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Grunt (Mass Effect 2)

Grunt

(Mass Effect 2)


Context

Mass Effect was a landmark video game trilogy released from 2007 to 2012. It included multiple ties-in such as novels, comics and an animated movie. Further games will follow in 2016 and beyond, although they will form a separate storyline.

It is a science fiction story, of the starships and space aliens kind. Most of the action takes place in a military context, as an apocalyptic threat against the galaxy emerges. It’s one of my favouritest games ever.

Writeups.org offers extensive Mass Effect coverage. The core articles are setting for Mass Effect 1 and the setting for Mass Effect 2, plus the profiles for the heroine – Staff Commander Mandala Shepard.

Unless you are highly familiar with Mass Effect, we recommend reading these articles first. And if you don’t know about Krogans, you should read Wrex’s profile first too.

At his point this profile only covers Mass Effect II.


  • There are S P O I L E R S in this thing.
  • This profile assumes a specific video game playthrough – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.

Background

  • Real Name: “Grunt” ; later Urdnot Grunt.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: N.A..
  • Group Affiliation: Shepard’s team and eventually Clan Urdnot.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile aboard the Normandy SR2.
  • Height: 7’5” Weight: More than a tonne.
  • Eyes: Black slits over light blue orbs Hair: N.A.


Powers and Abilities

Krogans are real tough, and Grunt was engineered to be the ultimate Krogan. He’s far stronger than a Human, has staggeringly high natural aggression, and killing him is a major undertaking with little guarantee of success.

Grunt regenerates faster than medium-calibre pistols can hurt him. And he can live almost anywhere a large organic thing might survive.

Grunt was the recipient of the knowledge of his creator Okeer, who has centuries of military and technical experience. Howbeit, Grunt doesn’t seem to possess Okeer’s scientific knowledge.

Furthermore, a lot of this experience is not terribly useful. Okeer wasn’t a paragon of sanity. And he was ruminating old hatreds of little relevance to today’s political situation.

Still, Grunt will often just know what needs to be done. He’s familiar with an endless array of weapons skills, martial arts and tactics. He’s studied these things for the equivalent of years while being grown.

Chaaaarge !

Being a young and undisciplined Krogan, Grunt prefers to mix it up up close. He usually wields a large shotgun reinforced to “go Krogan” (that is, hit people using the stock). And he sometimes uses the traditional Krogan headbutt along with it. His durability allows him to charge into small arms fire to melee the opposition.

Fire teams working with Grunt know that he’s going to wade in at some point, and are ready to seize the occasion. They know that the opposition tends to focus their fire on Grunt when he takes point. A huge Krogan rapidly approaching with a large gun blazing and a thunderous battle cry generally gets people’s attention.

Grunt is enthusiastic

Furthermore, most soldiers really don’t want to find themselves within a Krogan’s charging range. No matter how well-armoured they are.

Grunt’s charges are not irrational, though. He knows what he’s doing, will usually warn his team first, and charges when it actually opens opportunities for his fellow squaddies. He’s not a berserker. He just employs shock tactics where pain and wounds do not matter and glory is important, and he doesn’t mind drawing fire upon him.

I AM KROGAN !

Shepard usually deploys Grunt on a diversion team, on missions where melee combat is expected (usually against husks), or to hold a defensive position. Grunt can hold a defensive position practically forever barring a direct nuclear strike. He also excels when fighting other Krogans (and Vorchas, for that matter).

Grunt’s preferred weapon is a geth plasma shotgun. It has been rebuilt to spec. Thus it is larger, much more robust and with the secondaries shooting projectiles made of incendiary gel rather than the normal ammunition.

For fights not taking place at close quarters he uses a rebuilt M-96 Mattock identical to Shepard’s. Using the same weapon as one’s Battlemaster brings prestige.

Grunt pins Commander Shepard by the throat

Shepard usually makes sure that Grunt enters a gunfight with his Mattock. This is to provide her with covering fire as she takes point so as to apply standard Normandy tactics. If something goes bad, Grunt stops being a support element, switches to his shotgun and wades in along with Shepard.

Shepard also occasionally performs “recon by Krogan”. That means sending Grunt to check things ahead. If there’s an ambush or some other nasty surprise, Grunt is almost certain to survive and regenerate the damage whereas nobody else would.

