“We live to hear Matt say, ‘How do you want to do this?’” – Liam O’Brien, Arrival at Kraghammer
There are no sweeter words in Critical Role than, “How do you want to do this?” This is Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer’s cue that the player now has the opportunity to deliver the finishing blow in a battle—in their own words. “I let the player describe their victory,” he explains quickly in the series premiere.
Here are five unforgettable finishing moves by the adventurers known as Vox Machina that have an impact long after the battle is over.
(Beyond this point there be spoilers.)
Scanlan, Arrival at Kraghammer
In the Greyspine Mines at the bottom of Kraghammer, the group is surrounded by fleeing goblins, lumbering ogres, and finally a fearsome abomination that resembles a naga. Scanlan gets the killing blow on the creature and yells with glee, “I’ve never killed anything before!” He describes the bolt of electricity slowly and painfully snaking through the abomination’s body before burning an S in its chest.
Not only is the first episode the first time we hear Matt Mercer utter that now famous phrase, that lightning bolt cast by Scanlan Shorthalt is the first time the gnome bard gets the kill in the years the group has been playing together. (That’s a lot of firsts.)
Vax’ildan, Trial of the Take, Part 4
Guest players Wil Wheaton as Thorbir and Will Friedle as Kashaw join three members of Vox Machina on their hunt for a shapeshifting rakshasa. The two groups have joined forces to fulfill a contract with the Slayer’s Take, and Thorbir has led the adventurers to the lair of Hotis, the rakshasa. During the long, hard-fought battle, the rakshasa threatens each of their loved ones, taunting Vax’ildan about his sister in particular.
As the rakshasa attempts to flee, Vax grabs it by the ear and says calmly, “Talk about my sister again.” He slices the rakshasa’s throat. Not only is that one incredible finishing move, his words will have repercussions long after the group returns to the Slayer’s Take guildhall.
Percy, Reunions, Part 1
During Vox Machina’s arduous task to end the terrors of Lord and Lady Briarwood and help Percy find some closure from his past, several creatures and henchmen are unfortunate enough to stand in their way. One of them is Professor Anders, who was once Percy’s teacher but was revealed to be working for the Briarwoods. “You’re the face I saw when murder entered my heart,” Percy tells him as he pulls the trigger. (Don’t miss Grog’s giddy giggle at that moment.)
This kill is one of the incredible few to make Critters chant, “No Mercy Percy!” as the gunslinger unleashes his fury and gets one step closer to completing his mission of justice for Whitestone.
Grog, The Kill Box
This is the unforgettable kill that might go down in Critical Role history as the best of all—for now. After teleporting into Vex’s magical locket that normally houses Trinket, Grog shoots out of the amulet and straight for Kevdak. Even though he’s at death’s door, Grog hurtles at Kevdak at full speed. He swings his blood axe for the herd, for his friends, for one of the Vestiges of Divergence, and most of all, “FOR STRONGJAW!”
Grog’s desperate but successful strike highlights the creativity and teamwork of the group, and reminds us why we all love to play and watch Dungeons & Dragons.
Pike, A Cycle of Vengeance
Caught off guard and without armor (or clothes really), our plucky adventurers fight assassins and the rakshasa, who has returned to seek vengeance against Vax. Pike is close to death after one assassin surprised her as she slept, but she still rushes to help her friend without hesitation.
She calls down a holy flame against the rakshasa, and her rage fuels it into one savage conflagration. “Burst him like a *foof,*” she describes. After an hour and a half of intense fighting, this finishing move is one of the cutest and most devastating killing blows struck by Vox Machina.
What’s your favorite finishing move by Vox Machina? Share it in the comments below!
Featured Image: Brian Ratchford, all other images: Geek & Sundry
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