D&D General Monster ENCyclopedia: Vrock

This is the 31st in a sporadic series of articles about monsters from D&D’s history. Each entry takes a look at the origins of one D&D creature, and tracks its appearances and evolution across different editions and settings. This is the “V” entry in an A-to-Z tour of monsters and we’re examining one of D&D’s fiends—the vrock, or as it was initially known, the type I demon.​


Origins
According to a post in his ENWorld Q&A, the various types of demons sprang from Gary Gygax’s imagination without a single specific source of inspiration. The word vrock may have been inspired by the Swedish word vråk (“buzzard”) or perhaps the Dutch wrok (“resentment”), but the names for D&D’s demons don’t seem to have a clear linguistic root, so this is mere speculation. There is some biblical precedent for associating vile birds with demons, and vultures are near the top of many lists of unclean and despised avians, so giving a vulture-like form to one of the base types of demons seems a logical choice.​

1. Vrock (1976) - Supplement III Eldritch Wizardry.png

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry
(1976)​

The vrock or, as it was initially known, the “type I demon”, first appeared in Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry, published in 1976. Eldritch Wizardry presents demonkind as a hierarchy, with the rank and file simply numbered from type I to type VI and the demon princes Orcus and Demogorgon at the top. (There is also the succubus, which falls outside of the normal ranking system for no obvious reason.)

The alignment of demons is given as chaotic, with a footnote indicating that they are also highly evil. The smartest and strongest demons rule over the weaker and less intelligent of their kin, and since type I demons are at the bottom of the food chain, they generally do the bidding of other demons. They will attack without question and fight until they are slain. Demons do not willinging serve others, and if magically (or otherwise) captured, they will continually seek a way to escape captivity and slay their master. If a demon happens to take a liking to a mortal, the best possible outcome is that the mortal is carried off to the demon’s home plane to become a favoured slave.
Abilities common to all original D&D demons
Through most of D&D’s history, demons have had some shared abilities. In Eldritch Wizardry these are:​
  • Infravision
  • The ability to teleport without error
  • Cause darkness — for a type I, this extends to a 5’ radius​
  • The power to open a gate and attempt to call forth other demons — a type I has a 10% chance of summoning another type I demon (Eldritch Wizardry doesn’t indicate how frequently the gate ability can be used)​

Type I demons resemble a cross between a vulture and a human. Despite being among the weakest of demonkind, they have standard strength and fair intelligence. Type I demons have 8 hit dice and an armor class of 0. They have a walking speed of 12 and a flying speed of 18. They have five attacks: two claws (1-4 damage each), two talons (1-8 damage each) and a bite (1-6 damage). Demons have saving throws equivalent to either a fighting-man or magic-user of the same level as their hit dice, whichever is better, so a type I saves as an 8th level fighter or mage. Type I demons have 50% magic resistance, but no particular resistances to weapons, and may be struck with normal weapons and missiles. Unlike other demons, type I demons have no psionic abilities. Type I demons can detect invisible objects and move a weight of up to 2,000 gold pieces (slightly more than an average human weighs) using telekinesis, both at will.

Type I demons are encountered in their lair only 5% of the time, usually (75% of the time) in a group of 1-6 but occasionally (25% of the time) with 1-6 demons of another type (determined randomly). If type I demons are encountered outside of a lair, there will be 1-3 of them. Demons frequently roam the astral plane, and their attention is also drawn to anyone in an ethereal state. Type I demons have treasure type B, which means a 50% chance of 1000-8000 copper coins, a 25% chance of 1000-6000 silver, a 25% chance of 1000-3000 gold, a 25% chance of 1-6 gems or items of jewelry, and a 10% chance of a magic weapon or piece of armor.​


1st Edition
The demon entry in the Monster Manual starts with three quarters of a page of general information about demons. This repeats the lore introduced in Eldritch Wizardry with a few clarifications and additions. We learn that demons can move freely from their own plane (the Abyss) into Tarterus, Hades or Pandemonium as well as roam the Astral Plane. However they cannot enter the Material Plane by themselves, and must be conjured, gated or summoned by the speaking of their names. The text cautions that there is a difference between summoning a demon and controlling one, and helpfully notes that a thaumaturgic circle is sufficient to keep demons of types I-V at bay, and that holy relics or artifacts repel demons.
Abilities common to all 1st Edition demons
The Monster Manual lists the following abilities as common to all demons:​
  • Infravision
  • Teleportation (no error)​
  • Cause darkness — for a vrock, this extends to a 5’ radius​
  • Half damage from cold, electricity, fire and gas attacks​
  • In combat, demons can split their multiple attacks between different opponents, if they so choose​
  • Telepathy — a vrock can understand any intelligent communication, but is insufficiently intelligent to converse​
  • Gate — a vrock has a 10% chance of summoning another vrock (there is still no indication of how frequently this gate ability can be used)​

The type I demon gets the name “vrock” for the first time in its Monster Manual entry, but only in parentheses after the boldface “type I” name (and only from the third printing onwards). The AD&D stat block consolidates all of the information scattered around Eldritch Wizardry in one place, but doesn’t change any of it. The only new information is the vrock’s frequency (common), intelligence (low) and size (large, 8½ feet tall). The text sets out exactly the same special abilities as before (detection of invisible objects and telekinesis up to 2,000 gp in weight). Three bits of new information are tacked onto the end of the description: Vrocks are very fond of human flesh, they prize precious metal and stones, and they are too stupid to listen to most attempts to bribe them.​

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Monster Manual (1977)​

There is a scattering of vrock lore in other rulebooks. Dragon #93 gives the pronunciation of vrock as “vrak”. The Dungeon Masters Guide gives type I demons (which it refers to as “vulture-demons”) a maneuverability class of C, comparable to a pegasus or a harpy. During aerial combat a vrock will generally attempt to slash at opponents with its rear talons.

The introductory text for the demon section in the Monster Manual II contains a section on typical inhabitants of an Abyssal layer; this notes that vrocks are common on most layers. The adventure compilation OP1: Tales of the Outer Planes, has encounters with vrocks in the Swirling Realm and the Yellow Realm, both of layer #99. As well as the Abyss, the Manual of the Planes lists vrocks on the encounter tables for both the Astral and Ethereal Planes as well as the elemental Plane of Air.

Type I demons (and later vrocks) are found in many earlier adventures. In D3: Vault of the Drow there are type I demons on the tables for random encounters in the passages of the Vault and in the drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu. In her earliest D&D appearance, Lolth, the demon queen of spiders, can attempt to gate in a demon once per day, with a 45% success rate if she tries to summon a vrock.

There are four type I demons standing on ledges in the first teleportation room in the first level of the Demonweb in Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits. That adventure also notes that when a resurrection spell is cast in the abyss, there is a 25% chance that the body will instead be inhabited by a type I demon.

In S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth there is an encounter with four barlguras who use spectral force to create an illusion of a dozen vrocks attacking, and their change self ability to pretend to be mountain dwarves helping the heroes against the illusory foes. Worth noting is that Gygax uses “vrock” as both plural and singular here. Later sources tend to jump between “vrock” and “vrocks” even within product lines. Since 5th Edition seems to have settled on vrocks, that’s the convention in this article.

In I2: Tomb of the Lizard King, there is a vrock named Grzzlat listed on the random encounter tables for the brigand’s lair. Grzzlat is in a foul mood because he is busy with a forced errand for a cleric and he will enjoy the opportunity to take out his frustrations on any opponents.

Polyhedron #22 has an unusual adventure in which the heroes are hired to protect a crown for just one night. Unbeknown to them, the demon lord Juiblex is imprisoned within the crown. During the course of the night, a number of groups attempt to steal the crown. One of these groups is accompanied by a type I demon.

Wrapping up the list of 1st Edition references is the Official Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Coloring Album. This includes an illustration titled Vision of Demon Fire depicting a selection of demons, including a trio of fairly goofy looking vrocks (just above the middle of the picture).​

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The Official Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Coloring Album (1979)​


2nd Edition
Demons and devils were, somewhat controversially, omitted from 2nd Edition AD&D when it was first released. In an article in Dragon #154, James M. Ward makes it clear that this decision was based on years of “angry mother” complaints about their inclusion in the original Monster Manual. Fan reaction to this decision was significant enough for TSR to reverse course and restore the fiends in 1991’s MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix, albeit with new names: baatezu (devils) and tanar’ri (demons).

What is less well known is that the vrock (or at least a vrock) returned to D&D before the rest of its kin. The Standing Stones of Sundown in Dungeon #25 features a vrock named Jaazzpaa, who has been freed from imprisonment after being sealed inside a standing stone for five thousand years. Jaazzpaa is no ordinary vrock, but an example of an ancient type of vrock, a race wiped out some two thousand years earlier, following a disagreement with a powerful Abyssal ruler. As the adventure tells it, this ancient race was replaced by the current vrocks who are less likely to step out of line.​

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Jaazzpaa, Dungeon #25 (1990)​

Jaazzpaa’s statistics are based on the 1st Edition vrock, very slightly updated to 2nd Edition (the special abilities are replaced with similar spells) and not a preview of the version which was to appear in MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix a few months later. The only addition that the “ancient” variety of vrock has compared to its 1st Edition kin is the power to cast two 9th-level spells three per day, a rather convenient ability which primarily serves to make the plot of the adventure work. Jaazzpaa favors energy drain and shape change as his high-level spells of choice. The adventure acknowledges that should Jaazzpaa escape back to the Abyss at the end of the adventure, he would be one of the most powerful vrocks there, and likely to quickly accumulate vrock followers. In practice, this ancient offshoot of vrocks was quickly forgotten and never mentioned again in later lore.

MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix categorizes the vrock as a “true” tanar’ri, along with most of the other 1st Edition Monster Manual demons. The shared powers of tanar’ri are similar to those of 1st Edition, but they gain improved resistance to some types of attack. Since the 2nd Edition vrocks are significantly more intelligent than their ancestors, they are now also able to speak any language, as well as understand it.
Abilities common to all 2nd Edition tanar’ri
In MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix, tanar’ri have the following abilities in common:​
  • Darkness, 15’ radius
  • Infravision — a range of 120’ for a vrock​
  • Teleport without error
  • Half damage from cold, magical fire and gas attacks​
  • No damage from electricity (lightning), non-magical fire and poison​
  • Telepathy — a vrock can understand and speak with an intelligent lifeform in any language​
  • Gate — once per day, a vrock can attempt to gate in additional demons, with a 50% chance of success. Either 2-20 manes, 1-6 barlguras or 1 nalfeshnee will be summoned​

The tanar’ri entry in the Monstrous Compendium notes that Abyss-forged weapons of the tanar’ri (conveniently) dissolve upon the death of their wielder, but since vrocks don’t generally carry weapons, this isn’t too relevant. The pronunciation guide gives “VROK” for the vrock, a slight change from 1st Edition, and the 2nd Edition plural varies inconsistently between “vrock” and “vrocks” with the latter more common.

Vrocks are described as a cross between a large human and a vulture, with strong, sinewy limbs covered with fine gray feathers. Their vulture heads are supported by long, unseemly necks and their claws and beak are obvious natural weapons. Although they are the weakest of the true tanar’ri, vrocks are powerful fighting machines from birth. They serve as elite troops in the Blood War as well as being used for infiltration and covert missions.​

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MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix (1991)​

The Monstrous Compendium illustration gives the vrock a slightly more monstrous torso and nearly human hands. The stat block has had a substantial overhaul since 1st Edition, with only alignment (chaotic evil), movement speed (12 or 18 flying), hit dice (8) and attacks remaining the same. Vrocks are now uncommon in frequency (changed from common) and encountered in slightly larger groups of 2-8, usually in the Abyss. They are slightly smaller (8’ tall, down from 8½’ tall), and have a lower armor class (-5). Vrocks may be active at any time and are explicitly carnivorous; they eat their fallen foes after combat. They no longer accumulate treasure.

