The Legend of Vox Machina: Why Fans Should Be Excited For the ‘Briarwood’ Arc

The first three episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina have aired, and the series has brought both Critical Role and Dungeons & Dragons alive. The show has managed to capture the close relationships between the members of Vox Machina and replicate the magic of D&D. Throughout each episode, the tone and mood of a typical D&D session are present. There are the wacky hijinks of players hanging out with their favorite NPCs and struggling to get past simple barriers like a locked door, while at the same time having moments of intense drama and badass heroics.

The Legend of Vox Machina has already thrilled audiences with its first few episodes, but the best has yet to come. The third episode, "The Feast of Realms," began what is known as the "Briarwood" arc. This arc is where the story truly begins, as it has everything a fan could ask for. There's character drama, explored backstories, insane action and iconic villains, and the world of Exandria finally opens up. Any fan who enjoyed those first three episodes should be on the edge of their seat waiting for these next episodes to drop.

The Briarwood Arc is Where the Story Begins

In the original Critical Role livestreams, the "Briarwood" arc was a transition point. Before the arc began, the members of Vox Machina were charismatic adventurers who went on wild adventures. This dynamic was entertaining but lacked the necessary amount of depth to push it to the next level. The same situation has repeated itself in the animated series as well. That all changed when the Briarwoods came into the picture. Suddenly, there was character drama as the members of Vox Machina struggled to figure out whether they were doing the right thing.

With this character drama also came conflict between the party. As has been shown in the animated series, the members of Vox Machina are no strangers to bickering. These arguments were usually over small matters or insignificant misunderstandings, but the "Briarwood" arc elevated the stakes. Now the group was disagreeing over key moral beliefs that weren't so easy to resolve. Some of these fights even threatened to break apart the group forever. This tension made the group feel more alive instead of just one-note personalities.

The "Briarwood" arc also marked the beginning of backstory exploration. A small bit of Percy's backstory revolving around the deaths of his family has already been revealed. These backstories transformed Vox Machina from generic cutouts of established tropes into dynamic characters with multiple layers.

Percy Shows His Darker Side

Percy aiming gun at screen

Percival "Percy" Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III is the only human member of Vox Machina. On top of this, he lacks the ability to use magic like Pike or Scanlan, which helps compensate for their small size. In a world like Exandria, filled with fantastical magic and unique races, it can be difficult for a normal human like Percy to stand out. In fact, during the beginning of the Critical Role livestreams, Percy was often reserved and quiet. He was willing to let others like Vex and Scanlan take center stage. This has been repeated in the animated series as well. However, once the Brairwoods showed up, Percy quickly became a fan favorite.

Percy took the difficult challenge of making a normal human interesting in a fantasy world and exceeded everyone's expectations. He is distinctly different from the rest of the members of Vox Machina. While the rest of the group is rather crass and quick to rush into a fight, Percy is civilized and a planner. His high intelligence has allowed him to invent the first firearm, making him a dangerous threat even in a world of magic. His genius and background are his greatest weapons, but they can also cause him to be out of touch with others. This contrast between himself and the group creates both hilarious moments and compelling differences in perspective.

In the upcoming "Briarwood" arc, fans will get to see a whole new side of Percy, who is more than just the uptight inventor of the group. Percy can be vicious and needlessly cruel at times. This darker side was shown when he shot off the fingers of a noncombatant who was clearly being manipulated by the Briarwoods. When Percy is motivated by his darker emotions, he can do things that shock everyone around him. Fans of Critical Role have named this side of Vox Machina's gunslinger "No Mercy Percy."

The Briarwoods Are a Higher Class of Villain

The Briarwoods

Every good story needs a great villain, and the Briarwoods fulfill that role perfectly. The duo has an incredible amount of power that they've already demonstrated. Just the two of them were able to take out almost the entirety of Vox Machina without breaking a sweat. Sylas and his blood-drinking sword overwhelmed Grog's monstrous strength, and Delilah's dark magic completely outclasses the magic users of Vox Machina. They have more than proven themselves to be worthy opponents.

The Briarwoods don't just use violence to enact their evil; they're just as capable on the mental battlefield as they are on the physical one. Sylas revealed his ability to magically charm targets during his debut. He was able to easily manipulate King Uriel during the feast and prevent Vax from escaping long enough to sink his fangs into his throat. Delilah has also shown a skill for emotional manipulation. With just a few words, she was able to rattle Percy and send him into a rage that caused him to act rashly.

The Briarwoods have it all: power, intelligence and charming cruelty. However, what really sets them apart from the average villain is that they are not completely monstrous. Underneath all of the heinous crimes and immoral plotting, there is a loving married couple. Sylas and Delilah share an intense loyalty for one another that's stronger than any bond. This makes them dangerous to their enemies, but it also adds a level of humanity to their characters. Their love for each other endeared them to the Critical Role audience. It will certainly do so again for the audience of The Legend of Vox Machina.

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