Last Updated on January 22, 2023
What Is Tal’Dorei?
Tal’Dorei is the setting for the popular Dungeons and Dragons podcast, Critical Role. The world was created by Matt Mercer, the show’s DM and has been fleshed out over the course of several campaigns.
Whether you’re a player or dungeon master, this guide will help you get started in Tal’Dorei.
The World of Critical Role
Fans of Critical Role know that Tal’Dorei is full of danger and intrigue. The continent on which the majority of the action takes place is home to many cultures and races. There are bustling cities, untamed wildernesses, and ancient ruins just waiting for you to explore.
This is just a quick introduction to Tal’Dorei. For more information, check out the Tal’Dorei Reborn sourcebook. With it, you can explore the Critical Role campaign setting in even greater detail.
Your Guide to Exandria
The world of Critical Role is called Exandria, and Tal’Dorei is just one of the many continents players can explore in this setting.
Exandria has a rich history and many different civilizations for players to discover. There are also dungeons to explore, monsters to fight, and puzzles to solve.
A year on Exandria is 11 months, each of which is roughly 28 days long. Days on Exandria last 24 hours, and the seven days of the week are called Miresen, Grissen, Whelsen, Conthsen, Folsen, Yulisen, and Da’leysen.
The continents on Exandria contain vast tracts of wilderness for players to explore, and of course, there are dungeons. Lots and lots of dungeons.
Tal’Dorei is a fantastic place to have an adventure. You’re sure to find something to suit your fancy, whether you’re looking for a political intrigue or a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl.
The Chroma Conclave
Five powerful dragons — black, blue, green, red, and white — known as the Chroma Conclave attacked Tal’Dorei and attempted to overthrow the ruling government. Key political figures in Tal’Dorei were killed in the assault.
The Chroma Conclave plot begins with an attack on Emon. The dragons were eventually defeated by a group of adventurers known as Vox Machina.
The Critical Role setting isn’t just for fans of the show. It’s also a great place to start if you’re new to Dungeons and Dragons or roleplaying games.
The Republic of Tal’Dorei
The continent of Tal’Dorei, which was formally called Gwessar, is home to the Republic of Tal’Dorei, Syngorn (an elven realm), Kraghammer (a dwarven stronghold), Whitestone (a city-state), and the hobgoblin empire of the Iron Authority in the southern region.
A fertile land, Tal’Dorei is home to many different creatures, including humans, dwarves, and elves. People from all over the world come to Tal’Dorei in search of refuge.
The Scattered War was a series of bloody battles between the brutal Kingdom of Drassig and the elves of Syngorn. Following the long and devastating Scattered War, Tal’Dorei was nearly ruined.
However, a young hero helped bring an end to the war and saved Tal’Dorei. The world has been rebuilding ever since.
Located between the Stormcrest and Cliffkeep Mountains, the Dividing Plains are the heartland of Tal’Dorei. Within these fertile farmlands, the people of Tal’Dorei grow their crops and raise their livestock.
The Dividing Plains are home to many people and creatures, including humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings. Westruun is also located in this region. Westruun is a major city in the Republic of Tal’Dorei with a large population and a bustling marketplace.
The Rifenmist Peninsula is a jungle-covered landmass at the southern end of the continent. The Iron Authority, a totalitarian regime, rules over the southernmost region.
The Iron Authority is a hobgoblin nation that consists of five major city-states that all answer to the Iron Empire in Tz’Arrm. These states are located on the Beynsfal Plateaus and south of the Rifenmist Jungle, which can be found on the Rifenmist Peninsula.
The Rifenmist jungle is one of the most dangerous regions of Tal’Dorei. From the ancient monsters that wander the jungle paths to the snake queen and her worshipers, this is a place where death lurks around every corner.
In northern Tal’Dorei, the Cliffkeep Mountains stretch from east to west. Home to humans, dwarves, and elves, the Cliffkeep Mountains are a place of great beauty and danger.
The dwarves of Kraghammer live in the eastern part of the Cliffkeep Mountains. A city built into the side of a mountain, Kraghammer is a thriving metropolis.
Fort Daxio, a defensive outpost of the Tal’Dorei Republic, is located on the western reaches of the mountains.
The western coast of Tal’Dorei is known as the Bladeshimmer Shoreline. When humans first colonized the continent, the Bladeshimmer Shoreline was the first region they settled. Emon, the capital of Tal’Dorei, is located on this coast.
Intercut by multiple rivers, the farmland in the Bladeshimmer Shoreline is some of the most fertile in all of Exandria. The mild climate and ample rainfall make this region ideal for growing crops.
Factions in Tal’Dorei
Alliances and feuds can be found all across Tal’Dorei. Some factions have conflicts with one another, while others have banded together to form powerful alliances.
There are places in Exandria where the boundaries between planes are weak. These places are called planar rifts, and the Ashari guard them. Each Ashari tribe watches over a specific rift, and they use their magic to ensure that no creature from another plane can enter Tal’Dorei.
The Tal’Dorei Council is a group of seven powerful individuals who rule over the continent of Tal’Dorei. Each presides over a different domain, such as war, law, or magic.
The Cities of Tal’Dorei
Tal’Dorei contains several major cities with unique histories and cultures to explore.
Emon is the largest city in Tal’Dorei and the capital of the Republic. The cultural heart of human civilization on Tal’Dorei, Emon is a major hub of politics, justice, trade, and education.
Westruun is a major city in the Republic of Tal’Dorei with a large population that attracts travelers and merchants from all over the continent. Westruun is known for its marketplace, one of the largest in the land.
