‘Legend of Vox Machina’ will continue — even if Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t

Anyone with a hobby of gaming dungeons could feel like it’s the apocalypse.

Beginning of January, D&D Publisher Wizards of the Coast tried to update a 23-year-old agreement on the game, the Open Game License (OGL). In short, the OGL is a legal document that enables community creativity for a game focused on unity in imagination. Under the original OGL, anyone can use it D&D as a starting point and create their own content, even releasing it commercially with few restrictions.

fans don’t Respond kindly to Wizards’ recent actions to change that. Proposed updates aimed to curtail the freedom fans are accustomed to while also pouring more money into Wizards of the Coast. Everyone has an opinion, incl The opposite‘s own Corey Plante.

One of the greatest success stories of D&D’s era of openness critical rolethe popular live stream hit where professional voice actors – whose credits include the biggest hits in TV, anime and video games – act out an epic RPG adventure dungeons. After Breaking Kickstarter records In 2019, Critical Role is now offering two seasons of a streaming series on Amazon Prime Video, The Legend of Vox Machina. A third season is on the way.

On January 20 Vox Machina returns with its second season to roll the dice. The 12-episode season adapts the 46-episode arc of Critical Role titled Chroma Conclave, which first aired on Twitch in 2016-2017 and in which five evil dragons arrive to take over the world.

It’s an interesting time for a show based on a D&D Play when it feels like it D&D went up in flames. The cast and crew of Critical Role are solely focused on her Vox Machinabut when asked, they offer hope for play itself, no matter what the greatest dragons do.

“It’s been exciting to see the entire tabletop industry swell over the last 10 years,” says Matthew Mercer of Critical Role The opposite. “We are pleased that we have helped initiate this in whatever way. Watch the community grow [with] So much new talent, new designers, new ideas, new game systems and ways to engage with games, it’s an ever-expanding space.”

The Legend of Vox Machina returns to Prime Video for its second season on January 20th.Amazon Prime

dragons are here

The new season of The Legend of Vox Machina is about an alliance of evil dragons, the Chroma Conclave, who want to destroy everything in Tal’Dorei. Vox Machina picks up where Season 1 left off when the Conclave announced their presence in the capital city of Emon.

Only the brave heroes of Vox Machina – like barbaric brute Grog (Travis Willingham), siblings Vax (Liam O’Brien) and Vex (Laura Bailey), womanizer Scanlan (Sam Riegel) and more – are brave enough to stop them .

“The Chroma Conclave represents the terrifying union of dark elemental forces coming together,” explains Mercer, who wrote the original story of the Chroma Conclave as the DM of Critical Role (or Dungeon Master, the main narrator in every game of dungeons).

“The Chroma Conclave is super expensive and action packed,” says Sam Riegel, who provides the voice for Scanlan. “One of the most challenging aspects was [these] Dragons just to understand the size and scope of these huge creatures. It took a lot of animation know-how to integrate their 3D designs with our 2D characters.”

Season 2 of Vox Machina adapts Critical Role’s Chroma Conclave arc, first narrated in his livestream show on Twitch from 2016-2017.Amazon Studios

Season 1 finale Vox Machina had a dragon in the cliffhanger finale, but season 2 has more dragons with more screen time. “It was four times the rendering, four times the CG, and four times the processing power,” says Riegel.

but Vox Machina across the board features a visual upgrade performed by the wizards at animation studio Titmouse.

Riegel adds, “We gave the designs a major facelift, we gave them much more intricate textures on their skin and shading so we could do close-ups and wide-angle shots. The Titmouse team did an incredible job taking film quality visuals and bringing them to TV in less time.”

Another challenge for Vox Machina was the consolidation of 46 sessions of her D&D Play on Twitch in a dozen half-hour TV episodes. That was a task they took on last season when adapting their Briarwood Arc, but the job hasn’t got any easier.

“That’s always the tricky part,” says Travis Willingham, both the voice of Grog and the CEO of Critical Role. “It’s always a sad ceremony when we realize certain moments [from our game] won’t make it into the animated series. But it’s fun to get together as a group and throw things on a whiteboard and come to an agreement together.”

Liam O’Brien, who voices villain hunter Vax, says the team lives by a code that eases the pain: “If we don’t have time for it here, it lives forever at the table,” he says.

One of the bigger changes in Season 2 is the increased involvement of Ashley Johnson’s Pike, who was absent from most live streams due to Johnson’s filming schedule. “Pike’s presence at the table was patchy,” says Johnson, “in another world I would have been there if I hadn’t been away so often. We were able to change that and have Pike for so many of those moments, which I’m very grateful for.”Amazon Studios

A family affair

A prominent theme in this season of Vox Machina is family. The heroes’ complex backstories creep to the fore in Season 2, as a cast of new characters related by blood to Vox Machina come to their aid – or glitches.

The theme wasn’t intentional, at least for Mercer during the livestream games. “When [the players] Creating these characters gave me the opportunity to delve into their backstories,” recalls Mercer. “As the stakes of the narrative grew so large, it was important for me to focus not just on big stakes but on smaller, more personal ones. That was the right time for me to take those threads and pull them in.”

“I think we were open to exploring more intimate relationships with each other [to] tell more intimate stories,” says Ashley Johnson, who stars as the mystic cleric Pike. When Critical Role started the arc, the live stream was just over a year old. “We grew closer as friends. There was a greater emphasis on family because we all cared for each other a lot more on a deeper level. I think that’s why it felt so present.”

“I think so much of it reflected real life, like Vox Machina became a found family,” adds Marisha Ray, creative director of Critical Role and voice of the nature-loving Keyleth. “Some of us didn’t know each other before we sat at a table and now one of us would throw ourselves in front of a train for the other. That’s just the story of Vox Machina In general.”

A third season of The Legend of Vox Machina are on the way, but Critical Role’s Sam Riegel expresses hope for more seasons in the future.Amazon Studios

Along the road

For all the math crunching in a game D&Dnobody figured it all out.

Here’s what we know: The Legend of Vox Machina will have a third season, one that Sam Riegel teases will expand the scope of the series on a cosmic scale. “We can draw from hundreds of hours of gameplay,” he says, “if we get far enough to tell the whole story, Vox Machina will encounter universal problems. cosmic problems. god stuff. There is much more to tell. We could do that for four or five seasons and maybe longer.”

But beyond Season 3 and the reality that RPG fans are navigating a strained relationship with the most popular RPG of all time, it’s all a roll of the dice. For Critical Role built on their bones dungeonsThere is a holistic view that no matter what happens, as long as there are tables to play at, tabletop gaming will live on.

“I think it’s an exciting time,” says Willingham The opposite. “It’s special for someone like me who got into tabletop gaming later in life. It was an opportunity to get closer to my friends and newfound family, and to cultivate relationships that I don’t think I would have under any other circumstances. I think the future is very bright.”

“Tabletop gaming doesn’t lead anywhere,” adds Riegel. “The people who play and the creators who make games realize how damn fun it is and how human it is to tell stories with friends. The dynamism does not come from us and not from any company. That’s because people have woken up and realized that this stuff is just plain fun. It’s a wonderful way of sharing humanity. It will get more interesting in the years to come.”

The Legend of Vox Machina Season 2 will stream on Prime Video on January 20th.

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