Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Category: NaNoWriMo

Happy Writing with the Critical Role Vox Machina Word Crawl!

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of Critical Role. If you follow me on Twitter, you’re already familiar with my love for this amazing web series about the nerdy ass voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons. I’m also a big fan of word crawls because turning writing into a game does miracles to my word count.

And now, to celebrate a new campaign starting January 11, I present you with my very own:

Vox Machina Word Crawl

Good day, my aspiring bard! So you’re interested in adventuring? Want to leave your family home behind and gain fame by killing beholders, dragons, and the biggest foe of all – Doors? You’re in luck, for there is an opening in the group of adventurers that call themselves Vox Machina! But before you can join them, you will be required to complete a number of tests, to prove yourself worthy! You will have to face against each of the members of Vox Machina and their allies.

Are you ready?

Note: Most of the steps include a time limit, if you’re not one who enjoys the race, simply write the assigned number of words. Just keep going until you reach the word count goals!

Round One: Gnome Cleric, Pike Trickfoot

Pike Trickfoot is the first one to greet you to Greyskull Keep. This tiny cleric of Sarenrea wants you to succeed! Write 100 words in the next 5 minutes to warm up before the challenge that awaits you!

And more importantly, once you’re done, make sure to show love and support to at least two of your fellow writers, before moving to the next round.

Did you fail? That’s okay. You’re just starting out. Just write until you get to that 100 words! You can do it!

Round Two: Half-elf Druid, Keyleth

Next, you need to prove yourself to Keyleth, of the Air Ashari. She might look innocent, but she can be a dangerous opponent. To get past this redhead druid, you have to write 300 words in 10 minutes!

If you win, you move on to round three.

If you fail Keyleth will transform into one of her beast shapes, and you have to try again! Do another 10 minutes sprint, once again aiming for 300 words! But if your previous sprint contained descriptions of nature (forest, water, flowers etc.) you can add 2 more minutes to your time limit! After your second sprint is complete, you can move on to round three.

Round Three: Half-elf Rogue, Vax’ildan

Vax is a stealthy bastard, so before you can even face him, you have to find him first! Write to the nearest thousand (ex. 1000, 2000, 3000 etc.) to find him! If you’re less than 100 words away from the goal, set your minimum at 100.

Congratulations! Not many people can find Vax if he doesn’t want to be found! But you don’t have time to celebrate…

Dagger! Dagger! Dagger!

To avoid Vax’ildan’s daggers, you have to write for 30 minutes without stopping! If you manage to write more than 900 words, you manage to avoid all three daggers! You win and can move on to round four.

If you fail, you still move on to round four, but don’t think there won’t be a penalty!

Round Four: Half-elf Ranger, Vex’ahlia

Vax’ildan’s twin sister Vex’ahlia is just as dangerous as her brother, if not more so. If you’re walking into round four weakened by Vax’ildan’s daggers, you fail to notice Vex’s pet bear, Trinket. Write to the nearest 2000 to escape him (ex. 2000, 4000, 6000 etc.)!

Are you ready to face Vex?

With her longbow of Sky Sentinel, she shoots four arrows, each one reaching the center of the target! Can you match her skill? Sprint for 10 minutes trying to write as much as possible! Repeat that sprint three more times! Did you write 1200 words or more (total) during those sprints? If the answer is yes, you win and can move on to round five!

If you fail, you get chased by an angry Trinket and have to write to the nearest 2000 to escape him (4000, 6000, 8000 etc.)!

Round Five: Human Gunslinger, Percy

Meet Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III. His friends call him Percy, but until you have proven yourself, you are not his friend. Are you faster than his trusted Pepperbox? Do six 10 minutes sprints to avoid each of Percy’s bullets! If you managed to reach 200 words during each of the sprints, you win and can move on to round six.

If you fail, roll a D20 (don’t have an actual die? Use this rolling generator) and pray the god of dice isn’t favoring Percy today. If you roll a natural 1, Percy’s gun misfires, fortune smiles upon you and you can move on to the next round unscathed.

