|The Legend of Vox Machina|
|Created by||Brandon Auman|
Critical Role Productions
|Based on||Critical Role (campaign one)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||24|
|Running time||24–30 minutes|
|Original network||Amazon Prime Video|
|Original release||January 25, 2022 –|
|Infobox instructions (only shown in preview)|
The Legend of Vox Machina is an American adult animated fantasy television series produced by Metapigeon, Titmouse, Inc., and Amazon Studios, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on January 28, 2022. The series is based on the first campaign of the Dungeons & Dragons web series Critical Role. It stars Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Matthew Mercer, Liam O'Brien, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, and Travis Willingham, reprising their roles from the campaign.
The first season consists of twelve episodes, the first ten of which were funded via a Kickstarter campaign. In November 2019, ahead of the series premiere, it was renewed by Amazon for a second season which premiered on January 20, 2023. On October 6, 2022, ahead of season two's premiere, Amazon renewed the series for a third season.
The series is set in Exandria, a fictional world created by Matthew Mercer in 2012 for his personal Dungeons & Dragons campaign which then launched as the actual play web series Critical Role in 2015. Most of the story takes place on the continent of Tal'Dorei in locations such as the metropolis of Emon and the city-state of Whitestone.
The first two episodes of the series depict "an all-new story about the seven-member Vox Machina team at D&D Level 7 on their first 'grown-up' mission, which occurs prior to Critical Role's first RPG show". The series then adapts the Briarwood arc from the original web series, "in which the Vox Machina crew avenge the murder of the rulers of the town of Whitestone and most of their offspring by the evil Lord and Lady Briarwood". In the second season the series also adapts "other classic Vox Machina story arcs", such as the Chroma Conclave arc.
Cast and characters
- Laura Bailey as Vex'ahlia "Vex" Vessar: a member of Vox Machina, and the twin sister of Vax'ildan. She is a half-elf ranger who has studied dragons in the hope of eventually finding the one that killed her mother. Vex feels a pain in her head whenever a dragon is close by.
- Taliesin Jaffe as Percival "Percy" Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III: a member of Vox Machina and a human gunslinger. Percy's family were once the rulers of Whitestone – a city-state within Tal'Dorei. He barely escaped alive from a coup d'état led by the Briarwoods, and sought vengeance for the murder of his family during the first season. Jaffe also voices Percy's father Lord Frederick de Rolo.
- Ashley Johnson as Pike Trickfoot: a member of Vox Machina and a gnome cleric of the goddess Everlight.
- Matthew Mercer as Trinket: A grizzly bear who serves as Vex's pet and companion. Mercer also voices the vampire Lord Sylas Briarwood, the shadow demon Orthax, the black dragon Umbrasyl,[a] and various other background characters throughout the series. A character based on Mercer's likeness appears in every episode of the show as an easter egg.
- Liam O'Brien as Vax'ildan "Vax" Vessar: a member of Vox Machina, and the twin brother of Vex'ahlia. He is a half-elf rogue. The mother of Vex and Vax was killed by a dragon before the events of the series. O'Brien also voices the white dragon Vorugal.
- Marisha Ray as Keyleth of the Air Ashari: a member of Vox Machina and a half-elf druid. She is currently undergoing her Aramenté – a quest which acts as the Ashari trial of leadership.
- Sam Riegel as Scanlan Shorthalt: a member of Vox Machina and a gnome bard.
- Travis Willingham as Grog Strongjaw: a member of Vox Machina and a goliath barbarian.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||12||January 28, 2022||February 18, 2022|
|2||12||January 20, 2023||February 10, 2023|
Season 1 (2022)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"The Terror of Tal'Dorei – Part 1"||Young Heller||Brandon Auman||January 28, 2022|
|The failure of multiple mercenary groups to defeat an unidentified beast burning the farmlands leads the Tal'Dorei Council to advertise a substantial reward for the beast's death publicly. This draws the attention of Vox Machina after a barfight emphasizing their lack of funds. Following a musical introduction by Scanlan, only General Krieg argues in favor of giving Vox Machina a chance. Sovereign Uriel entrusts the task to them because he is impressed with Vex's bear, Trinket. The group is taken to the Shalesteps where the creature was seen last. Following a lead from a village child, Vox Machina encounters the creature – the blue dragon Brimscythe. A battle ensues; Brimscythe leaves after nearly killing the group, leaving them reluctant to continue their quest. Vex reveals that a dragon killed the twins' mother when they were young and informs the group that she sensed something draconic when they met with the Council. They once again pass through the Shalesteps on their way back to find the village destroyed and its inhabitants killed. Feeling guilty over the deaths of the villagers, Vox Machina resolves to kill Brimscythe or die trying.|
|2||2||"The Terror of Tal'Dorei – Part 2"||Alicia Chan||Brandon Auman||January 28, 2022|
|Brimscythe swiftly wipes out a battalion of Emon soldiers; General Krieg is among the few survivors. When updating the Council, Vex surmises that Sir Fince may be in league with the dragon based on her dragon sense. At Gilmore's Glorious Goods, Vax and Pike ask Shaun Gilmore if he knows anything about dragons. While flirting with Vax, Gilmore reveals a bit of cryptic poetry on blue dragons from a book. Scanlan and Grog stealthily follow Fince to Krieg's mansion. Vox Machina breaks into the mansion and confronts Fince before Krieg kills him. They follow Krieg through a portal into a cavern, where Krieg reveals that he is Brimscythe as he shifts forms. During the battle, Vax realizes that the poetry indicates the dragon's weakness is its neck — the group comes together to allow Grog to land the killing blow. The council rewards Vox Machina with honorary titles and the keys to their own keep in Emon, along with an invitation to an upcoming banquet of important people from across Tal'Dorei. Meanwhile, Lord Sylas and Lady Delilah Briarwood are ambushed by bandits while traveling to Emon. Sylas brutally slaughters the attackers before the couple casually continues their journey.|
