Legend of Vox Machina season 2 review: more D&D than ever — which rules

I learned very quickly while playing my first Dungeons & Dragons campaign that my character wasn’t always going to be the main character. That was fine by me, because as a timid newbie, I was more than happy to play a supporting role in other people’s stories. But I also learned very quickly that in order to keep the party engaged, to make the story as engaging as possible, a good DM will find a way to give everyone their main character moments – as well as the wider story going forward. will increase.

It’s not easy doing this in real life when you’re trying to play a bunch of people who live in different time zones and struggle to play. But it’s not easy in television either, when you have to organize play sessions that last for hours in half-hour episodes. but the second season the legend of vox machinabased on the animated show Actual Play Web Series Critical Rolemanages to dazzle the cast of seven characters and their individual journeys and dynamics Whereas Build up to an epic showdown. It’s a wonderful synthesis of what makes both animated fantasy shows and Dungeons & Dragons so appealing.

[Ed. note: This review contains some slight setup spoilers for season 2 of The Legend of Vox Machina.]

a pale haired individual;  a redhead half-elf;  a little gnome man;  a tall, strong Goliath with a small gnome woman sitting on his shoulders;  a smiling half-elf woman;  a smiling half-elf man;  And in a large crowd stands a smiling black haired man

Image: Prime Video

second season of the legend of vox machina picks up right where the first one left off – specifically, right when a horde of mighty dragons descend on Emon’s capital city. our group of mercenaries—which includes, as a brief description, the confident half-elf ranger Vexahlia (Laura Bailey) and her twin brother, the sarcastic scoundrel Vax’ilden (Liam O’Brien); the plucky half-elf druid Keyleth (Marisha Ray); the Horny Gnome Bard Scanlan (Sam Regal), the dim yet big-hearted Goliath Barbarian Grog (Travis Willingham); brooding human gunslinger Percy (Taliesin Jaffe); and the kindly gnome Cleric Pike (Ashley Johnson) – manages to survive the attack.

To stop the dragons from taking over the world, Vox Machina needs to collect some ancient artifacts that may be strong enough to defeat the new scaly overlords. to do heThey embark on a quest across the land of Tal’dori to ancient temples, fortified cities, hidden places and beyond.

The very setup of this season – where the characters move from location to location in search of different items – already feels more in line with Dungeons & Dragons’ roots than the first season, which focused exclusively on one location. was focused on. While the first season featured a lot of D&D-isms, it felt more like a standard fantasy animated show, which made it more accessible to new viewers. This time, it’s easy to see the D&D strings being pulled on the plotline, especially with the way each episode shifts to new locations and builds up to various encounters.

A half-elf druid with long red hair holds up his arm, about to unleash a spell;  Beside him, a brunette half-elf ranger holds her bow;  they seem to be in a strange pink forest

Image: Prime Video

A dragon howling in the foreground with two other dragons in the background conquering the cityscape in a still from The Legend of Vox Machina season 2

Image: Prime Video

I need to stress that this is not a bad thing. the way that the legend of vox machina How it manages to synthesize all of these disparate character arcs, explorations, and moving parts is incredibly impressive. The heart of the show always comes back to the characters these voice actors have been playing for a very long time. They’re all fleshed out, and even the most outwardly obnoxious characters have perfectly realized hidden depths. And this season almost everyone gets a big main character moment that gets woven into the larger plot. It’s a lot of shifted story elements, flipped around so that a character can line up for a given episode or two. Instead of the streamlined focus of the first season, it becomes more of a mosaic. And like a mosaic, it works best when all the pieces lock into place — and in the case of this metaphor, that means when the characters interact. Their dynamic with heart-to-heart talks, bitter disagreements and raunchy banter is a delight to watch.

and yes there is a Very Bad jokes. but instead use jokes to have fun and enjoy an inevitable laugh in between tackling more serious topics, the legend of vox machina does the opposite. The show established a raw and unsettling tone from the very first episode of the first season, introducing the characters as a bunch of hot messes – and Then Slowly peeling back those layers and revealing their insecurities, shackles and true motives. Sure, the butt-stuff gags can be off-putting if you really want a serious fantasy adventure, but then again, the show doesn’t pretend to be too lofty for the occasional well-delivered ass-play joke. does. When Scanlan conjures up a dazzling pair of pink buttocks To minimize the downfall of the party, it’s definitely worth the splurge. It looks shockingly good too.

a smiling dwarf with his arms outstretched

Image: Prime Video

imaginary only looks better in animation. Fantastic powers and fight scenes look more awesome, spectacular backgrounds look more wondrous, and character designs look nicer. The Fae Realm, where Vax, Vex, Percy and Keyleth find themselves stranded for a few episodes, is particularly gorgeous. It’s a pity that live action is still the default for American adult-focused genre shows, because Keyleth’s elemental magic, Pike’s glowing healing powers, and Scanlan’s bright pink and purple bardic combination are truly a testament to that. That’s why we should see more of these shows like Animation.

second season of the legend of vox machina There is a lot that can be considered negative. There’s a hell of a lot of lore based on years and years of hour-long gameplay sessions, which is sure to be intimidating to newbies. The sheer volume of raunchy and lewd jokes might be a miss for some. And the already expansive character roster is only getting bigger and bigger. It may not be a prison at all for all. But for the people it clicks with, the grand adventure has so much heart and fun that it becomes more than just an epic fantasy show and becomes something truly special.

the legend of vox machina Season 2 will premiere on January 20 on Prime Video. There are three episodes every week.

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