Gargoyle (Dungeons & Dragons)

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DnD Gargoyle.png
A gargoyle
Type Monstrous humanoid
Image image
Publication history
Mythological origins Gargoyle

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, a gargoyle is a grotesque winged monstrous humanoid creature, with a horned head and a stony hide.

Publication history[edit]

The gargoyle was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the D&D game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

The gargoyle was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described as a reptilian bipedal beast, Chaotic in alignment.[1]

The kopoacinth, an aquatic version of the gargoyle, first appeared in the 1975 Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Blackmoor by Dave Arneson.[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The gargoyle appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[3] where it is described as a ferocious predator of a magical nature, found among ruins; it attacks anything it can detect.

The marlgoyle first appears in the module Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982),[4] and later appears in Monster Manual II (1983) as the margoyle.[5]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the gargoyle, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983).[6][7][8] The gargoyle was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[9] and the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The gargoyle and margoyle appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[10] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993),[11] along with the kapoacinth.

The Greyhawk campaign setting module Gargoyle (1989) featured the gargoyle (of the Tors). In Gargoyle, which is set in the City of Greyhawk, the player characters are hired by a pair of gargoyles to find their stolen wings.[12] The grist (true gargoyle) appeared in Vale of the Mage (1990).

The guardgoyle for the Forgotten Realms setting appeared in the Ruins of Zhentil Keep boxed set (1995).

Four variant gargoyles appeared in the "Dragon's Bestiary" column of Dragon #223 (November 1995), including the archer, the grandfather plaque, the spouter, and the stone lion.[13] These creatures were reprinted in Monstrous Compendium Annual Three (1996).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The gargoyle and kapoacinth appear in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[14]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The gargoyle and kapoacinth appear in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The guardgoyle returned in City of Splendors: Waterdeep (2005).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-2014)[edit]

The gargoyle appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the nabassu gargoyle.[15]


Ordinarily, gargoyles are stone statues carved into a demonic shape and imbued with life by magical means, akin to a golem. However, their descriptions in the official source materials are sometimes unprecise and even conflicting; in the 2nd edtition Monstrous Compendium, for instance, their stats summary lists their diet as carnivorous, while the description of their ecology explains that a gargoyle requires neither food or water to survive. In some D&D-related works, gargoyles and their kin (see Variants, below) are even erroneously depicted as biological creatures capable of natural reproduction.[16]

A gargoyle is usually chaotic evil. Gargoyles are sentient, cunning, and malevolent to the extreme. Their favorite sport is to capture intelligent beings and slowly torture them to death.

Due to its stone body, a gargoyle has the ability to hold itself so still that it appears to be a statue. Standard gargoyles possess wings which give them flight capability.


  • A marine version of the gargoyle is known as the kapoacinth.
  • The margoyle, or marlgoyle, is a more horrid form of gargoyle.

Other publishers[edit]

The gargoyle is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Classic Horrors Revisited (2009), on pages 16–21.[17]


  1. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  2. ^ Arneson, Dave. Blackmoor (TSR, 1975)
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  4. ^ Gygax, Gary. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (TSR, 1982)
  5. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
  6. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  7. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Tom Moldvay. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1981)
  8. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules (TSR, 1983)
  9. ^ Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  10. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  11. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  12. ^ Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 117. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. 
  13. ^ Baichtal, John. "The Dragon's Bestiary: Four Guardian Gargoyles." Dragon #223 (TSR, 1995)
  14. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  15. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  16. ^ Culotta, Paul: "Huzza's Goblin O'War". Dungeon Magazine #63 (January/February 1997), pp. 30-33.
  17. ^ Jacobs, James, Rob McCreary, and F. Wesley Schneider. Classic Horrors Revisited (Paizo, 2009)