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The cast (clockwise from top-left): Liam O'Brien, Ashley Johnson, Taliesin Jaffe, Laura Bailey, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham, Marisha Ray, & Matthew Mercer.

"Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons!"
Matthew Mercer, introducing each episode

Critical Role is a weekly Actual Play web video series where a group of well-known voiceover artists and actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. With a cast of talented performers playing every role in the game, you know you're in for a good time.

It began as a one-time adventure developed by Matthew Mercer as a birthday present for Liam O'Brien in 2013. However, it was so well received by the group (most of whom had never played D&D before) that it grew into a regularly-occurring game played on their own time for over a year, gathering more players along the way. Eventually, Matt was invited to livestream the game as part of the Geek & Sundry web channel, creating the show we know as Critical Role. While the original campaign was played using the Pathfinder game system, Critical Role saw the group convert to a home-ruled version of Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition).


Critical Role launched on Geek & Sundry in 2015 and became its biggest draw, proving to be an instant success due to the big names behind it and the charm of the show itself. The show spawned a huge fandom and inspired many to try out Dungeons & Dragons for the first time, thanks to it showing just how fun and imaginative tabletop gaming can be. It has even been credited with playing a massive part in the resurgence of Dungeons & Dragons in the past few years.

In June 2018, Critical Role moved production into its own newly-acquired studio and launched its own website, Twitch and YouTube channels along with several new spinoff shows: Handbooker Helper (short D&D tutorial videos for beginners), Between The Sheets (in-depth, one-to-one interviews with the cast and celebrities, and hosted by Brian W. Foster), and All Work No Play (an adaptation of Liam and Sam's original pre-stream podcast where they try new activities). In 2019, they added three more shows: MAME Drop (Taliesin and the cast play retro games), Pub Draw (Babs Tarr teaches Marisha to draw) and Travis Willingham's Yee-Haw Game Ranch (Brian and Travis play video games while trapped(?) in an increasingly complex framing device with puppets). In February 2019, the cast announced that they had officially separated from Geek & Sundry, moving the main show and Talks Machina (a long-running Companion Show hosted by Brian where the cast discuss recent events in the campaign) to the Critical Role website, Twitch and Youtube channels.


In October 2019, Mini Primetime with Will Friedle premiered on the channel, hosted by Will Friedle, where he teaches the cast and the audience how to paint their characters' miniatures.

In 2020, alongside with a second season of All Work No Play, there have so far been 2 social-distancing compliant versions of preexisting shows, as well as three new ones: Yee-Haw Off the Ranch (Brian and Ashley play video games while occasionally getting Zoom calls from yet more puppets) and AWNP: Unplugged (Liam and Sam catch up with each other and some very special guests over video chat) in the former category, and Critter Hug (Matt and Mica Burton talk about lesser known creators in the Tabletop Gaming sphere), Narrative Telephone (A game in which one member of the cast records themselves telling a story, sends it to another, who must watch it once and only once, and then retell it, rinse and repeat), and Mighty Vibes (Lo-Fi music set to animation of the player characters) in the latter.

The cast for the first campaign is as follows:

Together, they raid dungeons, and are pretty damn funny doing it.

The second campaign of Critical Role began airing on 11th January 2018. Taking place over twenty years after the events of the first campaign, this new adventure is set on the continent of Wildemount and features a brand new set of player characters. In contrast to the blossoming frontier of Tal'dorei, Wildemount is steeped in the rust of the ancient Dwendalian Empire: a nation where security is bought with fealty, money flows to the rich and devious, and whispers of discontent lurk in the shadows of gilded walls.

The cast for the second campaign is as follows:

  • Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master.
  • Liam O'Brien as Caleb Widogast, human wizard (accompanied by his cat familiar Frumpkin).
  • Laura Bailey as Jester Lavorre, tiefling cleric.
  • Ashley Johnson as Yasha Nydoorin, aasimar barbarian.
  • Travis Willingham as Fjord, half-orc warlock and later paladin.
  • Taliesin Jaffe as Mollymauk Tealeaf, tiefling blood hunter. Although he spends the majority of the campaign as Caduceus Clay, firbolg cleric, after Molly is taken out of commission fairly early on.
  • Marisha Ray as Beauregard Lionett, human monk.
  • Sam Riegel as Nott the Brave, goblin rogue. Later halfling rogue.

You can watch the show live on the official Critical Role channel every Thursday evening (well into the morning hours of Friday for those in Europe and beyond). Archived VODs of episodes 1-51 are available via the Geek & Sundry youtube or the G&S website. As of episode 52 production has officially separated from G&S and new episodes are now hosted by the official CR Youtube.

    Spin-Off Media 
  • Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting (2017) - A setting guide written by Matt and released by Green Ronin, allowing fans to craft their own journeys in the world of Critical Role. The guide was designed for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Matt hopes to release more guides in the future focusing on Exandria's other continents.
  • Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins (2017-2018) - A six-issue miniseries published by Dark Horse, written by Matthew Colville along with Matthew Mercer, and drawn by Olivia Samson. It tells the story of how the members of Vox Machina first met, as they dealt with a mysterious "curse" affecting the town of Stilben.
    • Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Series II (2019-2020)
    • Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Series III (2021)
  • The Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount (2020) - A 5th Edition campaign guide published by Wizards of the Coast and written by Matthew Mercer with a team of designers including Chris Lockey, James Introcaso, and James Haeck.
  • Critical Role: The Tales of Exandria (2021) - A four issue comic series from Dark Horse focusing on on side characters and stories.
  • Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins (2021) - A series of graphic novels published by Dark Horse that tell the backstory of each member of the Mighty Nein before they met.
  • Critical Role: Vox Machina: Kith & Kin (2021) - A prequel novel by Marieke Nijkamp.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina (2021) - In March 2019, Critical Role launched a Kickstarter to produce an 22-minute animated special with Titmouse. They hit their $750,000 minimum funding in 40 minutes, hit $1 million in 56 minutes, and in a mere seven hours and 20 minutes smashed through all their initial stretch goals by raising $3 million. They added extra stretch goals, and finally ended with over $10 million: enough to turn the animated special into a two-episode original story, fund an adaptation of the Briarwoods arc spanning eight episodes, and force Travis to be filmed while going through a Haunted House. By the time the Kickstarter ended they'd raised over $11 million making them one of the most successful projects in Kickstarter history.

Life needs Tropes to live.

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Tropes found in both seasons:

  • Acting for Dozens:
    • In-Universe, which is to say real life. As the Dungeon Master, Mercer plays a wide variety of NPC and absent PC roles. Impressively, each one has a fairly distinct voice and mannerisms.
    • Shortly before episode 100 aired, fansite CritRoleStats put out an infographic with various fun facts about the past 99 episodes. Over the course of those 99 episodes, Matt has apparently played five-hundred and forty-four NPCs.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: A lot of the episodes are well-balanced in this way, mixing intense fights with quiet roleplaying moments.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Not the first time a product with Matthew Mercer has had a tree with hanging children on it. That also happened in Pillars of Eternity.
    • In her playlist for Vex, one of the songs Laura Bailey provided was "My Silver Lining" by First Aid Kit... which was the song played in the credits of Tales from the Borderlands, which Bailey had a starring credit in.
    • Grog (played by Travis Willingham) has a magic item that lets him recall his weapon when he throws it. Matt describes this at one point as being "like Thor." Even better, said weapon was a warhammer at the time.
    • It wasn't Taliesin's idea for Whitestone to be corrupted by vampires; that was all Matt. Considering what Taliesin spent fourteen years working on in Hellsing, though, it's sort of a no-brainer. (Although Taliesin just really likes vampires.)
    • Vax'ildan had his hands on a Ring of Invisibility, but it wasn't the first time Liam O'Brien considered it "the precious".
    • Shakaste's Spiritual Weapon being a bust of Estelle Getty is very similar to Cyborg summoning the the spiritual forms of The Golden Girls in an episode of Teen Titans Go!. Makes sense considering Khary Payton plays both characters.
    • Ashley Johnson is still a fixture on Blindspot, so the jokes haven’t stopped... especially since her character’s best friend in the group is a heavily-tattooed amnesiac.
      Ashley: I found him in the woods... in a Bag Of Holding... naked.note 
    • Speaking of Ashley and Taliesin, Sam's "You've Got Gale" segment, a parody of '80s family sitcoms involving Ashley and Taliesin in a huge way, leads to Sam quickly name-dropping Growing Pains and She's The Sheriff, both real sitcoms that Ashely and Taliesin actually appeared in!
    • The Night Before Critmas also mentions that Ashley's character was in New York for a while - even if you didn't know about where she's off to in her absence, there's that time she worked that restaurant during the Battle of New York...
    • Speaking of the MCU, there's also the Crash Pandas one-shot that somehow brings up Vin Diesel as a rival racer, and Liam as one of the raccoons is forced to talk Vin into helping them out - and Vin has a well-known role where a raccoon is the only one who understands him!
    • Laura breaks out a new character, Farriwen the Air Genasi monk for the Darrington Brigade one-shot, which means she's a martial arts chick with air blasting powers. Matt even refers to it as her Hadouken (it should be Kikouken though.)
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Campaign 2 episode 115 is titled Fetching Fables and Frosty Friends (referring to Der Katzenprinz and the yetis that start out attacking our heroes but eventually come around as allies.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • In The Night Before Critmas, Chutney refers to his crafting tools as Old Faithful... and Steve.
    • In "Adventures of the Darrington Brigade", we get one regular fantasy name (Farriwen), one No Name Given (Owlbear) and four mundane names, Hazel, Damian, Buddy and Mac. The first two are justified due to being oddly American (one fell out of WWII propaganda and one is unabashedly Italian-American).
    • The Doom Eternal one-shot has Ichabod (which at least comes from a horror story), Krill (a breed of shrimp), Reva (short for Revenant), Mancubus (for Rule of Funny) and Phyllis, which is technically an In-Universe Nickname - which doesn't explain how she summons another demon that's named Esther.
  • All There in the Manual: Talks Machina serves this role, and the Tal'Dorei campaign guide naturally has a ton of info about the setting not explored in the show.
  • Ambiguously Human: Played for Laughs in regards to one Taliesin Jaffe. Competing interpretations of his ‘true’ identity include a bog-standard immortal, an Archfey, the Vampire Prince of Los Angeles, an Eldritch Abomination, or just a pyramid in human form.
  • And Starring: Matt Mercer's place in the opening credits. By the second OP of campaign 1 it's pretty much standard.
  • Anyone Can Die: Absolutely. Matt has no qualms about killing player characters, if that's where the dice fall. The best part is that Matt is actually a Nice Guy, so he always feels both really bad about it and really relieved that they lived afterwards.
  • Audience Participation: Mercer first opened a poll up to the live audience allowing them to vote on what enemy the group would face for the boss in Campaign 1, episode 8.
    • Both of Campaign 1's Slayer's Take contracts were determined this way. The Behir they face in episode 28 was the loser of one of these polls.
    • Following up on a promise from a charity stream, Matt held a special livestream during which he worked with the Twitch chat to create an NPC and a battle encounter for the show. The results were K'ryyn the drow baker/bounty hunter, who wanted to bring Taryon home and is linked somehow with a ziggurat, and Symphior the tiny celestial, who had high charisma and used terrain-based abilities.
    • The second part of the Vox Moronica adventure had an interesting variation — $500 donations changed where the story would go, though Zac implied afterwards that a lot of them were from the moderators.
    • In Campaign 2, Mercer took suggestions from twitter polls and the live chat during a Fireside Chat to create Orly Skiffback, a sailor bard tortle.
  • Badass Baritone: Wil Wheaton with Thorbir and Travis Willingham with both Grog and Fjord. Matt sometimes puts one on for villains, such as Sylas Briarwood.
  • Badass Beard: Sam had one up until Episode 9 of season 1. True, it doesn't make him any less badass, but the audience did mention it looked weird not seeing him without one. He grew one again starting in Episode 37 of season 1. It's also been stated in the chat room that with his beard he bears an uncanny resemblance to Tim Curry.
  • Belated Happy Ending: One that stretches across both campaigns: Keyleth's Missing Mom, Vilya, who was presumed dead after being attacked by a kraken during her Aramente, actually survived and washed up on the island of Rumblecusp, where she was ensorcelled by a morkoth and spent about 25 years as an amnesiac before befriending the Mighty Nein, who liberated the island and restored Vilya's memory. At the end of their time together, Vilya returns to the Air Ashari's home of Zephrah, and Veth briefly witnesses as Keyleth, whose ending in Campaign One was the most bittersweet, tearfully reunites with her long-lost mother.
  • Big Eater: All the players to an extent, but Orion/Tiberius actually streamed buying doughnuts from a Krispy Kreme nearby the studio.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Since the show found its stride, every episode begins with Matt welcoming the audience to Critical Role "where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors play Dungeons and Dragons", and ends with him repeating the Critters' rallying cry: "Is it Thursday yet?" The former is usually followed up by the rest of the cast shouting the latter half to varying degrees of comprehensibility .
    • "How do you want to do this?" is the line Mercer delivers whenever someone finishes off a particularly tricky opponent. He then follows up with a beautifully-detailed description of the kill.
    • Matt also regularly says, "You can certainly try," when the party wants to pull off something tricky and/or ridiculous.
    • "(You can) Go ahead and roll X."
    • Since the show has so much content, viewers have also picked up on a number of less prominent comment phrases or words from Matt, including "perhaps", "circumstance", "gaping/toothy maw", and more. There are drinking games.
    • Laura has "Jeez Louise!".
  • Citadel City: Vasselheim, the ancient city of faith, is extremely well fortified.
  • Companion Show: The infamous Talks Machina, hosted by Brian W. Foster on Twitch and Alpha. Brian and the cast are great friends in real life, and he is dating Ashley Johnson (Pike Trickfoot), so the show has an incredibly informal atmosphere. Viewers on Twitch can ask questions of the guests regarding the previous episode of Critical Role, and Alpha subscribers get an extra section at the end dubbed Talks Machina After Dark in which they can ask their own questions. Many revelations about character intentions and motivations have been revealed on Talks. It even has a similar sign-off - "Don't worry, it's almost Thursday" to match Matt's "Is it Thursday yet?" on the main show.
  • Counterspell: One of the cast's favorite spells from Dungeons and Dragons is Counterspell, which prevents an enemy from casting a spell. Since it can be used in the middle of the enemy's turn, it's incredibly potent and has saved the party in some dire situations.
    • Campaign 1:
      • Early in campaign 1, Tiberius was the party's designated counterspeller and used it twice to prevent major enemy spellcasters from teleporting away before the party could finish them off.
      • Scanlan learned Counterspell around episode 33 and he flavored his counterspell as an attempt to distract his enemies from their spells with degrading songs, bawdy insults, or just off-pitch notes from his shawm. Despite how silly he plays it, his counterspells twice prevented a Total Party Kill by thwarting massive area-of-effect attacks and thrice prevented villains from escaping before the heroes could finish them off.
    • Campaign 2:
      • Caleb, the party wizard, picked up Counterspell at level 8. Within ten minutes of taking it, used it to prevent a spell that would have ruined the party's plan and possibly killed one or more of them. Since then, he's prevented three villains from using Counterspell against player characters, two teleportations from dying villains, and once stopped a monster from getting off a Chain Lightning that would take off half the health of four party members.
      • Fjord also has counterspell, but with only two spell slots to his name, he can barely afford to use it. To date, he has only used it when Caleb is indisposed, whether because he's too far away, his player is in the bathroom, or because he used magic to turn into a dinosaur.
  • Crosscast Role:
    • In the second campaign, Sam Riegel plays a female character and the group spends the first episode slipping up and using male pronouns. The players still occasionally slip-up and Sam himself has once or twice suggested "the ladies" go do something together while forgetting that his character is a lady too.
    • The one-shots dip into this occasionally, but it gets hilarious with Critical Role and the Club of Misfits when they're attempting a Hogwarts version of The Breakfast Club and the players are all guys, leading to Liam and Sam as Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald. Really. note 
  • Death Is Cheap: Downplayed. In comparison to the base D&D Matt has added homebrewed rules that makes it possible for a resurrection spell to fail with no chance for a recast, with every successful resurrection making the next one much more difficult. However every resurrection ritual throughout the series has been a success, and the only permeant party deaths come from the fact that there was no one who could resurrect them in time.
  • Facepalm: Matt is prone to this. The fan site Critical Role Stats actually tracks the number of times he facepalms.
  • Family of Choice: Vox Machina has already become this by the time the stream begins, and all of its members (particularly Vax) mention it at some point or another. While the Mighty Nein begin much rougher around the edges, they also grow into this over time. Meta-wise, the cast themselves have also stated they view each other as a second family.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Dalen's Closet One-Shot, aka the wedding of Percy and Vex'alia for the whole Vox Machina chapter.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Occasionally a real-world pop-culture reference finds its way into the hijinks. For instance, when a local drunk gets up on the stage of a pub to sing a song, the selection he chooses is "Brandy, You're a Fine Girl" by Looking Glass. When the Nein give fake names to Captain Avantika and her band of pirates, Nott dubs herself Gilligan.
  • Genki Girl: While all of the players are geeks (and thus pretty excitable), Laura definitely takes the cake, and it sometimes bleeds through to her characters.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The divine pantheon of Exandria essentially work this way, so minor deities like Sarenrae aren't quite as powerful as the big hitters like Pelor. Ioun reveals that the gods are essentially formless transcendent beings whose true essence resides in the hearts and faith of their worshippers. With enough followers and believers, a god can form themselves into a divine domain that exerts influence upon the fabric of reality itself.
  • Gorn: Matt frequently describes combat damage and kills rather... vividly.
  • Götterdämmerung: The Calamity, a major event in the world’s backstory, sealed the gods away forever behind a metaphysical barrier called the Divine Gate. It’s possible for mortals to get behind the Divine Gate in special circumstances, however.
  • House Rules: The show has several, some of which stem from the conversion to D&D from Pathfinder. Many of these house rules are designed to speed along gameplay (a "Short Rest" lasts fifteen minutes instead of an hour) and in general the game leans more towards what makes a good story rather than the letter of the rule book.
  • I Just Write the Thing: Matt's approach to DMing, especially regarding antagonists. From Episode 113:
    Travis: What did you do?! You Kevin Spacey from Se7en motherfucker! What did you do?
    Matt: When you revealed to a god how close and dangerous you were last game, there were going to be repercussions. [...] And he knows how to get to you. He knows your secrets.
    Taliesin: You are a monster.
    Matt: Vecna is a monster, guys.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Vestiges of Divergence are some of the most powerful magic items the players can get, but finding one always requires the players to ignore the current arc or villain and travel to distant continents or worlds to find them. Doing so often requires fighting legendary creatures like widowed dragons, gambling fire giants, or cursed arch-fairies that sometimes are more powerful than whatever villains the heroes want the Vesitges to fight.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The cast was unsure how "nerdy-ass voice actors sitting around playing Dungeons and Dragons" would be received, and Matt said in a Q+A that he was going to give it until about Episode 6 and then go back to playing at his house. Naturally, the show became incredibly popular incredibly fast, to the cast's continued amazement and thankfulness.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Matt does a good job of regional accents being consistent between characters, but they are only ever accents. It is assumed that different countries in Exandria have different languages, but for the convenience of the audience, and so that Matt doesn't have to create several entire Conlangs, everyone actually speaks in English.
  • Killed Off for Real: One of the homebrewed rules is that resurrection spells can fail, and if they do then the target's soul is lost forever. No cleric, no matter how powerful they are, can try again on the same person. A True Resurrection or a Wish spell has a possibility of reviving the character even if a Resurrection Challenge has failed but it still has to pass an increased DC.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Happens a number of ways:
    • Occasionally, the group will make reference to someone who exists in Real Life, only to explain them away with in-universe allegories. This includes notorious warrior Mah Choman Rand Savage, renowned wizard Venn Diagram, and Jesus, "that nice carpenter the group met in Vasselheim".
    • As in many D&D games, can show up as metagaming, where a player tries to make an informed decision based on something their character should not know. This includes situations where (for example) a player intuits a lie but the character fails the relevant skill check to disbelieve. Since metagaming is against the spirit of the game at best and outright cheating at worst, it is actively discouraged (Matt deducts points for it!). More often, the cast will instead use it for hilarious or dramatic effect.
    • When the players ask about days of the week in the world of Exandria, for perhaps the only time, Matt relies that it's currently "the equivalent of a Thursday."
    • Red Nose Day 2019 has a one-shot adventure with Special Guest Stephen Colbert as Capo the half-elf bard, who's faced with the obligatory test of character in order to get the Sword of Plot Advancement. His answer?
  • One Steve Limit: Vax and Vex the PC twins (although those are shortened versions of Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia, which are less similar), which causes a great deal of confusion when people try to address one of the twins in particular.
    Sam: If I ever have to roll a new character, I'm calling him "Vix".
    Matt (DM): I will cut you.
  • Plot Armor: Averted. If a character dies due to dice rolls and the actions, they die. This has both helped and hindered the players. In Season 2 Molly dies after failing his death saving rolls, and Lorenzo, the arc villain that killed Molly had his head exploded and body burned due to a Critical attack. Matt admitted that Lorenzo was supposed to get away but the dice said otherwise.
  • Power Glows: In a world of magic like D&D, many active magical effects are naturally accompanied by "flickers of arcane energy", or "glowing radiant energy".
  • Pun-Based Title: In addition to the title of the show, a few of these pop up in episode titles.
  • The Queen's Latin: Many of the NPCs voiced by Matt Mercer have various British Accents or Irish Accents.
  • Rule of Three: Used quite a bit in Narrative Telephone, partly because all eight players are spinning their own stories this time. Liam's tale is practically based around it given that it involves three little kids, while Taliesin delivers a story about three of Caduceus' numerous siblings, and one of them calls out three times to the voice in the woods before the mystery is solved.
  • Running Gag: The secret messages on Sam's mug (changed to a flask for Campaign 2)
  • Scenery Porn: Being a tabletop RPG, this is a given, but my god Matt Mercer takes it to a level unimaginable by mortal men. It also doesn't hurt he's a professional voice actor bringing characters to life.
  • Shout-Out: Marisha has a tendency to yell "Big money, no whammies!" when rolling at a particularly tense moment.
  • Signature Laugh: Marisha has one whenever she finds something particularly hilarious. It's an extremely high-pitched set of fast laughs, so it's rather unmistakable.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • Episode 12: Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Tips: Mercer's first D&D Workshop features Matt Mercer going over "Dungeon Mastering 101" and playing a funny campaign with Salty Pete, Snuggle-Lord, and Ufgar.note  Marisha, Orion, Taliesin, and Liam were also there as spectators and to help with character creation, much to their amusement.
    • On the second week of hiatus between episodes 16 and 17; Laura Bailey, Orion Acaba, Taliesin Jaffe, and Liam O'Brien played party games with Zac, and treated the Critters to a mini-Q&A.
    • Matt also took over the time slot of Geek and Sundry's "No Survivors" one time and ran a special Pathfinder one-shot game with Taliesin and Marisha, the show's own GM, Ivan Van Norman, and voice actors Ashly Burch and Phil Lamarr, where they all played as goblins.
    • The first week of a two-week hiatus between episodes 43 and 44 had a Q&A with Matt, Marisha, Travis, Mary, and Will. The latter four then proceeded to have their characters duke it out in an AU Battle Royale. Then they have another one in-between Episodes 54 and 55.
    • In the interim between Episodes 58 and 59, while Matt and Marisha were away in Australia to attend a convention, there was originally no plans for any D&D games, but thanks to a fluke occurrence where Liam O'Brien's schedule was free, he decided to run a one-shot that the fans affectionately called "Critical O'Brien" where Sam, Laura, Travis, and Taliesin all played as themselves during a normal day of work that quickly went to hell... in more ways than one. A brief Q&A soon followed with the five of them.
    • Not long afterward Liam was the DM for another oneshot between episodes 65 and 66, this one set in Emon (before the current arc) but focuses on members of The Clasp — an all-Rogue session where everyone had hidden motives that could lead them to stab each other in the back at any time.
    • In the break between the two campaigns, the show became exclusively a string of unusual one-shots run by the players.
    • The Red Nose Day 2019 event is a very rare one-player adventure with Special Guest Stephen Colbert, and ends with no HDYWTDT, as Stephen finds the Big Bad's Soul Jar.
    • The Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Crystal Palace is several levels of different - not only is it a Cosmic Horror tale but it's set in 1890 (of our universe), and the players are apparently all Expys of the Cluedo characters.
    Taliesin: Is it, uh... Halloween yet?
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Played with — players will occasionally get repercussions for spending too much time talking in tense situations.
  • Talking to Himself: Matt by necessity, as he is the DM, and thus every NPC.
  • Title Drop: Inverted - the episode titles in the Youtube uploads usually aren't decided till after the original livestream, which was confirmed in campaign 2 episode 102, when Taliesin successfully pushed for "Ghosts, Dinosaurs and Stuff" as the episode's title.
  • Took a Level in Badass: This being a role playing game, all of the player characters are literally leveling up on a regular basis, increasing their stats and giving them access to new, more powerful abilities.
  • Total Party Kill: The players talk about the possibility of every player character dying whenever a battle starts going very badly for them.
    • As early as episode 7 of the first campaign, the party's muscle man is magically whisked away by an evil queen as she engulfs her lair in lava after having turned two members of the party to stone. This forces the weaker members of the party to outrun a lava flow while dragging stone statues, which results in the party rogue getting their foot immolated and leaves his player musing that every character is about to die.
      Liam: TPK~ TPK~
    • In Episode 93 of the first campaign, the DM states that if Keyleth died, the campaign would be over, as no one else in the party could get them out of Hell before demons killed them all.
    • In Episode 115 of the second campaign, eight of nine characters in the party fail a saving throw against an enemy stun effect, leaving the one success to fend off a CR 17 monster alone. The players immediately start murmuring about a total party kill being imminent.
  • Totem Pole Trench:
    • Done by Pike and Scanlan with a cultist robe in Vox Machina Episode 102.
    • The Pathfinder Goblins one-shot leads to the entire party of goblins stealing a drunkard's overcoat to attempt this.
    • The Crash Pandas one-shot has the entire party jacking an ice cream truck, and realising that there's an ice cream man uniform inside the truck just as they need to pass for human.
  • Weapon of Choice: Several characters have their own preferred weapons, such as Vax's daggers and Vex's bows in Campaign 1, and Nott's crossbow and Beau's staff in Campaign 2.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Usually the guys themselves write this, but they still end up falling into this trope at times.
    Liam: Ok, now Klaus - not Klaus, Chutney - these fucking names...
  • World of Pun: Marisha's Honey Heist one-shots are full of bear-based puns.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • Beginning around Episode 100 of season 1, Matt begins to more consistently refer to copyrighted gods by non-copyrighted titles, in order to avoid any potential legal trouble that comes with publishing a Critical Role campaign setting. This doesn't apply to the players, however, who use the copyrighted names as much as they wish.
    • Zigzagged with the one-shot adventures since they can get the actual companies as sponsors half the time. Shadow of War and My Little Pony avert this; The Night Before Critmas (it's revealed halfway through to be a crossover with The Nightmare Before Christmas) and Critical Role and the Club of Misfits (basically Harry Potter in the '80s) play it straight.
  • You All Meet in an Inn:
    • How the Season 2 campaign begins, with everyone coming into the same inn for breakfast. Played with in that they're divided into three groups who all knew each other beforehand: Caleb and Nott (Nott saved Caleb's life in a recent battle after traveling together for awhile); Fjord, Beauregard and Jester (who took on a job for a fisherman together); and Mollymauk and Yasha (who work at the same circus).
    • Played straight in certain special events like the Kobolds and Catacombs one-shot - the inn in question is even the well-known First Town, Goldshire.
  • You Are Too Late: Happens at critical moments in both campaigns. In Episode 66 of campaign 1, Vox Machina sneaks into Mistress Asharru's house only to find her murdered and the Cloak of Cabal's Ruin they were searching for has been stolen. And in campaign 2 the Nein enter Vess DeRogna's room and discover she's been murdered by Lucien while they slept.

