‘Critical Role’s Taliesin Jaffe & Anjali Bhimani Tease New ‘Candela Obscura’ Series

The cast of 'Candela Obscura'
Critical Role

Enter (if you dare) the world of Candela Obscura, a new monthly horror drama series straight from the minds behind the multimedia sensation known as Critical Role. Premiering May 25 with new episodes airing the last Thursday of each month, the show, set in a fictional region known as The Fairelands, follows investigators ranging from criminals to professors who come together and use centuries of knowledge to fight against a mysterious force.

The series, created by Taliesin Jaffe and Chris Lockey, is part of a brand new roleplaying game system called Illuminated Worlds, which was designed by Stras Acimovic and Layla Adelman and developed by the company’s own Darrington Press imprint. It stars Critical Role cast members and voice actors Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us: Part I & II), Laura Bailey (The Last of Us: Part II), and Taliesin Jaffe (World of Warcraft), as well as voice actors (and regular Critical Role guest stars) Robbie Daymond (Demon Slayer) and Anjali Bhimani (Ms. Marvel, Overwatch) with Matthew Mercer (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom) helming the story as the game master.

Candela is the distillation of dozens of late night conversations about what makes a horror game personally scary, and where it felt like there was something missing from modern storytelling style gaming,” Jaffe, who plays a role known as “The Light Keeper,” told TV Insider. Described by Critical Role‘s blog as “an enlightened veteran that guides the brave individuals recruited by this secret order through the darkness and provides each circle with their mission,” the role acts as a narrator of sorts, guiding the audience through the game and providing a prologue before each episode. It’s what most fans would consider the perfect role for Jaffe, who has participated in other horror-related RPGs over the years — but to be clear, it doesn’t mean that the actor is running the show the same way a game master would.

Candela Obscura


He’s a bit of a Rod Serling character, but with some interesting in-universe connections that will be revealed in time,” Jaffe teases of his role. “The Light Keeper is very different from anything I’ve done online but is definitely informed by many private game characters. I’d say he’s a character you would meet in a very scary episode of Doctor Who.”

The best part about Candela Obscura? It functions as a standalone series, which means viewers can jump in on whatever episode they want without needing background from previous content to enjoy the story. “When they first approached me about this a while back and told me it was Taliesin’s brainchild that made it even more exciting for me because I’ve only gotten to be at a table with him once as a player and it was a very comedic one-shot,” says Bhimani, referencing a DOOM Eternal one shot that aired back in 2020. As she tells TV Insider, she’s excited for fans to meet her character, albeit a little nervous.

Candela Obscura


“She can come off a bit harsh. But her brashness and bravado belie a depth that comes from something more vulnerable inside her. I’m hoping people are interested in getting to know her more so they see that part of her,” Bhimani shares. “In this game system, most of the preparation is by choice, not dice rolls, so a lot of thought went into the backstory and how it would explain the skills she had … I am thrilled about the existing connections we decided on as well, as a group and as individuals.”

One thing that comes through loud and clear at the table is something that’s a staple among all the content Critical Role creates—the amount of fun everyone is having, despite the long road of preparation this particular new show entailed. “I can’t think of anything that WASN’T a challenge. Everyone worked long and hard to make sure this was going to be the best show possible,” says Jaffe, adding “we live by the notion that if we love something other people will too. So bringing a set of rules that helps craft a story in such a different genre? Bloody fantastic.”

“D&D and all great role-playing games are all about telling a great story—not just by yourself but in this incredible, collaborative, shared experience at the table,” says Bhimani. “We all get to build these individuals from scratch and decide moment to moment who they are, which can be thrilling and hilarious and terrifying. And there is a sort of intimacy in that—not in the traditional way we think of it—but intimacy in the sense we are all trusting each other with so much of ourselves and trusting that we will all be there for each other in service of the story we are telling.”

As fans of the genre and of the game itself, both Jaffe and Bhimani are excited for fans to see what unfolds at the table over the course of the episodes. “Horror is a daunting genre to play in,” admits Jaffe. “I’m hoping our show will give players the courage and tools to delve in on their own. That, and encourage a few people to sleep with the light on for a night or too.”

For Bhimani, the appeal of Candela Obscura is “the moments when each character does something that makes no sense to do but makes perfect sense for them to do. As always there are moments where an unexpected failure or success completely sends the story in a new direction,” she continues. “And frankly, I expect everyone to fall in love with Ashley Johnson yet again the first second Auggie starts to speak… I didn’t think I could love her more but she proved me wrong.”

Candela Obscura, Premiere, Thursday, May 25, 7/6c, Twitch and YouTube