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Critical Role: Where Did Vox Machina Get Their Name & What Was It Originally?

"The Legend of Vox Machina" adapts the first campaign from "Critical Role," turning "Vox Machina" into an easily digestible animated series. However, it doesn't detail how the ragtag group of adventurers decided on their unique name, which is more meta than many may realize.

Although "Critical Role" is now its own company, establishing its rightful place within the "Dungeons & Dragons" industry, it began as a group of voice-acting friends playing the popular tabletop RPG. Vox Machina stems from that, using Latin terms to reference the group's beginnings — "Vox" is Latin for "voice," and "Machina" means "machine." Put those together, and "Vox Machina" translates to "voice machine," a clever way to call back to the group consisting of voice actors, who, in a roundabout way, are voice machines.

"The Legend of Vox Machina" actually references the meta origins of the team's name. In Season 1, Episode 1, "The Terror of Tal'Dorei – Part 1," the mercenaries offer their services to the royal court of Emon. Percy (Taliesin Jaffe) speaks for the group, attempting to dive into their origins for their introduction, saying, "Vox Machina. You see, it's actually a somewhat clever play on words," before Sir Fince (Tony Hale) cuts him off. Despite the royal court's dismissal, Vox Machina is a very clever name for "Critical Role," giving their first campaign some sentimental details. However, before the group decided on that name, they went by the Super High Intensity Team, which was just as unfortunate as the acronym it creates.

Vox Machina gave the mercenaries a more professional name

Before "Critical Role" became a titan on Twitch, the voice-acting friends held their "Dungeons & Dragons" adventure in their homes, playing every week as most do. Following their transition to the live-streaming platform, they released "The Story of Vox Machina," detailing their pre-streaming adventures.

During their earliest sessions, Scanlan Shorthalt (Sam Riegel) suggested that the mercenaries call themselves the Super High Intensity Team, which they used to enter an underground fighting ring. Although it came with an unfortunate acronym, the mercenaries made a name for themselves. However, as their adventures took them across Exandria, they needed something more professional and less poop-oriented as their services attracted more nobility.

During their visit to Westruun for the Winter's Crest festival, a white dragon attacked, freezing most of the townspeople. The mercenaries took matters into their own hands, chasing down and slaying the magical beast, saving the city, and freeing the people, including Sovereign Uriel, ruler of the Tal'Dorei Empire. Celebrations ensued, but the team needed a more professional name now that they frequently interacted with royalty. Although business was booming, the group couldn't continue introducing themselves as the Super High Intensity Team, leading Keyleth (Marisha Ray), Percy (Taliesen Jaffe), and Tiberius (Orion Acaba) to adopt Vox Machina as the team's new, permanent name instead.