From a simple at-home Dungeons and Dragons game among friends to a multimillion-dollar entertainment company with multiple shows, it is clear that Critical Role has taken the world of TTRPG (tabletop role-playing games) by storm. And after a highly successful Kickstarter and almost two years of patiently waiting, their animated series The Legend of Vox Machina is finally going to hit Amazon Prime later this month. But what if you are new to the series and stepping into this magical world for the first time? Let us help you get up to speed before the series drops!

DISCLAIMER: We will be trying to avoid major spoilers for The Legend of Vox Machina but still – be wary.

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What Is Critical Role?

Critical Role is a live-action Dungeons and Dragons role-playing show that airs on the group’s Twitch channel on Thursday evenings. It features friends and voice actors Matthew Mercer, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Sam Riegel, Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson and Liam O’Brien. The series kicked off on Geek and Sundry before the crew was able to branch out on their own in 2018. It is set in Mercer’s own world Exandria which is a whole history lesson unto itself.

They have currently finished two campaigns, Vox Machina and The Mighty Nien and have recently kicked off their third in October of 2021. The new animated series will be adapting the Briarwood arc from the first campaign, which dives heavily into Percy’s (Jaffe) past and dark secrets and my favorite kick-off point for newcomers. I highly suggest checking out the live-action series before or even after your binge of The Legend of Vox Machina. The way these guys play off of each other is simple perfection.

Percy (Jaffe), Pike (Johnson), Grog (Willingham), Vex (Bailey), Keyleth (Ray), Scanlan (Riegel) and Vax (O'Brien) in The Legend of Vox Machina.

Percy (Jaffe), Pike (Johnson), Grog (Willingham), Vex (Bailey), Keyleth (Ray), Scanlan (Riegel) and Vax (O’Brien) in The Legend of Vox Machina.

Who Are Vox Machina?

So, who are the legendary Vox Machina? The greatest band of adventurers that Tal’Dorei has ever seen. Except, when you meet them at the beginning of The Legend of Vox Machina and the Briarwood arc, they aren’t the glorious band of mercenaries we know from the rest of their epic tales. They are more of a struggling band of misfits who just happen to take on jobs together.

The group is made up of human gunslinger Percy, the half-elven twins’ roguish Vax (O’Brien) and bow-wielding Vex (Bailey), the charming gnome bard Scanlan (Riegel), the half-elven druid Keyleth (Ray), the holy gnome Pike (Johnson) and the best goliath barbarian we know – Grog (Willingham). Since it is still early in their adventuring career, we will get the chance to watch the group learn more about themselves and each other through this adventure.

If you want a more in-depth look at the group that would most likely be entering spoiler territory here, I suggest checking out Critical Role Vox Machina Origins. It dives into the crew’s lives before the Briarwood arc and gives a look into who they are and how they met. However, you don’t necessarily need it to dive into the animated series. But, if you are looking for more action and laughs, this is where you need to start.

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Vax (O'Brien) and Vex (Bailey) in The Legend of Vox Machina.

Vax (O’Brien) and Vex (Bailey) in The Legend of Vox Machina.

Where the Series Begins

The Legend of Vox Machina kicks off with the Briarwood arc, which isn’t the first major arc we see in campaign one. In fact, there are 23 episodes before it. However, Critical Role started in the middle of an ongoing arc and can be a tad bit confusing at first. Anytime I recommend the campaign to friends and family, I suggest starting at episode 24. So it was perfect that they decided to kick off the series here. You won’t be missing much if you don’t go back and watch the first 23 episodes, except a few laughs, of course, but the series will feel like a fresh start.

From the red band trailer, we get the impression that they ignore the beginning events of the live show. It seems that The Legend of Vox Machina kicks off in Eamon, where they find themselves short on coin and job prospects. So when the Council needs someone to help out with a new threat, they find themselves being pushed to the forefront. But is this ragtag crew ready for the responsibility? Or will they just trip through this like they have everything else? And what happens when the past comes back to haunt them? Figuratively and literally? It is quite the adventure.

Without giving away any major spoilers, it is a major lore dump for quite a few characters and what is really going on behind the scenes of the world. It takes on a much darker tone as the heroes set off for Whitestone to avenge Percy’s past and face off against Silas and Delilah Briarwood. With 12 episodes total in season one, I am hopeful we will get some of the best moments, plus some of the funniest ones that help bring a bit of lightness to the pain. It also happens to be where the dynamic of the group really starts to come to life. The adventure will take them to the brink and back.

When Does Is Start?

Don’t worry, guys, we don’t have to wait long! The Legend of Vox Machina will be hitting Amazon Prime Video on January 28, 2022, with the first three episodes. It will then drop three new episodes every Friday afterward until the end of season one. We’ve dropped our absolute favorite clip of the crew facing off against their worst enemy, a door, below along with the trailer! Check it out or rewatch it for the 100th time with us! What moment are you most excited to see animated? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

 

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Julia Roth
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