Season 1

  • 0% Approval Rating: The Trickfoots as a family appear to have this; it's repeatedly emphasized that they run into trouble wherever they go and are generally looked upon as crooked and untrustworthy, and are very rarely able to safely stay in one place for long as a result.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Episode 22 is a good example of this, because it contains Keyleth's explanation of her vision of her death, which is a heavily dramatic moment, sandwiched between two pretty epic fights.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Invoked/Parodied by Percy, Keyleth, and Vex while entering the Luck's Run Casino in Marquet. They keep it up for all of five minutes before Keyleth gets caught cheating and is literally kicked to the curb.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Let's see...
    • Gilmore is in love with Vax, who ends up turning him down because he (Vax) is in love with Keyleth. Keyleth herself has been in love with Vax for a long time, but never thinks to act on those feelings. In the days after the Chroma Conclave attack, Keyleth has been getting more acclimated to Vax's companionship and seriously considered loving him. But Vex's death and Vax's deal with the Raven Queen causes the bond between them to become a lot more difficult to handle, and Keyleth finds herself unable to allow herself to love due to her fears of watching Vax and the rest of the party die, as becoming the Headmaster of the Air Ashari will effectively make her The Ageless. It's not until Episode 65 where she finally makes her choice, allowing herself to confess to Vax her true feelings for him.
    • Scanlan is in love with Pike, who Ashley's playlist insinuates is in love with a not-Scanlan member of Vox Machina. He even proposed to her but rescinded the offer some time later and gave up the chase, realizing that he was more in love with the idea of Pike than Pike as an actual person.
    • Tiberius was in love with Allura, who Matt's playlist insinuated had some great life-altering not-Tiberius love in the past (who may or may not have been Kima of Vord) that didn't end well since she's now living in her Ivory Tower alone and all. Things got better for Kima and Allura as they end up getting married during the Time Skip.
    • Ever since receiving her first custom arrow from Percy, Vex'ahlia has been feeling something for the gunslinger due to his numerous acts of kindness, affection that she had been lacking growing up in Syngorn, but never considers telling him how she truly feels.note  Percy, on the other hand, definitely has feelings for her which at times leads to said acts - creating said custom arrows, calling her his "favourite", addressing her as "dear", and even making her a noble just to help her with her confidence issues and spite her father - but he never acts on them and instead chooses to push those feelings deep down within himself because he sees himself as being unhealthy for her. Due to that, Vex and Percy flirtatiously dance around each other for over fifty episodes without making a move. In Episode 69, during Percy's resurrection ritual, Vex confirms she's in love with him despite Percy not hearing her confession, but thereafter suffers from a serious case of Cannot Spit It Out, and it's not until after he is resurrected that Percy starts truly considering reciprocation towards her. The slow burn of their relationship is resolved in Episode 72, as Percy gives Vex The Big Damn Kiss to end the episode.
  • All There in the Manual: Since the first campaign had been running for two years prior to streaming, everything from small details to major plot elements are explained somewhere outside the recorded shows, as are backstory elements of the characters themselves. Some questions have been answered either on Twitter or in the Q&A episodes, and the group also did an online summary.
  • Alliterative Family: Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia Vessar, as well as their adorable younger half-sister Velora.
  • Ancient Artifacts: The Vestiges of Divergence, powerful weapons and armour pieces from a previous epoch. After the Chroma Conclave attack, Vox Machina learn that these devices may hold the key to defeating the dragons. Initially only knowing where two of them are, they head out to find out where the rest may be found. As of Episode 76, all of their Vestiges have been retrieved: the Deathwalker's Ward for Vax, Mythcarver for Scanlan, the Titanstone Knuckles for Grog, Fenthras, Wrath of the Feywarden for Vex, Cabal's Ruin for Percy, Whisper for Vax, the Spire of Conflux for Keyleth, and the Plate of the Dawnmartyr for Pike. In fact, they can be awakened or exalted for even more power.
  • And I Must Scream: Implied to be the fate of the victims of Orthax. When Percy is killed by Ripley in Episode 68, he spends twenty-four hours trapped by Orthax as the shadow demon feasts upon his soul. After he's freed and revived, he reveals it was not a pleasant experience, and he has no sense of how much time has passed.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: For Episode 12, many of the regular players weren't able to attend, so the episode consisted of Matt giving beginner's advice to new D&D players as well as a demonstrative one-shot with Zac from Geek & Sundry and two of his friends with no connection to the main story. The Vox Machina storyline resumed the following episode.
    • Grog temporarily gets his soul stuck in a gem in the last episode due to a bad deck draw.
  • Anyone Can Die: All of the original eight members of Vox Machina have died at least once during the campaign, though all but one have been brought back.
    Matt: (to Pike) I was so worried you were going to die again!
    Matt: (after Grog's resurrection) Stop dying!
  • Art Evolution: The character avatars are given an upgrade in episode 32. Kit Buss discussed how much she's improved on drawing them in 6 months.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: During the Trial of the Take arc, Kashaw gives one to Vax.
    Kashaw: Oh, you have a sister?
    Vax: I have a twin, yes.
    Kashaw: What does she look like?
    Vax: (points at himself)
    Kashaw: Oh...
    • Though to be fair, fraternal twins (which a brother and sister would be) aren't any more likely to look very much like each other than other siblings, aside from being the same age.
  • The Atoner: All of Vox Machina (save Percy) in Episode 26, after they realize their actions in Episode 25 may have been getting too brash. Scanlan even lampshades it, pointing out that their foes are getting good treatment because they're trying to be nicer.
  • Badass Baritone: Thorbir and Grog all have deep voices suitable for intense warriors. Matt sometimes puts one on for villains, such as Sylas Briarwood.
  • Badass Beard:
    • Grog works so hard to grow one, with the help of a magical belt. A true feat, as goliaths have no body hair. Once he grows it, it stays for the rest of the story.
    • Thorbir the Dwarven Fighter, by default.
    • Kerrek has one in the style of his player's.
  • Badass Boast: Remarkably common. The most frequent users of them are Grog, Tiberius and Percy.
  • Badass Bystander: The put-upon citizens of Whitestone help Vox Machina fight the Briarwoods' undead minions when the uprising finally begins.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Episode 80. Raishan escapes alive with Thordak's corpse and two of the dragon eggs, with Vex and Scanlan both temporarily dying due to the fight, Keyleth nearly dying instantly from falling in a river of lava, and the entire party overall having been thoroughly outmatched despite their numbers against her.
    • Episode 102 — Vecna is revived successfully, and upon realizing they have no chance against him Vox Machina Plane Shifts to the Feywild.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • It seems like Episode 24 is all set to be a confrontation withthe Briarwoods. Instead, the entire first half is just Vox Machina screwing around in the week leading up to their arrival. Episode 25, however, makes the wait worth it.
    • In Episode 43, Matt makes it sound like the party will be saddled with proving their worth to a champion of Bahamut that they've never met. Then Lady Kima knocks him out from behind, and insists that she'll go with them instead.
    • Guest star Arkhan (played by Joe Manganiello) prepares to destroy the hand of Vecna after the final fight. No, wait- he cuts off his own hand and attaches Vecna's to it, then teleports away, setting up the possibility of a future villain for the next campaign to face.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted with Vex's companion, Trinket. Well, unless you're one of the party's enemies.
  • Bedmate Reveal: An infamous one involving a bathtub instead, which is somehow so huge and sudsy that Vax'ilidan can climb in with Percy and never realise that Vex'alia is already in there.
  • Big Bad: K'varn, for the first arc. Thordak for the fourth, as it's made clear he's the de-facto leader of the Chroma Conclave.
    • Ultimately Subverted in Thordak's case as it's revealed that Raishan is The Man Behind the Man.
    • As of the fifth and final arc, Vecna, The Whispered One fills this role. Previous arc Big Bads Sylas and Delilah Briarwood even serve as his Co-Dragons.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Lord and Lady Briarwood, in the third arc.
    • Technically they are also the Big Bad (Delilah) and The Dragon (Sylas) of a villainous group which includes Sir Kourian Stonefell, Professor Anders, and Dr. Ripley.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Hotis and Rimefang (a Rakshasa and a White Dragon) serve as the two "final bosses" of the Vasselheim arc for when the group is split and share no other connection.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: There are a lot of friendly or funny kisses on this show, but at least three are played as romantic and dramatic enough to warrant the title:
    • In Episode 21, Kashaw kisses Keyleth as he leaves the Slayer's Take.
    • Episode 33 sees Vax kissing Keyleth after he nearly dies during the fight with Professor Anders, complete with an abrupt Love Confession.
    • Episode 72 has Percy kiss Vex right as the episode ends.
    • Episode 77: After multiple hints and much raised eyebrows both from the fandom and the players alike, Kima and Allura kiss following an attempt on Allura's life
  • Big Eater: All the players to an extent, but Orion/Tiberius actually streamed buying doughnuts from a Krispy Kreme nearby the studio.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Vox Machina defeats Vecna after a long and hard battle, saving the world. However because the group couldn't find a way around Vax's deal with the Raven Queen, Vax dies for real, and Arkhan had attached Vecna's hand to his body and gotten away, with Matt already confirming that the story will have a follow-up down the road. On the bright side, most of members of Vox Machina get a happy ending to some degree, including Pike and Scanlan finally getting together, and Vex and Percy having children. It's bittersweet for fans as well, who've watched 115 episodes and now have to say goodbye to Vox Machina.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Compared to Campaign 2, the first Campaign leans heavily in this direction, something commented on by Matt on Talks Machina sessions. While Vox Machina is an Anti-Hero Team and each member has their issues, every arc of the first campaign has clear-cut heroes and villains and has more of a Heroic Fantasy tone.
  • Black Comedy: After coming across The Sun Tree in episode 28, where the Briarwoods hung seven people (and a bear) who look like the team from the tree, using a child to represent Scanlan, Sam's question? "Was he handsome?" (He didn't realize he was talking about a kid until Matt pointed it out, after which Sam's reaction says it all.)
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Pike, Vex and Keyleth respectively - also, Ashley, Laura, and Marisha, since their hair colors match those of their characters.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Episode 16 is Keyleth's first mention of the Fire Ashari, and is the episode where Pike leaves the party. In Episode 22, Pike returns and Keyleth completes the Fire Ashari's trial.
    • Episode 17 is when the party remains in Vasselheim and Grog has a match with the current champion of the Braving Grounds and loses. In Episode 23, Grog has a rematch with the champion and wins, and they finally leave Vasselheim and return to Emon.
    • Before leaving Emon, in Episode 14, Percy tells the council to keep him notified if the Briarwoods should return to the city in order to "surprise" them. Upon returning to Emon in Episode 23, Percy's notified that the Briarwoods are indeed returning within a week, and thus he begins planning for his "surprise". In Episode 15, immediately after he learns about the Briarwoods, Percy mentions that he's thinking of making a tazing implement. He finally builds an electro-gauntlet named "Diplomacy" in Episode 24, which is the episode in which the Briarwoods arrive. The first time he uses Diplomacy in a fight is against Sylas Briarwood in Episode 34, which is also the Episode where both Briarwoods are defeated, although Delilah doesn't die until Episode 35. The next time he uses it in a fight is against Kynan Leore, during a fight with the last person on his List, Dr. Ripley.
    • In Episode 35, in Whitestone, Vax decides to give Keyleth the time she needs so that she can determine her answer as to whether or not she can allow herself to love due to her fear. In Episode 65, in Whitestone, Keyleth finally gives her answer and admits that she loves Vax, that her fears were ultimately unfounded due to being based on a future not set in stone yet.
    • In Episode 42, Vox Machina ultimately abandons Emon to search for allies and the Vestiges of the Divergence so they can defeat the Chroma Conclave. In Episode 78, they return to Emon much more powerful than before to finish their war against the Chroma Conclave.
    • The episode immediately preceding the Chroma Conclave arc is called "A Musician's Nostalgia" and has Scanlan deal with the discovery he has a daughter. The episode immediately following the Chroma Conclave arc is titled "A Bard's Lament" and is another Scanlan focus episode, where he dramatically leaves Vox Machina to spend time with his daughter.
    • Vox Machina's first adventure ended with them fighting a (fetal) undead deity, and their final adventure put them up against a much more powerful undead deity.
    • The first streamed episode of Critical Role has the party arriving in the bustling Dwarven City of Kraghammer. The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of the first campaign is a ruin of a once-great dwarven civilization.
    • Critical Role as a show (and the first campaign) began as a home game designed by Matt as a gift for Liam, and Liam's character of Vax was created for that game. Campaign 1 closes upon the permanent death of Vax.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Vex never seems to run out of arrows, and is never seen fletching or buying them (outside of the special arrows created for her by Percy). It's revealed in the campaign wrap-up that Vex simply bought about a thousand arrows pre-stream and chucked them in the Bag of Holding. She only begins to run low at the tail end of campaign 1. Averted with Percy, who has to make his own bullets with varying success because there are (initially) only three people in Exandria who has even heard of black powder.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In episode 45, Grog asks a sleep-deprived Percy if he'd like a coffee or an enema, followed by Keyleth suggesting a "coffee-enema".
  • Breather Episode:
    • The lighthearted D&D tutorial episode came between the battle with K'Varn and Clarota turning on Vox Machina, forcing them to escape Yug'Voril. After the latter came another breather episode, half of which was spent shopping.
    • Episode 36 was a well deserved breather from the very dark Whitestone arc, and doubled as a Christmas episode.
    • Episode 43 provides some much needed relief after the Chroma Conclave destroys Emon. The party has arrived in Vasselheim and encounters some old friends, and hilarity ensues.
    • Episode 56 is right off the heels of the climactic fight with Umbrasyl and is noticeably less tense than the previous few episodes.
    • Episode 65 picks up right after the events of the previous episode which detailed the aftermath of the destruction of Draconia and the discovery and burial of Tiberius Stormwind. Right out of the starting gate, we have a Love Confession and a Relationship Upgrade, some lighthearted infighting between Vax and Grog, and the party's long-awaited journey to Marquet in search of the next Vestige. Aside from plot moments, utter hilarity ensues throughout including a walk of shame, Scanlan seeking a "drug deal", and Keyleth and Percy getting instantly day-drunk due to sampling a local drink.
    • Episode 72 is the first real break after Percy's death and the subsequent fight against Vorugal and involves a lot of looting of shiny objects, Vax getting drunk on Scanlan's wine, Keyleth turning into an elephant and wrecking part of Scanlan's magnificent mansion, and it all ends with a long-time-coming The Big Damn Kiss between Percy and Vex.
    • Episode 81 serves as a welcome respite from the battles with Thordak and Raishan before Vox Machina moves on to finish things with the Diseased Deceiver. Cards are drawn, drugs are smoked, surprises happen in the bath, and a haircut is given.
    • Episode 95 begins with a one-year time skip after completing the Aramente and ending Hotis for good. The entire second hour is spent detailing Beach Episode shenanigans, notably Vax's Shakespearean "exit pursued by a bear", then Pike's family visits and starts making their own messes.
  • Brick Joke: In episode 115, Sam Riegel makes an off-hand that one of the character's lost an arm during a Time Skip. In the middle of the Search of Grog one-shot set during that Time Skip, Matt has a group of bugbears appear out of nowhere and rip that characters arm off. No checks to see them coming, no saving throws to stop them, they just show up and rip it off clean.
    • It's only after the campaign wrap-up that Vex realizes that when Vax was taken by the Raven Queen, he took his Boots of Haste with him. Right when he leaves again after her wedding, in the one-shot that was run over a year later, she only remembers the boots a split-second after he disappears.
  • Call-Back:
    • In episode 19, Grog goes into a Rage to counteract Rimefang the white dragon's fear-inducing roar, encouraged to kill a dragon like Pike did, referring to when the cleric killed a dragon of the same ilk some time prior to the start of the stream.
    • Also, in the same episode, Scanlan masquerading as "Burt Reynolds" gets one as well.
    • Tiberius "encourages violence" in Episode 6, which leads to Grog absolutely slaughtering a duergar torturer. In Episode 23, Tiberius "encourages violence" again, and Grog immediately charges off to face another opponent - Kern the Hammer.
    • Vox Machina has used the codeword "Jenga" four times to indicate that something's going horribly wrong. Vax first does it after being caught by the Briarwoods in Episode 25, again in Episode 33 when he sees Professor Anders about to slit an NPC's throat, again in Episode 55 when he ends up bumping into an invisible boss monster, and again in Episode 58 when he found himself cornered, unarmored, and weaponless against a revived enemy.
    • In Episode 42, before leaving Greyskull Keep behind after their failed negotiation with the Clasp, Vax goes to Keyleth's door saying that he doesn't want to be alone for the night, and then she lets him in after saying that she feels the same way. Then in Episode 64, after mourning the death of Tiberius, it's Keyleth who goes to Vax's door in Castle Whitestone, asking if she could spend the night with him, and then he lets her in without a word.
    • Vex refuses Saundor's offer in Episode 63 because her "heart is someone else's". In Episode 69, she reveals who it is when she speaks to Percy during his resurrection ritual:
    Vex: I should have told you. It's yours.
    • In Episode 44, Percy uses shards of residuum (condensed whitestone) to aid in bringing back Vex'ahlia when she died, although his attempt fails. Then, in Episode 69, Vex does the same for him during his resurrection ritual (and even confesses to him and kisses him) and succeeds with a Natural 20.
    • In Episode 42, before abandoning Greyskull Keep, Percy assures a distraught Vex that they will return home one day. In Episode 78, they do return.
    • Episode 89 is full of these during Vax's resurrection ritual:
      • Vex'ahlia brings up the battle with K'Varn in the Underdark in Episode 11 and the book she obtained that is about the Raven Queen and her feud with Orcus in Episode 44 in addition to the deal her brother made to spare her life.
      • Keyleth brings up her hand to match the scar of her handprint that she placed on Vax's back in Episode 42, mentions the promise she and Vax made to return to Zephra together in Episode 81, and even echoes his original confession to her from Episode 33: "You know I'm in love with you, right?"
      • Grog reminds Vax of what he had said to him in Episode 25: "No one kills you but me." He also remembers Vax saying how much he loves Grog in Episode 84, and replies in kind, "I love you, too."
  • Call-Forward: In the Darrington Brigade spinoff, Laura plays a new monk character who uses the "pop-pop" that was popularised by Beau... over 10 canon years later. Marisha is justifiably proud.
  • Cast as a Mask: Used in Episode 99, where Matthew Mercer plays the crimelord "Aes Adan" like he would any other NPC, until he's revealed as a disguised Scanlan, upon which his actual player takes over.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Catchphrase:
    • Grog's "I would like to rage", stated with varying degrees of emphasis depending on the situation at hand. Occasionally modified, replacing 'rage' with some other action.
    • "Hi! I'm Tiberius Stormwind, from Draconia!" for... well, you know. The current record is eight times within a single session, five of those within the span of eight minutes.
  • Central Theme:
    • Family. Both the one you're born with and the one you make of your friends and loved ones matter, and only misery and solitude await those who shun both.
    • Vengeance as a concept is a deeply flawed one that only serves to make monsters of people who seek it. The true path to redemption lies in turning away before you become what you hate.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: Inverted with "What's my mother's name?" After first being said in a very dramatic and tragic context (Scanlan's mental breakdown and exit from the group), it gets frequently used in more comedic contexts thereafter.
  • Character Alignment: invoked For each member of the group, according to the second Q&A session.
    • Vax: invoked Chaotic Good
    • Vex: invoked Neutral Good until Episode 46, at which point she shifts to Chaotic Neutral after selfishly stealing a flying broom from a friendly guest. In episode 75 she shifts again to Chaotic Good, with her display of sympathy towards a pair of aasimar slaves being the act that finally causes the change.
    • Pike: invoked Chaotic Good
    • Grog: invoked Chaotic Neutral
    • Percy: invoked Chaotic Good
    • Keyleth: invoked Neutral Good
    • Tiberius: invoked Chaotic Neutral (changed from Chaotic Good after Episode 25, when he uses an improvised telekinetic buzzsaw to execute an enemy who had already been rendered unconscious by Scanlan's casting of eyebite while she was attempting to flee. An old woman at that.)
    • Scanlan: invoked Neutral Good
    • As for non-player characters, K'varn is, unsurprisingly, invoked Chaotic Evil according to his character sheet. Kevdak, Grog's uncle, is Neutral Evil, and according to a brief glimpse of Matt's notes in a DM Tips video, Saundor is Lawful Evil.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Vex makes the joke in Episode 30 that "only one person" would know how to say Percy's Overly Long Name in full - Percy himself. Percy asks if anyone else in Vox Machina can do it, and they all get it wrong, including Vex. In Episode 35, Vex does remember his full name, and says it to stop him from being possessed by Orthax.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In episode 2, Travis mentions a stash of platinum in the Bag of Holding he forgot about. 12 episodes later, he puts it to proper use at Gilmore's.
    • In episode 22, Grog ends up trading a lot of dragon pieces for a potion of Stone Giant Strength (he actually trades more than what the peddler asked for, much to the chagrin and frustration of Vex'ahlia). In the next episode, it proves to be the right choice in hindsight since it gives Grog a boost in strength so that he could take on "The Hammer" in a rematch and win! Bonus points; the team actually gains (after bets were placed) 1,570 gold from the whole convoluted exchange.
    • Remember the reward that was promised in Episode 2 in Kraghammer if Vox Machina had solved their little monster problem? They finally go back to get it in episode 24.
    • Clarota's metal skullcap is first mentioned in Episode 3. It comes back in Episode 27, when Vax gets it magically identified at Gilmore's. Turns out it protects the wearer from mental influence which is useful, considering that Vox Machina's next opponents end up being vampires.
    • Similarly, Sherrie identifies a potion that Scanlan picked up "like a year ago" as a potion of fire breath in Episode 24. In Episode 31, Scanlan is charged with burning down a house in Whitestone as a distraction. He has no fire spells, but at the last minute, he remembers the potion of fire breath and uses it to torch the house (and a couple of guards).
    • In Episode 3, the party takes a Wand of Magic Missiles off a defeated duergar, which goes into Scanlan's inventory and is apparently forgotten until it is finally put to use for the first time in Episode 30.
    • Vex takes a Potion of Flying from Doctor Anna Ripley once they arrive at her room in Castle Whitestone. Said potion gets used in Episode 34 which helped in surviving the acid trap beneath the castle and against the Briarwoods in conjuction with her Skirmisher Stealth skill. It lasts long enough to finish the battle — until the failed ritual in the Ziggurat resulted in an anti-magic black hole that instantly nullifies the effect of the potion, resulting in her falling.
    • Pike retrieves a necklace from her room in her house in Westruun in Episode 53 and later gives it to Percy in Episode 58. Said necklace's function is triggered in Episode 68 when Percy is shot dead and is revived, causing the necklace to shatter. It doesn't save him the second time, though.
    • In Episode 96, Taryon gives Vex a coin with Revivify cast into it. It's not needed in the next battle, but comes in very, very handy in the next episode, when Keyleth tries to swan dive dramatically off a cliff and dies instantly, and Vex is the only one who sees this happen and the only one with any chance of getting to her body before the tides wash it away.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Episode 14 makes a passing mention of something connected to one of the backstories: the Briarwoods — who had killed Percy's family — had recently passed through Emon. Percy picks up on this and tells the person responsible to keep him updated. He gets one in episode 23.
    • Dr. Dranzel, Scanlan's mentor, was mentioned in another backstory and makes a proper appearance in episode 37.
    • In Episode 39, when Thordak appears, Vox Machina realize that most of them narrowly stealthed past the exact same dragon in the Fire Plane during episode 22.
    • Hotis, the Rakshasa that Vax slays in Episode 21, returns in a very sinister way in Episode 58 to exact his revenge on the rogue.
    • Vox Machina fanboy Kynan from episode 23 returns in episode 68... but allied with Dr. Ripley. Orthax has also formed a pact with Ripley, and is bent on revenge.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Just before the party heads off to Whitestone to take on the Briarwoods, Vex asks Seeker Asum to teach her a new skill. He does so and teaches her how to use Skirmisher Stealth. She puts said skill into practice against the Briarwoods in Episode 34 in conjunction with a Potion of Flying.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Kashaw and Keyleth have a talk about their First Kiss. Kashaw states that while he was glad it happened, he was sorry that he stole it. Keyleth in kind informs him that he didn't have to apologize, and that she didn't want to hurt him, emotionally.
  • Clear My Name: The third arc begins with Vox Machina attacking the Briarwoods, a pair of villains with good publicity, at "their" castle and murdering an old woman, and as a result they are ejected from the Council of Tal'dorei and placed under surveillance. They're not actually arrested or exiled, but their reputation certainly needs some work. Uriel apologizes for the whole mess and returns the team's status in episode 37, though Percy, the guy who wanted the Briarwoods dead to begin with, admits that they had acted a bit rashly themselves.
  • Co-Dragons: Now with literal dragons! It seems that the other members of the Chroma Conclave report to the ancient red dragon Thordak the Cinder King. There are three such subordinates: Vorugal, an ancient white dragon; Umbrasyl, an ancient black; and Raishan, an ancient green.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • When the group finally finds Lady Kima, it seems she's been subjected to this for longer than any living being should have to endure. Impressively, she's not only still alive but has plenty of fire left in her.
    • Percy does this to a servant by shooting off a few of his fingers in Episode 25.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Kern, the Vasselheim pit fighting champion, positively enjoys getting his face smashed in by Grog. Just as much as he enjoys returning the favor.
  • Convection Schmonvection: It zigzags in the Kraghammer arc. Vox Machina hangs out next to rivers of lava and they take heat damage if they get too close In fact, Vax falls unconscious during their escape from the Emberhold and almost dies. The straight version comes in when Vax's foot is submerged in lava for several seconds and he only gets disadvantage on stealth and such until he gets serious rest.
  • Cool Shades: Travis Willingham dons a great pair while Grog is catatonic in the third episode.
  • Corpsing: So often, it's practically Once per Episode. Some memorable moments include:
    • Special props when Rimefang was addressing Burt Reynolds.
    • Everyone during Percy's encounter with Victor the black powder merchant. Happens again when he returns in episode 43, which is immediately lampshaded.
    Liam/Vax: I'm going to stand over here and fail to keep in character!
    • Everyone again during Gilmore's first entrance.
    • Episode 30 took place shortly before Halloween. Everyone wore costumes which spawned many a case of the giggles, at one point Liam O'Brien had to hold his turn in battle because he was laughing too hard to play.
    • Episode 35 is one of the best examples. Near the end, Keeper Yennin is giving a heartfelt speech when Ashley brushes against her mike. Matt as Keeper Yennin passes the noise off as a fart and everyone except Taliesin loses it one by one until even Matt can't keep a straight face.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Shale (Chris Perkins) and Jayne (Liam O'Brien), along with about half of Matt's characters.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Matt grants the HDYWTDT to the entire group when they kill Anna Ripley, in vengeance for Percy's death. Keyleth strings her up with vines, Vax cuts off her arm, Scanlan carves a symbol into her forehead, Vex shoots her through the heart and in the mouth, and Grog slices her in half.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Four in favor of the party:
    • Episode 18, the group blows through an ambush of orcs with minimal effort. This is also the battle where Percy rolls three crits in two turns. The dice were very much in their favour that day.
    • Episode 25, they slaughter The Broker and his cronies after taking barely any damage.
    • Episode 29, the group ambushes Sir Stonefell in his home - which means Vox Machina gets a full round of attacks before their enemies can do anything, and they wreak havoc.
    • Episode 41, Vox Machina fights off a group of mundane looters raiding using sentient weapons to suck their blood, sicking a bear on them, and calling down lightning strike son top of them. Poor bastards never stood a chance.
    • Episode 102, has Vox Machina on the receiving end of one of these. Vecna utterly trounces the party when they confront him in the Shadowfell. He first casts Hold Person to paralyze nearly half of the party, uses Power Word Kill and Disintegrate to instantly kill Vex (later revivified) and turn Vax to ash respectively, nearly kills Pike when he tries to use Disintegrate on her (and she would have died were it not for her armor) and all the while barely taking any damage, and able to dispel several of their powerful spells with barely any effort. Vox Machina quickly realized that they stood no chance against him, and plane shift to the Feywild the moment the opportunity presents itself. The only reason they succeed is because Scanlan was able to counter Vecna's Counterspell, and even then they left with Vax still a pile of dust.
  • Darkest Hour: Arguably, they've had three:
    • Episode 39, narratively speaking, in which the Chroma Conclave arrive to take over Tal'Dorei. Cities are destroyed, thousands of people (including some vital allies) are dead, and the path to defeating the dragons and reclaiming their home is unclear. The next thirty-plus episodes are spent dragging themselves out of this situation.
    • Episode 68, emotionally speaking. Anna Ripley, assisted by Orthax, attacks the party, nearly causes a TPK, and kills Percy. Vox Machina defeats Ripley, but they are hundreds of miles away from anyone who could resurrect Percy, and unlike Vex and Grog, who are resurrected almost immediately, Percy is still dead by the episode's end.
    • Episode 102, which makes sense since it's the start of the Grand Finale. Vecna is reborn and utterly trounces Vox Machina. Killing Vex, disintegrating Vax, and trying multiple times to do the same to Pike. Our heroes have no choice but to flee.
  • Dead Man Writing:
    • In Episode 50, Scanlan gives Pike a note, saying to only open and read it if he should die. Pike reads it the moment Scanlan is out of sight. It's not revealed what it says until the 'campaign wrap up' episode of Talks Machina, but judging from Ashley Johnson's reaction, it was emotionally powerful.
    • Having predicted his demise at the hands of Anna Ripley, Percy has a note on his person for the rest of the party.
    • Vax's note to Vex, hidden in his armor: "Take these wings and fly." Also, his letter to Scanlan in Episode 81, which basically said, "You were right".
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: After Grog beats Kern in the arena, the two become friends.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In Episode 42 Vax calls at Keyleth's door at night saying he doesn't want to spend the night alone, and is let in. That's all we ever see. It's certainly implied they had sex, but we may never know for sure. The end of Episode 64 is set up as a Did They or Didn't They? cliffhanger, but Episode 65 immediately starts with Keyleth telling Vax she's ready to love him, and Vax tackle-hugging her onto the bed.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A comedic example in episode 10. Tiberius' response to Vax giving him a silly nickname is to cast a silence spell on him.
  • Down to the Last Play:
    • The pit brawl between Grog and Kern the Hammer in episode 16 goes down to the last hit point. Kern wins, largely because Travis Forgot About His Powers and Matt didn't.
    • Happens again in Episode 23 during their rematch where Grog wins this time!
    • Grog's fight with Earhbreaker Groon in episode 85 also counts. The Earthbreaker actually brings Grog down to zero hit points, but Grog wins when his Relentless Rage abilities allow him to keep fighting.
  • Dragon Rider: Several wyvern riding bandits accost the party in episode 15. The party themselves also ride on a brass dragon on the way to the final fight against Vecna in episode 109.
  • Due to the Dead: Vox Machina gives Tiberius a burial in the ruins of Draconia in Episode 64 after finding his frozen and impaled corpse outside of Vorugal's lair.
  • Duel Boss: Grog gets several of these. His two fights against Kern the Hammer, and his second fight against Earthbreaker Groon. He also attempted to fight Kevdak this way, before calling for Vox Machina to help when he realized he was outmatched.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Most of Vox Machina, save Tiberius and Vax. Vex/Percy and Scanlan/Pike marry, Grog lives with his two best friends, Keyleth continues to lead her people and eventually becomes one with the land, and Tary not only fixes his family's name but he also finds Lawrence.
  • Epic Fail: In Episode 29, due to several very poor rolls, when the group of Percy, Vax and Scanlan try to enter the temple of Pelor through the front door (prevented from being opened only by a simple, if large, bar of wood) they spend several minutes trying to open it. In the process, Scanlan actually gets injured and also wastes three spells before the door is finally opened.
  • Escape Sequence: After Vox Machina defeats K'varn and frees the illithids from his control, the illithids turn on them and try to have the party for lunch. Fortunately, the party had enough flying magic to escape the city and Tiberius had a spare teleportation circle to get the party back to Emon.
  • Everyone Can See It: A more literal example than usual. Every member of Vox Machina is present when Vex confesses her love for Percy during his resurrection ritual. This means that everyone knows about her feelings except him. Though Percy does later admit to Vex that he heard her as well, which was why he reciprocated by acting on his feelings for her.
  • Exact Words: Garmelie wants "a piece of a Syngorn threshold crest", meaning a fragment of the magical devices that allows the whole city to travel between the Material Plane and the Feywild, but never explicitly specifying it as such. What Percy gives him is a piece of a crest which Keyleth molded out of the threshold of the door to their guest room in Syngorn, using the Stone Shape spell. Much to Garmelie's dismay, he has to accept this deal as fulfilled.

