Talks Machina Special 3: Critical Role Campaign 1 Wrap-up

"Talks Machina Special #3: Critical Role Campaign 1 Wrap-up"
Talks Machina episode
The thumbnail for "Talks Machina Special #3: Critical Role Campaign 1 Wrap-up" (TMSx03), featuring the cast of Critical Role with Brian Wayne Foster
Episode no.Episode 3
AirdateDecember 14, 2017 19:00 PST
Running time3:53:01
Laura Bailey as herself
Taliesin Jaffe as himself
Ashley Johnson as herself
Liam O'Brien as himself
Marisha Ray as herself
Sam Riegel as himself
Travis Willingham as himself
Matthew Mercer as himself
Brian Wayne Foster as himself
Special guest
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as herself
Will Friedle as himself
Darin De Paul as himself
Jason Charles Miller as himself
ND Stevenson[1] as themselves
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"Talks Machina Special #2: Live from SDCC 2017" (TMSx02)
"Talks Machina Special #4: Critmas 2017" (TMSx04)
Airdate order
"Talks Machina #48: Epic Level Battle Royale" (TMOSx21)
"Talks Machina Special #4: Critmas 2017" (TMSx04)
List of Talks Machina episodes

"Talks Machina Special #3: Critical Role Campaign 1 Wrap-up" (TMSx03) is the third special Talks Machina episode of Critical Role.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Arc I: Kraghammer and Vasselheim[edit | edit source]

This section covers "Arrival at Kraghammer" (1x01) through "The Rematch" (1x23).

Everyone except Matt: Why did you all trust a mindflayer more than a holy paladin? — @nerdyscotsman, 4:08

  • Laura says Clarota was the underdog, and since he had been shunned by the other mindflayers, they assumed he wanted to get even. And that didn't mean they didn't trust Kima.
  • Liam agrees they thought Clarota was "a diamond in the rough," but Travis strongly disagrees. He wrote down each week that they shouldn't trust him.

Matt: Was there anything in the Underdark areas you made that the players missed or passed up? Encounters, puzzles, or areas of interest? — Jesse, 5:12

  • They circumvented a duergar city near the Emberhold.
  • In Yug'Voril, they never entered the shimmering portal to the Far Realm in a small side cavern.[2] Laura asks if they could've gone through. Matt says yes but "that might not have ended well."
  • Matt had plans for an upward dungeon crawl through the city around the pyramid to then battle K'Varn, but then they dropped the Polymorphed giant Tiny on it.[3]
  • Marisha thinks Matt didn't want them to have the flying carpet, but Matt points out he gave it back.

Liam: What info did you get from insight checking Keyleth?[4] — @animLae, 7:23

  • Liam remembers Keyleth was "unsure and scared." During their home game, the twins used to jointly scoff at Keyleth's decisions. This was when Vax stopped doing that. Matt's phrasing made Vax look at Keyleth in a new way.
  • Marisha wants to know if this is when Vax developed a crush on her. Liam isn't sure, but it was after this. He stopped being so snarky. Marisha jokingly remarks that this is a process that many adolescent boys go through in relating better to girls by being less of an asshole.

Marisha: Can you delve into your own and Keyleth's insights on that vision she spoke of having when she met the Earth Ashari? — Synchoraven, 9:15

  • It was right after Keyleth unintentionally killed a child trying to save him.[5] Matt encouraged Marisha to think about how it would affect Keyleth. Marisha thinks she was very depressed and lost afterwards. As she continued alone on her Aramente, when she went to Terrah, she was struggling to function, fight, or perform magic or nature-shifting. The vision was how she gave Keyleth an epiphany about the consequences of inaction.

Everyone: What was the biggest difference, switching from the home game to streaming? — Brian W Foster, 11:15

  • Laura says they didn't want anything to change from the home game.
  • Matt says some abilities changed because their play system did, so they had to re-learn elements of the classes.
  • Marisha and Laura say that they changed their name from the S.H.I.T.s. Matt points out the in-game reason they changed to Vox Machina was for when Sovereign Tal'Dorei had a grand parade in their honor. Though Laura says that reason was concocted because they knew they were starting the stream.
  • Taliesin still thinks they would've changed the name anyway because they were already hesitant in-game. That was more Keyleth and Percy, who came from royalty; Pike, Scanlan, and Grog wanted to keep it. In the video of Matt breaking the news to them about streaming, Sam asks, "Do we have to change our name from the S.H.I.T.s?" You can hear Travis off-screen yelling, "No deal! No deal!"

Matt: What ultimately made Clarota turn on the party? Was it already planned, or was there was a chance he wouldn't, only for his free will to be overridden by the elder brain? — TiamatZX, 13:35

  • Matt says it would've taken a lot of work and role-playing to convince Clarota that his separation from the Elder Brain is permanent and he could make new friends.
  • Laura thinks he's like Hugh from the Borg in Star Trek.
  • Matt says for Clarota, it was about survival. He allied with Vox Machina because they said they wouldn't hurt him. He calculated that he could convince them he's a friend and use them to get back to free the Elder Brain from K'Varn, where he would then be accepted back.
  • Liam thinks being linked into the Elder Brain "probably feels real good." Matt says that an alhoon like Clarota, who is a illithid with arcane capabilities, is shunned forever from the Elder Brain. So once he reconnected to the hive mind, there was no coming back.

Taliesin: Did Percy worry about 'flashing' his name, knowing that the Briarwoods were still around? Why didn't the Tal'dorei Council connect him with Whitestone, having heard that he was a de Rolo? — @JoustingJose, 15:40

  • Percy was flashing his name around like he was Superman looking for Lex Luthor. Taliesin thinks they knew he was from Whitestone, they just didn't know what was happening there.
  • Matt agrees that the Briarwoods controlled the narrative, concocting the accepted story that the de Rolos got very ill and all died, and the Briarwoods were their friends who were continuing their legacy. So name-dropping "de Rolo," would be dismissed as either "he's crazy," or maybe he's a relative. The Council just wasn't plugged into Whitestone's affairs.

Ashley: I don't think you ever went into detail about what Pike had been doing on her time off, just that she was on the seas. Could you elaborate on that? — VexMeUpBeforeYouGoGo, 18:05

  • In light of Pike's death in their home game, Ashley wanted Pike to be stronger and do more than just heal. Pike's time at sea on the Broken Howl was spent doing simple boat work. It wasn't very exciting, other than getting pretty swole.
  • Brian offers that Ashley lived on a boat for a while as a child, so she knows boats, too, which is new to Marisha.
  • Laura wants to know how Pike got the scar over her eye, because she had it on the boat. Ashley thought Pike already had it.[6]
  • Sam thought she fell in love with someone on the boat. Ashley says no. Marisha says it was before the boat.

Laura: Constantly Percy had to craft more bullets, but never did we see Vex fletch arrows or go out and buy them. Why was that? Was it just an assumed between episodes thing? And if so why not the same for Percy? — @frankelstein_, 21:04

  • Matt says that bullets don't really exist in Exandria so Percy has to make them. Arrows are available everywhere, and pre-stream they stuffed their Bag of Holding with a thousand arrows.
  • Laura thinks towards the end of the campaign Matt told them they were running low.
  • Matt says by then the arrows were so cheap, and the party had enough money, he decided he didn't have to worry about it anymore as DM.

Liam: You've said before that the first time Vax realized he had feelings for Keyleth was during a moment in the Underdark. What was that moment? — @shardee, 22:06

  • Liam thinks the ball started rolling from that whisper. He also remembers playing in a home game for months and months with that secret.[7] He avoided leaving breadcrumbs or tipping anybody off. He didn't know if he ever was going to admit anything. But when he thought Vax was going to die, he let it out. And then he wasn't dead.
  • Marisha points out that Kash "beat [him] to the punch."[8]
  • Liam had all that stuff brewing in his head for months after the Kash kiss, but didn't let on.

Travis: We never heard about Grog's mother. Did he know her at all? Is she alive? — Myrnorunshot, 23:38

  • Grog has no idea who his mother is, and growing up it was just his father, Stonejaw Strongjaw, and the Herd of Storms. In Travis's mind, the herd was "just kinda like, free love, man," where people hooked up with whoever, had kids, and then taught them how to survive in the wilderness. Only when Grog met Pike did he come to understand what a loving, caring family was like that wasn't so casually brutal, and then wondered, "Hey, who gave birth to me, and why did I never have a nurturer?"
  • When Ashley comments on the silliness of the name "Stonejaw Strongjaw," Travis at first tries to deflect blame to Matt, but both Matt and Sam affirm that indeed, Travis had come up with the name. Though in Travis's defense, when he made up dad's first name, they weren't using last names very often in-game, so when they first connected the two it was "marvelous."
  • Liam remembers the party had to deal with Stonejaw when Travis was absent.[9]

Matt: Who was the anonymous person who took out the contract on the rakshasa? — Shandraa, 25:37

  • Matt thinks it was one of the members of the Arcana Pansophical. Travis and Marisha are confused about what that is. Matt reminds them that Allura's a member (this jogs everyone else's memory) as well as Drake Thunderbrand. They were developing a portal that connected to the Hells and they needed demon parts. Since they'd found there was a rakshasa in that area, it was a "twofer" deal. They didn't really understand or care that whoever killed it would be locked into a cycle of revenge. But that's why they paid people to do it for them.

