Monday 29 October 2012

Extremely Crass and Noisy: Gryllus for Monster Monday

The Gryllus is an interesting case for my Monstrous Monday Monster. I statted him up on a piece of typing paper in high-school, having seen him lurking under the furniture and around the bend in more than one Hieronymus Bosch painting (statuettes for sale at the EMuseum Store):

My Spanish book on Bosch identified this kind of creature as a Gryllus, etymology unknown - is it from the Latin for "cricket" or a reference to the crewman of the Odyssey who begged Circe not to change him back from pig to man? Anyway, the Gryllus appears all over in medieval iconography, whenever a manuscript-doodling monk or a cathedral carver got tired of doing torsos:

No-body on the right, no-head on the left.
And okay I'm going to let my 16 year old self take care of the rest of this post, vomit lakes, ordure bogs and all. Stats in parentheses are for the "Bakarout" sub-variety. I think these guys were meant to be the manes/larva equivalent for Tarterus. Ka-scan!

click to enlarge

As a bonus, here's a partially revised version of the gryllus, with improved (?) color illustrations, new stats, and a spiffy two-column layout - forecasting 2nd edition D&D in 1983! - that I never got around to finishing.

click to enlarge
And how would I stat them today, stripped down for generic Old School games?

Knight Gryllus: HD 3, AC 3 [16], MV 6, atk: bite d3 (wounds only heal from rest), spiked headbutt d6; def: non-magical weapons do half damage round down, mind: low, size: 0 (small), xp: 3 HD + 2 minor abilities.
(Visor down: AC 1 [18] but no bite)

Mage/Monk Gryllus: HD 2+2, AC 6 [13], MV 3, atk: bite d3 (wounds only heal from rest), spells as 4th level wizard/cleric, def: non-magical weapons do half damage round down, mind: high, size: 0 (small), xp: 2+2 hd + 1 major and 2 minor abilities.


  1. I've been living a sheltered life! Haha. Yikes.

  2. What a great monster. We're big fans of Bosch and medieval manuscript doodling so these guys were a lot of fun to see all statted-up and ready to go. Fun stuff. Nice to see the game archaeology as well. Very cool!

  3. That is one weird monster - which makes it a most excellent choice for the blogfest. :)

  4. Another new monster to learn about.

    Gryllus -- thanks for sharing!

  5. I love Bosch's paintings. So surreal. excellent choices here!

    Thanks so much for joining my bloghop, I really appreciate it.


  6. With the whole month of these posts, and today especially, it's been made pretty clear there are plenty of monsters out there, and even quite a few types that don't get seen too often. But if we are looking for new themes, or maybe a new way of seeing monsters, iconography is a good place to start.

    I agree on the archeology as well - thanks for sharing that.

  7. Sadly looks like the medieval iconography link is now broken. Guess they pulled the text.