Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grognard's Grimoire: Girallon

Ever since I acquired my copy of the LBBs years ago, I was fascinated by the fact that the wilderness encounter tables included Barsoomian creatures for which no stats were given. As part of my current interest in sword-and-planet gaming, I was planning on taking a stab at some of these Martian monsters, genericizing them a bit, after the fashion of the character classes I've already written.

The first one I thought about doing were the great white apes, which do make an appearance of sorts in the Moldvay edition of D&D. Moldvay's white apes aren't the impressive 15-foot tall terrors of Burroughs and they possess only two, rather than four, arms. Of course, Third Edition did introduce a creature that matches the Barsoomian ape more closely: the girallon. Since it's already Open Game Content, it seemed simpler to adapt it than to create the creature anew, which is what I've done here.

The entirety of this monster is hereby designated as Open Game Content via the Open Game License.

Number Appearing: 1d4+4
% in Lair: 10%
Alignment: Neutral
Armor Class: 6
Move: 12
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: 4 claws (1d4+2), 1 bite (1d8+1)
Save: F7
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XX
XP: 1000

The girallon
is a fifteen-foot-tall albino ape-like creature, lacking hair on its body, except for its head, which also possesses a large, fanged mouth. A girallon has six limbs, the middle set of which can be used either as arms or as legs, depending on the circumstances. These creatures are strong and dexterous and possess remarkable intelligence, with some of them even able to craft crude weapons and other implements. Girallons typically live in small family groups led by a dominant male. Fortunately, girallons are rarely encountered, as they prefer to dwell in out of the way places, particularly the subterranean ruins of past civilizations. Girallons possess infravision of up to 60 feet.


  1. Wizards made a pretty sick mini to represent the Girallon. Actually, they made two, but the first is hideous. The second one is awesome, though.

  2. Nice, James - I think the damage bonuses are excessive for B/X though; imagine a Stranger-8 Super Hero facing one of these, he'd be ripped to shreds in moments. I suggest 4 claws 1d4+2 and 1 bite 1d8+1; that's still a heck of a lot of damage when a magic-sword armed Fighter PC is probably only doing 1 attack of around 1d8+4-5 even at high level.

  3. S'mon,

    Good calls. I'll make those changes now.

  4. I have two of these miniatures that WOTC made (fiendish Girallon) and I love them. Having the PC's face off against four armed opponents is great fun!

  5. Girallons didn't exist before 3e? Wow, I totally never noticed that.

  6. Love the JCoM posts!! Keep it up!

  7. Huh. I could have sworn that the girallon was in the 1E Fiend Folio... but I don't have it with me now to investigate. I have this image in my mind of a four-armed ape from that book. Maybe I am just blurring the dakon, gorilla bear, and quaggoth all together in some weird way!

  8. James, I hope it would be alright if I put these in my Monster book? Let me know. Thanks so much! wilmanric / gmail :)