Gargoyles are stony-skinned creatures that live on ornate buildings disguised as architecture. While they cannot move in sunlight, they can see and hear, and often work as protectors of the building.
Gargoyles only became known as a species when humans began building large stone structures and carving inanimate gargoyles onto the buildings for rain dispersal and protection. It’s likely that prior to this gargoyles were a species of goblin or small troll, using their similar appearance to hide in plain sight. Over time, they took on more stone characteristics and adaptations, seeking to better look like the other statues on the buildings. They are most common in Europe, but some have made their ways elsewhere, and may occasionally disguise themselves as other stone sculptures.
There are some tales of gargoyles coming to life to defend the buildings they live on, appearing as guardians of the structure and people within.
Traits and Behavior
Gargoyles have hard, stone-like skin, and often have birth marks resembling carving marks. They will, through their lives, develop more ornate details to their appearance. Usually these details will closely resemble the style of building they are living on, and these changes appear somewhat controlled by the gargoyle in question. They are effectively immortal, but can be harmed or killed if the damage is inflicted while the gargoyle is in sunlight.
Gargoyles can be almost any size, starting at only a foot or so in height. They are born from stone pieces, and are born most often at construction sites. They will find their way onto the building as soon as they have developed limbs, then appear to be small ornate carvings until they grow old enough to take a more traditional gargoyle shape. This can take anywhere from a few years to over a century, depending on the gargoyle in question. Certain materials develop faster than others; soapstone gargoyles develop fast, but rarely gain large sizes, whereas marble gargoyles take much longer but will be more detailed and larger. Granite gargoyles are the most common.
Gargoyles can move only at night; sunlight paralyzes them and causes the outer layer of their skin to harden to stone. During this time they are more vulnerable, but are also impossible to tell from proper stone. As soon as the sun sets, or if the gargoyle has been moved into shadows, they will wake. The outer layer of stone skin will crumble off into dust. Their eyes in the day will also grow this stone skin, so many gargoyles have an inner eye lid to protect them during the day. At night, their eyes resemble a cats, and they have excellent night vision.
Gargoyles will camouflage themselves on whatever buildings in the area can reasonably hide them, most often living on churches, and view the building as under their protection. Once they have chosen a perch, they will remain there every day, returning at night to sit in the same place every time. They will not leave this home unless they absolutely have to, and will make small spaces in the building exterior to make themselves comfortable and hold their belongings. They will do what they can to keep the building in good shape, performing maintenance at night and scaring away burglars during the night. There may be several gargoyles on a building at once, but only on larger buildings, as they are not a very social species. Should several gargoyles live in one place, they will set up their own perches equally distant from each other.
Gargoyles enjoy observing humans and collecting artifacts from them during the night, hiding their small hoards in niches and crevices in the rooftop they live on. What items a gargoyle may collect can vary, but they primarily enjoy shiny items or ones that make strange noises. In some cases, they may leave these items in places the humans of their building can find them as a gift. They see humans living or working in their buildings as something between neighbors and under their (the gargoyles) protection. They are especially fond of maintenance workers, window washers, and others that work to maintain the building.
Gargoyles absorb many nutrients through their skin, feeding primarily from rainwater that shoots over them from the roof. They do occasionally need to eat outside of this, and primarily consume metals or stone. They are careful to not take anything from their own building, and are more likely to break pieces off of dumpsters or seek out garbage for food. They are particularly fond of iron that has started to rust.
While gargoyles are especially loyal to their building, they will leave if given no other choice, in which case they will seek out available hiding places each day and travel many miles overnight. They are picky, if they have to abandon their home, and may travel great distances to find just the right building. Gargoyles that are choosing a second home will not choose one already occupied unless there is a great deal of space available.
Gargoyles can imitate human speech for communication, but only have a limited language for themselves, as they rarely need to communicate amongst themselves. Their language and voices are described as sounding like rumbling stone.
If a gargoyle is killed, their body will crumble to dust within moments, leaving no trace of their presence after a few moments. A new baby gargoyle often appears in the same perching area after a few months, though whether this is a rebirth or simply taking advantage of available space is not clear. The new gargoyle often resembles the previous one, but as their appearance is based on their building, this does not confirm one way or the other.
At night, a gargoyle is tough, strong and difficult to harm. During the day, their skin is tougher but more brittle, and can take severe damage. They can only be properly killed during the day, as damages inflicted at night often heals entirely once their skin hardens in the sun.
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