Epic Monsters: Grendel (5E)
  • Epic Monsters: Grendel (5E)


    Today in Epic Monsters we’re visiting upon the epic of Beowulf for a giant like no other: Grendel!



    At first glance I sort of wrote Grendel off as your average ogre or giant but he’s definitely something more. In the story he has tremendously powerful hearing and later on--a good while after he’s already dead--his blood proves corrosive enough to ruin a (maybe magical) sword. He’s definitely not a match for Beowulf (who has appeared elsewhere in Mythological Figures) but certainly no pushover.

    Design Notes: Grendel has incredible hearing and I figured that’s worth blindsight (and vulnerability to thunder). Aside from the Toxic Blood trait the rest of this statblock is fairly standard--he’s very strong, can jump around well, and has a variety of (similar) natural weapons. Toxic Blood and Big-Handed Grappling should give adventurers pause and make for a fun fight, and remember that he can always flee to fight again later, maybe back at home. Grendel’s mother plays an important role in the story too and might get a statblock later (not sure yet as she’s written about very nebulously) but until then I’d recommend using a marilith.


    Grendel
    Large giant, chaotic evil


    Armor Class
    15 (natural armor)
    Hit Points 114 (12d10+48)
    Speed 45 ft.

    STR
    DEX
    CON
    INT
    WIS
    CHA
    22 (+6)
    15 (+2)
    18 (+4)
    11 (+0)
    14 (+2)
    7 (-2)

    Saving Throws Cha +1
    Skills Athletics +9, Perception +8, Survival +5
    Damage Vulnerabilities thunder
    Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing from nonmagical weapons
    Damage Immunities acid
    Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 18
    Languages Giant, Olde English
    Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

    Big-Handed Grappling. Grendel has advantage on attack rolls against a creature he is grappling and he can use an action to try to pin a creature he’s grappled. To do so, Grendel makes another grapple check. If he succeeds, the creature is restrained until the grapple ends. Grendel only needs one hand to grapple a creature of Medium size or smaller.

    Leap. Grendel increases the distances of his horizontal jumps by 20 feet and his vertical jumps by 10 feet.

    Superior Hearing. Grendel has advantage on sound-based Wisdom (Perception) checks.

    Toxic Blood. When a creature within 5 feet of Grendel hits him with a melee attack that deals piercing or slashing damage, that creature takes 7 (2d6) acid damage.



    ACTIONS

    Multiattack. Grendel attacks three times.

    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8+6) piercing damage.

    Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6+6) slashing damage.

    Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8+6) bludgeoning damage.

    Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 250/500 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6+6) bludgeoning damage.

    Thrown Object. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 250/500 ft., multiple targets (determined by object size; make one attack roll per target). Hit: 13 (1d8+9) damage. The damage type depends on the object (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing) and at 100 pounds and every 100 pounds thereafter, the damage increases by 1d8 (up to a maximum of 10d8 at 1,000 pounds). A creature thrown at an object bigger than it takes regular damage, but only takes half damage when thrown at another creature.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Thank you for another great entry Mike. As usual a few questions / comments:

      1) the resistance to non-magical weapons. While I think this makes sense in general, I wonder how this relates to his battle with Beowulf? I didn't pull up your Beowulf, but his he strong enough to take Grendel while doing half damage?

      2) Toxic Blood. This seems oddly phrased compared to similar traits. Why not:

      Toxic Blood. When a creature within 5 feet of Grendel hits him with a melee attack that inflicts piercing or slashing damage, that creature takes 7 (2d6) acid damage.
    1. MechaTarrasque's Avatar
      MechaTarrasque -
      Maybe this is just me misremembering, but doesn't he sneak into Heorot? Nothing worse than a stealthy giant......
    1. Elfcrusher's Avatar
      Elfcrusher -
      John Gardner's "Grendel" could be a great source of inspiration for you, even though he takes some extreme liberties from the original. In particular, there's a scene early on where a young Grendel is stuck in a tree (pinned between two trunks) and an equally young Hrothgar and some of his men stumble upon him. At first they can't make out what he is, and think maybe he's a large fungus that is infecting the tree.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Thank you for another great entry Mike. As usual a few questions / comments:

      1) the resistance to non-magical weapons. While I think this makes sense in general, I wonder how this relates to his battle with Beowulf? I didn't pull up your Beowulf, but his he strong enough to take Grendel while doing half damage?

