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Gil the Vlogsmith Hammers Out Vox Machina’s Blacksmithing Trial
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Gil the Vlogsmith Hammers Out Vox Machina’s Blacksmithing Trial

“The heat in here is sweltering. The guardian is motionless across the forge. The blade is set up against the wall, now obscured by the smoke that is still billowing up across the back wall… There you see, faintly glowing, and obscuring the air above it, the Core Anvil, the chains still held taut as the various blacksmithing implements hang dangling off the sides of the central platform.” – Matthew Mercer, “The Core Anvil” 

Spoilers for Critical Role follow.

This week on Critical Role, it took almost all of Vox Machina’s combined strength and skill to craft the weapons that could help turn the tide in the fight against Vecna. After hard-fought battles on the way to the Core Anvil deep within Scaldseat, Grog and Percy were tasked with forging three magical platinum trammels in blacksmithing trials that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

These Prime Trammels, as they’re known, were once used to seal away a betrayer god long ago, and “could possibly put an end to Vecna’s newly ascended form,” said Matt. But story aside, did the ordeal Grog and Percy experienced in the sweltering heat of the Core Anvil accurately reflect the real-life challenges of blacksmithing?

Gil Ramirez, AKA Gil the Vlogsmith, weighed in recently, answering questions from Critical Role fans about the actual smithing techniques that inspired Vox Machina’s trial. Here are just a few ingots of wisdom he shared.

Grog

DM Matthew Mercer’s descriptions of the smithing process were accurate. “He knew what a leg vice is!” said Gil. “Not a whole lot of current beginner blacksmiths know what it is. Matthew has an abundance of knowledge and has done research on the subject at great lengths, it would seem.”

And Gil wasn’t consulted on any of it. “Matt’s erudition of many topics is astounding. This man does his research, and has done me proud explaining what the different processes are in regards to blacksmithing,” he said. “He could have just asked Grog to make a skill check and be done with it, but, no, he weaved them through the forging and the embedding of the stone and the engraving of the final piece. It was very neat to see it fleshed out the way it was.”

Platinum doesn’t require a lot of strength to work with. “Platinum is a very soft, ductile material,” Gil said. “The process of hammering the metal would (should) include several ‘heats’ to anneal the metal to make it soft again.”

But even though it’s soft in real life, the Trammels will be battle-ready because of the intent of the forging. “A normal rod of pure platinum wouldn’t hold up to intense scrutiny,” said Gil. “However, a magic item made for the exact purpose of embedding itself into a demigod or god would have some form of magic influence, and therefore be able to withstand some assault.”

Gil FI

The only thing he would change if he was playing was the folding of the metal. “That is redundant, and actually does not serve any purpose other than to look cool, ONLY using dissimilar metals in order to make the pattern apparent,” Gil said. “I understand that the bean had to be forged into the metal, but I think that could have been done while they were pouring the ingot.”

Gil estimates it would take two days of work to make three trammels. “Especially with with all the engraving at the end,” he said.

Is real life blacksmithing normally this stressful? “All. The. Damn. Time.”

Stop by the Reddit thread to read other wisdom and general blacksmithing advice from Gil, who hand-forged the dice rolled by Vox Machina in this very episode.

And be sure to tune in every Thursday night at 7:00 PM Pacific on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel for the next suspenseful episode of Critical Role.

Featured Image: Caio Santos

Other Images: Emmanuel P. and Gil Ramirez

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