While many fans of The Legend of Vox Machina, which is Prime Video’s animated fantasy adventure series, might be familiar with its source material, others may not know what it’s based on. The story follows a ragtag team of mercenaries — Scanlan, Grog, half-elven twins Vex and Vax, Keyleth, Pike, and Percy de Rolo — as they face the dangers of Exandria.
At the end of Season 1, a group of four dragons, who call themselves the “Chroma Conclave” descend upon Vox Machina’s home of Tal’Dorei. Season 2 focuses on the group’s attempts to save Tal’Dorei, Emon, and all of Exandria from the potentially world-ending dragons, in the most hilarious and crude way possible. But what exactly is this adult-themed epic tale based on?
‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ is based on ‘Critical Role’ and one of their ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ campaigns.
Most of The Legend of Vox Machina’s fans come from Critical Role’s initial fanbase, but as the show picks up steam, some fans might be entering this story with brand new eyes. And although the story and characters stand on their own, understanding the context behind Vox Machina is always helpful. For those who don’t know Critical Role, it’s a weekly web series in which a group of funny friends, many of whom happen to be voice actors, come together to play Dungeons & Dragons.
Originally, the group came together to play a one-off Pathfinder campaign for Liam O’Brien’s (who plays Vax) birthday on Dec. 8, 2012. However, they had so much fun that they kept meeting monthly to continue the campaign. In 2014, Felicia Day approached them to share their stream on the Geek & Sundry twitch channel, and Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer converted their game into an official Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and their rise to stardom began.
In February 2019, Critical Role split from Geek & Sundry, and created their own Twitch and YouTube channels, and started producing new shows and content. Their first campaign was called Vox Machina, and took place over the course of two years from 2015 to 2017 for 115 episodes. This means that there’s tons of content inspiring the Prime Video series. As it seems now, The Legend of Vox Machina splits up its seasons by the different villain arcs that took place throughout the original campaign.
“The challenge then lies in taking hundreds of hours of us improving through this story and condensing it down to the important beats during the overall narrative and the moments that are important to us as the players,” Matthew told Forbes. Even still, getting to tell the story of Vox Machina through animation has a lot of pros, beyond reaching a more universal audience.
“It’s so rare to get to go back and retell a story,” Sam Riegel, who plays Scanlan, said. "To have the opportunity to make subtle changes… We get to go back and make ourselves sound slightly cooler, we get to make the jokes slightly funnier, and we get to ignore the stuff where we failed miserably or made bad choices. It’s a wild experience and we all get to do it together as friends.”
Clearly, the Critical Role team, along with the Legend of Vox Machina writers, are doing something right. As Season 2 is based on the Chroma Conclave arc, future seasons could be based on the Taryon Darrington and Vecna arcs, which we’re all praying we’ll see.
New episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina now drop every Friday on Prime Video.