This was meant to be a “scenic” encounter – that is – the PCs see it and move on. But no, the bamboo folk ninja in my party was keen to talk to the birds via “speak with animals”. This triggered the gryphs. They swarmed the PC and laid eggs in him., which then hatched and flew away. The PCs then retreated. To this day the poor player is teased about “his babies” and that “somewhere out there are baby birds with your face”. Love how games can turn out.
The Lake of Tranquil Contemplation
Here a stream cascades down a series of three weirs which link a trio of lakes, whose surface dances with lilies and lotus plants of great size. Several dozen strange heron-like birds swim or fly near the water, which seem abundant in gold fish.
The lakes are around twenty-feet deep and filled with still, cool water (swim DC 10). The fish are koi carp, some of which have grown to around two foot long. Some thirty gryphs live in and around the lakes. Generally the creatures avoid combat, however, if they are attacked or someone jumps or sails across the lake six of them attack.
During Combat The gryphs attack as an unruly group, attempting to overpower one opponent so that they can implant an egg in them.
Morale The gryphs flee when half their number are slain, however, should their opponent remain either attacking them or in or on the lake a further six rounds later a similar group attack, these attacks go on until half the gryphs are slain, in which case they flee into nearby trees until their attackers or intruders have left the lake, when they all return to the water.
Treasure Some of the koi are of a valuable type which the right collector would pay handsomely for, a knowledge (nature) check (DC 25) or an appraise check (DC 30) reveals that three of the koi are kohaku (they are white skinned with red markings). If the PCs could somehow catch these creatures alive (by for example a profession (fisher) or survival check (both DC 25)) and keep them alive, the foot long fish would raise 1,000gp each to the right buyer.
Swarm of Gryphs
Large swarm of Medium monstrosity, unaligned
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 36 (8d8)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft., fly 30 ft.
Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing
Senses Blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 10
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Implant Eggs (1/Day). A gryph can implant eggs into a target creature. It extends an ovipositor from its abdomen and penetrates the victim’s flesh as part of its sting attack. On a hit, the ovipositor implants 1d4 eggs in the victim. The eggs draw nutrients from the target’s flesh, and sickens the target imposing disadvantage on all ability check and attack rolls. The eggs grow swiftly, hatching in a mere 1d4 minutes into ravenous gryph chicks that immediately burrow out of the victim’s body. This deals 2 points of Constitution damage per gryph chick, after which the hatchlings immediately take wing and fly away (if needed, use game statistics for a bat to represent a hatchling). Removing implanted eggs requires a DC 20 Wisdom (Medicine) check; each attempt deals 1 hit point of damage. Although immunity to disease offers no special protection against gryph egg implantation, remove disease, heal, greater restoration, or similar effects automatically destroy any implanted gryph eggs.
Swarm 2.0. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Medium beast. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points. A swarm takes half damage from attacks that use an attack roll and double damage from effects that require it to make a saving roll. Creatures that are not swarms are impaired while they remain in the swarm’s space or within 5 feet of it and have disadvantage on attack rolls and Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration. The area of the swarm is considered difficult terrain.
Sting. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit*, reach 0 ft., one creature in the swarm’s space. Hit: 7 (2d6) piercing damage, or 3 (1d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer. The target must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, taking 14 (4d6) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. On a failure the target is implanted with 1d4 eggs.
*Only roll “to hit” if the target is wearing heavy armor otherwise this attack auto-hits creatures in the same space.