The Grendel Agency
A Scenerio Seed for Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green

From: Morrigan (
Date: Thursday, December 18th , 2003
I find the name Grendel inspiring. Here is one of the things I've done with it. My apologies to any Danes I've offended with this, if I have. The Grendel Agency 939, the Danish government organized the Police Intelligence Agency, within the Copenhagen Police Department, to act within the borders of Denmark and in 1939, the Danish government organized the Police Intelligence Agency, within the Copenhagen Police Department, to act within the borders of Denmark and its territories against threats to the national security, much as MI-5 does and the FBI is supposed to. The PET also looks to the security of the Royal House, and functions as a security advisor to the entire civil administration. This force sometimes employed members of the Copenhagen police as mechanics (physical punishment specialists), and these mechanics were sometimes referred to by the nickname "the Grendels" for their skill at, and enthusiasm for, physical brutality.
In 1955, something was found in Denmark's colonial possession, Greenland. Something terrible. The secret of exactly what it was is unknown. Many carried it to their graves. Some think it has to do with the Nazis and their schemes in Greenland. Others think it might have something to do with aliens, or with Czarist Russia, which had a known but little publicized interest in Greenland. Whatever was found, 1955 and 1956 saw covert actions in Greenland, by nearly every northern nation with the capability, explode. KGB and GRU agents were present on the island for the bulk of the 1950s, trying to make the secret their own. Someone, possibly Majestic 12, employed the remains of the Nazi intelligence apparatus for the same purpose.
Denmark was appalled at the flagrant disregard for its own sovereignty, and turned to one Kjeld Johansen, one of the PET Grendels, for a solution. Given resources and a mandate to "create an effective means to preserve the sovereignty of the Danish state against deliberate incursion, and to maintain Danish control over Item 482 [as the secret discovered in 1955 which caused the whole mess was officially known]", Johansen sought out a particular type of man in the Danish police, both civil and military, as well as those Danes who had collaborated with the Nazis on matters of internal security and espionage: brutal, ruthless men to whom the law was an obstacle to be navigated, not a barrier to be beat against.
On 1957, Johansen unveiled his agency, officially called Grendel. Grendel's leg breakers were put to work evicting all foreign intelligence bodies from first Greenland, then the Faeroe Islands and mainland Denmark as well. A very clear message was sent: you come into Denmark with Danish permission or not at all. Grendel successfully repulsed the GRU, and various American specfor teams as well.
With treaties governing the entry of covert action elements into Denmark, Grendel could focus on reactive enforcement of those treaties, and on keeping the secret of Item 482. To that end, Grendel established a base in Greenland near the place where Item 482 was discovered in 1955. It recruits scientists and academics from throughout Denmark to study Item 482, while keeping others away from it. When makes Grendel a player on the world scene is its capability for action, which is great, and the lengths that it will go to in order to hide the secret of Item 482. Grendel will throw any and everyone out of Denmark that it has to, and, if someone outside Denmark is threatening...
1) the secrecy of Item 482,
2) Danish control of Item 482, or
3) Danish sovereignty (in that order),..Grendel will go after them beyond Denmark's borders. It will take any steps including assassination to promote those three goals.
Basically, Grendel is the very secret mailed fist of Danish policy regarding national sovereignty. It can, and will, take on anyone to advance the goals of the Danish state through covert action, going to whatever lengths are necessary. Beyond enforcing Danish sovereignty through covert action, Grendel tries to, simultaneously:
1) understand Item 482
2) protect Danish control over Item 482
3) keep the very existence of Item 482 secret
It is very good at the last two, and has little success with the first of these goals.
Grendel, bog monster and the misbegotten descendent of Cain
Description: Grendel is a filthy humanoid covered with thick, dark brown, matted fur that has never been clearly seen, even by those who have battled him in mortal combat - the hero Beowulf first among them. Grendel is at least 15 feet tall, when he straightens up, although he usually moves with a stoop shouldered gait. Grendel has more or less human proportions and a manlike frame, although his arms do seem rather long. Grendel's face is anything but human. Grendel frequently bares fierce, sharp teeth, and his ears stand above his head like those of a cat. Grendel's eyes are beady, black, and set closely together. His fingers end in long, curved, dagger-sharp talons, while both Grendel's fingers and toes are webbed to some extent. The filth and excrement that mat his fur render him far more foul-smelling than any natural animal.
