a.k.a. Gruk Riptusk, Riptusk the Gray, the Laughing Tyrant

A huge, hulking male half-orc; it is impossible for the others to tell how old. His hair is a matted mess of dark green dreadlocks. His eyes are an almost-glowing yellow that pierce out of his gray-green skin, but what is going on behind those glowing eyes can only be described as dull. Crude tattoos cover his arms, and he’s missing the pinky on his right hand and the pinky and ring finger on his left. He’s been branded—and not recently—between his shoulder blades with what looks like a squiggly line. He presents as a wall of menace and power.

The words that echoed in his mind from the Prologue were “Destroy them.” In the shared nightmare of Chapter 1, he was clutching a hunk of volcanic rock covered in gore, matted with sand.

He developed a phobia of slashing weapons during Chapter 1, and has proved himself deadly with his bare hands. Occasionally, his dull eyes roll back in his head and he can perform exceptional feats of combat for brief periods of time. He speaks Taldane.

In Chapter 2, he claimed a suit of gray masterwork studded leather armor and a matching light steel shield. He also claimed some silver tusk caps and a constable’s badge (the latter more out of curiosity than affinity), as it seemed of a set with the shield and armor (as did a shattered battleaxe). When prompted by Dora, who intuited that his name was “Rip”, he told them he believed it was actually “Grip,” but that he didn’t remember who called him that.

At the end of Chapter 5, Grip suffered injuries as the result of a vivid and horrifying dream.

In Chapter 6, he asked Dora to use psychometry on the constable badge. He felt it was his, but his natural inclination was to challenge authority, and this badge was so antithetical to how he had come to see himself. Dora’s reading revealed two troubling scenes. Ray had a visceral reaction to this reading. Later, Dora counseled Grip to help ease some of the mental strain of their circumstances.

Grip spent the test of patience in Chapter 9 clocking the survivors behind the barricade and gauging how he would defeat them in combat, contemplating his newfound abilities, and mulling over his constable badge. In Dora’s reading of the badge, he seems most disturbed by his own laughter in the memory. During the test of charity, he made rather a fool of himself trying to help break down firewood when the survivors offered a slashing weapon to do the job—and the ensuing scene caused another survivor to remember a nasty encounter with Grip in her past, something having to do with the disappearance of someone named Dr. Trice. Grip took a shift at the barricade instead.

On the morning of the fifth day, Grip learned that he had contracted tumor infestation from the Hungry Flesh—but Ray was able to remove it later the same morning with a scroll of remove disease found in the chaplain’s office.

Upon reading his file in the Briarstone records room in Chapter 15, Grip learned his name was actually Gruk Riptusk, a.k.a Riptusk the Gray, and that he is likely of human descent, though his ethnicity is unknown. He learned he was from Thrushmoor in Versex County and was committed on 15 Lamashan 4718 along with his companions, and that he was an employee of H.P. Lowls. He has no known family or next of kin, and Lowls warned that he was “extremely dangerous”. His attending doctor was Arosh Chawar. On 16 Lamashan 4718, Grip was observed by head nurse Deliadde to mutter “Destroy them” repeatedly in the Taldane tongue overnight, and his restraints were doubled.

In the Act I Interlude, it was revealed that 19 years ago, when he was nine years old, Grip once stood beneath the unrelenting heat of the mid-day sun, at the heart of natural amphitheater, in the aftermath of something terrible. He lashed out in desperation, but misjudged the approaching danger and fell forward on his face while howling erupted all around him. Then the Stranger appeared and took him by the hand, and after saying “You will do nicely,” she asked Grip what his name was.

In Chapter 16, after the reading of the patient records, Gull believed he recalled that Gruk Riptusk was the constable of Versex County and known as the “Laughing Tyrant.” Riptusk is believed to have his fingers in most criminal enterprise in town, and is partnered with a man known as “The Triangle Man” or “The Snake.”

In Chapter 17, Grip clothed himself from the personal effects room at Briarstone Asylum in pants and boots, but noted that he cares little for fashion.

In Chapter 18, Grip learned from a conversation with Denman that he speaks the Orcish tongue. He also revealed to Denman that he had been struggling with the information he had been learning about his past.

In Chapter 19, after the fight with Mr. Gabriel, Grip had to be hypnotized in order to undergo the doppelganger test.

In Chapters 19 and 20, Grip had some heart-to-hearts with Airwynn, at the end of which she shared her story about when she’d last seen him. She indicated that he played a role in the murder of Dr. Trice, the former Administrator of Briarstone Asylum.