|3||3||"The Feast of Realms"||Stanley Von Medvey||Eugene Son||January 28, 2022|
|Settled into their new keep, Vox Machina is informed that the banquet will be held the following evening. At the banquet, Percy is shocked at the arrival of the Briarwoods; Percy informs the group that they are the ones who violently deposed his family to take control of Whitestone. Vax volunteers to infiltrate the Briarwoods' suite. During the meal, Sylas magically charms Uriel into ignoring any suspicious activity coming from Whitestone, while Delilah claims that they took control after the de Rolos abdicated in shame. Percy publicly accuses Delilah of lying before the Briarwoods retire to their suite. Vax discovers a hidden book in the suite that mentions an entity known as the Whispered One. When the Briarwoods catch Vax, Sylas displays vampiric qualities before Vax escapes. The Briarwoods' pursuit of Vax draws the rest of Vox Machina into a battle with the couple in the courtyard, while Scanlan distracts the banquet guests with a musical performance. Although the Briarwoods outmatch Vox Machina, the couple focuses on escape, leaving their coachman Desmond behind. Percy, enraged and overtaken by a shadowy force, shoots Desmond and attempts to question him about the Briarwoods, but is interrupted by Sovereign Uriel, who orders the arrest of Vox Machina.|
|4||4||"Shadows at the Gates"||Young Heller||Ashly Burch||February 4, 2022|
|Sovereign Uriel orders Vox Machina to be arrested for disrupting the banquet and for assaulting the Briarwoods' coachman. Lady Allura manages to temper Uriel enough that Vox Machina is placed under house arrest at their keep, rather than jailed immediately. Throughout the same night, undead beings risen and controlled by the Briarwoods attack the keep to retrieve Delilah's book and eliminate Vox Machina. With Pike's connection to the Everlight broken, her magic is unavailable to help in the onslaught. After fending off the incursion, Jarrett, the sole survivor of the city guard detail tasked with detaining Vox Machina, allows the group to escape after they promise to avenge his men and free Sovereign Uriel from the magical charm of the Briarwoods. Pike chooses to stay behind, feeling it necessary to visit a temple as part of rebuilding her connection with the Everlight.|
|5||5||"Fate's Journey"||Alicia Chan||Jennifer Muro||February 4, 2022|
|After getting supplies from Gilmore, Vox Machina sets out to Whitestone. Along the way, Vex attempts to help Percy express his emotions while Grog is depressed by Pike's departure. The group is attacked by undead monsters sent by Delilah to retrieve her book. Scanlan, holding the book, is taken by the creatures but the group manages to save him at the cost of losing the book as well as their supplies and transport. While resting for the night, the group tells stories and jokes while Vax and Keyleth slowly bond, despite Vex telling her brother not to do so. Percy does not participate in the revelry and later lies awake spinning the barrel of his gun; five of its six chambers are engraved with the names of people involved with overthrowing and killing his family. Meanwhile, Pike stays at a temple in hopes of connecting with the Everlight. The group arrives at Whitestone which is now a desolate slum with many of its citizens hiding indoors. They come across the Sun Tree at the center of the city and are horrified to find villagers, including children, hanging from the tree dressed like them.|
|6||6||"Spark of Rebellion"||Stanley Von Medvey||Mae Catt||February 4, 2022|
|Several rebellion members against the Briarwoods, led by Percy's old friend Archibald Desnay, are captured by Captain Kerrion Stonefell. After a failed interrogation led by himself and Duke Vedmire, Stonefell orders Archibald to be executed the following day. Vox Machina agrees to help rescue them after learning this from Keeper Yennen, a religious leader who secretly supports the rebellion. After breaking into the prison the group manages to free the rebels and Archibald, only to be caught and surrounded by Stonefell and the guards. The rebels and Vox Machina fight the guards and slowly retreat, while Percy stays behind to confront and execute Stonefell, whose name is magically erased from Percy's gun upon his death. While escaping and burning down the prison, Archibald informs Percy that his sister Cassandra is alive and under the Briarwoods' care.|
|7||7||"Scanbo"||Young Heller||Sam Riegel and Travis Willingham||February 11, 2022|
|A flashback shows Professor Anders tutoring Percy and Cassandra on the powers of residuum – a mineral which can enhance arcane powers and is refined from whitestone rocks. The children witness an argument between Anders and their parents as they deny his request for a residuum refinery. Having rescued Archibald in the present, Vox Machina return to a resistance basement hideout. Vax, Vex and Scanlan confront Percy about pointing his pistol at allies during the prison break. Percy explains how the plans for his pepperbox pistol came to him in a revenge-fueled dream. The tension is diverted to Keyleth when she accidentally starts a fire whilst trying to heal the Sun Tree – the roots of which partly come through the wall of the building. The next morning Vox Machina and Archibald plan a rescue of Cassandra. Scanlan proposes he provides a distraction in a solo mission to burn down Duke Vedmire's house. The other members of Vox Machina doubt his ability, yet reluctantly agree to his offer. With Scanlan's distraction successful; Vox Machina move on Professor Anders' house – only to find they have walked into a trap. Anders cuts Cassandra's throat in front of Percy.|
|8||8||"A Silver Tongue"||Alicia Chan||Marc Bernardin||February 11, 2022|
|Professor Anders attacks the group and then attempts to escape after slitting Cassandra's throat; Keyleth saves her with druidic healing. Vox Machina's pursuit leads to a fight where Anders uses magic to take control of Grog, Vex, Keyleth and Vax to force them to try and kill Percy. Percy’s eyes flicker black as he figures out how to ricochet a bullet through Anders' mouth disrupting the magic. Percy then puts on his plague mask and becomes wreathed in black smoke as he uses the Pepperbox to kill Anders, horrifying his friends and Cassandra; Anders' name dissipates from Percy's gun barrel. Vox Machina finds evidence for an upcoming ritual on the solstice but do not know what it could be. Keyleth creates the crest of De Rolo in the sky, and in response, Delilah Brairwood casts a spell to summon zombies to attack. Elsewhere, Pike tries to reconnect with the Everlight and attempts to find balance between her faith and her friendships. Scanlan encounters the zombies and rejoins his friends.|