While 1st Edition vrocks had only low intelligence, these vrocks have high (13-14) intelligence. They have the same 5 attacks as before (two foot claws doing 1-4 damage, two hand claws doing 1-8 damage, and beaks that do 1-6 damage) and can direct these attacks at different targets. They benefit from a strength of 19, giving a bonus of +7 to damage on all of these attacks. They have improved magic resistance (70% instead of 1st Edition’s 50%) and fanatic morale (17-18). In 2nd Edition, vrocks can only be hit by +2 or better magical weapons. They are never surprised and always attack first in a round.

Vrocks gain a number of new special abilities. Some of these—their spores and a deafening screech—have become such defining characteristics of vrock that it is easy to forget they were first introduced in 2nd Edition. For the deafening screech, once per battle, usually when the vrock is near death and preparing to teleport away, it can emit a loud screech. This deafens all within 30 feet unless they make a save vs. spells. Every three rounds, the creatures can eject stinging spores from small glands on their body creating a cloud that affects anyone within 5 feet. These spores do 1-8 points of initial damage as they implant themselves below the surface of the skin. Spores begin to grow quickly doing a further 1-2 damage per round for 10 rounds, covering the target in a thick vine-like growth. After 10 rounds, the spores do no further damage. Slow poison stops spore growth, while bless, neutralize poison (or similar spells), or a sprinkle of holy water kills the spores outright.

Vrocks have the following spell-like powers in addition to those of all tanar’ri: detect invisibility, detect magic, dispel magic, mass charm, mirror image, and telekinesis. These can be used once per round, as if cast by a 10th-level caster.

Although vrocks usually travel in groups of up to eight, more can be encountered together if they are preparing for battle. They are loyal to their own and fight in coordination with each other and with perfect timing and synchronicity. Five or more vrocks fighting together can join hands to form a circle and may begin a dance of ruin. By dancing, screeching and chanting in ancient languages for three rounds, the vrocks summon a weave of energy that crackles and scintillates in the air like lightning. The dance of ruin inflicts 2-40 points of damage to anyone within 100 feet, including the vrocks. A save vs. spells halves the damage. Doing at least 20 points of damage to any of the participating vrocks before the dance has lasted three rounds disrupts the process.

Most 2nd Edition adventures were for specific campaign settings, but vrocks do show up in a few generic 2nd Edition adventures. In Return to the Tomb of Horrors, a vrock guards a secret door in the Hall of Artistic Splendor. It has been grafted into the wall as a painting, but springs to life if anyone attempts to access the hidden door it has been assigned to guard. While the encounter is vanilla, the accompanying artwork is interesting. It depicts a less natural, more cobbled-together creature than we’ve seen in previous illustrations.​

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Return to the Tomb of Horrors (1998)​

There is a pair of vrocks in A Paladin in Hell who each have some missiles from a necklace of magic missiles. The encounter description takes the time to set out the demons’ tactics in some detail, including conditions that will cause the vrocks to retreat or gate in allies (something they are reluctant to do as it will dilute the glory of a victory).​

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Reverse Dungeon (2000)​

In Reverse Dungeon, one of the last adventures published for 2nd Edition, there are a number of demonseeds. The illustration gives the impression that demons hatch from the seeds, but according to the text, the seeds are magical shard-gates that can summon demons.​


3rd Edition
The 3rd Edition Monster Manual describes demons as the most violent, greedy, fickle, and perverse of the fiends and the unchallenged masters of the Abyss. They take great pleasure in tempting mortals to become as depraved as they are. Demons often attack simply for the fun of it, but delight in terrifying their victims before slaying them. As in previous editions, tanar’ri can summon others of their kind, but the text notes that they generally only do so if their lives are in danger since they become beholden to the demons who come to their aid.
Abilities common to all 3rd Edition tanar’ri
In the Monster Manual, tanar’ri have the following abilities in common:​
  • Speak the Abyssal, Celestial and Draconic languages.​
  • Immune to poison and electricity.​
  • Resistance (20) to cold, fire and acid.​
  • Telepathy — most tanar’ri can communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 feet that has a language.​
  • Summon Tanar’ri — once per day, a vrock has a 35% chance of summoning either 2d10 dretches or another vrock for one hour; these summoned demons cannot summon more tanar’ri for an hour after being summoned.​

The 3rd Edition description of the vrock matches the one in the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium. Vrocks are described as vicious fighters who like to wade into their enemies, causing as much damage as possible. While fighting, they tend to take to the air briefly so that they can attack with their clawed feet.​

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Monster Manual (2000)​

The magical abilities of a vrock are similar to 2nd Edition, although some special abilities are now simply spell-like abilities. A vrock can use the following spell-like abilities at will: darkness (which it uses only sparingly, so as not to interfere with mirror image), desecrate (new), detect good (new), detect magic, mass charm, mirror image, telekinesis, and teleport without error (limited to itself and 50 pounds of carried objects). The abilities function as if cast by a 12th-level sorcerer. The vrock has lost its 2nd Edition detect invisibility and dispel magic powers. Its special spores, stunning screech and dance of ruin powers function in the same way as they did in 2nd Edition, although the screech is now a once-per-hour ability that stuns instead of deafens targets.

The vrock’s basic statistics match those of its 2nd Edition ancestors, but updated to match the 3rd Edition format. It remains an 8 hit dice (60 hit point) monster, with an armor class of 25 and movement speeds of 30 ft. (or 50 ft. flying). The base damage for the vrock’s attacks remains the same, but the strength bonus they gained in 2nd Edition has vanished, leaving them with 1d8+4 claw damage, 1d6+2 bite damage and 1d4+2 raking damage. A vrock has a damage reduction of 20/+2 (meaning a +2 or better weapon is needed to overcome the damage reduction), and a spell resistance of 22. It can use the cleave, multiattack, and power attack feats. Vrocks are encountered either singly, in a gang of 2-4 or a squad of 6-10. They have standard treasure for a monster of their challenge rating.

For the revised Monster Manual v.3.5 version, the vrock’s hit dice are bumped to 10d8 (115 hit points). Its armor class drops slightly (from 25 to 22), its claw/bite/rake attacks jump from +11/+9/+9 to +15/+13/+13 and the damage changes from 1d8+4/1d6+2/1d4+2 to 2d6+6/1d8+3/1d6+3. The vrock gains the combat reflexes feat. While the vrock’s combat abilities were enhanced, in v.3.5 this is balanced by a slimmed down list of spell-like abilities. Gone are darkness, desecrate, detect good, detect magic and mass charm. The vrock keeps mirror image, telekinesis, and has greater teleport instead of teleport without error. It also gains a once-per-day heroism.

More information on vrocks is found in other 3rd Edition rulebooks and sources. In the Dungeon Master’s Guide, vrocks are found on dungeon encounter tables and the haunted/magical wilderness encounter tables. The Dungeon Master’s Guide v.3.5 adds vrocks to an abyssal encounters table. The Manual of the Planes lists vrocks on the encounter tables for the Abyss and the Astral Plane.

For players wishing to play a vrock, the article Monsters with Class in Dragon #293 gives the vrock an ECL (Effective Character Level) of 18, meaning that a player character vrock is roughly as powerful as an 18th level character. Savage Species reduces the ECL to 16 and presents a sixteen-level vrock class, which gradually provides all of the demon’s special abilities. A first level vrock has darkvision, poison immunity, various resistances, and a walking speed of 30 feet. All of the other special abilities develop as the player progresses. Notably, it takes until level 7 to gain a 50 foot flight speed.

As an alternative to playing a vrock, Dragon #302 presents options for playing a character whose soul is inhabited by a vrock. A prestige class called “The Tainted” offers a number of fiendish powers to those courageous or foolish enough to absorb the essence of a vrock. These are: darkness and mirror image, a spore attack similar to a vrock’s, teleport without error (self plus 50 pounds), a stunning screech attack, and finally a solo version of dance of ruin. However, the tainted character also suffers physical changes, first their nose curves downwards so that it mimics a vrock’s beak, then feathered wings (which give the benefits of flight) grow, and finally their face transforms into that of a vrock complete with a full beak.

In a section on building battlefield encounters, Heroes of Battle present a tanar’ric horde, which includes a squad of vrocks providing support from the air. A Tactics and Tips article on the Wizards of the Coast website highlights the strategies vrocks use in combat (primarily as an aerial strike force) and confirms that they use effective group tactics. It suggests using a vrock’s general lack of regard for its own safety when fighting by using a party member as bait, so that the rest of the party can attack the demon from range. To combat the vrock’s special abilities, the article recommends dispel magic (or more than one, to overcome its spell resistance), and silence (to protect against the stunning screech). If there are multiple vrocks encountered together, it is important to keep them distracted by multiple targets so that they don’t use their dance of ruin.​

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Heroes of Battle (2005)​

Also on the Wizards of the Coast website, a vrock berserker named Beshappal features in a D&D Fight Club article. Beshappal is an ambitious vrock. After the demon lord patron he had served for a very long time was slain in the Blood War, Beshappal sought out the powers of Limbo, who helped him tap into the essential chaos within, causing him to grow in both size and power. He served Graz’zt for a while, but then switched loyalties to Demogorgon. He is currently loosely allied to both Demogorgon and Lolth, but views himself as a future demon prince. Statistics are presented for Beshappal as a 1st-level barbarian, as a 5th-level barbarian/1st-level ranger and as a 5th-level barbarian/1st-level ranger/5th-level frenzied berserker. He generally only uses his barbarian rage on the Material Plane, where there is no risk of permanent death.

Vrocks are also quite pervasive in 3rd Edition adventures. In The Standing Stone, the tiefling villain has a vrock known as the Cuckoo as one of his allies. The Cuckoo is trained as a bard, and when the heroes first encounter him, he is masquerading as a tall, gangly human wearing bright clothes and strumming a lute. Frustratingly, quite how a vrock (even one with a few bard levels) is able to take on human appearance isn’t explained anywhere in the adventure. Furthermore, the Cuckoo is wearing a ring of misdirection, which is a new magic item seemingly created solely to prevent the PCs from confirming any suspicions they might have about the bard’s true nature.

In Heart of Nightfang Spire there is a vrock named Rhunad interred in a magic circle. He has been trapped there for centuries and so desperate to be freed that he is willing to reveal all he knows of the adventure’s villain’s plans. While Rhunad does honor any agreement made in order to secure his release, he is a demon. Any group that decides to keep him around after he is freed is destined to eventually be betrayed.​

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Typazkar, Dungeon #88 (2001)​

In the adventure The Seventh Arm (in Dungeon #88) one of the dungeon chambers contains a set of four pottery statues of vrocks. These are linked to the vrock Typazkar, who is able to use them to scry on the occupants of the chamber. If the adventurers do not promptly destroy the statues, Typazkar is summoned and attacks them.

In the adventure Demonblade in Dungeon #97, a balor named Thaylak has called three summoned vrocks to Castle Manderaun. One lurks in the charred remains of a church of Pelor, while the other pair have taken up residence in a grove near the castle.​

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The balor Thaylak and two vrocks, Dungeon #97 (2003)​

A featherless vrock named Jareel is being held captive in Vlaakith the lich-queen’s Palace of Whispers in the astral city of Tu’narath. Not only has he been plucked, but Vlaakith has also removed part of his brain so that the demon cannot use most of his abilities. Jareel is detailed in the adventure The Lich-Queen’s Beloved in Dungeon #100. Although Jareel will claim a willingness to serve anyone who liberates him, the creature is quite mad and won’t keep his promises.​

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Dungeon #127 (2005)​

In The Hall of Harsh Reflections in Dungeon #127, there is a statue of a vrock that springs into life if either it or the cases it guards are disturbed.

