Galeb duhr (sing & pl; pronounced: /geɪlɛb ˈdɔːr/ gay-leb DOR) were magical creatures of stone that appeared almost like animated boulders, with the power to control the rocks around them.
When galeb duhr were not moving, they could choose to appear exactly like a boulder, but when they opened their eyes or moved, one could see that they had dark, foreboding eyes, a wide mouth, and two appendages that acted as both hands and feet.[note 1]
The makeup of a galeb duhr's body always matched the type of stone around which it lived. For example, those from areas with large amounts of quartz deposits might have a more quartz-like composition. Granite-like galeb duhr were the most common variety. Galeb duhr never had bodies made from sandstone or other such sedimentary rock.
Galeb duhr ranged in size from four feet (one meter) in height to as large as sixteen feet (five meters).
They were very slow-moving creatures with a steady gait. It was not possible for them to hold anything in their "hands" while walking, but if they were "sitting" they could manipulate objects with their hands with surprising dexterity.
Galeb duhr were slow to think and slow to act, yet they were very intelligent creatures. They tended to be very territorial and rarely shared knowledge of their rocky homes with strangers. To question them about such knowledge would likely irritate them. In truth, they did in fact know just about anything one might want to know about their mountain homes. However, despite their territoriality they were not opposed to allying with those of like mind, such as pech or treants in wooded mountain ranges.
Galeb duhr felt a responsibility to "tend" the smaller boulders and rocks around them, much like a treant tended trees.
Similar to how treants had an innate power over trees, so galeb duhr had control over the stone around them. They could magically move earth, shape stone, create openings in stone, and turn rocks into mud. They could also create a wall of stone with their magic. Beyond these powers, they could also animate a number of boulders around them. These abilities were not spells; a galeb duhr simply had to will for them to happen.
Like other elemental creatures, Galeb duhr neither slept nor breathed. Some reported that galeb duhr ate rock, preferring granite and not liking the taste of sedimentary rock, and that they only needed to eat once every two or three months. This was in fact not true. Galeb duhr gained nutrients simply from being in contact with their rocky environment. They grew from drawing sustenance from the element earth much like a plant grows by drawing sustenance in some sense from the sun.
Because of this source of sustenance for a galeb duhr, a galeb duhr removed from a stony, mountainous environment would grow weaker and eventually die. An exceptionally weakened galeb duhr would begin to lose its powers over other stones. A dead galeb duhr was nothing more than a normal boulder.
A galeb duhr had no internal organs at all. They were simply made from solid rock. When it died, the parts of its body were indistinguishable from other rock.
Galeb duhr were extremely long-lived. Some could last for many thousands of years. If a galeb duhr died of natural causes, it would crack and break apart slowly over several days.
It was a mystery to most how galeb duhr reproduced. Some suggested that they could only originate on the Plane of Earth and travel to the Prime Material Plane. However, smaller galeb duhr had been observed, which were assumed to be young ones.
In truth, galeb duhr were genderless and reproduced asexually. When a galeb duhr died of old age, three smaller boulders would be left behind. These small boulders would incubate for 100 years before becoming animate as young galeb duhr adults. The largest galeb duhr would generally take control of the immediate territory while its "siblings" would migrate to find new homes. Rarely, they would share territory together.
Stone fragments that were once a part of a galeb duhr's body provided an extra level of magical power to those spells that required stone as a material component. Only a single usage of a galeb duhr fragment would consume it, and such a fragment only contained this additional earth power for about a month before the fragment would behave just as any other stone.
A galeb duhr would typically avoid combat by vanishing into the ground by burrowing or through magic, or by simply not moving and appearing just like its surrounding rock. If annoyed by an intruder, however, a galeb duhr could be a powerful opponent, and would not hesitate to fight using its powerful control of the element of earth. They could also pummel an enemy with their rocky appendages, bite, or roll at them.
Many galeb duhr lived on the Plane of Earth. Those on the Material Plane became permanently bound to it, so that they would not return to the Plane of Earth should they die. On the Material Plane, they could be found in any mountainous, rocky terrain or in caves underground.
They had little social structure at all—no leaders, no hierarchies, nor anything of the sort.
The territory of a galeb duhr was typically one to four square miles. They would often set up natural traps against intruders. In areas where forested and mountainous terrain met, they would often work together with treants to defend their mutual territories. Alliances between galeb duhr and pech were also known.
Rumors existed of exceptions to the solitary living rule, where in places with especially strong connections to the Plane of Earth, large colonies of galeb duhr were said to exist.
Galeb duhr seemed to enjoy collecting gems. Some claimed that they could be found with magic potions, but these most likely were left behind by those who had tried to attack the galeb duhr to steal their gems and failed. Besides the gems they kept for themselves, galeb duhr were likely to know the locations of veins of precious metal, ores, and other gems. They rarely gave up this knowledge, however.
Galeb duhr loved to make music, but their music was hard for most humanoids to hear, because the tones were so low. The subsonic melodies could be felt through the ground for many miles. These vibrations tended to make horses nervous. They would sit in small groups harmonizing with their gravelly voices. The music was resonant and often viscerally sad. Some sages believed that there was a magic in their songs that could prevent or cause earthquakes. Others speculated that low, rumbling sounds were not songs at all but rather warnings to other galeb duhr.
Galeb duhr did not seem to have a religion, per se, but they believed in what they called "earth power". In places of stone and rock, galeb duhr felt stronger. It was theorized that this was because of a greater connection to the Plane of Earth in such places. This earth power was what gave the galeb duhr their impressive magical abilities. Younger mountains, less ravaged by the effects of air or water were most likely to have the strongest connections to the Plane of Earth, and thus, galeb duhr preferred living in such places.
There seems little support for this theory, however, and most scholars believed that the galeb duhr were native to the Plane of Earth. Many galeb duhr were magically called to the Material Plane by spellcasters (most often wizards and druids) due to their talents as guardians, while others would form naturally in places where the Plane of Earth touched the Material Plane.
Notable Galeb Duhr
- Hourm, a friendly galeb duhr living in Gravenhollow in the late 15th century DR.
- Grek, a non-complete galeb-duhr who was exiled from the Lodge of Faces.
- In 1st through 3rd editions, it is directly stated that galeb duhr only have two appendages that served as both their hands and feet. All 1st- and 2nd-edition illustrations followed this description, but the 3rd edition, unfortunately, wildly deviated from its own source text, showing four limbs and showing the galeb duhr as humanoid and not boulder-like. Later editions seemed to follow the 3rd-edition illustration rather than the 3rd-edition source text.
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