I created the greymen as a replacement for the drow. While the drow were interesting at first, they tend to be overused in literature as the enemy. The greymen are an unknown and highly variable monster that can shake up a campaign.

The greymen’s variability allows the monster to scale with the party’s growth, as the DM can continue increasing the power of the greymen. It also keeps the players from being complacent, as they can’t tell by looking exactly what any greyman is.


Frequency very rare
No. Appearing 3d6, 5d10, or 50d10
Armor Class 2
Move 120′
Hit Dice 3 (d10)
% in Lair 20%
Treasure Type Individually 3d6 SP, 2d6 GP, 1d6 PP/level. In Lair B, C, D
No. of Attacks 2
Damage/Attack by weapon +1
Special Attacks see below
Special Defenses see below
Magic Resistance 5%/level (HD)
Intelligence Low to Exceptional
Alignment Evil
Size M (4′ to 7′ tall)

published in & Magazine Issue 7, Ecology of the Greymen

Note: This article has been heavily revised from the version originally published.


Some members of nominally Good races fall in with evil forces of the Lower Outer Planes, and an unlucky few end up residing there permanently. Of this latter group, most find that whatever bargain they struck was a poor one as death comes all too quickly in this hostile environment.

The ones that survive are typically the strongest, both physically and mentally, of their respective races – such specimens may even thrive in such conditions. Successive generations weed out the weakest as only the strong survive birth, much less childhood in such an unfriendly environment.

These later generations are generally referred to as the greymen, a moniker gained from their appearance: they tend to be gaunt looking with grayish, ashy skin. Overall, they appear different from Prime Material Plane (PMP) races, as their ancestors may be from numerous alternate PMPs and include crossbreeds not known in the mortal planes.

Note that appearance can differ greatly from one band to another, depending on the races of their forbears. However, all are easily identified as greymen due to their gauntness and hue of skin.


Greymen are human-sized and are typically stronger than an average human (hence the +1 damage), although smaller specimens may lack the damage bonus and larger ones may have a greater bonus. All are skilled fighters, attacking twice per round with their weapon of choice, typically a long sword. They always wear armor, typically a form of chainmail and shield.

The greymen’s weapons and armor are made of a strange steel alloy whose hue matches that of their owners. The equipment possesses a demonic sort of magic that is strong anywhere in the Lower Outer Planes. Note that the items do not lose power when on the Inner Planes or PMP, as mortal items do when carried off the PMP. However, the magic does degrade with time when removed from the Outer Planes, typically losing a plus each month the item is outside the Lower Planes. It is unknown if the items regain their power if returned to the Outer Planes before all magic is lost.

The items carried by typical greymen are of +1 quality, and radiate evil if detection magic is used. Picking up or trying to use these items causes 2d4 points of damage to good-aligned creatures, 1d4 points of damage to those Neutrally aligned, and makes even evil denizens of the PMP uncomfortable. Those not inured to demonic or diabolical forces cannot comfortably use the items.

The average greyman can be struck by mundane weapons. However, the magical nature of the greymen increases with power – 5th and 6th level greymen require +1 weapons to hit, 7th and 8th require +2 weapons to hit, and 9th level leaders require +3 weapons to hit.

The more powerful greymen have higher magic resistance, are more likely to have more typical powers, and will often carry better weapons and armor, up to +5 in strength. Typically, 3rd and 4th level greymen will carry +1 items, 5th and 6th will carry +2, 7th will carry +3, 8th will carry +4, and 9th level will carry +5 items. However, this is not a hard rule; lower level greymen may have acquired better armor and weapons by means typically considered foul by Goodly races. Note that the damage inflicted upon good or neutrally aligned creatures who attempt to use these items is commensurately worse, inflicting an additional 1d4 points of damage for each plus above 1.

