vox post

Matthew Mercer’s Raven Queen ™

I’ve been seeing a whole bunch of stuff being thrown around about the Raven Queen after the latest Talks Machina, mostly centering around the speech that could have happened if anyone in VM had tried to argue with the Raven Queen for Vax’s soul. For simplicity’s sake, just in case anyone hasn’t seen or read it, this is the speech Matt gave:

“Do you have idea how insignificant you are? You are the instruments of divinity. Everything you have accomplished is because we gave you the tools to accomplish it, for goals unforeseen to you that fit our needs and interests. You are nothing, and yet you come and beseech me this, after all I have done for you?”

And I get it, it’s incredibly rude! After everything VM has done, after everything they have bled for, struggled for, lived and died for, to call them insignificant at the moment of their greatest triumph? It’s a slap in the face right before she takes away someone who should have gotten the happy ending that everyone else was getting.

But I feel like maybe we’re forgetting a key element of the Raven Queen in the Critical Role setting.

Keep reading

Highlights from Talks Machina (Episode 105)

Again, covering for @eponymous-rose​ while she continues her international vacation! Sorry for missing last week–things got crazy! Tonight’s guests: Darin de Paul, Taliesin sporting a lovely scarlet mohawk, and Travis. Brian starts a story that ends with him forging several signatures, and off we go.

  • The new campaign guide comes out soon! Taliesin is now worried about messing up the history of a character he invented.
  • Darin loves D&D as a long-form improv exercise and is happy he was able to get moments with each of the cast members.
  • Right after college, Darin was an apprentice at the Burt Reynolds Theater in Florida (a year-long program for theater students). One of his co-apprentices was Matt’s mom, and Matt’s grandmother was the director’s assistant. Matt’s father was part of the writing room. During the run of Darin’s last show (Fiddler), a clarinet player said they were going to play D&D and invited Darin. Matt’s mother was also in the group; they were all new to the game, so they rolled on a table for names and played four sessions. Last year, Darin was hired by Blizzard to do various voices, which is where he and Matt became friends. Later, Matt realized his mom had a picture of herself with Darin de Paul, and discussion of that picture led to the conversation of their D&D game. It’s been 37 years since Sprigg’s original campaign.
  • Matt was worried about fitting Sprigg in until Darin mentioned he was a hermit. The hobgoblin TPK was canon! Sprigg, a chaotic evil illusionist thief, was the only one to survive; the last moment of that campaign had him fleeing on a cart with wolves chasing him, abandoning the rest of the party to their deaths. Travis and Taliesin ask if he really was chaotic evil; “Why do you think he was so interested in redemption, dear boy?”
  • The first episode Darin saw was the Trials of the Take episode when the carpet was destroyed. He’s wanted to be on the show ever since.
  • Symmetra’s voice actor, Anjali Bhimani, also plays D&D. My heart skips a few beats.
  • Vex and Percy eloped over the year break. Laura and Taliesin kept it secret out of pique at first (Taliesin doesn’t remember why they were piqued). He’s not surprised the others are annoyed.
  • Grog was extremely impressed by Sarenrae and hasn’t thought much about Kord giving him any boons.
  • Darin has been a fan of the show and watching for some time. Taliesin says he is the most prepared guest they’ve ever had.
  • Very few people were present at Vex & Percy’s wedding. They did not intend to ever bring it up on their own.
  • The plane of books is the worst possible plane for Grog. Only the plane of shopping would be worse.
  • As soon as Darin walked into the studio last Thursday, Travis immediately asked him if he was a god. Travis still thinks he might be.
  • Percy would rather have a thousand years with Vex than a thousand years with Ioun’s library.
  • Travis wants a “positive, upbeat resolution to all the drama that is a-hanging in the air.” Me too. Travis does not read the Player’s Handbook to help keep Grog dumb, so he never knows what’s going on.
  • Travis loves how prepared Darin was. He offered the Deck because he thought Darin was looking for something specific after Sprigg deflected the weaker offerings.
  • Darin loved the emotion in the room during the plane shift and the strong moment with Marisha in particular. He also likes the movie Gargoyles.
  • The hardest thing about playing Sprigg after so long was finding him again. Brian gets very sentimental about the long journey that brought Sprigg back to life, including Darin becoming friends and colleagues with Matt so many years later.
  • Darin will be back on the next episode and is visibly excited about it.
  • Darin used to read tons of D&D books (mentions Drizzt by name) and used to paint minis as a hobby. He still has some of the figures and wants to donate them to the show.
  • Darin’s wife was part of Taliesin’s parents’ circle, so he’s known her for a long time. Taliesin and Darin exchange memories of meeting Roddy McDowall, and Darin says part of Sprigg’s concept of memories being the most important came from a conversation he had with Roddy while Roddy was dying of cancer.
  • Percy’s current distrusting attitude towards the gods came directly from his interaction with the Raven Queen. However, he didn’t know there was a god of knowledge and has been “chewing on it a lot, and what it means to have faith in knowledge.” He sees the library as a testament to faith in humanity and the good works of life and how important memory is and is blown away by it. “Books have always been about finding meaning and this whole library thing has changed him.” Taliesin expected Percy to be much more resistant to Ioun and was surprised at how quickly the books sold him.
  • Darin felt as the scenes progressed that his role was to “illuminate” CR as to where they were and what they could be. Taliesin and Percy both wondered if he was Scanlan from the future. Darin had the choice of being Scanlan’s dad, but declined.
  • Percy picked Vesper because her namesake was the last person he’d talked to in real life.
  • The only place Travis can think of worse for Grog is if the books were replaced with clothing & a For Sale sign. “Grog has a beatnik poet inside him waiting to get out.”
  • Darin’s advice to Keyleth was total improv. He almost cried when she touched his hand. He loves funny characters that can become sad and/or touching.
  • Marisha has no idea how to get Keyleth out of her emotional nosedive. Watching Marisha break character from Keyleth at the end of an episode is one of Taliesin’s favorite things because they’re such different people.
  • Percy would seek out the lifebooks for all his family & ancestry because he’s fascinated with legacy, and Whitestone is full of ghost stories. He had lots of stories he’d planned to give as part of the gnomes’ tour, and tells one about a woman forced into a marriage who slowly poisoned her husband over a number of years.
  • Sprigg feels he is what Scanlan might become. He did not expect to survive the episode.
  • If they were really in Ioun’s halls, Travis would love to see the books of his family and of JFK. Darin would like to see his father’s book. Darin also likes wearing suits, which is why he wears suits. He only wears t-shirts at the gym. (At one point Darin’s family also owned 20 horses???). He wishes his parents could see him now because they were so supportive when he was growing up.

