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The grandfather plaque is an immobile construct set to protect a specific door.



A grandfather plaque is one to two feet tall, and generally has the face of a dignified, strong male,[1] usually a bearded old man.[2] They are placed above a doorway, on the lintel.[1]

Personality and alignment

The plaques are highly intelligent and capable of speech. Strong judges of character with keen senses, they can question and screen visitors, separating out deceivers from those who should have access to the area they guard.[2]

A grandfather plaque is usually neutral[2] or lawful neutral by inclination, and are focused on the protection of their door; except when necessary, they only rarely initiate actions.[1] They prefer to avoid combat, first seeking to dissuade intruders through diplomacy.[2]

A plaque in an abandoned building leads a lonely existence, and craves interesting conversations and information about the outside world.[2] They may attempt to persuade visitors to either restore the building, or to remove the plaque from the building, to restore its purpose as a guardian. They will even provide adventurers any treasure they have accumulated, if they help it towards that end.[1] Rarely, a grandfather plaque may persuade humanoids that it is a deity, enjoying the attention even though it has little use for any offerings; such plaques may even order their worshipers to kidnap intellectuals, so that it can engage in interesting conversations with them.[2]

Abilities and traits

Once placed,[1] a grandfather plaque can seal their linked door with arcane lock; this effect also extends to any other eligible target for the spell within 30 feet.[2] They can then open and close their door at will.[1]

They can communicate telepathically with a master, designated when they are created, at an unlimited range within its same plane; they will do so when when in doubt about a visitor.[2]

The plaque can repair damage to their door. If their door is destroyed, they will typically pretend to become inert, and then conjure a replacement for the door, which takes a minute of concentration. This can result in the intruders being sealed within the area it guards.[2]

Grandfather plaques defend themselves with the spells magic missile,[2] from their eyes,[1] and shout. The shout also has the side effect of alerting other guardians in the area.[2] Anyone who touches the plaque or the door they protect without permission is also magically weakened.[1]

The plaques share some of the traits of gargoyles, including the ability to freeze and be mistaken for statues; no need for food or drink; and resistance to attacks from non-magical weapons.[3] They do not sleep.[1]

In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, grandfather plaques have all the traits common to the construct creature type.[2]


Grandfather plaques are animated by wizards or priests. They may outlive their creators and become free-willed, though they usually choose some other location to guard. They are typically found in ruins or occupied residences.[3]

Society and culture

Grandfather plaques are solitary creatures; even when a location has more than one plaque, they guard separate doors.[1]

Publication history

AD&D 2nd edition

The grandfather plaque first appeared in The Dragon's Bestiary: Four Guardian Gargoyles, Dragon #223 (Nov 1995), by John Baichtal. It was updated for the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three (1996).

D&D 3rd edition

The grandfather plaque was updated for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 in Dragon Compendium Volume 1 (2005).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three (1996), p.49-50.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Dragon Compendium Volume 1 (2005), p.207-208.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Dragon's Bestiary: Four Guardian Gargoyles, Dragon #223 (Nov 1995), p.20-23.