Greater and Lesser Grues

“Grues” are pretty well-known among gamers due to the old Zork computer games (and these came from Vance’s offhand mention of them in the Dying Earth).*

A while back I mentioned the Grues of my Telengard campaign.  Since then I’ve differentiated between Lesser and Greater Grues.  They can be wandering monsters or a lair may be encountered.   Grue lairs can be any dark place.

Lesser Grue: Number appearing 1-4 (2-12 in lair), HD 4, AC 16, damage d8 / surprise / hide, move 12″, save as Fighter 4, Morale 7, treasure: none.

Greater Grue: Number appearing 1-4 (2-8 in lair), HD 8, AC 16, damage d10 / darkness / regeneration / surprise / hide, move 12″, save as Fighter 8, Morale 8, treasure: none.

All Grues can live indefinitely in a hermetically sealed dungeon. Grues can actually absorb nutrients from damp soil and rocks.  This feeding by osmosis is very unsatisfactory for them, though, and a Grue that feeds exclusively in this manner will grow emaciated.  They much prefer the flesh of intelligent creatures, especially adventurers and hirelings.

They are killed by sunlight (save vs Death) and injured by starlight and moonlight (d6 damage per round).  Torches and light spells annoy Lesser Grues but do not harm them.

Grues can hide in shadows as Thieves (4 in 6 chance) and always surprise their foes if hiding (or concealed by darkness, see below). They are surprised only on a 1 in 10 due to their extremely sensitive senses of touch, hearing, and smell.

Greater Grues regenerate as Trolls when in the dark (Lesser Grues do not regenerate).  A Greater Grue that is reduced to zero HP and then exposed to any light 9preventing regeneration) will dissolve into an oily liquid.

Greater Grues also have the power to generate their own darkness.  Each round a Greater Grue can create an area of magical darkness 20′ in diameter.  This effect will also dispel Light or Continual Light spells.  A Greater Grues’ darkness is dispelled as if it were a spell cast by an 8th level magic user.  Bringing any light source into a Grue’s darkness will have no effect — Light spells will be automatically dispelled and fires are extinguished.  Greater Grues will attempt to remain within their darkness at all times, and use their ability to create as large an areas as possible before engaging in combat.  Any foolhardy hero who rushes in to fight a Greater Grue in the dark will fight at -10 unless he has some way of determining exactly where the thing is — their long arms let them attack from far back, and if you use a grid as I do they may be one square away from their opponents and still attack, as if they were using polearms.

Grues are always ravenously hungry and can be bribed or evaded if offered generous supplies of food.  In combat, they will attempt to carry off small or incapacitated characters in order to eat them in seclusion.

I have two minis that I use as Grues (although any old school troll will do) — a Ral Partha Well Drakken and an odd MageKnight figure I repainted — I’ll take pictures of them and post them some time.

*Try as I might, I can’t find any connection whatever between the Grue monster and Nelson Goodman’s “grue”.  For starters the etymology is different (Vance is thought to be getting “grue” from “gruesome,” while Goodman is obviously using a portmanteau of “blue” and “green” in order to set up his famous** paradox.***  I was kind of thinking that the indeterminacy of whether a given emerald is green or grue might have some relationship to the idea that you can never see a grue as they disappear in, or flee from, light, but that seems to be a dead end.

**Famous among philosophers.  Which is to say: entirely obscure.

***And oh what a nice little paradox about induction.  See the Wikipedia article for a quick summary.  Not quite as much of a stumper regarding induction as, say, Hume’s induction paradox, but a good one!

Published in: on August 3, 2011 at 7:01 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Come.On.

    The obvious choices here were “Grue” and “Super Grue.”


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