A kaluk looked liked an elephant standing upright. Its head and lower body resembled those of an elephant, but its arms and hands resembled those of a very large human male. A kaluk's fingers were too large to manipulate most items, tools, or weapons. Extending from a kaluk's mouth were a pair of massive red tusks, which could grow to a length of 5 feet (1.5 meters). Along its back was a thin layer of coarse silver hairs that reeked of carrion. A kaluk often only wore a single item of clothing: a large cape made from golden scales.
A kaluk was the physical manifestation of avarice, therefore they were driven by an insatiable need to seek out and acquire wealth.
While kaluks did not use weapons in combat, they used their great strength and large tusks to inflict incredible damage. When it encountered a human, a kaluk demanded that any valuable items or treasure be handed over. If the human agreed and offered no resistance whatsoever, the kaluk would let them pass. Any resistance on the part of the human, even the slightest, was met with rage by the kaluk, who then viciously attacked, showing no mercy.
Kaluks were immune to all charm, hold-, and sleep-based spells. They had the innate ability to cast spells. A kaluk could cast detect invisibility and ESP at will. Three times a day, they could cast steam breath, stinking cloud, and suggestion. A kaluk was able to place a victim within temporal stasis once per month.
Kaluks were solitary beings and did not have a permanent lair. Their days and nights were spent wandering the outskirts of human settlements, seeking a victim to rob. Upon being ambushed, a human was able to bribe a kaluk with joss-paper. Kaluks desired joss-paper so much that if offered, they lost the desire to attack the human. Instead they would add the piece of joss-paper to their cape and then find a body of water or another reflective surface in which to admire their cape.
Humans often carved a likeness of a kaluk into an item such as an amulet. It was used as a reminder to avoid living a life of avarice and gluttony. Spellcasters of Kara-Tur were able to create a divining rod by covering a tree branch in dust from a ground kaluk tusk. The cape of a kaluk was especially valuable: it could fetch a price of up to 10,000 ch'ien.
Kaluks lived up to 500 years and since they were asexual, they did not reproduce in a normal biological sense. When a kaluk felt it was reaching the end of its natural lifespan, it sought out a particularly greedy human, and sometimes the Celestial Bureaucracy aided the kaluk in this search. When a suitable target was found, the kaluk cast temporal stasis on the human and sequestered them into a isolated part of the wilderness.
For an entire day, the kaluk performed an intricate ritual involving chanting and dancing. When the ritual was complete, the kaluk removed its tusks and affixed them to the human's head. The human was then transformed into a kaluk, while the old kaluk perished, its flesh turning into dust and leaving only a pile of black bones behind. The newly transformed kaluk was required to bury these bones in a deep hole.
A kaluk's diet consisted of treasure. It consumed amulets, coins, gemstones, and jewellery, as well as magical items and weapons. Since these were digested extremely rapidly by the kaluk, a slain kaluk's body held no treasure.