Vrocks (pronounced: /vrɑːkzvrahkz[6][7]), or type I demons were tanar'ri with a taste for carnage and human flesh that appeared to be humanoid vultures.[1][5] They were known among Abyssal denizens as untrustworthy and flighty creatures ruled by greed,[1][2] but their selfishness and fractious natures were paradoxically paired with uncanny synchronization.[8]

Vrocks are fighters, and they work together with other vrocks with uncommon grace and ability. That is a big thing for the tanar'ri!

Description[edit | edit source]

Vrocks stood 8 feet (240 centimeters) tall and weighed 500 pounds (230 kilograms), appearing as a cross between a vulture and a human. Their bodies were twisted and gnarly with a long neck and limbs all covered in sinew. The parts of their body not covered in sinew, especially their broad wings, were coated with small gray feathers, and their body stunk of offal and carrion. Their beastly appearance was magnified by their long talons and vulture heads.[3][1]

Their long, pointed talons sank into the hard stone, crushing flat the keen blades of Abyssal flint-like crusty sand. A slime oozed from glands beneath their wings, spreading a film over their thick coats of black and gray feathers. Their wide collars of pinfeathers, shining with mucous, stabbed outward like filthy, curved needles.
— An excerpt from The Paladins[10]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Once thought to be loyal only to their own kind, vrocks turned out to be treacherous even towards each other, betraying their fellows for simple, cheap jewels.[4] They were capricious in the extreme, only working together due to their ability to coordinate, and were well-known for abandoning their jobs and joining with new masters they believed to be more powerful. Attempting to bribe the dull-witted demons was normally a mistake, as they also harbored a strong, demonic bloodlust, relishing the screams of their victims and the taste of humanoid flesh. They saw no reason to accept a bargain when they could simply kill the diplomat, take his treasure, and then have the added benefit of sating their need for carnage and having a fresh meal.[1]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

A strange set of supernatural abilities aided the vrocks in their violent endeavors. Every now and then vrocks could emit a bloodcurdling screech so loud it caused those nearby physical pain when they heard it, sending them into a short daze. Small glands scattered throughout a vrocks' wings could release a cloud of spores when shook that would spread about the nearby vicinity and burrow under the skin of nearby targets. From that point, they would grow into thick vine-like structures for a short time and poison the victim although they could be stopped using poison diminishing magic or through the sprinkling of holy water. If allowed to run its course with the victim surviving, they stopped causing pain after a few minutes and would wither away in a few days.[4] Vrocks normally tried to summon another vrock or a small legion of dretches with limited success for each.[1]

However, the most dreadful ability of the vrocks was their Dance of Ruin. When enough vrocks of a certain combined strength gathered together, generally between 3-5, they could begin a dangerous rite through wild dancing and chanting in an ancient language. Through their eldritch screeches, they could craft a weave of lightning-like energy that would engulf the nearby vicinity in a flash of light that destroyed everything within several hundred feet.[4]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Here is the secret: Lure them off one by one. By one. Easy to do to a group of tanar'ri.
— Xanxost[9]

Acting like birds of prey, vrock soared above the battlefield searching for suitable prey to swoop down upon. With beak and claw, they pranced merrily through the skies gleefully ripping apart their quarry. Despite their build and abilities being more suited to mobile combat, their deep need for carnage and general idiocy threw them deep into the heart of melee.[4][3] Despite their many flaws, a flock of vrocks was capable of being an elite fighting force with coordinated attacks of such perfect timing that even devils would have to take notice.[11][4] Their screeching was normally used as a prelude to escape rather than an introductory tactic due to its difficulty.[4]

There were multiple proposed reasons why vrocks did not use their devastating Dance of Ruin ability more often. It was thought that the dance could potentially harm the vrocks as well as any others within the vicinity, although this was a contested belief. Others traced it to the vrocks own unwillingness to cooperate, love for carnage and general stupidity. If another vrock was in danger it was all the more treasure for the others to take, and so it was only done if they were all mutually threatened. The dance also took a considerable amount of time to perform and being stopped in any way, either from pain or other restraints, would force them to start over.[3][4]