      2) Toxic Blood. This seems oddly phrased compared to similar traits. Why not:

      Toxic Blood. When a creature within 5 feet of Grendel hits him with a melee attack that inflicts piercing or slashing damage, that creature takes 7 (2d6) acid damage.
      Woot woot!

      1) I'm very confident Beowulf would crush Grendel here.

      2) Agreed! I thought I sourced that from another creature entry or something but for the life of my can't find it so I've adopted wording more like that.

      Quote Originally Posted by MechaTarrasque View Post
      Maybe this is just me misremembering, but doesn't he sneak into Heorot? Nothing worse than a stealthy giant......
      Eh it's a bunch of drunk vikings sleeping off a night of boozing which at the least would be advantage (so an effective Stealth +7 for that scenario). Very doable.

      Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
      John Gardner's "Grendel" could be a great source of inspiration for you, even though he takes some extreme liberties from the original. In particular, there's a scene early on where a young Grendel is stuck in a tree (pinned between two trunks) and an equally young Hrothgar and some of his men stumble upon him. At first they can't make out what he is, and think maybe he's a large fungus that is infecting the tree.
      That sounds dope!
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      Woot woot!

      1) I'm very confident Beowulf would crush Grendel here.
      Thank you for the link, and I agree - your Beowulf can take Grendel to the woodshed!
    1. Aiden_Keller_'s Avatar
      Aiden_Keller_ -
      Why does Grendel have a bag...did I forget that he delivers mail?
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aiden_Keller_ View Post
      Why does Grendel have a bag...did I forget that he delivers mail?

      It was notoriously difficult to find a proper image of Grendel (that I can use here).

      That said--maybe
    1. jasper's Avatar
      jasper -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aiden_Keller_ View Post
      Why does Grendel have a bag...did I forget that he delivers mail?
      Grendel Postmaster of the 8th and a half century!
    1. Aiden_Keller_'s Avatar
      Aiden_Keller_ -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      It was notoriously difficult to find a proper image of Grendel (that I can use here).

      That said--maybe
      Understandable....I think the bag is still hilarious and now I am considering adding him into my Strahd campaign as the cursed courier...
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aiden_Keller_ View Post
      Understandable....I think the bag is still hilarious and now I am considering adding him into my Strahd campaign as the cursed courier...
      These Epic Monsters posts are getting a lot of play in Ravenloft ^_^
    1. Aiden_Keller_'s Avatar
      Aiden_Keller_ -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      These Epic Monsters posts are getting a lot of play in Ravenloft ^_^
      I also added the Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde...

      Dr. Ulbrek Jekzinkle owns an apothecary shop in The Village of Barovia...
      He is seeking rare/new materials to use in order to try and cure himself and no longer turn into Mr. Harkus.
    1. Doctor Bedlam's Avatar
      Doctor Bedlam -
      Well, now we need stats for Beowulf...
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Bedlam View Post
      Well, now we need stats for Beowulf...


      (I am going to add this up in the original post though)
    1. Steve Blunden's Avatar
      Steve Blunden -
      The bag is to stuff the 30 warriors into
    1. Steve Blunden's Avatar
      Steve Blunden -
      ...broke down the doors, seized in his foul grip
      A score or more of the sleeping Sons of Men
      And carried them home for meat ....
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Bedlam View Post
      Well, now we need stats for Beowulf...
      He already did Beowulf
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