Matt: When Kima was introduced, was the relationship with Allura already planned out or did that evolve in response to the party and community? — MishapMaster13, 27:20

  • Matt had developed them to have a past connection with each other. He didn't know if they were going to reconcile, or once had a fling. The first time the party heard of Kima was the early session when they were looking for Grog in Westruun. Matt thought she would have had this past history with the mage character (Allura) he was going introduce later in the campaign. In developing the Underdark arc, he thought they were still good friends who cared about each other even though they were leading separate lives, and then their reunion and the fear of losing each other rekindled their connection.
  • Matt had no idea that Allura and Kima would become so beloved by the fan base. It's hard to expect what will resonate with other people. Matt didn't expect them to impact him so much, either. Allura acted as Matt's self-insertion into the story at times.

Marisha: Keyleth has had the antlers since day one and never took them off, sometimes even getting defensive about them. Is there a story behind the antlers? — @Smokeontheraze, 29:15

  • In their home game, Keyleth wore a circlet. Marisha combined that with the concept of an unspecified last relic from her mom and her Ashari tribe. Kit Buss, the unofficial and then official artist of the campaign, drew the relic as antlers in Keyleth's portrait. Marisha loved it. She didn't expect it would become so iconic.
  • Laura says much of their original characterizations came from Kit's designs. Vex's feathers were her idea.
  • Liam agrees that when little things came up by chance or in the art, they would retcon them into the story. "So much happens by accident. And that's the magic of the game."
  • Brian wants to know if Kit also came up with Percy's glasses. Taliesin says while he already had the idea Percy wore glasses, Kit came up with the four-lens design. He loved how "wonderfully complicated and impractical" they were.

Matt: I believe you once mentioned that the Thunderbrands were supposed to end up as allies or a bigger part of the story if the initial encounter had gone differently. What did we end up missing there? — Ickulus, 30:39

  • Matt designed the Thunderbrands to be allies for the journey into the Underdark. They had a story about a family member who was lost there, and if the party had brought it up and discussed with them, they would have offered aid in the form of equipment or sending one of their mages along as an Underdark guide.
  • Liam jokes the lost relative went on to be the nothic that Vax shanked underground.
  • Matt says they eventually found the relevant necklace that was returned to House Thunderbrand. Instead of this helping scenario, in the game, Vox Machina (including Tiberius) antagonized them in their home by attacking their wards with spells, confronting them at the door, and then Scanlan turned invisible and snuck inside "for no reason."

Matt: How did a Sphinx come to be hidden beneath Vasselheim? — Payattention007, 32:35

  • Ioun the Knowing Mistress and her followers believe it is important to disseminate knowledge and teach people about history, lore, and truth. Ioun was wounded and her following was largely culled during the Calamity and after the Divergence. The Cobalt Reserve were her most prominent followers that were well-protected by governments, while most others, including Osysa, had to go into hiding. Matt imagines them like whistleblowers and others that share secret information with the press. If they were to reveal themselves, there are those who would hunt them down and destroy them, such as followers of Tharizdun, as they seek to take down Ioun herself. Osysa has long been an agent of Ioun's will, and they created the Slayer's Take as a cover to ingratiate themselves within Vasselheim society. Osysa must stay hidden as the heart of the information network for the followers of Ioun in Issylra.
  • Brian and Travis share their amazement that Matt was holding all this in his head.

Matt: Where was the other horn of Orcus? Could the players have found it? — Telepickups, 34:20

  • Matt cannot divulge its location, because it's still in Exandria for the players to discover, much like other Vestiges of Divergence.
  • Laura, Matt, and Marisha joke that it's underneath Dalen's Closet, buried in the sand, where some kid will find it on vacation. All they need is a metal detector.

Campaign-level statistics[edit | edit source]

From CritRoleStats

  • 10,819 rolls during the campaign
  • 548 natural 20s
  • 497 natural 1s
  • Most nat20s: Vax (107) and Percy (104)
  • Most nat1s: Vex (76) and Vax (61)

Arc II: The Briarwoods[edit | edit source]

This section covers "The Feast" (1x24) through "Echoes of the Past" (1x38).

Matt: What was Seeker Assum's plan to investigate the Briarwoods before Vax threw a wrench into it? — @saraheliz135, 37:56

  • Assum was trying to find proof that the Briarwoods didn't have the political power to keep their promise to build the bridge between the Shearing Channel and Wildemount, despite boasting of their connections. Assum knew that something was off and was trying to catch them in a lie and save the Council from any negative repercussions. He didn't know how deep it went.

Travis: How close were you to murdering Liam when you destroyed the pencil? How close was Grog to doing something more regrettable to Vax? Cask of ale destroyed close? — Mike Garcia, 39:09

  • Shaving Grog's half-beard while he was asleep was a new level for Travis. The mechanical pencil in his hand bent to his rage really easily.[10] It kicked off months of Travis trying to get him back.
  • Liam feels it wasn't the beginning of their escalating prank war but a midpoint. Travis disagrees. Grog kept trying to pants Vax or trip him but failed. Vax was just too slippery.
  • Liam didn't realize in-game how furious Travis was, which Travis finds hard to believe. Also since the beard was magical, Liam figured it would just come back. He thought it was just tit for tat, but acknowledges he was wrong.

Matt: Just who was the woman in her late 40s/early 50s that Percy saw with his Nat20 roll in "The Sun Tree,"[11] the one with the wolves outside Whitestone? — @settiai, 40:43

  • She was a hunter from Whitestone out hunting with wolves at night. If her party had seen Vox Machina, it could have been an opportunity to learn about the current state of Whitestone instead of wandering in unawares. If it went poorly, a member of the hunting party could have escaped and relayed information to the Briarwoods in hopes of not being killed or currying favor with them. They weren't loyal to the Briarwoods, they simply wanted to survive.
  • Laura's been haunted by that woman for a while.

Liam: I actually cried when the Briarwoods killed Vax, with the last thoughts going through his head being his friends and Kiki. What was your inspiration for that moment? — Zombie_Caddies, 41:55

  • Liam thought Vax was done for, as he thought in the Raven Queen's tomb. He hadn't worked up the gumption to say anything in the story to Keyleth. Vax's world was still 98% his sister at that time. It was a chance for him to "vomit out [his] inner monologue before exiting the game.

Sam: What tipped you off that Percy's gun needed to be destroyed? — @argentumlupine, 43:10

  • Scanlan isn't very perceptive or wise, so it took him a long time to realize something was wrong. He doesn't remember how he figured it out, but Sam was sitting next to Taliesin. He remembers Percy was marking things off the gun.[12]
  • Scanlan cast Friends on Percy to make him hand over the gun,[13] which did not please Taliesin or Percy. Sam thought he was doing him a favor, but Marisha points out he would have just done it himself then.
  • Taliesin laments that the gun used two mystical elements and was priceless. He never built another because it was impossible to recreate.
  • Marisha wonders if there could have been another way. Matt says the only other way to break its hold on Percy would have been to physically kill Orthax, which would have involved traveling to the Abyss (where Orthax would reform) and destroying him. He thinks that destroying the curse implement was the better choice.
  • Brian wonders how close the second campaign will be to this one. Matt wants it to be its own unique thing and not live in Vox Machina's shadow. He's keeping track of internal continuity, and there are ramifications to Vox Machina's decisions, but the story will not be a continuation.

