Roleplayer #11, August 1988

New Monster: Grendel

by Bruce Morton

Grendel is a humanoid monster from Danish mythology. Grendel and his mother were more than a match for ordinary heroes, but the Geatish hero Beowulf slew them both.

In a fantasy campaign, Grendel might be a unique creature (not totally unique, of course – he had a mother). Alternatively, there could be a whole race of "grendels."


DX:15PD/DR:4/2*Weight:300 lbs.
IQ:6Damage:3 crOrigin:ML (Denmark)
HT:17Reach:1, CHabitats:S, F

This is a nocturnal hunter. It is purely carnivorous, and especially likes manflesh. In a magical campaign, no ordinary weapon can penetrate its shaggy black fur; the hero Beowulf had to kill it with his bare hands, breaking its neck. Magical weapons (and, at the GM's option, Very Fine weapons) will affect it; Beowulf slew Grendel's mother with a sword forged by giants. Any bare-handed attack will affect Grendel normally.

In a non-magical campaign, simply increase its PD/DR to 6/6; in this context, the grendel becomes an interesting aboriginal alien, too smart to ignore and too stupid and hostile to negotiate with.

Grendel hates the sound of human merrymaking. It will attack festive gatherings, but may flee from the laughter of heroes. It is essentially cowardly; it attacks with claws and teeth, and prefers to wait until its victims are asleep. It will drag some of its victims to its lair for later feasting. It always travels and hunts alone.

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