If you roll any other number, multiply it by 100. That’s how many words you need to write before Percy lets you go (so if you roll 5, you need to write 500 words, if you roll 13, you need to write 1300 words).

Round Six: Goliath Barbarian, Grog

Grog Strongjaw is a mighty opponent and you will not be able to move on to the next and final round until he is satisfied with your skill. Unfortunately for you, Grog is not a big fan of writing (or reading) and he doesn’t like numbers either. So if you think you can escape him by simply writing a specific number of words, you are mistaken!

Grog wants dialogue! Grog wants action! Grog wants colors, shapes, and shiny things! Also ale.

To escape him, you must write until your scene contains at least three of the things Grog wants. Can you do it? Do it now! (and quickly, Grog is not very patient)

Round Seven: Gnome Bard, Scanlan

Finally! You have reached the end of your trials… You’re hungry, you’re tired and yet, you’re so close to victory, you know you have to keep going. But satisfying Scanlan, a fellow bard, will not be as easy and defeating his Vox Machina comrades.

Can you write 1000 words in 30 minutes? That’s exactly what you have to do! Ready? Set? Go! Do it with flair, be witty, but hold nothing back (especially not the insults). Be inspiring, like only bards can be!

If you fail, Scanlan will mock you mercilessly, but after one look from Pike, he will allow you to try again. Try writing 1000 words in 45 minutes. After your time is up, you will also need to write to the nearest 1000, to make up for your mistake.


As you complete your final assignment from Vox Machina, you realize how much words you wrote and what a glorious story you’ve written. You’re spectacular and I am proud of you! You are an adventurer in your own right and you will achieve amazing things!

Did you enjoy the word crawl? Did it help you get the words out and onto a page? Are there any other themes you’d like to see in the future? Let me know in the comments or on social media! And let me know how much you’ve written using this word crawl!

Won #NaNoWriMo and finished my novel! Time to celebrate!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-SquareI did it! Not only did I write over 50k in less than a month, but I also managed to complete what I set out to do!

I finished the first draft of my next novel faster than the previous one. The book, a YA paranormal story that I’m calling Misplaced, ended up being shorter than I anticipated, but still got over 55k in this draft.

For those of you who share my love for statistics:

I finished Misplaced in 28 days (as opposed to 60 days of writing, and 2.5 months between start and finish for Dead Under the Moon). It was completed in under 40 hours of actual writing (DUtM clocked almost 51 hours), averaging 1400 words per hour (where DUtM ended up having 950 wph average).

While I had amazing days (Day 1 and the 10k will not be forgotten for a long time), I also had really low points where I managed to write just a sentence before giving up. Still. I proved myself that with 2 hours a day, I can complete a novel within a month. And that gives me a lot of hope for the future of my writing.

Misplaced is the last competed novel in 2015. Now, I’m moving back to editing Blood in the Sky. Aiming to finish incorporating my beta’s critique by the end of the year. Depending on how that’s gonna go, I may or may not start another novel.

Things that helped me achieve my goal:

  • Nano. The atmosphere and the common goal, helped me get hyped up and it definitely helped me get through the low points
  • Really good outline. I would not be able to get through the low points, or the dreaded middle, without it. It was detailed enough to show me where I needed to go, but I kept things vague where I wanted to let my imagination carry me.
  • Getting to know the characters before I started to write. Having to start on November 1 meant I had some extra days once the outline was complete. I spent those days thinking about the characters and where I wanted to go with them. It allowed for some incredible things, where the characters surprised me and made the plot even better. Getting to know them also gave me some amazing ideas for the rest of the series.
  • Support from my friends and family. on and offline. I can’t even begin to emphasize how much people’s support and words of encouragement helped me.

Stay tuned for my plans for 2016. For now, I’m off to edit. World domination won’t happen on its own, after all! 😉

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