Gen Con in Indianapolis for many years now has been a catalyst for a live Critical Role show. While not directly connected to the convention itself, the Dungeons and Dragons show has used the influx of tabletop gamers as a convenient location for its fans to come to watch. But for first-timers to the show, like I was myself this year, it can be daunting to plan out. Tickets sell quickly, 70,000 extra people are already in Indianapolis, and planning when to arrive, when to eat, and what to wear for the theater is a lot. I’ve put together a quick guide to help you get the most out of your Critical Role live experience and keep it as stress-free as possible.
1. Ensuring You Get Tickets
Tickets sell out fast. Despite being a Critter for many years now, I naively did not get to the VIP ones fast enough. Be prepared in advance to get tickets, whether they be VIP or general admission. If you are going with someone else, you both should be on a computer. You must consistently refresh and click new seats to try and snag some that are available. This year, the theater exceeded seats by 65 and had to bring in extra chairs. With so many Critters wanting to see this show live, 2500+ seats go quickly.
2. When to Arrive
My husband and I arrived an hour and a half early to the location but wish we had given ourselves more time. So far, the show has consistently been at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Our walk was brief from a parking lot to the theater but the venue was hosting a food truck party for the entire city. That slowed down getting dinner beforehand (it took us 45 minutes to get food from a food truck). And with the show lasting past midnight, you want to be sure you have a large dinner! It was also very crowded inside the venue and the line to buy merchandise was extremely long. This led to us hurrying to get to our seats fifteen minutes before the show started and leaving merch shopping for the end. So be sure to arrive at least two hours early!
3. Where to Park
As with any downtown, parking is never convenient but there are multiple options. They all cost money, so be sure you have cash with you. It did not take us long to find a spot within a two-minute walk of the venue. However, keep in mind other downtown events that may clog up parking. Just as the city-wide food truck party made the streets and lots busier than we had planned on.
4. What to Wear
It was hot in the theater and very, very crowded. It’s not a big venue by any means. Wear clothes that are light and breathable. I salute the bravery of those going in cosplay. Bring along something to fan yourself with. However, if your seats are on the edge of a row, within the first two rows, or elsewhere with more space around you, then you will fare better. We were in the exact center of the audience and after four hours it was quite sweltering.
5. How to Get Merch
Critical Role has always brought along GenCon exclusives. The line to get them was very long when we first arrived, and by the time the show ended most of the merchandise was sold out. Plan on arriving early if you want these items. In the past, Critical Role has made their Gen Con exclusives available in their shop at later dates. It’s also worth noting that “swag bags” are given to VIP ticket holders, but those tickets cost between $200-$300. However, as any Critter will tell you, the opportunity to get in there before the show’s Q&A session, close seats, and extra goodies are well worth the cost!
6. What to Eat and When
With a 4+ hour show ahead of you, staying fed and energized is important. Bottled water and alcohol is offered at the venue. Water is likely your best bet because of how hot it is inside. No outside food or drink is allowed in the venue. We planned on the food truck party to feed us but underestimated how long it would take. There are many local restaurant options around the venue, but that does put you at the mercy of the speed of service and how busy the place is. If your hotel offers room service, that is also a solid option as you can wait for your food while you prepare for the show. Whatever dinner option you choose, be sure you give yourself ample time!
7. What to Expect
The noise of 2500+ Critters all screaming together can be hard on the ears for those who are more sensitive, so keep that in mind. The venue was a bit confusing to navigate, mostly because there were so many people mingling about it and it was hard to see where to go. Thankfully, the venue staff was very helpful with directions. The Critters are all extremely friendly and it is a warm and welcoming environment. But you are packed in pretty tightly. The seats and the rows are not large, so be prepared to rub elbows with those around you. Be mindful of other events going on downtown in case they impact your travel and parking plans. This year much of I-70 was closed for construction, but thankfully that was not the route we needed to take from our hotel.
Critical Role puts on an amazing show! And you don’t want to miss any of it. So be sure to plan well for the occasion. With the cast now doing a few live shows a year, it gets easier and easier to see them in person. For the first time in 2018, the cast had a live show in New York City and one in Los Angeles. This year, a new live show has been recently announced for Austin, Texas. But Gen Con will always hold a special place as the first to host these voice actors.
This article was written in conjunction with Scott Roepel.
Ashley is the author of the Thread of Souls book series, an avid traveler, and a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast!