Random Encounters: Grindylow

So at the suggestion of KaosEleQtric regarding my retrospective on Rifts, I’ve converted the grindylow to 4e D&D stats.  The exercise reminded me of two things.  First, just how much mileage you can get out of a random generator.  If you’re stuck for an idea of a challenge to face your players it is definitely worth checking out the multitude of random generators online (if only for a thought experiment to get the juices flowing). 
The second thing I was reminded of was just how great 4e handles monster creation.  Don’t get me wrong, the system has its flaws, but when it comes to making new monsters its king (and I‘m in love with the monster builder in the adventure tools).  I really like the approach the rules foster to monster creation.  You tackle the design from the perspective of what you want the monster to do, first and foremost (i.e. shoot eye beams, fly around, or in the case of the grindylow blind people, drag them into the water and sting them), and the end result is a monster that mechanically fulfills that vision.  I love that goblins, kobolds, and orcs all feel different in combat because they are mechanically different from one another (now I just wish that the classes in 4e felt a little more different from one another).  Could 3e handle any of the monsters I’ve created on this site?  Of course it could, I just think it’s a lot easier in 4e (now when it comes to customizing already existing monsters 3e is definitely the king – I love the idea of adding class levels and advancing venerable monster specimens in size). 
With all the rumors of 5e floating around (which I think are premature personally), lets hope D&D keeps this approach to monster design.

The Grindylow

When I was a lad my grandmother used to warn me away from the twisty bog, for that was the home of the grindylow.  When I had seen my fifteenth winter I ignored her tales, as young men are wont to do, and set off into the bog with a group of ruffians in search of gold and adventure.  Nary a one of them survived, all dragged beneath those black waters by the thing’s long, cruel claws, its tail cracking like a horseman’s whip.  The grindylow had found us, and I’ll never forget that crying, screaming little boy I saw reflected in those hateful eyes.”


Arcana DC 15: Grindylow are malevolent fey that live in noisome bogs and other still bodies of water.  They prefer to drown their prey, but are just as capable out of the water. 
Arcana DC 20: The touch of pure silver burns the grindylow’s corrupt flesh, preventing it from healing.  The creature’s magic aura befouls any water it stays in, earning the grindylow the enmity of Nymphs and Druids.

The Grindylow in combat

Grindylow tend to focus on weaker targets who they can easily blind and drag back to the water.  They are slow witted creatures driven by an unceasing hunger for humanoid flesh and are incapable of formulating complex plans on their own.


Grindylow are usually too cowardly to tackle a group of well armed heroes on their own, but are often pressed into service by smarter and more powerful creatures like bog and river hags.  Grindylow like to hide at the fringes of combat, waiting for an opportunity to grab the wounded and drag them away from their allies.


If you’re going to use the grindylow in Gamma World add the extradimensional keyword to the monster’s description.
I ended up giving the grindylow regeneration, something the original version didn’t have, since I was emulating the only creatures in D&D with a weakness to silver:  lycanthropes (which makes sense since the silver weakness in the Rifts version was emulating the Rifts version of lycanthropes).

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