|9||9||"The Tide of Bone"||Stanley Von Medvey||Kevin Burke and Chris "Doc" Wyatt||February 11, 2022|
|In a flashback, Delilah makes a deal with the Whispered One to keep a dying Sylas by her side; he is restored as a vampire. Back in the present, the safe house that Vox Machina and the surviving resistance members are hiding in is attacked by the undead. Pushed on to the streets, Archie is killed by Vedmire during the onslaught. Cassandra convinces Percy to take up the mantle of leadership, and he rallies the people of Whitestone to join the fight. Vax confesses his love to Keyleth while Vox Machina and the resistance prepare to make a last stand at the Sun Tree, only for an astral projected Pike to appear and bless everyone's weapons with the power of the Everlight, allowing them to defeat the horde of undead. The townspeople kill Vedmire, and Vox Machina proceed to the Briarwoods' castle, entering through a secret tunnel to the dungeons. There they find Dr. Anna Ripley imprisoned, who offers to give them information on the Briarwoods in exchange for her release, but Percy holds her at gunpoint with black smoke emerging around him.|
|10||10||"Depths of Deceit"||Young Heller||Jennifer Muro||February 18, 2022|
|A flashback reveals Ripley's role in the murder of the de Rolo family and Percy's subsequent torture under her hands. In the present, Percy holds Ripley at gunpoint, but Cassandra stops him. Pike examines Percy with divine magic and sees a demonic force clouding his soul. After a tense negotiation, Vox Machina agrees to have Ripley lead them to the ziggurat buried deep below Whitestone Castle. The party eventually makes its way to the residuum refining room. Percy notices Cassandra's name appearing on the barrel of his gun as Cassandra hits a button to trap Vox Machina and Ripley in the room; only Vax is able to slip under the descending transparent walls. However, Sylas is once again able to charm him. When Percy demands answers from Cassandra, her eyes reveal she is also charmed as she states she is part of the Briarwood family. As the Briarwoods walk away with Cassandra and Vax, the room rapidly fills with acid. Scanlan uses magic to hold the party above the acid and Vex slaps a devastated Percy to get him to focus; together, the group determines how to switch off the acid. Vox Machina then races towards the ziggurat. Meanwhile, Delilah notes to Sylas that they have two potential sacrifices as the four ascend the steps of the ziggurat.|
|11||11||"Whispers at the Ziggurat"||Alicia Chan||Eugene Son and Travis Willingham||February 18, 2022|
|Vox Machina and Ripley continue to chase after Cassandra, Vax, and the Briarwoods. Meanwhile Delilah and Sylas are preparing for the ritual dedicated to the Whispered One. Once Vox Machina reaches the ziggurat, Ripley flees, taunting Percy that he is unable to shoot her without alerting the Briarwoods to the group's presence. A battle between the two groups ensues, in which Vex and Percy try to subdue their enthralled siblings while Keyleth, Pike, and Grog fight Sylas, with Keyleth eventually killing him by channeling the power of the Sun Tree into a blast of sunlight, freeing Vax and Cassandra from his charm spell. A devastated Delilah flees into the ziggurat and tries to complete the ritual early, mortally wounding Keyleth when Vox Machina enters to stop her. The ritual seemingly fails because it was performed before the solstice, summoning only a spinning black orb in place of the Whispered One. Distracted by this, Delilah is shot twice in the back by Percy. Pike tries to heal Keyleth but her astral projection is interrupted.|
|12||12||"The Darkness Within"||Stanley Von Medvey||Brandon Auman and Sam Riegel||February 18, 2022|
|The twins attempt to save Keyleth, but a healing elixir has no effect. Scanlan deduces that the spinning black orb is blocking all nearby magic, including Pike's astral projection. The party leave the ziggurat, dragging Delilah behind them. Grog retrieves Sylas's sword, which seems to whisper to him. Back in the refining room, Vax and Scanlan heal Keyleth the same way she healed Cassandra. Percy is fully taken over by the smoke demon Orthax, who reveals that he gave Percy the idea for the pepperbox, and that he was feasting on the souls of those Percy killed with it. Percy is nearly tricked into killing his friends but eventually wins out, shooting through his own hand and seemingly dispelling Orthax. Delilah attempts to escape, but Cassandra kills her. Thinking the demon is gone, Percy goes to recover the pepperbox, but Scanlan stops him and throws it into a pool of acid. An effigy of Orthax rises momentarily from the gun as it melts. Percy leaves Cassandra in charge of Whitestone, and Vox Machina depart for Emon. Reunited with Pike, they are summoned by Sovereign Uriel to an abdication speech in which he cedes the government to the Tal'Dorei Council and praises Vox Machina for saving them. Suddenly, alarm bells start to ring and four dragons are spotted flying towards the city.|
Season 2 (2023)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|13||1||"Rise of the Chroma Conclave"||Young Heller||Brandon Auman and Eugene Son||January 20, 2023|
|Emon is invaded by four dragons known as the Chroma Conclave: a green poison dragon, a black acid dragon, a white ice dragon and their leader, a red fire dragon. They completely obliterate the city's defenses and inflict heavy casualties, including Sovereign Uriel. Separated, Vox Machina make their way to Gilmore's shop to regroup. Percy deduces that these dragons must have been planning this for years by ordering the disguised Brimscythe to dismantle Emon's army. After saving Gilmore in the wreckage of his shop, Gilmore teleports them all to Vox Machina's keep on the outskirts. As refugees pour in, the keep is attacked by the white dragon Vorugal. Keyleth uses her magic to help Vox Machina and some survivors escape to Whitestone. Keeper Yennen suggests seeking help in the city of Vasselheim; the next morning, Yennen describes a tree in Vasselheim that Keyleth can transport to. In the ruins of Emon, two dragons meet with the red dragon Thordak – Vorugal the ice dragon reports of Vox Machina's escape but Thordak refuses hunting them down until their plan to conquer the realm is completed. Thordak will allow the black dragon Umbrasyl to kill the group if he happens upon them.|
