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I'm interested in compiling some lore on the gray render, but the Wikipedia entry dates them no further than D&D 3.0. Did they exist before this? Did they exist before D&D came along or were they a 3.0 invention?

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As a bonus, here's an unpublished Ecology of the Gray Render article that was going to go into Dragon Magazine but ended up never going in: enworld.org/forum/… –  mxyzplk Apr 8 '13 at 19:10
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, they were invented by Wizards of the Coast. There are a number of creatures in 3.x that never existed before and have no lore in either real myth or in earlier editions of D&D.

After converting the classic AD&D monsters that they wanted to keep and figuring out their CR, they found that there were CR numbers that had too few creatures for variety. They filled these with new creatures. The Krenshar is one such creature they've acknowledged exists only to make the game's math work, but there are many and the Grey Render is likely another of them.

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I was afraid of that. Oh well :) it's still a cool critter. I dig the krenshar cool. Ridiculous from an evolution standpoint but quite unique anyway –  LitheOhm Apr 7 '13 at 20:51
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Could you add a citation of some sort for the idea of "CR filler" monsters? It sounds quite plausible, but it would be nice to see one of the designers discussing it. :) –  starwed Apr 7 '13 at 21:45
    
@starwed I would love to. I tried finding it, but it appears that developer blog post was lost in one of WotC's many, many site reorganisations. Future D&D historians are going to hate them with a passion... I believe the term they used was "CR hole", for what it's worth. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 8 '13 at 3:17
    
I recall, perhaps incorrectly, that a creature very much like the Grey Render was used in David Edding's book The King of the Murgos about this time. –  Dale M Apr 8 '13 at 3:35
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