Meet the incredible people who work tirelessly to bring The Critshow to your ears every week! Peruse the whole page, or use the links to skip directly to your favorite (we know you don’t have a favorite… but you totally have a favorite).
The Spellslinger (Other Side of the Coin)
Cherry Bomb (Hero Salad)
Captain Tristan Callahan (Perilous Tides)
One-Page RPG Video Reviews (Patreon)
Player, GM, and Editor (Tales from the Omniverse)
In-House Musician and Foley Artist
Jake has spent much of his life trying to become a superhero. To that end, he’s spent a tremendous amount of his time studying – watching Justice League cartoons, reading Spider-Man books, playing Marvel Heroes. Things kicked up a notch in college when he began studying the martial arts, and went even further when he took a position teaching them. But finally, after a lifetime of dedication and singular pursuit… he makes a podcast where he and his friends play tabletop RPGs. See, somewhere along the lines, things got blurry. He accidentally became interested in a slew of other media, from World of Warcraft to Supernatural to Elder Scrolls to Black Sails. He picked up hobbies like writing, making music, and costuming. Then a certain Keeper invited him to play Earthdawn; and dozens of Pathfinder, D&D, World of Darkness, Monster of the Week, and so many other games later, as both player and game master, here we are. Unlike most of the cast, Jake has no formal theatre training or experience. He does his best to keep his head above water and be as entertaining as his co-hosts – and he did make the theme song (along with a lot of other show music), so at least he’s pulling his weight.
The Seer (Other Side of the Coin)
Ada Hawthorne (Perilous Tides)
Host, Editor (Hold 2)
Player, GM, and Editor (Tales from the Omniverse)
Social Media Manager
Kim’s dive into role-playing began early. She used to go to kindergarten “in character” as her favorite cartoons and Disney heroines, much to the bemusement of her family. With an indelible penchant for the dramatic, Kim has been a professional performer since eighteen, and a semi-professional ne’er-do-well since birth. Always on the hunt for creative outlets, she tried her first tabletop RPG in 2016, and fell in love with the mix of gameplay and live performance. With degrees in acting and musical theatre, Kim bursts into song as often as she quotes Shakespeare, and while she has appeared on camera, in video games, and on cast recordings, the theatre is her true love. She is a fixture on the Los Angeles stage, having appeared in over twenty world and regional premieres of new musicals, and critics have called her “tiny yet giant-voiced,” “a petite ball of fire,” “a diminutive comedienne,” and, well… You get the idea. Not content with the typical actor-singer-dancer hyphenate, Kim is also a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist, a model, an aerialist, a burlesque performer, an improvisor, a voice actress, and a cat mom – shout-out to Virgil the cat, who cameoed as a Hero Salad character! You can find out more about Kim’s exploits on Instagram @kim.dalton and Twitter @kim_dalton.
The Spooky (Other Side of the Coin)
Theodora “Theo” Drake (Perilous Tides)
Player, Editor (Tales from the Omniverse)
Megan found a love for mystery, puzzles, adventure, and being around people early on. Her mom heard the term “social butterfly” at almost every parent-teacher conference, which is teacher code for “We can’t get her to stop talking.” She grew up reading Goosebumps, Nancy Drew, and Choose Your Own Adventure books. A lover of TV and film, she particularly enjoyed shows that explored mystery and horror; from Courage the Cowardly Dog and Are You Afraid of the Dark? to Fringe and Supernatural. She was 25 before she was introduced to TTRPGs. After playing D&D, she helped establish a GM Support Group at her local FLGS and was taught games like TORG: Eternity, Fate, and Monster of the Week, which she immediately fell in love with. Megan is a Collector of Hobbies. Not wanting to ever be considered an expert on anything, “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” is her life goal. When she’s not working as a Video Editor/Mograph Artist, you can find her baking, riding her moped, playing roller derby, knitting, embroidering, hiking…*deep breath*…playing board games, watching movies, snuggling her cat, Phineas, or whatever she has added to the list since this was posted. If you start up a convo about anything science or nature related (especially animals), make sure you block off the rest of your afternoon.
The Monstrous (Other Side of the Coin)
Game Master (Hero Salad)
Game Master aka “The Fates” (Perilous Tides)
Editor (Hero Salad, Perilous Tides)
Tass did not just adopt the nerd; he was born into it, molded by it. From his early days of collecting books such as Goosebumps and Animorphs to advancing up to Tolkien epics, Dragonlance and even writing his own stories, he has always had the majority of his mind firmly locked into fiction of one kind or another. The more fantastical, the better. He managed to wait all the way until college before ever trying a tabletop RPG. Rev talked him into trying Earthdawn, and he has been hooked ever since. While he was learning more about these types of games, he was also in school for acting, getting a bachelor’s degree in performing arts. He was able to make good use of his training in improvisation and performance to enhance his characters and storytelling, whether it was on the page or with a set of dice with friends. With these friends, he was able to traverse many worlds and stories. Tabletop games included Earthdawn, Fading Suns, D&D, Pathfinder, and more, most recently adding Monster of the Week to that list. On top of that, you could almost always find him role-playing in MMORPGs such as City of Heroes/Villains, World of Warcraft, Tera, and Champions Online. Tass is very much a creature of other realms, and he can’t wait to share these realms with you.
