|Alignment||Usually chaotic evil|
|First appearance||Fiend Folio|
Skulks are a cowardly, evil race of humanoids with origins in the Suel Imperium.
Skulks are parasites on the margins of human society, surviving chiefly through their legendary caution. They will abandon their children if need be to ensure their own safety. Skulk children can fetch a high price on the slave market, as they are demand for those wishing to train thieves and assassins to serve them.
Skulks and dopplegangers recognize one another innately. They bear no animosity toward one another and may cooperate.
Skulks are omnivorous, eating the same foods humans eat.
Skulks dwell near or in human cities, sometimes lairing in sewers, catacombs, or nearby caves. They hide in the day and hunt at night. They are found throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the Flanaess, usually inhabiting those regions settled by the Suloise during the Great Migrations. They also dwell within the Underdark. They are particularly fond of the former Great Kingdom, but are almost never found among the Baklunish, the Wolf Nomads and Tiger Nomads, the Rovers of the Barrens, the Thillonrian Peninsula, or the Amedio Jungle or Hepmonaland.
Typical physical characteristics
Skulks resemble male or female humans, generally ranging from five to six feet in height and weighing between 120 and 180 pounds. They are completely hairless, with soft, leathery, light-gray skin, and deep blue eyes. Otherwise their features are soft and graceful and very human.
They have the supernatural ability to resist magical detection. Their ability to change the color of their skin is nonmagical. They are capable of assuming a natural human skin tone in order to blend in with humans, or even assume bizarre and lurid hues for the purposes of decoration or art. They can walk through forests or beneath the earth without leaving trails.
Skulks generally go nude in order to make full use of their camouflage abilities, though they prize clothing and jewelry and may wear it in private or when disguised as humans. They covet pretty or expensive things, and often steal them and bring them back to their lairs.
Skulks are violent and cruel, and those few who overcome these tendencies are usually outcasts among their people. Lawful skulks are even rarer than good ones, but may become leaders of skulk coteries.
Skulks revel in shedding blood, and their undetectable murders often spawn rumors of ghost cults. They prefer to kill those of status and wealth, as if they were punishing those who enslaved their ancestors millennia ago.
Skulks are either solitary or they gather in small bands of two to eight skulks called coteries. Coteries are led by the most unprincipled and most clever of the band, often an assassin or shadowdancer.
Most skulks are thieves and rogues of one sort or another, training in stealth and subterfuge. Some learn arts of magic and illusion as well.
In skulk legend, they paint themselves as superior beings unjustly persecuted by humans. Humans are thus their favorite victims; they consider elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, orcs, goblins, and the like to be beneath contempt and not worth bothering with.
Skulks chiefly worship Syrul, the Suloise goddess of lies, who may have been partly responsible for their creation. Their priests carry dried serpent's tongues as holy symbols. They have also been known to revere other gods of deception or murder, such as Nerull or Vecna. Nonevil skulks venerate deities such as Boccob or Olidammara.
Skulks speak a bastardized Common dialect, filled with words from long-dead cultures. They understand standard Common and usually speak a few other languages common in the region. None now speak their original language, Suloise.
Skulk names are typically simple, with only one or two syllables. They avoid harsh or sibilant sounds.
Skulks were once members of the "untouchable" caste in the Suloise Imperium. Through the aid of a magical ceremony, they were made untouchable permanently, granted the ability to change their skin to perfectly match their surroundings. This seems to have happened during the second millennium of the ancient empire's calendar; they may have been created as assassins during the Eight-House War around 1100 SD, escaping the control of their masters later on and spreading throughout the empire and beyond.
Skulks were created by Simon Muth and originally published in White Dwarf magazine.
The skulk was published in the original Fiend Folio tome and has appeared in every subsequent edition of the Dungeons & Dragon game to date. Two of them played an important role in the adventure The Sentinel.
- Boucher, Grant, and William W. Connors, Steve Gilbert, Bruce Nesmith, Chris Mortika, and Skip Williams. Monstrous Compendium: Greyhawk Adventures Appendix. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.
- Cagle, Eric, and Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matt Sernett, Chris Thomasson, James Wyatt. Fiend Folio. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.
- Moore, Roger E. "Legacies of the Suel Imperium." Dragon #241. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1997.
- Noonan, David, Eric Cagle, and Aaron Rosenberg. Races of Destiny. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.
- Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1981.