Society[edit | edit source]

A gathering of vrocks was known as a "murder", and the size of the group could vary wildly. Typically they moved in groups of under eight members but they were known to organize into squadrons of ten and perhaps greater numbers in times of war.[11][3][4]

Vrocks were known to scheme against their superiors, but due to their skills, were still employed as guards, elite assault troops, infiltrators and covert operatives.[4] They were carefully watched for disloyalty however, as they were likely to switch sides without any notice. Association wiith demonic cults, evil fey, and wicked giants was also possible.[2] Among other demons, they got along the least with chasme who mutually hated one another as the chasme saw them as rivals.[12]

Magic[edit | edit source]

Vrocks followed a peculiar system when it came to learning magic. No matter how intelligent, individual vrocks couldn't become wizards, but a collective of five or more could. The downside of this was that all vrocks had to study a spell before any of them could cast it, but this was compensated for by their increased group adeptness, since a murder of vrocks had the spellcasting strength of some of the most powerful mages.[13]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Vrocks were wrought from the ancient sins of hatred and wrath in mortal souls confined to the Abyss.[14] When other demons transformed into vrocks, they first entered an egg form. Though the egg could be stopped from hatching, if it did, the new vrock would emerge fully formed.[9]

Their feathers could be used as evil spell components.[15]

History[edit | edit source]

As unlikely as it might seem, the vrocks were far more reliable than they once were. There was once a race of ancient vrocks more powerful and magically adept than their modern variants that were nearly wiped out two millennia ago. When one of their leaders brought down the wrath of a powerful demon lord they were practically driven to extinction and supplanted by the more controllable lesser vrocks.[16]

In 882 DR, Prince Simberuel Astalmé of Ascalhorn was killed by vrocks while protecting the dwarven Forgemaster of Sundbarr in the Turnstone Pass.[17]

In 1373 DR, there were at least two vrocks serving Matron Mother Yasraena Dyrr of House Agrach Dyrr in Menzoberranzan. The vrocks were polymorphed as drow so as not to cause suspicion.[18]

In 14851486 DR, vrocks were some of the more common demons roaming the streets of Menzoberranzan. They were involved in the failed defense of Q'Xorlarrin against the dwarves seeking to reclaim Gauntlgrym.[19]

Notable Vrocks[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Dungeon #84, "The Harrowing"
Referenced only
Hellgate Keep
ArchmageBladesingerThe PaladinsResurrection
Video games
Neverwinter NightsNeverwinter Nights: Tyrants of the Moonsea
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Losing Fai

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 64. 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), p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 48. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 110. ISBN 978-1560768623.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  6. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 30.
  7. Dungeons & Dragons FAQ (HTML). Wizards of the Coast. (2003). Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
  8. Eric Cagle (2006-06-06). Minions of the Abyss (Part 1): Winning Tactics Against Vrocks. Tactics and Tips. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2020-12-01.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  10. James M. Ward and David Wise (February 1998). The Paladins. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-0865-3.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Colin McComb, Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  12. Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
  13. Colin McComb, Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  14. James Jacobs (March 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Malcanthet: Queen of the Succubi”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #353 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 23.
  15. Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
  16. Paul May (September/October 1990). “The Standing Stones of Sundown”. In Barbara G. Young ed. Dungeon #25 (TSR, Inc.), p. 16.
  17. Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (July 2002). Silver Marches. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 66. ISBN 0-7869-2835-2.
  18. Paul S. Kemp (February 2006). Resurrection. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 219. ISBN 0-7869-3981-8.
  19. R.A. Salvatore (September 2015). Archmage (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6575-4.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 James M. Ward and David Wise (February 1998). The Paladins. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-0865-3.

Connections[edit | edit source]

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