  • Facepalm: The reaction of Taliesin/Percy to... pretty much everything that the others do.
  • Failed a Spot Check: With a Rogue and Ranger in the party constantly scouting ahead and checking traps, you wouldn't think this would happen at all... Vex suddenly dies from a trap from the Raven Queen protecting its legendary armor in episode 44 when Percy interrupts her while she's checking for traps.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Once it was discovered she was a Tiefling, Sovereign Uriel didn't really speak of Lillith kindly. It's probable it was partly because she had been disguised as one of the castle servants in her attempt to evade her sisters though.
    • Grog experiences this first-hand from the refugees in Episode 48. Somewhat understandable, since their city had been ransacked and occupied by a horde of Goliaths very recently.
    • The tailless Ravenite Dragonborns were enslaved under the tailed Draconians until the fall of their country.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Percy is the only character seen with a gun, which he designed and built himself. Eventually, Dr. Ripley copies his invention, and sells his designs to a handful of other tinkerers.
  • The Farmer and the Viper:
    • In the Underdark, Vox Machina only rescue two untrustworthy figures, an exiled Humanoid Abomination named Clarota and a traumatized zealot named Kima. Each tells the party that the other will betray them, but in such a dangerous enviroment, the heroes ultimately decide to trust both and brace themselves for one or both betraying them. Ultimately, Clarota turns on the party as soon as he is welcomed back into Mind Flayer society.
    • The Fire Ashari are on the receiving end of this with a young woman they took in as one of their own. She was actually Raishan, the ancient green dragon, using them to get close to the Fire Plane and free Thordak.
  • Fingore: A couple of examples:
    • Percy shoots the fingers clean off the Briarwood's carriage driver's hand in Episode 25.
    • Keyleth gets her hand crushed by a roc in Episode 26.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: The infamous "Hello, I'm Tiberius Stormwind! I'm from Draconia." line was repeated so much that Sam and Marisha would finish it in conjunction with Orion.
  • Flat Joy: Percy, Vex and Scanlan's reaction to first meeting Lyra.
  • Forgot About His Powers:
    • Travis had never used Grog's Goliath racial ability Stone's Endurance, allowing him to shrug off up to 16 points of damagenote  before episode 22. It costs him against both K'varn (though fortunately not permanently) and Kern the Hammer.
    • Also occasionally happens with the rest of the party as well - Laura constantly forgets to use Hunter's Mark and Taliesin, once Percy learns it, keeps forgetting to use Hex. Sam has also been known to forget to direct Scanlan's bardic spells through his Handcone of Clarity, which would make them more effective.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A pre-series example in the form of General Krieg who the party eventually discovered to be the Blue Dragon, Brimscythe. A secret cavern connected to Krieg's home contained a room with four strange orbs which seemed to be some kind of communication devices. More than a year later, the players (and the audience) learn just who Krieg was speaking to: the Chroma Conclave, an alliance of ancient Chromatic Dragons.
    • Episode 8 has Lady Kima drop the first syllable of Thordak's name before stopping herself and saying referring to him as "that scourge dragon" when talking about how long she knew Allura. About twenty episodes later, Vox Machina nearly gets spotted by that scourge dragon while traveling through the Plane of Fire.
    • Doubling with Meaningful Background Event: As soon as he hears that Sovereign Uriel is communicating with Lord and Lady Briarwood, Taliesin/Percy starts blinking rapidly and sits back in silence with a Thousand-Yard Stare. As we find out in later episodes, the Briarwoods took over his home and killed his family.
    • While it may or may not have been planned, Vax'ildan has been shown to possess a strangely powerful connection to the Gods. This begins cropping up as early as the Whitestone arc where he utilizes a symbol of Sarenrae sewn into his glove to summon an avatar of Pike. Later, after the party acquires the Deathwalker's Ward, his Sarenrae symbol cracks and the Raven Queen begins to take particular interest in him. This leads to his eventual acceptance of his fate as the Queen's champion, coupled with a multi-classing into Paladin.
    • Matt's unusually downcast demeanor when the group goes to Draconia, Keyleth being unable to scry on Tiberius in Episode 64, as well as the fact that Lockheed isn't with him, are all signs that he's dead. If you watch their faces, about half the party figures it out - most obviously Laura.
    • Seeker Asum's story when he returns to the party in Whitestone has a few holes in it. Namely, he mentions the name of a minor character (Brom Goldhand) who is confirmed to be dead and speaks as if they are alive, and also claims to have taken a teleportation circle to Whitestone when there are no teleportation circles in the city. It's because Asum is actually a green dragon in disguise.
    • As soon as Kashaw decides to resurrect Vex, cawing can be heard in the background, hinting at the appearance of the Raven Queen, rather than Vesh.
    • The pantheon used by Matt for Exandria is essentially the 4th edition basic pantheon (aka the "Dawn War Pantheon"), with the addition of Sarenrae and the notable absence of Vecna, an iconic D&D character all the way back to 1st edition. Guess who's the Big Bad of the Vox Machina campaign?
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • As of Episode 35, it looks like Percy's whole backstory and the entire Whitestone Arc happened for one reason: Sylas Briarwood died, and Delilah made a deal with Vecna to resurrect him. The price of that deal was conducting the ritual under Whitestone, so had that deal not been made, the Briarwoods would have had no reason to seek out the ziggurat, and the de Rolos would still be alive.
    • Percy opening the tomb of Purvan Sul, without waiting for Vex to finish checking for traps, changed a lot for Vox Machina. Vex died instantly, and Vax made a deal with the Raven Queen to save her. Through this, Vax became the Raven Queen's champion, radically altering his and Keyleth's character arcs and eventually resulting in his Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence at the end of the series.
  • Fortune Teller: Percy, Vex and Keyleth visit one in Ank'Harel. He's a card reader, and he makes four predictions for them, all of them laden with juicy Foreshadowing:
    • Percy asks after Cabal's Ruin first. The fortune-teller says the garment in question is "moving". This is because Anna Ripley has taken it from its previous owner, and she's sailing North for Glintshore.
    • Percy then says they are searching for the man who has Cabal's Ruin. The fortune-teller claims it is not a man they seek. They're looking for a woman. At first, it appears to be Mistress Asharu, but eventually it's revealed to be Dr. Ripley.
    • Then, Percy asks more generally about the "inevitable conflict" they run towards. This one hasn't really occurred yet, but the fortune teller claims "the path will change" and shows them pictures of the earth cracking and a skull. The final arc sees Vox Machina doing their best to save the world from Vecna, a lich whose emblem is a skull with a single glowing eye.
    • Finally, Vex asks if she "made the right choice" in refusing Saundor. The fortune-teller says she created an opportunity for "unity and a new dawn," and turns over a card depicting a sun rising over a mountain range. It's possible this refers to her relationship with Percy. In Episode 72, she explains that Percy's decision to forgive Ripley led Vex to try and forgive herself for her shortcomings, and others for their betrayals, which had been bothering her since speaking with Saundor (making this a "new dawn" for her as a character). In the same scene, Percy kisses her, ending many, many episodes of romantic tension with a new kind of "unity". In addition, the symbols of the sun and the mountains are recurring motifs of Whitestone and the de Rolo family. In this case, unlike the others, it seems that Matt merely predicted where their subplot could lead, instead of giving hints towards answers he already had.
  • Four Is Death: Episode 44 sees the party entering the sunken tomb to a Champion of the Raven Queen, a goddess of death. Matching the twin 4s in the episode number, the twins get into trouble: Vex died and Vax made a bargain of said death goddess to bring her back.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Episode 9 has a Call-Back on the blackboard that refers to Scanlan pooping on the bed from a few episodes before.
    • In episode 10, the blackboard says Hunter's Mark to remind Laura/Vex'ahlia to use her ability of the same name.
    • As Scanlan talks about his fondness for hats in Episode 60, the rest of the group mimes putting on their various hats behind him.
  • Forgotten Birthday: At the end of episode 15, on the part of the VA who had one coming up in a few days. Cue a completely blindsided Dungeon Master.
  • Gargle Blaster: In Episode 65, Grog purchases two bottles of highly expensive alcohol from a merchant in Ank'harel, but lets Percy and Keyleth have the first sips. The effects are powerful, to say the least. Grog is later horrified to learn that it's made using excreted fluids from an ankheg (a giant, acid-spewing insect), and decides to hold off on drinking it himself.
  • Genki Girl: Vex'ahlia can sometimes be as excitable as her actor, Laura Bailey.
  • Gladiator Games: The first half of Episode 17 was Grog challenging Kern in a pit fight. The first half of Episode 23 is the rematch.
  • Got Volunteered: Zac suggests doing something "crazy" if the subscriber count reaches 4,000 by the night's end. He completely shoots himself in the foot by saying Vox Moronica (from episode 12) will do a rap video if the channel gets 4,000 subs (which it naturally does). At the show's end, he laughs at himself while saying that he has to inform Dan Casey and Ify Nwadiwe about "the work I volunteered them for".
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Orcus, the god of undeath. His horn indirectly caused the entire catastrophe with K'varn in the Underdark, and a second horn still exists in the world somewhere. However, being a god, it's unlikely the party will confront him directly.
    • Orthax, the entity with which Percy made his vengeance pact three years before the stream started. Comes to a head in Episode 35, but had been pushing Percy towards revenge and slowly corrupting him for years before he realised his dream wasn't just a dream.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • In the first ten episodes, the party temporarily gains the aid of a morally ambiguous Mind Flayer named Clarota and a paladin named Kima. They take part in most of the battles the party has in this arc and even use actions and class features normally only available to player characters.
    • Played more literally after the team is divided up, as the guild members who joined them for their bounty hunts were played by other actors — Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Felicia Day for Vex's team, Wil Wheaton and Will Friedle for Vax's.
    • Episode 25 has Kit Buss, one of the official artists, guest starring as her artist avatar Lillith.
    • Jason Charles Miller appears in episode 41 as a Half-orc member of The Clasp thieves guild.
    • Mary and Will return in episode 43, to much rejoicing. Later in the episode Kima also rejoins the party, just as badass as ever.
    • Episode 46 has Chris Hardwick join the group as a candle making necromancer who travels around with his undead thralls (Carol, Coral, Fatty Arbuckle, and Stimpy).
    • Episode 55 has Chris Perkins playing Shale. A tougher-than-nails Goliath crone who was once part of Grog's herd.
    • Patrick Rothfuss joins the fun in Episode 56 as Kerrek. A blacksmith/community leader with the patience of a sage, that Vox Machina comes across outside the gates of Westruun. He returns about 30 episodes later in time to join the heroes in venturing through the dungeon of an exiled necromancer named Opash.
    • Noelle Stevenson in episode 93 as Tova, a Dwarven Blood Hunter separated from her team.
    • Jon Heder in episodes 99 and 100 as Lionel/Chod, a Half-Orc ducklingual Bard-barian that unintentionally arouses resentment and envy in Grog just by being another dumb Barbarian.
    • After a brief cameo at the end of episode 21, Darin De Paul makes a proper guest appearance in episode 105 as Sprigg Brokenbranch, a Gnomish Arcane Trickster who is the key to Ioun's domain.
    • Episode 113 sees Joe Manganiello join the party as the Red Dragonborn Paladin/Barbarian Arkhan. Him, combined with Travis/Grog...
  • Gun Twirling: The first thing Scanlan does when he gets his hands on Dr. Ripley's gun is to twirl it, which promptly results in the rest of the group deciding it's a bad idea to allow him to handle a firearm. note 
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Three of the party are all the half-elven flavor of this trope.
  • He Knows Too Much: Desmond, the Briarwoods' carriage driver, is captured by Vox Machina and not a day later is nearly assassinated by invisible air monsters working for his former employer. Thankfully, Vox Machina anticipated this and save him in time to get more information about the Briarwoods from him.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In Episode 25, there were a number of... acts bordering upon excessive violence, to the point where Keyleth called the entire group out on it at the beginning of Episode 26. They're even pulled off the Emon Council by Uriel for their actions. As the Whitestone arc continues, it worsens, with the team executing prisoners, torturing them or cutting them down as they run away.
  • High-Altitude Battle:
    • Episode 5 gives us one of these, though it doesn't end in the best circumstance. Nevertheless, any one that you can somewhat walk away from, isn't a failure.
    • Episode 10 gives us a flying creature, called a cloaker, chasing a boat with our heroes in it.
    • Episode 15 has one atop an airship surrounded by wyverns and a griffon (all with riders).
    • Episode 67 features the time skydiving from a skyship onto a boat, using flying brooms, magical wings, and various spells that turn people into giant birds to take the ship from above.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Liam indulges in this occasionally as Vax. Every so often, he says he'll play "tiefling's advocate" or, when trying to choose something, recites the rhyme "Eenie menie mynie moe, catch a druid by the toe."
  • Holy City: Vasselheim in the second arc. Of the Multi-Deity flavor. The deities within the city are:
    • Bahamut, the god of metallic Dragons, justice and nobility and Lady Kima's patron deity.
    • Kord, The god of Strength, Warfare, and Storms. A traditional D&D god.
    • Erathis, the goddess of civilization and the muse of great invention, founder of cities, and author of laws.
    • Melora, goddess of the wildlands and seas.
    • The Raven Queen, goddess of Death and Vax'ildan's patron deity after he became her champion.
    • Ioun, Mistress of Knowledge, has a hidden temple where Osisa resides and guides the Slayer's Take.
    • Finally, there's Sarenrae, Pike's patron deity, and a deity of healing, the sun, and protection. Interesting in contrast to Kord, as she's from Pathfinder's setting.
    • Percy's hometown of Whitestone is revealed to worship the sun god, Pelor. Whitestone is also home to a temple of Erathis. Percy later arranges for the creation of a shrine to the Raven Queen for Vax.
    • The Platinum Sanctuary High Bearer was initially concerned that the Chroma Conclave's attack on Emon was caused by Tiamat, sister and rival of Bahamut.
  • Hope Spot: In at least two episodes:
    • Episode 68 has Percy die, but be revived with Pike's necklace. A second KO follows, but he's once again healed. However, Ripley has been focusing on him the entire battle, and finally kills him a second time. Notably, this is the first onscreen death that wasn't resolved the same episode, and the players are visibly unable to keep themselves together.
    • Episode 102 has Vax outright Disintegrated by Delilah's spell, but Sam successfully argues for a couple of retroactive checks to allow Scanlan to pull off a clutch Counterspell. However, Matt just has Vecna use his next action to Disintegrate Vax anyways, leaving no body to revive.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 56 "Hope" starts as one of these, as Scanlan decides his version of Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion contains a working hot spring, in which the party relax after their lengthy battle the episode before, as well as having a Mundane Made Awesome cannonball competition.
  • House Rules: Percy's "Gunslinger" class does not exist in D&D, so Matt made a special homebrew version for him.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Since it's a D&D game, this is usually averted since all the abilities and effects are written down. On rare occasion is it played straight, like when Keyleth cast Wind Walk, a 6th-level traversal spell, in the middle of a fight. Or when Vex'Ahlia tried to figure out the enchantment on the flying broom, which she nicked from a temporary party member played by Chris Hardwick.
  • Hungry Weapon: Craven Edge, Sylas Briarwood's sentient greatsword, perpetually hungers for the blood of its victims. In the final arc, the group recovers the Sword of Kas, which is sentient and always seeking to be bathed in blood as well as hungering for the death of Vecna specifically.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Taryon and Keyleth don't respond particularly well to realizing that the intoxicating powerstones they've inhaled energy from for a quick buzz actually contained fragments of damned souls!
  • Implied Death Threat: Percy (in disguise) tells the Briarwoods about how Vox Machina killed a previous ally, an Illithid, for betraying and attacking them. He's obviously alluding to the fact that the Briarwoods betrayed and slaughtered his family, and that they'll one day meet the same fate as Clarota.
  • Indy Escape: The mini-dungeon under the Velvet Cabaret in episode 20 features the classic sloped tunnel and rolling boulder.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: During Scanlan's solo mission to cause a distraction during the group's assault on the new nobles of Whitestone he has a brief but impressive confrontation with Count Vekmire: A gnome fighting a goliath on the roof of a burning building during a thunderstorm!
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In episode 24 at the feast with the Briarwoods, the trope is used interestingly - a disguised Percy, after getting some key information, proposes a toast to "gracious hosts". It was as their hosts threw a feast in their honor that the Briarwoods began the brutal massacre of Percy's household and family, and the information he obtained was the story of how they made their "inheritance" of the castle and lands look legitimate.
    • The carriage driver, during his interrogation in Episode 26, claims that "an enemy of an enemy doesn't necessarily make a friend." Keyleth's response is "no, but it can make them allies." It's not word for word, but Keyleth is actually echoing Clarota, of all people. And we all know what a great ally he turned out to be.
    • Vax gives one to Percy in Episode 29, parroting his "Your soul is now forfeit!" killing blow from Episode 25:
      Vax: (to Percy) Your soul need not be forfeit, Percival.
    • Percy excitedly telling Vax "Vax? I have a sister!" in Episode 32 gets echoed in the next episode, after the party finds and rescues Cassandra, and she proves to be an Annoying Younger Sibling:
    Keyleth: Percy! You have a sister!
    Percy: (clearly irritated) Oh, god, I do.
    • Cassandra de Rolo betrays the party in Episode 34, saying that because she was left for dead by Percy, she's a Briarwood now. However, in the next episode, as a dying Delilah Briarwood is staring up at Cassandra and says "You could've been my daughter," she retorts with a cold voice, saying "No. Cassandra is a de Rolo. And you took them away from me. And now I'm taking everything away from you!" and stabs her dead.
    • Percy's infamous line to Ripley in Episode 33 "You are the luckiest woman in Whitestone, do you know why? Because you're at the bottom of my List." receives a pseudo-echo from Ripley herself, who says "another name off the List" when she kills Percy in Episode 68.
      • This same line gets echoed again by Keyleth in reference to Raishan, with Percy turning it around for her:
      Keyleth: But she's at the top of my list.
    • Tiberius coins the phrase "I encourage violence" in Episode 6, and it becomes something of a Running Gag. All the way in to Episode 72, it comes back as the complete opposite when Scanlan uses "I encourage peace" as the epitaph on Tiberius's memorial.
    • Episode 39, when Scanlan, Percy, and Keyleth are talking about how she should travel to Whitestone to talk to Allura about the skull, she complains that she'd be wasting a sixth-level spell just to be a glorified messenger and Scanlan retorts that she wasted one for no reason, referring to the Wind Walk fiasco. In Episode 78, Scanlan ends up doing the exact same thing, complaining that he wasted a fifth-level spell for no reason when he has to drop his Seeming spell to demonstrate the party's prowess to potential allies.
    • In Campaign 1, Percy (played by Taliesin) makes an iconic and inspiring speech around the line "Life needs things to live" arguing for the party to help a city under siege by assisting with their supplies and logistics. The slightly goofy line gets echoed and called back several times. In Campaign 2, Caduceus (played by Taliesin) makes an iconic and inspiring speech around the line "Life doesn't need things to live", arguing that the party should help the people of a community in danger of extermination evacuate even if it means having to leave all their possessions behind.
  • Irony: When Percy interrogates the carriage driver in Episode 25, he begins listing off the names of his family members to confirm their deaths, because Delilah's taunt, "be nice of you to visit your family once in a while", makes it sound like they might still be alive. The only name Percy doesn't say is exactly who Delilah was referring to: Cassandra de Rolo, whose death he witnessed himself.
  • It's Personal:
    • Not that Vox Machina lacked reasons to hate the Chroma Conclave, but when they discover their murder of Tiberius it's obvious the group is struck to the core, and the quest becomes a vendetta.
    • Also applies individually to Percy towards the Briarwoods, Keyleth towards Raishan the green dragon who's actions led to Thordak's release and the destruction of Pyrah, and to the twins towards Thordak for the death of their mother and the razing of their hometown.

