Griffon (Dungeons & Dragons)

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DnD Griffon.png
An illustration of a Griffon
First appearancethe Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974)
Based onGriffin
TypeMagical beast

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, the griffon is a powerful, majestic and fierce magical beast.

Publication history[edit]

The griffon was based upon the griffons of various mythologies.[citation needed]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The griffon was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described as being the most prized of steeds, and fond of horse flesh.[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The griffon appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[2] where it is described as an aggressive carnivore whose favorite prey is horses; it seeks cliffs and rocky habitats in which to build its nest.

Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the griffon, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977),[3] Expert Set (1981 & 1983),[4][5] and the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).[6]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The griffon appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[7] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[8]

The griffon is further detailed in Dragon #161 (September 1990), in "The Ecology of the Griffon.".[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

The griffon appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[10]

Savage Species (2003) presented the griffon as both a race and a playable class.[11]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The griffon appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–)[edit]

The griffon appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the rimefire griffon. The hippogriff also appears under the griffon entry in this edition's Monster Manual.[12]

Physical description[edit]

Griffons have the hindquarters of a lion, and the forequarters of a giant eagle. Large wings come from their backs, and their tail is a mix of fur and feathers.


Griffons are highly prized as aerial steeds due to their gracefulness and valor. In order for this, a griffon must have a friendly attitude towards the tamer/rider. As they are goodly creatures, the rider must be good or neutral himself. Riding a griffon requires six weeks of training, and an exotic saddle. Sometimes griffon eggs are stolen and they are raised to be mounts from birth, but this is rare, as griffons defend their eggs well. Griffons attack by pouncing or diving from above, and then slashing with the claws of their front paws. For some reason, griffons hate horses with a passion, most likely because they commonly hunt hippogriffs as food, creating an intense conflict between the two species.

Griffons cannot speak, but understand Common.

Griffons are neutral in alignment.

In Eberron[edit]

In the Eberron campaign setting, the Griffon is the heraldic beast of the Dragonmarked House Jorasco.

Other publishers[edit]

The griffon appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (2009), on page 168.[13] The griffon is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Mythical Monsters Revisited (2012), on pages 16–21.[14]


  1. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  2. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  4. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Dave Cook. Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set (TSR, 1981)
  5. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 2: Expert Rules (TSR, 1983)
  6. Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  7. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  8. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  9. Kederich, Christopher. "The Ecology of the Griffon." Dragon #161 (TSR, 1990)
  10. Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  11. Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. Savage Species (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  12. Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  13. Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)
  14. Benner, Jesse, Jonathan H. Keith, Michael Kenway, Jason Nelson, Anthony Pryor, and Greg A. Vaughan. Mythical Monsters Revisited (Paizo, 2012)

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