In Chapter 24, Grip was exposed to leprosy in a fight with two Boilborns.

In Chapter 25, Grip experienced the terror of being paralyzed at the heart of a mob of Ghouls.

In Chapter 28, Grip struggled with despondency, frustration, and isolation as he waited to learn whether or not he had contracted leprosy. In the end he managed to avoid that disease, but Gull had to break the news to him that he had been infected with ghoul fever.

Grip kicked off the battle for the chapel in Chapters 29 & 30 by sucker-punching Ratch Mamby during a supposed scroll exchange. In the mayhem that followed, he nearly single-handedly dispersed an entire rat swarm summoned by Jenny Two-Tails, and ultimately pummeled Ratch to death to end the melee.

In Chapter 33, Grip suffered more sanity damage from the encounter with the Esipil.

In Chapter 34, Grip finally recovered from ghoul fever, just in time for the final encounters of Act I.

In Chapter 35 (Part 1), when he was able to make out the words Zandalus was chanting, Grip learned that he had some familiarity with the Kellish language.

In the Act I Epilogue, a 9-year-old Grip told the Stranger to call him “Riptusk.”

In the Act II Prologue, Grip learned that he had been brought to Cassomir and the stewardship of Gulliver Vatticus on behalf of Count Lowls fifteen years previously. At that time he had fewer tattoos—they were still crude and hand-drawn, but there were actually recognizable objects among them: a sun, perhaps a leering face. And since then, they had been built upon in order to break the meaning of the original symbols.

In Chapter 37, Grip was recognized by Skywin Freeling, who said that the rumor was that he was dead.

In Chapter 38, Grip came face-to-face with his past as Dr. Trice returned to Thrushmoor as a Revenant, determined to destroy him.

In Chapter 39, Grip’s armor and cloak (formally owned by Winter) were recognized by an inquisitor at the Sleepless Agency.

In Chapter 42, Grip (along with the rest of the party) heard the name of Xhamen-Dor and was seeded by it.

In Chapter 43, the party studied Grip’s tattoos more carefully and determined that they appeared to have been specifically changed in order to have their meaning broken by the adjustments. Dora recognized that, effectively, they were some sort of binding runes—binding him to a powerful outsider or god. They looked remarkably like obeisance and binding symbols to a Demon Lord, which made Ray think he might recognize the laughing demonic face that used to be there as representing the demon lord Nurgal. Dora thought of these runes as being unbreakable—unless one’s memory, experience, or everything that makes you you were to be lost.

In Chapter 44, Grip came to enjoy feeling the reactions of fear the villagers of Thrushmoor gave him.

In Chapter 46, Grip read a contentious letter from Rony that indicated some rift between them and the other members of the party in the “before times.”

In the Act II Interlude, Grip (then known as Riptusk) was was an Unchained Barbarian/Fighter and carried a +1 fury-born battleaxe named “Dog Reaver.” In that chapter, Grip was observed to have died in 4715 (three years before the start of the adventure) at the hands of a wish spell cast by the Mad Poet.

In Chapter 61, Grip participated in a conversation with Dabwick about Carcosa (where he clearly went out of his way to protect Dabs) and Rony’s behavior, providing them some comfort and reassuring them that they were of vital importance to the party.

In Chapter 68, Grip had to grapple with the serious damage to his sanity he was suffering as the party made their way through Iris Hill. Shades of the “Laughing Tyrant” began to surface as Grip howled with laughter in the face of danger.

In Chapter 81, heading down to the sub-basement of Iris Hill, Grip was tired and drained, in every way. Descending the stairs, his legs shook in an unfamiliar way. He had never been as afraid of dying before, and he hoped he was prepared for whatever awaited him at the bottom of the stairs.

In the temple to Hastur below Iris Hill, while speaking with Melisenn, Grip gained some insight into his tattoos. He embraced something he had tried very hard to forget, and became a bit better at resisting spells and conditions. But at what cost?

In Chapters 81 & 82, Melisenn taunted Grip with her belief that the eye of the Shining Scourge would find him again, and that it had only been through the use of drugs (specifically flayleaf) that he had kept himself hidden. When his attention was called to his tattoos, they briefly flared with power and an itch settled into his skin.

In Chapter 84, Grip wrestled over an identity crisis with Stazi.

First Appearance: Act I Prologue


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