Other assets

Grunt was tank-taught how to build the distinctive M-300 Claymore shotgun. Grunt likes to carry his Claymore as a symbol of Krogan strength when not on a combat mission. Furthermore, he has been experimenting with fast-reload techniques in the hope of making it more viable for actual fighting.

Okeer also taught Grunt to build a fortification module. It produces a burst of power reinforcing shields for a while and automatically starts recharging once the additional shields have been dispersed.


History

Grunt was artificially engineered — grown in a tank — to be the ultimate Krogan. He’s the brainchild of Warlord Okeer, an aged leader with some skills as a geneticist and biological engineer. Okeer used the genetic material of several great warlords of history — presumably sampled from their descendants — to conceive Grunt.

Dr. Okeer’s goal was to overcome the Genophage crippling the Krogans. But not by fixing the 99.9% miscarriage rate it induces. An old-fashioned Krogan, Okeer considered that the truest victory and greatest insult wasn’t to crush the enemy, but to ignore them.

Grunt face closeup

He did not want to cure the Genophage. He wanted to have each Krogan born be worth a hundred, a thousand ordinary Krogans. Thus the Genophage would mean nothing to his species’ military might.

Lost in his not-altogether-sane or practical vision, Okeer pursued his project with fanatical zeal. He would sacrifice many of his fellows Krogans in so doing. To him, this would not matter once the Überkrogan was born.

What the next step was supposed to be is unclear, and may never have been considered by Okeer.

To crush your enemies (part 1)

Okeer made a deal with the Blue Suns mercenary corporation . They would finance a lab where he could grow Krogans in artificial wombs, iterating endlessly to make them perfect. In return, they would get his failed subjects – giving them a flow of expendable Krogan shock troopers.

However, the project was completely dysfunctional. Okeer was fanatical and insane, and though he was a top scientist by Krogan standards he wasn’t all that by, say, Human standards. The Blue Suns commander of the facility — a Human named Jedore — was also mentally unstable. She and Okeer despised each other.

They did hire a competent Asari biologist with extensive experience in Krogan cloning. But they picked Rana Thanoptis , a former ally of Saren who seems genuinely unable to comprehend ethics. Thanoptis developed an in-vitro training regimen. It used audio files recorded by Okeer to train the tank-breds in basic military skills as they were being incubated.

Thanks to her work the cloned Krogans were born knowing how to talk, how to fight, what their mission was and with an adult-level intelligence and physical maturity. But they had little context and no life experience.

To crush your enemies (part 2)

Okeer’s insane, brute-force-based “research” produced thousands of insane clones with poorly tinkered-with DNA. Jedore was unable to assert authority over Okeer’s lab overflow. Thus, Blue Suns mercenaries would routinely shoot the crazed Krogans, slaughtering dozens every week.

Okeer taught his failed Krogans that Jedore was a stupid cow. Yet he blamed her failures to command them on her supposed lack of charisma. Jedore harassed Okeer to produce clones that could actually follow orders – whilst plotting his death.

Grunt next top his birth pod

Okeer then made a deal with the mysterious Collectors. He handed them many Krogans whose DNA matched their specifications in exchange for advanced technological supplies. This is how the scientifically mediocre Okeer succeeded.

While his main “research program” would likely never have worked, he used up the Collector supplies on a single subject kept in a high-end incubation tank. This one subject, his legacy, was viable. Okeer did grow one super-Krogan. He knew that he never would achieve anything like that again.

To see them driven before you (part 1)

In 2185, the Human supremacist organisation Cerberus learned of Dr. Okeer’s contacts with the Collectors. Cerberus was at that point in a very awkward alliance with the living legend, Commander Shepard. Shepard decided to interview Okeer to learn what he knew about the elusive Collectors.

Based on available intelligence, Shepard wrongly suspected that Okeer was a captive of the Blue Suns.

Shepard and her team broke into the Blue Suns research complex. Indescribable chaos ensued as their presence enabled the maddened Krogan test subjects to overwhelm the mercenaries tasked with slaughtering them. When the commando reached Okeer, Jedore decided to cut her losses by gassing the warlord and the intruders.

