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Grendel’s Mother

An illustration of Grendel's mother by J.R. Skelton from Stories of Beowulf (1908) described as a "water witch" trying to stab Beowulf. Grendel's Mother
An illustration of Grendel’s mother by J.R. Skelton from Stories of Beowulf (1908) described as a “water witch” trying to stab Beowulf.

This strange creature is shaped vaguely like a woman, but she is bony and gaunt, and taller then any normal woman. Her skin is covered in a layer of tough scales, and sharp claws tip her webbed fingers. Her gate is awkward and bent on land, but she moves with unusual grace underwater.

Originally Posted by demiurge1138 of the En World forums.

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The true name of Grendel’s mother is unknown; her small role in history is completely defined by her son. She was a large hag-like creature who lived in a submerged hall in a haunted mere with her son. She was more intelligent and wary than her offspring, and she often lurked in the swamps, feeding on lost travelers and wildlife while her son brought her treasures from the outside world.

When she found Grendel dead in the mere from obvious battle-wounds, she flew into a flurry of rage, and traced her son’s blood back to Herorot. She waited until the warriors had fallen asleep, then stalked into the hall and killed Aeschare, Hrothgar’s counselor, taking his body into the swamp to mimic how her son was taken from her. Beowulf followed Grendel’s mother into the swamps and dove after her. Although Grendel’s mother was able to out-grapple Beowulf, her claws could not find purchase in
his chainmail. After dragging Beowulf into her hall to finish him with her knife, he used a giant sword from her hoard to behead her.

Grendel’s Mother
Cain-son* Advanced Annis Hag fighter 4
Large Giant (Augmented monstrous
Hit Dice11d8+4d10+105 (176 hp)
Speed20ft, Swim 40ft
Armor Class24 (-1 size, +1 Dexterity, +14 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 23
Base Attack/Grapple+15/+36
AttackClaw +28 melee (1d6+13) or Large +2 shortsword +29 melee (1d8+15)
Full Attack2 claws +28 melee (1d6+13), bite +25 melee (1d8+6) or Large +2 shortsword +29/+24/+19 melee (1d8+15) and bite +25 melee (1d8+6)
Special AttacksImproved grab, rake 1d6+13, rend 2d6+19
Special QualitiesBlood curse, Darkvision 60ft, DR 15/adamantine, hold breath, Scent, SR 19
SavesFort +14, Ref +9, Will +10
Abilities**Strength 36, Dexterity 12, Constitution 24, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 15, Charisma 10
SkillsHide +11, Listen +14, Move Silently +15, Spot +14, Survival +8, Swim +21
FeatsAlertness, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Power Attack, Track, Weapon Focus (claw)
EnvironmentCold marsh
OrganizationUnique, or troupe (Grendel’s mother plus 1d4+1 nycars)
Challenge Rating13
TreasureLarge +2 shortsword, Large +1 adamantine giantbane greatsword and double coins
AlignmentChaotic evil
AdvancementBy character class


Grendel’s mother dislikes fighting fair; she usually attacks from ambush. She prefers to grapple opponents, drag them into the mere, and tear them to pieces with her claws. If this fails, she relies on weapons, which she keeps in her hall.

  • Blood Curse (Su) In addition to her damage reduction, Grendel’s mother is protected by a vindictive curse should she happen to die. Any slashing or piercing weapon that deals the killing blow to Grendel’s mother is utterly destroyed, melting into a puddle of bloody metal. A magical weapon gets a Fortitude save (DC 22) to avoid this effect.
  • Improved Grab (Ex) To use this ability, Grendel’s mother must hit an opponent with a claw attack. If she gets a hold, she deals automatic claw damage every round and can rake.
  • Hold Breath (Ex) Grendel’s mother can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to 6x her Constitution score before she risks drowning.
  • Rake (Ex) Attack bonus +28, 1d6+13 damage.
  • Rend (Ex) If Grendel’s mother hits an opponent with two claw attacks, she grabs and tears the opponent’s flesh. This attack automatically deals 2d6+19 points of damage.
  • Skills Grendel’s mother has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform a special action or avoid a hazard. She can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. She can use the run action while swimming, provided she swims in a straight line.
  • * The Cain-son template is the half-troll template, with the fast healing replaced with damage reduction
  • ** These ability scores are based on an elite array.
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