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Legend of Vox Machina
by yo go re

Even elder forest goddesses need to start somewhere.

Hopefully naïve with everything to prove, Keyleth wields powerful nature magic. Her awkwardness combined with her raw talent makes her the least predictable and most compassionate of Vox Machina, but "Kiki" is determined to prove that her gentle heart is a strength, not a weakness.

Ah, the adorkable girl - favorite of nerds everywhere, because if her social skills were commensurate with her looks, brains, and personality, she'd be out of our league. In Keyleth's case, it's because she was raised by the Air Nomads the Air Ashari. If there's one thing that's constant among tabletop gamers, from you and your nobody friends all the way up to professional actors, it's that we'll just rip off our favorite media when it comes to a backstory. With her ongoing quest to master the four elements, Keyleth really is just Sexy Avatar.

McFarlane's only managed to make four Vox Machina figures, and three of them have been half-elves. That's not balance. Keyleth has her distinctive "antler" headgear (originally just a circlet, zhuzhed up by artist Kit Buss to make her more interesting in official art), though it sticks up rather than out, and the figure's face doesn't look much like the show's style. The head is the wrong shape (too round), the eyes are too small, and her eyebrows are painted too low and too far out to the sides.

Like Series 1's Vex, Keyleth was sculpted by Salvador Gomes. The face may not be great, but at least the body seems to be on-model. Kiki, being a forest spirit (not literally), wears a lot of browns and greens, and the shape of her dress calls to mind large leaves. She wears elbow-length fingerless gloves, dark thigh boots over neutral leggings, and a simple, light-colored rope acting as a belt around her hips. She does change outfits during the course of the show, but this is her starter - and therefore "default" - look.

I'm not sure how many hit points Keyleth has, but if you've watched the campaign, you know it's definitely not more than 362 points. The figure's articulation will let you put her into any sort of dangerous situations you think she'll be able to survive, thanks to a balljointed head, balljoint/ hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinge elbows, swivel/hinge/swivel wrists, some sort of chest and waist joints hidden by the sheath that is her dress, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, and hinged toes. Her hair is soft enough, and far enough away from her body, that the head isn't really blocked at all.

The figure's only accessory is the one thing any spellcaster needs, her magical staff. Okay, actually most D&D spellcasters don't need a staff, but you know what we mean. She used one in the cartoon, so the toy has it. It's just as tall as she is, and sculpted like a twisted wood branch, with a painted green crystal held in the tip. They did such a good job painting that crystal, it looks like it's translucent and allowing light to shine through - nope, solid! They could have given her some elemental effects, at least. Or perhaps an animal she Wild Shapes into?

For whatever reason, Keyleth apparently got a ton of hate from the fans when Critical Role's first campaign was going on. Marisha Ray is an amazing actress, and doesn't have as much separation between her performance at the table and her character's actions in the game as the others do, so when Keyleth does something weird, it can often feel like Marisha is the one doing it, you know? Eventually the campaign reached a point where the character had grown enough to become a fan favorite, and the cartoon manages to make her cute and endearing from the start - the advantage of knowing where you're going before you begin. It's unfortunate that Series 2 of these figures, she and Vax, barely made it to production, let alone into any stores.

-- 05/08/24

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