  • Just a Stupid Accent: The party members play it safe with either Received Pronunciation (Vax, Vex, Percy, Scanlan), an East London accent (Grog), or their own, mostly Midwestern American accents (Keyleth, Pike).
  • Karmic Death:
    • Anna Ripley's. After she pursues vengeance against Percy and kills him, the rest of Vox Machina take their own vengeance immediately afterwards.
    Scanlan: Percy's killing you right now. Not us.
    • Raishan's. For someone who compared Vox Machina and all of Exandria to ants, she clearly underestimated them all as she suffered a twofold death: the death of what defined her (her intellect, cunning, and pride) due to Keyleth's Feeblemind, and the death of her own physical body at the hands of Kerrek, who represented the very people she mocked. As icing on the cake, Keyleth strikes her corpse with the Spire of Conflux, accelerating and finalizing Raishan's disease, completely destroying what remains.
    Keyleth: You should know, Raishan, I've stepped on plenty of anthills in my day. Those that don't die, revolt. And guess what? There's some pretty nasty stings from some ants out there. The strength of a colony is stronger than the individual of one great, diseased foot.
    • Vax lands the killing blow on Thordak, avenging his mother, as he was the Vessar sibling most devoted to keeping her memory alive.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: After killing Sir Stonefell in Episode 29, the group decides to let his lackey Vook live — but not before Percy brands him with a red-hot gun barrel and Grog rips out his tongue. Vook was, by his own admission, part of the coup against the de Rolos, and Vox Machina first encounters him oppressing the peasantry on the Briarwoods' behalf, so it's really hard to feel sorry for him.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The duergar queen attempts this on the party when things start going south, by blowing open the ceiling and letting magma pour into the room. The party manages to escape without losing anyone, but Vax is wounded badly enough to require several episodes of magical healing.
    • Tiberius to the Hydra in episode 17...unfortunately, he also blasts some of his own by accident.
    • Keyleth also pulls it off in Episode 42 with her 7th-level Fire Storm spell, managing to kill a majority of enemies in one battle.
      • And she pulls it off again in Episode 77 with the Spire of Conflux, using two castings of Fireball to roast twelve lizardfolk.
    • Scanlan is able to pull it off after gaining a Wand of Fireballs, albeit it did kill two innocents during the battle with Kevdak.
    • Pike's Flame Strike spell. It was used at her highest level to immolate Hotis.
    • Attempted by Dr. Anna Ripley when she tried to send a Fireball spell towards several clustered party members, but narrowly avoided thanks to Scanlan's Counterspell.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Every spy sent to Whitestone has either resigned or vanished, presumably because the Briarwoods don't want any information about their activities leaving the town. Kicked up a notch in Episode 27, where they send a pair of invisible stalkers to kill their carriage driver, who is in Vox Machina's custody. Luckily, Vox Machina foils the attempt.
  • Kill the God: With Vecna's revival in episode 101, the story transitions to this for the final arc. There is also a deal in place to kill Orcus when the time comes, though it seemed to have been forgotten since.
  • Knight Knave And Squire: Percy, Grog, and Scanlan fit this trope pretty well.
    • Percy (Knight): Insightful, well-read, Blue Blood.
    • Grog (Knave): Kills without much forethought, Blood Knight, morally and ethically ambiguous.
    • Scanlan (Squire): Most light-hearted during tense situations, rarely uses physical weapons, typically surprised when getting a killing blow.
    • Vax'ildan most identifies with the Knave, as befitting his Class.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Not an obvious example, but Vex'ahlia represents Land, with her favored terrains, Pike represents Sea, having spent time after her pre-stream death on the Broken Howl to toughen herself up, and Keyleth representing Sky, as that she is an Air Ashari Princess. A case could be made for swapping Keyleth and Vex'ahlia too. Keyleth's connection to nature through her druidic magic (and her tendency to take the form of an Earth Elemental) makes her a perfect fit for Land, while Vex'ahlia's love for flying works well for Sky.
  • La Résistance: Vox Machina form this against the Briarwoods during the Whitestone arc. The good people of Whitestone eventually help them fight the Briarwoods' undead minions during a final uprising.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The duergar torturer who had been subjecting Lady Kima to the Cold-Blooded Torture noted above gets this when Grog rushes him onto a rack of his own tools, impaling him. Unfortunately for the dwarf, that's only the beginning of what Grog has in store for him... and then the victim he was torturing escapes and grabs a weapon...
    • King Murghol ends up subject to this whe he's decapitated by Scanlan, whom he'd previously felled. He didn't stand on his head, so Scanlan took it.
    • For turning on the team and trying to eat Scanlan's brain as soon as K'varn was defeated for good, Clarota gets his own brain blasted out by Percy.
    • The Rakshasa in episode 21 threatens to kill the second group's loved ones (Vex'ahlia, Keyleth's father Korren, House Stormwind, and Thorbir's daughter) and then attempts to escape his demise... only to have his Plane Shift spell neutralized by Tiberius' weaker Counterspell. He then attempts to flee the room only to plummet down thanks to a dagger thrown by Vax and then gets his throat slit, preceded by Vax telling him "Talk about my sister again..." And then after its pieces are harvested, Thorbir stabs the demon's empty eye socket with a jeweled dagger, saying "You will NEVER... harm my daughter".
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting sourcebook spoils a number of major plot points from the campaign, canonically starting sometime during or after the one year Time Skip, mentioning events such as Scanlan being the one to kill King Murghol, the Chroma Conclave's attack on Emon and Sovereign Uriel's death, Vox Machina's Enemy Mine with Raishan, the eventual defeat of Thordak and the Chroma Conclave, Vex becoming a noble of Whitestone and its rebuilding after the Briarwoods defeat, and Keyleth completing her Aramente.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Vax trying to find his lost snake belt in Episode 26, because "it's on all the fan art, so it really makes sense to have it."
  • Libation for the Dead: Grog pours one out for Tiberius in episode 64, but uses water instead of alcohol because Tiberius was The Teetotaler.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Episode 18 and 19, Grog and Percy were the only two without access to spells. Averted somewhat, since Grog and Percy are still rather nasty with their damage dealing. This is no doubt in large part thanks to D&D's 5th edition combat Power Creep in various ways.
  • Literal Metaphor: Victor the crazy old black powder merchant measures a hogshead of powder by filling a literal hog's head with it. note 
  • Love Potion: Vax'ildan slips a Love Potion into Scanlan's Drink in Episode 109. Unfortunately, Percy is the target of his affections. Fun was had by most.
  • Magic Carpet:
    • The group acquired one before the show started. Unfortunately it can carry neither Grog nor Trinket. It is lost in episode 21 due to passing through a pair of anti-magic sigils and then taking a dunk in an acid pit. They were able to make it into a carpet again, but the enchantment is gone. Re-enchanting the carpet is now something of a sidequest for the party.
    • After defeating Thordak and narrowly surviving their battle with Raishan, the party began to loot Thordak's underground lair. Among the vast amounts of loot was a new flying carpet, even better than the one they lost previously.
  • Meaningful Echo: In Episode 40, Vax asks Vex to "not go far from him", even if she's out of earshot, out of fear of losing her. The echo hits in Episode 44, when he protests as she momentarily heads off from getting Vax out of a pit to inspect a sarcophagus that turns out to be trapped resulting in her death, and Vax is left wondering where she went.
  • Mind Screw: In Universe example. Poor Grog suffers a bad one when Kima tries to invoke "lying is such an ugly word".
    Kima: Mr. Vord starts coming around asking questions? ...Tell him you haven't seen me.
    Grog: Lie?
    Kima: No, no... Just tell him you haven't seen me.
    Grog: But I have seen you.
    Kima: Tell him you haven't.
    Grog: (Turns to the others for help, the expression on Travis' face sending everyone into helpless laughter.)
  • Moe Greene Special: Vax frequently goes for his opponents eyes. Vex and Percy also score kills this way, occasionally.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 24, twice. It starts with Percy's tearful recounting of his backstory, then jumps almost immediately to three hours of Vox Machina comedy shenanigans...and then ends with a tense dinner scene with the Briarwoods.
    • Foreshadowed in the title of Episode 26, "Consequences and Cows". Begins with Keyleth playing The Conscience and lecturing them about Tiberius killing an unconsciouss old woman and Percy torturing a prisoner, goes on to them being summoned before Sovereign Uriel, being read the riot act, divested of their council seats and effectively being put on probation then peaks with their prisoner, the coach driver for the Briarwoods, giving a heartrending tale of what life in Whitestone is like under the Briarwoods and their henchfolk. Then Tiberius gets hilariously drunk followed by...Vox Moochina.
    • In Episode 34, Keyleth disintegrates Sylas Briarwood with a Sunbeam, and Vox Machina starts celebrating. Vex calls out "How's that feel, Lady Briarwood?" Then Matt describes her screaming for her husband and bursting into tears, and the whole table falls quiet.
    • Most of episode 44 is mostly silly and lighthearted character interaction...and then we find out what a tribe of Kuo-Tuas have been worshipping. Things get worse when Vex suddenly dies after the battle, and Kashaw pulls an apparently risky Revivify to bring her back.
      • The second event is especially abrupt. One moment, everyone is goofing around and teasing Vax because he's stuck in a hole. Less than a minute later, Vex is dead on the ground, and Vax is the last to find out because everyone is too shocked to help pull him up.
    • In episode 45, after Keyleth tearfully recounts to Vex the events that led to her revivification, we smash cut to Scanlan and Grog, cheerfully goofing around before Grog decides to have a shit and talk to his sword.
    • Episode 64: The beginning has a humorous aftermath that comes from coming back from the Feywild. The end has the discovery of Tiberius's death.
    • Episode 66: For most of the episode, other than the battle with a cobalt golem, the party is enjoying themselves in Ank'Harel. And then at the end of the episode, they discover that Mistress Asharru is dead, Cabal's Ruin has been stolen, and the perpetrator... is Dr. Anna Ripley herself.
    • Episode 69: It begins with Percy being taken back to Whitestone, Vex confessing her love to him (even though he may not have heard her), and the resurrection ritual managing to bring him back to life. Then, celebration occurs with the party gets shit-faced in a tavern where heartwarming talks and letter reading are done. Then the episode ends with the reveal that Raishan has been among the people of Whitestone all this time under the guise of Seeker Asum, and now she seeks an alliance with Vox Machina to slay Thordak.
    • In the middle of grieving for Vax in the final episode, Grog decides to pull a card from the Deck of Many Things. He draws one of the worst possible cards he could get (The Void), which results in the five remaining members having an offscreen trip to Pandemonium to get his soul back.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • The party is faced with this in episode 27 — stay in Emon as ordered to find evidence but likely end up guilty, or attack the source of the problem in Whitestone with an equal chance of them becoming outlaws. They ultimately choose to do the latter.
    • It happens again in Episode 81. They either go in to fight and kill Raishan while both sides are wounded and spent where there is a higher risk of people in the party dying, or wait until they are fully rested and then go in the evening and hopefully catch her unawares before she herself fully recovers. Keyleth ends up being the one who has to make the choice for the group. She chooses the latter.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The arm-wrestling contest in Episode 36 - Matt plays the regular battle music to go along with each bout.
    • The cannonball contest in Episode 56, which sees every member of Vox Machina breaking out absolutely ridiculous tactics to win. The victor is Percy, who wins by diving into the water with a kettle full of raw sodium.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Matt gave the party a choice between taking Gilmore or Allura to the Thordak fight. After trying (and failing) to pawn the decision off onto them (and hence Matt himself) or other NPCs, they eventually decide on Gilmore.

  • The Necrocracy: Whitestone is run by the Briarwoods (one of whom is a vampire, and the other a powerful necromancer of some flavour) and policed by six stone giant zombies as well as a number of unidentified undead minions. Also, the entire town, down to the soil, has been polluted by some kind of undead corruption.
  • Nerf:
    • After episode 17, the homebrew rules for Quicken Spell received a noticeable downgrade (now only casting up to 2nd level spells). Considering the damage Tiberius had done to the Hydra at full power, quite justified. This is still a more powered up version than the one you'll find in the Player's Handbook, which only allows for a cantrip to be cast as a Quickened Spell.
    • This also applies to Percy as his Trick Shot was quite overpowered as shown during the battle with K'Varn and over time, his archetype was given several tweaks to make him more balanced.
  • Never Split the Party:
    • Episode 3, The team debates whether to explore an apparently dangerous side route. Vex and Keyleth are in favor, but the rest of the gang opposes. The ladies decide "the hell with it" and go off on their own anyway, as the others assume this trope is about to hit in full force. The two actually end up discovering Clarota, who shortly after becomes an ally.
    • Episode 17, Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia are very apprehensive when they are forced to split to create two teams. Being how they're twins, and have been together most every day of their lives, this was bound to happen.
    • Episode 25, Vax's decision to sneak up on the Briarwoods by himself nearly gets him killed.
    • Episode 29: Vax, Percy and Scanlan investigate a local church of Pelor to seek assistance from its Good Shepherd, while Keyleth focuses on reviving the Sun Tree while Grog and Vex guard her (because Laura and Travis hadn't arrived yet. This results in Percy falling unconscious while Vax and Scanlan are almost overcome by a banshee.
    • Episode 30, Scanlan splits off from the party to set up a distraction, while the other players attack a different opponent across town. Subverted, in that Scanlan's solo rampage turns out to be one of the greatest (and most successful!) things that has ever happened on Critical Role.
    • Episode 33, Percy calls Vax out for going off on his own again, because Vax acting on his own nearly leads to Cassandra's de Rolo's death. Despite Matt later revealing that the attempt on her life was a trick, it still counts as Vax himself nearly died yet again at the hands of Professor Anders, a dominated Grog, and two Helmed Horrors.
    • Episode 111 follows the party's journey through The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. A particularly dangerous passage prompts them to spend some time making complex plans to split into two groups and take the enemies ahead by surprise... until Sam suddenly remembers that the Macguffin allowing them to sneak into dungeon doesn't work if the party is ever 60 feet apart from each other. Matt, who has been maintaining a poker face the whole time, subtly gestures that he was this close to screwing them over.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: The Goblins one-shot - when human guardsmen come close, the goblins all get the idea to stay still and act like garden gnomes. Despite still looking like goblins. The guards buy it.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: :In episode 88, Tary is struck down as the group is in the process of fleeing after a grueling battle with a giant monster. Grog, the only other one left in the fight, looks behind him and sees Tary fall...and runs away. Furious at him for leaving an ally (and a MacGuffin) behind, Percy casts Friends on Grog to make him go back and retrieve Tary. It nearly kills Grog, but both he and Tary make it out, and Tary is quickly given a healing potion to bring him back to consciousness.
  • Noodle Implements: Before venturing out to Whitestone, Tiberius had a plan that involved buying every mirror he could get his hands on. Since Orion left the show before they could confront the Briarwoods, the specifics of this plan were never revealed.
  • Noodle Incident: Many, considering the campaign had been going on for two years before the show began. For example, we still don't know the context in which Scanlan summoned a pony so Grog could decapitate it. Other incidents — like Keyleth killing a child or the reasons for Percy's imprisonment — have been de-noodled as the show goes on.
  • Official Couple:
    • Sylas and Delilah Briarwood, a murderous and married vampire and necromancer respectively who madly love each other.
    • Vax'ildan and Keyleth as of Episode 65. It took them 2 months in-game consisting of 30 episodes (from Episode 35: Denouement to Episode 65: The Streets of Ank'Harel) but it finally happened with Keyleth confessing to Vax.
    • As of Episode 72, it seems that Percy and Vex may follow suit, as she's confessed to being in love with him and he's given her The Big Damn Kiss. Episode 78 flat-out confirms it when they spend what may be their last night together.
    • Although they were a couple before the campaign ever began and they had separated for reasons, Lady Kima of Vord and Arcanist Allura Vysoren rekindled their love for each other off-screen after they were reunited. They even get married during the one-year time skip.
    • Despite Kashaw technically being married to his own god, he still falls in love with Zahra.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Played a little straighter with Vax and Percy, in Episode 24 - when Vax offers to help Percy get his revenge, he promises he'll let Percy deliver the final blow.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In Episode 109, when Vex suggests that the fate of the world is more important than saving a few hundred gold, everyone gasps and Scanlan implies she might be unwell.
  • Overly Long Name: Greetings, I am Percival Frederickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III (but you can call him Percy).
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Percy, fittingly, delivers a moving one to Keyleth in Episode 56, as he justifies rebuilding Westruun rather than simply relocating the survivors.
    Percy: This place is the human soul. It's what we have built with our tiny moments. To lose a place like this... We don't feel it immediately, but it would ruin everyone, in small ways.
  • Prophet Eyes: Happens to Keyleth and Allura temporarily as they're scrying on Raishan.
  • Player Headquarters: Greyskull Keep serves as this for Vox Machina, gifted to them by Sovereign Uriel after they saved Emon from a demon invasion in the pre-stream. After the Chroma Conclave destroys the city, they are forced to abandon the keep and Whitestone becomes their new go-to base.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Episode 22 is chock full of this trope since its focus is the group supporting Keyleth on her Aramente both emotionally and by force of arms.
    • Played with by Percy in Episode 30. Keyleth asks if his quest in Whitestone motivated by revenge, altruism or friendship, and Percy says that any answer that was not revenge would be a lie. Still, he later implies that Vox Machina's friendship is the only thing stopping him from becoming as bad as the Briarwoods.
    • Played straight by Earthbreaker Groon in Episode 43, during his fight with Grog:
      Groon: Where do you get your strength?
      Grog: From my friends.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Before any given fight, Grog will always yell "I would like to rage," signifying that he's about to do just that and begin Hulking Out.
  • Primal Scene: Two instances of this occur in Episode 89, where Pike makes the mistake of asking a very literal robot to sketch a bunch of characters in the middle of the night, resulting in the robot coming back with sketches of several people naked, in bed, and in various degrees of discomfort.
  • Public Execution: The Sun tree in the middle of Whitestone proper is a once beautiful, but now dead symbol of the Sun god, Pelor. Now, it's simply used to hang seven people (and one bear) who are dressed up and painted to resemble the members of Vox Machina. Most likely to call attention to what fate would befall our intrepid heroes.
  • Pun-Based Title: Several episode titles:
    • Episode 72 is called The Elephant in the Room, which refers to both a metaphorical elephant in the room (whether or not Vex will address her Love Confession during Percy's ritual) and the fact that Keyleth literally turns into an elephant in Percy's workshop.
    • Episode 81 is called What Lies Beneath the Surface, referring to not only Thordak's lair beneath Emon, but also Vex hiding beneath the surface of the water in a bathtub that was also being used by Percy.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Pike had to leave after episode 16 as Ashley Johnson was cast in Blindspot on NBC in New York.
    • Tiberius had to leave after episode 29 as Orion Acaba had to leave for personal reasons. He's given an official sendoff in episode 37...which turns into a Bus Crash when the Chroma Conclave destroy Draconia.
    • In episode 85, Scanlan leaves Vox Machina after his resurrection to spend more time with his daughter. However, Sam Riegel stays on the show playing his new character Taryon.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: After four episodes, in Episode 22, Vox Machina is finally back together. And there was much rejoicing.

