger in appearance and looks ready for a fight. Compare this to the meeker looking yellow skinned Draconblood Dragonborn mini, which while equipped with a sword, it looks like they are almost too high and mighty to squabble with peasants. This makes sense as in the Critical Role world the Ravenite race was originally enslaved to the ruling Draconblood race.
Kryn Dynasty & Xhorhas
This set includes 9 miniatures ranging from small to medium sizes, from a Dark Elf Rogue through to the three new wizard subclasses – from Explorer’s Guide To Wildemount such as the Chronurgy Wizard. The Kryn Dynasty is somewhat known for artifacts that offer opportunities for reincarnation, and is mostly made up of drow. One of those drow is the Kryn Noble miniature that is a rather unique NPC style mini. With no obvious weapons or spells on show this is the sort of miniature you would find in a castle but at the table and not in the dungeon.
Non-human races allow taverns, market places and more to be more diverse, as well as opening a huge range of storyline potential plot points. Perhaps the included Lotusden Halfling sees an event from a different angle – seeing an escaping thief quickly climb down into a sewer – or perhaps the Graviturgy Wizard can help the players get to the deep mine without taking fall damage.
One of the subclasses in Explorer’s Guide To Wildemount is the Echo Knight. These Kryn Dynasty fighters can summon shades, and a female Echo Knight and her echo is included within the set. On it’s own the knight has a strong fighting stance, but unless players are going to be using it for this exact subclass the mirrored echo miniature feels like it’ll rarely hit the table. There is certainly the opportunity for a puzzle or two with it though.
Clovis Concord & Menagerie Coast
This set includes only 8 miniatures, though there are no echos to speak of, each being a unique miniature and potentially a very unique character for your players to come across. With the Clovis Concord situated along the Menagerie Coast it makes sense that a few of the miniatures in this set are sea or travel themed. The most obvious of these is the Fisherman, who will look right at as an NPC in any marketplace or dockyard.
Next, there is a halfling noble with rather a pirate-like attire. This would be a fun player character mini or with the bright colours and social standing could be who is offering adventurers a handful of quests for the local area. The Grinner, a half orc bard miniature, also fits this theme – with them often travelling from town to town along the Menagerie Coast – perhaps not just to play a tune.
Four are definitely player character miniature level, armed and being a variety of races. While the Palid Elf could easily be used as a rogue, the blood hunter could be an arcane swordsman. If the Shore Warden Soldier and the dragonborn Zhelezo aren’t being used as city guards then they too could present quality looking character miniatures that would be distinct across the table.
The only mini that lets the set down is The Hollow One. Whilst it is an awesome design, the sculpt hasn’t quite captured that. The sword handle is stabbed into him in one direction and the tip of the sword protruding from the other side doesn’t align. This turns what could have been a standout mini into “only” a decent one.
The three sets have distinctive packaging, featuring the Dungeons & Dragons and the Critical Role logos. Making them collectible the packaging has a clear front – so those that want to keep them pristine don’t even have to open the box to see the minis. Going one step further the box features the map of Wildemount, across the box design. The packaging isn’t the easiest to open and maintain, with the miniatures fairly secure in the plastic trays. Gamers will have to be a little careful removing the miniatures, to protect the miniatures, and also to have any hope of not twisting the packaging.
Each set has a mixture of miniature types. As well as in the sense of the wide range of races, there are nobles, farmers, fighters, wizards and more included. There’s also a good split between clearly combat ready miniatures for player characters or foes the adventuring party will come across, and non-player character miniatures to bring the world to life. These sets are not cheap, costing £50 each RRP and that price tag will put some off instantly. Given these are boxes of 8/9 pre-painted miniatures though that isn’t dramatically above regular WizKids products and there is the Critical Role licensing. For fans of Critical Role it’s much easier to recommend the sets. Still, even for those with no knowledge of the setting or story there are some awesome looking miniatures included!
(Editor’s Note: The Critical Role miniature sets were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. They are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)