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This article is about the character. For episode, see Thordak (episode).

Abandon your gods, your paltry convictions. For now you have a new purpose: to serve me!
– 
Thordak to the people of Emon[10]
[!h]

Thordak,[1] self-titled The Cinder King,[2] was an ancient red dragon, even larger than most other ancient dragons. He and Raishan made the deal to form the Chroma Conclave.[11] With time, Thordak went mad, presumably due to the heart crystal (used to bind him to the Elemental Plane of Fire) that was embedded in his chest. Notably, Thordak killed Elaina (the mother of Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia). As an NPC, he was played by Matthew Mercer.

Thordak - Katy Grierson

Fan art of Thordak, by Katy Grierson.[art 3]

Description[]

Appearance[]

Vox Machina first saw Thordak in the Elemental Plane of Fire. At that time, Thordak had the standard appearance of a red dragon, albeit an incredibly large and ancient one.[12] On closer inspection, Gilmore could see, instead of the uniform scales of a dragon, the heart crystal in his chest, smooth and jagged and pulsing with power.[13]

In the Legend of Vox Machina, Thordak is shown to be a massive, ancient and powerful red dragon with an arrow-shaped head, with four great horns forming into a crown; the pair at the top of the head take a spiraling shape as opposed to his other two horns being curved. His long neck flares out ever so lightly thanks to his scales near the base of his head. His hide is covered in dark, armored scales and spines, leading up to the tip of his tail, armed with massive spikes in the shape of some type of club.

Personality[]

Thordak is a greedy and prideful red dragon, one who sees humanity as little more than insects, pests that are beneath his claws. He’s calculating and cunning, having planned far enough ahead to use one of the other dragons, Brimscythe to weaken Emon’s army for the destructive attack with the Chroma Conclave that would come later.

Biography[]

Background[]

Long ago, before maturing into an ancient dragon,[14] Thordak tyrannically lorded over half of the desert continent of Marquet[15] from this base in the Scaldwind Sands.[16] Thordak, with his feral armies of kobolds and other serpentine followers,[17] attacked the city of Ank'Harel when it was perhaps 100 or 150 years old,[18] but after a two-week battle, his armies were defeated and Thordak was wounded, and as he fled north over the ocean he was struck down and fell into the sea.[19] He was presumed to have died shortly thereafter from his wounds.[20]

Thordak - Sylvanidae

Fan art of Thordak, by Sylvanidae.[art 4]

Thordak was not seen again for centuries, until about 794 or 795 PD. Rumors of a powerful drake storming the beaches and seas had been whispered for a long time while ships would be lost at sea. Thordak had survived but was near dead from his fight with Devo'ssa when he was captured by the necromancer Opash who experimented on him in his laboratory on the Island of Viscan in the south of the Lucidian Ocean. These experiments made Thordak more powerful and eventually he destroyed the necromancer. Thordak became interested in Opash's notes and began to make his own additions to them, growing interested in the research into Guuthal the Ever-Fed, an ancient black dragon who evaded death by becoming a dracolich.[21] After generations of secretly ruling the Island of Viscan, the dragon (now self-crowned as "the Cinder King") grew greedier than the island's limited resources could satisfy. He began razing the Mornset Countryside, south of the Verdant Expanse and the Stormcrest Mountains.[22]

Reports of a dragon—more massive than any on record—hit Tal'Dorei. At the time, Lady Allura wasn't a part of the Council of Tal'Dorei; she was a member of an adventuring party, much like Vox Machina. Allura's party traveled to investigate, but arrived to find this creature destroying everything surrounding the Gladepools, including Port Udall and Byroden. (Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia's mother was killed during Thordak's destruction of their hometown, Byroden.) Gathering a small army of mercenaries, Allura's party hunted the creature back to its new den in the Stormcrest Mountains. They encountered resistance from a large number of lizardfolk, but eventually Allura's forces were overcome by the sheer might of the dragon himself.[23]

Knowing they could not kill Thordak, Allura called upon the Arcana Pansophical, a circle of arcane practitioners that agreed to work together across the lands to keep them safe. They devised a trap that could, they believed, permanently seal Thordak within the Elemental Plane of Fire, preventing him from ever returning to Exandria. They bound Thordak's essence to the Fountains of Creation and thought he would stay there forever. To bind him, they crafted an artifact called a "soul anchor" from the salvaged heart crystal of a primordial fire titan. The heart crystal is an immense gem of pure crystallized ruby and elemental power and energy, fifteen to twenty feet in diameter. The soul anchor crafted from this heart crystal could not be removed from the Elemental Plane of Fire, and Thordak could not escape without the anchor. Although Allura's group succeeded in trapping Thordak, many lives were lost, including three of Allura's companions: Sirus, Dohla, and Ghenn.[24]

Thordak-by-Joma-Cueto

Fan art of Thordak, by Joma Cueto.[art 5]

During his imprisonment in the Elemental Plane of Fire, Thordak was approached by Raishan. The ancient green dragon had been cursed by a druid and was slowly dying of a horrific disease. Thordak claimed to know of a cure (while in reality he knew a way for her to avoid the disease killing her, by becoming a dracolich like Guuthal the Ever-Fed), but refused to share this knowledge with her until she found a way to release him. Raishan proposed a conclave of powerful dragons to aid them and left to prepare - forming the Chroma Conclave.

