For those of you who are frequent readers here, but aren’t fans of Critical Role, it may be hard to understand my fascination with the web series that is, really, nothing more than a group of anime and video game voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons. A fascination that I dedicate an entire day, each week, to sharing, showcasing, and promoting.
I guess the only way I can really describe it is to say that it is everything I love, all in one place. Actors I have been a huge fan of for a good bit of time, such as Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham, the English voice actors for Lust and Roy Mustang, respectively. People that I have, in a lot of ways, always wished I could have a chance to know better, and through Critical Role, got that chance.
I’ve actively played D&D for almost 35 years now. It’s the game that inspired me to be a fantasy author, helped me define my principles, my morals, and my ethics. That helped me understand who I was, and who I wanted to be, by allowing me to explore an endless series of options. It’s more than a game to me. It’s what made me who I am today.
It’s my love of fantasy, and of writing. Watching Matt Mercer craft a world, and adventures, and seeing how the choices and actions of the players alter the narrative, and the setting. It’s interactive at a level you can’t get anywhere else, doing anything else. It’s almost a pure form of creativity, wit a group of people collectively both entertaining themselves, and telling a story. It’s beyond just writing an epic fantasy story. It’s the act of creating one by your own decisions, and a bit of luck.
It’s all of that, and more, really. Too much to try to explain, considering I’m not sure I could if I wanted to. All things that drew me in, and made me fall in love with the adventuring band known as Vox Machina.
I joined them in battling Mind Flayers, Beholders, vampires, necromancers, dragons, and a newly born god. I held my breath with them, and cheered with them, and wept with them. Watching Critical Role is more than just following a story. It’s being part of it. The luck of the dice determines who lives and who dies, not ratings, or even the overall narrative of the story itself. In any given battle, one of the characters could have been lost forever, and there was no way of being sure. Just because they were in the opening credits meant nothing.
But, now, as all good things must, the story of Vox Machina has come to an end. The campaign has closed, and the brave band of heroes have fought their last battle. The adventures of Grog, Pike, Vax, Vex, Percy, Keyleath, and Scanlan is over.
While this is hardly the end of Critical Role, it is the end of a major part of it. Come the new year, the gang will return, with new characters, and begin a new adventure. The characters we first met, however, have made their final bow, and left the stage. It feels strange, knowing that soon, the cast will gather one again, but the personas we have known for so long will be replaced by new ones.
I’m left with a lot of feelings about this. For a lot of reasons. Most too complex to get into.
So, this month, I’ll be helping others say goodbye to Vox Machina. Youtube is full to overflowing with tributes, goodbyes, and thanks to both the cast, and the characters. While I may struggle to find my own words, I can certainly help those who haven’t, spread their feelings.
Yes, we Critters are a strange lot.
Farewell, Vox Machina. May the wind be ever at your back.