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.
 
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Mike Myler

Comments

dave2008

Hero
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.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
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.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
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. :D

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.

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!
 
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.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
Charisma is not the same as being ugly. I have no doubt that Grendel is hideous to look at for a Human, but to another Giant he could be incredibly handsome. You could do with adding some feats and flaws with these characters.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
loved grendel in the book.... in it his intelligence became awakened by the dragon when he was cursed with immunity to weaponry.
 

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