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Leeches were a species of segmented worms.[5]


Leeches were slimy and had a slug-like appearance.[4]


Leeches were highly vulnerable to salt and the application of sufficient amounts could kill them.[4]


Like many species of invertebrate, leeches had a set of ocelli in place of normal eyes. These were a group of light receptive cells that could register changes in light intensity, though not actual images. Because of this, giant leeches often reacted to changes in nearby light.[6]


Leeches typically hid themselves within the mud or slime typical of their habitats, then waited to strike upon any warm-blooded creature that passed them by. Though sometimes feeding solitarily, they would sometimes group up into large swarms numbering up to two or five hundred members.[4]


In the 14th century DR, Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue was known to sell jars full of live leeches for 10 gp.[7]

In the late 15th century DR, a barber in Silverymoon by the name of Jooge Nopsmoth charged patrons a single gold piece to have blood extracted by means of leeches. He collected these leeches from a disused well beneath his store.[2]


Giant leech
A monstrous variety of the standard leech.[4]
Throat leech
A variety of leech that was native to the jungles and swamps of the Abyss, such as the Gaping Maw and Slugbed.[8]



These creatures fed upon the blood of warm-blooded creatures.[4]


Leeches were only known to be found in the waters of temperate swamps and marshes.[4] In Faerûn, they were particularly known to inhabit the Vast Swamp,[9][10] the Lake of Steam,[11] and the jungle within the Cathedral of Emerald Scales.[12] They were also quite prevalent in the marshes of High Moor.[13]

Beyond Faerûn, they could be found in pools of water all throughout Chu' Yuan.[14] During the summer season, swarms of them could be found in the lakes, rivers, and swamps of the Ama Basin.[15] And in the Crowded Sea, they could be found on the island of Djinni's Claws.[16]

Beyond the Prime Material plane, they could be found in the Para-Elemental Plane of Ooze[17] and the Domains of Dread.[18]


Many peoples in the Realms would turn to the use of leeches when traditional medicines didn't prove effective. This belief was so widespread that they had somewhat of a placebo effect. Some even claimed they could be used to cure lycanthropy, though this was blatantly false.[7]



  1. The Barber of Silverymoon states that leeches should be treated as a swarm of insects.


Nightmare KeepDragon+ #12, "The Barber of Silverymoon"


  1. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 338. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jason Bradley Thompson (2017-02-27). The Barber of Silverymoon (PDF). In John Houlihan, Adam Lee eds. Dragon+ #12. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 4–5. Archived from the original on 2017-06-17. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  3. Richard Baker, Joseph D. Carriker, Jr., Jennifer Clarke Wilkes (August 2005). Stormwrack. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 162. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 David "Zeb" Cook, et al. (1989). Monstrous Compendium Volume Two. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8753-X.
  5. Anthony Gerard (July 1987). “The Ecology of the Giant Leech”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #123 (TSR, Inc.), p. 51.
  6. Anthony Gerard (July 1987). “The Ecology of the Giant Leech”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #123 (TSR, Inc.), p. 52.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 144. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  8. Ed Greenwood (March 2013). “Eye on the Realms: Abyssal Trade Goods: Not a Bad Thing”. In Christopher Perkins ed. Dragon #421 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32.
  9. James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Explorer's Manual”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
  10. James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “The Cormyrean Marshes”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), pp. 6–7. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
  11. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  12. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 141. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  13. Tim Beach (October 1995). “The High Moor”. In Julia Martin ed. Elminster's Ecologies Appendix II (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0786901713.
  14. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  15. David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 122. ISBN 978-0880388689.
  16. David Cook (October 1992). “The Djinni's Claws”. In Bill Slavicsek ed. Golden Voyages (TSR, Inc.), p. 2. ISBN 978-1560763314.
  17. Monte Cook and William W. Connors (December 7, 1998). The Inner Planes. Edited by Michele Carter and Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 84. ISBN 0-7869-0736-3.
  18. William W. Connors, Steve Miller (August 1997). Domains of Dread. Edited by Miranda Horner, Cindy Rice. (TSR, Inc.), p. 96. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.