Last Updated on November 9, 2023
Large Monstrosity, Unaligned
- Size: Large
- Creature Type: Monstrosity
- Alignment: Unaligned
- Armor Class: 12
- Hit Points: 59 (7d10 + 21)
- Speed: 30 ft., fly 80 ft.
- STR 18 (+4), DEX 15 (+2), CON 16 (+3), INT 2 (-4), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 8 (-1)
- Skills: Perception +5
- Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 15
- Languages —
- Challenge: 2 (450 XP)
- Proficiency Bonus: +2
- Keen Sight. The griffon has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
- Multiattack. The griffon makes two attacks: one with its beak and one with its claws.
- Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.
- Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.
A Close Look at the Griffon’s Stats
The Armor Class and Hit Points of the Griffon are its inevitable weakness. It is easily hit: one of the downsides of being a Large creature.
59 HP is simply not much, considering that your average 3rd-level PC should be able to consistently deal 15-20 damage.
Their beak and claws both get a +6 to damage. The beak does 1d8+4, and the claws do 2d6+4. The Griffon can attack with both each round.
It also has Keen Sight, darkvision, and a fly speed of 80 feet. It is no slouch on the ground, though, as its walking speed is equal to most PCs: 30 feet.
A Player’s Guide to Griffons
Griffons notoriously hunt in packs like lions do. This means they like to set up positions and force their prey to run in a predetermined direction toward the other members of the pack.
Once the prey is in position, the fresh hunters will come in and take down the prey that is the slowest.
In addition, your ranged combatants will do the majority of the damage in this fight until the Griffons come in to attack.
Stand your ground and don’t be moved. If you do this, you will completely mess with their strategy.
Sometimes, however, Griffons are not hunting, and they are protecting an area or are a summoned monster.
In these situations, you’ll want to use the size of the Griffon to your advantage and continually circle around to keep the Griffon between you and its allies.
Griffons as Mounts
Griffons can make an amazing mount for your character. They do require much special treatment, however, and do not stable well with horses.
That’s worth repeating. Do not stable your Griffon with horses in a village, town, or city. They will eat the horses, and then you will be held responsible.
There is a rumor that you can train your Griffon not to eat horses, but that involves keeping them so well fed they aren’t tempted.
Secure the Griffon, and keep it fed, or stay out of the city.
A DM’s Guide to Griffons
There is nothing wrong with picking the Griffon as a random monster and throwing a handful at the party, but if you would like to do a little more with this wonderful, richly folkloric creature, read on.
In What Environment Could I Use Griffons?
The best place for wild Griffons would be in an elevated position overlooking a grassland or hill country. They would keep their nests and dens in such a position in order to hunt the herds of horses, bison, sheep, gazelle, etc.
This could be a pile of boulders, an abandoned castle, or even a cliff face overlooking the ocean if there is enough fishing to keep them happy. That would be some huge fish, to be honest.
Make sure the Griffons have established good running trails for their prey. This means in the valleys between hills, in canyons, or along abandoned bridges and mountainsides.
Areas like this will allow them to rise up out of sight and then dive over the hill or into the canyon and maintain the element of surprise.
A natural or abandoned bridge of some sort would be a great place to trap and ambush prey, especially if it was over a deep canyon or a swift river.
The Griffons would be more than capable of snatching a creature out of the air or water.
Organizations Featuring Griffons
It is not uncommon to see Humans, Elves, Aasimar, or Aarakocra with domesticated Griffons. In a military or border enforcement organization, Griffons would serve as a type of light, aerial cavalry.
While there are stat blocks out there for Griffon Cavalry in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist book, you could easily put a Guard on a Griffon and give them a lance instead of a spear (1d10 piercing, 3d10 on a charge).
Among mercenaries and adventuring parties, you could easily see a Griffon rider serving as a scout, armed with a longbow, or even as a spellcaster. Now, that’s frightening. Imagine a Storm Sorcerer riding a Griffon while homebrew version of eldritch blast that deals lightning damage. Yeesh.
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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].