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Goristroi were a powerful type of tanar'ri demon that resembled fiendish minotaurs. Their physical prowess was comparable only to that of the balors, but with none of the dangerous intellect to match.[1]


Goristroi had broad, lumbering frames that even among their smallest members stood at 20 ft (6.1 m) tall[1] and weighed 14,000 lb (6,400 kg).[6] Their overall structure was somewhat bear-like, but their arms were long and wide like the trunks of trees.[6][5] Because of this, they moved on their knuckles like giant gorillas as they barreled forward. Great muscularity was clearly visible across their entire squat forms. Necessarily wide shoulders carried a massive head reminiscent of a leering bison, with carnivorous teeth and giant horns that curve upward.[3][6] Their hands and feet were giant and splayed, yet still humanoid in shape.[5]

A wide variety of color pallets existed among them including dark brown, sickly green and purplish gray. Tame goristroi often had markings indicating their masters, whether they be collars, bands, tattoos or horn carvings. While the maximum size of the building-sized behemoths was unknown, the largest reported goristro was 200 ft (61 m).[6]


Goristroi were completely lacking in subtlety, and without the supervision of a more intelligent being, were prone to going on rampages in random directions. If left this way, they had little in the way of goals outside of being predators, despite not needing food. They consumed for the simple but cruel fun that came from eating living things, and cared not if something was actually edible. So long as an object was small enough to fit in its mouth and moved, the goristro would not hesitate to eat it: a clear demonstration of their greatest weakness.[5]

Goristroi were amazingly unintelligent beings who only concerned themselves with smashing things, and only the rare object they found aesthetically appealing escaped their destruction. Due to their utter stupidity, this hoard would consist of objects ranging from precious treasures to pretty pieces of trash.[6] The positive aspect of a goristro's behavior was that they could be trusted, if not always relied upon, to complete their tasks to the best of their abilities. They blindly followed their commands with heavy fanaticism, completing their duties unless told to do something else or upon death,[5] although they might attempt to eat a significantly unimportant tanar'ri if no one was looking.[4]


Goristroi were strange among tanar'ri in that they possessed practically no supernatural abilities associated with their kin. They could not communicate telepathically, although they could still speak, and were incapable of summoning more tanar'ri to their aid. What little magical ability they had let them climb walls, levitate, and strike fear into the hearts of those around them.[3] They also had minor regenerative powers,[6] and shared the preternatural navigational skills of minotaurs, never becoming lost and hunting through labyrinthine passages with ease.[1]


Goristroi only had a feral beast's grasp of tactics. They went on rampages using horn, hoof, and fist to destroy everything around them. If surrounded by many lesser opponents, they could stamp their feet with all their might to cause small earthquakes and disrupt all non-goristroi around them, and were trained to throw giant rocks which could be hurled at distant enemies.[3]

Goristroi made exceptional siege beasts, obliterating walls and buildings with ease, unhampered by minor injuries. However, they hesitated to scale walls, as their massive size made falling all the more dangerous. Due to their overwhelming idiocy, however, one could theoretically use mental magic to repel goristroi away.[4]


When being used by other demons, goristroi were both siege weapons, battle platforms, and rallying points, hosting small groups of demons upon its back as it smashed enemy walls and threw stones like a living catapult. The best way around this deadly formation would be to try and flank a goristro in hopes that it would lumber back and forth and batter those in its citadel to death.[4] If not being trained as war weapons, goristroi were used as guard beasts for the hoards of powerful demon lords. Even though they only possessed rudimentary intelligence, they could be trusted to enforce simple rules, such as to prevent others from stealing or protect targets from harm.[6][4]

Because of their lack of intelligence and treasured status, the method used by a goristro's master to label it normally allowed them to keep in telepathic contact with their pets and track their locations.[6] While not rare, goristroi were hard to capture in the wild, although 90% were in service to a greater power.[3] If not captured, they could normally be found wandering the Elemental Chaos or the Abyss, particularly in the Endless Maze or cold caverns of the Endless Wastes.[6]

Orcus himself used goristro demons, but through his experiments using their lifeless bodies gradually perfected his own personal creations. The haures were goristroi with the lower half of a giant spider and that had no thought for anything outside of battle, but did not possess the stupidity of normal goristroi. Due to their spider-like appearance, they were often used as the commanders and front-line warriors against the armies of Lolth as an insult.[7]


Goristroi almost never bred naturally, but instead were mated by their owners after lengthy negotiations with another goristro's master. Both had to be watched closely to avoid trickery by the other side, such as abduction or infanticide. The terms of the agreement normally had the single child be given to whichever side had a goristro of the opposite sex. After 5 years the beast would reach maturity, allowing whichever owner received it to breed his own, albeit inbred, ones. Breaking of the terms of these agreements, even through simply buying the young, were common. It was never allowed for a goristro's parents to have influence on it.[4] Centuries worth of selective breeding within fighting pits only enhanced their already dangerous physique.[6]

Old reports claiming that goristroi did have to eat claimed them to be purely carnivorous and incapable of eating plant matter. Two weeks without food would be enough to kill them according to these, and their flesh itself was poisonous to consume.[4]


As one might predict, the goristroi were the creations of Baphomet, made within his Tower of Science, and his most legendary monsters. The Horned Lord allowed glabrezu to capture his favorite beasts, knowing that their prevalence throughout the Abyss brought him fame and glory.[2][8] When not being captured they stalked his Endless Maze hungrily wandering throughout the halls crushing enemy and ally alike.[8] They were nearly always seen on the Material Plane due to the activities of one of Baphomets' cultists, summoned due to the need for a guardian.[2]

A goristro named Orwantz under the personal command of Graz'zt patrolled Azzgrat's borders to defend travelling merchants by destroying the few bandits that prowled the area. He demanded tribute from his protectorates, that often found it's way into the Argent Palace's treasure chambers.[9] Orwantz wore a crown of black adamantine with black opals that signified his relation to Graz'zt, and it was rumored the jewelry allowed Graz'zt to temporarily possess him, combining shocking strength with a cunning mind.[10]

The largest known goristro was ten times the size of most and known as Bjornganal. He walked around the Abyss with a small village of araneas living on his back and shoulders.[6]

In 1486 DR, Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre successfully summoned a goristro and used it as her personal representative and soldier in Menzoberranzan.[11]


See Also[]


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Further reading[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 53, 59. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 164–166. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “Monstrous Supplement”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), pp. 26–27. ISBN 1560768746.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Gary Gygax (November 1984). “From the Sorcerer's Scroll: The Goristro revealed”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #91 (TSR, Inc.), p. 8.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  7. Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 116. ISBN 978-0786954926.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 152. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  9. Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  10. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). Planes of Chaos. Edited by Michele Carter. (TSR, Inc), p. Cannot cite page numbers from this product. ISBN 1560768746.
  11. R.A. Salvatore (September 2015). Archmage (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 196. ISBN 0-7869-6575-4.