Critical Role Wiki

This wiki contains spoilers for all stories of Critical Role. This includes the story for unaired episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina, as it's based on the first campaign of Critical Role from 2015-2017.


Critical Role Wiki
Critical Role Wiki

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 Kern fought Grog in the Crucible, he was wearing a simple tattered tunic with leather pants and boots.[5]

After the first match, Kern has partially been healed. However, there is a section of his upper lip that is permanently missing, looking almost like a half-cleft palate.[6]




Kern was a recurrent visitor of the Crucible and the standing champion of the arena in 810 PD.

"Hubris" (1x17)

When Vox Machina arrived in Vasselheim, they went to The Crucible, searching for a place to brawl. Kern was challenged to a fight by the newly arrived Grog (under the name "Phillip"). Kern emerged victorious, but it was a close contest with a narrow victory. He was severely wounded and lost his upper lip.

Fan art of Kern defeating Grog, by Viktor Engholm.[art 2]

"The Rematch" (1x23)

While Grog went about his business with other tasks, Kern devoted himself to training, 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

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


Half-Orc Abilities

  • Darkvision
  • Menacing
  • Relentless Endurance
  • Savage Attacks


  • Tough

Barbarian abilities

  • Rage
  • Relentless Rage
  • Primal Path: Path of the Berserker
    • Frenzy[7]
    • Mindless Rage
    • Intimidating Presence

Monk abilities

Kern has multiclassed, preparing for his second fight with Grog

  • Unarmored Defense
  • Martial Arts
  • Patience Defence[8]

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.[9] In turn, after his eventual victory, Grog sent the participation medal back to Kern.

Appearances and mentions


  1. "Hubris" (1x17)
  2. "The Rematch" (1x23)
  3. "Hubris" (1x17)
  4. "The Rematch" (1x23)
  5. See "Hubris" (1x17) at 0:43:10.
  6. See "The Rematch" (1x23) at 35:13.
  7. See "Hubris" (1x17) at 51:59.  Had three attacks
  8. See "The Rematch" (1x23) at 0:55:50.
  9. See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) from 4:34:02 through 4:35:30.
  10. See "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 0:19:43.


  1. Fan art of Kern, by DJ Crumrine (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Kern defeating Grog, by Viktor Engholm (source). Used with permission.