Raishan's initial plan after infiltrating the Fire Ashari disguised as a human girl, was to release Thordak during the celestial solstice. However, the power he was drawing from the heart crystal was making Thordak insane and increasingly powerful. Fearing Thordak would forget the deal in his madness should she wait any longer, Raishan instead initiated the plan during the Winter's Crest Festival.[25]

"Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22)[]

Thordak-Miniature-with-Grog-for-Scale-by-Matthew-Mercer

Official miniature used forThordak next to Grog (for scale).[26]

Vox Machina saw Thordak in the Elemental Plane of Fire while Keyleth progressed in her Aramente with the Fire Ashari.[27] Thordak later escaped to the Material Plane after those events, helped by the ancient green dragon Raishan disguised as a young girl, an outcast whom the Fire Ashari adopted.[28][29]

"Omens" (1x39)[]

Thordak led the Chroma Conclave on an assault against Emon, Westruun, and (presumably) other parts of Tal'Dorei.[30]

"Desperate Measures" (1x40)[]

Lady Allura and Keyleth revealed through a scrying ritual that Thordak had returned to the Material Plane through Pyrah, devastating the area and killing druids of the Fire Ashari in the process.[31]

"The Siege of Emon" (1x78)[]

As Vox Machina and their allies entered the ruined Cloudtop District of Emon, Thordak sensed their presence and emerged from his burrow.[32]

"Thordak" (1x79)[]

Thordak - KageSatsuki

Fan art of Thordak, by KageSatsuki.[art 6]

Thordak attacked Vox Machina and a grueling battle ensued. During the battle, Raishan revealed herself and turned on Thordak, joining the assault against him. After several attacks, the scales on Thordak's chest were chipped away, revealing the crystal within. The Vestiges of Divergence wielded by Vox Machina—the last hit being an arrow of dragon slaying loosed by Vex'ahlia[33]—cracked and shattered the crystal, causing Thordak to shrink down to Raishan's size—still a very large dragon, but much smaller than he was before. Realizing the danger he was in, Thordak turned and dove down into his burrow. However, Vax'ildan swiftly chased the dragon into the hole and dealt the killing blow with Whisper.[34]

Lyall Callum Vax Thordak

Fan art of Vax landing a killing blow on Thordak, by Callum Lyall.[art 7]

"Raishan" (1x80)[]

Raishan took Thordak's corpse with her as she escaped from the red dragon's lair.[35]

Relationships[]

Thordak and especially Raishan established a loose alliance of dragons known as the Chroma Conclave,[36] which also included:

Character information[]

Notable items[]

Abilities[]

Along with the usual ancient red dragon abilities described in the Monster Manual, 5th Edition,[37] Thordak had:

  • Innate Spellcasting: Thaumaturgy[38]
  • Soul anchor, while intact, enhanced Thordak's abilities depriving him of his sanity
    • Stretched from gargantuan to colossal form, giving him extra +1 to AC (23 from 22)[39]
    • Extra 1000 HP[39]
    • Additional multiattack (4-pronged from 3-pronged multiattack)[39]
    • Mild regeneration[40]
    • If a character started within 10 ft, they received fire damage.[40]
  • +12 Strength saving throw[41]

In the Legend of Vox Machina animated series, Thordak was also shown to be able to release a “charged” breath attack by compressing the fire he breathes to the point where it burned blue hot, enhancing the breath attack to become strong enough to carve through solid rock and pierce through a mountain.

Appearances and mentions[]

Quotations[]

  • "Your monuments shall fall! Your civilization erased!"[43]
  • "Hear me, insects! You live out of mercy! Fight or flee, and you forfeit that mercy! A new age is upon you! The rule of the Chroma Conclave!"[44]

Trivia[]

  • Matthew Mercer revealed during "Talks Machina Fireside Special: Q&A with the Critical Role Cast" (Sx33) that both Thordak and Brimscythe wanted Emon for themselves. Thordak had originally planned to kill Brimscythe quietly, without the other Conclave members knowing.[45] However, Brimscythe was instead slain by Vax'ildan (who, coincidentally, would later slay Thordak during the liberation of Emon). Thus, Thordak's claim to Emon was uncontested.
  • One of the Quon a Drensal racing lizards in the Luck's Run casino is named after Thordak.[46]
  • The eggs in Thordak's lair were indeed laid by Thordak. The soul anchor embedded within his chest mutated his body, eventually allowing him to reproduce asexually.[47]
  • In the Critical Role Major Arcana Tarot Card Set, he represents "XIII - Death".[48]

In popular culture[]

