Verbeegs are a species of malicious Giant-kin in Dungeons & Dragons, and arguably the least well-known of that family of beings. They appeared in the Monster Manual II for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition, receiving 2e updates in the Monstrous Compendium Annual 2 and in the Monstrous Manual. They are one of the smallest giant-kin, if not the smallest, ranging from between 8 1/2 to 10 feet tall. They are somewhat prone to deformities, such as club foot, uneven eyes, hair lips, etc, but nowhere near the extent of the fomorians, and much like a firbolg can often pass as just a particularly big human.
And yes, their name is a pun on "Very Big", filtered through a French Canadian accent, because according to Gygax, they were a parody of/inspired by Paul Bunyan.
It's implied that this shortness gives verbeegs their tendency towards evil; they've got a chip on their shoulder over being one of the least of the giants, at least physically. Mentally, they're actually extremely clever - at least, by the standards of most giants. As a result, verbeegs often live amongst ogres and hill giants, using their superior wits to bully and intimidate their bigger, dumber relatives into obedience. A clan of these giant brutes led by verbeeg handlers is much more dangerous... although, given their stupidity, there's only so much that even the verbeegs can do. Honestly, if you can spy on verbeegs, the result is quite farcical as their brutish underlings foul things up by being too literal, resulting in the smaller verbeegs hopping back and forth from foot to foot, screaming insults at top of their lungs at their befuddled minions, who cower from the creatures they could frankly squish without too much difficulty.
Whilst they didn't make it into the Complete Book of Humanoids like their Firbolg and Voadkyn cousins did, Verbeegs did manage to get PC stats in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms splatbook "FOR7: Giantcraft". Here, they had the following profile:
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 13/18(00), Dexterity 6/14, Constitution 12/18, Intelligence 6/18, Wisdom 6/18, Charisma 3/14
- Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Strength, +1 Constitution, -2 Charisma, -1 Wisdom
- Verbeegs of any class can generate Exceptional Strength (00) if they possess Strength 18.
- Racial Class & Level Limits: Fighter 8, Mage 6, Runecaster 12, Shaman 7, Thief 10.
- +5 hit points at first level.
- Natural Armor Class: 5
- Can wield two-handed human weapons as if they were one-handed weapons.
- Cannot wear armor better than splint mail.
- Weapon Proficiencies: Club, Giant-kin Spear, Giant-kin Two-Handed Sword, Two-Handed Sword
- Nonweapon Proficiencies: Animal handling, animal training, blacksmithing, eating, hunting, intimidation, reading/writing, set snares, survival, weaponsmithing, weather sense.
Sadly, verbeegs just didn't have a lot going for them, and were dropped in 3rd edition. They did sneak back in towards the tail-end of the edition, slipping by in the Forgotten Realms adventure "Twisted Night" in Dungeon Magazine #149... but, they were reflavored as being instead a variant Half-Ogre in which their human ancestry dominated, resulting in a smaller and weaker, but smarter and more ambitious, version of the typical ogre-kin. Technically, you can even play a verbeeg; just use the Half-Ogre stats from Races of Destiny, but change the Size to Medium and the ability score modifiers to +4 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution.
Ironically, verbeeg would resurface towards the end of 4th edition as well, in the Monster Manual 3. Here, they were presented as another Fey branch of the Giant family tree, alongside fomorians and cyclopses. A Feywild verbeeg is a tall, handsome, green-skinned fey with elf-like ears and a sharp mind; they are greedy tricksters and manipulators, who love to take advantage of fools who mistake them for their dull-witted ogre cousins from the Prime Material (and you would have to be quite a fool indeed because they look nothing like ogres). Utter rascals, they especially enjoy preying on a victim's sense of honor, fairness or justice, but are not without their own warped sense of honor. The verbeeg philosophy is summed up in two phrases: "Never give a sucker an even break", and "Always keep your word". A verbeeg might twist, turn and torture the phrasing of a promise, but once it makes a pledge, it must uphold it. Like their old-school Prime cousins, Feywild verbeegs like to manipulate bigger, dumber creatures like ogres and hill giants into doing their bidding, but if those aren't available, smaller and weaker creatures like orcs, goblins and lesser fey will do just nicely. Seeking an easy life of food, drink and rest, they often become mercenaries, although always with the intent of taking on a cushy job where they can spend more time eating and drinking than actually doing anything physical.
They've most recently appeared in Rime of the Frostmaiden. Their lore is basically a cut down version of their AD&D lore.
|The Giants of Dungeons & Dragons|
|Beasthead Giant - Cloud Giant - Crag Giant - Cyclops - Desert Giant - Ettin - Firbolg - Fire Giant - Fog Giant - Fomorian - Frost Giant - Hill Giant |
Jungle Giant - Mountain Giant - Ogre - Plains Giant - Reef Giant - Sea Giant - Spacesea Giant - Stone Giant - Storm Giant - Titan(Empyrean) - Verbeeg - Voadkyn