CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any angled terrain
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Any
INTELLIGENCE: Semi (2-4)
ALIGNMENT: Neutral evil
NO. APPEARING: 1 or 2-12
ARMOR CLASS: 8
HIT DICE: 2+1
NO. OF ATTACKS: 4
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to edged weapons
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Nil
SIZE: M (4-5’ tall)
MORALE: Fearless (19-20) or unreliable (2-4)
LEVEL/XP VALUE: 175
Grilligs are small, scaled beasts with long arms and hunched legs. Their movement resembles a gorilla’s, as the grilling uses its arms to propel itself along. All four of a grillig’s limbs end in three talons, which are considered valuable spell components (see below). Grilligs are vicious pests and can be lethal if they encounter an expedition unprepared for them.
Legend has it that grilligs were born from two-dimensional angles; whatever their origin, they cannot be hurt by any edged weapon. Arrows, spears, swords, and other such weapons pass through a grilling harmlessly.
Grilligs can be found in almost any rugged, angular terrain. Chasms, caves, and mountainous areas have been known to run thick with them.
Combat: Grilligs prefer to weaken a target with ambushes and traps, then attack in groups until their prey is dead. In battle, they raise themselves on their forelimbs, then lash out with their foot talons, shredding the target with lightning speed.
Grilligs always gang up on victims. If all except one of the grilligs attacking a target it killed, the remaining grilling will either immediately flee combat or join another group of grilligs attacking another victim. If cornered before it can flee, the grilling hisses and gnashes its teeth, but it does not defend itself from attackers.
Habitat/Society: The bariaur call grilligs “pests that hunt their hunters.” They have a pack mentality, and their society revolves around finding something larger and meaner than themselves, killing it, then moving onto a larger, meaner creature. If they can’t find one, they will settle for lesser prey.
Usually, a grilling is encountered singly, scouting for a victim. If it finds one, it flees and gathers its pack, which then stalks the target. They soften their prey with ambushes or crude traps (pushing boulders off ledges, causing avalanches, stampeding other creatures over the victim, and so on). When it comes to these ambushes, grilling display cunning equal to an average human. There is evidence to suggest that these creatures simply live to hunt, favoring it over their own survival.
Although grilligs send out lone scouts in search of victims, grilligs never attack or kill alone—there is always more than one present. Some sages speculate this may have something to do with a need to have superior numbers, but one yugoloth scholar scoffed at this, claiming it’s because it “takes more than one point to make an angle.”
Ecology: It is not known how grilligs breed—more seem to appear when their numbers become too thin. The bariaur root out these pests whenever they find them, but no matter how many they kill, more appear in the later seasons. If actively hunted, the grillig lie low for awhile, then emerge when the hunters relax their guard.
Grilligs are the reason why bariaur tribes on the Outlands carry bludgeoning weapons. Local myths claim that grilligs can appear through sharp angles in buildings or terrain, but this has never been confirmed.
Mages are always seeking ways to skin grilligs and use their hides as proof against angled attacks. The protection is thought to be in the grilligs’ nature rather than in their physiology, for no one has succeeded in preserving a grillig’s skin after death. When a grilling dies, its lizardlike skin becomes brittle, eventually turning to dust. If a way to preserve a grillig’s hide was found, grilligs would become the most popular prey in the Planes.
A grillig’s teeth and talons are often used as spell components when enchanting magical armor, and they have even been used as arrowheads and spearheads for magical weapons. It is said that there are rituals for giving certain weapons the “speed of a grilling,” allowing the wielder of the weapon to attack multiple times in a round. Perhaps their most popular use is as a spell component for the shield spell; when a grillig’s teeth or talon is added to the casting (add 1 segment to the casting time), the spell gives the caster an additional -1 bonus to AC vs. edged attacks. Some mages wear necklaces of grilling teeth for just such occasions.
Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine #262 (1999).
No, not a whole lot of sense, but I think the intent of the ability is clear. I could see DR 10/bludgeoning or just immunity to piercing and slashing. I think we've done that kind of immunity before. They also seem to be another animal with some form of permanent haste effect, too, getting four attacks with two hind legs.
No other particular SAs stand out, just a lot of flavor about their hunting tactics and the angle stuff. We should include a sidebar on the magic items. Maybe the claws can reduce the gp cost of making a weapon of speed by some amount (50%, some gp value)? As for the bit about material components, maybe a talon could be a power component that grants DR/bludgeoning when used with some spell. Mage armor actually seems more sensible than shield, though.
Edit: agreed with demiurge on the skills and feats, including the racial bonus on trapmaking. Let's also give them Imp Init as a bonus feat, given their speed.