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RQG Monster Friday, week 29-2019

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(This is not my own creation, but my RQ conversion of a 5e creature I thought was interesting and filled a useful ecological / monster niche, the Grung.  Artist credit: Shawn Wood)

Image result for grung

The Grung are a race of small, intelligent amphibians found in the depths of tropical rainforests.  Their bright colors and “cute” appearance belie martial ferocity and an inherently savage nature.  They survive in their very hostile environment by being extremely territorial and tenaciously aggressive to perceived threats, in particular other sapient races, verging on species-wide paranoia. Unfortunately, this means they are difficult to interact with as their solutions to any conflict run toward the genocidal. 

Grung society is based around small (<200 member) tribal clans, usually scattered across a handful of settlements.  Tribes tend not to cooperate unless the threat is massive, and rarely fight each other.  They are rigidly caste-based, and life roles are identified by skin color at birth:

  • Green: Warriors, physical laborers, hunters.  ~60% of the population or more.
  • Blue: Skilled workers, craftsgrung, administrators.  ~30%
  • Red: scholars, shamans make up no more than 5% of the populace.
  • Orange: elite warriors are about 10% of the fighting forces, or 5% of the overall population.  In conflict, Orange Grung may command any other Grung but Gold. 
  • Gold: ruling caste.  No more than one per tribe.

Grung are widely feared for their potent toxic skin.  Any predator in their biome recognizes this coloration as a warning that even a lone Grung is not worth trying to eat.  The poison effect is immediate on contact with most living things, and is POT = Grung’s CON.  A Grung cannot refrain from affecting a touched victim.  If the poison is somehow washed from a Grung’s skin, it will regenerate to full potency within 24 hours.  Their skin color reliably predicts the effects of this poison (all sustained effects last 25r unless noted):

  • Green: (vs target CON) – simple damage poison, resist for half.  Apply no more than 3 points to target’s hp per round, at the end of each round, until total damage applied.
  • Blue: (vs target STR) – if success, that location is paralyzed and useless; special +1 adj location*, crit+2 adj location* (*ROLL for affected location; if non-adj location is rolled, then that extra paralysis is lost)
  • Red: (vs target INT) – if success, target hallucinates; roll before each round, target must FAIL INTx5 roll to function in that round, otherwise considered Befuddled.
  • Orange: Green effect andBlue effect, simultaneously.
  • Gold:  Green, Blue, and Red effects, simultaneously.

Grung are immune to Grung toxins, regardless of caste.

There are several ways Grung employ this toxin to useful effect:

  1. A Grung can touch attack a target.  Dex x5% to hit, dodge or parry completely stops a touch attack.  A successful touch on an armored location, the AP of that location resists vs Grung DEX to avoid skin-contact.  Natural armor, magical protections do NOT protect against touch attacks.**
  2. A Grung can rub its weapon on its skin, giving that weapon the same effect IF it penetrates armor.  This costs the wielder 3SR.  The effect is volatile; it only lasts a single round whether it hits or not, and would need to be applied again in subsequent rounds.
  3. The most likely technique used by trained warrior Grung is the grapple.  (Never used by noncombatants.) On a successful grapple attack, the Grung can “apply touch poison” in lieu of any application of damage.  Due to their ‘sticky grip’, they are extremely capable in this method.  A target trying to break the grapple must use some sort of available tool (and thus their effective STR to resist the grapple is halved) or if they don’t/can’t use a tool, the Grung gets an automatic ‘touch attack success’ (per above) on the limb used to push/scrape them off. (ie only the victim’s armor might protect them)
  4. Squirt: once per day, a Gold Grung can squirt its poison from its eyes, targeting one victim (Grung SIZ/2)m away.

** some might argue this is unfair, but protective magics must be somehow permeable to simple contact or a protected individual couldn’t hold anything or touch the floor or possibly breathe, depending on interpretation.  Use your interpretation.