  • The Queen's Latin: Despite the actors being American, all of their characters have quite prim Received Pronunciation, apart from Keyleth who retains Marisha Ray's usual voice most of the time, Pike who uses a cutesier version of Ashley Johnson's regular accent, and Grog who has a bit of London Gangster about his voice.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: Three half-elves, two gnomes, a goliath, a human, and a dragonborn (plus a bear) make for an odd, if effectual, group. Add in an illithid and a halfling, albeit temporarily, as well as the myriad of interesting characters that cross their paths, and this is taken even further.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Percy's gun is something he designed and made on his own, which also means that he has to fashion his own ammo and mix his own gunpowder. In episode 23, Matt notes that most smiths know nothing of the latter or consider it a useless byproduct.
    • As it turns out, the leaders of Emon are pissed when Vox Machina attacks two nobles — the Briarwoods — during a formal event in their name, causing civilian casualties and property damage. The team as a whole is stripped of their position on the Council of Tal'dorei as a consequence. They're later reinstated after Uriel realizes he had been put under the effects of a charm spell.
    • Similarly, as it turns out, Scanlan has at least one illegitimate child because of his frequent casual sex in a medieval-based, contraceptive-less setting.
    • As Vax and Keyleth learn pretty harshly in episode 80, trying to take on an Ancient Green Dragon right after everyone has burned most of their more powerful resources taking on a red dragon means that Raishan is easily able to hold them off long enough to escape, even with the aid of several allies.
    • Goldfish are not magnetically attracted to water; it's advisable to turn into a flying creature when swan diving off a cliff. Keyleth learns this in episode 97.
  • Retirony: Sovereign Uriel steps down in Episode 39, claiming the city will be safer in the care of the council. Literally while he is making his retirement speech, four ancient dragons swoop in and start tearing Emon to shreds. It was unknown if Uriel survived their attack, until Gilmore later confirmed that he saw Uriel die.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Debated in the first part of Episode 30, in Whitestone. Scanlan and Grog think violence and intimidation are called for; Vex and Percy agree to a point, but think the violence has gotten out of hand; and Vax and Keyleth really don't want to go down that road.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • In episode 11, Matt flat-out refuses to let Laura knock K'Varn's horn off as part of the flavor of an attack. It's rare for Mercer to deny a player's request so bluntly, but it makes much more sense after seeing what the horn does later in the episode and realizing that it's placement wasn't just a fashion-statement.
      Laura: I wanna shoot him where the horn meets his head and knock it off of him.
      Matt: No.
    • Liam knew Vax was in love with Keyleth ever since the Underdark arc, but doesn't reveal this until Episode 33. Re-watch the second half of the Slayer's Take arc knowing this, and you'll see Vax is noticeably uncomfortable whenever Kashaw flirts with Keyleth.
    • In Episode 64, you can see exactly when Taliesin learns about Tiberius's fate. Taliesin is visibly saddened, but keeps quiet for about twenty minutes.
    • In Episode 65, the group informs Matt that some of his notes are showing at one point, being good sports and letting him hide them. Sam jokes "there's a Vestige on there!" and Matt replies "not anymore there isn't." With knowledge of the next few episodes, you'll notice Matt was giving a Sarcastic Confession: the Vestige they seek in Ank'Harel really was gone at the time they arrived.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever Grog uses the Dust of Tracelessness, Travis describes his eight-foot tall mass murderer throwing dust behind his back like a flower girl. It finally pays off when Grog actually became the flower girl at Vex and Percy's wedding.
    • In one of the early episodes, Vax badly burned his foot in some lava and the healing process required Pike to perform a healing spell on it once a day for several days in a row. Every time it was time for Pike to administer the spell, Liam insisted on putting his real-life foot up on the table, much to Laura's dismay.
    • The party loves to plug Glorious Gilmore's Goods during inappropriate situations. It starts out as part of their deal with that magic shop, but long after they stop needing to advertise for money, they keep on mentioning it to people with no chance of going to the store.
    • Vox Machina and doors don't get along. On several occasions, doors prevent the team from accessing areas, in some cases even causing damage. Put to rest with extreme prejudice in Episode 95:
      Taryon/Sam: *demonstrating his chime of opening* I can open any fucking door.
      Laura: *pose of rapture*
    • The servants in Scanlan's extra-dimensional mansion serve whole chickens for every meal every time the party rests there.
  • Saintly Church:
    • As Sarenrae/The Everlight is the goddess of healing and redemption, her clerics are pleasant folk. Her temple in Emon, for instance, is always open to those in need. They charged 100 gold for a Greater Restoration on Tiberius but only to cover the cost of the spell component (diamond dust) and nothing at all for diagnosing/disinfecting Vex's vampire bite or the bit of glissfoil Keyleth requested.
      Cleric of Sarenrae: We're happy to heal.
    • The Platinum Dragon/Bahamut is more about sending out his paladins to smite evil For Great Justice. His Platinum Sanctuary is nigh-unanimously recognized as the safest place to seal away dangerous artifacts like the Horn of Orcus.
  • Schmuck Bait: Matt seems rather fond of giving the party objects or letting them visit places that would almost certainly kill any character who touches / uses / visits them. Though he generally is fair enough to have an NPC point out that doing so would be a very bad idea (as with the Githyanki skull or the theatre in the Fey Wild) and usually the party is good about resisting temptation. (Except in the case of Percy handing Lord Briarwood's sword to Grog, fully knowing how bad an idea it is to handle sentient weapons and having just finally been released from his own Deal with the Devil. Grog himself of course has too low an intelligence / wisdom score to not take it and still stay in character.note ) Though sometimes, they only survive because of sheer dumb luck, like when Keyleth touches the mini black hole under Castle Whitestone - Matt later revealed she basically only survived because she rolled a natural 20. The hugely powerful necrotic damage trap that one-hit-killed Vex (she got better) because the party didn't examine the high-level loot carefully enough before taking anything can probably also be counted in this category.
  • Secret Identity: Scanlan Shorthalt, on many occasions, refers to himself as "Burt Reynolds".
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the final battle with Vecna, Arkhan steals Vecna's severed hand and attaches it to his arm after severing his arm, and teleports out before anyone can stop him. Given Matt has already stated his intent to continue the story a generation later, the sequel already has a Big Bad lined up.
  • Serial Escalation: Makes sense for a D&D campaign. Each arc (counting the first four: the Underdark, the Trial of the Take, the Whitestone arc, and now the Chroma Conclave arc) manages to outdo the previous in terms of enemies, danger, and emotional investment on the part of the heroes. The escalation can basically be summed up in a single contrast between Episode 19 and Episode 39. How many monsters in Episode 19? One adult white dragon. How many in Episode 39? Four ancient chromatic dragons. The villain of the final arc? Vecna, a literal god.
  • A Simple Plan: Scanlan is tasked with creating a distraction for the rest of the party. Highlights of the ensuing events, thereafter dubbed "Scanbo", include a spree of triceratops-based vandalism, the demise of numerous guards, a fight with a Goliath on the roof of a burning mansion, and a dramatic leap from a rooftop.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Doors. Scanlan in particular mentions that "me and doors don't get along really well."
    Scanlan/Sam: These fucking doors in this kingdom!
  • Something Completely Different: Episode 20: Trial of the Take, Part 3: It begins differently compared to the first team's hunt, as it turns into a murder mystery, complete with questioning of witnesses and going undercover.
  • Spin-Off: "Adventures of the Darrington Brigade" is a textbook example, not only turning Guest-Star Party Member Taryon Darrington (Sam Riegel) into the lead character but giving all the regular players the Darrington treatment ie. playing as completely new characters within Vox Machina canon.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Episode 24 was meant to give Percy his Day in the Limelight with the history of his character brought to the forefront; however, the rest of Vox Machina occupied most of the screen time with zany adventures during the pre-break.
  • Status Quo Is God: A minor example, Pike summoning an Angelic Deva to fix Greyskull Keep, restoring it to a polished luster, after Vorugal's attack.
  • Super Window Jump: To escape the Briarwoods, Vax jumps out of a second-story window. Due to a successful Acrobatics check, Matt says he uses Le Parkour to avoid damage from the glass or the wall. Then Sylas Briarwood jumps after him and scores a "perfect Three-Point Landing". His wife is not so graceful.
  • Swallowed Whole:
    • Played with in Episode 54, where Vax and Scanlan teleport inside the ancient black dragon Umbrasyl the Hope Devourer. They manage to survive by way of crawling out of a gaping wound Grog inflicts on the dragon's belly from outside in the next episode, but it is described as a thoroughly disgusting and terrifying experience.
    • In Episode 88 Tangled Depths, Grog is swallowed and spat up by the Kraken a total of three times, and Keyleth and Vax once each.
  • Tactical Withdrawal:
    • The High-Altitude Battle in Episode 10 was caused by Vax calling a retreat, the withdrawal in episode 13 was confirmed later by Matt to be required — Vox Machina had to get out of Yug'Voril.
    • Episode 39 has the team fleeing Emon as the Chroma Conclave launch an assault.
    • Episode 102 — the team Plane Shifts the heck out of the Shadowfell to the Feywild when it's clear they're no match for Vecna.
    • One last time in episode 112, when cornered by the Briarwoods after having retrieved the Sword of Kas. Getting back from this situation (which was on a time limit) involved parleying favor from Artagan.
  • Take a Third Option: After being thrown off a dragon in mid-flight, Vax and Grog are plummeting through the sky. Scanlan, clinging to a hovering Bigby's Hand nearby, only has time to save one of them. In true Scanlan fashion, he figures out a way to save them both - by grabbing Grog, polymorphing him into a giant eagle, and diving peregrine-style after Vax.
  • Talking to Himself: Sam gets some of it in when Scanlan and Taryon meet, much to the other players' amusement.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: While the group convinces Clarota and Kima not to try to kill each other for the moment, it's each hates the other and they take every private moment they have with the other members of the group trying to convince them that the other should not be trusted.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Episode 7. When the first attack roll Vax'ildan makes is a natural 20, Marisha makes mention it was going to be a good day. Then, many more Natural 20s get rolled, much to Matt's frustration. :Turns out he was true to his word, because by the end of the episode... it turns out less than good.
      Matt: I will kill all of you.
    • In the same episode, Pike decides to slit an unconscious duergar's throat with her mace. When she tries to justify what she did and ask if Sarenrae would get mad at her, Matt simply says, "We'll see." And then in the next episode, her holy symbol gets a crack in it, signifying that her deity is indeed mad at her.
    • The first Q&A has Marisha wonder if they're ever going to face a Beholder. It was planned before that, but six episodes later one was revealed as the Big Bad of that arc.
    • During Percy's shooting rampage in episode 18, Taliesin commented that so many bad things are going to happen to him after the battle (which causes a nod to the camera from Matt). :Rimefang comes very close to killing Percy in the next episode... and then his backstory comes into play in Episode 24, which indirectly leads to many bad things, including Vox Machina being thrown off the Tal'Dorei council and Percy beginning to lose his grip on stability. It's like he's still paying for it.
    • In episode 19, Vex is frustrated that the other group was handed the flying carpet to use. Her fears are justified in episode 21, when the carpet loses its enchantment following a dip into an acid pit.
    • Matt reminds Vox Machina that they've got a dungeon in their keep in Episode 24, should they ever need to take anyone prisoner... which they do in the very next episode.
    • Just like K'Varn, planned beforehand (for about 2 years!), but a strange coincidence that a few large dragon minis were sent to Matt the week before Emon is attacked by a bunch of them. Even made more ironic when Vax rants to Vex about him not having a purpose in life... only to find one after the Conclave's attack through becoming the Champion of the Raven Queen.
    • In Episode 44, almost 10 episodes after the Whitestone arc ends, Percy mentions that he's finally starting to imagine and work towards a better version of himself. A few hours later, he accidentally kills Vex by touching an artifact without checking for traps first. He's... got a bit of an uphill battle ahead.
    • Similarly, Kashaw makes a wisecrack the group frequently makes when they find themselves messing with unknown objects: "...and you die instantly [upon touching the thing]". He definitely didn't suspect that to be exactly what happened.
    • In episode 97, Keyleth says "It's fine. We're gods!" and then jumps off a cliff and instantly dies.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Percy to The Broker in episode 25, to the tune of unloading every remaining bullet he had into the guy's chest and blowing a hole clean through, trying to continue firing even after the gun empties and jams, then reaching to pull out Bad News before reclaiming his composure.
    • Zahra scores the killing blow on a boss monster in episode 44 with a Natural 20 5th level Witch Bolt (a spell with the largest damage die in the game) when it was only several HP away from dying anyway.
    • Nearly every member of Vox Machina describes in horrific detail how they individually help to kill a single, incapacitated enemy in episode 68. The enemy has their arm severed by Vax, a sigil into their forehead by Scanlan, their navel bisected by Grog, their neck crushed by Keyleth's Grasping Vines, and for the final blow, an arrow shot her into their heart and throat by Vex. Matt doesn't even have them roll for damage.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Grog, Vax'ildan, and Percy loosely fall into this:
    • Grog (Adventure): Cares little for authority, or much anything else if it isn't the two great loves of his life: Combat, women, and Ale.
    • Vax'ildan (Authority): Usually takes point when faced with combat situations (sometimes to the chagrin of everyone else), and usually takes a leadership role with Vox Machina.
    • Percy (Wisdom): Book-learned, quieter and more thoughtful than his male counterparts, very utilitarian in his combat style.
    • Scanlan actually has shades of all three faces, more balanced in him than the other three.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: The main female characters loosely fall into this:
    • Keyleth (Child): Idealistic and a little naive.
    • Pike (Wife): Devoted, kind and wise.
    • Vex (Seductress): Passionate, slightly flighty and the occasional butt of Fanservice jokes.
  • Time Skip: It happens. Usually in the name of keeping the game moving.
    • An entire year passes between Episodes 94 and 95.
  • Toilet Humor: Scanlan's stock-in-trade (the scrying poo is the least of it) but Matt also described Keyleth's Gust against the cliff as "like a gentle fart".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Not just the PC's - this also applies to NPCs as well as Kern multiclassed to Monk before his second fight with Grog. Tiberius lampshades this when he first assumes a dodging stance, yelling that "He Monked up!".
  • Trapped in Villainy: The River Maw tribe were conquered by Kevdak and forcibly assimilated into the Herd of Storms. Shortly after Grog kills Kevdak, the River Maw's spokesman tells Zanror that they're leaving, and Zanror lets them because he can't afford causalities before fighting Umbrasyl.
  • Triang Relations: Gilmore (A) is in love with Vax'ildan (B) who is in love with Keyleth (C) who isn't sure about Vax, and presumably doesn't have feelings for Gilmore, making this a Type 5.
  • True Love's Kiss:
    • Invoked by Vex'ahlia kissing Percy after confessing her love as part of the ritual to bring him back to life. She rolls a Natural 20 to boot.
    • Likewise invoked pre-stream by Scanlan during the ritual to revive Pike, albeit it is still unrequited in terms of Pike towards least until the epilogue.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: At the end of episode 17, the group is divided into two teams to be used in this way in the following four episodes.
  • Underground City:
    • Kraghammer in the first streamed story arc.
    • There's also the duergar city and the illithid colony of Yug'Voril deep in the Underdark.
  • Understatement: At one point, when asked why he looked so uncomfortable upon hearing the name 'Briarwood', Percy says "I've had dealings with them before. I find them... untrustworthy."
  • Unusual Euphemism: Scanlan asks Kashaw about his...ahem...'preferences' by asking whether he'd go for "the rogue or the ranger." The Critters ran with this, with bisexual fans claiming they "multiclassed" and asexual or aromantic fans calling themselves "clerics."
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Vecna's terrifying mobile fortress, the city of Thar Amphala carried upon the shoulders of an immense undead Earth Titan. The final episodes of the campaign concern Vox Machina making their way through the titan's innards, sneaking through Thar Amphala, and scaling the tower of Entropis at the heart of the city, to at last confront Vecna in the Final Battle at the peak of Entropis.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Some of the characters have more strained friendships than others. Tiberius and Scanlan tend to clash, as do Vax and Grog. Despite that, they're still utterly loyal to each other and everyone else in Vox Machina.
  • Voiceover Letter: In Episode 69, courtesy of Patrick Rothfuss.

  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Umbrasyl is the first member of the Chroma Conclave to be killed, but gave Vox Machina their hardest victory yet, to the point where the party had to stop and rest inbetween battles with the dragon before finishing him off. While his death did show that Vox Machina could kill the dragons, he was also able to kill dozens of Herd members, and the difficulty of the fight means that they wouldn't attempt to take on another Conclave member until they had found more Vestiges and leveled up more.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 7. The team, still aided by Kima and Clarota, storm Emberhold's throne room. They manage to kill the duergar king and most of his troops, but are forced to escape when the queen floods the room with magma. On top of this, one of the mind flayers and the queen teleport away - and worse, the queen took a mind-controlled Grog with her, who was carrying their bag of holding. Oh, and Tiberius and Kima are currently petrified thanks to the king's basilisks.
    • Episode 10 gives us the big reveal about K'varn — he's a Beholder, and he's been experimenting on himself in much the same way he'd been creating the monstrosities our heroes had been facing up to this point.
    • In Episode 16, the party successfully seals away the Horn of Orcus, then learns that a new holy path has been revealed... to a lost temple of Sarenrae, which Pike stays behind to help rebuild.
    • The end of Episode 17. As if having to say goodbye to Pike in the last episode wasn't enough, things get worse. When Vox Machina agrees to undergo a test to gain membership into the Slayer's Take to avoid being persecuted for the illegal slaying of a Hydra (which was already claimed by one of the guild's hunting parties), Huntmaster Vanessa Cyndrial decides to split the team into two separate groups to test how they fare with working with different people. This comes as a shock to the whole party, most notably Vax and Vex who had never been apart longer than a day since their birth. They try to ask the Huntmaster to reconsider, but she refuses. While Vex was able to mostly deal with the separation (or at least act like it), it's Vax who was the more broken of the two, as evidenced in Episode 20.
    • The end of episode 23. Percy is told that the Briarwoods are coming to Emon in a week's time.
    • The end of episode 24. The Briarwoods arrive in Emon. Through a series of mishaps, they manage to trap Vax alone with them in their room - and Matt's last line implies that they are a pair of vampires.
    • All of Episode 25. Vax is knocked unconscious by the Briarwoods, and his last thoughts are of Keyleth and his sister. Tiberius is hit with Feeblemind, which turns him into a primal lizard. Lady Briarwood possesses insanely powerful magic.note  Percy goes Ax-Crazy and shoots the hand off a servant of the Briarwoods. Kit's character Lillith appears, and she's awesome. And, of course, the Briarwoods have escaped.
    • Episode 34 hurts. Cassandra betrays the party, the Briarwoods charm Vax over to their side, Cassandra's name appears on the List, Keyleth kills Lord Briarwood, Vex is nearly killed (as in, she avoids death by a single hit point) by the Finger of Death spell, and Lady Briarwood performs some kind of ritual that stops all magic from working around the Ziggurat.
    • The end of Episode 39 single-handedly blows every single other episode of the series out of the water in the sheer scale of its wham. Sovereign Uriel abdicates and hands power over to the Tal'dorei Council... only for a quartet of ancient chromatic dragons to descend upon Emon and begin to lay waste to the city. Vox Machina is beset first by an ancient green dragon that grossly outclasses them, then an ancient black dragon, and finally the single largest ancient red dragon they've ever seen. Within seconds of encountering the dragons, Vox Machina realizes they have no option but to flee, and teleport back to their keep... just as the episode ends.
    • Episode 40 continues where the last left off revealing Thordak, the Ancient Red Dragon leading the destruction of Emon, is the same dragon who killed Vax's and Vex's mother when they were children. He was also the dragon they encountered in the Elemental Plane of Fire. To make it even whammier, Thordak's escape from the Elemental Plane utterly destroyed the Fire Ashari village, leaving the fate of its people unknown. Oh, and the other three chromatic dragons have moved East and destroyed Westruun.
    • Episode 43. While learning where they should head next, Vox Machina is informed that the dragons are moving east again and then get a live, as-it's-happening report of the Conclave's attack on Draconia. The attack leaves the country's armies utterly defeated and, to make matters worse, the floating islands upon which the country rests are pulled down by the Conclave, leaving the fate of Tiberius and his people unknown.
    • Episode 44: A Beholder appears out of nowhere during a fairly standard dungeon crawl - and that's not the worst part. After the Beholder dies, Percy sets off a trap that instantly kills Vex. It doesn't knock her unconscious - she just immediately dies in front of him. Thankfully, the party does manage to resurrect her, but at the cost of Vax making a deal with the Raven Queen, changing his destiny forever. In post-campaign discussions, DM Matthew Mercer feels this marked the biggest turning point in the story, one that even he never saw coming.
    • Episode 54 at the very end. Despite managing to pull off a successful trap against Umbrasyl, the black dragon still manages to break free, liquefy many members of the Herd of Storms, and flies away towards his lair within Gatshadow far out of reach of the party... with Vax and Scanlan inside him due to the rogue drinking a potion that shrunk him and Scanlan using Dimension Door to teleport into the dragon's body in order to attack him from the inside. Even worse, they are slowly getting crushed or digested. Oh, and Grog is dangling off the Bloodaxe embedded in Umbrasyl.
    • Episode 64. At the very end, Matt reveals that Tiberius died fighting Vorugal.
    • The end of Episode 66. Dr. Anna Ripley has returned, and she's killed Mistress Asharru and stolen Cabal's Ruin.
    • Episode 68. Not only had Ripley formed a pact with a vengeance-fueled Orthax, she also recruited Kynan to her side. By the end of the battle, Percy is dead.
    • The end of Episode 69. After Percy having been resurrected and Vex'ahlia having confessed her love for him in front of everyone earlier in the episode, it ends with Raishan revealing herself to have been masquerading as Seeker Asum ever since they returned from the Feywild. And now she seeks an alliance with the party to slay the Cinder King.
    • The end of Episode 76. After a grueling battle with a pit fiend, the party manages to annul their enslavement at the hands of a fire giant, obtain Pike's Vestige, and are given the ashes of Senokir's wife so she can be buried in Vasselheim. Then they Plane Shift home... only to see Fort Daxio, the place where they were planning to gather allies, under attack and falling, and they're still weary from their battle in the City of Brass.
    • Episode 80 is just one massive downward spiral. Raishan completely overwhelms an exhausted Vox Machina and friends, Vex and Scanlan are killed and resurrected during the battle, Vax and Keyleth both nearly die with no chance of revival, and worst of all, the Diseased Deceiver manages to escape with Thordak's corpse and a couple of dragon eggs in tow. They only survive due to Devo'ssa making their appearance, forcing Raishan to flee.
    • Episode 85. Scanlan leaves Vox Machina after giving them a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and at the end Sam introduces a new character, Taryon Darrington.
    • The end of Episode 88. The party just barely survives and completes the Aramente trial for Keyleth. But in the process, Vax dies.
    • Episode 102. Vecna is reborn and Vax is killed, possibly forever.
    • Episode 106. Vox Machina gains the knowledge and materials needed to seal away Vecna, but that's the only good thing that happens; Lady Briarwood has come Back from the Dead again and Vecna completes his ascension to godhood.
  • Wham Line: There tends to be moments within episodes that just cause everything to change with just one sentence or a few.
    • In Episode 2, the party damage sponge is casually tanking some minor damage, but the whole party gasps as the DM reveals it's Intelligence damage. Suddenly, the party's strongest line of defense is comatose in a split second.
      Matt: Also, [Grog] takes 8 points of Intelligence damage, immediately fall unconscious.
    • In Episode 10, Keyleth deduces that the true identity of K'Varn, the villain of this first arc, and reveals to the audience that he's one of the most iconic Dungeons and Dragons monsters, letting the audience know that he's a force to be reckoned with.
      Keyleth: ...K'varn's a Beholder.
    • In Episode 11, a minute or two after Vex seemingly deals a killing blow to a boss monster, Matt says that the monster's turn is up next, proving that the boss's "death" was just a Hope Spot and that the three-hour battle still isn't finished yet.
    • In Episode 24, after racketing tension and some subtle suggestions, Lord Briarwood confirms his true nature by calling Vax "delicious," causing all the players to throw up their hands and scream that he's a vampire.
      Lord Briarwood: (to Vax, gripping his shoulder) Don't worry. You look delicious.
    • In Episode 39, the strongest member of the party takes a swing at an enemy that swooped out of the sky and rolls very well, getting a hit that would easily hit any Beholder, dragon, or vampire that the group has fought before. When the DM says the muscle man's attack misses, he gasps and says they have to leave, even though he's in the middle of an battle-rage. That reservation alone is enough to tell the rest of the group they have no chance in a direct confrontation with this new enemy, changing the focus of the show from charging bad guys to desperately trying to gain enough power to survive against impossible odds.
      Travis: 19 to hit.
      Matt: 19 misses.
    • Episode 99: A half-orc approaches Vox Machina to ask them for their help, telling them that he came with their long-lost companion, The Meat Man, AKA Scanlan, whom he is working for.
      Lionel: I'm with this guy. He's pretty big in our parts. You've heard of The Meat Man?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Episode 89, Vox Machina made a deal with The Raven Queen, they would hunt down and kill Orcus for her. The Raven Queen accepted and said she would call for them when it was time. This never got picked up on. Matt elaborated on Talks Machina that the Raven Queen never really took this promise seriously, as Vex had no idea how strong Orcus was at the time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Tiberius and Vex call Vax out on his Cruel to Be Kind attitude towards their fanboy Kynan in episode 23. They turn out to be completely right, given that this led to Kynan being manipulated by Ripley.
    • Keyleth is so shocked by Percy's displays of Ax-Crazy in Episode 25 that she breaks her concentration spell and skips a turn.note 
    • The next episode, Tiberius is called out by at least three characters for killing incapacitated enemies and not really showing much remorse for it (though they do acknowledge they all do this from time to time). He seems to finally get the point when Allura made it clear she was disappointed in him.
    • Vax to Grog in episode 39 after he knocks Vax unconscious trying to rescue him inside a Purple Worm with Craven Edge. Grog refusing to back down and apologize combined with Poor Communication Kills about the portal causes Vax to leave for several hours, possibly losing faith in his ability to lead.
    • The episode after that, Keyleth calls out everybody due to said Poor Communication Kills leading to an in-party scuffle.
    • And then Percy returns the favour in Episode 42, after her inflexibility (and, in Percy's opinion, her ego) costs Vox Machina an alliance with the Clasp. Keyleth, however, doesn't back down and outright claims the exact opposite.
    • And then the shoe's on the other foot in Episode 50 when Percy gets called out on already knowing about Craven Edge and not keeping the party in the loop and with how his "cleverness" has led to bad situations in the past.
      Vax: Percy, you are clever. (Percy: I know.) It doesn't mean you're always right.
      Percy: I know.
      Keyleth: And you have this terrible habit of liking to push problems on other people.
    • Everyone to Percy for attempting to stab a disguised Raishan in the war room. Even if she was merely projecting herself to their location and she was then forced to reveal important information, it was still a very risky ploy.
    • Scanlan has a misguided one towards the rest of Vox Machina in episode 85 about him being brought back from the dead a second time and bringing Kaylie to possibly give her last respects despite promising her that he'd live, convinced the team doesn't care about him.
    • Vex to Vax, Grog, and Keyleth in episode 86 by sending Trinket to Cannonball them after they haze Taryon.
    • Literally the entirety of Vox Machina to Scanlan in Episode 99, but particularly Pike.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • After his surprise confession, Vax and Keyleth spend about 30 episodes awkwardly negotiating their feelings and dealing with numerous complications before things are finally settled between them with Keyleth's confession in Episode 65.
    • Ever since the first custom arrow, Percy and Vex's Ship Tease had been going on for anywhere between twenty-four and fifty-four episodes before Vex declares her love for him in Episode 69. As of Episode 72, They Do, as Percy gives Vex The Big Damn Kiss in the forest outside Draconia.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: A minor and subverted example: the end of the Chroma Conclave Arc. Vox Machina successfully collects all of the Vestiges of Divergence, kills all four members of the Conclave and liberates both Tal'Dorei and Draconia from their tyranny. However, at the end of it all, they inadvertently lose the trust of their beloved bard Scanlan Shorthalt, who then officially leaves the party to live a quieter life with his daughter Kaylie. In the grand scheme of things, this is undoubtedly a decisive victory for the free peoples of Exandria with little to lose for it, but Scanlan's departure is a nearly unbearable personal loss for Vox Machina.
    • A bit similar example happens at the end of the campaign, specially for Vex and Kayleth. Vox Machina has successfully saved Exandria by sealing Vecna, but Vax is gone forever, to stand with the Raven Queen.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Everybody assumes that Vax will turn into a vampire after getting bitten by one. Vox Machina drags him off to be blessed by a priest, who explains that vampires only turn their victims if they kill them with a bite. What makes it hilarious is that Vax plays up the effects of injury the entire time, so that when the priest explains that he's fine, he comes across as a bit of a hypochondriac. It also happens often at times with the rest of the party.
  • You Mean "Xmas": The Winter's Crest festival serves as the campaign's Christmas episodes. The first one celebrated is summarized in comic form, and episode 36 has one in Whitestone (a much-needed Breather Episode).
  • Zorro Mark: Scanlan kills a naga and efreeti in Episodes 1 and 46, respectively. Both times it's with the Lightning Bolt spell. Both times their bodies are branded with an "S".