The Monstrous (Other Side of the Coin)
The Cucumbrance (Hero Salad)
Transformers, Atari, Bionic Six, The Centurians, Here Come the Littles: these are words that Teej understands. He began his geekdom in the strange land of Cali-For-Neeya when he first discovered the Saturday Morning Cartoon. He believes in the Don Bluth animated films and desires only the downfall of the Zarconian Empire. After leaving California, he moved to… California again. Cartoons became better – now Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nintendo were his cup of tea. The Mushroom Kingdom wasn’t going to save itself. Then the Hobbit. MY EVER LOVING, ELUVATAR! THE HOBBIT! It was the moment Teej decided he would live his life in comfort… and in a hole in the ground. So he dug himself a nice wet hole in a pile of mud and slopped himself inside and aged and landed in South Carolina, where he read his first Tolkien and fell forever in love with everything Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil, and don’t forget The Silmarillion. In high school Teej found his calling in theater, and in college he sharpened his acting and improv skills. When he’s not working as a Team Lead at a world famous publishing company, he’s geeking out hard on Xbox with his three compadres. His new obsession is Parks and Rec and the newest iteration of Voltron on Netflix.
Producer (Other Side of the Coin, Hero Salad, Investigate the History, Tales from the Omniverse, Perilous Tides)
Editor (Other Side of the Coin, Investigate the History, Tales from the Omniverse, Perilous Tides)
Game Master (Other Side of the Coin)
First Vine (Hero Salad)
Sayre (Perilous Tides)
Player (Tales from the Omniverse)
Co-Host (Investigate the History)
Rev was raised on comic books and video games. You’re probably thinking what an awful thing to feed a child and you’re right, just look how he turned out. He started playing video games at the age of 6, reading comics at 10, and playing his first RPG (Earth Dawn) at 16. He holds a Master’s degree in acting from the University of Georgia, and is a jack of all trades when it comes to the performing arts. You may recognize Rev’s (or Brandon, if you wanna use his muggle name) voice from some of his work with EarPlay, where he is a voice over artist and casting director working on projects for such intellectual properties as Jurassic World, Mr. Robot, and Pugmire (all available on Alexa, if you’re into that kind of thing).
In late 2016 he decided he wanted to combine his love of gaming and his love of performance, and that’s how we find ourselves here today – the slow burn dedication of a man with the right mix of ambition and insomnia. When not working on the podcast or doing other voice-related projects, Rev can be found on PBS where he co-hosts the bi-monthly show Journey Indiana; but mostly he hangs out with me, his dog Harvey, who for some reason he decided to teach to type. I think it’s just that he really hated writing bios… but, he keeps me in cuddles and greenies, so it’s a fair trade off.
Co-Host, Lead Researcher/Dramaturg (Investigate the History S1-S3)
Carolyn has been in love with theatre, acting, and literature since she first played a tooth in a 3-grade school play. Once she discovered like-minded nerds as an undergrad, this introverted Hufflepuff never left the libraries, stages, and lecture halls of academia. Carolyn directs plays, and teaches classes in acting, directing, and dramatic literature at Jacksonville State University. Carolyn is thrilled to be able to partner with one of her very best friends and stage-partners, Rev to examine all the literature, folklore, history, and mythology in the world of The Critshow. When she isn’t working or doing research, she is probably watching Bob’s Burgers, looking up recipes she’ll never make, or wasting hours watching cat videos online, all the fast-paced excitement you’d image. As a professor, professional actor and dramaturg, and an author, her primary focus is in exploring new ways to improve and expand the creative classroom, and her new book about Introverted Actors is now available to preorder! Yes…actors can be introverts, and Carolyn might be the Introvertedest. Ask Rev. If a party starts after 8pm, he knows not to invite her. She ain’t getting out of those pajama pants and leaving her kittykat for anything! Introverted Nerds Unite!!
Mike was born at a very early age. Then a few years later, he discovered a love of fantasy by reading Discworld novels over his father’s shoulder. Sir Terry Pratchett’s works sparked something in him, and he began tearing through the fantasy genre; The Hobbit, then the full Lord of the Rings trilogy, then – well, part of the Silmarillion, at least. Then Eragon, the entirety of the Shannara series, whatever other miscellaneous books the librarian could dredge up for him. Running out of series to consume, he moved to making his own worlds. His father started running a D&D campaign for the family, which led to Mike running a few short campaigns. Going to school for game design, soon he was telling stories in a medium that could be shared with more people than you could fit around a table. But none of it really scratched that itch for the endless possibilities of TTRPGs. So back to D&D he went, until stumbling upon PbtA games one day. He’s now played countless hours of Monster of the Week – usually from behind the GM screen – and written a number of Mysteries and Playbooks for it. He’s also written a number of as-yet unreleased one page RPGs. You can find him on Twitch @HypnoticSheep or Twitter @mike_motw, infrequently. He still re-reads the Discworld series every few years, for inspiration.
