"The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) is a summary of Vox Machina's campaign adventures before they began streaming on Geek & Sundry's Critical Role. Narrated by the Critical Role cast and illustrated by Wendy Sullivan Green, "The Story of Vox Machina" covers the party's meeting in Stilben through their acceptance of Allura Vysoren's quest to find Lady Kima of Vord.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 External Links
- 3 References
Narration by Matthew Mercer
As Matthew Mercer narrates, the story of Vox Machina is one example of a tale that started from humble beginnings. The team, originally comprised of the goliath barbarian Grog Strongjaw, the dragonborn sorcerer Tiberius Stormwind, the gnome bard Scanlan Shorthalt, the half-elven druid of the Ashari Keyleth, the half-elven rogue Vax'ildan, and his twin sister, the half-elven ranger Vex'ahlia, meet each other in the swamp town of Stilben as a ragtag group of mercenaries in search of work. They find a job board posting that takes them to Fendril Vas, the elven head of a small merchant empire, who hires the group to investigate a new competition in town known as the Myriad.
Their mission leads them to a chamber containing a planar rift that pulls the group into the plane of the undead fetal-formed deity Crysa-Thul, who reveals that their contract with the elven merchant was merely a ruse to lure them to his home so the god could feed on them. The party fights back, destroying the abomination of a creature and returns to Stilben and repay Vas for his deceit with, as Matthew Mercer describes, with a blade to the throat.
Narration by Laura Bailey
Weeks later, the party has not heard from Grog since the goliath suddenly departed to the city of Westruun. The other members of the party travel to Westruun in search of him and meet with his childhood friend, the gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot. According to Pike, Grog has been acting strangely and went off on his own through the Bramblewood Forest towards the looming Gatshadow Mountain. The party, now including Pike, follow their friend through the forest. Along the way, they defeat a group of roadside thieves, and make their way to the mountain. Within, they discover an abandoned subterranean city housing a crypt that contains a mind-controlled Grog and the reanimated corpse of his father Stonejaw. Controlling the goliaths is a dying mage attempting a ritual to lichdom. Before the party is able to slay the mage, he manages to complete the ritual and embed his phylactery into Grog's chest.
Returning to Westruun, the party searches for aid but have difficulty finding anyone with enough knowledge or power to help Grog. In addition, they hear rumors of missing children. The party contemplates all of this at a local inn when they are approached by an elf named Drez Vina, who offers to pay them well to infiltrate the tower of an Archmage and retrieve a particular brass box from within. Hoping to speak with this Archmage, the party accepts the mysterious elf's task and pushes through arcane trap after trap. They eventually make it to the top of the tower, where they decide against stealing the box, instead speaking with the Archmage and keeper of the tower, Realmseer Eskil Ryndarien, for help.
The Realmseer agrees to help and sends the party to collect two items he requires for a ritual to rid Grog of the phylactery in his chest: the skull of a Nightmare and the Heart of a Nymph. Ryndarien also informs the party that their foe had indeed become a lich and, if the phylactery is not removed in time, he will be reborn within Grog in two weeks. With this new information, the party travels north to the Umbra Hills, where they battle a small cult to slay their infernal messenger and his Nightmare steed. There, they meet, befriend, and free from imprisonment the human gunslinger Percival de Rolo, who joins the party.
From there, the travel south to the Frostweald. Venturing into the frozen forest, they fight against the native basilisks and encounter a single unfrozen pool of water. The party manages to coax a nymph out from the pool. After speaking with the nymph, Grog follows her back to her dimensional sanctuary and returns shortly after, holding a jewel gifted by the nymph: her "heart".
Narration by Liam O'Brien
Components in hand, the party returns to Westruun, where the Archmage leads a successful ritual that destroys the phylactery in time, leaving some lingering necromancy branded within Grog. Drez Vina approaches the party for a second time, informing them that his master is displeased with their failure to follow through on their contract. The elf demands that either the debt be paid off, or the party completes a more difficult contract instead. The party accepts the latter option and heads southeast to the Shadebarrow, an ancient druidic burial chamber that was purchased and renovated by an eccentric lord to make it his own tomb. Inside, the party battles the burial chamber's undead denizens and locates the lord's tomb, as well as the Iron Golem guarding it. They defeat the golem and tear the Arcane Cortex from its chest. They return to Westruun and give Vina the Cortex, fulfilling their contract. The party takes some time off to rest and relax. A clean-shaven dwarf named Kradin Grimthorne approaches them and offers to represent them in a nearby underground fighting ring. They agree and fight their way in the ring to victory.