Honor! Justice! After Dark, After Dark, After Dark!

  • If the challenge for Ioun involves any physical activity, Grog will fight Percy for it.
  • Bucket lists: Travis wants to swim with a great white shark. (Darin’s biggest fear is great white sharks.) Taliesin wants to travel to India. Darin wants to learn to tap dance, and casually drops that he used to dance with Cirque du Soleil.
  • Darin’s favorite color is black. His favorite season is winter.
  • There’s a video somewhere of Darin de Paul and Steve Blum pretending to be zombies and running towards the camera.
  • Travis and Darin do Reinhardt “impressions” by talking in high-pitched baby voices. Taliesin does a pretty decent actual impression! Darin likes that there’s heroes for every playstyle.
  • Darin hasn’t told Matt’s parents he brought back Sprigg. He also used to have a crush on Matt’s mom.
  • If Darin could pick any character from VM to play, he would play Scanlan. Brian teases the entire world by saying he would play “the character Pike’s in love with.”
  • Darin’s twitter flooded after last Thursday and he wishes he could respond to all of the kind messages.
  • Darin once shared floss with Gilbert Gottfried as part of an old bit.
  • Darin feels his whole history has led to this moment last Thursday where he had the chance to create a story with people he loved.
  • Laura read the Game of Thrones books as they came out, well before the show started. Brian just found the copy of the first book she lent him in 2010, which he still hasn’t read.
  • If Sprigg could fight any D&D monster, it would be a hobgoblin.

Its not possible, even with first hand knowledge, to write a detailed book about Vox Machina’s adventures in a single year. Scanlan can’t do that, but he tries anyway until he exhausts himself.

Then Vex notices, as she does, and helps him. She and Percy both do, filling in details that he missed or wasn’t aware of. Making sure that he gets certain details right.

They take over, a bit, for the part of the book where he wasn’t there at all. He writes his own side of that year away, side by side contrast of what happens to them all.

JB, being extremely interested and wanting to help, does. She writes about the trickfoots and what happened with that and how they decided to run the con, and writes a bit about herself and Pikes backstories to better explain.

Keyleth and Vex have scanlan write a foreword at the start of the book for Vax. Though he didn’t need to be asked for that. Vax and Tiberius both have their mentions specially in front before the book begins.

Pike and Grog fill in details as well, or generally use what’s made of the book so far as reading practice for Grog. Pike has him learn to spell better by getting him to edit and fix misspellings.

Keyleth supplies the names of everyone they have met from her notes. Every person and important place they have been.

Scanlan writes the book, but Vox Maxhina helps it come alive by the time he’s 72.

I love Critical Role for a lot of reasons. The acting, the storytelling, the characters, the characters’ shenanigans. But—and I didn’t actually realize this till last night—the thing that gets me the most about Critrole is the underlying theme of love.

