On June 24th of 2015, Critical Role aired their first episode of Vox Machina episode 1.
According to them, they did not expect Vox Machina to go all the way until the end which was 114 episodes plus additional four bonus epilogue shots.
If you don’t know what or who Critical Role is, be sure to read up on my entry about them.
Each episode has an average runtime of about 3 and half hours. The last episode, 114, ran for 5 hours and 44 minutes.
Vox Machina is about a group of highly unrelated people going on an adventure. Everyone in the beginning has different motives. Some just wanted to get away from everyone. Some were fleeing. Some genuinely wanted an adventure.
Cast members –
Matthew Mercer is the brain of Critical Role. He designs NPCs, monsters, scenes, cities, shops, maps, and etc. Some of NPCs he has created has grown to be unique NPCs of their own.
Grog Strongjaw (Travis Willingham) is a goliath barbarian. His signature line is, “I’d like to RAGE!” He has a very close relationship with Pike in game. In fact, they are the best buddies, again by in-game setting.
Additionally, he cannot read.
Keyleth is played by Marisha Ray and is a druid.
Interestingly, for me at least, I don’t recall much about her. She is a forgettable character for me.
Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III AKA Percy (Taliesin Jaffe) is a human gunslinger. He has another nickname by critters (viewers). It is no-mercy Percy. It is due to a fact that he can dish out three digit damage under right circumstances. He can also be pretty evil at times.
His backstory is what drives a large part of Vox Machina story.
Played by Ashley Johnson, Pike Trickfoot is a gnome cleric of Sarenrae. She misses the show a lot due to being contracted to a drama (Blindspot). Often, she plays through a laptop.
She is Scanlan’s love interest in the show. She is a pragmatic and quiet character in the show.
Scanlan Shorthalt is played by Sam Rigiel. He is a flirtatious gnome bard.
He is probably the comic relief of the party. He is a source of both comical as well as sorrow scenes. He seeks to murder Trinket whenever such an opportunity rises.
Vax’ildan is a half-elf rogue/paladin/druid and is a twin brother of Vex. While he is generally a reserved man, he sometimes pulls pranks on Grog.
Vex’ahlia (Laura Bailey) + Trinket (Ranger pet, Bear) is a half-elf ranger/rouge. She is Pecy’s love interest in the show. She is also the woman of the party, looking after finances as well as haggling to no end to score deals.
Tiberius Stormwind (Orion Acaba, until episode 36. He was sacked after.) is a dragonborn sorcerer.
The general plot of Vox Machina evolves around troubles obviously, but the first real plot is probably the Briarwoods arc where the group deals with Percy’s past as well as present. Briarwoods arc begins from episode 38, meaning for about first 110 hours, all Vox Machina does are screwing around with minor bosses.
It is safe to skip the first 37 episodes? Well, it depends. You CAN skip them. I’d recommend skipping them if you don’t want to watch Orion Acaba slowly lose himself over time.
As stated above, Orion Acada was sacked early due to his issues with his play style. Nobody, other than Critical Role, knows what exactly happened to Orion Acada and why he was sacked. There have been loads of speculations, and Mr. Acada himself has made a few statements regarding why he “left” Critical Role. Look it up if you wish. I won’t be covering him here.
Either way, it is pretty hard to imagine, at first, that Dungeon & Dragons live sessions can be pretty fun. But trust me. their live shows are really, really, captivating, not to mention it is hilarious at times. Even after sitting down to watch them for 4 hours for an episode, you are usually left wanting more.
It is also worthwhile to note that the six players are all quite experienced in DnD. The only exception is Sam who had just begun. And it is also Sam who becomes the most invested player in the end.
Their DnD sessions are very detailed, presumably because each episode is at least 3 and a half hour. Their whole adventure is frequently explored in more ways than one. Breakfast, shopping, just casual chatting at night, etc. Virtually everything about what they do is covered.
In some cases, Matt will hold one on one session with a player to discuss more intimate events.
But perhaps the most important aspect of the show is the bond they show over each other. They are clearly friends, not professional friends who know each other because they work together. If you dig around on Youtube, you will find them visiting each others’ houses and just hang out.
Sam and Liam are especially close as they are the best friends. And Taliesin is often seen hanging out at Matt Mercer’s house. Ashley’s husband, Brian, is also seen hanging out at Matt’s house as well.
Marisha and Laura also appear to be close, judging by their instagram pictures. And Travis is the CEO of Critical Role.
So, these people have complex relationships toward each other.
Never in my life have I thought that a mere DnD show would make me weep. By time, CR’s Vox Machina campaign concluded on 114th episode, I was crying my eyes out. There was no special effect. There was no fancy settings. It were just pure human emotions, and Sam Rigel’s brilliance.
Then there were moments of pure, absolute, joy as well.
…. Critical Role is unique. They cannot simply be compared.
And I do not believe any group will do this better than them. They are simply … the best at what they do.
Until next time.