Matt: Can we get a little insight into Sylas and Delilah, and the Life Choices they made that lead to Vecna? How much of that was Taliesin's notes and how much was your brain? — Arthur Ornelas, 46:48

  • Taliesin only told Matt the Briarwoods came and murdered his family. He tried to hand Matt nothing Percy wouldn't have known, and he didn't know anything about the Briarwoods. Matt thinks this is a great tool for players when creating character backstories. Write only what your character knows because it gives the DM the space for creativity and the ability to surprise you. (Later on, the rest of the cast agree they enjoy Matt working on their backstories, so they can uncover mysteries.)
  • Matt shares his Briarwoods backstory. They were not very powerful in the Dwendalian Empire, but they had some renown and lived a comfortable life. Delilah was a lesser mage, working with an academy out there, and Sylas had fallen ill to a disease with no cure. She traveled in search of a cure and found one, but she returned too late and he had already passed. She was so distraught that she began delving into her magics to find something to save him. When she screamed her fury into the Astral Sea, a voice whispered back, "I can help you." And that was Vecna. These whispers started to come to her in dreams, and gave her bits of information. Still grieving her loss, she began to just follow these whispers blindly, and eventually it led her to one of Vecna's old laboratories, where his old, powerful undead servant that had since forgotten his name watched over it. That's where she found the rites of vampirism. Vecna offered to give Delilah the secret to bring her love back to life, but then she would be his. In her desperation, she agreed. Sylas' resurrection as a vampire was a sliver of Vecna's power that tied the Briarwoods to him.
  • Laura thinks this makes the Briarwoods even cooler. Travis says they shouldn't have killed them.
  • Matt continues. Delilah was discovered to have been toying with necromancy, which was outlawed in the Dwendalian Empire. Though the Briarwoods were both arrested, they got away, and there was a hunt to find them and have them executed. And so they fled to Port Damali on the Menagerie Coast, where they met Anna Ripley. Ripley was also on the run from the Empire, and they decided to work together. And when they heard about Whitestone, they began making regular trips from Port Damali to build a relationship with the De Rolos, to take their guard down. They had accomplices within the castle who were in on their plans to take down the family. The De Rolos had already cut Whitestone off from the rest of the world, so no one would know or care if they went missing or died.
  • Liam would play in a Briarwoods campaign.
  • When Taliesin wrote about the Briarwoods he didn't have any supernatural elements in mind. But he is reminded of a ghost story from a haunted house tour in New Orleans about a married couple. There had been a fire in their house, and when the fire brigade went upstairs, they found horribly mutilated bodies of people who had been imprisoned and tortured. Before the authorities could figure out what happened, the rich couple fled and were never seen again.[14] Matt didn't know the story, but can see the similarities.

Laura: Did Vex have feelings for Percy at this time and how did watching this darkness bloom in him affect her? — GloriaRokicki, 51:41

  • Laura remembers saying, "Darling, take the mask off."[15] Her attraction was starting around then. She thinks his darkness made Vex more attracted to him. "How fucked up is that?"
  • Marisha was wondering if Vex thought she could fix him, but Laura says it's more that he was "edgy."
  • Taliesin says Percy didn't know the voice in his head was real and thought it was just a dream. He had had a nervous-breakdown, his hair had turned white, he had woken up on a boat in shock and didn't talk to people for months.
  • Laura says, "smoke came out of his body!"[16] But Taliesin says that was the first time that had happened.
  • Liam didn't pick up on any of that dynamic from the home game.
  • Matt says the backstory that Taliesin gave him was just that he had had a dream where a dark entity showed him how to make a gun. Matt developed it so that Orthax would not manifest itself until a moment of possible vengeance, when Percy allowed that fury to see someone who he intended to kill from his list. So the Briarwoods arc was the first time.

Marisha: Had VM continued to kill with extreme violence without concern of moral consequence, would Keyleth have left the party? — Blangadanger, 56:00

  • Marisha thinks that's extreme framing but "exactly what they were doing." She had a weird crisis with Keyleth for a while. Keyleth thought she couldn't stay, that her friends were bad influences and would be the first people to drag her down.
  • Matt and Marisha discussed the possibility of Keyleth leaving. Then Marisha would have made a new character, and who knows if Keyleth would have come back.
  • Marisha remembers around that time she kept repeating: I have to continue my Aramente. She was just "dicking around" and still had work to do.
  • Liam is glad Marisha didn't make a new character. Marisha agrees Keyleth was "pretty boss there at the end."

Matt: What would have happened if they had left Ripley in the cell? — @TheOodSigma, 57:20

  • Ripley was looking for any chance to escape and probably would have found a way. If she was unable to escape the prison, Vox Machina knew who she was, and the Briarwoods had been defeated, she would have done everything in her power to convince them that she was as used as anyone else, like Cassandra was. She would try to ingratiate herself with Vox Machina and the first chance she had to abscond with any of Percy's technology, she'd be gone.
  • Laura says, "What a bitch."
  • Taliesin imagines her as the evil, psychotic Joker version of the librarian character from The Mummy, and Matt agrees.

Matt: What happened with the bodies of the De Rolo family? Were they buried or did Vox Machina ended up fighting their skeletons in the streets of Whitestone? — Maxvsthegames, 58:41

  • The Briarwoods, in order to cement their rule, needed to instill absolute fear of fleeing and quash any potential rebellion. They hanged the De Rolos' bodies from the Sun Tree in almost the exact same arrangement that they repeated with Vox Machina's doppelgangers.
  • Taliesin likes the way Matt thinks and whole-heartedly approves of this darkness.
  • Liam imagines Percy 30 years in the future, going over to the window and seeing beautiful Whitestone and the Sun Tree, and having flashbacks. Taliesin agrees it would never be gone from his mind.
  • Travis is not having it with Liam and Taliesin's macabre discussion. "What the fuck, man? The power of Christ compels you. Get out of here."
  • Taliesin counters that the De Rolos have a very blood-soaked history. At some point, he plans to write up some of his scribbled notes. There's lots of ghost stories in Whitestone castle.

Ashley: Is Pike's ability to astral project across great distances to help her friends a sign that she is special to Sarenrae? — SerPounce_a_Lot, 1:00:37

  • "...or just a sign that you live in New York for most of the year," Sam adds. Ashley would rather believe Pike is special to Sarenrae but agrees it's because she lives across the country. She's so thankful Matt found a way around that. From the monitor she wryly remarks, "and here I am, still an astral projection."
  • Liam and Matt mention Pike was instrumental to bringing back Sarenrae's faith back to the continent.

Matt: What would have happened if Lady Briarwood's ritual succeeded? — @FrostDragon85, 1:01:51

  • It did succeed. Delilah didn't know what she was looking for. Vecna told her what to prepare, and she triggered the siphon, which became this tiny dot that seemingly did nothing. And so she thought they had failed: they were pushed to do it too early, they were already afraid it wouldn't function. If Vox Machina had examined it enough, and did a lot of research, they might have discovered that it was successful, but it was more fun for Matt to play it in the background during the Chroma Conclave arc. When Delilah recovered in her clone body and reconnected with Vecna, he told her she had succeeded and to move on to the next siphon.

Travis: Percy gave Grog Craven Edge in this arc. When you first got given the card,[17] what did you expect from the sword? Did you have a "what have I done" moment when you read the card fully? — Lizlevelup, 1:03:21

  • Travis had never even heard of a sentient weapon before. Matt had described it a big, gorgeous greatsword, and Travis figured Grog could wield that. Taliesin looked dismayed reading the sword info card after just being rid of Orthax's curse and Travis was like, "Give it to me, it'll be fine." So when Matt started talking as the sword,[18] it was a total shock. The card was only half of the story.[19] Matt says Grog had to either attune to it or Identify it in advance to reveal all of Craven Edge's secrets.
  • Travis thinks Grog was enjoying this new friend that talked to him and helped him "shish-kebab" people really well.

Matt: How did you intend for VM to get out of the acid chamber? — Jessie Lewis, 1:04:46

  • Matt jokes, "I didn't."
  • There were a number of ways. They could have focused all their strength on the residuum wall that was blocking them. They could have tried to block up or destroy the acid chutes and bought some time.
  • Liam reminds Matt he used the Cape of the Mountebank to teleport through and reach the button.
  • Matt says there was a way to open the door, but it was elsewhere in the chamber. They could have waited for the Briarwoods to leave before fiddling with the buttons, but they "kind of jumped the gun on that one."
  • Liam explains he thought he was hitting the "door open" button. Matt thinks it was a wonderful D&D moment.
  • Marisha and Laura don't remember how they got out. Matt jokes, "You didn't. The rest of the campaign is a dream!"

Sam: Had Scanlan learned of his daughter before Kaylie confronted him, what would he have done differently? — Bangadanger, 1:06:02

  • Sam would not have hit on her. If he had heard, "You got a daughter out there, she's looking for you," he'd probably run away scared from that information and skip town.
  • Liam suggests a book title: Don't Try to Get With Her: The Scanlan Shorthalt Story.
  • Brian says if she resembled him, he would be even more attracted to her, and Sam feels like that was part of the problem.

Taliesin: Who was the final, unnamed barrel on the List meant for? — Gornuk23, 1:07:09

  • It was not meant for Percy himself, which many people thought. It was his acknowledgement that completing the List was not the end and that he was entering an "unending cycle of awful." And so that barrel would be a fresh start for a brand new List. Whenever Taliesin has said this, a lot of people hate it. But when Percy started building it and seeking revenge, he was acutely aware of what he was doing. The first time he saw a gun in the wild, he wasn't surprised or horrified; he more thought, "That went a little more slowly than I expected." He expected Ripley to have guns. He wanted to kill these six people so badly, it was worth it if thousands of other people die by gun in his lifetime. "I know what I'm becoming, I know what I'm doing, and I'm doing it anyway even though it's really dumb."
  • Laura says, "he was a pretty bad guy."

Laura: How did Vex get Vax's snake belt back? — Buzzrock1, 1:08:52

  • Vex flirted with the guards. Laura had talked to Matt about it. There was probably a lot of winking involved.
  • Liam says the physical belt buckle is sitting on his treasure shelf.
  • Laura saw another snake belt this weekend and almost got it for Liam but figured he didn't need two.

