Friday, March 30, 2012

Frogport

Downriver, at the edge of Snollygoster Swamp, perches the curious town of Frogport, a ragtag assemblage of slippy-sloppy buildings on stilts, rope walkways between treehouses, and barges roped together.  Although a number of humans call Frogport home, its majority population is of course the eponymous frogs - bipedal, intelligent frog-men who have called that part of Snollygoster Swamp home since the time of the ancients.

Frogport began as a trading-post where men and frogs came together to barter at the traversable end of the swamp.  In time, however, merchants began building, hunters moved in, and some of the frogs became enamored of human culture.  Although even the frogs living in the deep of the swamp benefit from the trade, it is the syncretism of frog and human culture which has caused an uproar in what was once a traditional, almost monolithic society.

For centuries, the frog-folk lived as savages in Snollygoster Swamp - hunting, gathering, and cavorting about without clothing.  Now, they have rapidly adopted the ways of their neighbors - wooden homes instead of muddy burrows, waistcoats and pocketwatches, and worst of all, a shift in religion.  The young generation of frogs may still pay lip service to the traditional faith of Wug-Ba-Wug the Mud-Matron, but it is a new deity who truly holds their attention.  This new godling, known as Mix-Gun-Jai or ‘Lord of Great Waters’, represents cultural advancement and enlightenment, and perhaps a bold new era for the frogs.

The young frogs who follow the new faith and fashion tool around town in tweed jackets and are fascinated with both entrepreneurship and the possibilities of foreign travel.  Frog-folk are still a highly musical people, but the old sacred chants are fallen by the wayside, replaced with raucous music made with man-crafted brass instruments.  Although percussionists still use handmade drums and carefully-trained giant crickets as instruments, most prefer explosive drum solos to the maudlin cadences which were ancient when their grandparents were tadpoles.  This year acapella quartets are all the rage.

Frogport is a fairly safe town, policed as it is by some of the larger frogs and willing human residents, always on the lookout for natural predators - including giant cranes and immense swamp-spiders - and more recent rivals, such as the gator-men.


PLAYING A FROG-MAN
Frog-men are treated as halflings in all ways, save their special abilities.  

Frog-folk can hide with 90% ability in less-than-clear water or swamp terrain; they are fully amphibious and may breathe both water and air with ease.  Frogs have good low-light vision as well as good underwater vision.  Their small size grants frogs a lower armor class (-2) when attacked by creatures greater than human sized.  In addition, each frog PC must roll once for a Froggy Special Ability, representing a beneficial mutation.  The frogs are a surprisingly diverse species, constantly evolving; spawn often do not resemble their parents in the slightest.  A human wizard resident in Frogport has just begun to study this strange phenomenon.

FROGGY SPECIAL ABILITIES
These represent mutations in the adult frog-folk, usually caused by the outside environment during the tadpole stage rather than something inherited.  Other, wilder mutation tables may be used if you’re feeling lucky; three-eyed frog-folk are not uncommon, for example.  Recent experiments by the aforementioned human wizard suggest that frog-folk mutate very easily, even after reaching adulthood - best to be cautious of wild magic, glowing slimes, and evil-looking idols; any adventuring situation which might cause mutation in a PC has double-chance of doing so in a frog, and if there’s a mandatory ‘mutation table’ roll involved, the frog must take two.

1 - Celebrated Jumper - long legs and powerful musculature combine to make this frog an incredible leaper.  The frog may jump twice the normal distance for a creature its size.

2 - Dreamwarden - patches on the frog’s skin, usually on the back, exude a mild hallucinogen which can affect both frogs and humans if tasted.  Normally this drug is used as a corollary to frog religious rituals honoring the Mud-Matron; goodness only knows what a PC will try to do with it.

3 - Revenger - the frog’s very flesh is foul-tasting and poisonous.  Predators which get a taste of him must save vs poison or drop/recoil from the frog.  A creature which actually eats the poor frog must save vs poison or become violently ill for 2d4 hours - perhaps allowing the frog’s surviving friends a chance to gain revenge of their own.

4 - Amazing Tongue - while all frog-folk have sticky tongues, yours is particularly long and strong, and nearly prehensile.  While it cannot effectively hold a weapon or tool, you can fire it out at melee range as a bludgeon which does 1d2 points of damage, or use it to grab light objects and bring them to you.  

5 - Mind of the Ancients - although it’s difficult to say whether this power is an atavism or an evolutionary advance, it’s certainly useful.  You can “speak” with nonsentient frogs, toads, and salamanders (including giant ones) using a form of mental empathy, and sometimes bend them to your will.

6 - Wartoad - a small proportion of the frog population manifests retractable claws.  Your shiny yellow claws only do 1d3 damage, but they are always by your side.

7 - Water-born - Your toe-webbing is very grand indeed, and you have the swimming muscles to back it up.  Your swim speed is increased 50%.

8 - Frog of Thunder - evolutionary saltation has provided you with small glands in your palms which generated bioelectricity; you may discharge them (together) once per day for 2d4 damage, not unlike a Shocking Grasp.  However, you react very poorly to electrical feedback, and suffer -2 to all saves versus anything to do with lightning.

FROGGY COLORS
First, roll a d6:
1 -  solid color, roll once below, underbelly is lighter shade of same
2 - solid color, roll once below; then roll again for underbelly
3 - spotted, roll twice below
4 - striped, roll twice below
5 - mottled, roll once below, with patches of a darker tone
6 - harlequin, roll four times below

1 - a very pleasant green indeed [1]
2 - olive drab
3 - bright green
4 - british racing green
5 - chocolate brown
6 - mud brown
7 - baby-poop yellow-brown
8 - so brown it’s black
9 - mustard yellow
10 - bright yellow
11 - golden [2]
12 - turquoise
13 - granny smith
14 - deep red
15 - bright red
16 - wow, that frog is seriously blue
17 - pumpkin orange
18 - dun/tan
19 - practically white [2]
20 - pinkish

[1] Your tone is the pinnacle of froggy beauty; your CHA is considered to be +2 when dealing with other frog-folk.
[2] The more you have of this color, the more useful you probably are to some freakish cult or wizard-hermit for rituals which end with you splayed open and shouting for your Mommy.  Just thought you’d want to know.


5 comments:

  1. I like the frog-men. Very nice. I'd play one :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great addition. The cultural details make them really interesting.

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  3. I am stealing this! Great stuff!

    ReplyDelete