It’s probably a bit of an understatement to say that people were excited for The Legend Of Vox Machina animated series. Considering that it’s the most popular TV and film Kickstarter project ever, raising over US$11.38 million (AU$15.95 million) during its campaign, it’s pretty a big deal.
Based on the popular Critical Role web series, The Legend Of Vox Machina follows the eponymous adventuring party as they attempt to protect the land of Tal’Dorei from an approaching evil. So far, the series has been a pretty great adaptation of an already pretty great series.
If The Legend Of Vox Machina is your first exposure to the world of Critical Role and you’re hungry for more adventures involving the crew, or if you’re looking for something similar, there are some great options available. From podcasts to comic books, here’s what you should encounter next if you’re enjoying The Legend Of Vox Machina.
Check out the original web series
If you’re enjoying the characters and world of The Legend Of Vox Machina, then it’s well worth your time to go back to where the story began with the original Critical Role web series that inspired it. If you want to avoid spoiling the TV show for yourself, the animated series is adapting the second major arc of Campaign 1. So you’ve got a solid 20 or so episodes you can listen to before the plots start to overlap.
If you want to totally avoid the Vox Machina story, there are two other Critical Role campaigns that you can pick up and are just as good. Each campaign features Matthew Mercer in the Dungeon Master seat and the same core cast of players from Vox Machina, except they’re all playing different characters.
Read the prequel comics
Interested in learning how Vox Machina became Vox Machina? Well, there’s a whole comic series dedicated to that story, which details the origins of each character and how this wayward band of misfits first came together as an adventuring party.
This series is partially based on the character introductions from the first few episodes of Critical Role, these comics do a pretty good job of standing as their own thing. Adaptations can be tricky, but this series lands all of the strengths of the podcast pretty well. These are solid fantasy comics. through and through.
It’s not clear if the animated series will be adapting from these prequel stories, so if you’re trying to avoid any potential spoilers, you’ve been warned.
So far, there are two trade paperback collections of Vox Machina Origins available, along with a big fancy hardcover that includes both series and a third collection due out later this year.
Enter The Adventure Zone
The Marvel to Critical Role‘s DC. Or is it the DC to Critical Role‘s Marvel? Either way, if there’s a Dungeon & Dragons podcast that rivals the popularity of Critical Role, it’s The Adventure Zone. Hosted by prolific podcasters The McElroy Brothers and their dad – all of who had barely any D&D experience between them – it’s a lot of fun listening to them fall in love with their characters and the game.
If Critical Role is a D&D podcast that happens to be very funny, then The Adventure Zone is a comedy podcast that happens to be about D&D. That’s not to say The Adventure Zone is devoid of character and world-building, or big emotional moments. There are some heart-wrenchingly emotional moments throughout, along with some story and gameplay twists that’ll make you leap out of your seat. But the McElroys are a group of funny boys first and foremost.
If you don’t want to add another D&D podcast to your playlist or if you love comics, there’s also a series of graphic novels that are based on The Adventure Zone and drawn by Carey Pietsch, with each volume covering one of the podcast’s arcs.
Coda is easily one of the best fantasy comic series of the last decade. Written by Simon Spurrier with gorgeous art by Matias Bergara, Coda is set in a fantasy world where evil has won, resulting in a cataclysm where the world’s magic has been all but destroyed. Roaming this post-apocalyptic wasteland, like a fantasy Mad Max, is Hum, a misanthropic bard with a mutant unicorn, who is on a quest to save his wife.
What makes Coda similar to Vox Machina, apart from its sense of humour, is that it has an awareness of its genre. Spurrier plays with and against expected fantasy tropes, and when combined with Bergara’s incredibly lush art, the end result is something that feels familiar but wholly unique. The whole series is only 12-issues long, so it’s a very easy series to jump into, but the kind of comic that you won’t want to put down.
Start your own Dungeon & Dragons group
I get that just because you enjoy listening to a group of people play Dungeon & Dragons doesn’t mean you want to play it too. I love watching ice hockey, but there’s no reality where I ever want to strap on a pair of skates and walk onto the ice like a newborn deer. But if you’ve really enjoyed the adventure and mystery of Vox Machina enough for it to have piqued your interest in picking up a tabletop fantasy game, the good news is that it’s incredibly easy to get into D&D in 2022.
The best place to start is to grab yourself a copy of the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit. This box set includes all the basics that you need to run a game of D&D, like a set of polyhedral dice, a Dungeon Masters screen and a pretty meaty adventure that’ll help teach you and your players the ins and outs of the game. So grab a group of friends, set aside an afternoon and roll for initiative.
It also helps to have a copy of the Player’s Handbook, which has all of the essential rules and character creation guides you’ll need when playing.
There’s even an official adventure book based on the setting of Critical Role‘s second campaign, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. It includes a short campaign that’ll get your players from the first to third level, making it a good place to start if you’ve never played D&D before.