The city Zelatar is largest settlement in Graz’zt’s Abyssal realm of Azzagrat. It features extensively in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. The population of Zelatar includes some two thousand vrocks, who favor a section of the city walls overlooking the River of Salt. The Roosting Wall, as it is known, is smeared yellow-gray from generations of vrock droppings, and echoes with the cawing speech of the winged demons. It is avoided by other demon-kind. It is possible for visitors to Zelatar to hire guides; one of these is an immature vrock with half-molted feathers and a missing eye, called Slippery Jeck.​


4th Edition
The 4th Edition cosmology represented a departure from previous editions, with the Abyss now created from a shard of evil planted in the depths of the Elemental Chaos by a mad god. Demons are the extension of this annihilistic place, created to destroy things beyond the immediate reach of the Abyss itself. Less humanoid in appearance than their ancestors from previous editions, demons are monstrous beings with destructive natures. We get our first glimpse of a vrock in the preview booklet Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters.​

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Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters (2008)​

Different types of demons do not share common qualities in 4th Edition. Instead each one is a unique creature, with its own stat block. The Monster Manual vrock is a large creature; a level 13 skirmisher with 132 hit points and an armor class of 27. It has a basic claw attack (+18 vs. AC, 2d8+6 damage) which benefits from a reach of 2. It has a speed of 6 on foot, or 8 while flying, and can use flyby attack to slash with its claw while moving, without provoking opportunity attacks. A vrock has two special attacks, a stunning screech that stuns targets in a close burst, and spores of madness that poison and daze nearby targets. It has darkvision and a variable resistance, which means it can decide what type of damage it resists during each encounter. There is no sign of dance of ruin and this ability remains absent throughout 4th edition.

The Monster Manual description provides very little beyond these mechanics. Vrocks are characterized as swooping in to attack with glee while cackling madly. They relish the screams of their victims. They have a reputation for disloyalty, plotting against their superiors (usually unsuccessfully) and abandoning their posts if given the opportunity to switch allegiance to a more powerful master. Vrocks remain chaotic evil and speak Abyssal, but are now classified as elemental humanoids with the demon subtype.​

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Monster Manual (2008)​

There is a higher-level variation known as a gray wing vrock detailed in Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. The gray wing is a level 17 skirmisher and has more hit points (164 instead of 132), a better armor class (31) and marginally improved attacks (a bonus of +4 to attack and one extra point of damage from its claws and spores). P3: Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress features higher-level vrock variants called warwings, but although they are also supposedly level 17 skirmishers, they have identical stats to the level 13 skirmishers in the Monster Manual.

The vrock swordwings (from Dungeon Master’s Guide 2) are level 14 skirmishers, and have tiny adjustments to their stats (+1 to attacks, damage and defenses and 8 more hit points). Vrock lackeys are level 30 minion skirmishers, detailed in Dungeon #208. They have both claw attack (19 points of damage) and spores of madness (15 poison damage). Stat blocks for lower level vrocks (levels 9 and 11) are included in the Living Forgotten Realms adventure IMPI1-3: Lost Souls.​

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Monster Vault (2010)​

For the D&D Essentials line, many monsters received updates. The vrock appears in the Monster Vault with new art and adjusted statistics. It loses its stunning screech but gets a significant boost to its claw damage (up from 2d8+6 to 3d8+8) and the poison damage inflicted by its spores of madness (up from 1d10+4 to 3d10+6).​

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Player’s Option: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos (2012)​

Vrocks don’t have a major presence in 4th Edition adventures, but there are some in Dungeon. In the adventure Brink of Madness in Dungeon #163, a flight of vrocks patrols the frozen lands around the Fortress at Worlds End. In The Legacy of Baelard in Dungeon #188, vrocks have taken up residence in the ruins of the Library of Highforest.​


D&D Next
Prior to the release of the core 5th Edition rulebooks in 2014, Wizards of the Coast ran an extensive public playtest under the designation of D&D Next. This involved the release of more than a dozen playtest packets over a period of nearly a year and a half, as well as a few limited release print products.

The October 2012 playtest packet’s Bestiary offers the first glimpse of possible 5th Edition demons. This iteration of the vrock is a level 6 large fiend (with “demon” as a subtype), an armor class of 17, and 68 hit points. It has a speed of 40 ft. (60 ft. flying) and darkvision out to 100 ft. As well as immunity to poison, and resistance to cold, fire and lightning, a vrock has magic resistance (which simply gives advantage to the relevant saving throws). In terms of attacks, the vrock can use multiattack to make one attack with its talons (+3 to hit, 2d8+3 slashing damage) and a beak attack (+3 to hit, 2d4+3 slashing damage) which is similar to its 3.5 Edition incarnation. This vrock isn’t able to cast any spells, but it does still have a stunning screech (stuns creatures within 20 feet), and spores (1d6 poison damage per round to those within 5 feet). Dance of ruin from 2nd and 3rd Edition is back. It inflicts 10d10 necrotic damage to non-demons within 60 feet, on a failed save, but the minimum number of vrocks needed to pull it off has dropped to three.

The Bestiary in the December 2012 playtest packet adds many more types of demons, and updates the vrock in a few ways. It is now a level 8 monster, and has a lower armor class (now 13) but the same hit points. It has gained resistance to non-magical weapons (except those made of “cold-forged iron”) as well as telepathy (100 feet) and the ability to summon more demons is back (30% chance of getting either another vrock or 2d10 dretches). The talons and beak attacks have the same damage but a slightly higher to hit (up from +3 to +5). The stunning screech deafens as well as stuns. The dance of ruin is now an optional customisation option that only some vrocks have.

In the March 2013 Bestiary, the vrock is now listed as level 10, and the presentation order of the stat block has changed. The demon has lost its immunity to poison, but it isn’t clear if this is a deliberate change, or an accidental casualty of the rearrangement of the text.

The Bestiary which accompanied the D&D Game Day print adventure Vault of the Dracolich contains a vrock that doesn’t quite match any of the playtest packets. It has the same attacks and special abilities (except for dance of ruin), but it is only a level 6 creature, has a mere 45 hit points, and lacks any immunities and resistances.

Dead in Thay was the last D&D Next branded release, in April 2014, less than six months before the Monster Manual. It has a vrock similar to the playtest packets, but with an armor class of 13, immunity to poison and disease, slightly improved attacks (+6 to hit), and spores that do a bit more poison damage (1d10). There is no mention of magic resistance or the dance of ruin ability.​


5th Edition
The 5th Edition Monster Manual comes full circle by reintroducing demon types. It states that demonologists classify demons into six types (plus minor demons and demon lords). Vrocks are—not unexpectedly—type one demons (along with barlguras and shadow demons). The Monster Manual’s vrock entry has a solo illustration instead of a demon group photo for the first time in three editions. The picture is of a sleeker, less spiky creature than the 3rd or 4th Edition vrock, with possibly the largest wingspan to body ratio so far.​

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Monster Manual (2014)​

As in 4th Edition, there is no general list of abilities or resistances that all demons share. There is, however, a significant chunk of introductory text in the demon section of the Monster Manual that describes the characteristics of all demonkind. The Abyss has moved back from being part of the Elemental Chaos to being a plane in its own right, but smatterings of 4th Edition lore remain. The Abyss spawns (some) demons as extensions of itself, engines of destruction that exist only to destroy. Other demons are created from mortal souls trapped in the Abyss. Later, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes notes that while fiends do have common forms, the Abyss sometimes creates demons that defy the norm. A vrock with three eyes and vestigial wings might come crawling out of an abyssal oil slick.

Demons grow in status over time, and those that live long enough (and kill enough enemies) eventually transform into more powerful demons. Even the most lowly demon might eventually become a demon lord. Demon lords can also raise lesser demons into greater forms. This takes considerable power and is never done as a reward, but only because the demon lord requires a different type of demon for some purpose. Demon lords are cautious not to elevate demons to ranks where they might become rivals.

More so than in previous editions, 5th Edition demons hunger for opportunities to escape the Abyss to sow destruction in other parts of the multiverse. When demons escape into the realm of mortals, their presence stains the world. Plants wither and die in locations where demons appear, animals shun the places where demons have killed, and demon-infested sites are often left permanently marked by a foul stench or strange phenomenon even once the fiends have been purged.​

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Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (2015)​

Demons can only be permanently destroyed if they are killed in the Abyss. They do not fear death elsewhere, as they are immune to ordinary weapons and resistant to many types of spells. Even if a demon does succumb in battle, its body dissolves into a foul ichor and it instantly reforms in the Abyss, with all the memories it had when slain, and inevitably a grudge against its slayer.

As in previous editions, 5th edition demons may be summoned, but this requires great magic skill, lest the demon break free. Even the most thoroughly prepared summoning is not without risk, as powerful demons often find ways to escape whatever holds them. If a demon does escape it can possess a mortal host, who is then in great peril, as the demon will drag the host’s soul with it to the Abyss if the possessed body is slain.

The Monster Manual include a section on demon true names, a concept introduced by the truename spell in Dragon #68. True names specific to demons were mentioned in I7: Baltron’s Beacon and are a major feature of demons in Set 5: Immortals Rules. In 5th Edition, all demons have secret true names, which they can be forced to disclose if successfully charmed. True names can also sometimes be found in ancient scrolls and tomes. A mortal armed with a demon’s true name is more easily able to summon and control the fiend.

Following the Monster Manual’s thorough overview of demons are entries for individual demons. The vrock gets only a few descriptive paragraphs and these are a blend of elements from previous versions. A vrock is a giant humanoid/vulture hybrid with a gnarled body and broad wings. It has an unpleasant odor and a capricious nature, living only to create pain and carnage. The description confirms that vrocks still have a stunning shriek, and can release toxic spores by shaking their wings. Vrocks usually attack by swooping, and will greedily eat the flesh of any fallen humanoid foes. Like their 1st Edition ancestors, vrocks prize jewelry and gemstones, and will turn on each other when there is a dispute over the spoils of battle. While they are described as dull-witted, they are savvy enough not to accept bribes when they know they can likely simply take the offering from the bearer’s dead body.

The vrock’s stat block borrows elements from many of its D&D Next iterations. It has 104 hit points, magic resistance, and immunity to poison. In addition to cold, fire and lightning resistance, the vrock is now also resistant to non-magical weapons. Telepathy and darkvision both extend further, out to 120 feet. Remaining the same (or similar) to D&D Next are the vrock’s armor class (15), speed (40 ft. or 60 ft. flying) and level (6). It remains a large, chaotic evil fiend (subtype of demon) and speaks only the Abyssal language. A vrock has a 30% chance of summoning 2d4 dretches or one vrock.

In combat, a vrock can use multiattack to make both a beak attack (+6 to hit, 2d6+3 piercing damage) and a talons attack (+6 to hit, 2d10+3 slashing damage). Its spores have been given a slight boost as they now form a 15-foot radius cloud (nine times as much area) and do 1d10 poison damage. The vrock’s stunning screech stuns creatures within 20 feet (but doesn’t deafen).

Although it made a brief appearance during D&D Next, there is no mention of the vrock’s dance of ruin in 5th Edition. We may conclude from this that only vrocks from the 2nd and 3rd Edition eras like to boogie.​


Vrock variations
Frostburn features a simulacrum of a vrock conjured by a long-deceased wizard. If slain, this simulacrum turns into the snow from which it was presumably made.

In the adventure Prisoner of the Castle Perilous in Dungeon #153, there is a unique creature called the Spawn of the Mother. It is the result of one of Acererak’s experiments, crossing a four-armed gargoyle with a vrock.

A much less successful hybrid is found in the D&D Adventurers League scenario DDAL09-06: Infernal Insurgency, where a vrock with the head of a hell hound crudely stitched to it can be found dying in a cage.