Exactly what Grendel is cannot be said. To some, he is a personification of the savagery and remorselessness of the wilderness, sort of an idea come to life, what is known as an allegorical being. Although Grendel haunts the wilderness, he is always close at hand to human settlement, for humanity is both his favorite prey and the focus of his unholy, homicidal envy. Others are convinced that he is some sort of plant elemental. Poetically, Grendel is a descendent of Cain, the first murderer, whose bloodline was cursed by God. The unholy envy and jealously that monstrous Grendel feels towards humanity certainly qualifies as a punishment from God. Some even see a relict Neanderthal as the truth behind the myth of Grendel. It is equally likely that Grendel is not a single, solitary creature, but represents a small population of bog giants. The saga of Beowulf mentions Grendel's even more monstrous mother, and it is entirely likely that this fecund beast had other mighty sons besides Grendel.
Whatever Grendel actually is, he is human enough to appreciate human comradeship, and to envy those who enjoy the company of their fellow man. Unable to partake of the pleasures of human society, Grendel is determined to prevent others from doing so as well. Grendel can and will both kill and eat grown human beings, often in bunches. Grendel takes pride in horrifying and humiliating humans with the uselessness of their defenses. When Grendel besieged the mead hall of Danish chieftain Hrothgar - for twelve long years, before the coming of Beowulf - he easily smote down any gates they might have closed to bar his way and glutted himself on the flesh of those who hid behind them.
In battle with the Anglo-Saxon hero Beowulf, one of Grendel's arms was torn from the socket, a mortal wound. It is the Keeper's discretion if the Grendel encountered by his victims...err, excuse me...PCs has one arm or two.
Grendel is a near relative of man's, alien but not utterly alien. Grendel is a perversion of society's values. He exists just outside the world of men, and exists seemingly only to assault it. Perhaps the truest terror of Grendel is when his victims recognize something of themselves in his loneliness and jealousy. Grendel knows his victims because he longs to live among them. Grendel always attacks his prey when it is most vulnerable: when they are at home, a place almost everyone hopes is a secure sanctuary. Grendel chooses to personify fear of the unknown and embody the bogeyman. Grendel seeks to destroy that which he cannot have, human affection. Most players will recognize Grendel as a savage, unrelenting force to be destroyed for the greater good, but he also engenders sympathy as the misbegotten beast deprived of all comfort and solace.
These days, Grendel isn't much seen. He's still around. There are enough mysterious sightings of colossal and malevolent beings to be sure of that. Only those privy to arcane mysteries - those who are illuminated - know the truth behind Grendel, and whether he is in fact Cain's descendent, a plant elemental, the personification of the savagery of nature, a relict Neanderthal, or something altogether more mysterious and menacing.
Majestic 12 knows, for many associated with it are illuminated, and these conspirators have made attempts to yoke Grendel's might to their own dark purposes, whispering in his ear of his need to revenge himself on a humanity unwilling to accept the bog giant. If they have ever succeeded, and for how long, remains unknown. Perhaps Majestic 12 keeps Grendel captive somewhere, hidden away with the other anomalies that they have accumulated over their years, in some half-forgotten facility alongside the wreckage of UFOs and monsters from beneath the sea, from which he escapes occasionally to wreck havoc. Or perhaps he is freed from his prison to ravage on behalf of the shadow government.
Who really knows?
The black bag operation of the Danish government knows the truth of Grendel as well, and have adopted Grendel's name as their own. Some within Delta Green know, or suspect, enough of the truth, and there are always the inhabitants of the Fringe who know a startling extent of the truth, but are too deluded to realize what they have.