Email Marketing Manager
Brand Management & Graphic Design
Nyx’s love of doing it all goes back to high school, where a typical fall Friday involved going from class to cross country practice to rallying the football team as head cheerleader, and swapping into her flag corps captain uniform at halftime to march with the band. She’s carried that “you can’t tell me no” attitude into her adult life where she amasses skills, experiences, and certifications the way Tass collects dice. At her deepest core she’s a professional storyteller. With a BFA in Musical Theatre, Nyx is an actor/singer, director, and music director in Chicago, having appeared on NBC’s Chicago Fire and multiple Chicago stages, and directed and music directed all over the country including more than 25 world premiere plays and musicals. She’s an RYT-200 yoga teacher and an Enrolled Agent (federally licensed tax preparer), and runs two companies dedicated to elevating the voices of creatives, storytellers, and entrepreneurs. She is Project Developer for the tarot-based Divination RPG via her game publishing company, Night Goddess Games. In her “free time” she enjoys crochet, weekend warrior-ing around her house, camping, riding motorcycle, traveling (11 foreign countries so far), hanging with her husband and cat, video gaming, playing and running TTRPGs, cosplay, photography, reading fiction and non, and learning more about herself, others, and the world. Insta: @nyx_tesseract / Twitter: @NyxTesseract.
Raised on books, musicals, and spooky films, Rachel grew up in the presence of many fantastical, magical worlds. Unfortunately, since living in those worlds was impossible, she opted for the next best thing: going into theatre. She had to give up acting a number of years ago, but her love for bringing characters to life transformed into something else: Cosplay. In fact, that’s how she came to be a part of our team! She’s been a part of the Florida cosplay community since 2014, and you can catch sight of her haunting cons in the state of Florida (and sometimes Georgia). Though, good luck finding her, she’s a bit of a chameleon. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Communication with a minor in Psychology from Florida State University and has been a one-woman graphic factory since 2015. When she’s not screaming at Photoshop and stock image sites or cheating at Mario Kart, you might find her traipsing around Disney World or Universal Studios, where she works full-time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can also find Rachel on her Twitch channel, where she streams some of her favorite games several times a week, and as @out_racheous on both Twitter and Instagram.
Co-Host, Lead Researcher/Dramaturg (Investigate the History S4-on)
Ruth has always loved stories. She learned to read early and never looked back, even dipping into things she wasn’t necessarily ready for (as evidenced by her sister’s favorite memory: little eight-year-old Ruth, paperback copy of Les Misérables in hand, asking their mother, “Mommy, what’s a whore?”). From Narnia to Middle Earth to Redwall to Hogwarts and back again, Ruth has always felt most at home in worlds of wonder – and with other nerdy folk who understand the deep, aching joy of reaching the end of a story. Her love of reading quickly translated into writing, and wee Ruth decided on “author” as her desired profession – but when theatre entered the picture, she broadened her lifelong ambition to “storyteller”. Three(+) decades, two theatre degrees, and many musicals later, Ruth is still head-over-heels in love with STORY. You can find her fantasy novels, poetry, and coming-of-age trilogy – along with blogs about everything from car crashes to cake – on her website. Having adored The Critshow from episode 1, she is simply giddy to be joining the team and is thrilled to be geeking out with Rev on all the story behind the story. When not writing, researching, or gushing to anyone who will listen about the latest film adaptation of a favorite book, Ruth enjoys baking, running, reading, hiking, and relaxing at home with her husband and adorable fur-child, Doc.
Wes (aka The Portrait Dude) grew up with a love of comic books, video games, books, movies and all things nerdy. In college he found a love for drumming and graphic design as hobbies, but it wasn’t until his early thirties that he discovered he had an eye for photography. YouTube and a LOT of trial and error became his teachers as he developed his own unique style of shooting, and what started as a joke practice shoot with a friend dressed as Batman in the fall of 2013 ended up being a life-changing evening. He went to his first convention shortly thereafter and dove headfirst into the cosplay community. Wes’ work has been internationally published in books such as Cosplay World, Cosplay Culture, and iCosplay. He has a cosplay-focused photography studio in Columbus, OH, and provides cosplay coverage for numerous conventions and publications across the U.S. including the C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay both in 2018 and 2019 for ReedPop, private and public meet and greets with Stan Lee’s team, and more. Wes loves to shoot everyone from experienced to first time cosplayers and uses light and flash techniques to show them in camera how amazing they look, with the goal of his shoots being to make people feel more confident both in and out of cosplay and help them believe in themselves more.