close menu
Joe Manganiello Reveals What Happened After Arkhan Left Vox Machina
Critical RoleCritical Role

Joe Manganiello Reveals What Happened After Arkhan Left Vox Machina

Critical Role is Geek & Sundry’s live Dungeons & Dragons show, featuring Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer and his troupe of fellow voice actors. Catch them every Thursday night at 7:00 PM PT on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and on Alpha.

Joe Manganiello is now a familiar face to Dungeons & Dragons fans, and not just because he’s a movie star. With appearances on Force Grey, last year’s Stream of Annihilation hosted by Wizards of the Coast, CelebriD&D, and Critical Role, Joe and his character Arkhan have left quite an impression on everyone they’ve encountered—especially Vox Machina.

Spoilers for the end of Critical Role’s first campaign follow.

Joe stopped by Dragon Talk, the official D&D podcast, to talk about what it was like to be a guest player at the end of the first Critical Role campaign, his character’s motivations, and what happened after he pulled a fast one on Vox Machina.

Who Is Arkhan?

Arkhan the Cruel is a Dragonborn Oathbreaker Paladin. He is “a 7 foot Dragonborn of red scale and black hooked armor, bladed and angry,” described Matthew Mercer in “The Final Ascent.” “You see a burning fury in his eyes.”

A worshipper of Tiamat, Arkhan is evil by alignment, but if your goals align with his, he can be a formidable ally.


From bringing a vicious manticore under his sway, to exploring a vault in the mountains of Marquet with Keyleth and Percy at his side, to a journey fraught with danger in the jungles of Chult, Arkhan is an experienced adventurer. In pursuit of Lady Briarwood and her Death Knight, his path crossed with Vox Machina in the Shadowfell city Thar Amphala.

The Final Battle

The group first encountered Arkhan as he jumped on the back of a gloomstalker. He recognized Percy and Keyleth, whom he had hired as allies in a pre-stream adventure seen in CelebriD&D.


Arkhan told the group that he and his friends had been set upon by a cult weeks before. “This cult was led by a Death Knight,” he said, “and a sorcerous woman. And then Vecna followed, and we were ambushed. My companions and I were marked for death. They were all destroyed.

“I watched that Death Knight burn the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother, and he cut the still-beating heart out of our goliath… I wouldn’t die. The queen had another plan for me.”

He implored Vox Machina to help him get revenge on the Death Knight. “I swear to you, I will fight for your lives with the fury of a man who is already dead.”

What Happened Next?

True to his word, Arkhan the Cruel was a valuable ally in Vox Machina’s final battle with The Whispered One. But when the fight was over, Arkhan seized the opportunity to take an exhausted Vox Machina by surprise, stealing Vecna’s hand—a powerful artifact—for himself and leaving them abruptly.

“It was just business,” he said by way of an apology before disappearing.

Dragon Talk reveals what happened next. It wasn’t a spur of the moment power grab, but a carefully planned heist that Joe talked to Matt about before the game.

Joe tells host Greg Tito that Arkhan’s goal has always been what all worshippers of Tiamat want—to get the Dragon Queen back to the Prime Material Plane. How does the Hand of Vecna play into that? You’ll have to listen to find out.


  • You can still pick up a Jocks Machina shirt of your very own.
  • Download the previous week’s adventures on the Critical Role podcast every Thursday.
  • Don’t miss the new campaign of Critical Role, live on Alpha and Twitch Thursdays at 7:00 PM Pacific.

Featured Image: Arkhan by Jeff Easley, courtesy of Joe Manganiello

Other Images: Joma Cueto and Geek & Sundry

Which Corps Are You In? Unleash Your Inner Lantern

Which Corps Are You In? Unleash Your Inner Lantern

The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Druid In D&D

The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Druid In D&D

Your Anime Vocabulary Starter Guide

Your Anime Vocabulary Starter Guide