|Alignment||Chaotic Neutral (Evil tendencies)|
|Source books||Monsters of Faerûn, 2E Fiend Folio (MC14), 1E Fiend Folio, 2E Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Monstrous Manual|
The gibberling appeared in second edition in the Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992), and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). The gibberling appeared for the Forgotten Realms setting in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set (1993). The brood gibberling of the Far Realm appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four (1998). The gibberling appeared as a player character race in Dragon #265 (November 1999).
The gibberling appeared in the fourth edition in Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (2008).
The first impression of gibberlings is of a writhing mass of fur and flesh. The pandemonium is actually a mass of pale, hunchbacked humanoids, with pointed ears, black manes and grinning faces. Their eyes are black, and shine with a maniacal gleam.
Gibberlings attack in great numbers, uttering ghastly howls, clicks, shrieks, and insane chattering noises. The screaming mob is completely disorganized in form, and random in direction. They usually carry short swords in their overly long arms. Where they get these swords is unknown, and they may instead wield crude weapons made from bone.
The horde's forward motion slows only long enough to kill anything moving, and then continues forward, their bloodlust apparently unabated. They always fight to the death. All food in their path is devoured, including the fallen among their own number, and any unfortified building or objects are generally wrecked.
Habitat and society
Gibberling social structure can be roughly compared to the social structure of a school of piranha in a feeding frenzy. There is no sense, no organization, and no individuality. Though they clearly have a primitive means of communicating among themselves, they have no discernible language.
The only true hope of survival, should a herd of gibberlings be encountered, is to take strategic advantage of their fear of bright light. The gibberlings generally frequent only dense forests and subterranean passages, loathing bright light of all kinds, and are particularly afraid of fire. If found during the day gibberlings awake, but generally cower in fear at the bright light surrounding them.
In the original 2nd Edition Monster Manual, it was left unclear how or when or even if gibberlings procreate. The mysteries of gibberling reproduction were revealed in the module "The Gates of Firestorm Peak". The module mentioned a second form called the brood gibberling, which gives birth to larvae called gibberslugs, which writhe beneath the skin of the brood gibberling. They are injected into the flesh of anyone the brood gibberling bites, including other gibberlings. The slugs then grow steadily and consume the body of their host from the inside, eventually bursting out through the skin. A brood gibberling can actually control those it has created, leading to the development of "clans" of the monsters.
Attempts to find the gibberlings' lairs have inevitably led back to subterranean passages, where the trail is eventually lost in the deepest rock-floored recesses of the caverns. They can easily be tracked by the path of chaos and destruction they leave, and can be quickly dispatched while they lie dormant just beneath the surface of the ground. Gibberlings traveling above-ground invariably burrow into the ground to hide during the daytime, and it is at such time that they are most vulnerable. Subterranean gibberlings may burrow into the ground, or may simply lie down in a curled, fetal posture at times of rest. They awake suddenly, as a group, and burst in unison out of the ground, howling and gibbering in a most frightful way.
Gibberlings require a prodigious amount of food to support their manic nocturnal existence, stripping to the bone anyone or anything that should fall in their path. Their fur is commonly infested with lice and other pests picked up during their burrowed slumber. Their hides are vile and worthless. Gibberlings carry no treasure or other useful items. Their swords are of the commonest variety, with no markings or decoration, and are often pitted and dull. In short, gibberlings serve no purpose and no known master, save random death in the night.
The gibberling species originates in the Far Realm, a place of madness beyond the known planes. The brood gibberlings seem somehow connected to its energies, and in the case of Firestorm Peak, must remain within the field of corruption created by the magical "Vast Gate" within the mountain, open to the Far Realm.
Gibberlings were one of the first enemies encountered in the 1998 computer game Baldur's Gate.
- Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio (TSR, 1981)
- Williams, Skip, et al. Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (TSR, 1992)
- Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
- Pickens, Jon, ed. Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four. (TSR, 1998)
- Brown, Lloyd III. "Primitive PC's." Dragon #265 (TSR, 1999)
- Wyatt, James and Rob Heinsoo. Monstrous Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)