The massive Girallon is something I have unleashed upon unsuspecting players, lumbering out of tundra caves and ruling over cursed, temperate forests.
For those unfamiliar, a Girallon looks like an oversized ape with pale tan skin and white fur. Sharp fangs threaten from their bulbous heads, and vicious claws seek to rend. The most surprising element many will notice, however, are its two additional arms protruding from the torso, a feature that cements this as a dangerous monstrosity.
Kings Of The Broken Tower
The giant white apes reside as the sentinels of warm forest environments teeming with life. Adept climbers, the Girallon only nests in trees or structures that can support its nearly half-ton weight. Ruined cities retaken by the forests of the world, shattered towers, and abandoned castles are the jungles they rule (and are the best "branches" to support them). Scaling battlements and walls, a Girallon will perch on tower tops and lookout hooks, anything to keep an eye on the surrounding landscape.
When branches cannot abide, Girallons stalk the forest floor. They lurk in narrow ravines, under natural bridges, and in shallow caves. Despite their size, a Girallon can be quite stealthy while awaiting prey.
Band Of Brothers
However, Girallons rarely live alone.
Forming loose bands of several individuals, including mates and offspring, led by an alpha elder, Girallons create conclaves deep within a lair. While on the hunt away from their band, they use roars and body language to communicate over great distances. While each individual typically hunts alone and far from the others, each successful kill is shared among the group, the best spoils going to the caregivers. The alpha leader may organize members to work together to make a big kill or defend the lair, and in both cases, a success is blanketed among the group. The Band and its survival always takes precedence.
Seeing the peaceful nature among their own kind, other intelligent observers have sought to establish relationships or alliances with the creatures. Beings will learn how to approach their leader, and offer food or shiny gifts as appeasement, but every Band is different. It would take quite a scholar to learn the sophistication required to move from Band to Band, without angering rival groups.
Less enlightened folk have tried to tame or subjugate the monsters. For instance, some crime lords will send wood elves to capture a young Girallon, training them up to serve as the guard to a city's thieves' guild. But care be to one that would keep a Girallon in bondage, for the creature could revert to its predatory nature at any moment.
By The Numbers
A Girallon is a Large Monstrosity without an alignment, but just because they're neutral doesn't mean they won't rip you limb from limb. With hit points ranging from upper 50s to low 90s, these guys will fight for the long haul at mid-level. They've got natural armor, so even your dagger wizard can hit them, but the real question is what happens after.
FOUR ARMS. Count 'em, four! And each one gets an attack. Also, they bite. So that's five attacks each round, with Bonus Actions that allow extra movement. These guys move like monks, and they climb at the same speed (40-50 feet). When they hit, we're talking D6-D8 damage with a solid +4 Strength bonus. If you're fighting one of my Band Elders, double those dice and expect a +5 modifier.
Despite their immense overwhelming attack economy, a decent party with even marginal balance will be fine in combat with one of these. However, if ever they find themselves on the unlucky end of a GROUP HUNT, this can get bad very quickly.
Girallons In The Ionian Worldscape
The original sage's lore for the Girallon paint them as so much more than gigantic apes. Their hereditary affinity for ancient ruins and their strange anatomical appearance lead many historians to believe that they were created or manufactured through magical means - a guardian for some lost empire long ago.
In my worlds and others, the Girallon lost this purpose whenever that civilization fell, turning feral and spreading out into the realms at large. However, tales of intelligent Girallon tribes have made their way into the bardic lores. These mythic monstrosities communicate through sophisticated sign language and evolved vocalizations, their own form of Beast Speech. Some bards even say a few can lurch their way through Common. More importantly, they have learned to use their superior strength and dexterity to industrialize - creating armor, weapons, and simple tools.
If you're keen on a death wish, one can try to find them in the fog-covered continent of Vysoria, beyond the Great Expanse to the east from our central continent. A few have ventured there; wayward, plucky scholars with dreams of discovery glinting in their eyes.
...None have returned...
Now go eat a banana.
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