Westruun bustles with activity as Winter's Crest approaches. During the holiday season, a strangle blue crystal is delivered into town in the name of Archmage Eskil Ryndarien. This crystal suddenly detonates, freezing the entire populace in ice. The party, however, is protected by a mystic merchant named Noja, who magically shields the party from the icy blast. Where the crystal previously stood now stands a pale, frail, nude woman with long, white hair, who opens a portal and leaps through. The party gives chase, finding themselves in an icy, frozen world, where the woman reveals her true form: a white dragon, albeit one weakened by her premature rebirth. The party battles the dragon and defeats her; with the dragon dead, the people of Westruun are freed from the ice.
Unfortunately, Eskil Ryndarien is put on trial for the attack on Westruun, but the party intervenes and proves his innocence. In return, Eskil investigates the source of the blue crystal and discovers that it was delivered by a powerful organization of thieves known as the Clasp. Vax, once a member of the Clasp, knows that the group's main headquarters is in Emon, the capital city of Tal'Dorei. The party, now known as Vox Machina, heads out west towards the capital.
Narration by Ashley Johnson
Once Vox Machina arrives in the metropolis of Emon, they continue to hear rumors of children disappearing and also hear that, before the children vanish, they are seen with a boy with black hair and golden eyes. While they investigate, the party completes a few odd jobs, one of which leads them to the home of Syldor Vessar, the father of Vex and Vax, who learn that their father has remarried and has a new daughter. In town as ambassador to Syngorn, Syldor is seeking aid from the city's ruler, Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III, but a recent assassination attempt on the royal family has tensed the political climate of Emon and making the Sovereign unreachable. In addition, Syldor's connection within the Tal'Dorei Council, Sir Gregory Fince, has gone missing, so he hires the party to search for him so Syldor can continue with his business.
The party locates and infiltrates the seemingly dark and still home of Sir Gregory. Inside, they find a dark presence and end up battling demons in the basement. The demons are slain and Vox Machina finds the tortured corpse of Sir Gregory, as well as his notes on the attempted assassination of Uriel and his family. According to Sir Gregory, since the attempt, the royal family has been acting strange and withdrawn, with Uriel absent from the Council most hours, and his wife Salda Tal'Dorei demanding she attend all meetings, where she will whisper in her husband's ear and scoff at any who defy them. Mentioned often in the notes is a General Krieg, who thwarted the assassination. The party decides to meet and talk with him.
As the party exits the basement, Grog, Tiberius, Vex, Percy, and Keyleth fall into a trap, tumbling into a cistern and into a subterranean river system. They land on a small island in the center of the vast Crystalfen Lake, where they are attacked by an aboleth residing in the lake. The party barely manages to escape and find themselves in the ruins of an ancient town that contains a small hut, home to a hag named Trysta. In her hut, Tiberius finds one of the artifacts he was searching for. He makes a dangerous deal to acquire it, trading a piece of his luck with the hag to acquire the Wheel of Mending. The party asks for information on how to escape to the surface, which Trysta promises in exchange for their aid in slaying a newly nested umber hulk that serves as a nuisance to her work. The party agrees and climbs to the top of the Crystalfen Cavern to battle the creature. During the fight, Grog is tossed from the cavern ceiling and nearly dies upon impact with the island. Their barbarian absent, the fight seems to go south but victory is eventually theirs and the Umber hulk is slain. The party returns to Trysta's hut, where the hag reveals a hidden staircase that leads up into Emon's Graveyard District.
