Libris Monstrum #18: Slaadi Revisited
Today we are heading back into one of the monsters that is specific to the game of Dungeons & Dragons: the slaadi. Slaadi are still one of my favorite creatures out there, but it can be difficult to gather much information on them. Today I want to talk about some more slaad types and how you might be able to manipulate the salad concept for your own purposes. If you want a refresher on what these creatures are check out the first entry!
In the first part we discussed some of the horrific aspects of slaadi and how there are parallels between how they are created and how the xenomorph of the Alien series are born. If you ask me, we can take this analogy a whole step forward and move into new territory for the slaad. Hells, it isn’t even new territory because we have the green slaadi. These are born when the chaos phage infects a spellcaster. These eventually turn into powerful, spellcasting grey slaadi. Why not take this another step forward? The xenomorphs do this in many ways, especially as you look at the expanded universe of lore. Examples include the quick alien from the third movie which is born from a dog and the predalien from the Aliens vs Predator sequel which is a fearsome foe, bringing down a predator ship and causing havoc. Especially for smaller, recurring infestations of slaadi, new types can be disastrous for a party.
Before we move on from this idea, I want to through out some possibilities and something to keep in mind. First, is the basic principle that slaadi who live long enough become something more dangerous. This works well in so many ways, including a recurring villain and a good excuse to make them more powerful. As for differing infections, lets start with the classes. The first one that jumps out to me is the psion. This could be relatively similar to the green and grey slaadi but with the right powers and abilities are uniquely formidable. I can also manage a monk creating special slaadi with unique combat abilities and the power to use ki. Let your imagination run wild! What if a dragon was infected? A shapeshifter? The possibilities are endless!
Now that we have your brains churning out new slaadi possibilities, lets get back to what we do know about them. All the types that were discussed previously were not “true” slaadi. To be fair there are virtually no true slaadi in existence and even those that you may consider in this category are not all confirmed, per se. Do not fret! We still have a name for these unique slaadi: Slaad Lords. Among them are two true slaadi: Ssendam and Ygorl. Part of being a true slaadi is being a creature of living chaos and having no set physical form. The great power of these two beings have allowed them to manipulate the Spawning Stone to a certain degree. They prevent the Stone from spawning slaadi that will be more powerful than they. Of course, thanks to the chaos of Limbo and the Stone itself, there are exceptions to this. Weird anomalies get through and some of these are the other Slaad Lords. Among these are Wartle, Chourst, and Rennbuu and the Slaad Lords have grand titles like Lord of Randomness and Lord of Entropy.
Slaadi & Lovecraft
Now that I have mentioned the Slaad Lords, I want to discuss another parallel with horror. These beings are unique and immeasurably powerful. We know virtually nothing about them except their names and their grand titles. They have goals that we do not understand and do as they please, when they please. Additionally, each one has a unique appearance and may have many appearances, none of which are even vaguely reminiscent of other slaadi. Sound familiar? Other than their entrenchment in Dungeons & Dragons, these are Great Old Ones, through and through. Don’t get me wrong, D&D has the Far Realm and in the past two editions have created their own Elder Gods, but the Slaad Lords feel as though they are on equal footing to some of Lovecraft’s creations. While they are not on par with the likes of something like Yog-Sothoth or Azathoth, they are creatures with a great resemblance to something like Cthulhu or Tsathoggua. Here is the way I look at it, slaadi are a perfect jumping stone to trying out some cosmic horror in your campaign. You don’t have to look far for them, and they do everything themselves to act as servitors to horrors you cannot imagine. Running a campaign of slaadi is the first step towards getting a D&D group to try out a Cthulhu campaign.
One Last Slaad
The last mention I want to make for the slaadi revisited entry is the gormeel slaad. Appearing in an issue of Dragon magazine, these slaadi are very different from the rest. You see, these beings are driven by law and order, seeking to protect such domains with their lives. Nevertheless, they were born from the Spawning Stone and are slaadi. Within them stirs the forces of chaos which constantly beat against their instincts. While genial outside of battle, combat will bring out the chaos within. This makes gormeel slaad dangerous opponents and, perhaps, even more dangerous allies. Still, races like the gith find use for these slaadi and may be seen riding them into battle as mounts.
Have I missed anything? Have ideas for slaadi? Did an autocorrect to salad slip by? Let us know in the comments below!