  • In a video essay on transphobia and social media, Ash Hardell referred to a reptilian avatar as Thordak, alongside references to famous dragons from other popular franchises (Smaug, Charizard, Spyro, Toothless, and Mushu).[49]
  • In The Legend of Vox Machina Thordak had his own redesign, having an original look different from the traditional appearance of the red dragons from Dungeons and Dragons. His design is inspired by a lion to a certain extent, with the same kingly pride, and a set of horns that are somewhat reminiscent of a crown. While not identical, his new design does look similar to the one in Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, drawn by Kent Davis.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Matthew Mercer's tweet showed the spelling of "Thordak".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Matthew Mercer's reddit comment showed the spelling of "Cinder King" as opposed to "Cinderking".
  3. Thordak's notes in Opash's journal were written in Draconic.  See "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 3:13:22.
  4. See "Thordak" (1x79) from 3:19:49 through 3:22:32.
  5. At least 1404 HP confirmed, with an additional 48 estimated damage taken.
  6. Thordak's AC in his colossal form was 23.  See "Thordak" (1x79) from 2:18:51 through 2:19:49.
  7. Thordak's AC when shrunk back to gargantuan form was 22; after the soul anchor was destroyed.  See "Thordak" (1x79) at 2:51:55.
  8. Vax'ildan "just makes" his Dexterity save with a 24.  See "Thordak" (1x79) from 0:36:07 through 0:36:17.
  9. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 1:31:19.  Thordak had +16 on a Constitution saving throw, which is consistent with ancient red dragon stats from the Monster Manual, likely giving him the same Con score.
  10. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) at 1:16:30.
  11. See "Talks Machina Fireside Special: Q&A with the Critical Role Cast" (Sx33) at 1:40:45.
  12. See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 3:15:12.
  13. See "In Ruins" (1x41) at 2:35:28.
  14. Matthew Mercer explained on Reddit that Thordak had not yet matured to "ancient" when he attacked Ank'Harel.
  15. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) at 2:36:36.
  16. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 14:48.
  17. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 0:20:19.
  18. J'mon Sa Ord says that Thordak attacked Ank'Harel when the city was about 100 or 150 years old.  See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) from 0:16:20 through 0:16:41.
  19. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 0:21:00.
  20. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:36:18 through 2:42:03.
  21. See "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 3:12:50.
  22. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:36:18 through 2:42:03.
  23. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:36:18 through 2:42:03.
  24. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:36:18 through 2:42:03.
  25. See "Trust" (1x70) at 17:32.
  26. Official miniature of Thordak next to Grog (for scale), gifted by a Critter to Matthew Mercer, and posted by Mercer on reddit.
  27. See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 3:15:06.
  28. See "The Family Business" (1x47) from 0:47:31 through 0:49:32.
  29. See "The Family Business" (1x47) at 1:09:18.
  30. See "Omens" (1x39) at 3:30:27.
  31. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:49:42 through 2:53:41.
  32. See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) from 4:02:50 through 4:06:00.
  33. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 2:44:46.
  34. See "Thordak" (1x79) from 3:17:23 through 3:22:32.
  35. See "Raishan" (1x80) at 3:10:20.
  36. See "Talks Machina Fireside Special: Q&A with the Critical Role Cast" (Sx33) at 1:40:45.
  37. See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 286.
  38. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) at 1:15:26.  Thordak's voice was magically projected, consistent with a use of Thaumaturgy
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Monster Analysis: Thordak - CritRoleStats
  40. 40.0 40.1 Matt's commentary after the 1x79 episode - Reddit
  41. See "Thordak" (1x79) from 0:43:39 through 0:43:50.  Thordak rolled a 10 against Vex'ahlia's Bramble Shot with a DC of 16 and saved with a +12.
  42. See "The Frigid Doom" (1x64) at 0:27:20.
  43. See "Thordak burns the city of Emon".  From "Rise of the Chroma Conclave" (LVM2x01).
  44. See "Thordak burns the city of Emon".  From "Rise of the Chroma Conclave" (LVM2x01).
  45. See "Talks Machina Fireside Special: Q&A with the Critical Role Cast" (Sx33) at 1:40:45.
  46. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 2:10:35.
  47. See "Talks Machina #26: 'Level 17 Battle Royale'" (TMx26) from 1:09:15 through Time based on Twitch VOD.
  48. Death- Thordak by Ioana Muresan on DeviantArt. Muresan was the artist, as tagged by Geek & Sundry on Twitter.
  49. Hardell, Ash.  2022-03-04.  "Trauma. Transphobia. And the Internet. (why I left for 2.5 years)" from 50:59 through 52:23.  YouTube.

Art:

  1. Official art of Thordak from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.
  2. Screenshot of Thordak from "Rise of the Chroma Conclave" (LVM2x01). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  3. Fan art of Thordak, by Katy Grierson (source). Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Thordak, by Sylvanidae (source). Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Thordak, by Joma Cueto (source). Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of Thordak, by KageSatsuki (source). Used with permission.
  7. Fan art of Vax landing a killing blow on Thordak, by Callum Lyall (source). Used with permission.
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