Generations of existence in the Lower Outer Planes has developed minor magic resistance in the greymen, and some develop powers that the lesser demons and devils manifest. Each greyman may have as many powers as he has levels, has a 5% chance per level of having each power. For instance, a typical greyman (3rd level) may have as many as 3 powers and has a 15% chance of having each power. Roll on the Typical Powers table for powers, re-rolling duplicates.

d50 Typical Powers
1 Blink
2 Burning Hands
3 Cause Fear (as wand)
4 Charm Person or Monster
5 Clairaudience
6 Clairvoyance
7 Command
8 Comprehend Languages
9 Continual Darkness
10 Create Illusion (as wand)
11 Create Water
12 Curse (reverse of Bless)
13 Darkness 5′ Radius
14 Darkness 10′ Radius
15 Darkness 15′ Radius
16 Detect Good 30′ range
17 Detect Illusion 30′ range
18 Detect Invisibility 30′ range
19 Detect Law or Chaos 30′ range
20 Detect Magic
21 Dispel Magic
22 Enlarge/Shrink
23 ESP
24 Feather Fall
25 Find Traps 30′ range
26 Fly
27 Gaseous Form
28 Haste
29 Hold Person
30 Improved Sleep
31 Invisibility
32 Know Alignment
33 Levitate
34 Locate Object
35 Mirror Image
36 Obscurement
37 Passwall
38 Polymorph Self
39 Protection from Good
40 Pyrotechnics
41 Read Languages
42 Regenerate 1 hp/round
43 Shocking Grasp
44 Sleep
45 Stinking Cloud
46 Suggestion
47 Telepathy
48 Water Breathing
49 Water Walk
50 Web

Those of 6th level or greater have a 5%/level of possessing one Special Power in addition to other powers.

d20 Special Powers
1 Animate Dead
2 Cause Critical Wounds by touch
3 Cause Serious Wounds by touch
4 Dimension Door
5 Magic Jar
6 Polymorph Other
7 Project Image
8 Shape Change
9 Symbol of Discord
10 Symbol of Fear
11 Symbol of Pain
12 Symbol of Sleep
13 Symbol of Stunning
14 Telekinese 1,000-6,000 gp wt
15 Teleport
16 Transmute Rock to Mud
17 Wall of Fire
18 Wall of Force
19 Wall of Ice
20 Wall of Iron

In addition, these more powerful greymen have a 2%/level chance of gating in a devil/daemon/demon (depending upon alignment) once each day. They are loath to do this as the gated being will demand a reward for its help, but in extreme cases the greymen will do so.

Leader types also have a 3% chance/per level of being a magic user or cleric (60%/40% chance). The highest reported level magic user or cleric encountered was 9th level. Note: These special leaders always attack on the fighter table regardless of their other class.

The strategies and tactics used by the greymen vary dramatically with alignment and intelligence. Individually the CE greymen tend to be more likely to attack without a well thought out strategy, while the LE ones will generally use a well-constructed plan. Neutral Evil greymen are potentially the most dangerous, as they are harder to predict.

Those that rise in the ranks will always be the most intelligent, cunning, and brutal members of their race. Note that any one of these attributes will suffice to elevate an individual above their norm, but the highest levels require a combination of the traits. Competition is fierce and fatal.

The highest level greymen are individually quite deadly. As a result, all wise devils, daemons, and demons lords watch their greymen minions with care.


The greymen are native to all of the Lower Outer Planes – those dwelling in the Hells tend towards Lawful Evil, those in the Abyss towards Chaotic Evil, and the remainder towards Neutral Evil. Most serve a major denizen of their home plane, living in a militaristic society. The details of each group vary dramatically, depending on the alignment of the plane and the wishes of their Lord.

Groups vary in size, ranging from 50 to 500 adults and double that number of children. If a major Lord has more than 500 greymen in their employ, it’s normally multiple groups. Historically, larger groups of greymen have overthrown their Lord, so the wise limit group size to reduce the likelihood of a similar occurrence.

Groups of greymen will be led by stronger specimens, as indicated below.

# 3 HD Level
10 4
25 5
50 6
100 7
250 8
500 9

For example, a group of fifty 3HD greymen will be led by a 6HD leader with two 5HD adjutants, and five 4HD sub-adjutants.

