The berbalang was first published in White Dwarf #11 (February/March 1979), in the "Fiend Factory" column, originally submitted by Albie Fiore. The berbalang also appeared in Albie Fiore's scenario "The Halls of Tizun Thane" in White Dwarf #18 (April/May 1980), which was later reprinted in Best of White Dwarf Scenarios (1980). The berbalang then appears in 1981 in the first edition Fiend Folio (1981). In the second edition of AD&D, the berbalang appears in the first Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (1989), and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).A Guide to the Astral Plane (1996) describes Berbalang society for the Planescape setting. The berbalang also appears in the Monster Manual for the fourth edition (2008).
The berbalang is a bipedal gargoyle-like creature with leathery skin and bat-like wings. It spends most of its life in a state of hibernation while its spirit astral travels. For a few days each month, it sends a projection out into the world to kill and feed.