His one perfect test subject more important than his own life, Okeer stayed behind in the poison gas. Meanwhile, Shepard’s team engaged Jedore and her forces. Though the aged Okeer eventually succumbed to the massive amount of poison, he had time to finalise his test subject and protect it from the toxins. All that was left was to release it from the tank.

To see them driven before you (part 2)

Shepard thus found herself with a huge tank holding some sort of super-Krogan. It was taken off-planet and stored into the Normandy’s cargo hold. Officer Lawson and most of the Cerberus staff considered that opening the tank was a bad idea. Given Okeer’s madness and the state of his previous test subjects they expected an unstoppable, crazed monster.

Grunt portrait

On her end, Shepard considered that the test subject was either an excellent asset or a deadly menace. She did not see the point in waiting to determine which it was. She had the cargo hold locked down and went in to “birth” the subject from its tank with little idea as to what would happen.

The subject did react aggressively. But he was also mentally an adult with unusually high intelligence and articulateness. After charging Shepard and pinning her by the throat against a wall, he noticed that she didn’t actually seem afraid, and agreed to talk.

And to hear the lamentations of their women (part 1)

Shepard understood the basics of Krogan society and psychology thanks to the time spent with her comrade Wrex of clan Urdnot. Thus, she framed things in a way a Krogan could immediately understand.

The subject decided to call himself “Grunt”. It was one of the last words the dying Okeer had used to call him, and it was pleasantly short and guttural. He agreed to join Shepard’s “clan” (the Normandy’s crew and special tactical force) when promised great battles and worthy enemies.

His longer-term projects were to form his own clan of Krogans and pit them against Shepard and her clan one day, to prove his worth. Apparently, Okeer’s directives for Grunt were that he should weed out the weak and surround himself with the strong, creating a new clan made of the greatest Krogan warriors and curbstomping anyone else.

And to hear the lamentations of their women (part 2)

Grunt continued to live in the cargo hold. He did not socialise much, but watched a lot of movies and documentaries to complete the spotty education Okeer had given him. He came to enjoy the visits of his clan leader.

Grunt discovers Tuchanka

As the campaign against the Collectors unfolded, Grunt changed his goals. Shepard’s clan was real tough, they were fighting mighty enemies and winning, and Shepard herself was as powerful as any Battlemaster and understood the ways of the Krogans.

Grunt expressed strong interest in joining her clan on a permanent basis, rather than found his own. However, he also started experiencing significant mental stress, and levels of aggression that even he found difficult to handle.

Grunt, Shepard and the crew assumed that Okeer’s spotty work or the Collector tech was the problem. Shepard decided to take Grunt to Tuchanka, the Krogan homeworld, to consult with her friend Wrex and the shaman of Clan Urdnot about Grunt’s problem.


Description

Grunt doesn’t quite look like other Krogans. His skin is unusually light, his features unusually sharp and the shell over his head is more covering and intricate than normal. This may simply be because he’s very young. Statistically, most Krogans one encounters off-Tuchanka are centuries old.

Still, the different form of his shell might have been engineered to compensate for a weak point in Krogan craniums. Other Krogans don’t seem to mind his looks, in any case.

(Concept art released later on explains that Krogan crests grow with age, and that Grunt’s crest is normal for a youth.)

Grunt speaks with an excellent, effortless diction. The main exception is when he’s very excited, for instance in combat. Even unusually smart Krogan leaders such as Wrex don’t quite speak like that. His voice actor is Steve Blum, who is in every other cartoon and video game (one of his voice acting roles having been Wolverine).

Here is a fan video to show how Grunt talks and moves :


Personality

Grunt is close to the typical mighty-thewed barbarian warrior in heroic fantasy, such as Conan. Being all Krogan, he finds great pleasure in battle and glory, and thinks about fighting everything all the time.

He’s genetically hardwired for aggression and finds adrenaline — or at least the Krogan equivalent — exhilarating and quite possibly addictive.

Grunt, Commander Shepard and Zaeed Massani after Grunt's coming of age rite

Though Grunt is very… enthusiastic, Shepard has started introducing him to the concept that even Krogan super-soldiers can think about things that are not fighting.

She’s under no illusion that it will really get through. but Grunt is smart and doesn’t forget. It’s closer to being advance work for the day she’ll hand the “kid” over to her buddy Wrex.