Matt: If he had failed the saving throw, would Percy have been forced to kill Cassandra? Had you always planned for her name to appear on the gun? — Tilia-cordata, 1:10:00

  • Matt did always intend for her name to appear on the gun. It could have been averted if they came across Cassandra in the castle earlier and broke her out of her cycle of mental abuse with the Briarwoods. But mostly, it was designed to demonstrate to Percival "how deep this terrible choice and deal he made can go."

Marisha: It was during this time that Keyleth made two of her most impressive moral stands. The first - refusing to have VM send the young Roc to Whitestone and the other by refusing to let the skeletal army overrun it. Is this where she began to realize she could be a leader? — RaibDarkin, 1:11:57

  • Marisha says absolutely not; she was still suffering from crippling self-loathing, didn't believe in herself and was insecure. She doesn't think Keyleth fully believed in herself until she received the mantle in the final ceremony. One big turning point of stepping up as a leader was the later kraken fight in "Tangled Depths" (1x88). Marisha put a lot of responsibility on Keyleth and herself for not stepping up and forcing a better plan, since her aramente almost got everybody killed. They could have done way better, and again Keyleth took away a moral lesson of the dangers of inaction. "Someone's got to fucking herd cats."
  • Travis and Laura joke they almost got rid of Taryon Darrington.
  • Liam says Keyleth was a strong, decisive leader at the end of the Kraken battle, when she chose to get out with as many as she could. Brian thinks it was foreshadowing for her later leadership qualities, which were there but needed to be fermented through experience and the trials. Marisha agrees that was probably her exact turning point.

Statistics[edit | edit source]

  • Vox Machina dealt 50,074 damage.
  • Grog took the most damage (5,646) and also dealt the most (10,038).

Arc III: The Chroma Conclave[edit | edit source]

This section covers "Omens" (1x39) through "The Deceiver's Stand" (1x83).

Matt: During the Conclave attack did you plan who you would kill off for story purposes or did you just roll the dice on their fate? — Hadley DiForti, 1:18:09

  • Matt decided. He wanted the Sovereign to die for the transition into the Republic of Emon and Tal'Dorei, and a central figure that had previously been their highest ally, to make them feel like they were on their own. He also thought of which Council members would be the bravest and sacrifice themselves trying to fight back against this unassailable force.

Liam: Would Vax have left Vox Machina if the Chroma Conclave had not attacked? — CommanderClay, 1:19:09

  • Liam is not sure. Vax definitely wouldn't have left without his sister. He would need a reason to stay and would have been conflicted. He might have reached a breaking point, as he was butting heads a lot at that time, including in his prank war with Grog. When Liam gets questions like, "What would have happened if this hadn't happened?", he doesn't know, and that's the fun of this game.
  • Marisha asks Laura if Vex would've left with Vax. Laura says Vex would've fought him about it but ultimately would go with him.

Matt: Did Vox Machina bring the dragons down on Emon because they messed with the orbs or did this event happen to coincide with that? — coelki_king, 1:20:39

  • It was a coincidence. The Conclave's long-term plan was geared towards the conjunction of Winter's Crest and Thordak's escape from the Elemental Plane of Fire. However, because their faces had been seen through the orbs, they recognized these meddlers to some extent. When they arrived and confronted certain members, they went onto Raishan's radar. When her relationship with the Conclave soured, she quickly ascertained their location in Whitestone, to find a strong position going forward.
  • The Chroma Conclave was Matt's plan since the home game. The orbs and Krieg and Brimscythe were a teaser to an event down the road.

Taliesin: What was Percy's plan to take out Grog in the workshop over the skull?[20] He seemed very sure of himself in a tight space with a raging Goliath. — Heather Johnson, 1:22:32

  • Taliesin had several strategies in mind. He could give Grog disadvantage on every attack, every round, and Percy had many bottles at his disposal, and a working kiln. He could have kept up status effects like covering him in acid or sodium and setting him on fire, pushing him back, or blinding him.
  • Travis likes the comparison to the Game of Thrones fight between the Mountain and the Sand Viper, where Grog would lurk on the outside until he got a hold of Percy and squished his head "like a pumpkin."
  • Taliesin figures Percy could probably ride that out a long while.
  • Liam loves Freddie[21] as a darkly fascinating character. He think Grog "would have turned him into a skid mark."
  • Taliesin responds, "kept that skull away from you, man, didn't I?"

Matt: How close was Gilmore to dying before Vox Machina found him under his shop? — coelki_king, 1:24:06

  • Gilmore was really close to death. It came down to whether they pursued the treasure that had been shifted away from the Clasp and looters, or went directly to help Gilmore. If they chose to go for the treasure, Gilmore would have been dead when they found him. They could have Resurrected him, depending on the timing, but they would have to live with being responsible for his death. It was meant to be a learning experience about going against greed and self-serving instincts in moments of crisis to value the greater good and established friendships.
  • Liam says that after their home game, that and Vex dying in the tomb were their first real brushes with death, so they didn't know about its likelihood or the rituals involved as a game mechanic. So when Gilmore and Vex went down, Liam thought it was all over. Though it was new and unsettling in the beginning, they got used to it.

Laura: What did Vex find under Gilmore's bed when he sent them to Marquet? — Kuributt, 1:26:01

  • Laura says Vex found a stack of love letters between Gilmore and his first boyfriend. She didn't tell anyone because it was personal, but it was confirmation that it was indeed Gilmore's bedroom. Taliesin is impressed she didn't take them.
  • Liam wants to know the name of Gilmore's old beau. Matt says it was another Marquesian boy who he hadn't named yet. So it's lost to the annals of history.

Matt: What were the horrible possibilities the team sidestepped with Kashaw's resurrection of Vex? Was invoking Vesh as much of a razor's edge as it appeared? — Crepuscularious, 1:27:25

  • Vesh was a dangerous entity, and she would've been interested. But any danger was circumvented by Vax making the deal with the Raven Queen. Matt had considered having Vesh appear in the tomb otherwise. Vesh isn't actually a god and would only have caught a glimpse of what happened.

Ashley: How did Pike feel knowing that going and getting her armor probably made the difference between Daxio being destroyed and not? — TheHollyPhoenix, 1:29:10

  • Ashley thinks Pike was happy to get her armor. Getting that vestige meant she could then be courageous in battle even if she went unconscious a few times. Travis agrees that she used it many times.
  • Brian calls it the "Chest Piece of Gloriousness", which Marisha enjoys.
  • Marisha wants to know if the banner behind Ashley says "Boobs are magic." Ashley says it's "Books are magic", but both are true.

Matt: How did Kevdak come to have the Titanstone Knuckles? What were his aspirations beyond being a dragon's lackey? — Stephen David Dugan, 1:32:14

  • Matt envisions that Kevdak beat the previous owner "to an absolute bloody pulp." The Knuckles weren't something he sought out. The previous owner was traveling through the Tal'Dorei countryside, ran into the Herd of Storms, and was bludgeoned to death. Once the young Kevdak took the gauntlets and connected with them, he realized he could use them to rise in prominence. He then brutally worked his way up to become the leader of the Herd of Storms. His only aspirations were expanding the herd, and taking what he wanted. When the Conclave destroyed most of protected society, he saw opportunity. The guards were disorganized and distracted by another foe, so they could finally live like kings. So he convinced the herd to take on Westruun, where the already-decimated and scattered guards were unprepared for them. They carved right into the heart of the city and took over. Then they made the deal with Umbrasyl, where Kevdak figured he could work with the dragon for the moment. But with those gauntlets he was power-hungry and envisioned himself soon destroying Umbrasyl or bending him to his will, and being "Dragon King Kevdak."

Matt: What was in Senokir's box? — Ashley Johnson, 1:34:21

  • Ashley has been consumed by this. She had meant to have Pike look for the box when they were talking about what they'd done during their year off.
  • Matt says Senokir was honest: it was his wife's ashes. Ashley still doesn't believe him.
  • Brian, Sam, and Laura thought Senokir's voice was weird. Laura and Taliesin liked Senokir a lot as an NPC.

Liam: Were you intending to multiclass into Paladin before the events of the Raven Queen's tomb? — CainhurstCrow, 1:36:09

  • Liam was already considering it, due to Vax's friendship with Pike and questioning his purpose.
  • Matt remembers Vax had strapped a symbol of Sarenrae to his hand.[22]
  • Liam was going through a difficult period in his life and didn't want the Deathwalker's Ward armor due to its additional painful emotional significance. Now he wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
  • Matt didn't expect any of that to happen, including Vex's death. Since it happened in the Raven Queen's temple, it made sense for her to reveal an image of herself as part of the ritual. And then when Vax pledged himself to her,[23] Matt knew she would accept. These chance moments changed the entire arc of Vax's story.

