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Critical Role’s Marisha Ray collaborates with Heart creator on a game about familiars for Free RPG Day

Ray will host a one-shot actual play of A Familiar Problems with guests from Critical Role, Dimension 20 and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The Critical Role cast react to a joke line that stops DM Matt Mercer in his tracks during an episode of the wildly popular tabletop RPG actual play series.
Image: Critical Role Productions

This year’s Free RPG Day will see one of the biggest names in RPG actual play team with one of tabletop’s leading designers on a clever one-page title that players can pick up for free at their local game store.

Marisha Ray, one of the founding members of the wildly popular actual play series Critical Role created A Familiar Problem expressly for the annual celebration of physical game stores, and she tapped Rowan, Rook and Decard’s Grant Howitt to design it. The one-page game provide groups the rules and information for running a game about an adventuring party’s magical animal companions as they attempt to prove their mettle in a dangerous world.

Given Howitt’s long history with short, zany RPGs - he found his first major success with Honey Heist and has more recently teamed with numerous indie designers to publish monthly bite-sized games - and Ray’s on-air love for animals, A Familiar Problem will likely play to both of their strengths. The title will be available to pick up for free from participating games stores on June 23rd internationally and June 25th in the US.

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To promote the game and Free RPG Day, Ray will host a one shot titled A Familiar Problem: Sprinkle’s Incredible Journey! on Critical Role’s official channels. Several of her fellow party members, including Laura Bailey, Matthew Mercer, and Travis Willingham, will join as players, along with guest appearances from Dimension 20’s Isabella Roland and Heidi N Closet from RuPaul’s Drag Race. All will take on the role of familiars and animal companions and join Jester Lavorre’s red weasel, Sprinkle, on some likely ill-advised caper.

The one-shot actual play will air live on Critical Role’s Twitch and YouTube channels on June 23rd at 7 p.m. PST - that 3 a.m. BST for those in the UK, so be sure to prep the extra caffeine, accordingly. The playthrough’s VoD will be made available on Free RPG Day, when the public will be able to snag a physical copy of the game for themselves.

A press release from Darrington Press says a digital release of A Familiar Problem is planned for later this year but did not provide any additional details. It also stresses the importance of buying something from your local LGS, and Dicebreaker agrees - if you’re looking for inspiration check out our lists of the exciting board games and tabletop RPGs coming out this year alongside some of the best titles from both categories already on the shelves.


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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter

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Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.

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