Season 2

  • 0% Approval Rating: Surprisingly for a powerful politican and proffesional propgandist, Trent Ikithon seems to fall under this category. Yussa describes him as 'creepy,' and Ludinus Da'leth (the leader of the Cerberus Assembly and therefore technically Trent's boss), outright calls him 'a disappointment.' Nonetheless, he's tolerated because he's very good at his fucked-up job.
  • Above Good and Evil: Most of the archmages the party interacts with (even the ones they have a genuine friendship with) believe that traditional conceptions of morality are beneath them. Part of Caleb's character development has been growing in magical power without losing sight of his humanity.
    • Thus far he seems to be doing all right, as some of said archmages have remarked on how unusually humble he is for such a powerful wizard.
  • Abusive Parents: Beau's father neglected and belittled her, and then, when she became a teenage delinquent, he bribed a Cobalt Soul monk to kidnap her. Her father is also heavily implied to have been physically violent towards her on a regular basis. As for her mother, she is more passive than anything but Beau still cares about her.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: When the party first meets the Gentleman, he challenges one of them to a gambling game in order to test their mettle and their luck. Fjord volunteers and defeats him handily, earning the Nein a place in the Gentleman's employ. However, Matt later mentioned on Twitter that if they had lost, the Gentleman would have immediately made them captives and sold them as slaves.
  • Academy of Evil: At first it sems like the Soltryce Academy is being set up as this after it's revealed that Caleb attended it, and was tortured and brainwashed by a teacher there. However, as time goes on it becomes clear it's not the whole school that's bad, just a couple of teachers who are surreptitiously taking advantage of students.
  • Accent Interest: Becomes an occasional problem for Caleb when the party goes to Xhorhas, as his accent is very much indicative of being from the Empire.
  • Accent Slip Up: Fjord occasionally does this before he goes back to using his original accent. Most notably, this happens when he wakes up from one of his warlock patron dreams, causing Caleb to take notice and become suspicious.
  • Accidental Misnaming: The party does this often with Veth, still occasionally calling her Nott long after she was transformed back into her original form. As this is a serious matter for Veth, they apologize profusely every time.
    • It's also happened twice with Caduceus, both times Fjord accidentally calling him "Molly." Given that Caduceus is essentially a fantasy grief counselor, he gets it.
  • Action Girl: Much more the rule than the exception. Certainly all the female player characters count.
  • Action Mom: Nott/Veth is one. Her husband and son are in awe of her. In fact, she was one even before the campaign started, as the whole reason she got turned into a goblin in the first place was through a Heroic Sacrifice to save her family from a goblin tribe, during which she actually killed their chief by throwing acid in his face. And this was when she was still a housewife - before she was even Level 1!
  • Action Politician: Vess De Rogna, the Cerberus Assembly's Archmage of Antiquity (ie, the Court Mage responsible for overseeing the discovery and handling of ancient magical artifacts) is one. Unlike the rest of the Assembly, who prefer not to get their hands dirty, she likes to personally go dungeon delving in highly dangerous ancient ruins. She's definitely a badass - though she got in over her head with the Tombtakers, and was killed for her trouble.
  • Actor Allusion: Taliesin dressed up as Sherlock Holmes for the Halloween episode. In Hetalia: Axis Powers, Britain, voiced by Taliesin, also did the same for the Halloween episode of The World Twinkle.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Early in the campaign, Matt would occasionally send all players except one away from the table, while one character deals with a solo segment. Beau has had one in Episode 4, Fjord had one in Episode 5, Caleb had one in Episode 13, and Yasha had one in Episode 20, to name a few.
    • Episode 91 became one for Essek Thelyss, with the Nein spending most of the session with him.
  • Adult Fear: In a campaign centered heavily around themes of family, there's a lot of this going around.
    • Nott/Veth went through the horrible experience of having her family captured by goblins and living weeks with them trapped in a cramped cell, slowly starving, and with the constant threat that her son might be eaten by said goblins. It only got worse when, in her attempt to save her husband and son, she pissed off the goblin tribe and was punished by being turned into a goblin herself, meaning that while her family was safe, she could never see them again.
    • Caleb/Bren's parents would have had a healthy dose of this if they had known what was going on with their son. Proud and overjoyed by his arcane talent, they sent him off to the Capital when he was accepted to one of the most exclusive schools in the Empire. Little did they know that while there he was groomed, brainwashed, and experimented on by a powerful mage, and eventually came home to burn them alive.
  • Afro Asskicker: Shakaste has an impressive white afro to go with his snow-white eyes. There's a reason local folktales call him The Ghost.
  • Agents Dating: Caleb has Unresolved Sexual Tension with agents on both sides of the Empire/Xhorhas conflict. On one hand, there's Astrid, his Old Flame from his days as an Empire assassin; on the other, there's Essek, the powerful and mysterious right hand to the Bright Queen. Both are magically and politically powerful; both are morally ambiguous. He has yet to actually date either of them, but the possibility is there.
  • Age-Stereotypical Food: Jester's taste in food is closer to an 11-year-old's than a 20-year-old's - right down to hating veggies. Frequently lampshaded by the rest of the party.
  • The Alcoholic: Nott is this. She absolutely needs alcohol to function, and will get more and more irritable and skittish if she has to go without it. Her first request when meeting an enchanter who runs a magic shop in Zadash is for a flask of bottomless whisky - which she then willingly spends several hundred gold on. In the beginning this is mostly Played for Laughs, but when it's revealed that she became an alcoholic to cope with losing her husband and son, being drowned, and getting cursed to become a goblin, it becomes a lot less funny. From then on there's a lot of conflict over her friends trying to help her quit, where said flask of bottomless alcohol gets stolen back and forth several times. After Nott is finally turned back into a halfling, she gives it to Beau.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Zigzagged with Nott/Veth. While in goblin form, she is this to her son Luc, though she does her best never to let it endanger him and even has Caduceus magically remove her drunkenness when she has to see him. Eventually, when she transforms back into a halfling, she is able to overcome her drinking problem and be with her family more.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Despite the fact that he has tortured and broken countless generations of talented children into being brainwashed assassins - Caleb being one of those children -, Cerberus Assembly propagandist Trent Ikithon is this to some of the worse villains of the campaign. When the party faces off against Obann, a fiendish cult leader trying to release the Chained Oblivion, and later against the Eyes of Nine, they even consider teaming up with him.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Jester, who is definitely the girliest of the Nein, loves horses. Apparently when she first left home, she spent most of her gold on a carriage and fancy dresses for the horses that pulled it.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Yasha comes across like this at first. With time and care she comes out of her shell, and it turns out she doesn't mean to be aloof; she's just cripplingly shy.
  • Alpha Bitch: Celia, a rich and cruel woman who snubs Jester at Traveler-con, and according to the Traveler has made a habit of going too far in her pranks. She gets the most karmic comeuppance possible when Nott tricks her into permanently gluing a dick statue to her hand.
  • All-Loving Hero: Jester definitely counts as this. She has defeated or at least come close to defeating several would-be bosses through The Power of Friendship. Notable successful examples include Essek, a drow court mage and Isharnai, a hag; attempted ones include the dragon turtle and The Inevitable End, an undead drow assassin of Asmodeus. She even seemed to make a bit of a dent in the most dangerous enemy the Nein have yet faced, the potentially world-ending Lucien.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: This campaign plays with and heavily subverts many of the traditional D&D "monsters." At first it seems that the Xhorhasian drow will be a main enemy in the story - but when the party actually goes to Xhorhas, they end up painted in a much more sympathetic light. In fact, Xhorhas is chock full of goblins, gnolls, orcs, bugbears, kobolds, and minotaurs, all of whom are just people trying to get by. In fact, in Xhorhas humans are considered monstrous creatures - and the few humans encountered in Xhorhas tend to be just as feral as the goblins and gnolls one might find elsewhere.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Nott and Jester fancy themselves a dynamic detective duo. It's mostly a Running Gag, as neither Nott nor Jester have especially high deductive skills and they mostly end up getting into mischief... but occasionally, and often by accident, They Fight Crime!.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Yasha is solidly this. Unfortunately, she's also incredibly socially awkward and easily manipulated, so she tends to attract creeps.
  • Amazon Brigade: The ladies of the Nein are universally more physically capable than the gentlemen. Yasha's a hulking outlander, Beau's a tough jock, Nott's a slippery crossbow-wielding fiend, and even Jester has a higher Strength score than anyone but Yasha. Meanwhile, the men of the group include scrawny beanpole wizard Caleb, insecure weakling warlock Fjord, and "unhealthily thin" cleric Caduceus. Let's just say the women do the heavy lifting in this group.
  • Amazon Chaser: Beau will melt over a strong woman. She crushes on Yasha within seconds of meeting her, and much later she and Yasha become girlfriends.
  • Ambiguous Criminal History: Before the start of the show, Caleb and Nott made a meager living conning farmers out of silvers, and apparently they originally met in a town jail. We know some details of their exploits (for example, Nott ended up in said jail for stealing cherry wine), but most of it is left unexplored.
    • Beau is revealed pretty early on to have a criminal background, knowing Thieves' Cant and having a working knowledge of the criminal underworld - something that is surprising for a monk of the Cobalt Soul. Eventually we find out that her family were wealthy wine merchants, and she had ideas to expand their business, but her overprotective (and abusive) father wouldn't let her do more than balance the books. As revenge she began to sell their fine wine at cut-rates on the black market, and when her father found out, she was summarily shipped off to boarding school - illegally, that is.
  • Ancient Evil: Tharizdun definitely counts, as does Cognouza.
  • And I Must Scream: When the Nein find him after centuries missing in action, Halas is in a pitiful state. Apparently one of his enemies tricked him into trapping his consciousness in a ruby, and he had been trapped in his own wizard tower ever since. It's somewhat downplayed in that he's shown to not know how long he's been trapped there, and in fact when the Nein tell him he's been missing for centuries he has a very mild panic attack.
  • And Show It to You: Beau finishes off a demonic enemy in this fashion, but the fiend is much larger than the average human and the awkwardness of reaching all the way around its heart to pull it out is emphasised.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Narrative Telephone episode 4 - Liam later confirmed on Twitter that the three children in the fairy tale were Eodwulf, Astrid and Caleb.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Subverted. After saving Rexxentrum, the capital city of The Empire, from both a full-scale Kryn invasion and the literal unleashing of an ancient god of oblivion, the Nein are rewarded first by being accused of treason and then, after exonerating themselves, by having their hotel paid for. They eagerly decide to eat out on the Empire's dime - only to find out that the bill doesn't cover their meals.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Downplayed. When Nott picks a lock and dies in the Folding Halls, Caleb gets quite irritated with her, but only briefly.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: After Jester has part of her life force drained from her by a mysterious ring of enchanted statues, Fjord finally confesses his love for her, saying that in that moment he was terrified he'd never get to say it.
  • Angry Eyebrows: When the Nein get trapped on a pirate ship, Jester uses the Disguise Self to try and make herself look more "pirate-y" - which consists of making her dress tighter and ripped... and tilting her eyebrows downward.
    • Caduceus does something very similar much later in Xhorhas, giving himself an underbite and thick, cross eyebrows to make himself look more rugged.
  • An Ice Person: Because of her water genasi ancestry, Jester has resistance to cold damage, and her Hellish Rebuke stabs people with ice crystals.
  • Animal Lover: Oremid Hass, a usually strict, cold man, and an incredibly powerful mage of the Cerberus Assembly, turns out to be an absolute sucker for furry critters. Used to great effect when the Nein use Jester's pet weasel to distract him from the fact that they're travelling with Caleb, a wanted man to the Assembly.
    • Jester also loves animals, but is too immature to really take care of them. It's even become a Running Gag that she always kills her pets.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The party originally started working for the Gentleman, a Zadash-based mob boss, because he threatened to turn them over to the Crownsguard for acts of terrorism if they didn't cooperate. However, as time went on their relationship with the Gentleman became friendly, eventually even - in the case of Jester - familial.
  • Any Last Words?: A meta-example; Matt asks Taliesin this almost word-for-word when Lorenzo kills Molly. Uniquely, they do not have any last words, instead choosing to spit in the face of their killer.
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: When the Nein implore the Bright Queen to end the war, and all the bloodshed that goes along with it, she refuses, saying that the Kryn Dynasty and the Dwendalian Empire have been fighting for centuries, and there is no point in fighting that.
The Bright Queen: The cycle cannot be broken until there is nothing living. All we can do is our best to keep it slow.
  • Appeal to Worse Problems: The Nein are finally able to convince The Empire and The Dynasty to end the war because they discover (and are able to prove) that both sides have been infiltrated by a demonic cult using the war as cover to bring about the end of the world. Facing utter destruction, even the Bright Queen is forced to concede that yes, maybe fighting a pointless war isn't the best idea.
  • Appearance Angst: Nott and Fjord both suffer from a severe case of this. Fjord has leftover body shame from being relentlessly bullied for his race in the orphanage he grew up in, to the degree that he actually files down his tusks to look more human. Nott, meanwhile, suffers from severe body dysphoria, having always felt like she wasn't meant to be a goblin. It turns out she was originally a halfling cursed with a goblin body. While Nott is eventually able to break the curse and regain her original form, Fjord's struggle with his own insecurity is a big part of his character development.
    • Downplayed, at least in comparison to the other two, with Beau. While she's generally pretty confident, her childhood being belittled and made to feel like a failure by her father has left her with some insecurity about her grooming. When Jester tells her that her hair is pretty, she responds with sudden vulnerability and shyness - apparently she was told her whole life that it was a disgusting rat's nest.
  • Apocalypse Cult: Yasha was a member of one a long time ago, until she was saved by the Stormlord. In Episode 69, she is once again captured and brainwashed by this cult, becoming an unwilling enemy of the Nein for some time. It turns out their goal is to unleash the Chained Oblivion, and the Nein only barely manage to stop them.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Molly turns out to be one of these, unbeknownst to everyone (including him). He is, in fact, a shattered fragment of Apocalypse Cult leader and Person of Mass Destruction Lucien, whose soul was deliberately broken into pieces to prevent him from ending the world. Unfortunately, when he dies it leaves Lucien's soul free to be brought back for his terrible ends. A unique play on the trope, as it's Molly's death which might cause the apocalypse.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: A major one is going on in Eiselcross, an arctic wasteland far to the north of both the Dynasty and The Empire, where the ruins of Aeor, a flying city and magocracy that crashed there nearly a thousand years before lie buried. The legend says that the mages of Aeor developed a weapon that could "kill a god." Little do any of the competing factions and expeditions know that it's actually the city itself which is the weapon.
  • The Archmage: Quite a few examples. Most prominent are the Cerberus Assembly, a cabal of court mages who essentially rule The Empire - and a recurring villain. However, the party also encounter a number of friendly archmages, most notably Yussa, an independent and politically unaligned wizard living in a magic tower in the middle of the city of Nicodranas, where he owns the district.
  • Arc Villain:
    • The Starter Villain that the party goes up against in Episodes 1-3 is an animalistic devil spreading a zombie virus for some sinister purpose.
    • A pack of gnolls, along with a human priest in gnoll armaments and a giant mama manticore, terrorize the village of Alfield in Episodes 5-7.
    • In a weird way, the city of Zadash itself becomes one during the group's stay within it. The threats the group faces are all related to The Empire, and many of the jobs they take involve mistakes or actions The Empire has done. By the time they leave the city, the group has had to deal with corrupt politicians, undead scientists, and other problems The Empire created or allowed to happen. Just about the only thing the group faces that isn't a problem caused by The Empire is their own internal disputes.
    • The Iron Shepherds, a gang of kidnappers and murderers, are the single focus of the Mighty Nein's plans from Episodes 25 to 29. Each episode features the Nein tracking the Shepherds, taking stock of teir manpower, and coming up with plans to ambush and defeat them, both to free their kidnapped friends and avenge Mollymauk. They were planned to feature in an extended arc, but much to the DM's consternation, their demonic leader got incinerated by the party in Episode 29.
    • Although the party initially is ostensibly united in cause with them in investigating Uk'otoa, Avantika and the crew of the Squall Eater end up being this for the first part of the party's travels through the Menagerie coast, as the party endeavors to get out from under her thumb and take control of the Uk'otoa situation into their own hands. After visiting a Yuan-Ti infested temple of Uk'otoa, the party ends up turning against her in the next port at Darktow and (messily) exposing her to the Plank King, leading to the party being banished from the Revelry and Avantika being executed.
    • Obann, the Master of Wills, is responsible for the incursion of fiends throughout the Xhorhas that the Nein deal with from episodes 52 to 63. Past that all the way up until episode 87, the Nein travel the continent attempting to thwart Obann's attempts to release stronger fiends and discover his connection to their friend Yasha.
    • Vokodo the aberrant morkoth that smashed its way through the planes for the Rumblecusp arc.
    • Lucien the Nonagon, the Tombtakers, and in a greater scale the "eyes of nine", the Somnovem for the Eiselcross arc.
  • Arc Number: Due to rolling an unreasonable amount of nines, nine seems to be shaping up to be this.
    • The group have even taken to calling themselves The Mighty Nein, even though there are usually only six of them.
    • Interestingly, one of Molly's former names turns out to be "Nonagon"; i.e., a nine-sided polygon. Matt has confirmed on Twitter that he came up with the name Nonagon before nine became the group's arc number.
    • Even more bizarre, the flashback or vision prompted by Vokodo associated the 'city' within it with the name "Eyes of Nine". As Liam noted - "Cats, nine lives, mighty Nein, Eyes of Nine..."
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: A frequent occurrence, in the Empire at least. The Nein have had to go up against corrupt nobles several times, and even several of the main characters' backstory villains are aristocrats - namely the Cerberus Assembly, who tortured and brainwashed Caleb, and Lord Sharpe, who tried to have Jester put to death for playing a prank on him.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: It's known to happen. One of the biggest examples is between Yasha and Caleb, even with nothing explicit being said.
    Yasha: Do you love her?
    Caleb: Who?
    Yasha: I don't need to tell you who.
  • Arrested for Heroism: the first few episodes follow the party as they are unwillingly thrust together to clear their names after attending a circus where a zombie incursion broke out; after defeating the zombies and saving the town, they are immediately arrested under suspicion of having created them.
  • Assassination Attempt: The Nein participate in one when they attempt to take down the corrupt High-Richter (that is, head of the police) of Zadash. That is, it wasn't supposed to be an assassination; they just meant to discredit her... but when she caught them snooping through her house for incriminating paperwork, it's Fireball time.
  • Ass Shove: An ongoing joke with Fjord. After the group finds a mysterious crystal orb being worshipped by swamp merrow, Fjord is inexplicably drawn to it - it reminds him heavily of the giant eyes he sees in his warlock dreams, and when he goes near it he hears the voice of his patron in his head. However, when he touches it, he goes into a trance state and shoves the crystal into his chest with seemingly no resistance - the crystal just disappears into his body. The Nein have never stopped teasing him about "shoving balls into himself."
  • Bait-and-Switch: Episode 2 features one. The group goes back to the circus to figure out what caused the zombie attack from the first episode, namely by checking in with the performers. Initially the group, namely Nott and Jester, believe that one of the twin girls in the circus are the cause due to their aloof attitude. Then it turns out to be none other then the fiend Kylre.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss:
    • The party walks through the snowy wilderness south of Uthodurn and appears to run into a random encounter with two giant wolves, only for a giant worm to spring from the ground and devours one of the wolves mid-pounce. The other wolf flees and the party has to fight the giant worm instead.
    • As the party travels to the central volcano of Rumblecusp, they see a half-elf half-spider creature that seems to be rearing to fight them, only for a tyrannosaurus rex to swoop in, kill the monster, and scare off the party.
  • Bawdy Song: After The Reveal that Jester's mother is the High-Class Call Girl "The Ruby of the Sea", one of the first few questions they ask her is "is she what that song is about?" And then Laura has to make up the first line...
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Zigzagged trope with Nott. She is turned back into her halfling form Veth, which is what she wanted, but there are both mechanical and narrative downsides. Halflings have a boost to Charisma but don't get one to Constitution, so Veth's Constitution score goes down by one, reducing her hit points by 11. She is also slower now, and can no longer use Fury of the Small. In addition, becoming Veth again means that she feels redoubled pressure to stop adventuring and go home to her family. However, in the end she expresses that she's much happier this way.
  • Big "NO!": The group is named the "Mighty Nein". So far, no one in-game has picked up on this, mostly being confused that the group only has seven members.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Berleben is a swamp town that looks miserable but is still functional. Its name means "survive/survival" in German, the real-world analogue of Zemnian.
    • Caleb's real name, Bren, is German/Zemnian for "burn." Fitting, given his backstory.
    • The capital of the Empire, Rexxentrum, is a somewhat mangled version of the Latin for "royal center."
    • The Corona district in Rosohna, capital of the Dynasty, is the wealthiest neighborhood. It's probably no accident that "corona" is Latin for "crown."
  • Break the Cutie: It seems as though the campaign as a whole is a slow burn of this to Jester. Starting out as an incredibly sheltered and naive young woman, having been essentially locked in her room most of her life, not allowed to go outside due to a combination of her mother's severe agoraphobia and the potential scandal of the Ruby of the Sea having a daughter, much of her arc is about being exposed to the world for the first time - including its darker elements. Over the course of the campaign, she manages to maintain her natural kindness and compassion, but her initially bubbly personality sobers into a more mature, jaded outlook.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Episode 14 serves as one after the intense episodes 12 and 13, where the party only narrowly escaped being arrested or worse. It's a shorter episode (due to Laura being absent and Matt not wanting to continue the story too much without her), has no combat and mostly focuses on Mollymauk and his backstory, with the most intense event being a card game.
    • Episode 17 plays this much straighter, taking place after the Mighty Nein has successfully accomplished a quite difficult task for the Gentleman, who has cleared their names of suspicion for murdering the High Richter in return. The episode consists entirely of the group having fun and enjoying the Harvest Close Festival of Zadash.
    • Episode 31 is another one. After the intensity of the last arc where Jester, Fjord, and Yasha were kidnapped by slavers and Molly died, an episode almost entirely devoted to what they do during the two weeks of downtime is a great relief.
  • Brick Joke: At the beginning of Episode 6, an NPC instructs Jester to tell the gnolls, which had recently attacked the man's village, that "Thaddeus Candleglow says hi", to which Jester eagerly agrees. At the very end of the next episode, long after the party had dealt with the gnoll-infested mines, Jester opens up the jar containing the gnolls' ears they were to get a reward for and relays that exact message.
    • An even longer one has Sam make a joke about Beau's name, "Henry. David. Thoreauregard", which Marisha remarks is "interesting". Many episodes later, it's revealed her father is named Thoreau.
    • One that lasted somehow even longer had Marisha remark in Episode 8 that eventually they will "fight gods" with Pumat 500 hours later. In Episode 85, around 310 hours later, Pumat and the Nein go off to stop the unbinding of an ancient god.
    • Throughout the early episodes, Nott uses the aliases "Veth," "Bren," and "Otto." It's eventually revealed that her real name is Veth Brenatto.
    • When Nott briefly introduces herself as "Bren," Caleb (and therefore Liam) immediately looks freaked out and stares at her for a good five minutes. In the same episode as the above reveal, we discover that Bren is Caleb's real name.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: It has become a bit of a Running Gag for the party to make Caleb try to imitate them. He is very bad at this, to everyone's amusement.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Fjord, Yasha, and Jester as they are kidnapped at the end of episode 25.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Caleb's use of what in our world is clearly German is instead referred to as "Zemnian," the main language of the Dwendalian Empire.
  • Call-Back: In Episode 115, just like Vox Machina and the Sun Tree, the Nein comes across violently murdered corpses that resemble the party.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Based on in-character discussion, it is considered canon that Fjord actually yells "Eldritch Blast" when using the spell of the same name. Somewhat justified in that Fjord doesn't really understand how magic works, having been gifted his somewhat suddenly, and seems to believe that saying the name of the spell is part of casting it.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Downplayed, but still present. Over half the main Player characters are some variety of LGBTQ+,note  a number of the guest player characters are queer,note  and a number of nonplayer characters are as well, such as the genderfluid Bryce and husbands Horace and Dolan. There are even queer gods in Exandria - the Archeart uses they/them pronouns, and the Wildmother and the Lawbearer (both of them women) have a 'tempestuous romance'.
  • Cats Are Magic: The fairy tale Caleb reads Jester in episode 115, Der Katzenprinz,note  is about a young ill boy who is given the ability to dance by the titular character.
  • Cat Scare: Caleb intentionally has Frumpkin give Beau and Fjord one of these in Episode 9, after they sneak into the secret meeting at The Leaky Tap.
  • Characterization Marches On: Interestingly enough, applied to an empire. The Tal'dorei Campaign Setting book describes the Dwendalian Empire as outlawing all religion. In Campaign 2 proper, the Empire allows worship of certain "approved deities" (the Lawbearer, Platinum Dragon, Raven Queen, Dawnfather, Allhammer and Knowing Mistress), though temples are state-sponsored and state-run. It's later mentioned, when Beau researches the topic, that the past king responsible for this system originally did intend to ban all religions, but the backlash was too strong.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In Episode 30, Jester shows off her Cloak of Shadow Channel Divinity, which only lasts 6 seconds, to Nott. Nott says that maybe next time she uses it, it will have a purpose. Come the next episode, it is instrumental in letting Jester get away from Crownsguard.
    • It's something of a recurring joke in early episodes that Molly is a god. Almost a hundred episodes later, it's revealed that he may actually be one, or at least something close to one.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In Episode 2, Caleb finds a book on fiends in the local bookstore. This doesn't seem important, until Jester's Detect Evil spell reveals that the first Arc Villain is a Fiend. Knowing this, Caleb goes back to buy the book, and it does indeed reveal exactly what they're up against.
    • The Troll in Labenda Swamp's regeneration was stopped by fire and acid - Fjord remembering this fact in episode 82 allows the Nein to finally put down the strange Halas clone.
    • The Dust of Deliciousness. Initially just a gag purchase at Pumat’s, it becomes key to breaking the curse on Nott when Jester uses it on Isharnai, 60 episodes later!
  • Comes Great Responsibility: One episode is actually named "With Great Power..." It's about the archfey Artagan from campaign 1, who's somehow taken a level in godhood by accident.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Episode 10, the party, while down in the sewers, finds a dead sailor whose body is covered in tattoos of various ships. After Fjord has a look to see whether he recognizes any of the vessels, Ashley asks if the Broken Howl (the ship her previous character Pike sailed on for a time) is on there. Matt rolls for it and confirms that it is.
    • In Episode 13, the party visits The Invulnerable Vagrant again and finds Pumat Sol reading a book that he reveals to be "The Daring Tales and Tribulations of Sir Taryon Darrington".
    • In Episode 31, Nott decides to try and disassemble a gun she stole back in Hupperdook to see how it works. Matt mentions the design is the same as the ones made by Percy, and allows Taliesin to take over explaining it since Taliesin played Percy in season one.
    • Episode 72 sees the Mighty Nein examine powdered residuum from Whitestone. We even get a glimpse of the city during a spell Caduceus casts.
    • A major character in the small arc where the Nein must rescue the Archmage Yussa from the Heirloom Sphere is Allura Vysoren.
    • During the Vokodo/Travelercon arc, we meet the leader of the village Vo who turns out to be Keyleth's mother, Vilya, who is suffering from Vokodo-induced amnesia.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Episode 102 - the party encounters a draegloth, a drow-demon hybrid that's exactly as nightmarish as it sounds. Then it's suddenly chewed up and eaten by the real threat to the party... a T-Rex.
  • Court Mage: The Cerberus Assembly serves as a collection of these as they're among the most powerful mages in the Dwendalian Empire, yet are sworn to the service of the emperor. Each of their highest ranking members holds a distinguished position of authority in the government, and are in charge of several important matters pertaining to running the empire such as conscription of new soldiers and mages, spreading propaganda, education and research, domestic defense, etc..
    • Prominent NPC Essek Theyless, who proves an invaluable ally to the Nein, is the right-hand mage to the Dynasty's Bright Queen, a post referred to as the "Shadowhand."
  • Critical Research Failure: An In-Universe example. The giant toad-like creature the circus had in their company named Kylre? Turns out it was a fiend of all things. The circus group thought it was a lizardfolk the entire time. Upon realizing this, Molly practically facepalms, realizing nobody even remotely thought to check until now.
    • Real life example. Halas defends necromancy to Beau with the justification that healing spells are also necromantic in nature. However, healing spells haven't been necromantic since 2nd Edition (Conjuration in 3E and 3.5, Evocation in 5E). Matt wasn't aware of the changes. After fans asked if this meant that Halas, being a pre-Calamity mage, was old enough to remember spells from earlier editions, Matt admitted that while that explanation was very creative, it really was just a mistake on his part.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After several days of an uneasy truce between them, the tension between the Nein and the Tomb Takers explodes into violence when the Tomb Takers steal the M9's Bag of Holding. Unfortunately, Lucien quickly nullifies the Nein's magical defenses and deals several extremely damaging blows in the space of a few seconds. The Nein just barely manage to escape with their lives.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: True of any D&D campaign, but EXTREMELY prominent where Caleb and Fjord are concerned, due to both of them having a very strong desire for arcane knowledge and power (Fjord being entirely new to arcane magic at all, and having a Wisdom score of 7, doesn't help matters either). The pendulum of curiosity has swung between the Nein gaining new spells or powers and finding very intriguing lore about the world, to being forced at swordpoint to help a cultist pirate crew attempt to unleash a sealed demigod, and quite literally falling onto a dragon's lap with no clear escape route after blindly exploring what seemed to be an ancient wizard's personal pocket dungeon.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first campaign wasn't without its dark and tense moments, the Wildemount campaign starts off much more grim than its predecessor. The setting leans more towards Grey-and-Grey Morality (or even Evil vs. Evil) than the Tal'Dorei campaign's more clear-cut heroes and villains, with most enemies of the Dwendallian Empire being just as bad as them, if not worse. The current party are reflections of this, given that they are:
    • A half-orc warlock trying to come to grips with the arcane powers that he has suddenly come to wield (and the implication that they come from an Eldritch Abomination).
    • An itinerant and homeless human wizard who is strongly implied to have PTSD or a similar disorder. He is revealed to have been brainwashed and tortured into being a child soldier by his Evil Teacher, and killed his parents believing they were enemies of the state, after which he snapped and ended up in an asylum for over a decade. When someone managed to restore his mind, it turned out the memories of his parents being traitors were falsely implanted by his mentor.
    • A goblin rogue ousted from her clan and rejected by general society who is actually a halfling forcibly transformed into a goblin as a punishment. She is now trying to empower her wizard friend so he can change her back to her old form and let her return to her family.
    • A shady tiefling carnival barker who seems to suffer from memory loss and uses his own blood to empower himself. He is, in essence, a completely different person due to nearly dying and coming back to life with retrograde amnesia so bad that he has no memory of who he used to be.
    • An abrasive human monk who is on the run from her monastic order and seems to have had a very rough childhood with a ton of unresolved tensions with her father, who sold her to be kidnapped by an order of monks as punishment for her criminal activity.
    • A mysterious aasimar barbarian from a cursed wasteland who was brainwashed into a demonic cult after her wife died.
    • A tiefling cleric of a trickster god who is also the child of a famous courtesan and thus had to be sequestered and kept a secret so as to not jeopardize her mother's career.
    • A firbolg cleric raised in a cemetery, in a cult, in a haunted forest, who makes tea from dead people. He's actually the most well-adjusted of the lot.
  • A far more frightening example comes in episode 129, when Veth's son Luc is killed by a fire elemental. Luckily, this is Dn D, so he gets better.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: When coerced into a conversation with two Archmages of the Cerberus Assembly, Yasha almost immediately lets slip that she's from Xhorhas - and upon being questioned further, admits that she's only lived in the Empire for about eight months, unintentionally racking up (false) evidence that she's a spy.
  • DIY Dentistry: In Episode 11, the Fjord admits that he "used to do [his] own dental work", filing down his tusks in an attempt to Hide Your Otherness and avoid Half-Breed Discrimination.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run:
    • An infamous bit of Mood Whiplash in episode 93 just after Jester Slipping a Mickey on Isharnai and undoing Nott's curse has Jester quickly getting everyone outside the hut to leave, fast.
    • Summed up succinctly with one iconic quote from Caduceus:
      "We're running, it's bad."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Episode 97. The effect of True Seeing on Beau is apparently no different from a Mushroom Samba.
    Taliesin: I thought you could hold your shit, I'm sorry...
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The second intro was written by Sam and sung by Laura and Ashley, with backing vocals by Sam and Travis.
    • The D&D Beyond theme song that plays at the break was written and sung by Sam.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Episode 21 is named "Stalker in the Swamp", which could refer to both the troll literally stalking the group, and Febron Keyes.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: This fate is narrowly avoided by Artagan after he impersonates the Moonweaver. After he angers the gods, a Solar appears to pronounce his judgment, and he is bound in chains and dragged up towards the moon to face judgment in the Feywild.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Near the beginning of the campaign, whenever a party member was about to go through something personal or related to their backstory. Matt would have the rest of the players leave the room while the scene plays out. Eventually this concept was dropped and the players were allowed to stay for private scenes.
  • The Empire: The Dwendalian Empire on the continent of Wildemount is the main setting of the campaign. While it does provide protection to the common folk to keep them safe from the numerous hostile forces that lie both within and beyond the empire's borders, it is still a very harsh and authoritarian place to live in. A sizable tithe is exacted from the populace, all places of worship are owned by the government, and the worship of any gods beyond what has been approved of by the empire is forbidden on pain of imprisonment. It gets to the point where there are talks of a revolution being planned to fight back against the empire's authority.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The war between the Dwendalian Empire and Xhorhas seems this way initially. On one hand, you have a harsh, authoritarian empire whose upper echelons include some very bad people (such as Trent Ikithon, who experimented on his students and brainwashed them into killing their parents in order to mould them into loyal soldiers) and are researching the Beacons for nefarious purposes. On the other, an empire of Dark Elves inhabiting the old city of the Betrayer Gods who plan to use the Beacons to become immortal. Once the Nein explore the world and get more of a feel for each side's perspective, and eventually more or less side with the Dynasty, it becomes more a case of Grey-and-Grey Morality, with both sides having sympathetic and corrupt elements.
