Gibberlings of the Caldera, as their name may indicate, are generally unorganized and rather stupid. While it is possible to comprehend their native language of Gibberlish, and many do, they are generally too hyperactive or easily distracted to form lasting societies or empires. Without a strong non-gibberling leader, they seem doomed to a society of mediocrity.

The one known exception in Caldera lore is the mighty Gibberking Gus the First.

Arising from humble origins, Gus the First was able to, through unknown means, forge a legion of Caldera gibberlings into an organized society. Bursting forth from their undergound lairs upon unsuspecting Caldera farmers, the Gibberking’s troope were able to conquer the largest gibberling empire the Caldera has ever seen: 20 square miles. Perhaps coincidentally, 20 miles is the furthest a gibberling can scamper before losing interest or being distracted by shiny things.

Such was Gus the First’s prestige that even the mighty general Minaka the Conqueror saw fit to leave his realm alone after her scouting patrols were devoured to the gristle. She instead accepted units of gibberling troops to add to her army and proclaimed Gus the “Gibberking of the Gibbermarch.”

Sadly for Gibbercivilization, Gus the First’s empire failed to ourlive him. The cause was twofold: first, knowing the short natural lifespan of a gibberling, Gus the First immediately put his entire civilization to work building him a grand tomb. The craftsmanship and treasures on display were astonishing, especially by gibberling standards: a pyramid of glittering and polished stone, protected by devious mechanical traps and living dead soldiers.

Naturally, nearly the entire population of Gus the First’s empire was worked to death in its construction.

Gus the First also failed to sire an heir, as he packed his court with handsome young male favorites instead. Indeed, the need for tomb guardians was a smokescreen for the mummification and preservation of a legion of nubile gibberlings for an eternal orgy. Upon his death, his 20 square miles rapidly fragmented among competing gibberlings who each claimed (falsely) to be Gus the First’s brother, son, or father.

To this day, many gibberlings in the Caldera claim descent or relation to Gus the First, and he remains an important folk hero to gibberkind. “Gus” remains the most popular name for gibberling males (with “Gussina” prevailing among females). The typical gibberling band of 10-12 members will often have up to seven members named Gus in honor of their first and only Gibberking.

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“I just…I haven’t seen her in so long,” bawled Vakt the Rosy into his cups.

“There, there. Tinuviel’s just not feeling well after getting scratched up by a jackalwere in the middle of a cavern infested with gibberlings,” said Iffy the elf. “She’ll be down soon enough.

“She’s just so short…so sweet…so tiny…so…so…” Vakt began bawling again.

“I think you’ve had enough,” deadpanned Chanel the elven cleric. “How much have you had to drink already?”

“It’s just root beer,” Vakt sniffed. “House blend. Iazgu’s still making my first tequila slammer.”

“Maybe you should go a bit easy on the tequila slammers,” said Adenan the halfling.

“HEY!” barked Iazgu the Flayer, demon of the Abyss and chambermaid/bartender for the Demon Arms Inn. “I’ll not hear a word said against my tequila slammers! It’s a recipe of the abyssal realms, strong enough to stun a quasit, and it’s the only thing close to a real drink that’s been served here in 10,000 years!”

Creeping up on the clearing, they saw Mercury the bulldog in the midst of a crowd of howling gibberlings, not unlike the ones they had fought in Ransack Cavern earlier. He was being ridden bareback by a gibberling while the others hooted and cheered at the spectacle. For his part, Mercury seemed rather resigned to this, accepting it as just a fact of life: the sky was blue, the trees were green, and he was ridden by tiny hyperactive monsters.

Adenan grabbed one of the scruffy horrors by his hair and yanked him backwards. “What do you think you’re doing?” she growled.

“Riding! Fun!” squeaked the thrashing gibberling. “I know you! You killed Gus! And Gus Two! I’m Gus Four!”

“Let the bulldog go,” Adenan continued, as menacingly as any halfling could, “or I’ll squash you into jelly before I throw you in the river.”

“No! Not jelly! Jellied gibbs can’t get into gibberheaven!” The gibberling seemed to steel himself a bit. “But dog is ours. Has been forever.”

“No he isn’t.”

“Is too! Used to guard cave! Hatched him ourselves!”

“No you didn’t.”

“Don’t know where dogs come from!” the gibberling wailed.

The library golem was impassive. “You must return the stolen book and pay the fine, or your life is forfeit. The fine is 50 gold. Pay or die.”

Iffy raised her hands. “But my library has an interlibrary loan program with the Elderbrary,” she said in her most convincingly scholarly tone. “We don’t have to pay any fine if we return it!”

Clicking and whirring as it processed this, the golem demurred. “Very well. Surrender the Monster Manual and we will consider your hold lifted.”

Longingly, reluctantly, Iffy gave up the tome. The library golem inserted the volume into its book drop slot, whirred some more, and departed.

A moment later, Iffy the elf turned on Mr. Funderberger IV, who throughout the conversation had been trying to back into the tick copse of woods surrounding the meeting spot. “YOU!” she roared. “THAT BOOK WAS STOLEN!”

“I gave you a good deal,” he whined.


“What exactly did you have to do?” said Chanel the elven cleric. “You still haven’t told us how much sugar you had to give.”

“I will neither confirm nor deny a specific amount of sugar given!” Iffy roared. “But he’s gonna pay!”

Mr. Funderberger IV had quite enough; he made to bolt. Iffy, in an uncharacteristic show of physical prowess, tripped him with her staff.

Then, she proceeded to pummel him senseless.

“Let’s see how you like THIS sugar!” she screamed, drawing her dagger. Casting Phineas’s Phun Phoam on Funderberger’s head, she used her dagger to shave off his carefully coiffed locks. Then she took everything of value in his pockets, even down to his phony tin sword.

“I think you’ve gotten your revenge, Iffy,” said Adenan.

“Hardly!” Iffy continued. “Mercury! Bulldog! Get over here and piss on Mr. Funderberger IV! We’ll see how much sugar you get after that!”

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