Matt: Was "fate-touched" always going to be a thing, or do you think that just sprang out of that moment? — Liam, 1:38:06

  • Matt tells Liam, "I decided on the fate-touched thing because I knew you were going through some hard stuff, and I wanted to give some little special light to you." Liam briefly tries to crawl under his chair in response.
  • Matt presumed he would reveal it in the late campaign when things got more epic. But when Vax made that decree to the Raven Queen, the purveyor of fate, it felt like the right time.[24]

Travis: During the Kevdak fight, did you initially go in thinking you could win head on against Kevdak? Or did you always intend for Vox Machina to come into the fray? — CainhurstCrow, 1:39:10

  • Travis didn't know, he just wanted to face him one-on-one to start with, to get an idea of what to expect, even if it went bad quickly. He was unprepared, especially when Matt revealed Grog's attacks weren't doing full damage. Then he knew it was time to call in everyone else. He recalls how Kevdak pinned Grog, disarmed him, and that he missed most of his attacks.
  • Matt says Grog could have defeated Kevdak one-on-one, but the dice didn't roll in his favor. He was prepared as DM either way. If Grog had beat Kevdak solo, it would have come down to tense negotiations with the herd. But then all of Vox Machina destroyed Kevdak and his next in command.
  • Travis was just learning what the Knuckles did. He recalls Matt telling him, "You remember seeing Kevdak reached out and crushed a guy's skull with his bare hands."[25]
  • Liam and Matt enjoyed that fight a lot. Taliesin was happy about the toothpicks.[26]

Laura: When you found out you had been assigned a new alignment did you change the way you were playing Vex? — Aegis_of_Ages, 1:41:03

  • Laura doesn't think she deserved it. All she did was steal a broom from Gern. Vex was going to give him dragon scales in return but he walked away.
  • Liam expresses disbelief that her alignment changed and Percy's didn't; he gave Craven Edge to Grog and shot a kid in the hand, among other things.
  • Matt replies that her many of her recent motivations hadn't been for the betterment of others, which is the "calling card" of a chaotic neutral character. Laura admits that's true. She didn't steal the broom to help others, she just wanted to fly.
  • Matt doesn't think alignment should guide roleplay as much as be responsive to it. He still uses it because of its historical significance in D&D but doesn't see it as a big deal.

Sam: What was in the letter that Scanlan gave to Pike? — Karraxx, 1:43:18

  • Sam reads it aloud.

Dearest Pike, my entire life, I've been half a man. Not in stature, nor confidence, nor certainly not in reputation, but you see, even though my heart has pumped blood for these 69 years, it has done so only as half a heart. The moment I first saw you was not a choir of angels singing, nor silly butterflies fluttering in my chest. No, the moment I met Pike Trickfoot was the tragic moment I realized that my heart, my soul, would be forever incomplete without you. For years, I've strived to mend my incomplete heart. To join it with yours and find true bliss at your side. Though it may not have seemed so, everything I've done these past years has been to impress you, please you, protect you. I knew early on it was a futile effort, I'm not stupid. The entire world may be mad, but that doesn't nullify the laws of reality, one law being that you are, and will always be, too good for a poor penny-singer like Scanlan Shorthalt. But even though I would not win your love, I could never stop trying. Does the sun stop rising when the clouds blot it out? No. Like me, it knows its purpose. To illuminate the world so that mortals can witness such beauty as you.

But now, as the sun sets on my life, I have discovered something new. I have a daughter whose heart beats my blood and whose life is my own. And she, unlike her father, can be good and right and one day worthy of your love, which is why, on my deathbed, I leave her to you. Don't you see? This whole time I thought I was chasing a lover, but instead, I have been chasing a mother for my child. You, Pike Trickfoot, are the savior to Kaylie that I could never be. Your wisdom and honor and goodness can give her the chance at redemption that I never had. Pike, take my daughter as your own, show her the light of Sarenrae. Guide her to be a kind-hearted gnome. Teach her to be everything her father was not. That way, in death, my heart will be complete. And it will beat inside Kaylie, by your side, like I always dreamed it would. With love and respect, Burt Reynolds, Esquire.

— Scanlan's letter to Pike

  • The others approve. Liam says, "Dani Carr just ascended straight to heaven off camera."
  • Ashley does not feel bad for reading it early.

Matt: In your head, what vestiges did you intend to go to which player? — EvilGeniusReborn, 1:47:14

  • Some vestiges were geared towards specific players: Mythcarver for Scanlan, the Titanstone Knuckles for Grog, the Spire for Keyleth, and Fenthras for Vex. The Deathwalker's Ward and the Cabal's Ruin were more open between Vax, Percy, and Pike, and someone could double up on vestiges. Matt assumed Deathwalker's Ward would to go one of the five who used leather consistently. Vax sealed that choice with the Raven Queen and the temple. Laura reminds him she took it initially. She's a little bitter that only after did she find out it had wings.
  • They exalted all the vestiges they had, but there are more in the world for the next campaign.

Taliesin: What did the party have to say to convince you to come back from the dead? — @phorsi, 1:48:52

  • It was more about what he would've ignored. Appealing to religion or calling on a god would not have worked. He was really happy to let it be a 50/50 flip, and death could have been a great end to Percy's story.
  • Taliesin and Matt had talked about alternative characters. His character in the next campaign is based on that.
  • Vex convinced Percy to return.[27]

Matt: What would have happened had Vox Machina permitted Raishan her time with Thordak's Corpse? — Charlie John Boychuk, 1:50:06

  • Raishan was going to cast an ancient variant of Speak with Dead on Thordak's corpse. For Speak with Dead, you raise the spirit and ask it questions, and it decides whether to answer truthfully or at all. Her more intense version tortures and forces information out of the soul. She wanted to extract the location of Opash's lair and the secret to her getting rid of the soul curse/disease that she knew Thordak had been truthful about from the beginning. He had told her about it in battle, said he could help her, and it was part of his plan to become a dracolich. When Vox Machina interrupted the ritual, she sealed them off with the force wall to buy enough time to finish the ritual and get enough information to teleport there, where she then got the rest of the information she needed.

Matt: What was the significance of Thordak's eggs? — Brian W Foster, 1:51:34

  • The eggs were unexpected. When they put the soul anchor within Thordak and imprisoned him in the Fire Elemental Plane, the sheer force of elemental chaos began to mutate him. In a "Jurassic Park kind of way," he was no longer a particular sex, and gave birth to his progeny. The eggs are a new species of primal elemental dragon.
  • Laura wants to know if they killed them all. Matt says, "as far as you know."
  • Brian hates that uncertainty. Matt is leaving it open for anybody who's playing a campaign in Tal'Dorei.
  • Laura wishes they had kept a baby dragon.

Campaign-level statistics[edit | edit source]

  • 86 rages for Grog
  • 3,658 hp healed for Pike
  • Vex used 474 arrows
  • Percy Misfired 36 times
  • DM facepalmed 264 times
  • Keyleth beastshapes 110 times; most used is 15 earth elementals
  • Scanlan gave 136 inspirations
  • Vax had 21 one-shot kills

Guest stars[edit | edit source]

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Will Friedle, Darin De Paul, Jason Charles Miller, and ND Stevenson take over to answer some questions.

  • Darin De Paul plugs a few episodes of his and Amy's early morning show on Alpha.
  • Will Friedle plugs Painter's Guild
  • Jason Charles Miller plugs Starter Kit

What is the biggest difference between playing here vs playing at home? — Brian Foster, 2:11:25

  • Mary: Critical Role was the largest show of its kind Mary has ever took part in. A trial by fire.
  • Will: It was the first time he played D&D

Would you prefer to be thrown in the deep end? — Brian Foster, 2:11:55

  • Will liked the new experience
  • Darin: In the end, a TTRPG is an exercise in acting and improv skills, collaborating with other players, which was greatly to his liking.
  • People are substantially more invested in player characters, unlike a home game. The guest cast especially swayed by the fanart the Critters do and the community aspect of their work; the emotional impact they bring to the audience.
  • Jason: Seemingly, the largest difference is the legacy of each episode of the campaign. Indeed, Matt brings great experience to their gameplay, but the Critters are the one who contribute to the Critical Role fandom and make the Critical Role special.

Mary and Will: What was it like to play in both early and later episodes of Critical Role? — Brian Foster, 2:14:28

  • Beside the fact that in the early episodes they had to fit on a bench with Travis Willingham, Mary was pleasantly terrified to play with Felicia Day. Mary's single goal was to not fail the party in her fist episode and keep them alive.
  • The most complicated aspect for Will was learning the rule system of D&D. Beside it, he was comfortable with the improvisational nature of the game. The example when Will was tangled by the rules was in "Trial of the Take: Part 4" (1x21), where he initially forgot about Kashaw's Turn Undead ability, activating it a little bit later into the course of the party's encounter with a group of ghosts.
  • When Mary and Will returned, they (and their characters) "teamed up" and bonded together.
  • Darin De Paul was in the studio during "Trial of the Take: Part 4" (1x21).
  • On their last appearance on Critical Role, Mary and Will hid from the cast in the studio before their character were suddenly introduced by Matt.