Narration by Travis Willingham
The other party members — Vax, Pike, and Scanlan — set out to find where the cistern could have drained to. After Scanlan leaves to find a map of Emon's sewer system, Vax and Pike notice that they are being followed through town. They lead their pursuers into an alley, where the shadowed figures attack and eventually knock them unconscious. Vax and Pike awaken in the headquarters of the Clasp, meeting with one of their leaders (known as "Spirelings"), Modeth Lai. He reveals that the Clasp has Sir Gregory's home under surveillance, as a tense political climate encroaches difficulty upon the business of the Clasp, and when Vox Machina was seen leaving the building, they had to be interrogated. Vax reveals his membership to the Clasp's Westruun sect, so Modeth calls for a test of their skills and intent. The Clasp forces the rogue and cleric to battle a chained chimera in their arena. The chimera is slain, but an unconvinced Modeth has the two held overnight. During the night, Pike and Vax manage to escape and reunite with the rest of the party in the Graveyard District.
Knowing their next step is to speak with General Krieg, Vax forges a letter of summons in Sir Gregory's handwriting, buying them entry into the heavily guarded Cloudtop District, Emon's central district, where the party heads to the Citrine Garrison and speaks with Krieg. The general seems nice, shows interest upon learning of the Clasp's involvement, mentions the difficulty in speaking with Uriel since the assassination attempt, and is sad to hear of Sir Gregory's death. However, he warns the party to leave the investigation to the officials.
Vox Machina heads to the Palace to try and speak with Uriel, but finds that entry is barred. They see that another individual, a golden-haired woman in fancy blue robes, is also being denied entry. Talking with her, they learn that she is Allura Vysoren, a powerful arcanist and a member of the Tal'Dorei Council. She tells the party that Uriel is a good and trusted man, but his recent actions, as are those of his wife, are suspicious. After a week of being denied entry into the Council chambers, she is about to give up. The party informs her of what they have discovered over the course of their investigation, so she invites them to her home, the Ivory Tower, where they can talk privately.
Narration by Sam Riegel
In the Ivory Tower, Allura and Vox Machina make an alliance, and she and Keyleth perform a Scrying ritual on the palace. Their vision reveals that Uriel and his entire family are under the influence of a demonic force, addling Uriel's mind and using him as a mouthpiece for their plot. Using Vax and Pike's knowledge of an entrance, the party decides to pay a visit to the Clasp, and confront Spireling Modeth in his chambers. The ensuing fight ends with Modeth's head on the floor and the party's theft of four glowing crystal in the Spireling's possession. As they try to leave, they are attacked by a mob of Clasp members led by another dangerous Spireling. Fortunately, Scanlan manages to deceive the Clasp into allowing them to leave unharmed.
Vox Machina returns to the Ivory Tower, where the find the front door ajar and evidence of some sort of scuffle inside. Climbing to the top of the tower, they conclude that Allura was attacked a demonic entity but apparently managed to escape. Unfortunately, the party ends up triggering a magical defense of the tower, causing the building to collapse in on itself. The party escapes thanks to the discovery of a Carpet of Flying and see that Allura's tower has compacted itself into a small, magical pearl. The party then heads to the home of General Krieg, where they find a brainwashed servant and a hidden passage that leads them to a teleportation circle. Using the circle, the party is transported to a cavern high in the mountains. Inside, they discover an incredible hoard of treasure, including gold, jewels, and fine trinkets. Across the room are four large, obsidian orbs placed in the rock walls. One of the party members touches an orb, and a giant reptilian eye appears in it. A voice erupts, calling for a "Brimscythe", and when the eye sees the unfamiliar faces of the party in the cavern, the voice says "Intruders. I know your face now. He is a fool, and so are you, insect." With that, the orbs all crack and become inert.
Grog dives into the hoard of treasure and begins to loot it in a rage. At that point, however, General Krieg appears in the teleportation circle. Angrily denouncing the party, the general reveals his true form: a great blue dragon named Brimscythe.
Narration by Marisha Ray
The ensuing battle is difficult, but Vax lands the killing blow, dragging his daggers down the dragon's neck. In his death throes, Brimscythe thrashes about, smashing into the cavern's support pillars and causing the room the collapse. The party barely escapes, taking the teleportation circle back to Krieg's home in Emon. They find Allura, who warns the party that the evil that is feeding on the throne is growing bolder. She explains that she was attacked shortly after the party left after their Scrying ritual and barely escaped. Dark clouds begin to fill the sky above Emon, and Vox Machina decides that the time to strike has come. Allura leads them in infiltrating the Palace, where they storm the throne room.
