Thursday, June 19, 2014

March of the Bullywugs

I fear we're on the very cusp of batrachian domination. Soon now our amphibian overlords will rise to reassert the millennia-old natural order and put an end to our brief mammalian uprising!

My evidence? My yard and the surrounding woods are teeming with frogs ... tiny, tiny little brown frogs in point of fact (spring peepers). At any given moment, if I pause, I can see four or five moving about ... in some patches of yard upwards of fifteen at a glance. My morning run with the dog has taken a comic turn as I jink and dodge in an effort to avoid treading on any of our tiny overlords.

File:Spring peeper (SC woodlot).jpg
photo by Fungus Guy
I have a soft spot for frogs and toads (along with rabbits, snails, moths and tortoises ... really anything God has seen fit to grant even less of an ability to protect itself than I have) and it's amazing how these little guys (each about the size of a pencil eraser) have made it all the way to my yard. The nearest water is about 400 yards away, downhill through the woods. They must have been picked off by the hundred by birds, bugs, snakes, bigger frogs, cars, and temperatures in the 90s. They remind me a bit of explorers of Bawal Bayan.

I don't know about you, but I was totally stoked when, as a kid, I finally mowed enough grass to get my copy of Monster Manual II
photo accessed here
Thumbing through, my first impression as a TSR fanboy was that we were back on track after the weird, eclectic, Euro-departure that was Fiend Folio (in more recent years I've warmed to Russ Nicholson's unsettling art and Fiend Folio remains one of my favorite old school hardcovers). After first impressions began to fade, however, my enthusiasm for Monster Manual II began to subside somewhat. 

"Oh look, more dinosaurs ... I'll never use those ... go T-Rex or don't bother. All the entries are illustrated by TSR workhorse Jim Holloway ... he's great, but where's the variety?  And what's this? A grippli? ... Because if there's one thing D&D desperately needs it's another frog-themed humanoid race ..."

Grippli.JPG
from wikipedia.org
Let's see ... for frog-based monsters we already had:

Bullywugs (D&D cartoon for the win!)
Slaad (carefully color-coded creatures of ... ultimate ... chaos?)
Giant, killer frogs
Blindheim (why?  Just ... why?)
Froghemoth (which was admittedly pretty gonzo-cool)

... Yeah, anyway, the grippli always left me cold (just don't tell our overlords).