Jason: What was it like to play a character who wasn't really on the same side as the players? — Brian Foster, 2:18:03

  • Jason can separe himself (who is frieds with the cast) and the character, but he didn't need to. Even if they weren't on the same side, due to the truce, in a sense, Garthok and Vox Machina were working together against the Chroma Conclave. Jason speculated that, if they had more interactions together, they would've been "a foul play".

Jason: What surprised you the most about that episode? — Brian Foster, 2:18:44

  • During the battle, Liam, who sat near Jason, had the Twitch chat open. The chat was impressed how good Jason was at D&D from the get go.

ND: How it was jumping into such an intense episode? Why did you choose to play a prisoner? — Brian Foster, 2:19:40

  • Matt made the decision to introduce Tova as a prisoner of the Mentiri. If ND could choose, they would've been a shopkeeper, etc.

What is more terrifying starting the show at the beginning or waiting for your character to come in? — Brian Foster, 2:21:30

  • Joining in the middle of an episode is tough. Especially in climactic episodes, where there is pressure on a guest to accomplish something for the party and don not cause a player character death.

Darin: How was it to play a character who lost everything and then found redemption with Ioun? — Brian Foster, 2:23:25

  • Darin planned for Sprigg, in his encounter with VM, "steal everything he could" and generally lean toward evil, but the goodness of the party brought the best side of him. Darin pleased with Sprigg's campaign ending.

What is something from your experience on CR that you will definitely take with you? — Brian Foster, 2:25:50

  • The feelings entailed by Vex's death and the powerful role-playing scenes that followed.
  • In the anticipation for his episode, Darin wanted to have a role-playing moment with Marisha/Keyleth, which has happened and was Darin's favorite moment.

Arc IV: The Adventures of Taryon Darrington[edit | edit source]

This section covers "Loose Ends" (1x84) through "Masquerade" (1x99).

Sam: If Revivify had been successful in the second fight against Raishan, and Scanlan hadn't had to go through the Resurrection ritual, would he still have left VM? Was it the act of dying or the circumstances surrounding the ritual (Kaylie, etc.) that were more influential? — _quietbatpeople, 2:39:56

  • This story twist was right around the corner. The tension and the decision to leave Vox Machina was slowly building. The death and the reunion with his daughter, pushed him over the edge. "It brought it front and center that he was a shithead for most of his life. Shortly before the ritual, Scanlan experienced death and was Revivified two times by the party in quick succession. The gang didn't really listen to him that much." Scanlan started doing drugs. Pike rejected him.

Matt: Regarding the kraken, could Vox Machina have had the chance of killing it (even though they weren't supposed to)? What would have happened if the kraken died? — @hawaiianxngel, 2:42:03

  • The kraken is mortal and could've died, if Vox Machina has decided to push. "If the kraken had died, the lodestone sources that both prevent the expansion of the rift between the water elemental plane and the ocean there would have been lost. They also keep Vesrah aloft above the ocean. The lodestones, over five or more years, slowly degenerate."
  • Water Ashari would have had to find another kraken.

Ashley: You've mentioned that if you'd been able to be there for Scanlan's departure, Pike would've had a few things to say to him. What sort of things would you have said? — Shackleface, 2:43:09

  • Grog and Pike were deeply hurt by his departure. As a player, Ashley was gone for these episodes and upset to return playing with Tary, adding that "Taryon was great, but come on, I want to play with Scanlan". Pike said "a lot of the things in one of the later games after he came back". Ashley didn't think Pike would have been able to stop Scanlan from leaving.
  • Sam said that Pike was possibly the only one who could've stopped Scanlan. Vex changed his mindset on that day. Scanlan was going to go off alone, but when Vex said, "Why don't you go spend some time with your daughter?", Scanlan asked her to join him.

Matt: What would have happened if Keyleth had failed her Aramente trial. Would she have been able to try again? — @Luap82517, 2:45:16

  • The Aramente participant cannot try again. After failing it, Keyleth would've stepped aside and somebody else would've been chosen to take on the Aramente to become the next leader of the Air Ashari. She could've still join Zephran council alongside her father, Korrin.
  • The nomination to undergo the Aramente is not always chosen considering blood-relation to the current leader. "Classically, it's a generational thing." The participants are the most worthy and willing to take the Aramente and can refuse the nomination.
  • Keyleth got close several times to quit the Aramente.

Laura: This arc is where Vex saw the true face of wealth in Tary's arsenal and his pomp and attitude. Was this one of the deciding factors that mellowed her money-grubbing tendencies? — ThisTinSoldier, 2:46:09

  • Laura said that Vex ceased to her persuit after coins, once she married Percy and shared his wealth, free of her previously frequent worry about her lack of money for the items of necessity.
  • Sam and Brian joke that when people reach a certain amount they always stop.

Matt: What was the plan for Hotis, the rakshasa, assuming VM hadn't ended him? Would have have shown up in the final arc, or would he have been left as a lingering threat for the next campaign? — JornCener, 2:47:07

  • If Vox Machina didn't interrupted the regeneration process of Hotis, it would've been finished only by the end of the Campaign 1. Hotis would've continued his revenge jorney, but since his vengeance against Vax couldn't be acquired, because Vax was no longer around, Hotis would instead turn towards Pike in "a post-credits scene".
  • After two failed assassinations, Hotis realized how powerful Vox Machina is and wouldn't attack directly, instead going after the people they care about. Matt glad it worked out that way, it made for a better end point.
  • "Tova did live. The only reason Tova survived is because of the ring of invisibility. It was just enough of a tool to enable her to get around the smaller dangers and avoid the bigger ones that could see through invisibility and find a way out. Unfortunately, she didn't recover any of her allies, but she survived."

Sam: You mentioned before that Tary was only meant to stay for a couple of sessions. When was Scanlan meant to come back before the one year break? — Hakumen_narukami, 2:49:32

  • Sam expected for Tary to make a brief, a two or three episode, appearance, and then figure out a way to get Scanlan back. "But turns out Taryon was so dashingly charming that everyone fell in love with him instantly!"
  • Sam thought Scanlan went back to Ank'Harel to get revenge right away, but Matt explained that before he got his revenge Scanlan had to lie in wait for those two guys who wronged him to come back into town. "He took their counterfeiter away from them and ruined their business. Created this Meat Man character to shame them and intimidate them in front of all the underworld and chased them out of town forever."
  • They rolled to determine the results of Scanlan's plans. Scanlan invited Kaylie and the two of them took over the counterfeiter's business of expensive antique furniture.

Matt, Taliesin: Is there anything the soulstones from Dis could have been used for? — ForsakenGrundle, 2:52:09

  • The soulstones, when consumed, get a person high. Matt believes they can give a character temporary advantage to initiative. They're not designed as sustenance for human beings, the benefits are generally gained by devils and entities that can subsist and gain power from souls.
  • Vex still has one soulstone.
  • If a tiefling ate a soulstone, Matt assumes it gave them a stronger brief headrush.

Taliesin: There was a moment after Percy used the Scrying Eye that felt like he wanted to kill Scanlan, but Vex talked him out of it. If she didn't intervene, what would've happened? — Bush, 2:53:08

  • If Percy found out Scanlan's location after his farewell with the party in "A Bard's Lament" (1x85), he would have sneak in on him, crippled Scanlan, took all of his important possessions, and told him never to come back. Percy was upset that Scanlan got away with a vestige. He wanted him to know that Vox Machina wasn't happy by his leave, and felt that Scanlan wasn't responsible enough to have this amount of magic items.
  • Liam points out that Percy is neutral good.

Travis: Grog has come close to finding lady love (or at least infatuation) on a number of occasions. Do you consider any of the women Grog encountered 'the one that got away'? — Melzy89, 2:54:09

  • Travis: "No"
  • Sam asks a follow up question: "Did Travis boink the nymph?"
    • The players present during Grog's encounter with Nahla were Travis and Matt. They wandered from the group to the kitchen to have this moment. Travis reveals that Grog didn't get intimate with Nahla. She was genuine in the conversation they had, and Grog was "super meek when confronted with this super hot naked nymph creature".
    • Matt: "It was suggestive, a little bit. I remember she pushed you onto this slab and straddled Grog", bequeathing her heart to him. It was both ceremonial representation and Matt trying to make Travis uncomfortable.

Were there any other small things that the group did together on their year off that have not yet been revealed? — TiamatZX, 2:55:35

  • Vex and Percy briefly "broke up, then got back together, and then got married". Laura and Taliesin say the wedding was private and performed in front of the Sun Tree

Matt: What were the consequences of being caught listening to theatre in the Feywild? — DerAlpi, 2:56:23

  • If the eavesdroppers are not members of the theatre, the theatre members converge on them and pull their soul to join the theatre. At first serving as an audience member, eventually pulled into one of the performances or troupes that cycle through there.
  • Some people wander into the theatre to find a home there.