Advancement in most of these societies is based upon ability, although among the more chaotic, treachery has its place.

Unlike many human populations, greymen women are as capable in combat as the males. As a result, the numbers of each sex are fairly even. Fighting is taught at a very young age, so children ages 3 to 6 are armed with small knives and will attack as kobolds. Children aged 7 to 10 attack as 1st level fighters, while children aged 11 to 14 attack as 2nd level fighters. At age 15 they are considered adult and attack as 3rd level fighters.

Encounters outside of a home area are normally fighting bands. Only 5% are a family unit of 1d10 adults and 4d6 children who are traveling.

Some notable greymen may separate from their Lord and form mercenary bands, ranging in size from 10 to 200 individuals, with equal chances of male and female. 95% of a band will be the same alignment as the leader.

Additionally, “feral” bands exist outside the normal structures of the Lower Planes. These groups, varying in size from 10 to 1,000 adults, avoid the forces of the major figures of their home planes. These groups will not openly aid adventurers to avoid reprisals, but if the risk is low, they may provide covert aid.

Level/XP Value

The make-up of greymen is variable, so assigning experience point values and dungeon levels is not easily done. They may have the following Special Abilities:

  1. use of minor magic armor or weapon (+1 or +2)
  2. silver or +1 weapon to hit
  3. minor powers (for those that roll it)
  4. AC 0 or lower (have to calculate AC)

They may have the following Exceptional Abilities:

  1. use of major armor or weapon (+3 or better) [if they have this they will not have #a]
  2. +2 weapon to hit [if they have this they will not have #b]
  3. major power (for those that roll it)
  4. magic resistance up to 25% OR magic resistance 26% to 50% [when calculating XP I award 1 Exceptional Ability for magic resistance of 1% to 25%, two for 26% to 50%, three for 51% to 75%, and four for 76% to 100%]
  5. spell use (for clerics and magic users)

The XP calculations for each HD of greyman is:

Hit Dice AD&D 5% Rule
3 HD 35 + #SA*15 + #EA*55 + 3/hp 60 + #SA*25 + #EA*65 + 4/hp
4 HD 60 + #SA*25 + #EA*65 + 4/hp 90 + #SA*40 + #EA*75 + 5/hp
5 HD 90 + #SA*40 + #EA*75 + 5/hp 150 + #SA*75 + #EA*125 + 6/hp
6 HD 150 + #SA*75 + #EA*125 + 6/hp 225 + #SA*125 + #EA*175 + 8/hp
7 HD 225 + #SA*125 + #EA*175 + 8/hp 375 + #SA*175 + #EA*275 + 10/hp
8 HD 375 + #SA*175 + #EA*275 + 10/hp 600 + #SA*300 + #EA*400 + 12/hp
9 HD 600 + #SA*300 + #EA*400 + 12/hp 900 + #SA*450 + #EA*600 + 14/hp

Add the Base XP, Special XP, and Exceptional XP and lookup on the table on the Dungeon/Monster Level table to determine the dungeon level of each greyman.

Example: 3 HD soldier, 15 hp, armed with Shield +1 and Chain Mail +1 (AC2), Long Sword +1, has no Typical powers, 15% magic resistance. This one has one SA [use of minor magic armor or weapon] and one EA [magic resistance 15%], so the XP value is: 35 + 1*15 + 1*55 + 3*15 = 150 XP, which is Level III.

Example: 7 HD leader, 42 hp, armed with Shield +3 and Chain Mail +3 (AC-2), Long Sword +3, has 3 Typical powers, 1 Special Power, requires a +2 weapon to hit, 35% magic resistance (counts as 2). This one has 2 SA [AC 0 or lower, minor power] and 5 EA [use of major magic item, special power, +2 weapon to hit, magic resistance (2)], so the XP value is: 225 + 2*125 + 5*175 + 8*42 = 1,686 XP, which is Level VII.

Example: same 7 HD leader is a cleric or magic user, XP increases for 1 additional EA: 1,861 XP.


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