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Grimlocks are savage humanoids that have dwelt within the depths of the world for thousands of years. As such, they have lost their sight in the lightless depths and have replaced their ability to sense the world around them with an acute sense of smell and echolocation.
The underworld is a savage place, and grimlocks are just as primitive. They make crude clothing from the hide of animals and weapons from stone.
Millennia of living in darkness have left the entire species blind and vulnerable to light. Grimlocks are humanoid creatures and have slightly scaled, gray skin that is usually scarred from hunts through constricted passageways. Perhaps the most striking feature of a grimlock is the complete absence of eyes or eye sockets. Blank skin stretches across the upper face, giving grimlocks a shadowed, masked visage. The average height for a grimlock, male or female, is five to five and a half feet. The average weight is around 180 pounds.
Grimlocks prefer to keep to themselves, but their isolation is often disrupted when mind flayers raid their packs looking for slave fodder or, as more often is the case, their mushroom fields are razed and their water cisterns are drained by drow. This leaves the grimlocks starving and desperate, and they are forced to raid surface communities in order to survive. For this reason, grimlocks are hated by surface dwellers.
Grimlocks tend to have intense distrust toward any race other than their own. They quite reasonably act xenophobically to other races, as they are fed on by mind flayers, enslaved by both drow and mind flayers alike, and subjected to extreme depravity by aboleths.
In the Underdark of Faerûn, some groups of grimlocks worship individual medusae, considering them as minor deities. The power of a medusa's gaze is beyond the grimlock's ability to comprehend (as they are blind), so it seems divine to them. More enlightened grimlocks, however, tend to worship Shar, the goddess of darkness.
Many wild grimlocks are born in an extended series of caves that they call the Fingerhome. The caverns of the Fingerhome extend throughout the upper, middle, and lower Underdark.
One tribe of grimlocks resides in the Cavern of Cloven Heads, a small cave that five thousand years prior was the site of a battle between a rear guard of dwarves of Clan Black Axe and a group of drow refugees led by Menzoberra the Kinless (the Lolthite priestess who founded Menzoberranzan). This tribe abandoned their nomadic ways and settled the surrounding caverns. Within the Cavern of Cloven Heads lies a monstrous boulder engraved with runes. Surrounding the boulder are the riven skulls of hundreds of drow. This discovery matched fragmentary legends regarding the grimlocks' lost ancestor mound, so they now revere this mound as such. (This mound is actually an ancient dwarven cairn of the Black Axe Clan. The inscriptions on the boulder are Dethek runes that relate the legend of the "Brave Beards." The rock itself lies atop the spot where the last defender of the dwarven rear guard, Dorn Black Axe, literally sank into the floor of the cavern.)
Grimlocks are the descendants of humans of Uthgardt ancestry from the Golden Eagle and Red Pony tribes. Long ago, in 576 DR (the Year of the Sunless Passage), these barbarian tribes vanished into the Underdark by way of a passage that leads down from beneath One Stone, the Uthgardt ancestor mound located in the easternmost Moonwood. After years of wandering in the lightless passages of the Underdark, these barbarians evolved to the current grimlocks. They still retain twisted vestiges of their ancient traditions, including a depraved form of ancestor worship that involves consumption of the aged and weak while they still live.
For more detailed information, see the article at the Annex.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition
- Tim Beach, Donald J. Bingle, Al Boyce, Vince Garcia, Kris Hardinger, Steve Hardinger, Rob Nicholls, Wes Nicholson, Norm Ritchie, Greg Swedberg, and John Terra (1992). MC14: Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix. (TSR, Inc), p. 33. ISBN 1-56076-428-7.
- Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
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- Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition
- Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet and Monte Cook (October 2000). Monster Manual 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 28, 114. ISBN 0-7869-1552-1.
Dungeons & Dragons v3.5
- Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140–141. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- (Voidmind Grimlock) Andrew Finch, Gwendolyn Kestrel, Chris Perkins (September 2004). Monster Manual III. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
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Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition
- Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
Minor Ethnic Groups
Arkaiun • Bedine • Chultan • Durpari • Eshowe • Ffolk • Frost folk • Gur • Halruaan • Imaskari • Itza • Lantanna • Maztican • Nar • Netherese • Nubari • Raumviran • Shaaran • Shou • Sossrim • Tabaxi • Talfir • Tashalan • Tuigan • Turami • Ulutiun • Vaasan • Zakharan
Aasimar (Deva) • Abbalaya • Deep Imaskari • Elan • Genasi • Githyanki • Githzerai • Grimlock • Half-drow • Half-eladrin • Half-elf • Half-orc • Shifter • Spirit folk • Tiefling