Campaign 1: Vox Machina

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Campaign 1
Vox Machina logo.[art 1]
StarringOrion Acaba as Tiberius Stormwind
Laura Bailey as Vex'ahlia
Taliesin Jaffe as Percival de Rolo
Ashley Johnson as Pike Trickfoot
Liam O'Brien as Vax'ildan
Marisha Ray as Keyleth
Sam Riegel as Scanlan Shorthalt/Taryon Darrington
Travis Willingham as Grog Strongjaw
Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master
Hosted onTwitch (via Geek & Sundry)
Running time± 4 hours
No. of episodes115
First airedMarch 12, 2015
Last airedOctober 12, 2017

Campaign 1: Vox Machina, is the first campaign of Critical Role. It follows a group of adventurers, Vox Machina, first in their adventures across the continent of Tal'Dorei and eventually the larger world of Exandria and other Planes of Existence.

The campaign that became Critical Role began in late 2012, with the players beginning the campaign at level 3.[1] They began streaming on March 12, 2015, when the characters had reached level 9. The on-stream events took place in approximately 810 through 812 PD (Post Divergence).[2]

The first campaign is broken down into five arcs, detailed below.

The cast[edit | edit source]

Actor Character Race Class
Orion Acaba
(episodes 1 to 27)
Tiberius Stormwind Dragonborn Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline)
Laura Bailey Vex'ahlia Half-elf Ranger (Beast Master)
Rogue (Assassin)
Taliesin Jaffe Percival de Rolo Human Fighter (Gunslinger)
Ashley Johnson Pike Trickfoot Gnome Cleric (War Domain)
Liam O'Brien Vax'ildan Half-elf Rogue (Assassin)
Paladin (Oath of Vengeance)
Marisha Ray Keyleth Half-elf Druid (Circle of the Moon)
Sam Riegel Scanlan Shorthalt Gnome Bard (College of Lore)
Taryon Darrington Human Artificer (Alchemist)
Travis Willingham Grog Strongjaw Goliath Barbarian (Path of the Berserker)
Fighter (Battle Master)
Matthew Mercer The Dungeon Master

Story arc summaries[edit | edit source]

Story arc First episode Last episode
Arc 1: Kraghammer and Vasselheim "Arrival at Kraghammer" (1x01) "The Rematch" (1x23)
Lady Allura asks Vox Machina to find her friend, Lady Kima, who disappeared into the mines of Kraghammer upon learning of a great evil resting beneath it during a vision quest. After completing their quest, trouble with the law in Vasselheim splits the party into two separate groups as they attempt to make amends, and during their stay, they encounter new friends, new enemies, and new revelations before eventually returning home.
Arc 2: The Briarwoods "The Feast" (1x24) "Echoes of the Past" (1x38)
Knowing that they were responsible for the deaths of his family, Percy decides it's time to achieve his vengeance. Following his lead, Vox Machina is accused of destructive behavior and kicked off the Tal'Dorei Council. Now they need to clear their names, but the cost might be Percy's soul.
Arc 3: The Chroma Conclave "Omens" (1x39) "The Deceiver's Stand" (1x83)
As Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei II announces his abdication, four dragons calling themselves the Chroma Conclave attack the city of Emon. After saving whomever they can and resettling them in Whitestone, the members of Vox Machina rally their allies to kill the dragons and take back their home and gather the power of the Vestiges of the Divergence. One member of the Chroma Conclave, Raishan, proposes an alliance with Vox Machina to take down the leader, Thordak. Although the party does not trust her, the dragon's strength and knowledge would be a great asset to them. As Thordak swells with madness and power from his position within Emon, time is running out until the final confrontation with the Cinder King.
Arc 4: Taryon Darrington "Loose Ends" (1x84) "Masquerade" (1x99)
Having taken care of the major threat facing Tal'Dorei and quickly making a new acquaintance, Vox Machina sets out to tie up some loose ends, including the final leg of Keyleth's Aramenté and the ever-present threat of Hotis' return.
Arc 5: Vecna "Unfinished Business" (1x100) "The Chapter Closes" (1x115)
With the return of an old foe leading a band of cultists as they seek to raise the archlich Vecna to godhood. Vox Machina must race against time to stop this new threat as the ascension of Vecna looms ever closer.