In 5th Edition, demons dissolve into ichor once they are dispatched. This wasn’t the case in previous editions (except for demon weapons in 2nd Edition) making undead demons a possibility, as evidenced by the stat block for a vrock zombie in Libris Mortis. Even in 5th Edition there are ways to prevent demons from dissolving; for one example see the Exandria section below.​


Vrock relatives
Tanarukks were first introduced in Hellgate Keep. They are a planetouched race created by the interbreeding of orcs and demons, but they breed true with their own kind and are numerous because of their rapid reproduction. According to Races of Faerûn, tanarukks were originally created from vrocks. Unlike most other planetouched, there is little variety in the appearance of tanarukks. They resemble short, stooped orcs with coarse hair, protruding lower jaws and gray-green to dun brown skin.​

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Tanarukks, Races of Faerûn (2003)​

In 5th Edition, tanarukks appear in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, but here they are orcs transformed using abyssal magic, rather than the offspring of orcs and vrocks.​


Vrock parts
According to D&D lore, several parts of a vrock are useful. Feathers and spores appear to have the most utility, but vrock hides, brains and talons might also be useful to the right buyer.

The pinions (outer parts of the wings) of a vrock are one of the components required by a wizard to create a phantom flyer, according to Dragon #209. A set of feathered wings like those of a vrock, is one of the various fiendish grafts detailed in the 3rd Edition Fiend Folio. A set costs 10,000 gp.

In the Planescape adventure Harbinger House, quills made from fresh vrock feathers are required as part of the process for transforming one of the protagonists of the adventure into a power of chaos and murder. Several vrock feathers turn up as clues during the course of the adventure. A vrock feather is also the material component for the vrock’s screech spell from The Planewalker’s Handbook, as well as for the 3rd Edition version of this spell, stunning screech.

The Book of Vile Darkness pegs the price of a vrock feather as 1 gp, but notes that only a single usable feather can be harvested from each demon (without explaining why). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons lists vrock feathers on a table of exotic soft materials, and later includes a cape of vrock feathers (worth 3,000 gp) in a sample treasure horde. If only one feather can be harvested from each vrock, how many demons have to die to make an entire cape? Or, an entire rug, since the 4th Edition Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons has a hoard with a 50,000 gp rug woven from vrock feathers. Employment as an NPC archer in 5th Edition clearly pays well since Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse notes that some archers use vrock feathers as fletching.

In a section on “Special and Superior Items”, Savage Species details a spore flask. This is a container of vrock spores that can be thrown like a grenade, and which has exactly the same effect as a vrock discharging its spores in the location where the flask lands.

The Tactics and Tips article on the Wizards of the Coast website confirms that spores can be collected from freshly killed vrocks (if they haven’t disintegrated). Spores must be harvested within ten minutes of the demon’s death, and they lack the full potency of fresh spores. When used as a contact poison, the spores inflict 1d8 initial damage and another 1d8 secondary damage. The article pegs the price for a dose at 500 gp, which seems pricey until you compare it to those vrock feathers!

The D&D Fight Club article suggests some variants for a vrock’s spores. These variants include yellow musk zombie vrock spores that deal intelligence damage, spores from vrocks which have been merged with bladelings so that their spores are needles that can be used like a bladeling’s razor storm ability, or—in a d20 Modern setting—vrocks might expel nanotech spores that disable electronic components or mimic a rust monster’s capabilities.

In a Tu’narath military fortress known as J’ryn’zalas there is a githyanki warlord who owns an imperious vrock-hide chair. J’ryn’zalas is detailed in Welcome to Tu’narath, a web supplement for Dungeon #100.

The 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide lists demon brain as a component for oil of etherealness, but doesn’t specify what sort of demon. Presumably a vrock brain is good enough.

A severed vrock talon is part of the treasure horde in the Fortress of Malevolence in Baator in the adventure Devil’s Deal, a web enhancement published for the Warriors of Heaven accessory. It isn’t clear why the talon is stored with other treasures, or if its owner has some intended use for it.​


Vrocks and other monsters
Most of the more powerful demons from the 1st Edition Monster Manual can gate in vrocks, including the glabrezu, nalfeshnee and marilith. S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth introduces a number of new demons into D&D lore. The dretch can attempt to gate in a vrock once per day, with a 5% chance of success. The chasme and the rutterkin are both said to have antagonistic relationships with vrocks. The Monster Manual II adds the babau, another minor demon that vrocks despise (although in the 4th Edition Monster Manual 3 babaus are said to work alongside vrocks). Oculus demons (from Expedition to the Demonweb Pits) get on well with vrocks. Vrocks can apparently summon carnage demons (from the Monster Manual V), while vathugu (Dragon #337) can summon vrocks.

D3: Vault of the Drow notes that drow hunting parties are sometimes accompanied by type I demons. In Expedition to the Demonweb Pits there is a vrock named Vrith who is supposed to be guarding the gate used by a drow expedition. Vrith is spoiling for a fight and will eagerly join in any nearby combat, summoning another of his kind if he can. The adventure The Harrowing in Dungeon #84 is a return to Lolth’s demonweb, and includes several vrocks allied with drow.

A night hag (Monster Manual) can attempt to gate in a type I demon, with a 50% chance of the gate successfully opening. This isn’t something the hag will do unless hard pressed, as she must then reward the vrock with a larva. The 3rd Edition Dragonlance book Holy Order of the Stars lists vrock demons amongst the followers of a night hag herald of the god Morgion.

A death knight (Fiend Folio) can attempt to gate in a demon twice per day. There is a 75% chance of the gate opening, and a 20% chance of a type I demon coming through.​

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Deep Horizon (2001)​

Vulchlings (1st Edition Monster Manual II) are known to occasionally consort with vrocks. Fiendwurms (from the 3rd Edition Monster Manual II) are often encountered with them. In Deep Horizon, there is a vrock seemingly working for a group of beholders. This particular vrock owns an ioun stone and several potions, which it puts to good use if it needs to engage in battle.

The Monster Manual IV has a vrock named Azrath leading a small group of wrackspawn—tormented creatures that live to inflict pain upon others. That same book has a sample encounter with a hezrou served by two vrocks and a zern arcanovore.

In 4th Edition, vrocks associate with a wide variety of other monsters, including minotaurs, giants and evil fey (Monster Manual), peditazu (maze demons), mezzodemons, liches, havoc gnolls (Dragon #369), foulspawn (The Plane Below), fomorians (Dungeon #176), jovocs (Demonomicon) immoliths and even warder devils (The Plane Above).

In the 5th Edition adventure Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, gnolls and vrocks frolic together around a statue of Yeenoghu.​


Vrocks and demon lords/gods
All demon lords are served by (or can summon) other demons, and many of them have vrocks among their followers. Demon lords with vrock servants include at least Baphomet, Demogorgon, Fraz-Urb’luu, Juiblex, Kostchtchie, Lissa’aere the Noxious, Lolth, Malcanthet, Orcus, Yeenoghu, Zuggtmoy, and particularly Pazuzu.

Pazuzu is also known as Pazrael, particularly in Greyhawk and Planescape sources. WGR5: Iuz the Evil and Planes of Chaos describe Pazrael as “a huge, vrocklike tanar’ri” with gold and crimson feathered wings. He is also known to mate with vrocks, producing cambions as offspring. His symbol of rulership is the Blinding Claw, a major artifact which has as one of its many powers the ability to change any non-tanar’ri touching it into a vrock or a chasme. Flocks of vrocks inhabit the various perches in the Abyssal realm of Torremor, which is ruled by Pazrael.​

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Dragon #329 (2005)​

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv article on Pazuzu in Dragon #329 confirms vrocks as Pazuzu’s favored minions, especially those trained as bards or rogues. Six fanatically loyal balors (the Six Wings of Pazrael) serve Pazuzu, and each of these commands a unit of hundreds of vrocks (Yet More Archfiends, Demonomicon). The Demonomicon of Iggwilv article mentions Onstrakker’s Nest, a constantly growing and crumbling miles-wide sphere of wood, bone and earth impaled on one of the spires of Torremor. This nest swarms with all manner of flying demons, including vrocks. It is said that at the center of Onstrakker’s Nest lurks a fiend—perhaps Pazuzu’s now forgotten demon queen bride Lamashtu—who is the source of all of the creatures that populate the Abyssal Skies. If true, this would give the vrocks a most unusual origin story.

Two barbarian vrocks guard a portal between the Lost Tomb of Amarak and Pazuzu’s Abyssal lair on the Abyss in the adventure Tower of Life and Tomb of Death. In Expedition to the Demonweb Pits, an enormous vrock named Lummegier serves as Pazuzu’s ambassador during a gathering of demon lords. Lummegier has wings that shimmer a deep purple and a beak trimmed with gold. He is trained as a blackguard. In 4th Edition’s adjusted cosmology, Pazuzu’s realm of Pazunia remains the 1st layer of the Abyss. Pazuzu’s palace and aerie—Lord’s Rook—is defended by a murder of vrocks when the demon lord is away.​

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Demonomicon (2010)​

Although not a god, the slaad Lord of Insanity, Ssendam, has a minor connection with vrocks. The Dragon’s Bestiary: Lords of Chaos, in Dragon #221, recounts the legend of Ssendam acting as the self-appointed guardian of the Spawning Stone (the primordial home of the slaadi), protecting the Stone from an attack by a large pack of vrocks.

According to Dragon #285, vrocks serve in the army of Yan-C-Bin, Elemental Prince of evil air creatures.

The Mesopotamian Mythos article in Dragon #329 lists vrocks as allies of the god Nergal.​


Vrocks and magic
Most of the vrock-related spells and items focus on summoning the demons, but others are used to bind them, mimic their abilities, protect against them, or even to transform other creatures into vrocks.

In the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide, type I demons are listed on the monster summoning VII table, which means that they can be only summoned by that 9th-level spell.

In the 3rd Edition Player’s Handbook, vrocks are listed on the 9th-level summoning table, meaning summon monster IX is needed to call one. However, in the Player’s Handbook v.3.5 vrocks are downgraded to the 8th-level table meaning summon monster IX can now call 1d3 of them. Complete Divine lists the vrock as a potential creature to be called using the planar ally spell. The abyssal army spell from the Planar Handbook summons a vrock in its third wave of demons.

The 4th Edition wizard spell summon vrock from Dragon #385 does exactly what you might expect. In addition, the presence of the vrock provides some fringe benefits to the wizard, who doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks while moving and does extra poison damage when stunning or dazing targets.

The 5th Edition Unearthed Arcana article That Old Black Magic includes a conjure vrock spell. One of the material components for this spell is a gem, and the attitude of the summoned demon is influenced by the value of the gemstone used. A low budget conjuration is likely to end up with an out of control vrock. Also of interest is a note at the end of the spell description that a circle inscribed using the blood of a recently slain humanoid traps the vrock within, as well as preventing it from targeting anyone else inside the circle. This spell has not yet appeared in any official 5th Edition source.

A 9th-level acolyte of the skin (a prestige class from Tome and Blood) can attempt to summon a vrock once per day, with a 35% chance of success. If successful, the vrock remains in the service of the acolyte for one hour.

The 3rd Edition Tome of Magic details the fiendbinder class. A fiendbinder can bind a vrock at 4th level, although this has a cost of 6,600 gp and requires knowledge of the demon’s true name. At 10th level, a fiendbinder can summon fiends. Summoning is less permanent than binding, but can call 1d6 vrocks to serve the binder.

In the pillared throne room in S1: Tomb of Horrors are a crown of gold and a scepter of electrum. Both of these are cursed; if either of these treasures is removed from the Tomb, a type I demon will visit the thief to reclaim the item.

