The Terror of Tal’Dorei – Part 1
Episode 1 of The Legend of Vox Machina begins with a brief introduction to the continent of Tal-Dorei and the Kingdom of Emon.
In this magical land which once basted gods and titans, heroes are banding together to face a beast that is ravaging the lands. Even the mightiest warriors, it seems, are no match for this mysterious creature.
The Tal’Dorei council, led by Sovereign Uriel, brainstorms how to deal with this threat. They have sent out several bands of mercenaries with no luck. They would deploy General Krieg’s army, but that seems an unwise action until they know who their enemy is. If only another mercenary group would step up for the task…
Enter Vox Machina, a rag-tag band of unlikely heroes with a less than stellar reputation in the kingdom. There’s Vex’ahlia “Vex” Vessar, a half-elf ranger; her twin brother Vax’ildan the rogue; gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot; gnome bard Scanlan Shorthalt; Keyleth, a half-elf druid; Percival de Rolo III, human gunslinger; and Grog Strongjaw, goliath barbarian.
Vox Machina offers their services in exchange for a hefty sum of gold. The council sceptically agrees; it’s not as if they had anyone better in mind.
Curiously, Vex feels a strange sensation at their meeting with the council. She feels something is off with one of the members, but doesn’t mention this to anyone else.
An air ship transports them to the village where the beast was last spotted. The group interacts with villagers to get some more information, and they learn that the creature can fly. Vax gives a young boy a coin, promising that they will vanquish the monster for the sake of this town.
Vox Machina treks up the mountains. They find human footprints and follow them to… a lamb? Suddenly, the little animal is crushed by a towering, great blue dragon.
The heroes fight their foe without much luck. For a long time, Keyleth freezes in fear. When the dragon would crush them all, however, she saves them by conjuring plants to cushion their fall.
As the dragon flies away, the group is left to nurse their wounds. Vex reveals that she is familiar with dragons. One of the beasts killed her and Vax’s mother. She has studied them her entire life, hoping to find the very same creature.
Vex can sense the presence of dragons. She received the same feeling from the dragon that she did in the midst of the Tal’Dorei Council. They all conclude that one of the council members must be in league with the winged creature.
None except for Pike are keen on taking on the task, now that they know the risk. They return to the village, resolved to terminate their contract with the council. But the scene before them stops them in their tracks.
The village has been completely destroyed. A weak cry catches their attention–it’s the same child to whom Vax gave his coin. Pike tries to heal him, but has no power left from the fight, and the boy dies.
To end the episode, Scanlan announces that they will be killing a dragon. Vax takes the blood-covered coin from the dead child. If they die in the attempt, he says, they will die gloriously.
The Episode Review
Episode 1 of The Legend of Vox Machina will be a treat not only for fans of Critical Role, but also for newcomers to this Dungeons-and-Dragons-inspired world. The protagonists stand on their own in this introduction that highlights their different personalities, making you feel as if you know them intimately already.
The humour is risqué and bawdy (Thanks, Scanlan), and the dialogue is simple, but effective. Above all, the characters are compelling. Though their motives are questionable, these unlikely heroes have a unique sort of charm in their mix of personalities. The episode accomplishes a great task in creating likable characters while leaving much room for character development as the series progresses.
Episode 1 sets Vox Machina up for a grand adventure that may just integrate this scruffy group of mercenaries into the kingdom’s leadership. That is, if they can defeat this dragon.
But who is in league with the dragon? Or perhaps the better question is: Who is the dragon?