One of the concepts that I find Dungeons and Dragons has some difficulty conveying at times is the sheer massive size of the creatures our character fight against on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps because of the obvious advantage of being a video game (emphasis on video), the Witcher does a great job at this, so I thought what better way to end the week than with…
The Royal Griffin
As with the last two Witcher inspired entries to our Daily Monster section, just want to name-drop Regerem’s Book if Beautiful Horrors as the source for our Witcher Week monsters. If you would like to take a look at the stat block yourself, you can find it over here.
I know I’ve made the Observant feat joke a couple of times for Daily Monster but, if any creature has taken the feat it’s this one, just take a look at that passive perception of 23 and Keen Sight feature. Other than that there’s nothing really eye catching about this part of the stat block (other than the very obvious superb STR and CON but there’s already plenty monsters out there that have similar numbers).
One of the things that sets this creature apart is its mobility. Not only does it already have an astounding flying speed, but it also gets access to a Flyby ability that negates any opportunity attacks. As if that weren’t enough movement, as an option for its Legendary Actions, the Griffin can simply move up to its fly speed at the end of the players’ turns (also without opportunity attacks)
The Royal Griffin can take up to four melee attacks thanks to its Multiattack ability involving beak, claw, and talons. While the Beak attack and the Claw attack are pretty standard (except 10ft reach), the Talons attack immediately grapples the target. But that’s not all; as an additional part of the Multiattack, the Royal Griffin can make use of its Stunning Screech (recharge 5-6) that renders any creatures within 20ft stunned unless they make a CON save DC 18.
For those of you keeping track that’s 5 different possible attacks per turn, and that’s without counting the Griffin’s Savage Legendary Action that allows it to attack each creature within 10ft of it. Now, considering the standard party size of 4, that’s 9 possible attacks per round.
Last but not least, the third and final Legendary Action available to our Royal Griffin is its Majestic Presence, which can charm any creatures within 30ft of the Griffin on a failed WIS save DC 18. Granted it’s a “save once and then you’re safe” ability, but there’s chance there.
While the standard Griffin is usually already enough trouble for communities, the Royal variant is even more dreaded and feared. Unlike their standard counter part, Royal Griffins are extremely predatory to the point where they are not above raiding local villages.
They are larger and bulkier in size, with massive sharp claws capable of cutting down even the strongest of foes. In fact, they are known to battle foes bigger than them, sometimes even young dragons when fighting for territory and prey.
One of the key features that sets them apart from other Griffins and even their smaller cousins, the Griffons, is the uniquely majestic mane around their heads. Many who encounter them find themselves almost enthralled by the beauty of these fearsome creatures. Some even go as far as saying that Royal Griffins are not only regal is sight, but also in demeanor; there are rumors that say that if encountered, you should show decorum and bow to the beast so that you might have a chance at being spared.
Socially speaking and like most Griffins, today’s monster prefers to live a solitary life. That said, they are also known to mate for life and, upon doing so, will seek out an appropriate nesting pace live out the rest of their lifespan in pairs. It is said that there is nothing more dangerous than a vengeful Royal Griffin whose mate have been slain.
Alright, so set up is pretty easy for this one, considering we don’t have to worry too much about minions or anything like that. We have two routes that we could take with this; the first being having a single Royal Griffin that’s wither a bachelor or revenge seeking widow, OR we could have a par of Royal Griffins for our party to fight, which, to be fair might be a really tough encounter since we’d be looking at something close to 20 attacks per round, but okay, I’m actually into this. Let’s see…what is something that would royally (ha!) piss off our monsters? We could technically just have our heroes walk into their territory but I want to make a thing out of it, so here’s my idea: the characters must collect an egg (or egg size object) from the Griffins
Now that we figured that out, that probably means the encounter would take place near the Griffin’s nests, which, according to lore, can be anywhere between a desert and the cold arctic since the Griffin’s feathers protect them from extreme climate. This bit of information could be useful in creating an interesting environment to fight in, for example, what if the nest is at the top of a mountain? We could play around with this for a bit, maybe even add in some lair actions if we’re feeling particularly mean that day.
The most important thing to keep in mind when running this encounter is that mobility is key. You should try your best to keep the Griffin airborne and swooping in for attacks before leaving the character’s range. All jokes aside, if you truly are considering running a two Royal Griffin encounter for your players, I recommend perhaps having one of them stay back to protect the nest and only attack players that get too close. This one that party has more chance to deal with the first Griffin rather than fighting two at the same time. Once the first Royal Griffin has fallen though…well I’m sure its mate won’t be too happy about it.
As always, thank you for reading! We’d love to hear which of our three entries from the Book of Beautiful Horrors was your favorite. We still have a couple more Witcher inspired articles for the weekend so make sure to check out our social media so we can let you know when they’re up! We post new articles every day of the week.