I started watching Critrole a few months after getting out of a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship. I was lonely and grieving and, on top of all that, the majority of my friends no longer felt like my friends, because they all had ties—albeit passive ties—to my abuser. The few friends I still felt comfortable with encouraged me to start watching a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons, mainly because I had just started playing D&D irl, and I was like, hey, sure, why not. I didn’t really expect to get much out of it, but it was summer and I was depressed and, at the end of the day, it was something to keep me occupied.

Now, a year and a half later—having driven 12 hours one way just to see these nerdy-ass voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons live—watching Sam cry his eyes out because he wasn’t able to save his ninth-level spell to save his best friend’s D&D character—

I won’t say I’d given up on love at that point in my life. But I was definitely struggling to believe in it. And then I started watching Critrole, and—I honestly cannot think of a purer expression of love than what the cast does every Thursday night. Liam unashamedly adoring his friends. Travis and Liam comforting Laura whenever she gets anxious or stressed. The entire cast just doting on Ashley, even when she’s all the way across the country. Taliesin speaking up about his depression, how Critrole helps him get through the bad days. Marisha putting up with all the senseless criticism and hate, staying true to her character, never letting it affect her attitude. Ashley staying up till, what, 4 a.m., just to play D&D with her friends. Matt putting countless hours into this campaign, piecing together meaningful arcs for his friends’ characters. The guest stars. The level of physical comfort and familiarity between everyone at the table. Liam saying I love you to Sam and gutting every single Critter. Matt saying I love you to his friends after 5+ hours of watching them destroy his best and possibly favorite villain…

The whole thing started because Matt ran a oneshot for Liam’s birthday. Just for fun. Just because he loved his friend. And that love grew into this.

Critrole got me through the hardest time in my life. It gave me hope—in love, friendship, the power of stories. Just because I felt alone did not mean I was. I’ve never met the cast and I probably never will, but their characters have touched me, their stories have touched me, they themselves have touched me. I carry them with me. This thing has made me a better D&D player, a better storyteller, a better friend and person. It has changed my life, and continues to remind me that love—platonic, romantic, what-have-you—will prevail. Which is why Sam’s tears were so visceral last night. That little break in Liam’s voice. Marisha’s red-rimmed eyes, Liam and Laura clinging to each other as tightly as possible, Travis including Ashley however he could so she wouldn’t feel separate from the group. Matt torn between pride and frustration. These people love each other, and they love the story they’ve created, and in dark times like these, that’s what I need to see. The cast of Critical Role does good, important work, and I’m grateful af.


Hurricane Harvey: What’s Happening & How You Can Help

Resources for those affected and those looking to give.

View this post on our blog to see the embedded tweets.

On behalf of the DoSomething.org staff and our 5.5 million members, we are thinking of everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey and hoping you are safe.

Rescue operations in full swing in Houston as people flee flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey. pic.twitter.com/znCJAJCFQL

— Robert Gauthier (@rgaut999)

August 27, 2017

This man is a preacher checking for people inside cars at 610 & 288 PC Brian Roberson Jr @KPRC2 #Harvey pic.twitter.com/NJx58ZN8N8

— Sara Donchey (@KPRC2Sara)

August 27, 2017

Here is the latest: At least five people are dead, with many more injured and up to 450,000 seeking federal aid, as a result of the hurricane which pummeled southeast Texas over the weekend. With massive damage and dangerous flooding, the people of Houston and surrounding areas need all hands on deck. Here’s how you can find help and how you can help others.

How to Get Help if You’re Affected by the Storm

If you’re in areas hit by the storm, call the US Coast Guard.

Widening #USCG communications for #Harvey rescue ops in #Houston: Call 281-464-(4851)(4852)(4853)(4854)(4855). Get on roofs. Mark locl w/SOS

— U.S. Coast Guard (@uscoastguard)

August 27, 2017






You can also visit the City of Houston Emergency site for, among others:

How to Help Those Affected

The orgs below are providing crucial support to those affected. If you have money to give, check out these tips from ProPublica before donating. If you aren’t able to donate, use social media to tell others about these resources.

For more, Vox and The Huffington Post have also compiled resources.

DoSomething.org is the largest tech company exclusively for young people and social change. We’re activating 5.5 million young people (in every US area code and in 131 countries!) to make positive change both online and off.


The state of gun violence in the US, explained in 18 charts

Percy meeting Tary is just. the pettiest Percy ever. I love it.

“Did you build this metalman? You didn’t. You did not.” Insight check, checking up on Doty. “You did NOT build this fucking machine that I’ve actually thought about once or twice.”

Finding out he’s partially powered by Arcane magic and Glyphs “Ooooh I see it’s not actually tinkering, it’s just stupid magic again. That’s ok.”

“Lemme show you MY tinkering” *pulls out a fucking sniper rifle cause size matters ok I have to prove myself here ok*