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Dungeons & Dragons creature
Slaad
Alignment Chaotic neutral (except death slaadi which are chaotic evil)
Type Outsider
Source books
First appearance
Image Wizards.com image

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, slaad (pluralized as slaadi) are a fictional race of Outsiders that resemble giant humanoid toads of various colors.

Development and licensingEdit

The slaadi were created by Charles Stross for the Fiend Factory column in White Dwarf magazine. It was later compiled (along with many other monsters submitted to the magazine) into the TSR UK book, Fiend Folio Tome of Creatures Malevolent and Benign (1981). Stross said of their creation,

Well, the fact that I was running a fever when I came up with the Slaadi is probably not going to surprise anyone — think of ‘em as my independent exploration of Lovecraftiana. (I didn’t discover H. P. Lovecraft until a couple of years later.)... Think “Lovecraft mythos”, as invented by someone who hasn’t read Lovecraft (or heard of him). The Slaadi were going to be basically representatives of, and devotees of, total chaos — with an added warped sense of humour. [1]

For much of their existence, the slaadi were the subject of jokes by D&D players due to their distinctly frog-like appearance, which was overemphasized in early artistic depictions of the monsters. With the advent of the Planescape campaign setting, TSR made an effort to create a more appropriately fearsome image of the slaadi, with their toad qualities toned down in favor of showing their more frightening aspects as beings of pure chaos. This Planescape envisioning of the slaadi carried forth into the 3rd Edition of the D&D game and has persisted ever since. [2]

Because they were created by a D&D player (and their copyrights transferred to TSR and, subsequently, Wizards of the Coast), slaadi are one of only a handful of D&D monsters considered "Product Identity" by Wizards of the Coast and, as such, are not released under its Open Gaming License.[3]

Cultural impactEdit

The word "slaad" has been used to describe frog-like monsters in the Yamara comic, and the webcomic Shadowgirls, which uses the word "slaad" [2] to describe a race of monsters. [3]

Slaadi have appeared in 3rd-party game sourcebooks such as the Tome of Horrors from Necromancer Games. It was parodied in the HackMaster Hacklopedia of Beasts, published by Kenzer & Company. The plot of the Downer series of graphic novels by Kyle Stanley Hunter, published by Diamond Comic Distributors, revolves around a slaad-created artifact.

DepictionEdit

Slaadi are native to the Outer Plane of Limbo. They are classified as part of the D&D game's extraplanar subtype and outsider type; that is, like the they are said to be composed of the same substances as their home plane. Slaadi are always chaotic neutral except for the death slaadi, which are usually chaotic evil.

Slaadi generally resemble froglike humanoids, though as beings of Chaos they are prone to mutations. Some do not resemble amphibians at all. They have a wide range of colors corresponding to their rank in society. Size also varies between the different castes, from human sized to several feet taller than human sized.

SocietyEdit

Slaadi have a caste system generally believed to be based on the color of a slaad's hide, though other sources seem to indicate it is based on the color of the stones lodged in their foreheads. However, these beings are made of chaos themselves, so can be very hard to distinguish them from each other. From the bottom of the hierarchy to the top, there are mud slaadi, red slaadi, blue slaadi, green slaadi, grey slaadi, death slaadi, white slaadi, black slaadi and finally the slaad lords. Slaadi usually reproduce by implanting eggs beneath their victim's skin or by infecting them with a disease. Their claw attacks implant their eggs into hosts, which hatch inside the host's body and consume the host from the inside. The alternate form of reproduction is if a blue slaad bites its opponent. This bite triggers a transformation of the host into a slaad over the course of a week. Mud slaadi eggs only produce mud slaadi. Red slaadi eggs produce blue slaadi, and the bite of a blue slaad produces red slaadi. If either a red slaad or blue slaad infects an arcane spellcaster, the host will spawn a green slaad, superior to its parent in that it may cast spells. A green slaad, upon reaching its hundredth year of life, will retreat for the duration of about a year, giving it time to transform into a grey slaad, which focus more on spell-casting than most other Slaad. Some grey slaadi undergo an unnamed, mysterious ritual, which transforms them into death slaadi. Death slaadi possess amazing magical and physical might, but prefer to use their strength to defeat their opponents. Death slaadi tend more towards an evil alignment than do most other slaadi. If the death slaad survives a century, it turns into the demonic white slaad. And if the white slaad survives a century, it turns into the epic black slaad. The black slaad is the most powerful slaad, excluding the slaad lords. In the older editions of Dungeons & Dragons, the slaadi were ruled over by Slaad Lords.

The Spawning Stone is the primordial home of the slaadi. It is located in "a realm of their greatest dominion".

Each race of slaad converges on the Spawning Stone for a season of mating. The hermaphroditic slaadi mate at the stone in turn, fertilizing each others' internal egg sacs. When the next slaad race in the cycle wrests the Spawning Stone away from the previous group, the slaadi carry around these seedlike fertilized eggs for later implantation into host bodies. Sometimes, however, young slaadi are produced right there at the stone because the slaadi implant each other in their mating frenzy. Thus, dead adult slaadi routinely float about the stone until destroyed by the chaos of the Limbo plane. Though the stone drifts from place to place, currents of chaos-stuff always flow away from the stone. Slaadi can recognize these currents and follow them “upstream.” The currents grow into tsunamis and give birth to chaos storms when the stone changes hands among the slaadi.

No two slaadi are born the same; due to their inherent chaos each slaad may be very different from its predecessors. Indeed, there was once a time when slaadi of different colors, and different powers, were common, however, the Slaad Lords Ssendam and Ygorl somehow affected the 'Spawning Stone' to prevent the emergence of slaadi more powerful than them, which keeps the slaadi within the aforementioned groups. Although anomalies do slip through in the chaos, they have less variety, and less chance of being more powerful than the Slaad Lords.

Slaad LordsEdit

Known slaad lords include Ygorl, Lord of Entropy; Ssendam, Lord of Madness;[4] Chourst, Lord of Randomness; Rennbuu, Lord of Colors; and Wartle.

Slaadi in other mediaEdit

  • The slaad lord Ygorl appeared as the final boss in the video game Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone where he was voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan.[5] In the game, Ygorl was depicted as humanoid in appearance but was covered in tough chitinous armor and had many claw-like mandibles extending from the back of his head.
  • Slaadi were illustrated in the Counter Collection II from Fiery Dragon Production.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Charles Stross Interview, SevenDead.com. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  2. Rausch, Allen. [1] -The History of Dungeons & Dragons, Part V, GameSpy.com, August 19, 2004. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  3. "Frequently Asked Questions". D20srd.org. http://www.d20srd.org/faq.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  4. Green, Scott; Peterson, Clark (2002). Tome of Horrors. Necromancer Games. pp. 328. ISBN 1-58846-112-2. 
  5. Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone Gets Hollywood Talent, IGN.com, May 24, 2004. Retrieved January 28, 2008.

Further readingEdit

  • Burlew, Rich. Order of the Stick: Dungeon Crawlin' Fools. (Giant in the Playground Games, 2005).
  • Greene, Scott. Tome of Horrors. (Necromancer Games, 2002).
  • Hunter, Kyle. Downer: Fool's Errand. (Diamond Comic Distributors, 2008).
  • Pozas, Claudio, and Ryan Nock, James Bell, Michael Johnstone. Counter Collection II. (Fiery Dragon Production, 2002).


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