In G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King, there is a demon staff capable of calling forth a type I demon once per day. It is in the hands of a drow noble, and two other drow nobles wield demon staves in D3: Vault of the Drow. This staff also appears in FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark, now referred to as a staff of the abyss. The description here notes that if the summoned vrock is slain while serving the staff-wielder, the wielder is turned into a vorck and sucked into the staff, to serve its next wielder! In 3rd Edition’s Drow of the Underdark, there is a less powerful version of this item called a demon rod. It can still conjure a vrock once per day, but control is not guaranteed and requires an opposed charisma check.​

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Demon rod, Drow of the Underdark (2007)​

A randomly discovered iron flask might contain a demon, possibly a vrock, according to the 1st Edition and 3rd Edition Dungeon Master’s Guides.

In the adventure The Pit of the Oracle in The Dragon #37 there is a statue of a four-eyed hippo-god with ruby eyes. Removing the eyes causes various demons to appear, starting with two type I demons when the first eye is taken out. If the eyes are replaced, the demons vanish again.

The article Spells Between the Covers in Dragon #82 notes that some tomes used for magical research are cursed. Those with the lore of demonkind curse have a cumulative 10% chance per week studied of summoning a demon. The type of demon depends on the value of the book, with a type I demon gated in for books valued at 500 gp or less.

There are several demon-summoning devices in T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil. In the octagonal chamber on level 2 of the dungeon are a pair of braziers. Pouring holy water into either of them instantly summons a type I demon. Each of the 666 precious stones embedded in the silver throne in the great hall on level 3 of the dungeon is attuned to a demon, with vrocks attuned to the least valuable gems. Someone possessing one of the jewels gains demonic attention “at a time they least desire it”. Finally, the elemental power gems hidden in the Elemental Nodes can each summon and control a demon up to three times a day. The earth stone (a carnelian) summons a type I demon.

In I7: Baltron’s Beacon there is more than one way of summoning a vrock. The library contains a magical tome with the true names of several demons. Each time it is touched, there is a 5% chance that a type I, II or III demon will appear. The Shrine of the Black Flame at the end of the adventure has a ruby which is shattered by a magical chime if anyone not identified as a cult member approaches. The shattering of the gem releases a type I demon that has been imprisoned for a long time, and who hungers for revenge.

One of the powers of the raptor cuirass, magical armor detailed in Dragon #270, is to summon 1d4 vrocks. It can do this once per week.

The Stronghold Builder’s Guidebook introduces summoning stones, menhir-like structures capable of summoning extra-planar creatures. Only the most powerful of these is capable of summoning a vrock; it costs 45,900 gp. The same source sets the cost of using a binding spell to bind a vrock to a stronghold as 7,230 gp for a wizard or 7,310 gp for a sorcerer.

The necklace of demons (from the 3rd Edition Book of Vile Darkness) includes two spheres on it that can be used to summon vrocks.

The variant planar deck of illusions from the Planar Handbook produces an illusion of a vrock if the nine of staves is drawn.

Using the forcecage power of the minor artifact known as the transcriptions of Ergon causes 1d4+1 vrocks to appear. They attempt to capture the artifact and take it back to the Abyss with them.

The crook of Rao, an artifact detailed in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, is a powerful tool to protect against fiends and other lower planar creatures. The Witch Queen Iggwilv managed to damage the crook in a battle with the god Rao. Now, whenever the crook is used to banish fiends, or when it runs out of charges, there is a chance that demons or devils will be summoned, possibly 1d10 vrocks.

A copy of the Demonomicon of Iggwilv known as the Demonomicon of Krestible is mentioned in Dragon #336. A vrock named Razfeth has been magically bound into the first page of the tome. He delights in meddling with the minds of mortals using the book’s dream ability.

A vrock is one of the possible types of demons that could be revealed to the viewer of a demon glass oracle, found in the Eberron Explorer’s Handbook.

In 5th Edition, to protect themselves against death while in the Abyss, demons can craft amulets into which they cede a part of their essence. This allows the fiend to reform even if slain on its home plane, but there is always a risk that an enemy will obtain the amulet. A creature possessing a demonic amulet is able to inflict great pain on its creator, and is often able to exact favors from the demon. If the amulet is destroyed, the demon becomes trapped on the Abyss for a year and a day. Demon amulets were mentioned in the 1st Edition Monster Manual but were used only by demon lords and princes.

Doomkeep, billed as “The Second Official AD&D Masters Tournament” appears in The Dragon #34. It features a hand mirror of hoping, which is activated by pointing the surface of the mirror at someone and hoping something will happen. One of the ten random effects is that the target turns into a type I demon and attacks the wielder of the mirror.

GAZ3: The Principalities of Glantri details the seven secret crafts of Glantri. These arcane philosophies have led to the creation of new magic. The High Master of Necromancy has the ability to become a lich, but in doing so runs the risk of instead becoming a screaming demon (the Mystaran name for a vrock). This information is repeated in Glantri: Kingdom of Magic.

The fiendform spell from the Spellbound boxed set allows an evil wizard to take the form of a random fiend, possibly a vrock. The spell is an improvement over polymorph spells, as it grants the wizard special attacks, defenses and immunities.

The demonbinder prestige class from the 3rd Edition Drow of the Underdark allows the demonbinder to temporarily bind the essence of a demon to their soul. Binding the essence of a vrock contorts the demonbinder’s face, forming a hard beak in place of a mouth, and a down of gray and white feathers covers the binder’s body. A harmless dust puffs from the demonbinder whenever they move, and they gain the ability to add screeching sonic energy to an eldritch blast.

A scroll of protection from demons will (obviously) offer protection against vrocks. According to the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide, only a magic-user is able to scribe such a scroll. The potency of the scroll is determined by how long the reader has to read it, so a mere three segments (18 seconds) is sufficient to offer protection against type I demons in a 10’ radius area for 5d4 rounds.

Dragon #149 has an article, Magic for Beginners detailing new magic items for low level characters. Armor “dedicated” by a high-level spell-caster for use against demons grants a +1 protective bonus against all attacks from a type I demon.

An arrow of demonslaying is one way to take out a vrock. These arrows first appeared in the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide.

The Planewalker’s Handbook includes the 4th-level wizard spell vrock’s screech, which mimics the demon’s deafening auditory power to stun opponents within a 30-foot radius.

There are two vrock-themed spells in the 3rd Edition Book of Vile Darkness. Spores of the vrock is a cleric/demonologist spell that summons a mass of spores around the caster; these spores have the same effect as those produced by a vrock, damaging the targets as a tangle of viny growths develops. Stunning screech is a bard/demonologist spell that emits a piercing shriek that stuns those in the area.

The 4th Edition lolthtouched demonbinder detailed in Dungeon #204, has a screech of the vrock ability; this inflicts psychic damage to enemies in a close burst.​


Blackmoor
Vrocks can be found in a couple of areas in The Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor. A single vrock might emerge from the demonic mouth on level 5 if a soul of a sufficiently powerful being is tossed into it. As many as a dozen vrocks might be bumped into as a random encounter on level 20.​


Dark Sun
Although vrocks don’t feature in any Dark Sun adventures, they can be summoned, according to The Will and the Way. Supporting this, the defiler Balkazar summons one in the Dark Sun: Shattered Lands computer game.​


Dragonlance
In DLE3: Dragon Keep, the heroes begin the adventure on a plateau in one of the planes of the Abyss. There they are attacked by first one, then later, several vrocks.​

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DLE3: Dragon Keep (1989)​

In Spectre of Sorrows, a night hag has an unusual looking vrock as a servant; it looks more like a raven or a crow than a vulture.​


Eberron
According to the Explorer’s Handbook and the Eberron Campaign Guide, vrocks might be encountered in the Demon Wastes, particularly in the demon city of Ashtakala. In distant Argonnessen, flights of vrocks patrol the skies above the Vale of the Fallen Rajah (Dragons of Eberron). Vrocks are also found in some of Eberron’s planes of existence, specifically Fernia, the Sea of Flame, and Shavarath, the Eternal Battleground (Exploring Eberron). The Xen’drik Expeditions scenario CVN-9: Choir of Angels has a vrock named Kree’zash who is posing as a false angel in the sewer catacombs below Stormreach.​


Exandria
Vrocks feature a few times in Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep. While the adventurers are crossing the wastes of Xhorhas, one of the potential random encounters is with a vrock scouring a battlefield for mortal remains to consume. Later, while the PCs are exploring the town of Bazzoxan, another hungry vrock flies out of an abyssal rift. However, the most interesting encounter involves exploring the stomach contents of a dead vrock to extract the treasures that it has consumed. One of the swallowed items is preventing the demon’s body from dissolving into ichor, as usually happens for such creatures.​


Forgotten Realms
The earliest mention of vrocks (as type I demons) in the Forgotten Realms appears to be in H2: The Mine of Bloodstone, where they are protecting some clerics attempting to summon Orcus into the Prime Material plane. They also feature in H4: The Throne of Bloodstone, in the encounter tables for the Citadel of the Witch-King Zhengyi and, of course, in Orcus’s abyssal realm.

Most of the novel The Paladins takes place in Undermountain. It features a triad of vrocks named Shaakat, Rejik and Morbaat. Morbaat only lasts for two pages before being brutally whipped to death by a balor she challenges. Shaakat and Rejik make it all the way to the end of the novel, and are then promptly also whipped to death by the same balor. So goes life as a demon! Undermountain is still home to several vrocks in Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. There is a vrock trapped in the statue of Clangeddin in King Melair’s Lost Tomb in the Lost Level and five vrocks lurking on the Demons’ Ledge in the Maze Level.

Hellgate Keep details House Dlardrageth, active in Faerûn’s High Forest. This is a family of sun elves that long ago intermixed their line with demons. Baron Ryvvik Dlardrageth is a cambion whose father was a vrock. As a consequence of his heritage, he has an ash-gray complexion, an angular, gaunt appearance and black feathers instead of hair. Ryvvik also has a lesser version of a vrock’s screech. House Dlardrageth features in The Last Mythal trilogy of novels, all three of which include encounters with vrocks.

The history of Sundabar, as recounted in Silver Marches, includes a flock of vrocks pursuing refugees from Ascalhorn over the Turnstone Pass.

Parts of Princes of the Apocalypse take place in the ancient dwarven citadel of Tyar-Besil beneath the Sumber Hills. This citadel is (perhaps somewhat confusingly) also referred to as the Temple of Elemental Evil. According to the adventure, a vrock sometimes guards the Temple of Elemental Air.

The Faerûnian city of Elturel features prominently in Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, although it has been dragged down into the Nine Hells before the adventure even begins. The adventure has a few vrock encounters, including one with a vrock philosopher more interested in debating the meaning of existence than fighting. Vrocks might also be encountered circling above a wrecked flying fortress in Avernus, or above a dock used by flying fortresses on the rocky cliffs of the River Styx. Avernus is also home to the Bleeding Citadel, a cathedral made of positive energy which gets its name from the massive bloody scab Avernus has formed around it. Inside this scab live some Yeenoghu worshiping vrocks.

In the novel Bladesinger, the protagonists fight a hag-summoned vrock while traveling in Rashemen. The vrock wields a black-runed sword with serrated edges which it is able to summon out of thin air.

A vrock is encountered near the Fortress of the Half-Demon in the novel The Masked Witches, part of the Brotherhood of the Griffon series. In the next book, Prophet of the Dead, there is a group of sellswords who collect monster heads. The mercenaries have a vrock head in their collection.

In the adventure The Ruins of Chaos (in the Spellbound boxed set) Thayan forces attack a location near the village of Halendos in Aglarond. The attack is led by human mercenaries and a pair of vrocks summoned and controlled by the lich Szass Tam.

