Saturday, 6 October 2012

Monster: The Groke

Groke, The
Frequency: V. Rare (unique)

No. Appearing: 1
AC: 8 (0 vs missiles)
Move: 9" or 3" (see below)
Hit Dice: 6, 7, or 8 or more.

% In Lair: 1%
Treasure Type: In lair only:F
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-2/1-2/1-10
Special Attacks: Psionics/Fear, Cold.
Special Defenses: Immune to cold.
Magic Resistance: 20% Vs fire and light
Intelligence: Average (low)

Alignment: N
Size: M (spring, summer) or L (autumn,winter)
Psionic Ability: Special
   Attack/Defense Modes: Special
Lv/xp: VII/1725+10 per hp

The Groke's origins are unknown but many assume that they are tragic. Whatever they are, the being known as The Groke is certainly unique and her loneliness is a power which radiates from her, creating an aura of fear which spreads around her in layers, accompanied by a deeply chilling cold.

In the summer she is at her smallest of 6 HD, in  spring and autumn she has 7 HD and in winter she has 8. In addition, damage based on cold actually heals her and if enough "damage" is done to heal her beyond her current maximum (eg, 64hp in winter) then she will actually gain extra hit dice. So, if The Groke has 70hp and is struck by a cone of cold for 35 damage, she will have 105hp and 14HD (105/8, round all fractions up). Such extra hit points do not heal when lost (even by application of cure spells) and as they are lost, the extra dice go with them, so if in the previous example she was then struck for 12 weapon damage she would lose 12hp and two hit dice.

Anything she touches (or which touches her) suffers 1-2 points of damage from the cold, enough to kill grass, worms, small animals etc. and even standing near (10') her will do similar damage per round after a number of rounds equal to one's Con score. This effect also allows her to walk across bodies of relatively calm water at a rate of 3", as each footstep instantly freezes the surface to a depth sufficient to support her weight.

Despite, or rather because of, her coldness, fire does half damage to The Groke and if she approaches to within ten feet of a normal fire it will be extinguished, producing the smoke effects of a pyrotechnics spell. Magical fire is likewise extinguished if her special magic resistance roll succeeds. Flammable liquids such as lamp oil are apparently not affected by this.

Animals within half a mile (88") of The Groke will become restless and if able to will instinctively move away from her. The urgency of this will increase with her approach. Within a furlong (22") it will become hard to control animals that are not trained for war.

The fear caused by The Groke is such that at very close ranges even inanimate objects such as grass, sand, leaves etc. will move away from her. Although this effect is relatively slow it makes aiming missile weapons at her much harder as the missiles themselves attempt to avoid touching her! Hence, she has a much better AC against missile attack than melee.

If The Groke is in sight and less than 22" away, all creatures are subject to a fear spell. Those that save are immune to this effect for a number of rounds equal to their CHA score (use INT for monsters/animals etc) after which they must make the save again.

This fear is primarily the fear of loss and those who are very young (ie, are younger than the start of "young adult") are less affected by it than others. Conversely, its affects are such that elves do not receive any special immunity, although any character's wisdom bonus is counted in the saves.

Those that approach The Groke closely enough for melee combat must face the full focus of her psychic anguish should she detect hostility. This is modelled by the Psionic Blast table. As with the fear effect, elves receive no racial bonus and those that save need not re-roll for a number of rounds equal to their CHA (or INT) score. This applies indiscriminately to anyone within 20' of the Groke once she has decided that she is unwelcome.

In combat, The Groke will grab with her long hands and bite with her huge mouth, enveloping and swallowing whole any smaller creature should she succeed in hitting with all three in a single round (save Vs Death to avoid). Anything swallowed by The Groke is gone forever, consumed by the absolute blackness in her.

This blackness is like a hunger to The Groke and she is attracted by light sources and greatly values gems, which can be used to bargain with her (for she can speak), usually to get her to leave. It will also negatively affect any light spells illuminating an area that she enters, based on a magic resistance of 20%. Any light dispelled in this way will not resume after her departure. This applies to light cast by magical items, including swords etc.

The Groke is not aggressive as such, although she is quite bad-tempered, and in most encounters will simply play the part of an obstacle which must be avoided, bribed, or otherwise managed.

Where The Groke's home is is unknown but where ever it is it is sure to contain gems, bright metals, and magical lights of all sorts, although many of the latter will have been spoilt by her magic resistance.

Description: The Groke appears to be a shaggy pile of brown hair with a large nose, two pale eyes, and a row of white teeth. As the hair hangs down to the ground, no one is sure what she looks like underneath it nor does anyone really want to know. She has two long arms which usually remain hidden within the mass of hair, showing only the hands with their black leathery skin and grasping fingers. Her voice is redolent with loss, misery, and scorn.

The Groke is a character from Tove Jannson's classic children's stories about The Moomins. I've extrapolated slightly for AD&D usage, but this is mostly intended as a faithful rendition of the horror of Moominland's midwinter.

1 comment:

  1. My wife loves the Moomins, might give this a whirl in the future! :D