The Legend of Vox Machina
Written by: Sarah Hanisko, Ph.D.
SPOILERS FOR LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA
In March of 2015 the first episode of Critical Role aired on Geek and Sundry’s Twitch channel, seven-years later the cast and crew have completed two campaigns, numerous one-shots, and a variety of other programming on their own Twitch channel. And now, they have their own animated series based on Campaign One, The Legend of Vox Machina.
When the Kickstarter first took off, the cast were shocked when they quickly met their goal and smashed all the stretch goals. Lets be real, Critters (the name for the Critical Role fandom,) should never be underestimated in their passion for the show and it’s cast and crew. The result was a 12 episode animated series that launched today on Amazon Prime.
Note, this animated series is definitely NSFW and not safe for kids to watch. Parents be warned, the series goes beyond the bounds of what the Twitch stream was able to convey, so be warned.
That being said, as a Critter since the beginning, I can stress how well the first three episodes of the series capture the spirit of Vox Machina. I often describe them to people as a Guardians of the Galaxy in the realm of D&D. They are a bunch of assholes, who earn the title of heroes through the various story arcs that took place throughout the campaign.
Fans of the original campaign will notice various Easter Eggs from both Campaign 1&2 (Tusk Love anyone) as well as foreshadowing of the Chroma Conclave for a second season.
The first season covers the Briarwood Arc, with some of our favorite villains, Delilah and Silas Briarwood, who make their first appearance at the end of episode 2. However, we start with and introduction to Vox Machina as they blunder their way through trying to defeat an unknown enemy destroying villages.
This group of assholes quickly realize that they have far more power and strength than they initially realize, and manage to destroy the dragon, Brimscythe, earning their home in Emon (Greyskull Keep in the series) and cementing their role as Emon’s saviors.
The relationships that Critters came to know and love between the characters are displayed in the simplest of actions, Vaxildan assisting Keyleth when she slips, Vex’ahlia trying to get Percy to open up about his nightmares, Grog lifting the tiny cleric who saved his life Pike on to his shoulders. And then…of course Scanlan, the horny rogue with some of the most amazing musical interludes that we all came to know and love from, Sam Riegel.
Without giving too much away, this animated series is an easily accessible introduction to Critical Role and it’s first campaign. With hundreds of hours of original content from the Twitch streams, it’s easy to be daunted by the sheer amount of story to watch, and this series breaks it into an easily digestible format for new fans, while giving old fans everything they expect to see from Vox Machina.
The Legend of Vox Machina releases its initial three episodes on Friday, January 28, 2022. Then a trio of subsequent episodes will premiere weekly until the final batch airs on February 18. Critical Role is also hosting a series of watch parties from their Twitch Channel every Tuesday at 7pm Pacific Time, which will be hosted by previous campaign 2 guest, Mica Burton.
I highly recommend this series for everyone who has wanted to watch Critical Role but was too daunted by the vast amount of hours of content, it’s fun, it’s sassy, it’s heart-felt and emotional. You’ll come to love these characters as many of us have, and grow along with them.