Monday, December 6, 2010


This was an oddball creature from third edition that I don´t think anyone had much of an idea of what to do with. Its a dog-sized worm with octopoid tentacles and a beak. With arrow-proof skin. Huh?

The fourth edition monster manual provides a bit more context for this critter, explaining that it spawns in places where the fabric of reality has been tainted by Lovecraftian influences from beyond. Gricks, therefore, are either a species of invasive wildlife from another reality, or the product of aberrant abiogenesis. Or perhaps there´s another, more horrific manner of explaining their origins...

The grick was reprinted at the launch of fourth edition, but I was rather less than satisfied with its new stats. There are already too many aberrations at upper heroic and low paragon levels; the grick used to be an entry level enemy, and that´s where I think it thematically belongs. The first sign of aberration problems that the PC´s encounter at the outset of their adventure. So, here´s my take on the grick. 

Drooling Grick
Level 2 Soldier (XP: 125)
Medium Aberrant Beast
Initiative: +4 Perception: +2 (tremorsense 10)
Hit Points: 30; bloodied 15
AC: 17 Fortitude: 16 Reflex: 15 Will: 15
Speed: 6
Resist: attacks that target AC 6
Standard Actions

Melee basic Bite (at will); +7 vs. AC; 1d10+3 damage and make a Tentacles attack against the same target.
Melee Tentacles (at will); +5 vs. Reflex; target is knocked prone.
Melee Digest (at will; target must be prone); +7 vs. Fortitude; 2d8+3 acid damage and ongoing 5 (save ends).

Strength: 14 Constitution: 12 Dexterity: 12 Intelligence: 2 Wisdom: 12 Charisma: 10 
Alignment: Unaligned Languages: none 

Burrowing Grick
Level 3 Lurker (XP: 150)
Medium Aberrant Beast
Initiative: +6 Perception: +2 (tremorsense 10)
Hit Points: 32; bloodied 16
AC: 15 Fortitude: 14 Reflex: 14 Will: 13
Speed: 6; burrow 6 (tunneling)
Resist: attacks that target AC 6
Standard Actions

Melee basic Bite (at will); +8 vs. AC; 1d10+5 damage.
Combat Advantage: target is knocked prone.
Ranged Spit (recharge 4, 5, 6); range 3; +6 vs. Reflex; 1d10+5 acid damage.
Strength: 16 Constitution: 12 Dexterity: 14 Intelligence: 2 Wisdom: 12 Charisma: 10
Alignment: Unaligned Languages: none

Grick Pit-Spawner
Level 4 Elite Controller (XP: 350)
Large Aberrant Beast
Initiative: +3 Perception: +9 (tremorsense 10)
Hit Points: 96; bloodied 48
AC: 20 Fortitude: 19 Reflex: 15 Will: 18
Speed: -
Resist: attacks that target AC 6
Saving Throws: +2
Action Points: 1
Crumbling Pit; aura 2; area is considered difficult terrain. Creatures that end their turns within the aura are pulled 1.
Standard Actions
Melee basic Tentacle (at will); reach 4; +9 vs. AC; 1d10+4 damage and target slides two squares.
Probing Tendrils (at will); make two tentacle attacks against different targets.
Free Actions
Melee Bite (once per round; at will); +9 vs. AC; 2d8+4 damage and ongoing 5 acid (save ends).
Strength: 18 Constitution: 18 Dexterity: 12 Intelligence: 2 Wisdom: 14 Charisma: 10 
Alignment: Unaligned Languages: none 

When the Far Realms come into contact with the world, strange things happen. Physics in the effected area stop working predictably. Freak weather events occur. Most disturbingly of all, living things are heavily mutated, sometimes seemingly from the ground up. In particularly extreme cases, multiple plants and animals will fuse together into a single, shapeless, living miasma, and that amorpheous mass will then disgorge creatures unlike anything native to our world. The grick is one such creature.

Grown from the melted - but still living - material of plants, animals, and people, gricks are part of an ecology that should never exist in the universe as we know it. Physically, a grick resembles a two and a half meter long, rubbery snake or worm. In place of a head, the creature has a large, molluskoid beak surrounded by four, sucker-studded tentacles. Semi-social carnivores and scavengers, gricks hunt in small packs, usually preferring to ambush their prey. Gricks breed rapidly and asexually, and seem to be the harbingers of other invasive, aberrant species when they expand beyond the original infected area. Gricks are also great burrowers, which can make their migrations hard to detect. When they have the means to reproduce on a larger scale (read; a well defended lair with abundant food), one of the gricks will grow into a bloated, immobile creature that buries itself in the dirt like an ant lion, relying on the other gricks to throw food to it so it can produce dozens of spawn.

Although made of native materials, gricks have physical properties unlike those of the creatures they are built from; of particular note is the way their rubbery flesh resists being cut or smashed.

Lore (Dungeoneering):

DC 20: Gricks are mutant freaks, shaped out of the flesh of living (and possibly conscious) creatures that were corrupted by the Far Realms. Worse than either their acidic saliva or their knack for bursting out of the soil is their tough, alien flesh, which is resistant to mechanical attacks.

DC 25: There are three common forms of grick. Burrowers, which are responsible for their extensive tunnel networks, and Droolers, who are tasked with externally digesting prey so that the gricks can drink it. Both types work together to bring down their victims. When food is especially plentiful, the largest grick in the pack will mutate into a large, immobile creature called a Pit Spawner, which consumes massive quantities of meat and produces baby gricks at an even more alarming rate than usual. When it is time to migrate, the other gricks devour the Pit Spawner.


Burrowing and Drooling gricks are almost always encountered side by side, and their abilities synergize quite well. The Burrowers pop up to flank an enemy, either with a Drooler or another Burrower, and use their combat advantage to trip it. As soon as the enemy is prone, a Drooler will try to Digest it.

If a Burrower isn't available to help, a pair of Droolers will gang up on a single enemy, one using its Tentacles to trip the target so that its fellow can use Digest. Conversely, if a Drooler doesn't see a good opportunity to get Combat Advantage, it will pop up a few squares a way from the enemy and use Spit as often as it can.

If the pack includes a Pit Spawner, the other gricks will do everything they can to herd the enemy into reach of its hungry tentacles, sometimes bull rushing them into its Crumbling Pit. The Pit Spawner, for its part, will use its Tentacle attacks to flank the enemy with its smaller kin.

Lacking intelligence beyond basic teamwork, gricks are not clever enough to focus their fire on enemy spellcasters, whose elemental attacks pose the biggest threat. Of course, if these gricks were the trained warbeasts of a smarter aberration...


While a pack of gricks can make a fine encounter on its own, there are plenty of other possibilities. It may be that gricks are more hostile toward non-aberrations than they are toward creatures of their own ecosystem, and are wiling to temporarily gang up with other aberrant wildlife to eliminate such intruders before going back to their normal, predatory behavior. Furthermore, as noted above, gricks may be trainable; if this is the case, perhaps intelligent aberrations like foulspawn could use them as hunting hounds.

Note to DM`s: due to its immobility and lack of ranged attacks, the Grick Pit-Spawner can only make an effective enemy if it is encountered in an enclosed area, such as a cave, preferably no more than thirteen or fourteen squares across. Take this into account when designing your encounters.

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