5e Monster Monday: Duergar Grudgekeeper, an Evil Dwarf Controller for D&D
I’m going to kick off my Monster Monday with one of my favorite foes in Dungeons and Dragons, Duergar. I’m a Dwarf guy. I like beards, beer, beating things with hammers until they work…or stop working, the whole schtick. I even do the tired old Scottish brogue when I get a chance to play one because–well, because I’m a sucker for a classic sometimes. That being said, I think that there’s always room for a new take on a classic, or another weapon in their arsenal.
Gray Dwarves are a nice break from the standard smacking of Orcs, and typically are a little more unfamiliar to your PCs than Drow. They don’t have a dual-scimitar wielding Duergar yet, after all. All Duergar have a little bit of magic, but I like the idea of a Duergar who uses the anger of this lost subsect of Dwarves banished to the lightless caverns below as a weapon. So, presented for your approval, a Duergar Grudgekeeper.
The grey-skinned humanoid’s milk-white eyes flicker with an eldritch power. Seated beside a vacant throne, a tome open across his lap, he looks in your direction. You’ve slain dozens of Duergar in your assault on the Kamorrhold, and while others come on with axes, growing larger as they charge, it’s the motion of a quill which sets your heart hammering. As the first rune is scribed, your eyes water. As the next is in place, your muscles burn. When the final glyph meets paper, your fate is sealed. The Duergar never forget a grudge...
Duergar clans are typically thought of as dour, joyless, and utilitarian in their pursuit of wealth and power. This is a common misconception. In point of fact, there is a single place in Duergar society where artistry and craft is appreciated. The art of the Grudge is so widely regarded amongst the Gray Dwarves that no petty tyrant amongst their number would dare consider themselves a power without a Grudgekeeper in their employ.
Charged with keeping a pitiless history of every blood debt, every imagined insult, every petty slight, and every unintentional slight that the clan has endured since its inception. Such tomes are prodigious works of staggering detail. Such things are magnets for negative emotion, and in a strange and haunted Underdark, they begin to take on a life of their own.
Whether the Tome serves the Grudgekeeper or vice versa is a question better not considered except from a safe distance.
Medium Humanoid (Dwarf), Lawful Evil
Armor Class: 15 (scale mail)
Hit points: 59 (9d8+18)
Speed: 25 ft.
Str: 16 (+3) Dex: 11 (+1) Con: 14 (+2) Int: 12 (+1) Wis: 10 (+0) Cha: 16 (+3)
Damage Resistance: Poison
Senses: Darkvision 120 ft, Passive Perception 10
Languages: Dwarven, Undercommon
Challenge 5 (1800 xp)
Duergar Resilience: The duergar has advantage on saving throws against poison, spells, illusions, as well as to resist being charmed or paralyzed.
Sunlight Sensitivity: While in sunlight, the duergar has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (perception) checks that rely on sight.
Enlarge (Recharge on a Short or Long Rest): For 1 minute, the duergar magically increases in size, along with anything it is wearing or carrying. While enlarged, the duergar is Large, doubles its damage dice on Strength based weapon attacks, and makes Strength checks and Strength saving throws with advantage. If the duergar lacks the room to become Large, it attains the maximum size possible in the space available.
Cudgel: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) or 9 (2d6+3) when enlarged
Invisibility (Recharge on a Short or Long Rest): The duergar magically turns invisible until it attacks, casts a spell, or uses its Enlarge, or until its concentration is broken, up to 1 hour (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the duergar wears or carries is invisible with it.
Scribe Grudge: The Grudgekeeper marks a character’s name in the Tome of Grudges and pours the combined hatred of the clan down upon the hapless victim. The character must make a DC 16 Charisma check or receive a level of exhaustion. Duergar within 20′ of the Grudgekeeper receive a +1 to attack and damage while attacking a character whose name appears in the Tome of Grudges. Characters named in the Tome of Grudges reduced to 0 hit points heal duergar within 10′ for 1d6.
Inspired Rage (Recharge 6): The Grudgekeeper speaks a foul verse from the Tome of Grudges and all Duergar within 30′ gain an extra action per the Haste spell. This action can only be used to take the Move, Attack, or Use an Object actions.