Production[edit | edit source]

The original cast of Campaign 1.
Vox Machina art before the Critical Role stream began.[art 2]

Before Critical Role began, Liam O'Brien and Sam Riegel planned to play a "watered down"[3] 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons with some friends for Liam's birthday and share their experience on their podcast. Liam enjoyed the game so much that he messaged the other players shortly after, asking if they would like to start a continuing game. Matt thought the 4th edition was much simpler for new players, however, when there were more sessions on the horizon, Matt switched to the Pathfinder, because the combat of 4th edition often "takes sixteen hours". Matt appreciated elements of 4th edition, as well—great for a smaller party, but for the party their large was difficult.[3] The cast played about once a months, sometimes two times a month, sessions lasted for up to 8-10 hours.[4]

The original cast played their campaign for two years starting on December 8, 2012.[5] The very first session was played by Liam, Sam, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Taliesin Jaffe, and Orion Acaba, with Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master. All the players began the campaign with the same characters they had on the stream, with the exception of Taliesin who played a dragonborn paladin named Rusty Trombone for their first session. Marisha Ray and Ashley Johnson joined the game in later sessions.

At first, none of them had an in-character voices/accents. Laura was the first one to rock out a special voice, a British accent. Then Matt leaned forward and started talking (as a mercenary in a bar).[6]

In 2015, they were approached by Felicia Day to stream their campaign live on the Geek & Sundry twitch channel. When Matt told the other cast members about her offer, they were curious, but hesitant at first. The group's reactions were recorded for posterity, and they eventually agreed. After many discussions with the team at G&S, they chose the emerging Twitch platform as the best outlet for their game, as they wanted to keep playing straightforward D&D, unedited, with rough spots.[7] In preparation for the streamed series, Matt converted the game over from Pathfinder to the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, to speed up combat and because D&D has more name recognition. When converting their game, Matt had to create a custom fighter's Martial Archetype for Taliesin Jaffe's character, Percy, as the Gunslinger subclass didn't exist in 5th Edition D&D. On March 12, 2015 the first live episode of Critical Role was aired: "Arrival at Kraghammer" (1x01). Liam and Laura Bailey decided to play twins in Campaign 1 because they share their birthday, May 28th.[8] Before the game, the two of them spent three hours at a diner creating their character backgrounds.[9][10]

The series aired live on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and YouTube on Thursdays at 7pm (Pacific Time). The stream began on March 12, 2015 with "Arrival at Kraghammer" (1x01), and after two-and-a-half years and 115 episodes, the adventures of Vox Machina came to an end on October 12, 2017 in "The Chapter Closes" (1x115). After the first campaign ended, the group played three canonical one-shot games featuring Vox Machina, "The Search For Grog" (OSx28), "The Search For Bob" (OSx31) and "Dalen's Closet" (OSx33).

On October 28th, 2015, it was announced live on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel that due to a mutual parting of the ways, Orion Acaba would no longer appear on Critical Role.

In April 2018, Matthew Mercer said that he named all the episodes of Campaign 1, as well as Campaign 2, right after the initial broadcast, and Taliesin used to write episode description.[11]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • A slideshow of images, accompanied by narration from each member of Vox Machina, served as an opening for the first few episodes of the show. The video was put together by Matthew Mercer, using a combination of stock pictures and art by Kit Buss and various other artists. However, because some of the art was used without permission, and the Twitch border covered some of the artist credits, the slideshow was later blurred when uploaded on YouTube to avoid copyright infringement. [12]
  • The campaign was adapted for television in 2022 in the animated series The Legend of Vox Machina.
  • At some point after the end of the campaign, Geek & Sundry replaced the original thumbnails for all 115 episodes with new thumbnails using the same pictures of the cast but with different backgrounds.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Matt confirmed that the player characters started at level 3 in a tweet.
  2. "The Fate-Touched" (1x103) at 2:42:58. The date is given as 12 Misuthar 812.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Three Black Halflings (A Dungeons & Dragons Podcast) - "Mid-90's RPG Bullsh*t" with Matthew Mercer.
  4. Liam O'Brien and Laura Bailey on Critical Role Dragon Talk - An Official Dungeons & Dragons Podcast.
  5. Liam O'Brien, Sam Riegel, and Travis Willingham all tweeted about their first game session together. Based on the timestamps, the game began on the night of December 8th and continued past midnight into December 9th. (Sources: Liam's tweet; Sam's tweet; Travis's tweet)
  6. Courtney Kraft (October 15, 2015). Critical Roles' Laura Bailey: Twinning the game.
  7. Critical Role's Matthew Mercer: The man, the myth, the dungeon master.
  8. From an excerpt of episode 2 of the podcast allworknoplay at 0:42:16.
  9. Critical Role's Liam O'Brien Talks His love of Dungeons & Dragons. Retrieved on September 10, 2015.
  10. Critical Role's Laura Bailey: Twinning the Game.
  11. "Talks Machina #60: Midnight Espionage" (TM2x12) at 6:30.
  12. Matt explained why the videos were blurred on Reddit


  1. Vox Machina logo (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Art of the characters before the Critical Role stream began. This image was imported from Matthew Mercer's Vox Machina Wikia.