Kymal is a small town located in the Dividing Plains. Its inhabitants include ramblers, farmers, drifters, and other interesting folks, making it a unique place to visit.
Once a mining town, Kymal is now better known as a place where you can try your luck in a game of chance. Many come to Kymal to test their skills, including cards and dice. Only a few leave as winners.
Syngorn is an elven realm located at the base of the Stormcrest Mountains. It is heavily fortified with high walls and towers surrounding the city.
The elves of Syngorn are known for their magic and sailing skills. At the center of the city lies Lake Ywnnlas, and visitors can take magical boat rides around the lake.
The city of Syngorn has deep ties to magic and nature. The elves who live there are some of the most powerful magic users on the continent.
Wildemount is a land located to the east of Tal’Dorei across the sea. It is a rugged and untamed continent with many dangerous creatures lurking in the wilderness. If your players are looking for a place to test their mettle, Wildemount will offer them plenty of challenges.
Like Tal’Dorei, Wildemonte contains many different kinds of people and creatures. However, the land is also home to some unique factions and monsters.
The Dwendalian Empire rules Western Wynandir. The people of this area live under a totalitarian regime with a strong military presence.
The citizens of the Dwendalian Empire must withstand the bleak weather while maintaining absolute loyalty to the crown. Despite this, the people are hardy and have a strong sense of community.
The Menagerie Coast
Most long-distance imports and exports for the Empire go through the ports of The Menagerie Coast as maritime trade must pass through here to reach the west coast of Wildemonte. The area flourishes because of free trade and cultural liberty.
A scarred territory known as Xhorhas is located in the desolate and rugged badlands of Eastern Wynandir. Xhorhas is fairly small compared to the Dwendalian Empire, and the Kryn Dynasty rules it in the north.
The southern areas of Eastern Wynandir have lower populations than the northern reaches, partially because the southern region mostly consists of boggy marshes, woodland, and moors.
Other Continents on Exandria
Tal’Dorei is a young nation in the grand scheme of things, but it is one full of adventure.
Other continents on the world of Exandria lie far from the shores of Tal’Dorei or Wildemonte. Some of these places have been explored by the people of Tal’Dorei while others remain a mystery.
If you’re running a campaign in Tal’Dorei, feel free to use any of these continents. You can even create cities and NPCs of your own to populate these lands.
The world of Exandria is your oyster!
Issylra is the oldest continent known to Exandrian historians. It is considered by most in Exandria to be the beginning of civilization.
Issylra’s people are known for their respect for religion. Located northwest of Tal’Dorei, Issylra is a land of lush wildlife and deadly beasts.
Marquet is a mysterious and treacherous continent to the southwest of Tal’Dorei. There are few settlements on Marquet, which is known mainly for its hazardous dunes and desolate mountains. In total, about one-third of the continent is made up of desertland.
The city of Ank’Harel is the continent’s cultural and historical center and power center. Also called the Jewel of Hope and the Jewel of Marquet, the well-guarded city is in the middle of the Rumedam Desert.
Critical Role’s third campaign, Campaign Three: Bells Hells, started in Marquet.
The Tale of Zan Tal’Dorei
As a young woman, Zan became recognized in Syngorn for her exceptional skills and ability during the Scattered War.
Following the Battle of the Umbra Hills, various high-ranking Verdant Expanse officials met to form a council.
The council selected Zan Tal’Dorei to be the leader of the new government. Zan chose the title of “Sovereign” and became the first ruler of the nation that would come to be known as Tal’Dorei.
Gods of Exandria
The Tal’Dorei campaign setting includes a pantheon of gods, each of which is worshipped by one or more of the races that inhabit the world. The most prominent of these are:
- The Raven Queen
- Corellon, The Archeart
- Lolth, the Spider Queen
- Gruumsh, the Ruiner
For your games, feel free to use any of the gods from the D&D canon or create your own, but if you want to stay true to the setting, consider using some of the gods from the Critical Role universe.
The Raven Queen
The goddess of death, decay, and Winter, the Raven Queen is worshipped by the drow and the undead. Her eyes follow every person’s life to its conclusion and ensure that the natural passage between life and death is unmarred.
The god of the sun, summer, and agriculture, Pelor is a lord of agriculture and the harbinger of the harvest. Also known as The Dawnfather, Pelor’s followers commonly include farmers and other common folks.
His priests welcome people from all over the world. The Dawnfather is a supporter of the needy and a destroyer of evil. He is often the patron to Paladins and Rangers, who follow a similar creed.
Corellon, The Archeart
The patron of arcane magic and the fey as well as the guardian of spring, beauty, and the arts. The Founding inspired them to wander through twisted lands, seeding them with the first arcane magics and raising ancient forests along their journey.
The Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn
Tal’Dorei Reborn is an in-depth exploration of the first campaign setting for Critical Role. Written by Matthew Mercer alongside D&D design veterans Hannah Rose and James J. Haeck, this 280-page hardcover book explores the world of Tal’Dorei in amazing detail.
This sourcebook was released earlier this year and contains everything you need to know to run your adventures in Tal’Dorei, including:
- Story hooks for adventures in Tal’Dorei
- A guide to the major locations in Tal’Dorei
- New monsters peculiar to Tal’Dorei
- An exploration of the history and culture of Tal’Dorei
- New player options, including subclasses and backgrounds
Tal’Dorei Reborn is the ideal way to get started in the world of Critical Role or to take your existing campaign to new places.
Finding Your Role in Exandria
Tal’Dorei is a setting rich in history and adventure waiting for you to explore. Whether you’re playing the role of a brave adventurer or the game master leading players on their quest, this world has much to offer.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].