The Ashari are a multiracial people divided into four tribes: Air, Earth, Water, and Fire. Each of the four tribes live in locations where the Elemental Planes have bled into the Material Plane. The Ashari make it their duty to guard these portals, ensuring that nothing dangerous is able to pass between the planes.
The Ashari are, for the most part, insular, living in remote areas and only occasionally interacting with the outside world or even each other. Their tribes are made up of a diversity of races; in Tal'Dorei, genasi are most often found among the Ashari rather than common society.
In their role as guardians of the Elemental Planes portals, the Ashari have developed deep connections to their respective elements that influence each Ashari's culture. Their leaders are usually skilled in druidic or other nature magics, but their societies include a variety of professions and classes aside from druids.
The Ashari greet each other with the word "Kaitiakè" (meaning respect, guardian, keeper) as a sort of salute.
Once in every generation, in each of the four tribes, a member is chosen to set out on an Aramenté, or "Noble Odyssey". During this journey, this Ashari member seeks out each of the other tribes and ventures through the portals they guard. Upon completion of this journey, the empowered Ashari member's lifespan increases significantly (Keyleth estimated that she would live a thousand years or more) and becomes the elemental master of their respective tribe. The person chosen for an Aramenté is usually—but not necessarily—a druid or nature cleric.
This tribe lacked a headmaster for some years. Keyleth's mother, Vilya, was set to become headmaster and had embarked on her Aramenté, but never returned. Korrin, Keyleth's father, served as acting leader of the Air Ashari in the interim.
After years passed with no word from Vilya, Keyleth finally set off on her own Aramenté. She would eventually complete the task that her mother could not, earning the title of "Voice of the Tempest." Keyleth returned to Zephrah and took her place as headmaster there.
Despite limited interaction with the outside world and with the other Ashari, Korrin led a contingent to aid the Fire Ashari in re-sealing the rift created by Thordak's escape. He also led a military force of Air Ashari providing air support to Fort Daxio's forces during the siege of Emon.
The Earth Ashari were the first tribe that Keyleth visited on her Aramenté. She performed a task for them in the Earth Plane but was not fully successful. One of the aspects of the task involved the consumption of oloore root tea, which initiates a vision quest for the drinker.
Keyleth, along with the rest of Vox Machina, visited the Fire Ashari as part of her Aramenté. There, they journeyed through the portal to complete a task in the Fire Plane. On completion, Keyleth was given a spark stone by Cerkonos as a token of her success.
After Vox Machina left, the Fire Ashari were devastated by the ancient red dragon, Thordak, on his escape from the Fire Plane into the Material Plane. Many members of their tribe were killed, and Cerkonos lost an arm. As elementals and other creatures from the Fire Plane began escaping through the rift that Thordak left open, Vox Machina, along with Gern Blanston and a contingent from the Air Ashari, helped the Fire Ashari to re-seal the rift.
The elite elementalists of the Pyrah are called firetamers. A half-orc named Lorkathar leads a group of firetamers and other elemental specialists at the makeshift Flamereach Outpost on the outskirts of Emon; there they watch over the Scar of the Cinder King, which (as of 812 PD) had not been fully healed.
Visiting the Water Ashari was the third and final task of Keyleth's Aramenté. There, she journeyed with Vox Machina into the Water Plane to collect lodestones from a kraken, nearly losing several members of the party in the process. Upon their return, Uvenda confessed that perhaps the task had become too dangerous and agreed to reconsider it for the future. Keyleth was then granted the 9th-level spell Shapechange by Uvenda in celebration of her success.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 30.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 1:17:27. Keyleth claims that the Ashari as they are today were formed 900-1000 years before the present time, 810 PD.
- Matthew Mercer clarified on Twitter that non-druid classes exist in the Ashari and the leaders are not always druids (source).
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22).
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 1:17:27.
- See "Daring Days" (1x86) from 3:12:55 through 3:17:06. Keyleth says the Vesrah are insular. Pa'tice, headmaster of the Earth Ashari, says he hasn't attended anything with the Water Ashari in a long time.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 28.
- Marisha Ray explained the meaning of "Kaitiakè" on Twitter (source).
- Marisha Ray spelled Aramenté with an accented "e" (source).
- See "Hope" (1x56) at 3:07:49.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 30-31.
- See "Onward to Vesrah" (1x87) at 3:30:47.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 31.
- See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 3:35:15.
- See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 3:34:27 through 3:51:12.
- See "The Chapter Closes" (1x115) at 4:10:19.
- See "Cindergrove Revisited" (1x46) at 9:55.
- See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) from 1:46:25 through 1:52:29.
- See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) at 3:51:46.
- Name of the Earth Ashari's home provided by Marisha Ray on Twitter (source).
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 2:51:55.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 2:56:00.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 2:55:54.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 2:47:29.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 2:51:35.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 4:14:45.
- See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) at 2:52:24.
- See "Those Who Walk Away" (1x45) at 2:47:26.
- See "Cindergrove Revisited" (1x46) at 3:07:11.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 127–128. See also pp. 95–96.
- See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 4:18:38.
- See "Daring Days" (1x86) at 3:13:49.
- See "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 0:14:44. Matt summarizes the difficult battle in the previous episode.
- See "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 2:05:49.
- Fan art of Vilya reuniting with Keyleth at Zephrah, by Toby Sharp (source). Used with permission.
- Official art of Terrah, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Cerkonos, by Andrew Keller (source). Permission needed.
- Fan art of Keyleth outside Vesrah, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.