Grell (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Grell (D&D monster).jpg
Publication history
First appearance

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the grell is an aberration.


The grell is a levitating creature with a body like a giant olive-colored exposed brain the size of a human and with a frontal beak, below which trails ten long pale olive-green tentacles. Grell are usually found underground and are particularly dangerous and vicious. The tentacles carry small spines that inject paralyzing venom into a victim.

Publication history[edit]

The grell was introduced to the D&D game in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The grell was first published in White Dwarf #12 (April/May 1979), in the "Fiend Factory" column, originally submitted by Ian Livingstone.[1] The grell then appears in the first edition Fiend Folio (1981).[2]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The grell appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix (1990),[3] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[4]

Several variations of the grell for the Spelljammer campaign setting appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix II (1991), including the patriarch grell, the philosopher grell, the soldier grell, and the worker grell.[5] The patriarch grell, the philosopher grell, and the worker grell appear as part of the grell entry in the Monstrous Manual (1993).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The grell appears in the module Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (2001),[6] and was later featured in the Monster Manual II for this edition (2002).[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The grell receives its own chapter in the book Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations (2005),[8] which includes the grell hatchling, the grell juvenile, the grell patriarch, and the grell philosopher.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-2014)[edit]

The grell appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the grell philosopher.[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014-)[edit]

The grell appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2014).


Tyler Linn of identified the grell as one of "15 Idiotic Dungeons and Dragons Monsters" in 2009, stating: "So the D&D world really uses the whole "floating" thing as a crutch to make ridiculous looking monsters that would never be able to travel on land unless they were strapped into a car seat in the back of a Chevy Malibu. Also, while the Grell is undoubtedly suited for the task of scaring nine-year-olds, we don't feel it would pose a serious challenge to a seven-foot tall barbarian warrior that drinks the blood of the fallen. That head has the look of something he could fuck up by poking it really hard with his finger."[10]