52 Hit Points: 55
DEX 20
CON 50
SIZ 60
INT 16
POW 30
Damage Bonus: + 6d6
  • On land: 10
  • In the water 11
  • Punch/ strike with hand 40% 1d3 + 6d6 [1]
  • Rake with claws 40% 1d4 + 2 + 6d6 [2]
  • Bite and worry with teeth 45%, [3] 1d4 + 3 + 6d6 [2]
  • Kick/strike with foot 25%, 7d6
  • Grapple 40%, special [3]
Armor: "Beowulf's men rushed forward with their swords drawn, but their vicious strokes fell harmlessly. Some dark enchantment protected Grendel from their blades" [4]. Grendel has 6 points of armor. The cause of said armor, which may be some type of spell, is unknown.
At the Keeper's discretion, mundane weapons cannot harm Grendel at all, only enchanted ones and spells. Since the purpose of Grendel is provide a physical menace for PCs, it is also at the Keeper's discretion as to whether Grendel has regenerative abilities of any sort. If he does, this may be the mechanism by which Grendel first lost an arm in battle with Beowulf, and then later grew it back. Grendel's regenerative abilities should be in keeping with his nature as a brute, and 1d3 HP per round seems most fitting.
Skills: Sneak 80%, Swim 50%
Amphibiousness: Grendel is an amphibian, being able to live both on dry land and under water. Indeed, it is said that Grendel lives beneath a lake. Grendel has gills and lungs, as well as webbed extremities that allow him to swim with facility. In the water, Grendel's move is 11.
Stealthiness: For such a big creature, Grendel is very stealthy, and his high skill level with Sneak partially reflects this. Grendel has some behavioral and paranormal marks in his favor to help him be sneaky, as well.
Behavioral sneakiness: Grendel is quiet. The sagas that feature Grendel as a character are sketchy on whether or not Grendel was capable of speech. He is intelligent enough to understand and envy the celebrations of others. Grendel rarely makes any vocalization, even when injured. Further, he deliberately walks and moves in a manner that makes a minimum of noise. That said, Grendel leaves behind huge, frightening tracks. Anyone trying to listen for Grendel must win a resistance table contest pitting whatever skill or ability they are using to detect him against Grendel's level 80 Sneak skill (POT 16 if a skill is not used).
Paranormal sneakiness: Grendel has some power to cloud the minds of men. Grendel has what are called "the powers of encroaching darkness": as Grendel approaches, night seems to descend. It grows darker and duskier until, when Grendel is within arm's reach, a sort of heavy twilight has fallen. Thus, Grendel has been called the Demon of Twilight. When Grendel is within half a mile of the PCs physical location, it is noticeably darker and quieter. As Grendel approaches, it gets progressively darker and more silent, until the aforementioned heavy twilight has set in. This prevents Grendel from being clearly seen. Trying to see or shoot into the zone of poor perception that surrounds Grendel, or through it at something on the other side has a - 15% chance to succeed. Likewise, activities which require the use of sight - including fighting, reading, ritually casting spells, and so forth - have their chance of success reduced by 15% within Grendel's zone.
Foul Odor: Grendel does not smell nice at all. Part of this stink comes from the fact that Grendel is usually damp, and everyone knows how bad a wet dog can smell. Anyone smelling Grendel must win a resistance table contest against Grendel's POT 4 stink, or else suffer a - 5% penalty on all actions as the victim tries to keep from gagging.
Low Light Vision and Optional Offensive Sonar: Grendel cannot see especially well in darkness biologically, his beady eyes being too small and unsuited for such an environment. However, the old sagas speak of Grendel moving with facility through the darkness, so it is appropriate for Grendel to have some type of extra sensory or supernatural perception to allow him to navigate in the darkness. In game rules, Grendel is unaffected by darkness or other circumstances that would impair biological sight, such as fog or mist. It would seem plausible that Grendel, being amphibious, has some form of biological sonar, a distance perception ability highly useful for navigating in the dark as well.
At the Keeper's discretion, Grendel can also emit sonar clicks that can be felt as well as heard. There is some evidence that whales and bats emit sound like this to stun or discomfort their prey. This "offensive sonar" acts just like the spell Fist of Yog-Sothoth (see page 208 of the 5.5th edition of the Call of Cthulhu rules), and is Grendel's sole use for Magic Points (but see spells below).