Vrocks make several appearances in Dead in Thay, an adventure released for D&D Next and reprinted in Tales from the Yawning Portal. A vrock is fighting prisoners in the arena in the Abyssal Prisons area of the Doomvault, and another, injured vrock is stuck in the nearby summoning chamber. Two more are held in the demon cells. There is also one listed in the random encounter tables for the area.

According to FR16: The Shining South, a pair of vrocks guard the ruined Gate of Iron Fangs in the Forest of Amtar near Dambrath. They are still there in the 3rd Edition Shining South, now protecting the Gate of Iron Fangs under the leadership of a glabrezu. Vrocks also appear on the encounter tables for the Forest of Amtar and Veldorn.

Faerûnian drow are known to associate with vrocks. In the novel Resurrection, in the War of the Spider Queen series, a pair of vrocks polymorphed into male drow officers can be found within Menzoberranzan, in the service of Matron Yasraena Dyrr. In the novel Archmage, Drizzt and his companions return to the Underdark. The novel includes numerous vrocks; Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre has had a vision causing her to believe that summoning demons to the drow city of Menzoberranzan will secure her position. Drizzt and his companions continue to encounter the vulture demons in the novels Hero and Timeless.

In the adventure City of the Spider Queen there are several vrock encounters, some with vrocks patrolling Castle Maerimydra. Several of the D&D Adventurers League Rage of Demons storyline adventures take place in Maerimydra, and also feature vrocks, including DDEX3-4: It’s All in the Blood and DDEX3-16: Assault on Maerimydra. The latter adventure has a disturbing scene in which the heroes witness Mother, an unspeakable mass of demonic flesh, giving birth to a vrock offspring. Assault on Maerimydra also stars Squallocks, a vrock advisor to Graz’zt.

The 5th Edition adventure Out of the Abyss begins in the Underdark, with the adventurers captives in the drow outpost of Velkynvelve. They have an opportunity to make an escape when a group of chasmes and vrocks arrives at the outpost. Later, the adventure takes the heroes to Neverlight Grove, a myconid community. A single vrock is listed as one of the possible random encounters for the area, and a group of 1-3 vrocks is listed as a general random encounter during Underdark travels. In the vast territory of Araumycos, vrocks are encountered in larger groups of 2-8.​

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For Duty and Deity (1998)​

Most of the Forgotten Realms adventure For Duty and Deity takes place in the Abyss. In The Whimpering Moral tavern in the city of Zelatar there is a vrock named Clyddis who is a useful source of information. In the adventure finale, the wagon apparently carrying the body of the goddess Waukeen is guarded by a number of vrocks.

The novel Depths of Madness features a troll named Tlork who is no longer entirely a troll. He has had his limbs replaced with grafts from other creatures, and a prehensile tail attached. Tlork’s skin has been replaced with a mottled pelt of demon skins, including that of a vrock.​

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Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate #157 (2022)​

The most recent appearance of a vrock in a Forgotten Realms product is as card #157 in the second D&D-themed Magic: The Gathering set, Battle for Baldur’s Gate.​


Greyhawk
One of the earliest vrock appearances in a Greyhawk product was with a fake vrock. The Tome of the Black Heart from WG5: Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure contains the name of the spirit Mezzik. If summoned, Mezzik appears as a vrock with bright red and light green feathers, but it is actually just an imp with a minor shape change ability.

According to WGR4: The Marklands, three vrocks recently attacked a watchpost north of Cordrend in Nyrond. Over thirty men lost their lives before the demons were defeated.

Ivid the Undying mentions the role played by vrocks and other demons in the destruction of the Medegian city of Pontylver during the Greyhawk Wars.

In Exploring the Isle of Dread in Dungeon #114, vrocks are listed on the encounter tables for the Isle.

Iuz counts vrocks amongst his elite troops and they are pervasive in his lands (WGR5: Iuz the Evil). A phalanx of a dozen demons, including vrocks, guards the Soul Husk Caverns. Others dwell in the garrison of Delcomben in the Shield Lands. Numerous fiends, including vrocks, reside in the citadel of the Gibbering Gate in the Northern Barrens. Dorakaa’s infamous Legion of Black Death includes a score of vrocks. WGR6: The City of Skulls notes that Doraakka has a planar distortion existing around it, meaning that attempts to summon any form of monster have a chance of accidentally summoning a fiend instead.

In the adventure Throne of Iuz in Dungeon #118, vrock demons are some of the creatures serving King Bog.​

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Dungeon #118 (2005)​

The Drowned Forest at the edge of the Hool Marshes is home to at least one vrock (Ghosts of Saltmarsh).

Vrocks are popular foes in Living Greyhawk scenarios. COR2-01: As He Lay Dying has a vrock assassin named Gulletcrush and VER2-06: Glory Town features a fey hunting vrock named Vershanshin. There is a vrock general named See’rach in COR3-05: Circle of Sin and one named Brilis in IUZ4-05: Stepping into the Parlor. The vrock Rzasanet in IUZ3-06: Every Passing Breeze goes by the ostentatious title of Master of the Blood-Drenched Sky and Lord of the Castle of Foul Breezes. Rzasanet spends much of the adventure arranging for the heroes to be ruthlessly tortured.

In URD4-08: Catspaw, there is a trio of vrocks (Chazarnimtyr, Strydirgwall and Zabraxamus) who have been contracted by the adventure’s protagonist to conduct a special dance of ruin. This dance is part of a ritual which will see the wizard transformed into a lich. HIG5-04: Primal Urges includes an opponent who is an experimental cross between a vrock and a worg. PER6-09: Relief Mission has a very disturbing and questionable encounter involving a number of human slave women who are carrying half-vrock offspring.

In GRM7-08: Thrall, there is a new “vampir” template which creates vampire-like undead using a ritual created by Vecna. One of the creatures resulting from this ritual is a vrock vampir. A degenerated, partially rotting form of this vampir features in GRM8-03: Witness. PERSM8-03: Tail’s End also contains a vampire, but here it is a vampire partnered with a vrock named Vladimir. Vladimir is unhappy that he has to carry around the vampire’s coffin.

No comprehensive review of vrocks in Oerth would be complete without mention of the small, stuffed vrock located on the rim of a bath full of steaming blood in ULP8-05: Serious Inquiries Only. It is wearing a collar that gives the stuffed vrock’s name as “Duqie”.​


Hyborian Age
In the adventure CB2: Conan Against Darkness, the villain Thoth-Amon has a magic serpent’s servant chariot. According to the text, this is drawn by four type I demons. However, according to the accompanying illustration, the chariot is drawn by two horses with horns.​


Innistrad
According to Plane Shift: Innistrad, vrocks haunt the Needle’s Eye, a pass traversing the Midland Range. They are generally found atop the gatehouse wall.​


Ixalan
Although the plane of Ixalan does not have vrocks it does have demons spawned by a bat-god that resemble twisted bats. Both Plane Shift: Ixalan and X Marks the Spot suggest that the vrock is a good representation for these demons.​


Kingdoms of Kalamar
According to Secrets of the Alubelok Coast, a group of vrocks has escaped the Abyss and has been savaging the settlements around the western town of Kalido on Remeter Island. Vrocks might also be encountered in the Elenon Mountains and west Elos Desert, according to The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali.​


Mystara
In the BECMI version of Dungeons & Dragons, the vrock has a different name: it is known as a “screaming demon” (or “screaming fiend”) or sometimes an “air demon” or “winged fury”. It is first detailed in the 1986 Immortals Rules, but was mentioned in passing in the Master Rules a year earlier. In this version of the rules, a demon is an Immortal serving the Sphere of Entropy. A mortal human or monster who becomes undead, and is sufficiently evil and cunning, can become an Immortal demon. Demons are chaotic in alignment.

Demons reside in the Outer Planes of Existence, and are encountered outside of their home planes only when sent or summoned by a more powerful demon or an extremely powerful (or foolish) mortal. Usually, only a single demon is encountered at one time. The stat block provided is for the bodies that demons inhabit while traveling. If slain, the demon’s life force returns to its Outer Planar home and can eventually create a new body. On its home plane, a demon is very powerful, immune to mortal magic, able to shapechange at will, and able to rapidly regenerate (1 hit point per hit die per round).

Each Mystaran demon has two true names: the name it had when it was a mortal and one it has as an Immortal. Knowledge of a demon’s true names can be used to force the demon to serve. A demon never willingly reveals its true names, but they might be discovered through careful research. Some powerful, ancient spells can also be used to summon and control demons, but this eventually and inevitably leads to the summoning mortal’s demise. Like demons in other editions, Mystaran demons can summon others of their kind, but they view this as a last, desperate measure since they will be punished for requesting aid that isn’t absolutely necessary.
Abilities common to all Mystaran demons
In the Immortals Rules, all demons have the following abilities:​
  • A +1 bonus to surprise and initiative rolls​
  • Power use — demons have power points, and can use these to create magical effects like other Immortals; a screaming demon has 500 power points, but can spend only 8 on any one effect​
  • Call other — a screaming demon has a 10% chance to call another screaming demon (95%), a croaking demon (4%) or a howling demon (1%), this can be done once per round as long as the demon doesn’t also use magic or make a Power attack in that round​
  • Speak with any undead or living thing​
  • Control undead — demons can spend power points to control undead monsters as if they were themselves powerful undead​
  • Infravision 120’​
  • Enter/leave the Ethereal Plane once per day (without spending power points)​
  • Enter/leave the Astral Plane once per day (without spending power points)​
  • High ability scores (strength, intelligence and constitution)​
  • Regenerate — normally only 1 hit point per day, but 1 hit point per round while the demon is in utter darkness​
  • No need for sustenance (air, water, food)​
  • Immune to mind-reading, disease, aging, energy drain, death ray​
  • Minimum damage (maximum of one point per die) from any mortal attack form; this includes holy water, but holy water will enrage a demon and cause the demon to attack the source​
  • Anti-magic — a screaming demon has 50% anti-magic​

In the Immortal Rules, a screaming demon is described as part bird and part man, over 8 feet tall. It has taloned, stork-like legs (40’ movement speed) and humanoid arms with powerful claws. It has large feather wings, spanning 30 feet (60’ movement speed). A screaming demon likes to surprise opponents with a swooping attack that does double damage, and can carry off human-sized targets. If it cannot benefit from surprise, the demon will scream like a bird as it dives. It attacks with both claws (1-4 points of damage each), both foot talons (1-8 damage each) and its bite (1-6 damage). It has an armor class of 0 and 20 hit dice (100 hit points).

A screaming demon that has been on the Prime Plane for more than 48 hours will have accumulated some treasure (type B, which includes a variety of coins, possibly some gems or jewelry and a small chance of a magic sword, armor or other weapon).​

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Wrath of the Immortals (1992)​

In the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set, published six years after the Immortal Rules, the vrock is referred to as a “screaming fiend”, in line with TSR’s early 90s policy of avoiding the word “demon”. This version is scaled down, with 100 power points (down from 500), 25% anti-magic (down from 50%), 50 hit points (down from 100) but the same armor class, movement, attacks and damage.

The adventure IM1: The Immortal Storm includes a screaming demon named Drekk as an NPC member of the adventuring party. Drekk is not hostile, and cooperates with the heroes’ mission, although there is a chance that he will turn against the group towards the end of the scenario. There is, sadly, little detail provided on Drekk’s personality.

