Monsters of Innistrad in D&D: The Gitrog

Today’s post is another creature, more specifically one of my favourites. The Shadows Over Innistrad story Sacrifice by Michael Yichao is probably my favourite piece of MTG story, which focuses on a small town collapsing into hysteria due to alleged sightings of a huge creature in Lake Zhava…

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From Beneath the Lake. The Gitrog spends much of its time beneath the waters of Lake Zhava, only surfacing at night to hunt at the edges of the lake. The Gitrog is an ambush predator, and despite its huge size, is capable of stalking and killing its prey in near silence, its attacks only audible from the impact of its tongue, and the crunch of bone

seconds later when the Gitrog’s prey is pulled into its maw.

Transfixing Stare. Those who are killed quickly by the Gitrog are perhaps the lucky ones. To look into the eyes of the Gitrog is to loose one’s free will, a bleak dark eternity revealed by the deep pits of the monstrous amphibian’s eyes. The Gitrog can compel those who fall victim to its gaze to turn against their allies, killing each other and leaving the Gitrog with an easy meal.

Revered by its Prey. The fear of the Gitrog is enough to drive people to commit dark acts of tribute, in  futile attempts to keep the horror sated. The Gitrog’s worshippers will try to feed it both in an act of worship and to try to satisfy its hunger. Unfortunately, this can only last so long, and those who try to appease the Gitrog eventually fall prey to it themselves.

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The main point of reference for abilities from MTG lore was the story Sacrifice by Michael Yichao. I felt that as a creature in D&D, the Gitrog was important to portray as the lurking horror that it is presented as in this story, so I made it clear that its hunting patterns rely on stealth and ambush. The Hypnotic Gaze effect was an equally important part of this source material that I wanted to emulate.

The rules for the Gitrog were inspired by a number of large and amphibious creatures, particularly the Giant Frog & Giant Toad, and the Froghemoth, which served as a core base for many of the Gitrog’s stats. The Hypnotic Gaze ability took inspiration from the similar abilities of both the Umber Hulk’s Confusing Gaze and the Vampire’s Charm ability. The CR was decided by comparing the Gitrog to the Purple Worm, which can deal slightly more damage than the Gitrog, but lacks a hypnotic gaze effect. The Gitrog and the Purple Worm also share the ability to swallow their foes during combat.

This post is a bit later in the day than usual, but I’ve been spending ages working on a cosplay for a convention next weekend. Nevertheless, the convention won’t mean there won’t be a post next weekend, but it may come at a slightly later time too.

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