The Wasted West is known to be host to myriad dangers, from the tribes of dust goblins to vicious sentient plants to the ravening undead that seem to be everywhere. Best known of this region’s hazards, however, are the Dread Walkers, the alien Great Old Ones summoned in the final days of the Great Mage Wars by wizards unaware of the ruin their hubris would bring. The Walkers sleepwalk now, time-trapped for the time being, largely unable to affect Midgard directly, but their legacy remains, and some of them have spawned new horrors upon the Mortal Realm.

The dread spawn presented here are just a few examples of the enduring ruin the Dread Walkers have wrought upon Midgard. These creatures are not all malicious, and they are rarely clever, but like their progenitors, their existence is an affront to nature itself, and they must be expunged by any stout-hearted person who values freedom and sanity.

GRIMMLET

A jagged shard of smoky translucent crystal, approximately the size and mass of a housecat, hovers before you. Despite its seeming lack of interest in anything that lies around it, something about the creature’s non-symmetrical appearance feels offensive to the natural order.

BORN OF THE VOID. Grimmlets arrive in the Mortal Realm from the same portion of the Far Reaches that spawned the Waste Walker Kb’r’ck of Crystal. Grimmlets were named in honor of the unfortunate tracker who discovered them, Aleksei Grimmczyk, who did not survive this initial meeting but whose demise was recounted by his friend, the elfmarked mage Alethrie

STRANGE FAMILIES. A grimmlet’s method of reproduction, creating near clones of itself when injured by arcane energy, can cause them to quickly gather in large familial swarms. Strangely, a grimmlet can only swarm with other grimmlets created from the same progenitor grimmlet and with the progenitor itself, and after about an hour, these swarms disperse and move away from each other to create new swarms through magic injury.

WHISPERING MENACE. Grimmlets do not speak. In fact, they never communicate with other creatures via any known form of language or telepathy. The air around a grimmlet, however, mutters and whispers at all times in a foul-sounding invocation. When the creature uses its innate magic, these whispers rise in volume slightly, giving canny listeners a split-second warning that something, likely unpleasant, is about to occur.

GRIMMLET

Tiny monstrosity, unaligned

Armor Class 11
Hit Points
52 (15d4 + 15)
Speed
0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
8 (−1) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 3 (−4) 10 (+0) 14 (+2)

Damage Immunities psychic
Damage Resistances
bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons.
Condition Immunities
blinded, charmed, deafened, petrified, poisoned, stunned, unconscious
Senses
blindsense 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages

Challenge
1/2 (100 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The grimmlet’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

  • 3/day each: maddening whispers*
  • At will: crushing curse*, minor illusion

Reproduce. If the grimmlet is dealt damage by a spell that does not reduce it to 0 hit points, a number of new grimmlets equal to the level of the spell slot used to cast the spell are created in the nearest empty spaces to the injured grimmlet. If the grimmlet is injured by a spell cast using innate spellcasting, the number of new grimmlets created is equal to the level of the spell cast. Grimmlets injured by cantrips or at-will innate spells create one new grimmlet.

When sixteen or more grimmlets are within 30 feet of each other, they become a grimmlet swarm.

ACTIONS

Crystal Edge. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) slashing damage and an additional 1 psychic damage.

REACTIONS

Self Destruct. When the grimmlet is reduced to 0 hit points, it explodes in a spray of void-infused crystal shards that deals 3 (1d6) slashing damage and 3 (1d6) psychic damage to all creatures within 5 feet of it. Creatures that make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw avoid taking the slashing damage.

GRIMMLET SWARM

Flowing over the landscape like a glass carpet, this mass of smoky crystalline shards moves in a manner most unnatural. Occasionally, a bolt of black or purple energy arcs between two or more of the shards in the swarm.

GRIMMLET SWARM

Large swarm of Tiny monstrosities, unaligned

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points
199 (21d10 + 84)
Speed
0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
17 (+3) 12 (+1) 19 (+4) 3 (−4) 10 (+0) 18 (+4)

Damage Immunities psychic
Damage Resistances
bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons.
Condition Immunities
blinded, charmed, deafened, petrified, poisoned, stunned, unconscious
Senses
blindsense 120 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages

Challenge
10 (5,900 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The grimmlet swarm’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

  • 1/day each: hallucinatory terrain
  • 3/day each: hypnotic pattern, major image, void strike*
  • At will: crushing curse (as 11th-level cantrip)*, maddening whispers*, minor illusion

Reproduce. If the grimmlet swarm is dealt damage by a spell that does not reduce it to 0 hit points, a number of new grimmlets equal to the level of the spell slot used to cast the spell are created in the nearest empty spaces to the injured grimmlet swarm. If the grimmlet swarm is injured by a spell cast using innate spellcasting, the number of new grimmlets created is equal to the level of the spell cast. Grimmlet swarms injured by cantrips or at-will innate spells create one new grimmlet.

New grimmlets created by the grimmlet swarm are not subsumed into the swarm. They instead form a new swarm once sixteen or more new grimmlets have been created.

Maze of Edges. A creature that attempts to move out of or through the grimmlet swarm must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 19 (3d10 + 3) slashing damage.

Shroud of Whispers. As a bonus action, the grimmlet swarm can cast crushing curse* or maddening whispers* on all creatures that share its space.

Swarm. The grimmlet swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a single grimmlet. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The grimmlet swarm makes three attacks with its crystal edges.

Crystal Edges. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d10 + 3) slashing damage and 20 (3d10 + 4) psychic damage.

REACTIONS

Enervating Maelstrom. When the grimmlet swarm is reduced to 0 hit points, it explodes in a plume of ennui that deals 42 (12d6) psychic damage and 1d3 levels of exhaustion to all creatures within 20 feet of it. Creatures that make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw take only half of the psychic damage and one level of exhaustion…

*See also Deep Magic: Void Magic.

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