So, in 1981, I got ahold of a copy the Fiend Folio, the first collection of monsters published by TSR, after they released the Monster Manual. In it I found three of my favorite monsters: the githyanki (p.p. 43-45), the grell (p.p. 46-48), and the slaad (p.p. 80-83). Since those early days, all three have made multiple appearances on Rilmorn and in various other settings, but slaadi have held special place in the cockles of my cold, little GMing heart. Over time, the slaadi have changed. Each edition offered new insights and variants. I have steadily taken each of these changes and attempted to blend what I wanted into MY version of slaadi. Now, it is my pleasure to present to you Way-Too-Much-Information about a bunch of bipedal frog-monsters.
The slaadi are great frog-like beings which dwell in both the Bleeding Edge of Reality and the Elemental Chaos. Their natural form is that of a large, bipedal frog, though some slaadi have shapechanging abilities and can take on a humanoid appearance. In their natural from, slaadi heads are huge and slaadi claws are sharp.
While slaadi are undisciplined and have no formal hierarchy, those knowledgeable about their habits and nature classify each slaad by its rarity and its type (which is often based on their color). Despite such classifications by observers, most slaadi only obey stronger slaadi and then only under the threat of annihilation.
Many slaadi possess a magical symbol in the form of a unique gem that is embedded in the slaad’s skull just below the skin of its forehead. These jewels are symbols of the rank (or rather the power) of the slaad and encase the slaad’s life force. If a slaad’s gem is not destroyed, when a slaad is killed, the slaad automatically reincarnates around the gem the next day. Certain magics can be used to remove a slaad gem from a still living slaad. A successfully extracted gem can be used to control the slaad from which it was removed. Such control is not always complete and anyone using a slaad gem should make quick use of their servant and then send it and its gem on their way.
Slaadi speak their own language; known among the learned as slaadeen. Many slaadi are also telepathic and can communicate with any being that possesses a language.
Slaadi Reproduction and Transformation
Most slaadi reproduce by implanting a living host with an egg pellet from an egg sac underneath a slaad’s claws. Normally, red slaadi egg pellets produce blue or green slaadi tadpoles, while egg pellets from other slaadi produce red or green slaadi tadpoles. Some slaadi possess an infectious bite. This bite transmits a disease called the chaos phage; a victim who succumbs to the chaos phage transforms into a slaad of the same the type that bit the victim or a green slaad.
There are three primary exceptions to this act of reproduction: flux slaadi, slaad brooders, and slaad spawners. Flux slaadi are slaadi mutants; some spawnings go awry and small, weak, pebbly-skinned flux slaadi are born instead of the expected slaadi type. Flux slaadi cannot reproduce. Some slaadi take a special path that ultimately allows them to control the type of slaadi that their egg pellets spawn; these slaadi become slaad brooders. Powerful slaad brooders can design the traits they want in their spawn and can create unique slaadi types. Finally, slaad spawners are a slaadi mutation that causes embryonic slaadi spawn within their own bodies. Blood and pus filled boils develop on a slaad spawner’s body and only physical injury can release the young slaadi. If a newly released slaad spawn successfully feeds within the first moments of life, it will most likely survive to transform into a random slaad type a few days later.
Over time individual slaadi can go through amazing transformations. Green slaadi that have survived at least a century sometimes retreat into isolation to undergo a ritual that transforms them into grey slaadi. Green slaadi that have survived for at least two centuries may retreat into isolation to attempt a mysterious ritual that, if they survive, will transform them into death slaadi. Grey slaadi that survive a thousand years can become white slaadi and death slaadi that survive two thousand years can transform into black slaadi. Sometimes the chaotic energies within individual slaadi cause spontaneous transformations. Blue slaadi digesters, green slaadi madjacks, grey slaadi havocs, and red slaadi juggernauts are some of the forms such transformations can take.
The Spawning Stone
Deep within the chaos of the Bleeding Edge of Reality, or maybe it is in the heart of the Elemental Chaos, is a massive stone over a mile wide and nearly a mile tall. This stone covered in strange glyphs and other writing is the mating ground for all known slaadi types. The Spawning Stone produces currents of ever changing “chaos-stuff” that flow away from the Stone. As the nature of the “chaos-stuff” changes, one slaad race is drawn upstream to the stone, while all other slaadi are repelled. Even with this feature in place, the first arrivals of the new set of mating slaadi are forced to drive off the lingerers from previous wave of mating slaadi.
The origin of the Spawning Stone is unknown, but legend holds that the two greatest slaadi lords, S’sendam and Ygorl, ensorcelled the stone to bind the slaadi into their current frog-like forms and color types. They did this to prevent a slaad mutant from being born that would be more powerful than they. It is believed that the slaadi gems, found in the forehead of many slaadi, come from egg pellets fertilized by slaadi mating at the Spawning Stone.
Well, folks this is part of what I’ve crafted for my games. Tell me, if you’ve gone this crazy in your campaign design and if so, what did you do. Until next time, Game On!