Gibberling

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Greyhawk creature
Gibberling
Alignment Chaotic neutral
Type Humanoid
Subtype None
First appearance Fiend Folio (1981)


Gibberlings are humanoids that come in screaming, jabbering, and howling hordes pouring out of subterranean caves.

Ecology

Gibberlings are carnivores who require a prodigious amount of food to sustain them, stripping to the bone all who they encounter. Their fur is typically infested with lice and other parasites. Their hides are disgusting and not useful for making anything out of.

Gibberlings lack genders. All gibberlings are the progeny of brood gibberlings. Brood gibberlings resemble other gibberlings, except their flesh writhes with leechlike creatures called gibberslugs that squirm just beneath the surface. Brood gibberlings can infect other humanoids with gibberslugs through their bite or spitting attack. If not killed by fire or ingestion of the darkscape mushroom (which grows only in Far Realm cysts), they burrow toward the brain. A creature whose brain has been infected with a gibberslug falls into a deep sleep, plagued by nightmares while the slug melds itself with the victim's brainstem and quickly digests its host's brain then its body. In 5-25 hours, a fully grown gibberling emerges from the husk of skin left behind by its host. The newborn gibberling has no memory of its host's former life, but does slightly resemble the victim. The gibberling rushes to attack the nearest living creature not of its own kind, or flees to seek out other gibberlings if it is exposed to bright light.

Environment

Gibberlings are found in forests and below ground. Those traveling on the surface burrow into the earth to hide from the sun during the day. They can easily be tracked to their lairs by the paths of destruction they leave, and if exposed to the light they generally cower in fear and are easy prey. Subterranean gibberlings may burrow into the earth when they wish to sleep, or may simply lie down in curled, fetal positions. Gibberlings awake suddenly, en masse, and burst in unison out of the ground, howling and jabbering as they go.

Brood gibberings live in secluded burrows. Ragged husks, remnants of their disturbing reproductive process, can be found discarded all around them.

Brood gibberlings are natives of the Far Realm who have wandered through magical gates to the Prime Material Plane purely by accident. Brood gibberlings cannot live long outside the influence of a Far Realm cyst, but their progeny can travel anywhere in the world, and herds of them can be found bedeviling civilization far from their place of birth.

Gibberlings are found in the Suss Forest, the Amedio Jungle, and Hepmonaland. In Blackmoor they may be associated with the Egg of Coot.

Typical physical characteristics

Gibberlings are small, pale, hunchbacked, and hairy. Their drooling, fanged mouths are like pits. They have pink or gray skin, black furry manes, and hideous, grinning, bestial faces. Their pointed ears are situated high on their heads. They range from three to four feet tall (some have been recorded with heights up to five feet). Their eyes are black, and shine with the light of madness. They are typically armed with shards of bone or simple weapons scavenged from their prey. Their fur is oily and slick. Gibberlings are slowed by bright light, and easily cowed by fire. They are immune to all mind-influencing effects.

Gibberslugs are pink, bloated leechlike creatures with nasty maws ideal for penetrating soft tissue.

Brood gibberlings most likely have radically different anatomies on their native plane. Brood gibberlings are significantly more intelligent than their spawn.

Alignment

Gibberlings are always chaotic neutral.

Society

Brood gibberings can mentally control any gibberlings they has personally created, giving rise to competing clans of gibberlings, each commanded by its brood gibberling parent. Clans sometimes cooperate and sometimes war. Brood gibberlings often seek to "convert" members of rival clans by infecting them in the same way they do non-gibberlings.

Gibberlings have little social structure other than that. Their society has been compared to that of lemmings throwing themselves off cliffs, or to blood-crazed piranhas. Gibberlings feel at home only in the dark, surrounded by hundreds of their kin. If confronted with a problem, their first instinct is always to look for allies and throw numbers at the problem until it goes away. If confused, their first instinct is always to kill. Most live only for the hunt. They swarm on top and over each other with ease, and cooperate well when grappling opponents.

Religion

Gibberlings are not known to worship any gods, although it wouldn't be strange if brood gibberlings were discovered to revere godlike entities from the Far Realm.

Language

The mad, bestial babble of the gibberlings is incomprehensible to others, and does not constitute a discernible language. Even so, Dragon #265 claims they speak a language called Gibberling and can learn to speak Common.

Creative origins

Gibberlings first appeared in White Dwarf magazine and were reprinted in the Fiend Folio tome (1981). They were created by Underworld Oracle.

Bibliography

  • Brown, Lloyd III. "Primitive PCs." Dragon #265. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.
  • Cordell, Bruce. The Gates of Firestorm Peak. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Pickens, Jon, ed. Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four. Renton, WA: TSR, 1998.
  • Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1994.
  • Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1981.
  • Williams, Skip, et al. Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1992.
  • Wyatt, James, and Rob Heinsoo. Monstrous Compendium: Monsters of Faerun. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.