Written by Andre Todman
Starting out as a group of voice actors with a passion for Dungeons & Dragons, Critical Role has become a worldwide phenomenon – its popularity highlighted by the wealth of fans that caught Supa-Stars Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey at Supanova last year.
With season two premiering in Australia today via Twitch, we look back on the journey so far and what you can expect from season two.
Season one recap
The first 16 episodes follow the Kraghammer story arc, where Vox Machina travel underground into a network of interconnected caverns and tunnels called the Underdark, to save Lady Kima of Vord, a Halfling paladin of Bahamut. The group encounter many dangerous foes on their mission and suffer many injuries, betrayals, and near-deaths, but ultimately have a bunch of fun on the way.
The main enemy is a Beholder named K’varn, who controls an army of Illithid and Duergar, using a control device on the top of his temple. He also possesses an artefact known as the Horn of Orcus, which gives him the power of Orcus, the god of undeath.
Lady Kima persuades the group to fight the head of K’varn’s military force, a Duergar King, and Queen, and with the help of magic, Tiberius tries to pose as a deity who rides a giant scorpion, to distract the King and Queen. It goes as well as you would expect but offers a hilarious commentary of Tiberius as a god.
In the final showdown with K’varn, a Formorian is polymorphed into a mouse and dropped onto the temple by a great height, polymorphs back into a giant and destroys the top of the temple. The party fights K’varn in an impressive battle and continuously kill him until they are able to wrench the Horn of Orcus from his head.
Dedicating the last few episodes to planning the ‘safe keep’ of the Horn and the voyage to Vasselheim where they journey into the Temple of Bahamut to place the Horn into a protective chamber.
Episodes 17 to 23 follow the Vasselheim story arc and features the party split into two groups as they complete two separate tasks to gain entry into the Slayer’s Take, a local Adventurer’s Guild. The arc is an interesting test to see how the band work without certain members and features the extremely entertaining presence of Felicia Day, Mary McGlynn, Will Friedle, and Will Wheaton’s famous one rolls. Later in the arc, it also includes a fascinating insight into Keyleth’s backstory with her mother as she visits a related Druid tribe.
The rest of the episodes features the Chroma Conclave story, where the beautiful city of Tai’Dorei is attacked by four Ancient Chromatic Dragons who try to divide the kingdom evenly. The team adventure to find The Vestiges of Divergence, a series of framed magic items that will defeat the Dragons and bring peace back to the land. The team also travel with an aspiring Author who travels to Vesrah to finish Keyleth’s Aramente and also journey through the nine hells to kill the Rakshasa Hotis. The last episodes feature a return of Lady Briarwood, who tries to summon the evil lich demigod Vecra.
What to expect from season two
Wow, what a journey the Vox Machina team went through, but don’t relax just yet because it is going to be a crazy adventure for season two.
There is news that the campaign will take place 10-20 years during these characters’ lives and will include arcs that will last for months or possibly years (in game time) during their character’s adventures. This sounds really exciting because we will be able to closely follow the challenges and success of each character through their journey. It is also said that, unlike the first season, their won’t be as many ‘monster quest’ arcs where they journey for the head of a certain monster. Instead, there will be more political conflicts and wars on a grander scale that will force them to use other ways than just ‘killing’ to deal with conflict.
This is going to be one hell of an emotional rollercoaster for Critical Role fans who were hoping for a new campaign of intrigue, tense fights and laugh out loud situations.