From Hollywood to Critical Role: Joe Manganiello's D&D Journey

From Hollywood to Critical Role: Joe Manganiello's D&D Journey

Joe Manganiello and His Dungeons & Dragons Journey

Joe Manganiello, an Emmy Award-winning narrator and multifaceted talent in the entertainment industry, is renowned for his roles such as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on HBO's True Blood and Big Dick Richie in the Magic Mike films. But beyond his mainstream Hollywood fame, Manganiello has a rich history intertwined with the world of tabletop role-playing games, notably Dungeons & Dragons.

Early Years with TTRPGs

Joe's tryst with tabletop role-playing games began in his formative years. At the age of eight, he stumbled upon the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. However, lacking a circle of friends interested in D&D, Joe undertook solo adventures from the box, immersing himself in the game's intricate world. As he delved deeper into the realm of TTRPGs, he also took on the role of Dungeon Master for games like Rifts and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness. A testament to his passion for this universe is his possession of the original watercolor painting by Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was used for the RPG's cover.

Manganiello on Critical Role

Manganiello's love for D&D didn't stop with his childhood. He made appearances on the popular show Critical Role, portraying the character Arkhan the Cruel, a dragonborn oathbreaker paladin/berserker. Fans got a taste of his portrayal in episodes like "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello", "The Final Ascent", and "Vecna, the Ascended". He also participated in Talks Machina discussions, adding insights and humor to episodes such as "Talks Machina #41: The Final Ascent" and "Talks Machina #60: Midnight Espionage".

Arkhan's Quest

In the Critical Role universe, Arkhan's character was driven by visions sent by Tiamat, the Betrayer God. He embarked on a quest, alongside mercenaries like Keyleth and Percival de Rolo, to uncover the Wreath of the Prism, an artifact of immense power. This journey took them to the Vault of Shumas in the Aggrad Mountains of Marquet, where they faced challenges, including dealing with the undead caregiver of the vault. Arkhan's story arc, filled with intense moments and character development, added depth to the overall narrative of the series.

Fun Trivia

  • Brian Wayne Foster, the host of Talks Machina, often played with guest names, resulting in Manganiello being humorously referred to as "Yo, Massive Fellow".

  • The manticore in Arkhan's storyline, Changó, not only became a fan favorite but also found a place in the official Dungeons & Dragons adventure, "Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus".

  • Art of Arkhan and Changó was shared by Manganiello on social media, sparking fan interest and appreciation.

Joe Manganiello's love for Dungeons & Dragons and his appearances on Critical Role show just how passionate he is about diving into stories and bringing characters to life. Whether he's lighting up the big screen or rolling dice with friends, Joe never fails to draw people in and keep them hooked.

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