|14||2||"The Trials of Vasselheim"||Alicia Chan||Colleen Evanson||January 20, 2023|
|After being denied help in Vasselheim, Vox Machina are secretly advised to find the patron of the Slayer's Take. The twins have a history with this monster hunting guild. Grog wonders off after being distracted by his sword's voice. At the Slayer's Take, the rest are met with hostility by an old "friend" of Vex's, a tiefling named Zahra and her human partner Kashaw. Zahra reveals that Vex had poached from the Take and stolen the reward money. Pike fails to rally the hunters to help fight the Chroma Conclave, however, Vox Machina are sent through a trap door to meet with the patron who is revealed to be a sphinx named Osysa. As she points out each of their flaws, Grog is drawn to the Stormlord's arena and loses a brutal fight to Earthbreaker Groon. Groon states Grog must find the source of his strength if he is to become stronger. Osysa reveals to the group that they can only defeat the dragons by finding powerful weapons known as the Vestiges of Divergence. Once they have recovered a nearby Vestige in the tomb for the Matron of Ravens' champion, they should find her mate who will reveal more Vestiges.|
|15||3||"The Sunken Tomb"||Eugene Lee||Todd Casey||January 20, 2023|
|In a series of flashbacks, it is revealed that the twins were treated poorly by their elven father due to their mixed heritage; the twins grow closer after running away. In the present, Pike has a divine vision of the three dragons reporting to Thordak on the conquest – Westruun is now on the brink. Vox Machina arrive at a frozen lake which Scanlan scouts. He is saved from the Adaro, humanoid fish people, by Zahra and Kashaw who were sent to aid the group. Utilizing magic, Kashaw locates the tomb under the lake and Zahra and Keyleth create a path to the Matron's temple. Within they fight more Adaro and then, Vox Machina realize Zahra and Kashaw have gone ahead to steal the Vestige known as the Deathwalker's Ward. Vax insists that they stay put while he checks for traps and descends through a crater where he finds a small mural depicting Osysa's mate. Percy notices a floor panel which reveals a sarcophagus. Vex considers waiting for Vax to return, but Percy playfully convinces her to open it anyway. As Vex starts to feel guilty, Percy examines the armor accidentally setting off a trap which instantly kills Vex. Vax returns and breaks down in tears as he cradles her body.|
|16||4||"Those Who Walk Away"||Young Heller||Eugene Son||January 27, 2023|
|During a flashback, a young Vax saves Vex from imprisonment at a bandit camp. While hiding, the twins come across a dying bear which Vax puts down to end her suffering. They then find her cub which they bring with them when escaping; Vex names it Trinket. In the present, all efforts to magically revive Vex fail while Vax starts to see a vision of the Matron of Ravens preparing to take Vex's soul. Vax offers his own life in exchange for Vex's – Vex suddenly comes back to life, which Kashaw takes credit for, and Vax is left wearing the Deathwalker's Ward. As they leave the temple, Zahra summons an uncontrollable monster which petrifies. Vax begins to have visions that he is on a battlefield fighting the Matron's champion as the monster starts to turn the group into stone until only he and Kashaw are left. After surrendering to death in the vision, Vax unlocks abilities from the Vestige which allow him to single handedly kill the monster while Kashaw restores the others. Upon escape, Zahra apologizes and departs with Kashaw. Vax sees another vision of the Matron taking the soul of a dying man; he then tells Vex about his visions. Anna Ripley is shown magically observing Vox Machina as she walks towards Westruun in flames.|
|17||5||"Pass Through Fire"||Alicia Chan||Meredith Kecskemety||January 27, 2023|
|Opening with a flashback, Keyleth's mother Vilya explains to a young Keyleth the connection between the air and fire elements before Vilya departs on her Aramenté. In the present, Vox Machina come across an under attack Pyrah, the Fire Ashari settlement which guards the Fire Plane rift. They find Keyleth's father as well as Allura and Kima, who explain their escape from Emon and that they had originally sealed Thordak away in the Fire Plane. Thordak's escape tore open the rift; fire elementals have been attacking ever since leaving Pyrah to be overwhelmed by the endless tide of creatures. Keyleth initially struggles but recalls her mother's words and passes through the rift. On the other side, she transforms into a giant fire being and closes the tear. The Fire Ashari leader blesses her mastery of air and fire; she has yet to master water and earth. Vex through the episode acquires and learns how to use a flying broomstick. Allura and Kima stay behind to continue helping the Ashari but will then head to Whitestone. A group of goliaths are shown in Westruun raiding treasure as tribute for Umbrasyl. Ripley approaches and asks to speak with Umbrasyl regarding Vox Machina.|
|18||6||"Into Rimecleft"||Eugene Lee||Mae Catt||January 27, 2023|
|Grog has a nightmare where he endlessly kills people with his sword Craven Edge, including the rest of Vox Machina. Following Vax's vision, the group heads into the Rimecleft to find Osysa's mate, Kamaljiori. Kamaljiori agrees to grant them more knowledge on the Vestiges if Vox Machina successfully complete a challenge of their choosing; of the options, they settle on the "wound him" challenge. Kamaljiori easily defeats all but Scanlan, who plays a heartfelt song about the love between Kamaljiori and Osysa and their longing while separated. This emotionally wounds Kamaljiori so he bestows Scanlan the Mythcarver Vestige. The sword gives Scanlan visions of other Vestiges: a bow hidden within the Fey Realm and a pair of gauntlets with goliaths in Westruun. The visions are disrupted by Umbrasyl's surprise attack. In the ensuing battle, Umbrasyl mortally wounds Kamaljiori and takes Mythcarver. Keyleth prepares a shift spell to allow them to flee to the Fey Realm, however, Grog has become consumed by his sword's bloodlust and accidentally impales Pike which snaps him out of it. As Keyleth finishes the spell, Umbrasyl disrupts it enough to split the party and only Keyleth, Percy and the twins make it successfully to the Fey Realm.|
