Kern "The Hammer" is a half-orc and a multiclassed barbarian/monk. Kern fights in a Vasselheim arena called the Crucible. As an NPC, he is portrayed by Matthew Mercer.



Kern is a half-orc man, six feet and six inches tall. He is incredibly well-built and has a bald head with a big bristly mustache. His face looks like he's been in a lot of fights over the years. When he fought Grog in the Crucible he was wearing a simple tattered tunic with leather pants and boots.[1]




"Hubris" (1x17)

When Vox Machina arrived in Vasselheim, Grog challenged Kern (who had not yet multiclassed). Kern emerged victorious, but it was a close contest with a narrow victory.

"The Rematch" (1x23)

While Grog went about his business with other tasks, Kern devoted himself to training as a monk, multiclassing as a Barbarian/Monk. Grog returned, and although Kern's new abilities were formidable, Grog cheated by drinking a potion of Stone Giant Strength and subsequently defeated Kern--though, again, the victory was narrow.

"Return to Vasselheim" (1x43)

Upon Vox Machina's return to Vasselheim after the destruction of Emon, Kern showed up at the Crucible while they were engaging in some day drinking. When he saw Grog, he immediately backed out of the pub, and tried to run away. Grog gave chase and inquired about Kern's training under Earthbreaker Groon, and a possible source of warriors to fight the Chroma Conclave.


Grog Strongjaw

Fan art of Grog's rematch with Kern the Hammer, by John Taylor.[art 2]

Following their two fights, the second of which Grog conclusively won via power-bomb (albeit with illegal aid), Kern seems to be a bit intimidated by Grog, and even ran away from him when he saw him after their second fight. Grog treats Kern like a respected rival, and seems to hold no grudges about the injuries and heartbreak that accompanied his loss to Kern.

Character Information


Notable Items

  • A medal emblazoned with: "If you had fun, you won! PARTICIPATION MEDAL". On the back, a message was engraved: "Kord strength to Phillip the terrible, AKA Phillip the nail. He needs it. –Kern".
    • This medal was a physical gift sent by a fan to Travis Willingham, and Matthew Mercer declared it to be canonical: a gift sent by Kern to the Slayer's Take guild hall, delivered to Vox Machina upon their return from Grog's defeat at the Crucible.[2] In turn, after his eventual victory, Grog sent the participation medal back to Kern.


  1. See "Hubris" (1x17) at 0:43:10.
  2. See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) from 4:34:02 through 4:35:30.


  1. Fan art of Kern, by DJ Crumrine (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Grog's rematch with Kern the Hammer, by John Taylor (source).  Permission needed.

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