  • Evolving Credits: The animation for "Your Turn To Roll" is occasionally updated to reflect developments in the storyline. The most notable change being the NPCs that appear in the tome Matt holds being swapped out for characters who are currently relevant. As of Episode 112, the section with Molly’s gravesite has rainy weather rather than a sunny day, and the coat blows away in the fierce wind, mirroring how the Nein found his unoccupied grave at the end of the previous episode.
  • Family Theme Naming: Every member of the Clay family has a first name that begins with the letter C (Caduceus, Clarabelle, Cornelius, etc.)
    • More like family theme nicknaming, but Jester's mother Marion, known by most as the Ruby of the Sea, refers to her daughter lovingly as "The Little Sapphire."
  • Fantastic Racism: Due to the war with the Empire, humans are not welcome in Xhorhas. At one point, a local the Nein hire as a guide refuses to ride on the same mount as Caleb and Beau.
    • For their part, the Empire feels much the same way about drow, orcs, bugbears, goblins, and the other ordinary residents of Xhorhas.
    • Downplayed with halflings in Xhorhas. Nott's husband Yeza, a halfling man, is seen as an object of great curiosity in Rosohna and frequently remarked on, but is not treated with the same hostility as the humans.
  • Fantastic Slurs: "Cricks", the Dwendalian Empire's derogatory term for the drow of Xhorhas. Notably, characters who grew up in the Empire (Nott and Beau) say the word quite liberally, while those from outside its borders (Jester) are far more uncomfortable with its use.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In episode 2, Molly states that his mother always taught him never to give a story away for free, to which Jester replies that her mother told her not to give "other things" away for free. Jester's mother turns out to be a famous courtesan.
    • Nott's interest in powerful magic comes up at the beginning of Episode 11, when she is clearly fascinated by the Cerberus Assembly that Pumat Sol is tied to. During the confrontation between her, Fjord and Molly, later in the episode, it becomes clear why she was so invested in learning more about them: she wants someone to change her into another race. Or rather back into the race she once was.
    • The manticore encountered in episode 7 was once bound with enchanted manacles, which the Nein later pawn off for scrap iron. The various monsters from the Harvest Close tournament ten episodes later are bound with similar shackles, suggesting the manticore was previously destined for the arena.
    • Caleb's Dark and Troubled Past is given many hints that start as early as the first episode. Notable ones include him not clapping for the fire dancers in Episode 1, him going nearly catatonic when he roasts the Gnoll Priest alive a few episodes later, and him mentioning he "fucked up" whatever future he had at a few points.
    • Chains and manacles have been a recurring theme since early in the campaign. As Matt later confirmed on Talks Machina, all of this was a hint at the Chained Oblivion's involvement in Wildemount.
  • Given Name Reveal: Quite a few.
    • Beau in Episode 74 introduces herself by her full name of "Beauregard Lionett", the party not having known until that point. Why not sooner? Well, they never asked.
    • Nott's real name is Veth Brenatto. She reclaims it in Episode 97 after being restored to her original (halfling) form.
    • Caleb's real name is Bren Aldric Ermendrud, with Caleb being the alias he gave to Nott.
    • Jester was named Genevieve when she was born, with "Jester" being a virtue name she took upon coming of age. Since this is traditional among tieflings, it's not treated as a big reveal like the first two were.
    • Played with. Mollymauk's real name is Lucien, but Molly insists that they're two different people.
    • Played for Laughs with Caduceus. After an intense conversation where it's revealed that multiple party members have been lying about their real names, Nott asks Caduceus, "So what was your name before all this?" Since one of Caduceus' defining character traits is that he never lies (and indeed is terrible at it the few times he tries), this is a source of great amusement to everyone involved.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Especially in comparison to the first campaign. The Dwendalian Empire is a brutal totalitarian regime, but not everyone who serves it is corrupt, and they're Necessarily Evil to protect the people from Xhorhas, an enemy of the empire built on the remains of the Betrayer Gods' city, Ghor Dranas. Even anti-empire revolutionaries can be very brutal in their methods. Xhorhas, meanwhile, has legitimate reasons to hate the Empire, but their armies still slaughter anyone caught in their attacks, including civilians, and their queen skirts dangerously towards Revenge Before Reason. The player characters caught up in all this are also less clear-cut heroic than Vox Machina, with many of them having selfish motives.
  • Go Fetch: Beau attempts this against two winter wolves, with the broken remains of a toy sword, during one of the Victory Pit fights; unfortunately for her, Matt rules that the wolves are too smart to fall for such an obvious trick.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Barely qualifying for this is the Valley Bandits, a group of bandits who are terrible at their job, pick a fight with the M9 in Episode 8, get their leader incinerated, and live in fear of the M9, who they keep accidentally picking fights with.
  • Got Me Doing It: The gate into the Folding Halls is called the Heirloom Sphere. The players call it the Happy Fun Ball. Matt tries to keep referring to it as the Heirloom Sphere, but he eventually starts calling it the Happy Fun Ball too.
  • Grail in the Garbage: On a whim, Caduceus buys a damaged antique longsword from Pumat Sol's shop. In the course of the party's travels, it's revealed to be a once-mighty magical weapon called the Star Razor. After the Nein have it reforged by Ultimate Blacksmith Umagorn Smeltborne, Fjord starts using it regularly in battle and it's eventually confirmed by no less an arcane scholar than Allura Vysoren to be an honest-to-Melora Vestige of the Divergence.
  • Happy Fun Ball: The aforementioned strange magical device ends up being slapped with this moniker by the party; at first glance, it's a puzzle sphere that just spits out treasure. Its other name is "Heirloom Sphere" and, if you count the hideously dangerous chain of pocket dimensions inside of it, "The Archmage's Bane" and "The Folding Halls of Halas." It includes a golem laboratory, a study complete with mimics pretending to be furniture, a garden that's more a forest, a prison, a young blue dragon and its hoard, the Permaheart of the Laughing Hand, an astral dreadnaught. All while being patrolled by anti-mage golems, and those are just the bits the Mighty Nein have explored so far!
  • Heroic BSoD: Whenever Caleb kills a humanoid with fire, he has to make a wisdom save. Failing this save sends him into a brief PTSD-induced stupor.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The bandits that try to attack the party in episode 8, only to watch their leader be immediately incinerated, then be sent away by the Mighty Nein, pantsless and confused. They return in episode 23, and surrender the second they realize they've run into the party again. Even going into a more legit profession like hunting doesn't help in episode 92. Sam claimed in a Talks Machina episode that they're "too dumb to hurt".
  • Internal Reveal: In Episode 87, the Nein catch Yasha up on much of what they learned while she was away, namely the fact that "the Angel of Irons" is really the Chained Oblivion.
    • In Episode 88, the rest of the Nein (minus Beau and Nott, who already knew) discover that Caleb was kept in a sanitorium for 11 years. Then the bandaid is ripped off completely as Caleb shares with everyone in the Nein, especially those who had no idea, the full extent of his committing parricide, albeit not completely of sound mind due to his teacher's manipulation.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The players really branch out: Fjord's accent is from the Deep South though this is eventually revealed to be affected, and his true accent is a posh British one; Caleb has a German accent; Jester's accent is ambiguously Slavic/Russian; Mollymauk speaks with a hint of Irish; and Yasha's accent eventually settles into something obscurely Nordic. Caduceus solely averts this, speaking in a gravelly but un-accented voice.
  • Kill It with Fire: Basically anytime Caleb kills something, as most of his damage-dealing spells are fire-based. Though this hasn't been discussed in-game, Liam is very open about the fact that Caleb is a pyromaniac.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Mollymauk being Killed Off for Real and Caduceus joining the Mighty Nein in his place.
  • Little Bit Beastly: In the show, firbolgs such as Pumat Sol, Nila, and Caduceus have subtly cow-like faces, with long rounded ears, and large, flat noses similar to a cow. This is quite different to their traditional appearance in Dungeons & Dragons, where they are more similar to goliath-sized human vikings.
  • Little Hero, Big War: Despite war being formally declared between the Dwendalian Empire and Kryn Dynasty in episode 18, the Mighty Nein proceed to focus on smaller mercenary jobs and their own personal goals instead, to the point of actively avoiding taking sides in the larger conflicts around them. By episode 57, the fighting has escalated to the point that they consider committing to Prevent the War (or minimizing the damage) as a collective goal.
    Caleb: I would like to propose something. As a goal. I think we should stop a war. (addressing Beau) And I think we will do that by cutting the cancer out of our homeland.
  • LOL, 69: The NordVPN sponsorship ads involve Sam, and eventually all the guys as a ragtag bunch of hackers straight out of the '90s, and for some reason (read: Retcon) all their handles end with 69.
  • Mama Bear:
    • The Manticore from Episode 7 is definitely one, which Nott finds out the hard way after killing its baby. By the end of its attacks, Nott is left barely standing.
    • Nott herself is very much like this, developing a habit of "adopting" people (including people older than herself) and devoting herself to their protection. Caleb is the most notable example of this; Nott regularly refers to him as "my boy" and openly states that she views him as a son. This quirk makes a lot more sense once it's revealed that she has an actual son whom she's been separated from.
      • In episode 129, Nott goes absolutely berserk when her son Luc is killed by a fire elemental.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In episode 14, Molly defends his fake fortunetelling to Beau by saying "I left every town better than I found it." In episode 27, the group considers what to do about the Iron Shepherds and Beau repeats Molly's words and reveals that she really took them to heart.
      Beau: I realized if I can deliberately leave a town shittier than when I found it, of course [Molly] could leave a town better than when he found it. And I'm not going to do that again. I'm not saying that I'm going to go off and be a fucking hero, but maybe we can equal out and I can at least not fuck any more shit up. Take baby steps towards the leaving the town better... thing.
    • Beau repeats Molly's advice again in episode 57, when the team is debating their goals about the war between the Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty.
      Jester: Do you really think we’re going to, like, help something, or end it? Are we going to make it worse, are we going to get everyone in the Empire killed? What if we do stuff for the Bright Queen, and because she likes us so much we can talk her into not wanting to kill everyone?
      Beau: Leave every place better than you found it.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Wildemount was designed with a variety of Eastern European influences.
    • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Dwendalian Empire takes inspiration from 15th-century Russia, as well as Germanic nations in Central Europe (e.g., Prussia). In particular, the "Zemnian" language is analogous to German, and place names and official titles are often taken from German or Russian sources.
    • Xhorhas has a more 13th-century Romanian flair.
    • Outside of Wynandir, the cultures and peoples of those regions evoke 14th-century Spanish influences (especially the seafaring Menagerie Coast).
  • Metaplot: Sam’s increasingly ridiculous promotional efforts have so far resulted in two: the 69th D&D Beyond Presidential Election (a spoof on political dramas involving a debate, at least two shocking exposés, and a fair few roasts), and Nord by Nordwest: The Quest for The Ultra Codex Reloaded (a parody of cyberpunk/hacker shows like Mr. Robot with increasingly complicated lore, lots of strange outfits, and even more Technobabble.) The former has concluded, the latter is still ongoing.
  • Mexican Standoff: An exceptionally tense one in Episode 12. During the break-in at the High Richter's estate, Caleb attempts to abscond with a spell scroll; Fjord, desperate to avoid leaving evidence of their presence, draws his falchion on Caleb. Nott pulls her crossbow on Fjord, so he preps an Eldritch Blast aimed at her in response. Caleb backs off, but Nott steals the spell behind Fjord's back anyway.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 48. The first three hours or so, when the Mighty Nein reaches land, are the most lighthearted the campaign has been for many episodes: Beau getting a bow on her bo, Fjord waving a fish around, Caleb dog sitting Nugget, Jester giving Caduceus a gift of two cookbooks, which he didn't even realize existed. The very ending of the episode? A very abrupt, incredibly angsty lore dump which reveals that Nott is actually a halfling who was tortured and eventually transformed by goblins, and her original family has now been kidnapped.
    • Episode 97. The Reveal that Essek is responsible for a lot of deaths, and his wanting to make up for them, leads to this humble suggestion.
    • Also, in the same episode, the cutting back and forth between the Nein grimly interrogating Essek and Fjord having to contend with a very stoned-on-magic Beau.
  • Mundane Utility: The fancy ball in episode 97 has the bulk of the special guests using glamor and illusory magic like most people use hairpieces and makeup.
    • Fjord regularly uses the Star Razor, an incredibly powerful pre-Calamity sword, as a flashlight.
  • Narm Charm: The Chasme in Episode 59 provides an in-universe example. Upon seeing the miniature, the entire cast (Matt included) find the creature completely ridiculous (it's a giant demonic mosquito with a head of human hair). Despite this, it proves to be very threatening in a fight, especially once the party discovers it can instantly knock characters unconscious, can reduce maximum hit points, and instantly kills those it brings to 0 maximum HP.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: In Episode 45, Jester casts Polymorph on a dragon and it fails its saving throw, allowing her to turn it into a Crimson Weasel. Unfortunately, earlier that turn Beau had told her summoned Fire Elemental to hold its attack until the dragon was in range, so the Elemental takes a swing at it and does enough damage to revert the dragon back to its original form.
  • Neutral No Longer: In episode 57 the group discusses their proposed goal of targeting several political figures in the Dwendalian Empire in order to end the war. Downplayed in that they're not entirely loyal to the Kryn Dynasty, and agree to their own plan rather than the Bright Queen's decisions.
  • One Steve Limit: The first episode introduces Beauregard and an NPC called Bo'sun. The two go by Beau and Bo respectively, resulting in some occasional confusion.
  • Orphaned Etymology: When Beau asks Nott if she knows what Stockholm Syndrome is, Matt decides that the phrase has the same meaning in Exandria as it does in the real world, as a result of an incident involving someone called Gerald Stockholm.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: In episode 107, Keyleth becomes the first PC from Campaign 1 to make an appearance in Campaign 2, as Veth catches a glimpse of her reuniting with her long-lost mother Vilya through a Tree Stride portal.
  • The Promise: Beau and Caleb made a pact in episode 25 to be each other's failsafes and keep each other from doing stupid things or hurting good people in their goals.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The ruins of Aeor are all over the place with this. While the Aeorian automaton "Charlie" is clearly run down with time, a brief session with a still-working repair module restores him completely. There's another apparatus that even works well enough to undo the Wild Magic that took all of Fjord's hair!
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Beau ends up being the one to kill a large demon, she decides to finish it by ripping out its heart, but due to the creature's large size and her unfamiliarity with its anatomy, it ends up taking a decent amount of time to get it out.
    • Jester's main goal while exploring was to find her missing father, who apparently left her mother searching for a new home for them and hasn't returned for over two decades. Once she finds out that her father is the Gentleman, she tries to tell him the news, only for him to reject her. Turns out that if your father ran out two decades ago and hasn't returned, he probably never wanted a family to begin with.
    • The Mighty Nein has had a habit of making plans with only limited knowledge of what they're doing, and what obstacles they may end up facing, this has lead to their plans failing multiple times due to being unable to account for factors that they never noticed like the fact that Vera could use Locate Item to find Avantika's missing journal, or that the survivors of their fight with the Kryn solders might end up appearing in the bright queen's court.
    • While talking to Queen Leylas about important news, Jester and Nott end up heading off into a comedic tangent, only for the Queen to stop them and tell them that her patience is thinning, turns out that busy political workers aren't as forgiving about going off topic, especially if the topic involves an attack on a city.
    • The ending of Traveler Con. As it turns out, the Moonweaver was aware of what the Mighty Nein were planning and was not cool with the idea of tricking people into worshiping her. She decides to teach Artagan a lesson and demonstrate what a real god can do.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Ashley's frequent absence is worked into the plot as Yasha choosing to leave the party to do various things off-screen.
    • Ashley having to return to New York, as well as Travis and Laura having their baby, is the out-of-character reason Yasha, Fjord, and Jester get kidnapped at the end of episode 25.
    • Ashley having to return to New York is also the reason for Yasha's thankfully temporary Face–Heel Turn in Episode 69.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Caduceus gives an epic one to Trent Ikathon at the end of episode 110:
    Caduceus: I think it has been a long time since anyone has pointed out to you that you are a fool. Pain doesn't make people; it's love that makes people. The pain is inconsequential. It's love that saves them and you would know that but you have none around you, you said so yourself. You surround yourself with lies and deceptions. And I wish for you in the future to find someone who will mourn you when you are gone. Respectfully.
  • Recollection Sidequest: Defied. Matt had one of these set up for Mollymauk, but upon reaching its introduction it turned out Molly didn't want to remember his past and would rather stay as far away from it as possible, considering his previous identity "someone else who had this body and abandoned it".
  • Retraux: The second campaign's first intro is done in the style of an 80's TV opening, with screen flicker, text and fashion to match.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Episode 7 hints at Caleb's PTSD involving fire, and Episode 18 confirms it. Go back to the first episode and look at the players when Orna the Fire Fairy does her fire dance. Caleb is the only one not clapping. Liam was dropping hints from the very beginning.
    • In Episode 8, Nott tells the group she's "of child-bearing age" and doesn't know her exact age since goblins don't celebrate birthdays. As of Episode 49, this is a convenient cover story to hide the fact she's an adult halfling woman, who has had a child, in the body of a young goblin, and she isn't sure how long she's been a goblin for.
    • Nott's aliases "Veth," "Bren," and "Otto," are all allusions to her real name, Veth Brenatto. Additionally, when Nott tells Calianna that her name is "Bren" in Episode 21, Caleb stares at her for a solid minute — because that's his real name.
  • Rewrite: Downplayed. The Nein originally left Halas' body in the Folding Halls at the end of Episode 83, but Matt said that they took the body with them at the beginning of Episode 84.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jester using Thaumaturgy to open all the windows.
    • Nott ending every casting of Message with "you can respond to this message".
    • Yasha announcing "I would like to rage" and being accompanied by Travis shouting "YEAAAAAAH!" in a Grog-like barbarian voice.
    • Jester tends to cast Sending a lot, which has a limit of 25 words per use. Since Jester uses a combination of Buffy Speak and Motor Mouth, someone (usually Travis/Fjord) will start keeping track of the words used on their fingers to determine at what point her message is cut off (usually before she even gets to the point).
    • "Keg is aroused".
    • Whenever the name "Uk'otoa" is mentioned by Matt, the rest of the cast will whisper it in awe as a chorus. This reached its height at a live game where the entire audience did it.
    • Similarly, whenever Matt off-handedly says "it's been awhile-" the entire cast sings the line in the style of Staind's Aaron Lewis.
    • The Nein's encounter with Arcanist Allura Vysoren leads them to ask many powerful, connected people about the current membership in the Tal'Dorei Council - usually at the most inopportune times. (It's funny because their previous player characters are on the council).
      • After this became a running gag, Matt began responding to the query "Who's on the Tal Dorei Council?" with "Every time you ask, one of them dies."
  • Secret Test of Character: Upon meeting The Mighty Nein, the Plank King discreetly asks them to keep an eye on Avantika and report any treasonous activity to him. They immediately take the bait by breaking into Avantika's quarters looking for any information on Uk'otoa she might have been concealing from them, and stealing her diary: which contains very treasonous material. When Avantika forces their hand by using magic to uncover the theft, Beau flees with the diary to The Plank King only for him to reveal that he wanted to see if The Mighty Nein would break his Pirate's Code by selfishly betraying a fellow member of the Revelry. The only thing that saves their lives was the fact they actually uncovered a plot to overthrow him, and even then the Revelry has orders to kill them on sight should they return.
    • Caleb's backstory contains an extremely messed-up one. Near the end of his training to be an assassin, his mentor, the Archmage Trent Ikithon, modified his memory so that he remembered overhearing his parents discussing treason. He and his fellow students immediately murdered them, only to realize that the whole thing was essentially their final exam to become Vollstrucker, Empire assassins and spies.
  • Sequence Breaking: The revelation of The Gentleman being Jester's father was supposed to be a late game reveal, but because the Mighty Nein ended up asking the right questions at the right time they learned this fact relatively early in the game.
  • Show Within a Show: There's been an astounding number of these, from the in-universe (smutty) novels "Tusk Love" and "Courting of the Crick," to the Zemnian fairytale "Der Katzenprintz," to the fables in Narrative Telephone.
  • Significant Anagram: Veth Brenatto is an anagram of Nott the Brave.
  • A Simple Plan:
    • In Episode 31, Jester decides to troll a temple of Bahamut to earn some brownie points with The Traveler (at the time believing he has abandoned her), and drags Nott along with her. What begins with setting off firecrackers during a sermon ends with the two fleeing from half the city guard and several enraged clergy.
      • Made all the more ridiculous by the fact that they accidentally give said city guard the impression that they are cultists of Tiamat.
    • Episode 35. The plan? Investigate a shady deal at the docks and interrogate one NPC. A few bad Stealth and Deceptions rolls later, and a fight breaks out, resulting in the party killing the suspicious ship's entire crew. The guards hear and commotion and are on the way, so the party, desperate for an escape route, decides to board the ship, raise anchor, and sail it out of the harbour. That's right, an attempt to talk to one NPC resulted in the Mighty Nein accidentally becoming pirates.
    • Episode 42, the party executes a plan to break into Avantika's quarters and find incriminating evidence fairly well; the only flaw being something they didn't really even know to look for, namely that Vera, Avantika's second in command, was secretly an adept spellcaster able to locate objects such as the journal they stole. The ensuing confrontation ends up with most of the crew dead and the Nein + Avantika dragged before the local authority, where Avantika is killed and the Nein are banished.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Episode 93 takes this normally simple and cheap trick and turns it into an absolute game-changer. Jester has to make a Deal with the Devil with the hag Isharnai, and ends up slipping her a cupcake that's spiked with the Dust of Deliciousness. That's not the actual whammy; it's just to lower her magical defense so that Jester can cast Modify Memory and con her into accepting Jester's deal. This is such an ultimate prank that it leads to the Traveler, Jester's god of trickery, trusting her enough to ask for her help planning "TravelerCon" and to reveal that he's actually an archfey in disguise.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: One golden moment in episode 97:
    Matt: Nott's invisible and (rolled a stealth check) over 30, no one could have seen Nott! Beyond the eyes of the gods behind the Divine Gate, they're watching on, going "Oh shit, how'd that happen?!"
  • Spoiler Opening: The animated opening introduced in episode 44, which gives away Molly’s death, due to his only presence in the opening being a prominent shot of his grave.
  • Stargazing Scene: Caleb and Nott get one of these in Episode 36 while aboard the Mystake. Unfortunately for Caleb's excited astronomy lesson, Nott apparently doesn't believe in other planets.
  • Stink Bomb: Jester gets her hands on some ready-made ones called oops-stones, unassuming little things that can empty a room on impact.
    Yasha: That smells like a massive shit...
  • Stunned Silence: Matt, Marisha, and Travis' reaction to the overwhelming support for the Vox Machina Kickstarter, followed by helpless laughter.
    • In-Universe, the entire party's response to the Wham Line "It's me. Where's my son?". It takes several seconds for Beau to get herself together enough to falter out, "We need to talk."
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Literally. Halas has a horned devil bound in his Halls, who begs them to read a "poem" to him (which would almost certainly release him). They don't do it, and mostly just ignore him - but Jester, who knows exactly what it's like to be trapped and alone feels horrible about leaving it.
    • Actually, this is one of Jester's recurring character traits. She's very bad at telling the difference between a villain and a potential friend.
  • That's No Moon!: The Cliffhanger of episode 99. What appears to be an island that's somehow getting closer to the Ball-Eater is in fact a dragon turtle.
  • The Rest Shall Pass: Pumat sends the Nein on after Obann while he handles the cultists and the demons.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Fjord and Nott are constantly giving each other shit, with Nott taking shots at Fjord's relative slight stature and lack of strength compared to other orcs, and Fjord enjoying playing pranks on Nott based on her fear of water. But by episode 94, they both admit that they care about each other.
    • Molly and Beau were like this. Beau only admits how much she cared for Molly after he dies.
  • Wham Episode: Practically every couple of episodes. In this show, when it rains, it pours.
    • Episode 12 ends with Ulog blowing himself up to take the High Richter down with him, and that isn't even the worst part. The Zauberspire explodes, seemingly the result of a full-on attack on Zadash by Xhorhas.
    • Though it doesn't seem like it until the last moments, Episode 25. Kiri is left behind with a new family in Hupperdook, and the Nein begin travelling to their next destination... and unknown shady individuals attack and capture Fjord, Jester and Yasha.
    • Episode 26: Mollymauk dies, and, with Jester gone and the M9 way too far from any possible source of resurrection spells, it turns out to be the first mid-campaign perma-death of a player character in Critical Role's history (not counting Tiberius, as he had already left Vox Machina before dying, or Vax, as he died at the very end of the campaign).
    • Episode 43 begins with what is one of the most intense battles of the campaign thus far, between the Mighty Nein and Avantika's crew, during which Caleb sets most of the Squalleater on fire, Fjord summons a barlgura, and Beau has to race up to the Plank King to hand him evidence that Avantika was plotting against him. After the battle dies down, the Plank King holds an impromptu court where he passes judgment on both Avantika and the Mighty Nein, killing Avantika and banishing the Mighty Nein from Darktow.
    • The entire last hour of Episode 48 is just one wham after another: Yeza was working for Trent Ikithon and is now captured; Trent is working on a new school of magic and recruited students based on their aptitude for it; Nott and Yeza somehow have a halfling son.
    • Episode 49. Oh boy. Nott was born as a halfling named Veth Brenatto, taken by goblins with her family, caught and drowned when she tried to escape with them, and magically turned into a goblin. Also, "Caleb Widogast" is an alias - his real name is Bren Aldric Ermendrud.
    • Episode 56. The Mighty Nein earn an audience with Empress Leylas Kryn, but it goes badly thanks to a couple of bad rolls. They are about to be arrested when Caleb smooth talks his way into giving the Empress proof of Dwendalian aggression, and hands over the Dodecahedron. This move a) causes the Empress to name them Heroes of Xhorhas, b) throws the campaign into chaos as Matt has to figure out what the hell to do now, and c) very likely earned Liam the presidency of D&D Beyond.
    • Episode 61. Uk'otoa, angry with Fjord for not freeing him, temporarily takes his warlock power away. The threat is clear. Later, the party discovers that they have been given a mansion in Xhorhas in gratitude for their deeds. They may be stuck there for a while.
    • Episode 62. Jester scrys on the man responsible for the demon rifts, who is in a meeting with the ruler of the Dwendalian Empire. She discovers that the empire is about to launch a massive attack on Xhorhas. This leads the Nein to debate the merits of telling the Bright Queen or not. They decide to do it, and do it right away.
    • Episode 65. Fjord has one of his dreams again... only this time another, motherly voice intervenes before Uk'otoa can "punish" him. The Dungeon Master also notes that Fjord used to feel cold whenever he used his powers, but he doesn't when he used them to help Jester. Another entity has its eyes on Fjord and might have a path to escape Uk'otoa's influence.
    • Episode 69. Obann manages to release a horrific monster called the Laughing Hand and forces Yasha into a Face–Heel Turn. The party barely escapes with their lives as the Laughing proves far too much for them and they're forced to leave Yasha behind. The ending leaves it ambiguous as to whether or not Yasha is being forced to be evil or if this is who she really is, and makes it clear she and the Laughing Hand are tearing their way out of the Crypt, soon to be released upon the world.
    • Episode 72. Fjord destroys his pact weapon and loses his magic, seemingly for good, and officially drops his fake southern accent with the group, letting go of his obsession with Vandren.
    • Episode 82: The Nein find and destroy the Permaheart of the Laughing Hand. Not only does this mean it can be killed, it also seems to seriously affect the abomination on the outside. But then the Mighty Nein decide to jump into the mouth of an Astral Dreadnought.
    • Episode 83: The Mighty Nein, with help from Allura and Yussah, uncover the truth about the Angel of Irons: there is no Angel of Irons. It is a false name used to hide the actions of Tharizdun the Chained Oblivion, one of the most feared Betrayer Gods (if not THE most).
    • Episode 85: Where to begin... Jester discovers that the Gentleman really is her father, Nott and Beau confess their respective crushes on Caleb and Jester, Astrid's letter is retrieved, Pumat Prime will enter into battle along the Mighty Nein, the cult of the Angel of Irons fakes a Kryn assault on Rexxentrum as a distraction for Obann and co. to reach the fane underneath the Cathedral of Pelor (which almost certainly contains one of Tharizdun's chains), the Crown's Council just so happens to be meeting just as the attack is happening (so the leadership of the Empire is all in one place), Vence is going to open an Abyssal portal in Rexxentrum to create further havoc, we get official confirmation that the cult has infiltrated the government of Xhorhas (though we don't know their agents), and a woman matching the description of the woman in red from Molly's past is a corrupted Cardinal of Pelor in league with Obann and Vence.
    • Episode 86: Caduceus frees Yasha with a clutch Dispel Magic, and both Obann and the Laughing Hand are killed, presumably permanently. But, Tharizdun transforms Obann's body into an abomination as a final "fuck you" for failing.
    • Episode 87: The Nein, with (a LOT of) help from the Caedogeist, finish off Obann for good (maybe), and are brought before King Dwendal, who charges them with arranging peace talks with Xhorhas. However, they also meet Trent Ikithon again, who reveals his knowledge that "Caleb Widogast" is really Bren Aldric Ermendrud.
    • Episode 91: Caleb, with help from Nott and Essek, completes the spell that will turn Nott back into her halfling form! They try it, but discover that Nott is under a curse which binds her to her goblin body.
    • Episode 93: The Nein confront Isharnai the Prism Sage, the hag responsible for Nott's curse. Jester is able to drug her with the Dust of Deliciousness, which grants disadvantage on Wisdom rolls, and casts Modify Memory on her. She makes her think that Jester was such good company that she agreed to just drop the curse without requiring a price from any of the Nein!
    • Episode 94: The Nein make the trek to Whitedawn Lagoon, to meet the Stone family and find at least some of Caduceus' family. On the way, the Traveler appears to Jester and tells her the truth: he is Artagan, an Archfey, and it was her bond with him that led to his divine ascension. Furthermore, he needs her help to form an organized religion of the Traveler, as his worshipers' competing ideas as to what he actually is is slowly killing him.
    • Episode 97: The Nein discover that Essek has been secretly working with the Cerberus Assembly, and Nott is finally returned to her halfling form.
    • Episode 108: Travelercon! With Jester's help, the Traveler/Artagan attempts to trick his followers into believing he was the Moonweaver the entire time. Unfortunately, the real Moonweaver gets pissed off and threatens to drag Artagan back to the Fey for an eternity of imprisonment. He is ultimately saved by Jester's intercession, but still exposed and humiliated in front of all his followers.
    • Episode 111 ends with the earth-shattering revelation that Molly’s body (if not Molly as we knew him) is alive.
  • Wham Line:
    • In Episode 18, Beau pushes Caleb to reveal why he's so afraid of fire and the reason is so shocking and unexpected that Liam has to ask most of the table to leave before he says it. The sheer terror of this revelation changed the direction of the party, who had previously shown a lot of interest in heading to the Soltryce Academy, a goal largely dropped after Caleb's confession.
      Caleb: I'm going to tell you the story about how I murdered my mother and father.
    • In Episode 26, during the confrontation with the Iron Shepherds, Matt asks Taliesin a question that confirms that one of the main characters will die and that someone will have to replace him.
      Matt: Molly, in the brief moments of consciousness, what do you want to be your last words?
    • In Episode 42, the tension rises throughout the episode as the party attempts to learn more and more about Avantika without alerting her or bumbling their way into a fight. At the very end of the episode, Liam says he's going to cast Wall of Fire, definitively ending the party's attempt to stay on good turns with Avantika and turning her into a full-fledged enemy.
    • In Episode 111, after months of speculation and debate, Matthew Mercer describes a long-dead character walking amongst the living, prematurely ending the party's downtime plans and kicking off a new Story Arc dedicated to discovering how this person came Back from the Dead.
      Matt:... You see trudging through a familiar blizzard, a purple skinned tiefling, in heavy coat and hood, walking with a grin and an intensity of confidence and purpose.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Halas clone abomination in episode 82 has to be killed three times before the Nein finally realise they need to burn it.
    • It is also one of Yasha's abilities as of level 14, as Rage Beyond Death lets her keep fighting even after suffering three failed death saves as long as she is raging and conscious.
  • Wrong Context Magic: The magic of Dunamancy that the party begins to slowly learn more and more about as the campaign progresses. In this case, it's classified as magic that deals with manipulating time, gravity, and entropy with spells that don't neatly fall into any of the eight established branches of magic. Knowledge of this school is highly sought after by the Dwendalian Empire, to the point where they've been conscripting anyone with the potential to utilize this magic, and Xhorhas has already been aware of this magic for centuries before the empire even discovered it, having used their beacons to give themselves a form of immortality through reincarnation.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: In Episode 45 the party get trapped inside a magic sphere they nickname the Happy Fun Ball. From their perspective they spend at most a couple of hours searching the rooms inside and fighting a dragon. When they finally escape and return to their ship the crew they left behind inform them they've been missing for a week. In episode 80 they spend more time exploring the sphere and establish, via communication with the outside, that one hour inside the sphere is the equivalent of one day outside.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are / You Are Not Alone: The group delivers this toward Nott and Caleb in episode 49, after they reveal their tragic backstories to the team.
    Jester (to Caleb): I don't think our actions define who we are all the time. Good people do bad things sometimes. Even bad people do good things. I think you're a good person.
    Beau: For the record, Nott, I don't think it's us that's been rubbing off on you. I think it's you that's been rubbing off on us.
    • Later:
      Beau: Caleb, you were right when you said earlier that it's too late now. That we're involved. But I don't think we see it in the same way that you do. It's too late now because, whether you like it or not, we all care about you and are invested in, you know, your happiness, I guess? So... Don't run. You can say you don't believe in anything, and that's fine. Believe in us, just a little bit?
      Caleb: I will consider it heavily.
  • You Have Failed Me: This is pulled on Obann in epic fashion. Yasha gets the HDYWTDT on him, and he cries out to the Angel of Irons, unaware that the Angel is really Tharizdun. In response, Tharizdun transforms his body into an abomination, killing his essence so that the abomination is all that remains.
  • You Say Tomato: The group will occasionally playfully tease Caleb for his pronunciation of some word or another, often because his accent has caused the rest of them to misunderstand him.

