Monday, September 19, 2016

Frog Father & Goliath Frog

Giant insects are a staple of fantasy gaming (and with five Bestiaries to draw from, Pathfinder’s giant bugs are even nastier than most).  Naturally, that means you need some equally giant insectivores.  The goliath frog and frog father are Large and Huge options with which to terrify your low-level parties (especially any halfling and gnome PCs).

Stat-wise, these are pretty utilitarian amphibians—you’re picking them for their size and CR, not flashy abilities—but it’s still worth diving into their stat blocks and descriptions to mine for interesting encounter setups and tactics.  Goliath frogs have an excellent Climb skill, so having them attack from the trees is a nice way to surprise a party carefully skirting around the edge of the local swamp.  And the long reach (30 ft.) of frog fathers’ tongues makes a pair of the Huge beasts a potentially lethal encounter for a bridge or ford scenario.

Fed up with an infestation of kikimoras, a village purchases a magical bell meant to drive the beak-nosed fey away.  Once installed at the top of the steeple, the bell’s peal will send any fey within earshot scurrying away—but to work it must be blessed by a bishop and installed on a high holy day…so some adventurers have been hired to make sure the ceremony goes off without a hitch.  The kikimoras are naturally determined to foil this plan, doing everything from recruiting gremlins to sabotage the tower to attempting to kidnap the bishop.  In a desperate last-ditch effort, the kikimoras ride goliath frogs into town on the day of the blessing, hoping enough townsfolk are gobbled up that the survivors will never be so impertinent again.

“Frog father” is a name with mysterious, almost mythic overtones.  While most frog fathers are dumb beasts who munch on giant insects and cattle, rumors persist of certain elder frog fathers awakened to a modicum of intelligence and even crude magical powers.  Said intelligence does nothing to curb these frog fathers’ base appetites, however.  They squat in their swamps like corpulent green lords, croaking demands for food and slurping up any supplicants who come within 30 feet.

Where the Plane of Air brushes the Plane of Wood, clumps of trees the size of towns roll like giant tumbleweeds through the air.  Blessed with enough biomass to have their own mini-atmospheres, these tumbleworlds are humid enough that animals and vermin of all kinds can flourish despite not having any firm soil beneath them.  Plane of Air denizens and visitors alike seek out these tumbleworlds for rare fruits, orchids, medicinal herbs, but they must beware the goliath frogs that are happy to snap up large birds and even sylphs without hesitation.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 117

D&D 3.0/3.5 fans will remember the Plane of Wood as a variant elemental plane from the Manual of the Planes.  (There were even stat templates for wood elemental creatures—perfect for you My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fans who want timberwolves in your game.)  If you’re looking for a reason to use the Plane of Wood, it fits in excellently with certain Oriental Adventurers cosmologies that have five Inner Planes (Air/Fire/Water/Metal/Wood) instead of the usual four.

Edit: Another week, another late radio show update for my Blogger readers.  Grab it before midnight!

This week’s radio show celebrated 20 years of Cake’s incomparable Fashion Nugget, nodded toward 20 years of R.E.M.’s divisive New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and played an assortment of new and classic indie faves.  Stream/download the file here till Monday, 9/19, at midnight.

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