Other notable features:

  • Grung never wear armor, and employ the sorts of weapons one would see in a primitive culture - blowguns, darts, javelins, light spears, knives.  They are well aware they're not built for slugging it out in melee...but knowing their inherent advantage they aren't afraid of it, either.  They will definitely use the intimidation factor of their toxic skin to their advantage, when they can.
  • Grung will almost never be encountered in groups of less than 6: 5 'workers' and at least one warrior always watching.  War parties could be thirty or more.  Golds often lead large or important attacks - the importance of Grung survival is as big a deal to them as it is to any Green.  They just know they're an important piece on the board, but not irreplaceable.
  • A Grung Red is likely to be Shaman or apprentice Shaman.  They are likely to have their full POW in spirit magic, including at least Spirit shield 2 - the Grung hate/fear spirits and will never employ them themselves.  Their village defenses will often be biased to protect heavily vs spirits.
  • Oranges will have half their POW in spirit magic known, invariably combat magic, up to 3 point spells.  Golds will have their full POW in spirit magic spells up to strength 6.  Some may be worshippers of appropriate Forest/Jungle/Southern gods - Aldrya, Pamalt, etc and may have divine spells.
  • Grung only move half human speed normally, but their sticky pads allow them to move on nearly any surface (including vertical or inverted) at full speed.
  • In lieu of their move, a Grung may JUMP up to 6m in a round.  Dex*4 to ‘stick’ the landing if it’s tricky.  Trained Grung warriors will often open combat with this surprise jump into a grapple attack.
  • Grung Orange/Gold have a “Chirr” sonic attack – once per 24 hours, they can ‘chirr’ piercingly loud.  Non Grung within (Grung POW/2)m radius must resist Grung POW vs their CON or be befuddled for 1r. 
  • Grung are HIGHLY organized.  Warriors will coordinate their attacks intelligently; they will use feints, bait, tricks, and even traps to direct victims into killing zones.  They will seriously evaluate opponents, and wait for reinforcements in order to ensure overwhelming force.  Golds/Oranges will cascade their ‘chirr’ attack to (hopefully) befuddle targets for sequential rounds.  Oranges will lead small parties to flank/surprise targets.  Noncombatant Grung will certainly try to flee any combat BUT there will always be a follow-up war party launched to investigate (read: implacably pursue and destroy) any threat.
  • Once all Green/Blue/Red Grung are incapacitated, any Gold will always seek to escape, and Orange to protect that escape.   All Grung will fight to the death to protect the Gold.  Golds, if no other option is available, may surrender/negotiate.  



Green, Blue, or Red

Orange or Gold






















Random Common Grung: Blue, Red, Green (sorry, this is based on heavily modified RQ3; adjust to your rules flavor)


Random Elite Grung: Orange or Gold


GM's note: play the Grung as intelligent but paranoid sociopaths, interested in nothing but the safety/survival of the Grung collectively.  They can be dealt with (delicately) but are sensitive to the slightest offense or possible threat.  Utterly selfless in subordination to their tribe and the Grung generally, they're neither stupid nor reckless.  Their sole moral compass is the safety of the Grung.

Edited by styopa
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@styopa, where do Grung mostly live in Your Glorantha? It looks like jungles of Pamaltela to me, but I was wondering if you imagine them in Genertela at all.

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19 hours ago, Crel said:

@styopa, where do Grung mostly live in Your Glorantha? It looks like jungles of Pamaltela to me, but I was wondering if you imagine them in Genertela at all.

Northern Pamaltela is where I imagine them, certainly, but like the invasive supercolonies of ants in Spain, I could certainly see them in Teshnos.  They're essentially intelligent tree frogs, they could probably live anywhere yellow elves thrive.

In fact, that's one of the facets of their existence I haven't really worked out for certain myself: their relations with yellow aldryami. 

By default, the Grung should hate elves like everyone else, but I can't see Errinoru putting up with such an intelligent hostile species... unless we posit their toxins aren't effective against vegetable life (or at least are less potent) in which case they'd be a very natural ally

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