Vox Machina Origins

  • Adaptational Dumbass: While Grog was a Dumb Muscle in the show as well, in the comics, Scanlan is able to trick him into taking part of a fight he doesn't care about simply by saying that Grog wants to do it.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Pike's been depicted as having white hair in the show, but in the comics, she has black hair. This is because her hair wouldn't turn white until she's resurrected after being killed by a glabrezu.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Several members of the party are different from how they are in the actual show. Justified as this is when they first met, while the show starts off with them having been travelling together for months, along with how at the beginning of the campaign, the personalities for the characters weren't truly set in stone.
    • Vex'ahlia is cold and cynical, initially caring about nobody except herself and Vax.
    • Vax'ildan, meanwhile, is much kinder and more empathetic than in the early episodes of the show, where he started with little concern for people outside the party before growing to be more moral.
    • Keyleth is much more willing about doing morally grey actions than she is in the show, indicated by how Issue #3 opens up with her, Tiberius, and two nameless adventurers taking a job from The Clasp as opposed to in the show where she vehemently opposed making allies with them.
    • Scanlan has a tendency towards Breaking the Fourth Wall that never appeared in the show proper.note  He's also much more callous, shown with how indifferent he was when seeing the death of a former party member.
  • A Load of Bull: Grog finds himself face to face against a Minotaur in issue 6.
  • Big Bad: Iselda, a commander within The Myriad, is the main villain of Series 1.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After he got seperated from them, Grog comes in at the last moment to save the party against Iselda's true form.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Vex slowly warms up to the others as the series progresses.
  • Evil Plan: Using a magical curse, along with a special poison, Aqua Caedes, Iselda intends to wipe out the entire population of Stilben.
  • Fantastic Racism: Iselda mocks Vex, Vax, and Keyleth for being half-elves.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The first interaction that Vax and Vex have with Scanlan and Grog isn't exactly a friendly one.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Certain incidental and supporting characters like Realmseer Eskil bear a striking resemblance to Matt Mercer, since he would no doubt be the one voicing them if this was all in-game.
  • Put on a Bus: Tiberius parts ways with the group in Series 2 to focus on his research.
  • Ship Tease: Issues 1 and 6 give some to Vax and Keyleth.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Vax and Vex. Vax is more trusting, generous, and more accepting to get help from others. Vex is cynical, much more anti-social, and hates getting little reward money for jobs. Vex was also initially willing to let Stilben be poisoned if it would mean she and Vax wouldn't be in danger while Vax, after finding out that The Myriad intend to wipe out all of Stilben's population, stated how he was willing to try and stop them on his own.
  • Snake People: Iselda's true form.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The swamp that surrounds Stilben is filled with crocodiles, sharks, and baby-eating Fish People.
  • Thieves' Guild: Stilben is unfortunate enough to deal with two of them, The Clasp, and The Myriad.
  • Visual Pun: As Vox Machina is asleep in volume 2, a piece of paper/parchment can be seen pinned to the wall with two daggers and an arrow, evoking Vax's "Dagger dagger" catchphrase.

One-Shot Adventures

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The sometimes-benevolent force of mistycism that grants the UnDeadwood party their powers is just referred to as the Dealer, heavily implied to be DM Brian W Foster dressed as a croupier. They also gain a spirit advisor called the Bartender, who's actually Ivan van Norman in a rare assistant (or should we say deputy?) DM role.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Doom Eternal one-shot features several audio recordings by UAC staff that end up becoming this since, well, the world really did go to hell.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Call of Cthulhu one-shot. Half of the party is lost, and Maryweather manages to seal the ancient evil causing this, but it's Cast from Hit Points. Still, Maryweather promises to bring back the party members that weren't Killed Off for Real, and the Battle Butler has found a new direction in life, in the form of Hanako.
  • Brick Joke: Feast of Legends. Our heroes travel to a distant town, where talking to the prince reveals that they pronounce the word "sabotage" differently. The payoff comes during the next fight, where Marisha's attempt to fool an enemy with an illusion crumbles when she pronounces "sabotage" normally.
  • The Caper: The one-shot adventure The Screw Job, created by Liam O'Brien has this as its premise.
  • Caper Crew: Of course, the players in said Caper fall into these roles.
    • Tarvis serves as The Mastermind, and the Coordinator, being the leader of the group, and the one in charge of directing everyone else to their roles.
    • Obby the Rat is The Partner in Crime, and The Pickpocket. He's fiercely loyal to Tarvis, and handles most of the steady-handed tasks.
    • Delweth is The Burglar, being the one in charge of checking for locks and traps. She might also count as a fantasy equivalent of Gadget Girl due to frequent use of her Mage Hand.
    • Though not exactly new to The Clasp per se, Dren fills the role of The New Kid, as she seems to be the least experienced member of the group and is the one taken least seriously by the others.
    • Devan (The only party member who is not one of The Clasp) is The Inside Man, being the granddaughter of The Mark, and therefore knowing her way around the manor. She also tends to be the first one sent into potentially dangerous areas to trigger any traps the group happens to miss, making her double as The Fall Guy.
    • On the NPC's side, Spireling Shenn is The Backer, being the person the team is ultimately working for.
  • Cast as a Mask: One that involves an actual mask - the Doom Eternal one-shot leads up to an encounter with Dr Samuel Hayden himself, with Matt breaking out a lovely mask of the Brain in a Jar doctor's robot head (it lights up!), just to disguise the fact that Darin De Paul is hidden somewhere and voicing the Doctor live on set.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Done in a huge way in Cinderbrush - even the Forgotten First Meeting of Jaime (Taliesin) and AF (Ally Beardsley) was in the divorce court after their fathers left their mothers for each other.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Cinderbrush: A Monsterhearts Story - the New Transfer Student is played by Ally Beardsley, the only first-time player at the table.
    • Doom: Eternal - Anjali Bhimani is an necrotic magic-casting type that's basically evil Symmetra.
  • Christmas Elves: The Night Before Critmas assigns this as everyone's default race. Including the ones that normally play as regular elves. They use the same character classes you'd get in the main campaign, including the fighter and rogue they haven't really tried out, so they kick quite a bit more ass than usual.
  • Cliffhanger: The end of UnDeadwood part 1. Our party apparently passed out for half the day, but had more or less the same spirit vision, before returning to Deadwood - which is under attack. By something.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: UnDeadwood is set in the Old West, so features a good deal of this. Aloysius Fogg, the one African-American member of the party, used to be a slave, Arabella Whitlock is stuck in a loveless Arranged Marriage as part of a business partnership, and it's repeatedly pointed out that the town of Deadwood isn't exactly kind to women.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Crash Pandas one-shot assigns ten Cool Points to the whole party, to be used up whenever they need to execute something "cool". At least one is really a Chekhov's Gun though.
  • Did Not Think This Through: As part of a player challenge for Crash Pandas, Sam prepared a series of multiple choice car-related questions. Then he realized that for one of the questions, he did not write down which is the correct answer.
  • Dinky Drivers: The Crash Pandas one-shot revolves around the party having to win an illegal street race in order to gain access to a certain garbage dump. Also, they're all raccoons. This leads to a new game mechanic that can best be described as QWOP in tabletop form.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Crash Pandas again - Laura's character flings something at a rival driver, then scores a good enough roll that she not only nails the driver but his vehicle blows up.
  • Final Girl: In the Call of Cthulhu one-shot, Hanako Hayashi (special guest Erika Ishii) ticks off several requirements of this trope like being The Ingenue. She's in the half of the party that survives.
  • Fish out of Water: Much of the humor from the Goblins and Doom Eternal adventures come from our "heroes" being sent into a completely alien (read: human) environment.
  • Five-Token Band: The Kobolds and Catacombs one-shot, which coincidentally has five players covering all the five Alliance races as of Burning Crusade.
  • Foreshadowing: The UnDeadwood theme is actually modified from the guitar intro for "Wanted Dead Or Alive", which basically sums up Clayton Sharpe's fate.
  • Four Is Death: The UnDeadwood adventure is divided into four parts and ends with a Character Death.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Call of Cthulhu one-shot. Turns out Ida Coswell (Special Guest Ashly Burch) was one of the inventors ripped off by Thomas Edison himself.
  • Hit Stop: Kobolds and Catacombs. Matt describing the kobolds nailing a dynamite throw on the party suddenly gets all Michael Bay.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In Liam's one-shot special, the fight with Demogorgon was designed to be impossible for characters of their level.
    • The battle with the Doom Slayer from the Doom Eternal one-shot goes about as well as you would expect for the five demon PCs.
  • Internal Homage:
    • The Night Before Critmas, being set in Santa's Workshop, starts out with some blatant wish-fulfillment as the Christmas Elves are tasked to make Vox Machina and Mighty Nein action figures.
    • From the Doom Eternal one-shot, the "Glory Kill" from the video game is reimagined for the tabletop as the equivalent to "how do you want to do this".
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • Adventures of the Darrington Brigade kicks off with all six new recruits matched up for three consecutive duels. And it's completely airtight in context (well, according to Tary.)
    • Hidden deep in the premise of UnDeadwood was this eventual fate for Aloysius Fogg and Clayton Sharpe.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Cinderbrush. Thanks to Monsterhearts rules, our players have to flesh out an entire high school class worth of NPCs for this one-shot, all voiced by Matt.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender:
    • Cruelly subverted in the Deadlands one-shot. Both women and one guy bite it - the one survivor isn't even human!
    • The Call of Cthulhu one-shot. Despite an even split of men and women, the one confirmed fatality is one of the men.
  • Mind Screw: Deliberately invoked to avoid an encounter with some mushroom popping troggs in the Kobolds and Catacombs one-shot.
    Quazi: Good news my brothers! We come from both the future and the past!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Subverted all to hell (literally!) in the Doom: Eternal one-shot - due to the Apocalypse How setting, it's assumed that all celebrites are dead to better feed Anjali Bhimani's Pain Elemental character.
  • Not Hyperbole:
    • The Shadow of War one-shot. The orc warchief survives an attack on his life, and swears that "a hundred blades" will pierce the ones responsible... then makes his orcs count their blades to ensure they have that many on hand.
    • The Crash Pandas one-shot has the Large Ham street racing announcer give the usual "the only rule is, there are no rules". Which means that the players joining the race by attacking another driver and stealing his vehicle is legal. Well, in the context of illegal street racing...
  • Oh, Crap!: In the Doom Eternal one-shot, everyone gets this at the end of the first half of the one-shot upon the arrival of the Doom Slayer.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Doom Eternal one-shot features a rare instance of both a TPK and a mission success for the Demons. The entire party is killed by the Doom Slayer, but they achieved their goal of destroying Dr Samuel Hayden's robotic body (although it's implied he can Body Surf) and destroying the Argent energy research facility, while destroying the teleporter and leaving the Doom Slayer trapped in the ruins. This being the Doom Slayer though, it's not a matter of if he gets out, but when.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies:
    • The Deadlands one-shot runs on time constraints, meaning that Matt is forced to do this when the three hours are almost up. The sole survivor is the one who was Evil All Along.
    • Notably averted with the Red Nose Day 2019 event, which had even more time constraints - thanks to Stephen Colbert's own Genre Savvy, they end it with Cutting the Knot instead.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • UnDeadwood to the Deadlands one-shot - while the original one started pulling names from Deadwood for certain characters, UnDeadwood acknowledges Deadwood canon characters but then thrusts them into the Deadlands environment.
    • The Pathfinder one shot with goblins for a Villain Protagonist party was popular enough that they've deliberately reused the concept in the Middle Earth: Shadow of War and later the Doom Eternal one-shot adventures, with the latter one also featuring a battle with the actual hero!
  • Take That!: The Night Before Critmas. Travis tries to pull a We Can Rule Together with Matt after he attempted to kill Santa Claus.
    "You're a fool, Klaus! We can't compete with Amazon!"
  • Teens Are Monsters: Cinderbrush in both senses of the term - the high school is not only rife with bullying but even cult activity, while the player characters include a witch and a werewolf. It's the one time the Valentine's Day special could be confused for the Halloween special.
  • Theme Song Power Up: Played for Laughs in The Night Before Critmas, which sees the holiday elves kicking ass to the tune of "Carol of the Bells".
  • Toilet Humor: All over the place in the Goblins one-shot.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: UnDeadwood is well known for its Darker and Edgier approach, but the thumbnails and titles like "Stay Close, Reverend" and "Goodnight, Miss Miriam" look like this trope as well. The one who dies is neither of them. It's Clayton Sharpe.
  • Touched by Vorlons: UnDeadwood part 1 ends with our party awakening from a spirit jaunt, returning to Deadwood, which is already under attack, from something - but the real surprise is the fact that they have gained spellcasting.
  • Word Schmord: There's an extensive amount of Writing Around Trademarks in Critical Role and the Club of Misfits, which starts from renaming Hogwarts into Shmogwarts, and then just proceeds down the slippery slope.
  • The Worf Effect: The Night Before Critmas. Thanks to a bad roll by Matt, his character, Klaus, the certified badass of the lot, is the first to be trapped in a gel-cube once they face the Big Bad.

    MAME Drop 

Is it Thursday yet?


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