Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 16 - Favorite Aberration (D&D 30 Day Challenge)

[Tome of Horrors Edition]

The Gorbel

For this part of the challenge I will (mostly) review some of my favorite HackMaster monster variants. Today, however, has to be an exception. The original Tome of Horrors (by Necromancer Games) was one of the first additional monster books I bought while we still played with the 3E rules. Basically they took many of the creatures WotC didn't care to revive for the 3E and updated them for The Game. It's where I first encountered the Gorbel.
The art makes the monster... (source)

The gorbels are distant relatives to beholders. They made their first appearance in the Fiend Folio in 1981, but would be reduced to a footnote in the AD&D Monstrous Manual and would have vanished if it weren't for the Tome of Horrors. For me they are the right mix between dangerous, funny and weird. Check this very nice entry.

They'll try to eat anything that moves and are very curious, but dumb. The gas they float on smells like rotten eggs. They are immune to blunt weapons (bouncy), but will explode for 1d4 damage (in a 5 foot radius) if hit by anything else. They appear in herds, but are not immune to explosions of their kin (chain reaction occur on a regular basis).

Nice additional information from the Tome of Horrors:

"A gorbel eats, breaths and excretes through an aperture best described as a mouth."

They also give birth through that mouth.As soon as they're attached to their next meal they start to mew like kittens.

What to do with those?

I'd put them anywhere a strong breeze could bring them. They'd need to breed fast. Put a herd of those in a small town and have fun with it. Or a wizard might want some parts of them for his research. Or they block a passage in a dungeon. There are countless possibilities for this weird beastie to ba a nuisance. However, done right, a first encounter with the gorbels could be a fun experience for DM and the players


  1. I had forgotten about Gorbels!

    I threw a group of them against my players a few years ago, and it was so much fun!

  2. Same here! Must have been 10 years ago, but somehow that encounter stuck with me. The Find Folio really has some fine monsters...


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