Last Updated on November 5, 2023
Medium Aberration, Neutral Evil
- Armor Class: 12
- Hit Points: 55 (10d8 + 10)
- Speed: 10 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)
- STR 15 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 13 (+1), INT 12 (+1), WIS 11 (+0), CHA 9 (-1)
- Skills: Perception +4, Stealth +6
- Damage Immunities: Lightning
- Condition Immunities: Blinded, Prone
- Senses: Blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), Passive Perception 14
- Languages: Grell
- Challenge: 3 (700 XP)
- Proficiency Bonus: +2
Multiattack. The grell makes two attacks: one with its tentacles and one with its beak.
Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d10 + 2) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The poisoned target is paralyzed, and it can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
The target is also grappled (escape DC 15). If the target is Medium or smaller, it is also restrained until this grapple ends. While grappling the target, the grell has advantage on attack rolls against it and can’t use this attack against other targets. When the grell moves, any Medium or smaller target it is grappling moves with it.
Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage.
What Is a Grell in DnD 5e?
A Grell is a CR 3, medium aberration capable of flight that resembles a jellyfish with a pronounced beak and a head shaped like a brain.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took a jellyfish and a parrot and gave it a high intelligence and a carnivorous appetite and made it look like a brain that could fly?
If you haven’t, then congratulations! You’re normal-ish. For whoever designed the grell… Well, they don’t get those congratulations. They’re weird.
Grell have been around since 1st edition, the wild west of TTRPGs. They have always been strange, floating brain-like creatures with big beaks and even bigger appetites.
The only thing that has varied about grell throughout their renditions is the level of civilization they have achieved. In any case, the civilization always reflects the primal drives of the inherent monster.
Feed. Expand. Subjugate only to perpetuate feeding.
A Player’s Guide to Grell 5e
The grell are simple creatures. They want to eat what they can catch. Their motivations are almost entirely food-motivated, and if you aren’t a grell and you aren’t big enough to kill a grell, you are more than likely a source of motivation.
To this end, a grell will use their levitation ability to hide above you. Then it will descend and hopefully paralyze a target so that it can’t cry out.
While so paralyzed, the grell will then try to sneak off with its prize without alerting the other party members.
The best time to accomplish this is while the party is resting, so make sure there are at least two people on watch.
If the grell is not confident in its ability to get in and grab a party member without sustaining damage, it will simply not engage until it has the benefit of surprise, numbers, or firepower.
Therefore, you can expect grells to lurk near traps, the fringes of other monsters that may weaken a party, and in lovely oases where the PCs can let their guard down.
If cornered, the grell will rely upon the same tactics: poisonous tentacle attacks until it can escape.
The best way to fight a grell is to simply not leave yourself open to ambush. Be prepared with the Alert feat, with a weapon of warning, and by never resting and never being vulnerable. Easy.
Since that is impossible, the best thing you can do to fend off a grell attack is to find the PC with the highest constitution saving throw and put them between the grell and your ranged attackers.
The low AC of the grell will leave it vulnerable to standard attacks (excepting lightning damage). Stay out of its range, and you will be fine.
Ideally, you should hit it with ranged attacks from beyond 60 feet so that it can’t perceive you without backtracking your attacks.
DM’s Guide to Grell 5e
My hope with this next bit is to give you a resource you can use in your next game to make your players shudder with revulsion and fear at this alien predator.
Grells typically exist in the Underdark, either in small packs or large colonies. Packs will roam for food. Colonies, however, will need a steady income of food sources in order to maintain their cohesion.
Otherwise, they will revert back to packs after a brief period of cannibalism.
Outside of the Underdark, grells can exist anywhere they can hide from predators or prey animals organized enough to destroy them.
This means hiding in large cities, roaming the wilderness, or stowing away on large naval, aerial, or spelljammer ships.
Grell that exist in large numbers are civilized enough to develop a caste system. This caste system has looked generally the same since D&D 1e, composed of soldiers, philosophers, and patriarchs.
Younger grell are soldiers. As they grow in intelligence and maturity, they can discover a specific type of racial magic called grell alchemy.
Once they harness this alchemy, they can become philosophers and begin to organize groups of soldiers under themselves. Patriarchs are even older and more powerful.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].