Sunday, July 20, 2014

[Planescape] Skwugs

I've been re-reading The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert Bakker. In a section discussing amphibian and reptile hunting adaptations, Bakker describes a large frog species capable of devouring rats and birds. The frogs achieve this by being effective ambush hunters. The species also has saliva that acts as an anesthetic, quickly subduing a prey item so that it can be gulped down.

     Skwugs were inspired by this section of the book as a kind of amphibious goblin, but not nearly so nasty. Like the frogs in Bakker's book, skwugs have an anesthetic saliva that they can spit at foes to stun them. Once subdued, the victims can be robbed and poked at. The saliva also has powerful hallucinatory properties.

     The skwugs are native to the Outlands near the Great Spire. They reside in a marshy area and mostly keep to themselves. They worship a gigantic purple toad in the middle of the swampy area and try to appease him with the items they steal from passers-by. He bestows his favor upon them by devouring a dozen of their number each full moon. The toad then belches a mighty hallucinogenic cloud that engulfs the entire tribe.

Alignment Neutral
No. Appearing 4d4
Armor Class 6
Move 6
Hit Dice 1-1
Hit Points 3
THAC0 20
No. of Attacks 1
Damage 1-2 (bite)
Special Attack Poison (see below)
Special Defense Leap (see below)
Size Small
XP Value 30

     Poison Attack: Skwugs can spit a gob of saliva up to 30' at a single target with a +4 to hit. The target must save vs. poison or fall to the ground paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. The poison is quite potent, so after the paralysis wears off, the victim will trip balls for 3d6 rounds. Roll on the hallucination table below. (1d6)

     1) Victim thinks he can fly. He begins running here and there, flapping his arms wildly. Kaw kaw!

     2) Victim loves everyone and everything. Many bro hugs given.

     3) Victim's consciousness is elevated and many truths of the Outer Planes are revealed. A permanent +1 to Intelligence is gained.

     4) Non-stop giggling and laughing ensues. The victim struggles to take things seriously from that point forward. A permanent -1 to Intelligence is sustained.

     5) Victim emerges from a stupor and can now speak with giant frogs, skwugs and bullywugs. Ribbit!

     6) Victim strips naked and wants to swim with his new friends. Watch out for leeches.

     Perhaps there is a market for skwug saliva?

     Defensive Leap: A skwug can leap 3" in an instant, a technique it often employs to escape danger.


  1. Definitely a cousin of a sleestak.

    1. They've been known to party together on occasion. :)

  2. Oh! I think that these live in the marshes around the Salt Sea in the Middle Sea world (which I still haven't added to the map). There may also be a colony of them in the marshes on the south end of Death Lake, near the fortress of the Kindred of Juiblex.

    1. I hope the skwugs have a wonderful time around the Salt Sea. :)

    2. Lucky for them the marshes filter out the salt. They don't dare get too close to the seashore, or even too far into the saltmarshes. But they love the marshes. The Murai know about them, but they believe that the skwugs are only a minor nuisance so there isn't much done about them.

      Seriously, these are perfect for something I needed there. Thank you.

  3. I couldn't have seen this at a better time! I'm running my game for the first time in months this coming Saturday, and had planned to introduce a small group of NPCs who'd been attacked by lizard men in the swamps south of Milburn Hall. I realize now they were also harassed by skwugs!

    1. Quite well, thanks! They ran into three groups of them. The first time, they took them all out before any could attack. The second group got in some bites but were destroyed before they could spit or escape. The third encounter was with ten of them... vs the five player characters and four swordsmen. The party again won initiative, and killed three and slept four. The remaining three all spit, paralyzing 1 pc and 1 swordsman. The party attacked killing one, but only wounding another. The wounded one then jumped thirty yards and submerged in the swamp, at which the players jaws dropped. The unharmed skwug jumped "almost a football field" away, and submerged, leaving the players scratching their heads. They started calling the skwugs "satanic amphi-bunnies." The PC who was paralyzed decided she could fly, and the swordsman decided he loved everyone, even as the party tied them down in the boat to protect them. I let them read the print-out after the session ended and they were most amused. These guys will definitely remain in my campaign! Thanks again.

    2. Dave, based upon your play experience I adjusted the leaping distance to a more sensible 3". I am so glad they worked out for your players. :)