Laura, Taliesin: Can you share with us the marriage proposal (who asked who & how), why did you not tell Vox Machina, who married you (was it Pike?), and did Tary know? — @T_fallenangel_T, 2:57:18

  • It wasn't thoroughly planned. Percy and Vex discussed the marriage while on a walk, and quickly afterwards organized and underwent the ceremony. Percy's main thought was: "God, I do not want to be a couple like Vex's brother." "Life is complicated and we could die at any moment."
  • At first, Percy proposed as a joke, then they decided it would be fitting to really get married.
  • Tary knew about the future wedding before anybody else did, because he was in the Castle Whitestone.
  • It is a massive heartbreak for Vax that he wasn't able to attend the wedding.

Sam: Was Scanlan close enough to hear Pike with the earring whenever she tried to talk to him? — @snickerdoodle65, 2:59:28

  • Taryon was out of the range of Pike's earring, while she was in Whitestone. Scanlan spent "some time" in the Turst Fields before setting off to Ank'Harel, but it was out of the range, as well. "Scanlan did do a fair amount of praying to Sarenrae."

Matt: After the year break, it was said that no one found Scanlan when they searched for him. How many actually found him, but had Modify Memory cast on them? — @HeidiDobson2, 3:00:09

  • Grog and Pike went on search for Scanlan, but they didn't trace him. They asked around in Emon, Westruun, and other places in Tal'Dorei, when Scanlan was in Ank'harel.

Liam: What would Vax's reaction have been had he found out about Vex and Percy's wedding before everything went down with Vecna and the Raven Queen deal, after Vex herself had specifically told him not to get married in secret? — TalaTag, 3:01:58

  • Vax would have asked why didn't they told him about the plans for a wedding.
  • Marisha: "It kind of paid off in the end. Fuck it, don't wait! If you love somebody, don't wait! Go marry them! Tell them! You never know what could happen! Let them know!"
  • Liam: It would have been different, if Vex had not so specifically said, "Don't go off to Zephrah and get married without me there."

Marisha, Ash: At the temple of Melora, after burying Senokir's wife's ashes, it seemed like they really wanted their Spire of Conflux back. Given that at the time the Chroma Conclave was defeated, did Keyleth ever consider handing it over? — Futureshocking, 3:03:58

  • Marisha thought about for "One Year Later..." (1x95), but thought Keyleth worked hard to obtain it and she deserves it. Also thinking that it will be more useful for Keyleth, then as an exhibit relic in a temple.

Ashley: Would you have wanted to play an evil Pike had her family's tales of the curse been true? What were you expecting through this bit of story? — Legotti, 3:04:56

  • Ashley wasn't expecting for Pike story taking that turn of events. She knew some members of the Trickfoot family are tricksters and thieves, but the rest was Matt's story. Ashley would have gone with being an "evil Pike" if it would have happened.
  • Marisha: This turn of events was expecially unexpected, because the "ghost stories" of the rest of Vox Machina were real, but Pike's turned out to be the only made up one.

Matt: If Sam hadn't rolled so well (using his Fate Die no less) to convince Lord Darrington to back down, how did you see things going? — AlwayzB_, 3:06:15

  • This roll was unsuccessful, the Darrington family would have created an unfixable divide between Tary and his father. He would have been probably cast out of the house indefinitely, and Mariya Darrington would have had to choose between her husband and son.
  • That also would give him a reason to stay with Vox Machina if he wanted to.

Matt: Did you have plans for "the hag" cashing in the favor from Vax? — Laura Bailey, 3:07:43

  • Matt had plans for the hag to claim her debt. Forscythia likes to play with fate and toy with souls. However, when Vax made a pact with the Matron of Ravens, the goddess of fate, the hag sensed that and said to herself, "Nah, I'm good. Okay, I invested poorly, I'm going to cut my losses and run."

Travis: How long did it take for Grog to get truly angry with Scanlan for leaving? Would he have been as angry if Lionel was not a barbarian as well? — @roadrunner032, 3:08:33

  • Although Grog was not mad at Scanlan leaving the group, he and Pike were angry at him when he returned. Scanlan wore a disguise, indicating he didn't trust them, and brought "this jackass" Lionel Gayheart. "Grog had the biggest jealousy issue of all time and was ready to pick Scanlan up and just smash his brain into jelly and just paint on the wall".

Statistics[edit | edit source]

From CritRoleStats

  • Keyleth's most cast spell is Transport via Plants - 43 times
  • Scanlan's most cast spell is Healing Word - 47 times
  • Percy's most cast spell is Hex - 27 times
  • Vex's most cast spell is Hunter's Mark - 80 times
  • Vax's most used ability is Lay on Hands - 25 times
  • Pike's most cast spell is Cure Wounds - 40 times
  • Using Titanstone Knuckles, Grog cast Enlarge 18 times

Arc V: Vecna[edit | edit source]

This section covers "Unfinished Business" (1x100) through "The Chapter Closes" (1x115).

Matt: How many other gods could Vox Machina have talked to? Related, how many trammels or boons were possible to get? — @AlwayzB_, 3:12:47

  • They could've reach out to more deities, which would have been timely and more challenging. Matt also tracked their quest for fragments of divinity, each delay progressing Vecna's power and expanding his domain. By a fourth deity Vox Machina would approach, the Vasselheim would have been ruined, and Vecna would became more adept to his abilities beyond the avatar form. By the sixth deity, Vecna's expansion would have gone past the ocean into Tal'Dorei and Marquet

Sam: Why did Scanlan choose Ank'Harel to go back to? We know he got scammed out of some gold, but why did he stay longer than just long enough to get his revenge? — Nuclearwhale94, 3:14:14

  • The focus of his revenge, the people who sold him fusaka, did not live in Ank'harel, and Scanlan had to wait to get his vengeance. "As he sat and waited, he got used to living there and got a little taste for the power!"

Ashley: Was there a specific moment when Pike's feelings for Scanlan began changing? If so, what was it that made her reconsider? — Baylaust, 3:14:59

  • Most of Pike's affection for Scanlan started with his letter. Before he gave her the letter, including the time they spend during the home games, the two flirted "a little bit", but Pike didn't take it seriously, because she didn't think that Scanlan was serious about their relationship. When he left Vox Machina, Pike realized how much she cared for him. After they reunited, Pike was impressed by the new, more mature version of Scanlan, but she thought the time had passed to approach him.

Matt: Where did Vecna keep his phylactery? — 3:16:48

Brooke Casey

  • Matt: "I know where. No one else is going to know that".

Laura: Did Vex take the name de Rolo after her marriage? — TiamatZX, 3:17:19

  • Laura: "Yeah"

Matt: The Titanstone Knuckles vibrating seemed reminiscent of Mythcarver vibrating in the slave market battle. What were the Knuckles trying to tell Grog? — @MsMaggie357, 3:17:26

  • The knuckles resonated sensing the kinship in the close proximity to the earth titan, the source from which they were carved. It was also a hint to use them to destroy the titan from within, using the knuckles' bonus against the interior of the titan. They also could've damaged the legs to stopped the titan from moving. Hoverer, the titan would have been slowly regenerating and they would have also notified all of Thar Amphala.

Taliesin: Was Percy troubled by the escape of Silas? — @amun1221, 3:19:28

  • By the end of the campaign, especially after killing Delilah, Percy wasn't really concerned about Sylas. "They had ruined him already" and his vengeance wasn't really focused on Sylas, Delilah seemed like the brain of the operation and Percival's trauma. Percy also transferred a lot of his angst over to other people and felt that they could deal with Sylas at any moment in the future.

Matt: Who was the death knight? — @DavidMoMahoney, 3:20:25

  • This death knight was a nameless servant that was tending to Vecna's lab in Wildemount. In the wake of Vecna's accession, he was found by Delilah and was rewarded by Vecna for centuries of undead vigilance. "He was elevated to death knight status and became one of the great warriors of Vecna's return". Held in that space alone for so long, the servant forgot his name and had no recollection of his past life. Only understood its existence at the behest of Vecna.

Liam: Is there anyone that you wish you'd had time to say goodbye to before the Raven Queen took you? — @Oatey_Goat, 3:21:23

Sam: Do you feel Keyleth was ready to lead her people by the end of the campaign? — ForsakenGrundle, 3:23:17

  • Marisha thinks Keyleth was ready, albeit it still is a learning process for her. She was exhausted by the adventuring lifestyle by the end and ready to retire.

Matt, Sam: Did you know what Sam had planned with his level nine spell to save Vax? — @Marion_Avalon, 3:24:29

  • Matt and Sam discussed the limitations of the Wish spell, taking into the consideration timing, scope, specific words. Matt knew Sam was intending to spend a Wish to save Vax. He realized that, when Scanlan used his Wish in the final battle to Counterspell Vecna's Dispel Magic, he lost his opportunity to save Vax.