Warrior born

As long as there’s a lot of fighting, Grunt is upbeat, enthusiastic, friendly and easily amused. He likes making small puns.

Grunt speaks like an adult. He is clearly smarter and more articulate than almost any other Krogan, and has received extensive in-vitro education. But he still has no life experience. Many of his interests are thus that of a 4-year old boy. He likes watching vids about sharks, or dinosaurs, or tanks, or great military leaders and battles.

Though he loves this stuff, especially when they feature large destructive things, he realises that it makes him look embarrassingly child-like. Thus, he doesn’t usually mention it.

For a while, Grunt struggled with the fact that the knowledge imprints he received in the tank carried no emotional weight. He knew things, but he didn’t know why he should care about them. As Clan Urdnot helped him find his way, Grunt happily adopted the way of the Krogan warrior.

He now knew that he was killing for pleasure, glory and excitement. He wanted to fight big, tough and impressive things and kill all sorts of people who wronged the Krogans in the past.

Negasonic teenage warhead

Grunt likes fighting big things because they’re dangerous, and does not think that small things are dangerous. When he saw Jack — a small thing — going berserk and demolishing everything, he thought it was the coolest thing ever. Grunt insisted on running after her so he could watch and see how long she could fight.

Grunt initially thought that he was much tougher than the little aliens on the ship. But after a few ops he realised that the tactical team is a pack of major badasses and Shepard herself is nigh-unstoppable. He thus became very proud of his “clan” and likes being with them.

Like Wrex before him, Grunt realised that Shepard was a magnet for all the biggest and toughest fights in the galaxy. He decided to remain close by so he’d be a part of those.

Grunt and Commander Shepard discuss with a Krogan shaman

Grunts has the usual Krogan values and habits, such as eating one’s foes (since food on post-apocalyptic Tuchanka was so scarce). He occasionally has to be reminded to tone it down a notch.

Whereas the much older Wrex mentioned these habits in an ambiguously joking manner, Grunt is much more straightforward. He might mention that the sight of rotting corpses make him hungry or some such gaffe.

Battlemistress

After his coming of age ritual and his joining Clan Urdnot, Grunt matter-of-factly declared Shepard to be his Battlemaster. In Krogan tradition, this is a sort of warlord and martial arts master one can pledge allegiance to.

As usual with Grunt things are fairly simple. Shepard is the strongest one there is and fights the toughest foes there are. She is a mighty warlord with a strong clan closely allied with the most powerful Krogan clan, Urdnot.

Urdnot’s clanmaster Wrex is also a powerful Battlemaster and was once Shephard’s krantt (a sort of knight), meaning that part of his glory is Shepard’s – making her even better.

Truly, there can be no better life for a true Krogan.


Quotes

(Soon after having been ’birthed‘) “I am Grunt. If you are worthy of your command, prove your strength and try to destroy me.”

(His battlecry) “I… AM… KROGAN !!”

“I was tank-bred by Warlord Okeer, my line distilled from [legendary Krogan warlords of history] Kredak, Moro, Shiagur.”

(As the squad crawls to cover under fire from a huge mecha ): “This is why I follow you, Shepard ! Big things ! Ah ah ah !”

(Sensing that the squad is exposed, but not finding the word) “We should get…” (vague gesture toward potential cover) “…behind stuff.”

(Watching Jack go postal) “She’s wrecking everything up ! I like her !”

“You’re soft. Humans, Asari, Salarians… all soft. Quarians… not so much. Turians…” (mimes handling a knife) “…have to work the blade. Don’t see much point to it, though.” (beat, chuckles) “He he.” (air quotes) “’Much point‘.” (beat). ”Never mind.”

Grunt in black and coppery body armor, air-quotting

“Bah. My krantt gives me strength beyond my genes ! Which are damn good.”

“I feel nothing for Okeer’s clan or his enemies. I will do what I am bred to do — fight and determine the strongest — but his imprint has failed.”

“I’m pure Krogan. Uvenk, *you* are the pretender !”

Shepard: “If I know Grunt, his answer to your… offer will be coming at muzzle velocity.”
Grunt (looks at Shepard approvingly): “You do know Grunt. Son of a varren  is *dead*.” (Krogan headbutt, draws shotgun).