|19||7||"The Fey Realm"||Young Heller||Kevin Burke and Chris "Doc" Wyatt||February 3, 2023|
|Keyleth, Vax, Percy, and Vex find themselves in the Fey Realm and struggle to navigate its dangers. Meanwhile, Scanlan, Pike, and Grog land in a rocky landscape where Pike is badly injured, and her wound won't close because her blood is being sucked into Craven Edge. While the blade urges Grog to kill his friends, he overcomes and destroys the sword but is left without his physical strength. In the Fey Realm, the group is attacked by plants and jellyfish-like creatures. Vax and Percy eventually defeat the amalgamated creature; Vax tells Percy that he feels he is being pulled onto a different path from the group's. They encounter a satyr named Garmelie who offers to guide them and discover that the Vestige, a bow called Fenthras, is in the Shademurk Bog. Meanwhile, Thordak and Umbrasyl have a magical conversation about the Vestiges of Divergence; Thordak favors riches over "mankind's baubles" but allows Umbrasyl to keep searching. Ripley tells Umbrasyl that Thordak is a fool for dismissing the power and potential of the Vestiges, but Umbrasyl trusts Thordak's plan. Pike, Scanlan, and Grog eventually arrive at a small cottage. Garmelie leads the others to an overlook of an elven city, which he claims appeared recently and lies between them and the vestige. The twins recognize the city as Syngorn, where they grew up with their father.|
|20||8||"The Echo Tree"||Alicia Chan||May Chan||February 3, 2023|
|Garmelie insists on traveling through Syngorn – Vex states that the city can teleport in emergencies. Within the city, they are brought before the twins' father, Ambassador Syldor Vessar who dismisses both the twins' accomplishments and their quest for Fenthras. Percy stands up for Vex and informs Syldor that she is in fact Lady Vex'ahlia, Baroness of the Third House of Whitestone. Percy later apologizes to Vex for springing a title on her and gives her a trick arrowhead; Vex thanks Percy, as no one other than Vax has ever stood up for her. In the bog, the cursed Archfey Saundor draws Vex to the heart of the tree which contains both him and Fenthras while setting tree monsters on the others. Saundor preys on Vex's sadness from Syldor's mistreatment of her, but Vex overcomes and kills Saundor by stabbing him in the heart with the trick arrowhead; she then claims Fenthras. Garmelie opens a portal back to Tal'Dorei as payment for entertaining him. Meanwhile, Pike's great-great-grandfather Wilhand Trickfoot removes the corruption caused by Craven Edge, which should allow Grog to recover his strength. Pike and Scanlan decide to travel to Westruun to retrieve the vestige; Grog reveals his uncle killed him while wielding them.|
|21||9||"Test of Pride"||Eugene Lee||Sam Riegel and Travis Willingham||February 3, 2023|
|In a flashback, a young Grog indiscriminately murders smallfolk with a band of marauders. In the present, Pike, Scanlan, and Grog reach Westruun. Scanlan scouts ahead and encounters a gnome named Kaylie, a member of Dr. Dranzel's Traveling Troupe, hiding with the troupe and other locals. Grog tells Pike his brutal history with the Herd of Storms; encountering a cowering Wilhand changed his mind on the Herd's behavior. He was then left for dead after being beaten by his uncle Kevdak who wields the Titanstone Knuckles Vestige. Wilhand brought Pike to heal Grog, as Grog was kicked out of the Herd for saving Wilhand. Meanwhile, Umbrasyl and Ripley arrive in the city and admonish Kevdak for the reduced amount of gold. Umbrasyl informs Kevdak that he has three days to increase the tribute, or Umbrasyl will take the Vestige upon his return. Grog and Pike sneak into the city to find Scanlan and help him evacuate the survivors, who are afraid of Grog. At the city gates, Grog decides he must stand up to the Herd even though he hasn't recovered his physical strength. Kevdak beats his son in front of the Herd for undermining his rule – Grog arrives to challenge him.|
|22||10||"The Killbox"||Young Heller||Meredith Kecskemety||February 10, 2023|
|Keyleth, Vax, Percy, and Vex arrive back at Whitestone to find it hidden by a cloaking spell; they discover that three weeks had passed in Tal'Dorei during their three days in the Fey Realm. Allura views Scanlan, Pike, and Grog remotely, revealing that they are in Westruun. Grog belittles Kevdak for swearing fealty to a dragon, then challenges him to single combat. Grog and Kevdak begin a hand-to-hand fight with Kevdak easily overpowering the weakened Grog. Pike and Scanlan are taken captive and, as Kevdak prepares to crush Pike, Grog discovers his inner strength. His rage causes his regeneration and he strikes back. Kevdak activates his gauntlets doubling him in size, and knocks Grog down. Grog states that his strength comes from his friends just as the rest of Vox Machina arrives. During the resulting melee, Vex transports Grog to a high altitude, giving him the momentum to bisect Kevdak with an axe. Grog acquires the gauntlets and names Kevdak's son, Zanror, as the new leader of the Herd; before asking for assistance in killing a dragon. During the post-battle festivities, Scanlan goes with Kaylie to a private bedroom where, after restraining him, she reveals herself as his daughter who is seeking vengeance for her mother.|
|23||11||"Belly of the Beast"||Alicia Chan||Eugene Son||February 10, 2023|
|Scanlan does not remember Kaylie's mother; after dressing him down, Kaylie decides against killing Scanlan and leaves him pinned by an enchanted sword that can maintain its position in space. Umbrasyl declares to Thordak that Westruun has been depleted of gold, but wishes to claim the Vestige before returning. Ripley enters and reminds Umbrasyl of their deal—the power of the Vestiges in exchange for his resources. While Grog and Percy explain their plan to trap Umbrasyl, Vax visits a temple of the Matron of Ravens. Stepping into a pool of red liquid, he communes with the Matron. Their ensuing conversation leads Vax to commit to his role as the Matron's champion; he is charged with safeguarding the sanctity between life and death. Later on, Umbrasyl is successfully ambushed; but manages to break free and cause chaos after turning invisible. Scanlan and Vax magically enter Umbrasyl through his anus, and use Kaylie's enchanted sword to keep him from flying. Despite the best efforts of both the Herd and Vox Machina, Umbrasyl forces the sword through his body and takes off with Vax and Scanlan inside him. Grog hooks himself to Umbrasyl by lodging an axe tied to a rope into the dragon.|
