Gauths, sometimes referred to as lesser beholders or nighteyes, were a type of beholderkin that fed on magic as well as flesh. They were a rapacious and despotic species that sought to exact tribute from anything weaker than themselves and often attacked adventurers merely to acquire their wealth.
A gauth floating body was 4‒6 ft (1.2‒1.8 m) wide in diameter. They had six eyestalks, along with four feeding tendrils that sprouted from the lower half of its body. The most obvious feature of a gauth was its central eye, which was surrounded by a ridge of flesh and 12–15 small "normal" eyes used for sight. The most well-known breed was brown and mottled purple and gray, although there were variants of similar color and texture to beholders.
Gauth lacked the extreme xenophobia of beholders, so they might form into clusters and generally did not fight each other over prey, although they would normally ignore each other and seek to distance themselves from others of their kind. They would threaten other weaker entities into bringing them treasure and food. They might pretend to be beholders to accomplish this aim, as many ignorant creatures were unable to tell the difference.
Rather than an antimagic cone, the central eye of a gauth would mentally stun those looking at it from too close. They would intentionally draw attention to themselves when attacking so as to capitalize on this ability. The rays of a gauth's six eyestalks had effects similar to the spells dispel magic, inflict moderate wounds, ray of exhaustion, scorching ray, and sleep or paralysis. They also possessed the ability of darkvision out to 60 feet (18.3 meters). Their most unique eye ray was their "devour magic ray" (also known as their "dweomer drain ray"), which allowed them to sap away the power of magical items. This would temporarily neutralize magically imbued items and could drain the charges of wands and rods.
They were capable of picking up items with their tendrils and could wield certain items if so desired. Some were known to possess a mild regeneration, although this wasn't always present. The death of a gauth would cause all the energy in their bodies to explode outwards as raw magical force.
Gauth were most likely to be operating alone, but could be found in clusters, or lording over other creatures. They would demand servitude from any creature they could and often pretended to be true beholders, using the misconceptions of lesser creatures to compel tribute of meat, treasure, and magical items. They would also impersonate spectators in order to dupe ignorant wizards into trusting them with magical items. Despite their xenophobia, beholders might employ gauth as lieutenants in their forces.
While gauth could technically survive on meat, they preferred to consume magic, and if they could not intake magic within several weeks they would be forced to return to their home plane. When consumed by a gauth, magical items resting in its stomach would slowly lose their power. Items with charges would lose a charge every few seconds while permanent items would lose their powers within a day. Powerful artifacts could not be drained, and they would spit out the objects themselves after sapping the magic. They would usually appear on the Material Plane when there was a flaw in the ritual for summoning spectators, indicating they hailed from the same, or at least a very similar plane of existence. Gauth lived for approximately a century, and a week after their death, two smaller gauths would form. Aside from size, they shared all their parent's abilities.
- Video Games
- Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear
- Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
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