Inside the throne room, Uriel sits upon his throne, surrounded by his possessed family. Vox Machina attacks and banishes the shadows in their bodies. The throne itself cracks in half as the dais below glows a deep red, summoning the entity behind the entire scheme: a devil prince named Juurezel. Juurezel tells the party of a great war between devils and demons spilling into the Material Plane that could threaten all creation. He justifies his actions, noting the presence of demonic forces throughout the city of Emon and the devastation that will ensue if the party stops him. The devil prince requests their aid in destroying demons in the city and offers a single Wish if they make a pact with him. The party, reading him as honest, deliberates and agrees. As they leave, they think over what they just agreed to and decide to return to the throne room, where they ask for their Wish to be provided to aid them in demon hunting. Vox Machina wishes to cancel their contract with the fiend, and attack.
Infuriated, Juurezel transforms into his true form as a treachery demon, or glabrezu. A long and deadly battle in the throne room follows. During the fight, Juurezel kills Pike by cutting the gnome cleric in half with his pincer. Her death fresh in the minds of her partymates, Vox Machina lands the killing blow, sending the demon back to the Abyss. They gather the body of their fallen friend and rush to a nearby temple of her deity Sarenrae, where they attempt a resurrection ritual, and succeed in bringing her back to life.
Narration by Taliesin Jaffe
The dark clouds in the sky disperse, but the royal family lies catatonic on the floor of the throne room. Upon inspection, the party finds that their souls are missing and that their bodies are failing. Recalling the four glowing crystals they stole from Spireling Modeth's chambers in the Clasp's headquarters, they identify them as Soul Jars. After a rigorous and intense evening, all of the souls of the royal family are restored to their bodies.
A few days later, Sovereign Uriel calls for an audience with Vox Machina. He thanks them for their heroism, bravery, and the fact that they had saved not just him and the royal family, but quite possibly all of Emon. In thanks, he offers the party a place on the Tal'Dorei Council and has decided to throw another Winter's Crest Festival to make up for the previous ones in Emon and Westruun interrupted by various attacks. Vox Machina is celebrated as heroes, and as a sign of his deep gratitude, Uriel has also commissioned the construction of a keep for them on the outskirts of the city.
A week passes and the new Winter's Crest Festival commences. The populace is out to meet and celebrates Vox Machina, but during the festivities, the party notices Gren Tal'Dorei, the son of Uriel, chatting with a boy with black hair and golden eyes. Remembering the rumors of children meeting a boy of that exact description before disappearing, the party springs into action and chases the boys into an alley and through some kind of portal. The party finds themself atop a large, forested island drifting through the Astral Plane. They fight their way through and enter a large, gothic mansion in the center of the floating landmass. Inside, they make their way to the inner library, where they see a number of kidnapped children working about the place and cleaning nervously. The golden-eyed boy, calling himself the Dread Emperor, stands from his chair and dispels the magical illusion of a child, revealing a golden-armored man with long, black hair, with four children chained at the neck to his breastplate. He attacks the party with fierce magic and mind-controls the children into attacking as well. As the party strikes the first blow against the Dread Emperor, they realize that any damage dealt to him is also transferred to the chained children. One boy falls to Keyleth's magic after the druid tries to use Grasping Vine to yank him away from the chain, snapping his neck. Eventually, the Dread Emperor is slain and the party returns with the kidnapped children to Emon.
Six months of peace follow as their keep is constructed. During this time, the party scatters to go about their own business. Upon their return, they are delighted with the fortress and name it "Greyskull Keep" and send out job inquiries for guards and servants. After an "impromptu try-out", they hire their employees and settle into their new home.
Narration by Matthew Mercer
That evening, Arcanist Allura Vysoren pays them a visit. She and the party have dinner together and trade tales of their past months before asking if she could hire their services for a matter of great personal importance: Lady Kima of Vord, a longtime friend and ally of the arcanist, has gone missing following a vision quest from her deity Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon. In her last letter, Kima had written of an evil taking root deep within the dwarven city of Kraghammer, Allura is deeply worried for her safety. While she cannot go herself, she provides Vox Machina with the proper paperwork for entry, and promises to pay well if they can find and aid Kima and return with her safely.
The party agrees to assist their friend and sets out for Kraghammer on horseback the very next day. As for the rest of their adventures, as Matthew Mercer notes, "...the legend of Vox Machina is still being written."