Atzanteotl, a dark elf hero who has become a screaming demon, is detailed in GAZ10: The Orcs of Thar. He is a wicked, blood-thirsty entity determined to use his dark elf followers to destroy life on the surface of Mystara. He has a particular enmity for Alfheim, and is said to reincarnate orcish followers into shadow elves. GAZ13: The Shadow Elves reveals that this is a lie, spread by Atzanteotl’s enemy, the Immortal Karaash. Although Atzanteotl still has a passing interest in the fate of the shadow elves, almost all of his followers are now other humanoids. His demonic appearance is different from that of most vrocks; Atzanteotl looks like a jet-black feathered serpent with the face of an elf.​


Nerath
The short story Under the Plains of Rust from the Untold Adventures anthology involves an encounter with a vrock. The tale is set in the Nentir Vale, although the young protagonist—Gnarl—meets the demon during a sojourn to the Abyssal Plains of Rust. Gnarl has been warned by a relative that vrocks enjoy eating the faces of their victims first. When injured, the vrock spurts black blood.​


Planescape
The vrock was reprinted in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. The stat block has only three changes from MC8: a slight change to intelligence (now 12-14 instead of 13-14), a significant reduction in their experience value (a drop to 19,000 from 37,000) and the addition of “or by weapon” to the damage/attack line, to indicate that vrocks sometimes wield weapons. The text is a lightly edited version of the MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix entry. The Di’Terlizzi illustration is perhaps the most avian version of the vrock to date, resembling a giant vulture with human arms and hands. This artwork was also used for the vrock card in the Blood Wars card game, released the following year. Planes of Chaos describes the role of vrocks as the aerial scouts and skirmishers of the tanar’ri.​

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Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994)​

The adventure In the Abyss features a vrock, of a sort. The plot of the adventure revolves around a missing ship of chaos. These ships are entropy weapons constructed by the Doomguard and intended for use by the tanar’ri in the Blood War. One of the ships has been stolen by baatezu, placing the heroes between the two major factions in the Blood War. Each ship of chaos has the mind and spirit of a transformed vrock. This manifests physically as two sinewy gray masses located in the bow and stern areas. The brains offer the ship some protections against teleporting invaders. The craniums can screech once per hour, stunning those nearby, and once per round they can release vrock spores into the chambers housing the two brain nodes. The ship of chaos can manifest an illusory vrock in the ship’s apparent control center, but this is a trick designed to keep the adventurers occupied while the ship delivers them to its tanar’ri masters.​

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Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994)​

The adventure Deva Spark features several vrocks. One of them is a disguised deva and several others are the personification of a bebilith’s dark side. Four more (including the two illustrated) are abyssal tavern patrons.​

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The Deva Spark (1994)​

The Hellbound: Blood War boxed set adds a little more to vrock lore. It points out that a gathering of vrocks (also called a murder) is proof that tanar’ri are capable of working with each other as a team, and able to unleash crushing magic on their baatazu opponents. According to Hellbound, vrocks, unlike most tanar’ri, cannot become wizards. However, five or more vrocks can cast wizard spells if all of them have studied those spells. The text states that they function up to the equivalent of a 16th level spellcaster, but it isn’t clear how the level of the murder is determined. The adventure in the boxed set’s War Games booklet details a vrock roost which is essentially a tower shaft with lots or long iron hooks sticking out of the walls.​

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The Planewalker’s Handbook (1996)​

Two vrocks dwell in a cave on Mount Garzok on the 531st layer of the Abyss, as detailed in the adventure Nemesis in Dungeon #60. The cruel pair delight in tearing things apart and hurling opponents off the mountain using telekinesis.

The Planewalker’s Handbook mentions a vrock called Rcreen who holds a grudge against his tanar’ri superiors, and is thus willing to act as a guide to visitors to the first level of the Abyss (for a price).

Despite there being no reproductive necessity for vrocks to lay eggs, the Planescape accessory The Factol’s Manifesto implies that they do, by using the expression “as big as fried vrock eggs”. Faces of Evil: The Fiends, confirms that vrocks do indeed hatch from eggs, but they are “created whole within the egg” after evolving from weaker fiends. They also retain all of the memories of their previous demon forms.

Faces of Evil points out that while they are considered the weakest of the true tanar’ri, vrocks are—unusually for demons—able to work together effectively. The text suggests that because of their collaborative powers, luring off individual vrocks one by one is a useful method of dealing with them.​

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The Great Modron March (1997)​

A pair of vrocks is a casual encounter in The Great Modron March as the adventurers journey towards an Abyssal location known as the Fortress of the Fallen Stair.

The 3rd Edition Expedition to the Demonweb Pits includes a visit to the Styx Oarsman tavern in Sigil’s Lower Ward. The tavern’s patrons are primarily creatures from the lower planes, including vrocks.

The Bards on the Run article in Dragon #216 includes a song “for the Planescape campaign setting” titled I am a Vrock. This is sung to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s I Am a Rock and, as might be expected for an April Fools’ article, adds nothing at all to vrock lore. It is mentioned here (reluctantly) only in the interest of completeness.​


Ravenloft
MC10: Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix lists vrocks (and other tanar’ri) on the encounter tables for the setting. In Curse of Strahd there are two petrified vrocks guarding the gatehouse in the Tsolenka Pass. They come to life if attacked, or if travelers attempt to travel through the pass without entering the gatehouse.​


Spelljammer
Vrocks don’t explicitly feature in any Spelljammer products. However, given the nature of the Astromundi Cluster as a demon-infested sphere, that seems like a likely place to encounter them. This is especially true if the Arcane succeed in their scheme to open a permanent gate between the Cluster and the Abyss.​


Strixhaven
A vrock that has escaped from its classroom bonds is a potential random encounter in the adventure A Reckoning in Ruins from Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.​


Miniatures
There have been three official vrock miniatures, all pre-painted. WotC produced two different versions in their Archfiends and Dungeons of Dread sets of D&D Miniatures.​

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D&D Miniatures: Archfiends #58/60 (2004)

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D&D Miniatures: Dungeons of Dread set #20/60 (2008)​

A few years later, WizKids released a flying vrock as figure #29 in the licensed D&D Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons set.​

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D&D Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons set #29/54 (2015)​

The same sculpt was used in the D&D Attack Wing miniatures game for Chalthazar, a vrock demon figure. This figure was the prize for the first month of the Rage of Demons organized play storyline.​

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D&D Attack Wing: Rage of Demons (2015)​


Computer games
Vrocks don’t seem to be a particularly popular demon to use in computer games, possibly because winged monsters require support for flying creatures to be used fully. In Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, published in 1993, one of the heroes’ opponents summons a vrock as a distraction.​

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Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (1993), image from Let’s Play Archive

In Neverwinter Nights there is a vrock named Chaohinon of the Void in Helm’s Hold. The ritual used to summon Chaohinon was never completed, leaving the demon stuck. He wants to be set free using the nearby black grimoire. Players can choose between using the tome to set Chaohinon free or using it to banish him.​

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Chaohinon, Neverwinter Nights (2002), images from The Annex and mynameisnotlilly

The clicker game Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms game uses vrocks as opponents on some quests.​

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Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (September 2017)​

Vrocks are part of the horde of demons invading the Moonsea in the module Tyrants of the Moonsea for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition.​

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Neverwinter Nights: Tyrants of the Moonsea (2019), image from Fenguard


Vrock names
Arrikk, Atzanteotl, Azrath, Beshappal, Brilis, Chalthazar, Chaohinon of the Void, Chazarnimtyr, Chazyk, Clyddis, the Cuckoo, Drekk, Ehiuzrek, Eyghor, Grzzlat, Gulletcrush, Jareel, Jaazzpaa, Kree’zash, Lummegier, Morbaat, Razfeth, Rcreen, Rejik, Rhunad, Rr’e Idomas, Rzasanet, See’rach, Shaakat, Shalock, Slippery Jeck, Squallocks, Strydirgwall, Typazkar, Tzarrc, Vershanshin, Vladimir, Vrith, Zabraxamus.​


Comparative statistics


References
Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry, p2, 12, 17, 27, 29, 30 (April 1976)
Monster Manual, p16, 18-20, 73 (December 1977)
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PERSM8-03: Tail’s End, p11 (2008)
ULP8-05: Serious Inquiries Only, p10 (2008)
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The Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea, p115 (April 2010)
Monster Manual 3, p40 (June 2010)
Demonomicon, p48, 55, 121, 132 (July 2010)
Monster Vault, p45-47 (November 2010)
Dungeon #188, The Legacy of Baelard (March 2011)
Untold Adventures, Under the Plains of Rust (May 2011)
Brotherhood of the Griffon #4: The Masked Witches (February 2012)
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D&D Next Playtest packet, Bestiary, p9 (October 2012)
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D&D Next Playtest packet, Bestiary, p21 (December 2012)
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Princes of the Apocalypse, p84 (April 2015)
DDEX3-4: It’s All in the Blood, p30, 32 (August 2015)
D&D Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons set, figure #29/54 (September 2015)
Out of the Abyss, p16, 84, 146, 210 (September 2015)
Homecoming #1: Archmage (September 2015)
D&D Attack Wing: Rage of Demons Storyline Organized Play (October 2015)
Unearthed Arcana: That Old Black Magic, p3 (December 2015)
DDEX3-16: Assault on Maerimydra, p33, 46 (February 2016)
Curse of Strahd, p187 (March 2016)
Plane Shift: Innistrad, p37 (July 2016)
Homecoming #3: Hero (October 2016)
Volo’s Guide to Monsters, p186 (November 2016)
Tales from the Yawning Portal, p114, 119, 121, 124, 224 (May 2017)
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (September 2017)
X Marks the Spot: A Planeshift: Ixalan Adventure, p8 (December 2017)
Plane Shift: Ixalan, p36 (January 2018)
Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, p25, 28 (May 2018)
Generations #1: Timeless (September 2018)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, p89, 166 (November 2018)
Ghosts of Saltmarsh, p25 (May 2019)
Neverwinter Nights: Tyrants of the Moonsea (August 2019)
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, p54, 56, 118-122, 124, 138, 143 (September 2019)
DDAL09-06: Infernal Insurgency, p14 (October 2019)
Exploring Eberron, p163, 187 (July 2020)
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, p124 (November 2020)
Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, p157 (December 2021)
Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep, p42, 54-55, 72 (March 2022)
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, p49, 240 (May 2022)
Magic: The Gathering, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, #157 (June 2022)​


Other ENCyclopedia entries
Visit the Monster ENCyclopedia index for links to other entries in this series.​


 
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talien

Community Supporter
The artist seemed to take artistic license for sure. Near as I can tell it's the latter half of the description:
...the tail of a hare, and the feet of a goose, less frequently in the same shape but with the body of a lion, and rarely as a vulture.
From what I can tell the picture is: vulture head (or is that goose?), lion mane/body, goose feet, hare tail. Tough to pin down what demons look like, it seems. I assume it's because they never sit still for portraits!
 


Danny Prescott

Explorer
Superb article(s) @Echohawk , absolutely jam packed with detail and insightful explanation with top notch scholarship! Love reading these. I missed a lot of detail between 2nd and 4th editions due to playing other systems, so this series has become an excellent neutral window into the relative complexity (amongst other apparent hot potato topics) between editions that come up in other threads.

I do hope these articles are actually part of your PhD thesis as the quality of your referencing alone is worth it!
 
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Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
I do hope these articles are actually part of your PhD thesis as the quality of your referencing alone is worth it!
Thanks for the kind words. These are articles are definitely just for fun, and not in any way formal research. If this was for a PhD thesis, I'd be using some sort of proper citation format instead of that amateurish date-ordered list of sources :D :D
 

Danny Prescott

Explorer
Thanks for the kind words. These are articles are definitely just for fun, and not in any way formal research. If this was for a PhD thesis, I'd be using some sort of proper citation format instead of that amateurish date-ordered list of sources :D :D
Well you do fun with rigour and style, which is a rare (and perhaps niche) combination that I for one applaud. :)
 


Cleon

Legend
Well I finally finished reading through this and my notes became somewhat copious, so I'll split them up into separate posts.

First, the easy ones:

Typos
Noticed a few obvious ones as I went through the post. Won't claim to thoroughness, there may be others I missed.

