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Scribbles from the Ballpoint Pen of Stan!
Gross Toads

A sketch from a little later on in the scene with the toad shepherd. We learned that the toads belched up this thick, mucus-like goo that hardened and slowed one's movement. Then, after we took down the ranger and killed a few of the toads, we learned that they ALSO excrete a slimy substance that they can use to slide away quickly but leaves a trail that acts like a grease spell.

So the toads are all about preventing you from moving normally. On paper I'm sure this seemed like good monster design -- pick a thematic focus for the monster and build mechanics to express that theme. But in practice it just seemed too contrived. Tremendous toads that create two really bizarre but useful excretions that do basically opposite things and yet affect the characters in the same way? And neither of those powers seems especially complementary to what a toad generally does? It just was too easy to see them as nothing but a contrived obstacle ... a mechanical challenge ... rather than a creature that belonged in the environment.
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zargon From: zargon Date: March 18th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)


That's an interesting point you bring up about the devices used to hinder the players. I like the idea of a creature being nothing more than a minor roadblock. It makes an otherwise dull plodding through a dungeon exciting. But not *all* hinderances have to be alive (or undead, or whatever). Traps are another great tool of the Dungeon Overlord. So if you want to slow the players, what's wrong with a collection of kobold archers at one end of a corridor who know how to trigger a long forgotten (but still active) trap that secretes the hardening goo, that, after a short while, disolves into a slimy substance. Or give the kobold shaman a Wand of Gooey Slime? Wouldn't that make more sense and fit better with the "reality" of the world? Certainly better than giant sabre-toothed toads secreting huge amounts of opposite biohazards.
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