Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Griffon: An Alliance Player’s Old Friend

I still remember first getting one of these back in the glory days of WoW. Made my life so much easier. Remember when getting a flying mount in World of Warcraft was cool? Remember when WoW was cool?

I’m bumming myself out, let’s talk about the monster now.

Lore: The Sky Predator

Unfortunately, the ‘lore’ for the griffon basically doesn’t exist. It’s just seven paragraphs describing how they live and how they hunt and how they can be domesticated. It’s more a pet owner’s guide than a bit of fantasy history. While it does help set up for an encounter, it does little for story telling opportunities.

Not to say that it’s worthless. You could make a fun little side story for a player as they raise a baby griffon to eventually become a powerful mount. Or you could simply use a flying pride of them as a nice little set piece to make the world seem more magical.

It isn’t much. But it’s something!

Design: You Know

Come on. We all know what a griffon looks like. And if you don’t… have you ever read fantasy before?

*Ca-caw! Roar! Ca-roar!* What am I doing?

Sadly, this design doesn’t do anything unique with the griffon. It is exactly what you’d expect: an eagle with a lion’s body. Is it badass? Oh, absolutely! But is it original? Far from it.

I don’t hate this design. Griffons have always been among my favorite fantasy monsters. Still, I do wish that they did something to help this one stand out a little more.

Stats: A Low-Level Flying Truck

Wow. There is just… nothing here, is there?

In terms of defenses, this isn’t a very bulky monster. Its AC is very low and its HP, while decent for a low-level creature, isn’t impressive. But it does have Keen Sight! So… it’s perceptive!

The rest is very straight-forward. It can peck you with its beak or slash you with its claws or do one of each per turn. Both do fair damage for a low-level monster, but it’s definitely on the lower-end of the spectrum. It can mess you up, but it’s hardly frightening.

And… that’s all. It’s a very straight-forward and somewhat boring fight. All it will really boil down to is the two parties bashing against each other until one dies. And in reality, it’ll more than likely be the griffon that goes down.

Placement

The griffon is an iconic monster for fantasy, but not an especially strong monster for Dungeons and Dragons. The lore is just a pet-owner’s guide, the design is iconic but unoriginal, and the stats make for a boring battle. Definitely one of the weaker monsters in the Monster Manual.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Griffon on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Dragon Turtle
  4. Green Dragons
  5. Red Dragons
  6. Blue Dragons
  7. Black Dragons
  8. White Dragons
  9. Silver Dragons
  10. Couatl
  11. Behir
  12. Aboleth
  13. Bronze Dragons
  14. Brass Dragons
  15. Copper Dragons
  16. Gold Dragons
  17. Chuul
  18. Gibbering Mouther
  19. Chimera
  20. Death Knight
  21. Fomorian
  22. Bone Devil
  23. Dracolich
  24. Faerie Dragon
  25. Ankheg
  26. Storm Giant
  27. Hill Giant
  28. Empyrean
  29. Efreeti
  30. Dao
  31. Cloud Giant
  32. Drow (all four of ’em)
  33. Shadow Demon
  34. Marilith
  35. Drider
  36. Aarackockra
  37. Azer
  38. Demilich
  39. Spectator
  40. Marid
  41. Cambion
  42. Fire Giant
  43. Animated Armor
  44. Banshee
  45. Basilisk
  46. Yochlol
  47. Bulette
  48. Cloaker
  49. Darkmantle
  50. Doppelganger
  51. Ghoul and Ghast
  52. Ettin
  53. Pit Fiend
  54. Erinyes
  55. Chain Devil
  56. Bearded Devil
  57. Barbed Devil
  58. Spined Devil
  59. Ice Devil
  60. Djinni
  61. Nalfeshnee
  62. Glabrezu
  63. Chasme
  64. Grell
  65. Barlgura
  66. Horned Devil
  67. Balor
  68. Shadow Dragon
  69. Vrock
  70. Dretch
  71. Gnolls (all three)
  72. Goristro
  73. Hezrou
  74. Manes
  75. Frost Giant
  76. Duergar
  77. Quasit
  78. Dryad
  79. Flumph
  80. Goblin
  81. Githyanki
  82. Planetar
  83. Imp
  84. Clay Golem
  85. Flameskull
  86. Displacer Beast
  87. Carrion Crawler
  88. Githzerai
  89. Grick
  90. Rug of Smothering
  91. Bugbear Chief
  92. Bugbear
  93. Flesh Golem
  94. Vine Blight
  95. Twig Blight
  96. Needle Blight
  97. Bullywug
  98. Ettercap
  99. Gas Spore
  100. Cockatrice
  101. Lemure
  102. Solar
  103. Deva
  104. Gorgon
  105. Griffon <————————
  106. Cyclops
  107. Centaur
  108. Ghost
  109. Fire Elemental
  110. Water Elemental
  111. Air Elemental
  112. Stone Giant
  113. Deep Gnome
  114. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  115. Iron Golem
  116. Stone Golem
  117. Earth Elemental
  118. Galeb Duhr
  119. Flying Sword
  120. Crawling Claw
  121. Violet Fungus
  122. Shrieker
  123. Gargoyle

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