Monster Analysis: Earthbreaker Groon

  • First appearance: 23 THE REMATCH
  • Encounter appearance: 43 Return to Vasselheim
  • Level 18 or higher Monk, Way of the Open Hand
  • Armor Class 23 (10 + Dex 7 + Wis 6)
  • Difficulty Class 20 (8 + Prof 6 + Wis 6)
  • Base Speed 60 ft (30 ft + Unarmored Movement 30 ft)
  • Legendary Resistance
  • 302 damage taken before Groon ended the encounter

Groon was described as being in peak strength, an elderly human made entirely of muscle and trained to the point of absolute knowledge of the workings of the body (as the Earthbreaker of Kord should be). He is stated by Lady Kima to have “punched someone’s head clean off.“

Groon saved against all of Craven Edge’s attempts to drain his strength. We know that Craven’s DC is a low 12, which should be easily defeated. In fact, with his natural strength and his proficiency on all saving throws (Diamond Soul), we get the impression that nothing short of a Natural 1 would have failed Craven’s drain.

We found the Legendary Resistances particularly fascinating. On one hand, it could imply that he is not a human, but something else taking a human form. On the other, he could have also trained to the point that he became a legendary creature, able to withstand over 300 points of damage. While we’d love to say the former, we’re definitely leaning toward the latter. We also found it interesting that Mercer resurrected the old D&D mechanic of Action Points to give Groon extra turns in the 4th and 5th rounds. We know that Groon took all classes in monk, so the “action surge” ability was not a class feature so much as something Groon was capable of.

One thing that we noticed right away was that Groon also altered the ability Quivering Palm. According to the PHB (p80), a creature who fails the save drops to 0 HP, while a success still takes 10d10 necrotic damage. However, consider that Groon has trained so completely that he is the highest representation of pure strength, and that he was not trying to take out Grog’s true source of strength. It makes perfect sense in-game that Groon was so intimately knowledgeable of the technique that he was able to modify the attack mid-combat to be weaker than the PHB suggests.

We also find it interesting that Groon only blocked 13 damage when, theoretically, with 7 Dex and a monk level of 18 or higher, the minimum amount he should have deflected from Vax’s daggers was 26. Again, 7+1d10 is probably plenty, considering otherwise the monk’s test would have otherwise rendered Vax’s assistance in Grog’s intervention completely useless, which was not the goal. Mercer himself said, “For all those curious, Groon wasn’t out to kill anyone, so even his attacks and abilities were held back in places. ;)”