|24||12||"The Hope Devourer"||Eugene Lee||Brandon Auman||February 10, 2023|
|Grog is unable to force Umbrasyl to land and is thrown off. He is gravely injured even after Pike depletes her healing magic to stabilize him. Scanlan and Vax cut their way out of Umbrasyl mid-flight; with Vax unlocking his Vestige's wings to prevent them falling to their death. Vox Machina pursue Umbrasyl to his lair, however, Umbrasyl has already recovered from the earlier fight. In the ensuing fight, every member is incapacitated one by one. Scanlan, having spent most of the fight hiding behind a rock in fear, steals Mythcarver and stabs it into Umbrasyl's eye. A lyrical tune channels a blast of energy through the sword killing Umbrasyl, while Ripley slips away. Vox Machina initially believe Scanlan to be dead leading to Pike kissing him before Scanlan reveals he is still alive. During a celebratory toast at Whitestone, everyone at the table falls asleep except for Vox Machina and Keeper Yennen, who reveals herself to be the green dragon Raishan in disguise, and tells Vox Machina she is in secret opposition to Thordak's plans and offers her aid. Meanwhile Thordak is informed by Vorugal of Umbrasyl's defeat, but dismisses Vorugal's warning that Vox Machina will now target the rest of the Chroma Conclave, gazing down upon a large clutch of dragon eggs.|
On March 4, 2019, the Critical Role cast launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a 22-minute animation called Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. The animated story was to be set just before the streaming portion of the campaign started—when the players were around level seven—during a time when, canonically, there is an in-game period of roughly six months when the members of Vox Machina were not all together at the same time. The cast projected a cost of US$750,000 for a single 22-minute animated short, fulfilling the other campaign rewards, and the fees associated with a crowdfunding campaign. Not knowing how long this would take to raise, the campaign length was set at 45 days.
Within an hour of launch, the Kickstarter had reached more than $1,000,000. At the end of the first full day, all of the announced stretch goals had been unlocked, and the total had reached more than $4.3 million. With four 22-minute episodes funded in the first 24 hours, additional stretch goals were added, expanding the project into an animated series. The first two episodes would cover the pre-stream story arc. The subsequent episodes would adapt the Briarwoods' arc, also from the Vox Machina campaign. By March 18, 2019, eight 22-minute episodes had been funded. Finally, on April 4, 2019, the last published stretch goal of $8.8 million was reached during the airing of episode 57 of campaign two, pushing the total length of the animated series to ten episodes. A "secret" $10M stretch goal of Willingham being filmed going around a haunted house was reached April 16. The final total raised by the Kickstarter when it closed on April 19, 2019, was $11,385,449 with 88,887 backers. When the campaign closed, it was one of the most quickly funded in Kickstarter history, and was the most funded Kickstarter for TV and film projects.
The Critical Role cast reprise their respective Vox Machina roles, with the exception of Orion Acaba. The animated series was written by Jennifer Muro and others with Brandon Auman as the showrunner; the series was animated by Titmouse, Inc with character design by Phil Bourassa and other animation renderings by South Korea's Production Reve. Willingham told Inverse that "it took outsider perspectives to make the stories they told in tabletop comprehensible for newcomers and fresh for existing fans"; Willingham said that "the Briarwood Arc was around 35 hours. We had to squish that down into about six". The music for the series was primarily composed by Neal Acree, with Sam Riegel and Mr. Fantastic contributing to Scanlan's songs.
In November 2019, Amazon Studios announced that they had acquired the streaming rights to The Legend of Vox Machina, and had commissioned 14 additional episodes (two additional episodes for season 1 and a second season of 12 episodes). The cast went with Amazon as it "gave them the most freedom" in developing the show such as keeping it as an adult animation project. Ray, in an interview with Polygon, said "we lucked out with Amazon. There were other potential distributors that we were talking about that were more interested in making it maybe a children's show, or wanting to go a different direction, or [make it into a] more serious political fantasy, a la Game of Thrones". The project was originally slated for release in late 2020; however, in June 2020, it was announced that the debut would be missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The release was delayed to 2022.
A number of the Kickstarter tiers offered production credits. Backers at the $2,500 and higher tiers were given a "crowd funding associate producer" credit in the end credits of the first ten episodes of season one. Those who pledged more than $20,000 were listed as "crowd funding executive producer".
An update posted to the Kickstarter campaign in 2019 assured backers they would have free access to the first season. In January 2022, Critical Role announced that Kickstarter backers would have free early access to the first two episodes from January 25 to 27. To access the first season, Kickstarter backers would need either an Amazon Prime subscription or would need to register for a free trial of Amazon Prime.
The first season premiered on January 28, 2022, on Amazon Prime Video; the soundtrack for the first season premiered the same day digitally. The second season premiered on January 20, 2023. As with the first season; the second season was released in batches of three episodes per week, for a total of twelve episodes.
