Way back now, when Critical Role was still in the early 50’s on episode count, a big part of Grog’s background came calling. How it all ended is one of the things that makes D&D such a great game. That chance for an epic moment, to do something so amazing, you’ll never forget it.
When Travis Willingham created Grog, he slowly filled out the characters background. He was new to D&D, and it took him a bit to sort out what made Grog tick. Eventually, he settled on Grog being from a traveling clan of Goliath barbarians, which he had been expelled from for not being willing to kill a helpless old Gnome.
To Grog, the glory of battle was in pitting oneself against a superior foe. The old Gnome, Wilhelm, was not an enemy, and there was no glory to be found in killing him. It was just senseless, and something Grog refused to be a part of. For this, he was beaten to the brink of death, and left to die.
Had Wilhelm not intervened, Grog would have died there. However, the old Gnome was so thankful, he took the wounded barbarian in, nursed him back to health, and welcomed him into his family. This was how Grog met Pike, the party’s steadfast Cleric, for she was part of Wilhelm’s family.
As time passed, and Grog began traveling with Vox Machina, they eventually ran across Grog’s former tribe, now led by the one who had ordered his expulsion, Kevdak. Under Kevdak’s rule, the tribe had come to serve a black dragon, and had lost even the veneer of being honorable warriors searching for glory in battle, and become little more than slaves.
The battle with Kevdak and his forces was brutal, and nearly ended Vox Machina for good. Grog, having almost fallen in battle, had been snatched up and placed in Vex’s enchanted necklace. The battle raged on, and despite his injuries, Kevdak was near to escaping, when the critically wounded Vex unleashed Grog once more.
I’ve mentioned the great work Takayuuki does with his animatics in the past, but this one is probably his best, as it captures the moment Grog defeats Kevdak, redeeming himself, and freeing his tribe from Kevdak’s selfish rule, so beautifully. It really is an amazing piece of work, and does the moment justice.
This is what D&D is suppose to be like. These epic moments, these narrow victories. These great events that you never forget. This is the kind of thing the game was made for. Seeing it unfold in such a visual way, it really does make it even greater.
Great work, Takayuuki. You are a boss.