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The show started streaming in March , partway through the cast's first campaign. In the hiatus between the two campaigns, a number of one-shots were aired. The cast own the intellectual property from the show. A number of licensed works based on the show have been released, such as the two official campaign setting guides written by the show's dungeon master, Matthew Mercer.
Critical Role is also the name of the studio owned by the cast. The studio has produced Critical Role and Talks Machina since It also develops and produces other programming for the studio's Twitch and YouTube channels. The Critical Role storyline occurs in a campaign that consists of a series of story arcs, which are usually played over multiple episodes.
Between—or sometimes within—the major story arcs, the characters rest, resupply, or go on side quests. In addition, every player character has a backstory , an unfinished part of their personal history that can be relevant to the campaign from time to time. Sometimes, major story arcs are intrinsically tied to a character's backstory. Both campaigns are set in Exandria, a world of Matthew Mercer's creation. Campaign One takes place primarily in Tal'Dorei, a continent of Exandria.
In appreciation, Uriel gave the group seats on the city council , and provided them with a residence called Greyskull Keep, which is located just outside the city.
Episode 36, titled Winter's Crest in Whitestone , features a summary of the pre-series history starting 1 hour 35 minutes into the episode , with artwork created by Wendy Sullivan Green and voice-overs provided by the cast. The forthcoming Critical Role animated series will include a canonic story that takes place within the pre-stream time frame.
The first episode of the show aired on March 12, , beginning the on-stream part of the first campaign, which concluded with its th and final episode on October 12, The Kraghammer story arc 16 episodes, 1—16 jumps in at the point in Vox Machina's story where the cast's original home game left off.
It takes place primarily in the subterrenean depths of the Underdark , and culminates in a battle between Vox Machina and a dangerous beholder by the name of K'varn, who is controlling an entire city of Illithid. The Vasselheim story arc 7 episodes, 17—23 splits the party into two groups, who seek to prove their worth to the "Slayer's Take", a local adventurer's guild in the ancient city of Vasselheim, by taking on dangerous missions. The Briarwood story arc 15 episodes, 24—38 leads Vox Machina to Percy's ancestral home, the city of Whitestone, which was once ruled by his family.
The party have to fight for control over Whitestone against Lord and Lady Briarwood, who are responsible for the demise of most of the de Rolo family and have taken the city as their own. The Briarwood's ties into necromancy and a secret cult make things even more dangerous, and Vox Machina must stop them from completing a ritual that threatens to endanger the entire kingdom. During the early stages of this arc, Tiberius leaves Vox Machina for good.
The Chroma Conclave story arc 45 episodes, 39—83 begins with the attack of four ancient chromatic dragons on Emon, the capital of Tal'Dorei, with the Sovereign and other important political figures falling in the onslaught. The dragons take control over and divide the kingdom, and in order to defeat them, Vox Machina needs more power than they currently have. They search for the "Vestiges of Divergence", famed and extremely powerful magical items from ages passed, which are scattered throughout the world.
During the ongoing battles against the powerful dragons of the Chroma Conclave, the backstories of some characters are also further explored. Smaller arcs focus on Grog's herd that once exiled him, the last figure from Percy's traumatic past, as well as a strained family reunion for the twins, Vex and Vax. The Taryon Darrington story arc 16 episodes, 84—99 begins with the departure of Scanlan from the group, whose mental problems and disagreements with the group culminate in an argument that shakes the party.
While traveling to Ank'Harel on the continent of Marquet, Vox Machina meet Taryon Darrington, an inexperienced aspiring author and adventurer. During this arc, which is loosely defined by Scanlan's absence and Taryon's presence in the party, Pike's family also makes an appearance and her relationship with them is explored.
The arc includes a one year time skip between episodes 94 and The Cult of Vecna story arc 16 episodes, — revisits the mysterious and dangerous artifact that was activated beneath Whitestone Castle during the Briarwood story arc.
Scanlan finally rejoins Vox Machina, while the party now has to fight a cult which tries to summon the evil lich demigod Vecna, who seeks to ascend to true godhood and rule Exandria. His ascension actually succeeds and he becomes the only god on this side of the Divine Gate, which keeps the other gods from directly interfering in the world they created.
With the indirect help of some of the prime deities who aid them with special powers, Vox Machina are the only group of heroes who can possibly stop the "Whispered One" in one gigantic final battle. In , over a year after the first campaign ended, Critical Role produced three canonical one-shot games that feature Vox Machina in the time frame after the banishment of Vecna. More Vox Machina one-shots were unlocked as rewards and stretch goals during the Kickstarter campaign for the Critical Role animated series.
It stars Sam Riegel as Taryon Darrington, honorary member of Vox Machina, who leads a group of new characters into their own adventures. The story takes place several years after the end of "Campaign one". The second campaign began on January 11, , and follows the adventuring party known as The Mighty Nein. The story is set on the continent of Wildemount, which was briefly visited during the Vox Machina campaign.
A hiatus due to concerns around the COVID pandemic was announced on March 17, , with no date scheduled for the return of live broadcasts. They are: Fjord, a male half-orc who gained magical powers out of nowhere; Jester, a young female tiefling who follows an unknown god; Caleb, a very guarded male human wizard; Nott, a seemingly benevolent female goblin; and Beauregard "Beau" , a young human woman "on a wandering tour".
They meet Mollymauk "Molly" , a pompous tiefling, and Yasha, a quiet swordswoman, who work for a traveling circus. An Undead attack during a circus performance forces the seven to work together, as they have to prove they were not responsible for the incident. The seven individuals decide to travel together, and, after fending off a gnoll attack in the town of Alfield, name themselves "The Mighty Nein".