Multiple outlets, such as Variety, the Los Angeles Times, and CNBC, reported that the Kickstarter became the largest one for Film & Video, surpassing the previous record holder Mystery Science Theater 3000, with total funding of more than $11.3 million from more than 88,000 backers. Variety highlighted that "Critical Role started working on the project in the spring of 2018. [...] After getting snubbed by Hollywood, CR decided to take a crack at bringing the project to life on Kickstarter. [...] Critical Role knew they had a big and engaged fanbase but the team didn't expect the flood of pledges that has poured in. On Twitch, between 30,000–40,000 people typically watch live with another 150,000 views on-demand, according to Willingham. The episodes on YouTube typically hit around 250,000 views in the first 24 hours. All told, each episode garners around 1 million views". The Los Angeles Times highlighted that the Kickstarter bested "bigger-name properties like 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' revived by Netflix in 2017, and 'Veronica Mars,' which became a feature film [...]. Critical Role has evolved into a mini media empire, attracting more than half a million viewers every week to YouTube, Twitch and their own site, Critrole.com. The friends have transformed their homegrown characters into a top 10 comic book on Comixology; sell out their live shows; and draw lines around the block at comic book stores and convention signings. The Amazon deal follows a partnership with the animation studio Titmouse".
Cori McCreery, for WWAC, highlighted that Orion Acaba and his character would not appear in the animated series. She wrote, "Part of the beauty of adaptations is that you can change things that no longer fit the story you want to tell. The Critical Role team had a falling out with the actor who played Tiberius, and the character wound up leaving the game pretty early on into the stream, and leaving a bit of a conundrum for adaptations like this and the upcoming cartoon. [...] So while I don't know if they're writing the character out in the comics earlier than he left the game, I do know that they do not plan to use him in the animated series, despite his being present for some of the adventures there. I'd be perfectly fine if this adaptation took a page from the medium it's part of and provides everyone with a retcon of the group's past".
The first six out of twelve episodes of the first season were given to critics to review ahead of the series premiere. The first season of The Legend of Vox Machina received a generally positive response from critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 100% of 30 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.60/10. The website's consensus reads, "Fluidly animated and intelligently scripted, The Legend of Vox Machina is an addictive treat for fans of Dungeons & Dragons-style RPGs". Multiple reviews highlighted the challenges in adapting the lengthy source material and that the show has some pacing issues, however, once it reaches the Briarwood arc the show takes off. According to market research company Parrot Analytics, the first season was the most in-demand animated streaming television show in the first-quarter of 2022, and that the show had "17.9 times the average demand of all other U.S. series".
In comparing the first season to the original D&D campaign, Glen Weldon of NPR stated that "The Legend of Vox Machina is what's left over, after all of that chaos energy has been distilled into pure story. Distilled, and greatly condensed: Storylines that stretched over hours and hours on the web series play out, here, over the course of one or two half-hour episodes. [...] The animated series can't be everything the web series is, but then, it's aiming for a wider audience. And at that respect at least, its certainly got everything it needs to hit its target". Kevin Johnson, for The A.V. Club, stated that "the action is well-animated, and while this is indeed an adult show—with plenty of curse words, sexual innuendo, and brutal violence—nothing feels overwhelmingly crass or unnecessarily gratuitous. When things do escalate, it matters. In particular, the fourth episode is a sharp showcase of nuanced character beats, nerve-racking tension, and horrifyingly, putrid visuals. It's good stuff, and perhaps most importantly, Vox Machina knows to let its moments–dramatic, comedic, or action-oriented–breathe for themselves". Kenneth Lowe, for Paste, highlighted how the show is not a 1980s kids show à la the 1983 Dungeons & Dragons television series; instead, it has a similar level of graphic violence as Amazon's Invincible. Lowe wrote that "if you wanted a show about D&D with the serial numbers filed off, it's got you covered. [...] While there isn't a whole lot of diversity in the principal Critical Role cast, the show comes down on the side of a kind of casual inclusivity, appearing [...], to studiously avoid the racial essentialism which forms more of the bedrock of tabletop roleplaying gaming than many like to admit. [...] The Legend of Vox Machina is a competently produced story decidedly informed by the sensibilities of a new generation of players".
Eric Francisco, for Inverse, compared the show to Avatar: The Last Airbender and Voltron in the way it conveys ideas; he stated that The Legend of Vox Machina "effortlessly turns complicated lore into broadly accessible ideas. Of minor consequence is there's not enough originality in Tal'Dorei itself [...]. That's not to say there isn't gravitas to Vox Machina; the story of Percy, the gunslinger who wrestles against his lust for revenge, is astonishing to witness. But the lines differentiating comedy and parody blurs too often, especially at how frequently the show flips its tones. Despite its sourcing from a long-running Twitch show, The Legend of Vox Machina stands as an accessible thing by itself. At its heart, Vox Machina is an action fantasy, only unusual in its marriage of Tolkien-lite settings and the lurid humor of a Deadpool comic book". Cass Marshall, for Polygon, described the show as "a deeply indulgent story", "weirdly wholesome", and at times "frankly a little much". Marshall wrote, "I love it. Critical Role's heart and good intentions overcame a lot of the initial problems with The Legend of Vox Machina, and by the time the season's major arc kicked off I was fully invested. The animation carries the plot quite well, albeit not perfectly. [...] This is D&D pulp at its best, and luckily, you don't need to delve into the rich canon of Critical Role and its associated projects".
