You found Grick in all the wrong places! This is a versatile encounter against low intelligence monsters that easily plugs into (or funnels into) a bigger plot-line. Grick are pretty standard sword-fodder in the Underdark. If you’re not dropping them onto your adventurers (literally – drop – them- ONTO- the party) in your Underdark adventures we recommend working some into the action. If you want a cool plot device insert them into areas outside the Underdark. Here’s 3 places to put them, afterwards we’ll explain the plot they funnel your party into:
1- Grick have infested the sewer system beneath the city: Everybody poops and city sewers have been infested with Kobolds for time out of mind in fantasy settings. How about something a little different? Gricks fit that bill! Stick them in the sewers and then commence to biting the party with them.
2- The Forest is no longer safe: Travelers moving through the forest outside of town tell horrifying tales of giant worms dropping from the trees and killing people, and horses, and whatever they can find to flop down on!
3- Any old abandoned building: Mr Jenkin’s old mill has been the setting for children’s tales of terror ever since Gnarg, the fighter in your party, was a kid in this very village. But now kids that take the dare to explore the haunted mill don’t come back out again!
So, what’s the plot-hook you can build off any of these encounter ideas? There’s something more sinister lurking below… Something so dangerous that the Grick have fled their subterranean lairs deep beneath the earth and creeped their beaky ways to the surface. What big bad boogey do you want to stick down there? Aboleth? Beholder? Purple Worm??? The CR sky is the limit for you! Have the party make a Nature check and if they roll sufficiently high enough have them deduce that the Grick shouldn’t be here. Drop a studious NPC (a researcher, an old mage, or a retired adventurer) across their path and have them give the party the plot-dump.
Here’s FIVE things to keep in mind when running Gricks:
1) They Climb: Their Climb speed is the same as their non-climb speed. So use that to the Grick’s advantage. Have them scurry up the walls only to drop back down on the party again.
2) If they hit… they hit again! Their first attack is with their creepy-hook-ended tentacles. If they hit you with one of those they pull you towards their beak for a second attempt at you. Play up the freakyness of a monster with grabby tentacles around it’s mouth!
3) They stealth real good around rocks: DON’T forget that. With the oft-used ways that players beef up their perception (passive and active) it gets harder and harder for a DM to get the drop on PCs. Make sure to make their stealth checks in rocky conditions with advantage.
4) Grick Alphas!!!!! Don’t forget about the big bad boys of Grick-dom! More AC, more HP, more attacks! AND: resistant to nonmagical weapon attacks! Toss in an Alpha to spice up your combat-salsa!
5) Grick scale really well: A regular Grick is a CR 2 monster. That means you can throw 3-5 Grick at a powerful party and they’ll at least break a sweat. It also means you can drop a lone Grick on that early level party and they’ll burn spell-slots and action surges but maaaaaybe nobody goes into death saves. When you add in the Grick Alpha the scalability gets even better. A CR7 “boss-critter” with a gang of CR 2 goons makes for a manageable encounter to run from behind the DM screen and a fun challenge for those huddled around the battle-mat munching gummy-worms and mumbling, “C’mon Natty 20…C’mon 20!”
Slap a Grick or two on the ceiling of your next cave and see how much fun you can have with them! They’re many Top 5 Worm-creatures lists!*
*OK, OK we’ve NEVER seen a top 5 worm-creature list but… it gives us an idea for a blog post!