Sam: How do you imagine he reconciles being both all-powerful yet completely powerless in his retirement? — Cardamonelaw, 3:25:47

  • In the aftermath of Vax' departure, Scanlan felt the pressure and the lost lost opportunity; ultimate failure, but probably as he got older and surrounded by people he loves, Scanlan realized that it's okay to fail. "He still might use Wish every once in a while to see if maybe he can get a message to or from old Vax, but I don't know if it ever works."
  • Liam: "Vax would never see Scanlan as a failure".
  • Sam: Over the campaign, Scanlan had been learning to sometimes be comfortable outside the center of attention, and the failure to wish for Vax to be saved progressed that notion. "It's okay not to be the best at everything."

Matt, Laura: What was on the opposite side of Entropis from the lab the party passed through? — Myrynorunshot, 3:28:19

  • The side, where Vox Machina been, had bodies and the torturing devices to gather information. The opposite side had a research laboratory with sundered ancient holy relics, fueling the creation of the seed that ascended Vecna. The two together is what eventually led to preparation for the Ritual of Seeding, which allowed his ascension.

Taliesin: What were you originally envisioning for Percy's ending? — Cat1832, 3:29:29

  • Percy was ready to sign the contract given by Ipkesh, selling his soul for a one wish. Through Percy would probably die in the aftermath, Percy thought he'll get the punishment he felt he deserved and it didn't concern him where he went afterwards. "I'm going somewhere awful already. Why not get something out of it?" But then doubt crept in.
  • Matt: If Percy had called in the last part of the contract and been granted the wish, and the wish was carefully placed, Percy could've found a way to alter or adjust the deal between Raven Queen and Vax at the cost of his soul.
  • Liam thougt the only way to save Vax was, if the Raven Queen said, "You pass the test. Go. Live. Be happy and have a handful of years."

Travis: What was Grog thinking about when he decided to seek an education? — @Aegis_of_Ages, 3:31:32

  • "I think he just wanted to get smarter."

Matt: What was Syldor's reaction to Vax's death? — @PhoenixHeart815, 3:31:47

  • Although Syldor and Vax-Vex were estranged for many years, he regrets his past attitude towards his twin children, spending a large part of his life thereafter trying to reconcile the choices as a father. He grieved after his son's death, but was also proud of his his accomplishments and happy for his twin daughter's future. Since his children's departure from Syngorn, Syldor learned to be acceptant to other races, cultures, and did his best, "within his own lower political position, to try and influence future generations and politics between the nations to be a little more open."

Laura: Did Vex's relationship with her father change after she saved Velora's life? — @GloraiRokicki, 3:33:00

  • Later in life, Vex and Syldor made peace with each other, Vex was working towards it. As she got older and started raising her five kids with Percy, Vex understood Syldor more.

Matt: What happened with Vax and the Raven Queen after his death? Did he keep her company as she once mentioned or did he simply have a peaceful afterlife? — @Zelda_CR_Fan, 3:33:44

  • Matt, for the most part, wants this to remain ambiguous. In his afterlife, Vax kept Raven Queen company and lived peacefully, occasionally reconnecting with the spirit of his mother. Vax and Raven Queen decided she will prevent "an element of loneliness in that transition for his mother". "The small section of mortal self that she maintains takes solace in keeping the champions close."

Matt: Was there any other means of stopping the Titan other than binding and slaying Vecna? — Cardamonelaw, 3:34:48

  • Destroy it from the inside with the Titanstone Knuckles. The exterior of the titan was too powerful and only could be damaged from the inside.

Marisha: Would Keyleth ever cast Speak with Animals on the large raven that visits her every day? — @BrandieFree, 3:35:22

  • Keyleth would hesitantly tried, but not right away, because the result would be unexpected. "Almost better to keep the illusion it for sure is Vax than the confirmation that it might not be at all."

Travis: What were the final contents of the bag of holding? — Xarkost, 3:36:33

  • Shitload of silverware, candles, stones, shitload of caltrops, handcuffs, dried poo, some armor, big black sapphire (Grog gave it to Scanlan as a wedding gift), shitload of expensive-ass bottles of wine. Vex has Kevdak's skin in the bag of colding.

Liam: How does Vax feel about his ending? Is he a little bit bitter about how soon it was or is he only concerned for his friends and accepts his fate gladly? — F3ntin, 3:37:48

  • In his last moments, Vax was not bitter, but felt full and satisfied knowing his sister was taken care of.

Ashley: Who was Pike's other love interest, and how did she come to reconcile those emotions with her ultimate choice of 'extremely settling for' Scanlan? — @IfThenAnderson, 3:38:33

  • It was Percy for a very long time. As a person of faith, Pike saw the weight on his shoulders and the darkness that Percy carried with him. "She did so much thinking and praying for his soul. I think all of that time spent on him was confusing to her. Obviously, it never would've worked! But in the end, it was always Scanlan. I think there was some time there where she was a little taken by the dark side."

When your characters look back at their time as world renowned adventurers, what memories stand out the most as moments they will never forget? — PragmaticBeaver, 3:41:04

  • Travis: Dropping on Kevdak from the necklace.
  • Liam: Saying goodbye, Cows, Gilmore stabbing Vax. Impressed knowing the story of Sam holding on to the Wish spell to save Vax, but using it beforehand during Vecna's fight.
  • Marisha: Cherry blossoms in the tree in the Voice of the Tempest ceremony, the hanging tree, cannonball competition in the pool.
  • Laura: Talking to Trinket for the first time, flying
  • Sam: Trying to kill Trinket. Scanlan would tell the epic stories of glory, but the most important part was impressing his friends, healing, inspiring them.
  • Taliesin: Letting go when Ripley shot me, realizing that Percy was in love with Vex. Scanlan's infiltration of Kerrion Stonefell's mansion in Whitestone.
  • Ashley: "It's all just a little bit more personal. I think it goes back to my first game. That changed my life."

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Credited as Noelle Stevenson; Stevenson changed his name in 2021.
  2. "K'Varn Revealed" (1x10) at 1:53:07. Vox Machina sees the rift to the Far Realm.
  3. "The Temple Showdown" (1x11) at 2:53:41. They drop Tiny on the roof.
  4. "Yug'Voril Uncovered" (1x09) at 1:24:14. Liam asks for an insight check on Keyleth, getting the first whisper of the campaign.
  5. "K'Varn Revealed" (1x10) at 3:23:39. Matt and Marisha describe how Keyleth accidentally killed a child in their home game.
  6. According to Ashley's playlist for Pike, she got the scar on the boat.
  7. It's not quite clear what Liam meant by referencing the home game here. As moments later he seems to say the "months and months" was between Kashaw kissing Keyleth and when he told Keyleth he was in love with her. Comment is 22:30
  8. "Trial of the Take: Part 4" (1x21) at 4:02:02. Kashaw kisses Keyleth for the first time.
  9. "The Story of Vox Machina" (Mx04) at 1:20. Pre-stream the party encounters a jaegered and mind-controlled Grog and his father's reanimated corpse.
  10. "The Feast" (1x24) at 2:34:30. The shaving incident where Travis breaks the pencil.
  11. "The Sun Tree" (1x28) at 1:48:53. Where Vex then Percy spies the woman.
  12. Right before Scanlan threw the gun, Percy was trying to remove Cassandra's name from the barrel."Denouement" (1x35) at 2:04
  13. "Denouement" (1x35) at 5:23. Scanlan casts Friends on Percy.
  14. Taliesin is probably referring to the LaLaurie Mansion, one of the most famous haunted houses in New Orleans, which was burned in a fire.
  15. "Reunions" (1x33) at 2:09:37.
  16. "Whispers" (1x29) at 3:01:40. The first time smoke started pouring out of Percy's body.
  17. "Winter's Crest in Whitestone" (1x36) from 44:09 through 47:30. Matt hands Taliesin the card about Craven Edge. 50:05 Percy gives the sword to Grog.
  18. "Winter's Crest in Whitestone" (1x36) at 50:35. Craven Edge speaks to Grog for the first time.
  19. "Best Laid Plans..." (1x50) at 1:12:27. Matt gives Travis the full item card for Craven Edge.
  20. "Desperate Measures" (1x40) at 2:08:22. The battle in Percy's laboratory over the skull begins.
  21. Vax's nickname for Percy, based on one of his middle names.
  22. "Whispers" (1x29) at 16:46. Vax sews the symbol of Sarenrae into the back of his glove.
  23. "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 4:30:31. Vax tells the Raven Queen to take him instead.
  24. "The Family Business" (1x47) at 53:34. The Raven Queen reveals to Vax that he is Fate-Touched.
  25. This conversation likely occurred off-stream.
  26. "Test of Pride" (1x51) at 2:24:19. Taliesin tells the story of when Matt got the toothpicks. Battle map with toothpicks is visible at 2:26:00
  27. "Passed Through Fire" (1x69) at 1:11:39. Vex pleads with Percy to return during the resurrection ritual, and tells him her heart is his. Laura rolls a natural 20 persuasion.