|1||100% (38 reviews)||81 (4 reviews)|
|2||100% (17 reviews)||81 (4 reviews)|
Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100% of critics gave the second season a positive review with an average rating of 8.10/10, based on 17 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "double the dosage of dragons along with swashbuckling antics, The Legend of Vox Machina's sophomore season goes from strength to strength as a richly imagined adventure tale". Shannon O'Connor, for The Daily Beast, stated that "the first season of Vox Machina was an absolute blast, but Season 2 expands on it in the best possible way". O'Connor highlighted the voice cast who add "so much depth, creativity and fun to these characters". O'Connor commented that the show plays with audience expectations around fantasy tropes and that the show is not only a good adaptation but also an "uproarious, heartening, thrilling animated series in its own right". Anna Govert, for Paste, stated that the 12 episode second season is a "masterclass of adaptation" as it is based on "over 80 hours of tabletop gameplay" – the series is "unafraid of making changes and knowing the importance of character-first storytelling". Govert commented that The Legend of Vox Machina's "commitment to telling [...] meaningful stories alongside its badass fight sequences and crude humor make it feel refreshing and unique still in its second outing". She called the second season "a visual delight" with "an even clearer anime influence and a style that feels uniquely Vox Machina". Petrana Radulovic, for Polygon, commented that the "Dungeons & Dragons roots" are felt more in the second season as the characters go on a quest to acquire different objects. Radulovic highlighted that the show "might not fully gel for everyone" due to its expansive cast, huge amount of lore and raunchy comedic moments, however, "there is so much heart and fun in the grandiose adventure" which makes it special "for those it does click for". She also stated that animation is a better visual medium for fantasy – "Keyleth's elemental magic, Pike's glowing healing powers, and Scanlan's bright pink and purple bardic conjurations are really a testament to why we should see more of these shows in animation". James Grebey, for Vulture, wrote that splitting the party can be difficult in a role-playing game, however, by doing this in the adaptation "it has the benefit of being scripted and better suited to telling concurrent, coherent storylines than a harried DM" and it leads to "a trio of episodes that feel especially coherent and effective". Grebey commented that Grog and Scanlan can be "a lot, especially when their antics feel degrees sillier than whatever sad emo boy thing Vax or Percy are doing. I don't mean to keep harping on this, but the improvised, actual-play format of Critical Role supports these jarring moments of comedy better than the TV show [...]. But, when the two are on their own [...] it makes for a very effective story. It's all a little sillier but in a tonally consistent way, and being on their own forces the comic relief characters to step up and mature a little bit while still having the ability to pull off a pretty great suppository joke".
- The Legend of Vox Machina is an adaptation of the first campaign of the web series Critical Role. "The first campaign lasted 115 episodes, with each video lasting between three- and six-hours long".
- The comic series Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins is an adaptation of the group's game before the show.
- The novel Critical Role: Vox Machina – Kith & Kin (2021) is a prequel adaptation which focuses on backstory of the twins, Vex and Vax, three years before they joined the adventuring party Vox Machina.
- The campaign sourcebook, Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting (2017), is a guide to the setting of campaign one. It was published by Critical Role and Green Ronin Publishing under the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License: 143 and is not considered "official" Dungeons & Dragons material. The book is now out of print — a revised edition, titled Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn (2022), was released by Darrington Press. The revised edition reflects the twenty year progression of time between campaign one and campaign two.
- The Legend of Vox Machina: Whitestone Chronicles is an upcoming interconnected prequel graphic novel series for The Legend of Vox Machina which will be written by Marieke Nijkamp with art by Tyler Walpole. The series was announced by Dark Horse in February 2023; the first book, The Legend of Vox Machina: Whitestone Chronicles—Ripley, is scheduled to published in 2024.
- ^ Durham, Madison (January 31, 2022). "Critical Role's Vox Machina animated series is a hit, so go back to where it all started". Polygon. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
- ^ Lacson, Therese (February 27, 2022). "REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA is irreverent high fantasy comedy and addictively watchable". The Beat. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
Finding a comfortable place between an irreverent comedy and high fantasy, The Legend of Vox Machina shines when it hits it stride, blending music and action and sprinkling in moments of heart.
- ^ Fitzpatrick, Olivia (February 10, 2022). "Why 'The Legend of Vox Machina' is the Perfect Balance of Comedy and Horror". Collider. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
The show leaves room for the characters to continue to make jokes and have fun, keeping it primarily a comedy, while still offering the heavier topics portrayed the level of respect they deserve.
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- ^ Spangler, Todd (January 12, 2022). "'The Legend of Vox Machina' Red Band Trailer Debuts, Prime Video to Release Critical Role Series in Three-Episode Batches". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
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- ^ a b Nelson, Samantha (October 8, 2021). "Critical Role's animated series will open with two previously unrecorded adventures". Polygon. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
- ^ a b "Update 23: BIG NEWS: Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina is Coming to Amazon Prime Video! · Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special". Kickstarter. Retrieved November 6, 2019. "with 24 episodes to play with, instead of just 10, we’ll not only complete the entire Briarwood storyline in the animated series, but we’ll forge ahead into other classic Vox Machina story arcs as well! [...] Kickstarter backers [...] will still have an opportunity to watch the two-part special that kicks off the series before anyone else AND because you're a backer, you'll be able to access the first season for free."
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- ^ "Update #10: $7.5 MILLION". Kickstarter. Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. March 17, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2019. "In just 13 days, you have completely crushed SEVEN stretch goals, raised over $7.5M to help us create The Legend of Vox Machina, and have unlocked EIGHT total episodes of animated goodness. We’re also going to host a very special battle royale with some of our favorite guests from our Vox Machina campaign – including Felicia Day, Will Friedle, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Wil Wheaton, Noelle Stevenson, and Patrick Rothfuss (all schedules permitting, of course). Our next (and final??) stretch goal is $8.8M, and if we’re able to hit this goal together, you will unlock another TWO episodes of Briarwoods magic (for a whopping total of TEN The Legend of Vox Machina episodes) and a one-shot GMed by our beloved Ashley Johnson."
- ^ "Update #15: $10 MILLION". Kickstarter. Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019. "Our kinda secret $10M stretch goal is now finally official: Because you wonderful human beings raised over $10M (and counting!) we will take our very own Travis Willingham on a spooky journey through a haunted house. If you know Travis, you know that he’s not fond of scary things – in fact, you might say that he’s vehemently opposed to all things frightening."
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- ^ "Update #16: THANK YOU". Kickstarter. Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2019. "Over the past month and a half, 88,885 Critters from around the world have raised over $11.3M to help us create the animated series of our dreams. What started as a lofty idea of maybe making a few episodes of a cartoon has evolved into something really special: AN ENTIRE SERIES."
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- The Legend of Vox Machina at IMDb
- The Legend of The Legend of Vox Machina video series (via Critical Role's YouTube channel)