“I see pictures of old battles, voices of warlords. But this is… a blood haze in my head.”

(Staring in disbelief at the dismal ruins of Tuchanka) “This is the great Krogan homeworld ? This is the land of Kredak, Shiagur, and Veeoll ?”

“I’d never stab you in the back, Shepard. Warriors like you and me… straight to the face.” (laughs)

“I see the dead, and I think – ‘weak’. But they fought. I’m built for strength but didn’t earn it. I just am. Those dead were strong enough to try, even if they lost.”

“The perfect Krogan. Ignoring what made me. No strength in that. I will return to study Krogan history. Find a reason to care.”

Clan Urdnot shaman: “As an adult, you may now own property, join the army and serve under a Battlemaster.”
Grunt (matter-of-factly): “Shepard is my Battlemaster. She has no match.”
Shaman (matter-of-factly): “I see.”

(Proudly and happily) “I’m branching out now. I’ve made lists of enemies to kill !”

(To Shepard) “My job is to hurt things. Direction, control — that’s your job, Battlemaster. You’re why I’m a soldier, not dead or crazed like an animal.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Grunt

Dex: 05 Str: 07 Bod: 07 Motivation: Krogan
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 05 Occupation: Fighter
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: N.A.
Init: 016 HP: 030

Powers:
Cold immunity: 01, Damage capacity: 05, Density Increase: 02, Growth: 02, Flame immunity: 01, Regeneration: 05, Sealed systems: 04, Systemic antidote: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Form Function.
  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Sealed systems can only prolong how long Grunt can go without food, water or air.

Skills:
Charisma (Intimidation): 05, Martial Artist: 06, Weaponry: 05

Advantages:
Combat Shield Restoration, Expertise (Krogan military protocols and equipment, Krogan military history), Familiarity (Zero-G Combat), Iron Nerves, Language (An unspecified Krogan tribal, Council Trade).

Connections:
Staff Commander Shepard (High), Clan Urdnot (Low), Urdnot Clanmaster Wrex (Low).

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance (Grunt is a large and slightly odd-looking Krogan), Minor Rage.

Equipment:

  • Geth plasma shotgun [BODY 04, Energy blast (Diminishing): 09, Range: 04, Ammo: 05, Schtick (Double-tapping), R#03, Drawback: Heavy Armour RV is considered one CS higher against this weapon, Limitation: Energy blast has No Range, use the Range listed instead].
  • Rebuilt Mattock [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 09, Ammo: 16, Telescopic vision: 02, R#02].
  • Underslung shotgun with HESH slugs [BODY 03, EV (Planned Knockback only), Projectile weapon: 07, Bonus: EV is Combined with Projectile Weapons and ride its Range, EV has Scattershot, Limitation: Can only be fired every third Phase].
  • High-intensity incendiary ammunition [BODY 02, Sharpness (Energy Blast or Projectile weapons) (only against Armour): 02, Flame project: 06, Stagger: 08, Bonuses & Limitations: Stagger and Flame Project have No Range but are Combined with the main gun’s Power and ride its Range ; Stagger is resisted by Flame Immunity ; Stagger is a Mass Effect field ; Flame Project only against unprotected targets with a RV against flame below 07, Limitation – Ammunition Load for the shotgun or the Mattock].
  • KROGAN ARMOUR [BODY (Hardened) 10 /BODY/ 04, Cling: 04, Cold immunity: 02, Flame immunity: 03, Lightning immunity: 03, ME2 Defense (Shields): 20, Radio communications (Booster): 02, Regeneration: 02, Sealed systems: 12, Shade: 02, Skin armour: 03, Medicine (First aid): 03, Limitations: Cling only works on metallic surfaces and reduces movement speed to 0 APs, Medicine (First aid) is Self Only, but works automatically, Skin Armour doesn’t work vs. Blunt or Structural damage].
  • FORTIFICATION MODULE [BODY 03, ME2 Defense (Shields): 10, Regeneration: 05, Limitation: Regeneration only to hasten Recovery of the ME2 Defense of the FORTIFICATION MODULE].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Mass Effect video game trilogy – for now this entry only covers the second game.

Helper(s):Enhanced textures by Jean-Luc Fortier.

Writeup completed on the 11th of July, 2012.

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