Spells: It is up to the Keeper to determine of Grendel is smart enough to cast spells. If the Keeper decides that he is, Grendel will have 1d4 low-wattage spells. Grendel is first and foremost a brute battler, not a sorcerer.
Sanity: smelling Grendel: 0/ 1 SAN, seeing Grendel: 1/ 1d6 SAN, looking Grendel in the face: at least 1/ 1d4 SAN, and up according to the Keeper's storytelling needs
PCs recognize something of themselves in Grendel's loneliness (Keeper's discretion): 1/ 1d10 SAN
1. Grendel can be portrayed as a sympathetic being [5] and would-be hero if he is encountered by characters willing to treat him with some measure of kindness and respect. If he is used as an agent of Majestic 12, MJ 12 stokes his hatred of humanity. Grendel could become a powerful force for good, or, at least, some sort of an anti-hero, if he heard the opposite, and had some inroads into the world of men.
2. Grendel seems to be able to either bypass or destroy any obstacle put in his path. He might be useful to Keepers who are looking for a brute force foe to shake players out of their "comfort zone", by confronting them with a foe they cannot hide from, and that they must battle to the death with every resource at their command. Handled correctly, Grendel is the perfect unbeatable foe, a terrific cudgel to encourage trigger happy players to think things through.
3. Grendel is also useful as the villain of a bottle story, like the "Aliens" movies, the unknown "death bringer". Grendel is already furtive, and tries not to be seen, so he makes a perfect marauding phantom, as the PCs find themselves in a remote hunting lodge, or trying to determine the cause of a plague of mysterious and brutal murders.
4. If the Keeper has decided that Majestic 12 is somehow able to use Grendel for their own purposes, he is a useful way to introduce MJ 12 to the campaign. As the players seek the reasons behind the mighty giant they are battling, they are led to the conspirators. That way a fairly simple smash and bash adventure swiftly leads into the over-arching themes of a Delta Green campaign. Basically, Grendel on his own is a useful villain for a quickie game, but not as a recurring foe, unless he is chosen to represent the manipulations of Majestic 12.
5. Some people in Delta Green know of Grendel, and have a fairly good picture of what Grendel represents. This information can be handy to turn up the paranoia factor for the PCs: "You knew about that...that...thing?! You could have saved Tom and Dick and Harry's lives with just a few words, and you didn't?!" There's nothing like the death of some PCs that could have been prevented to mess with people's heads.
6. Alternately, Grendel may decide to help the PCs, with or without their knowledge, as a way to win friends and respect. Keepers may not wish their players to have a powerful "ace in the hole" like Grendel (after all, in a pure fight, Grendel is unbeatable), but they could be encouraged to rely on the unbeatable phantom, and then experience the horror of being deprived of their guardian angel, or of seeing their supposedly unbeatable benefactor cut down all too easily by some sorcerous or super-science foe.
7. Grendel could also be used as a lure to get the adventure started. While dealing with the cannibal giant, the PCs discover that the swamp where they're battling him has a history of UFO and black helicopter activity. Away we go with MJ 12 again.
  • [1] Grendel is said to be powerful enough to kill an armored warrior with a single blow. Close quarters battle with Grendel is ill-advised.
  • [2]Grendel is a filthy creature. At the Keeper's discretion, there is a percentile chance equal to 100 minus the victim's Constitution multiplied by 5 (100 - (CON X 5)) that a wound inflicted with Grendel's claws or teeth becomes infected, requiring antibiotics for (100 - (CON X 5)) days to clear up.
  • [3] Because Grendel so rarely encounters a foe the same size that he is - Grendel is fifteen feet tall, after all - he must first grapple a victim close to his jaws to successfully bit them. In game rules, in order to bite a victim, Grendel must first have successfully hit and grappled the foe.
  • [4] page 67, Jan B. Berends, "GURPS Monsters" (Steve Jackson Games: 2000)
  • [5] John Gardner's "Grendel" (Vintage Books, 1971) brings to life a sympathetic but throughly vicious Grendel that might inspire for these purposes.