Sunday 5 February 2023

Encounter: Granny Grindle

Hooray - Granny's in Town!
Art: Fritz Mock

Granny Knows All

"Granny" Grindle (AKA Granny Grind-Your-Bones, AKA Granny Tattle) is a greenhag who lives alone in the wild a few miles from the nearest village, in a turf cottage built in front of a cave on a mossy outcrop of rock which is accessed through a stout wooden door. She is evil, sure, but she has a weakness for knowledge which she hoards almost as obsessively as she does the bones of her many victims.

When divination has failed and sages have shrugged their shoulders, those that are desperate, foolish, or greedy enough might consult with Granny Grindle.

Granny has 39 hit points and a collection of what she calls "nicknacks". Most of these are in fact bones she's carved to pass the time, and quite a lot are folkitems - macrame, basketweave, and even knitted goods brought to Granny as offerings by people in the local area. These people she doesn't eat very often; she likes the status she has amongst them and their offerings of local gossip are worth more to her than jewels. She uses the information gathered to subtly stir up trouble in the local villages, stoking grudges and creating misunderstandings with carefully worded ambiguous statements which can never quite be proven to be malicious on her part. It's like a 200-year-old soap opera, and Granny loves her soaps.

"Outsiders", other than ogres and giants whom she enjoys the company of, are a different kettle of fish. A poor reaction roll will see them eaten before negotiations of any kind are opened. Assuming that a party approaches her with the intent to consult her and she doesn't take an instant dislike to them, then a fee may be arranged. Granny is a plot device, so her chance of knowing the answer to a question must be decided based on the DM's campaign and the nature of the question but generally it should be high if it deals with history or magic within about 100 miles. She should have a good chance to identify rare magic items too, again depending on the DM's conception of the campaign world. But assume that Granny has some supernatural sources of information.

Granny will generally work by giving a partial answer to show that she knows whatever it is a party is interested in, then demand that they agree to perform a task for them. If they refuse, she will kill them. If they agree she will use her special power group quest (1/week). This is like the normal quest spell (cleric, 5th level) but it will affect any number of creatures (of Int 3 or above which can understand the language of the demand) within 6" who are willing. The spell will dissolve if any member of the group fulfils the demand or of the demand becomes impossible (e.g., a quest to find and bring a certain person back to the caster will dissolve if that person dies). The members of the group will magically know if the quest is dissolved. The task is a single collective one - each member can not be assigned a different task even if they are related, for example each member may not be quested to retrieve a different part of the Rod of Seven Parts. Finally, the spell fails if the caster tries to change the quest from what was agreed; but otherwise there is no save. Other than this ability she has the normal powers of a greenhag.

Her demands are invariably one of two types:

  1. Bring back some information about something or someone. She is willing to entertain suggestions about what she might like to learn about but she's always on the lookout for information about other hags and witches or anything about local nobility which might be good for blackmail.
  2. The death of someone who crossed Granny and escaped. This includes people who found a way to break their quests, even if the spell was dissolved automatically for some reason. Granny only cares that they didn't come back with the results she demanded.
Once the quest is fulfilled, of course, there is no ongoing obligation on either side. If Granny thinks that a person might perform other useful jobs, or is in fact a bit dangerous, then she will feign friendliness and bid them good day.

Any outsider who seems unlikely to be of interest to Granny again will go in the pot for stew.

If you are using the previous post's map, I'd place her on the Copeland Island (Hex 0400).


Granny has some "real" treasure, mostly collected from the remains of those who ended up in the pot:


346 pp, 471 gp

Blue Sapphire (1000 gp)
Chalcedony (50 gp)
Deep Green Spinel (100 gp)
Freshwater Pearl (10 gp)
Golden Yellow Topaz (500 gp)
Total value = 1660 gp

Magic Items
Cubic Gate - 1: PMP, 2: Happy Hunting Grounds, 3: Seven Heavens, 4: Ether, 5: Nirvana, 6: Elysium (17500 gp)
Potion of Fire Resistance (400 gp)
Total value = 17900 gp

Total value 21761 gp

The cash is scattered about in little clay pots in the cottage; the gems are woven into dream-catchers in the windows along with lots of coloured glass and ceramic. Magic items are hidden in the cave behind various heaps of bones.


Granny generally looks like a little old human woman in dirty but normal clothing. However, she is habitually invisible when not in her cave/cottage, travelling around her domain using pass without trace and spying on locals to increase her knowledge. If she sees a party approaching she will (assuming that she doesn't just attack them) ensure that they encounter her in whatever form seems most likely to aid her negotiations within the restrictions of her change self power. She may appear as a human, halfling, or half-elf. She may even appear in her natural form if she thinks it will help put the party on the back-foot.


All discussions will take place outside the cottage in an area around a cauldron with tree-stumps for seats. She will insist on everyone sitting and she will sit with her back to the open woods, not the cottage. She's been nearly cornered in the past and will not let herself be pushed into a confined space.

If negotiations break down or Granny feels that something is amiss, she will turn invisible and then use pass without trace and her 90% move silently ability to quickly withdraw and evaluate the options. Her preference will be to pick off a party one at a time but her surprise chance will be only 1-4 against a party who have seen her turn invisible and are expecting trouble. 

Her terrible strength is her main weapon and if she is able to surprise a target without a helm from behind each successful attack with her clenched fists during surprise will do 6 damage and result in unconsciousness if she succeeds in a roll on the assassination table. If there is no one within 12", an unconscious victim will have their throat cut (instant 0hp and bleeding out). Note that any attack negates her invisibility, but once she has resumed that she may mimic the dead figure's voice to lure others into her grasp.

Granny is particularly deadly against humans at night.


Granny will be found just on the edge between inhabitation and wilderness; a few miles from the nearest village just inside a forest or scrubland. Maybe on an island that can be reached by rowboat without too much danger. 

If you are using the previous post's map, I'd place her on Copeland Island (Hex 0400).

Don't forget that a greenhag can swim as fast as an unencumbered human can walk and can breath water.

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