He has been trapped there for centuries and so desperate to be freed that he is willing to reveal all he knows of the adventure's villain's plans.

…and is so desperate?

The city Zelatar is largest settlement in Graz'zt's Abyssal realm of Azzagrat.

…is the largest settlement?

the wielder is turned into a vorck and sucked into the staff

…is a "vorck" some stork-based cousin of the vrock or a typo? You make the choice!

The adventure in the boxed set’s War Games booklet details a vrock roost which is essentially a tower shaft with lots or long iron hooks sticking out of the walls.

…lots of long iron hooks?
 

Cleon

Legend
Second, some definite errors and possible corrections…

Errurs?

The type I demon gets the name “vrock” for the first time in its Monster Manual entry, but only in parentheses after the boldface “type I” name (and only from the third printing onwards).

Pretty sure that should be fourth printing onwards.

My "3rd Edition, December 1978" softback of the 1E Monster Manual has Type I, but I have a pdf that's "4th Edition, August, 1979" which has Type I (Vrock) as stated above.

It's also worth mentioning that "Vrock" is these demons' true name in First Edition AD&D, so can be used with spells for summoning or controlling them. Curiously, the weaker demons (Type I to III)* don't have individual true names in 1E, so all Type I demons are named "Vrock", which might make conversations difficult…

"Hello Vrock, have you seen Vrock recently? I heard he had a big fight with the Vrock sisters and they threw him out of their nest."

COMMENT:​
Well, not seriously. Demons wouldn't use their true name in casual conversation unless they're really stupid demons. Maybe Vrocks use nicknames or the like to differentiate between themselves, or just don't view other Type I demons as individuals that need their own appellation.​
That might explain how 2E Vrocks "fight in coordination with each other with perfect timing and synchronicity." If a vrock literally doesn't view other vrocks as being different from itself, but rather "another me" who it communicates with telepathically, synchronicity between vrocks should arise spontaneously.​
:/COMMENT​

*Type IV to VI have individual names in 1E. The reason there's an etc. in their listing, as in Type VI (Balor, etc.) is that "Balor" is the name of one demon in 1E, not all Type VI demons. It's only in 2E that Balor became the name for every demon (or rather "Tanar'ri") of that type.

The 1E Dungeon Master's Guide lists names for the various demon Types in APPENDIX E: ALPHABETICAL MONSTER LISTING, as follows:

Type I (vrock)​
Type II (hezrou)​
Type III (glabrezu)​
Type IV (Bilwhr, Johud, Nalfeshnee)​
Type V (Aishapra, Kevokulli, Marilith, Rehnaremme)​
Type VI (Alzoll, Balor, Errtu, Ndulu, Ter-soth, Wendonai)​

Come to think of it, which was published earlier? The 4th printing of the MM that uses Type I (Vrock) or a printing of the DMG that has Type I (vrock) in its appendixes? There are multiple editions of the 1E DMG and I don't know which of them have the demon's names in APPENDIX E.

Demons grow in status over time, and those that live long enough (and kill enough enemies) eventually transform into more powerful demons. Even the most lowly demon might eventually become a demon lord

That second eventually seems superfluous, although there's nothing wrong with it grammatically.

The Monster Manual include a section on demon true names, a concept introduced by the truename spell in Dragon #68.

That issue of Dragon was December 1982, but some of spells in the magazine's "From the Sorceror's Scroll" article are also in the pullout section of S4 - The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982).

Admittedly, the S4 pullout spells didn't include truename, but it does include spells and magic items that refer to personal names, which is the same concept.

For example S4's description of the Demononicon of Iggwilv has "The Dungeon Master may include descriptive material and personal names as appropriate. (Note that a creature's personal name is always kept secret, as these can be used for magical purposes. Such creatures also have a common name which is the only one they will reveal to others.)".

Didn't S4 come out slightly before Dragon #68?

Unfortunately, I can't find a definite release date for the 1982 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, but the spells in its pullout section are less polished. The spells in Dragon #68 have longer and more elaborate text than the same spell in S4.

The pinions (outer parts of the wings) of a vrock are one of the components required by a wizard to create a phantom flyer

That could be confused for the ends of the feathers or the wing's outer edge rather than what a pinion actually is, one of the outermost primary flight feathers.

In the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide, type I demons are listed on the monster summoning VII table, which means that they can be only summoned by that 9th-level spell.

Would it not be better to say monster summoning can only summon a vrock with the 9th-level VII spell, not that monster summoning VII is the only way to summon them in First Edition AD&D? There's plenty of other spells and abilities that summon vrocks in 1E.

The 3rd Edition Tome of Magic details the fiendbinder class.

The fiendbinder is a prestige class, not a class.

An arrow of demonslaying is one way to take out a vrock. These arrows first appeared in the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide.

Should it be an arrow of slaying demons considering it's an arrow of slaying with "demons" as its target creature? Or possibly, a arrow of demon slaying or demon slaying arrow? For what it's worth, the equivalent swords usually put a space before "slayer", e.g. the 1E AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide has "Sword +2, Giant Slayer" as the listing for a giant slayer sword.
 

Cleon

Legend
And finally, some miscellaneous comments that I wrote into my notes so I might as well share them.

This'll be an even more cumbersomely long post than the previous one, so let me know if you'd rather I break it up into individual posts for each quote I'm commenting on.

Random Musings

They benefit from a strength of 19, giving a bonus of +7 to damage on all of these attacks.

While the MC8 Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix (1991) Vrock has "DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-4/1-4/1-8/1-8/1-6 +7 (strength bonus)" the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994) has "1d4/1d4/1d8/1d8/1d6 or by weapon +7 (Strength bonus)" so its Strength 19's damage bonus only applies to weapons not natural attacks (i.e. claws, talons & beak) unlike, say, the Colchiln (Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, 1984) or Mezzodaemon (Fiend Folio, 1981; Mezzoloth in 2E), which added a Strength-based damage bonus to their claw attacks since their original 1E appearance.

At least I'm pretty sure that's the intention, although the wording isn't 100% clear, and I suspect that was always the case and the MC8 version was meant to only apply its damage bonus to weapons, but they failed to include that in the text.

There's a threefold difference in damage between 1d4+7/1d4+7/1d8+7/1d8+7/1d6+7 and 1d4/1d4/1d8/1d8/1d6, since those five sets of +7 add up to +35, which is quite a lot!

While 2E adds weapon use to vrocks, unlike most fiends that can use either weapons or natural attacks it does not give them separate No. of Attacks. As written "the vrocks can attack a devastating five times in a single melee round" would apply to, say, a battleaxe or two-handed sword if the vrock wielded one. That doesn't seem right though, as even a high level fighter only gets two attacks a round (0r 2½ if they have the Weapon Specialization optional rule and 5/2 attacks per round). Contrariwise, if a Vrock could only make a single attack with a weapon, then even with a two-handed sword (1d10+7; average 12½) it'd do less damage than its claw/claw/talon/talon/beak routine (1d4/1d4/1d8/1d8/1d6; 17½).

Should I ever run a weapon-wielding Vrock in AD&D, I'd probably give it 3/2 attacks and maybe let them use their Strength 19's +3 to hit with the weapon. That'd seem fairly balanced compared to its natural attacks (a battleaxe would be 1½×1d8+7; average 17¼. A +2 longsword would be 1½×1d8+9; average 20¼).

In the adventure Prisoner of the Castle Perilous in Dungeon #153, there is a unique creature called the Spawn of the Mother. It is the result of one of Acererak’s experiments, crossing a four-armed gargoyle with a vrock.

I was a trifle disappointed to pull out that Dungeon and discover the Spawn is just an advanced elite gargoyle with the half-fiend template, two extra claw attacks and some good equipment. Apart from its description (vulture head & wings) and the back story mentioning a "vrock named Ehiuzrek" it could be any other half-fiend. It doesn't have any vrock traits like spores, a screech, or having talon attacks as well as claw attacks.

The Book of Vile Darkness pegs the price of a vrock feather as 1 gp, but notes that only a single usable feather can be harvested from each demon (without explaining why). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons lists vrock feathers on a table of exotic soft materials, and later includes a cape of vrock feathers (worth 3,000 gp) in a sample treasure horde. If only one feather can be harvested from each vrock, how many demons have to die to make an entire cape? Or, an entire rug, since the 4th Edition Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons has a hoard with a 50,000 gp rug woven from vrock feathers. Employment as an NPC archer in 5th Edition clearly pays well since Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse notes that some archers use vrock feathers as fletching.

Well you didn't say the vrock had to be dead to be "harvested" so maybe a vrock plucker takes one feather and then released the demon so they can pluck another feather once it moults? If vrock-plucking requires fatality, and the one gold per feather holds for 4E, does that mean the Draconomicon rug cost the lives of fifty thousand vrocks?

Regardless, a single gold piece seems awful cheap for an only-one-per-demon body part.

As for why only one feather, I can only guess that only the first feather harvested is imbued with whatever mystical qualities makes it useful, although that begs the question of how do you distinguish a usable feather from an unusable one? All the vrock's other feathers would presumably be indistinguishable, so wouldn't that encourage attempts to sell "dud" feathers that didn't get to be first? Or even feathers from a non-vrock that look similar, such as a giant vulture.

The Monster Manual II adds the babau, another minor demon that vrocks despise (although in the 4th Edition Monster Manual 3 babaus are said to work alongside vrocks).

It's hardly unusual to hate your co-workers!

Speak with any undead or living thing

The Immortals set calls this ability Speak With Anything but that's nowhere near true. They forgot to include unliving beings who aren't undead, so one wonders what a Screaming Demon does if it needs to talk with a Magen or the like. It can't use speak with monsters power to converse with a construct because it's a 24 power point ability and its PP limit is 8. Ordinary corpses are out too, as speak with the dead is PP 10. It can't use speak with plants (PP 12) either, but that's not a problem as living plants are covered by the fiendish speak with anything.

High ability scores (strength, intelligence and constitution)

All these ability scores are 1d6+14, so a Screaming Demon is significantly more intelligent (Int 15 to 20, average 17½) than a Vrock (average Int 9 in 1E, 13 in 2E) as well as being tougher (20 HD, or 10 HD in Wrath versus 8 HD for a Type I).

That does make their average Strength a bit lower the Str 19 of a 2E Vrock, but I suspect their higher Hit Dice and all those Immortal Set abilities makes Screamers more powerful than Vrocks.

Despite there being no reproductive necessity for vrocks to lay eggs, the Planescape accessory The Factol’s Manifesto implies that they do, by using the expression “as big as fried vrock eggs”. Faces of Evil: The Fiends, confirms that vrocks do indeed hatch from eggs, but they are “created whole within the egg” after evolving from weaker fiends. They also retain all of the memories of their previous demon forms.

Yes, that would make for a rather big egg.

The Bards on the Run article in Dragon #216 includes a song “for the Planescape campaign setting” titled I am a Vrock. This is sung to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s I Am a Rock and, as might be expected for an April Fools’ article, adds nothing at all to vrock lore. It is mentioned here (reluctantly) only in the interest of completeness.

Pshaw. If this work was really "complete" it'd include the lyrics. :devil:

Pulls out copy of Dragon #216

Shudder.

…never mind!

There have been three official vrock miniatures, all pre-painted. WotC produced two different versions in their Archfiends and Dungeons of Dread sets of D&D Miniatures.

Was sure Ral Partha did a licensed Vrock miniature, but after spending way too long on the internet it appears my memory was playing me tricks again. There are some True Tanar'ri in their Planescape series, but no Vrock.

Nor did they make an unofficial "homage" like the Reaper Miniatures' Vulture Demons "Vrock" as far as I could discover, and the Gorgonian Brass Bull and Lumbering Hulk shows Ral Partha were not above such imitations.
 

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