The Zadash story arc episodes 8—18 covers the party's adventures in the Empire city of Zadash. They do some jobs for the Crownsguard, the official police forces; but also help a secret group that fights corrupt high ranking government officials. During this time, the "Zauber Spire", a mage tower in the middle of the city, nearly crumbles in an attack.
The group run into one of the attackers, a fleeing Drow. He is later killed by Crownsguard, but the Nein — unbeknownst to anyone else — "acquire" the mysterious power source he seemingly stole from the mages of the Empire-allied Cerberus Assembly.
This event seemingly becomes the catalyst for war between the Dwendalian Empire and the Drow of the Kryn Dynasty, who rule over the eastern country of Xhorhas. Meanwhile, the Mighty Nein start doing jobs for The Gentleman, an enigmatic figure who controls the criminal underground of Zadash. During this time, it is revealed that Molly is missing many of his memories.
At the after-party, they meet Cerberus Assembly archmage Trent Ikithon. Caleb, who was not noticed, later on entrusts the horrible secrets of his past in the service of Ikithon to Nott and Beau - he was once trained to be an Empire assassin. The party also find a mysterious orb — which is suddenly sucked into Fjord's body.
For their second mission, the party travels to the Empire's northern border, where they are supposed to aid an ally of the Gentleman in the lawless city of Shady Creek Run. On their way, the party are ambushed by a group of slavers known as the "Iron Shepards". Fjord, Jester, and Yasha are kidnapped, and a rescue attempt from the rest of the Nein leads to Molly's death at the hands of Lorenzo, the leader of the slavers.
Caleb, Beau, and Nott gather new allies — including Caduceus, the last keeper of a holy graveyard in the forest outside of Shady Creek Run. They attack the Iron Shepards in their stronghold, rescuing their friends and killing the slavers.
Following these traumatic events, the group, alongside Caduceus, who wants to accompany them, returns to Zadash. After learning of Molly's fate, a grieving Yasha leaves the party temporarily. The False Serpent arc episodes 32—47 follows the Mighty Nein as they travel southwards, out of the Empire and to the city states of the Menagerie Coast.
They visit Jester's hometown, the coastal city of Nicodranas, where they meet Jester's mother, Marion Lavorre, a famed courtesan.
Surprisingly, they also meet Yasha again, who rejoins the group. Later, an absolutely crazy series of events involving the group, pirates and the city guards leads to the party fleeing by sailing a ship onto the Lucidian Ocean.
They embark on a months-long journey, discovering that Fjord's powers — and the orb — are granted to him by an ancient and evil being named "Uk'otoa", which was sealed away a long time ago. The party is forced into working with the cunning pirate captain Avantika, another one of Uk'otoa's chosen, who plans to release her ancient "god".
After breaking one of three seals that are holding Uk'otoa back, a rest on Darktow, an island controlled by pirates, gives the Mighty Nein the opportunity to sever their ties with Avantika. She is executed for treason by the "Plank King", the leader of the pirates.
Fjord, however, continues to follow Uk'otoa's path, breaking the second seal. In the end, he figures out that he does not want to release an evil calamity, and abandons the search for the third seal.
Back in Nicodranas, the Nein meet Yussah Erennis, a strange elven mage, who they entrust with a weird magical item they had found. In the Xhorhas story arc episodes 48—69 , the Mighty Nein travel east and have to deal with the reality of the war. In Felderwin, they learn that a Halfling named Yeza was taken by the Kryn, which leads Nott to confess that she is a Halfling who was magically changed into a Goblin.
She's also married to Yeza, with whom she has a son, Luc. Searching for Yeza, the group travels into the wastelands of Xhorhas. In the city of Asarius, they take on mercenary work for the Kryn, sealing a strange rift to the Abyss, the demonic plane. During the audience in the capital, Rosohna, the party are accused of espionage. In an effort to save their lives, Caleb hands over the object the party "acquired" in Zadash.
It turns out to be one of the "Beacons of the Luxon", key parts of the Kryn's religion that were stolen by the Cerberus Assembly — a reason for the war. The Mighty Nein are declared heroes, and Yeza and Nott are reunited.
Following this, the party find more demonic rifts they manage to seal. The Kryn reward them with a house in Rosohna. Over time, the Mighty Nein figure out that the rifts were opened on purpose. They chase the responsible person, Obann, to a place called Bazzoxan, where he lures them into an ancient underground temple.
Here, Obann reveals himself as a devil and releases an ancient, mad terror known as the "Laughing Hand". Also, Yasha seemingly turns on the party. She had, in the past of which she was missing memories, served under Obann in the cult of a being called the "Angel of Irons". The others barely escape with their lives, unaware that Yasha was controlled by Obann. The Angel of Irons story arc episode 70—86 follows the remaining party members after Bazzoxan.
Searching for more power to beat the Laughing Hand, the Mighty Nein travel to the "Greying Wildlands", north of the Empire and Xhorhas, where they hope to reforge an ancient sword known as the "Star Razor". With help from the Dust family, keepers of a holy kiln, as well as from a smith and a vigilante from the city of Uthodorn, the reforging process is a success. However, during their travels, the Nein only narrowly escape from an encounter with the ancient white dragon Gelidon — and during this time, Uk'otoa takes away Fjord's magical powers because he disobeyed his patron.
Fjord manages to destroy his pact weapon, and, with guidance from Caduceus, becomes a Paladin of the Cleric's goddess, the Wildmother.