Not all of D&D’s frog like creatures are the same – you may think that Slaad is no worse than your average Bullywug, but you would be terrifyingly mistaken.
Usually appearing as large bipedal frogs with huge heads and sharp claws, Slaadi generally live on the Outer Plane of Limbo. Some of the more powerful Slaadi can polymorph or chance their shape to appear as human men. They can also be summoned like demons or if you know an individual Slaad’s name. Like dragons, the varieties of Slaadi have different abilities, strengths, and are very competitive with each other. For example, rivalries springing up between Bluee and Red Slaadi often, Death Slaadi are as fearsome as they are rare, and Gray Slaadi can travel between the planes at will.
Slaadi the kind of monsters who have big dreams and not quite enough will to see their desires to fruition. Given a lifetime of scavenging the battlefields of the Blood War, Slaadi would like to change the established order of the planes and make themselves more powerful. In practice, they remain mean, large frogs with an informal but practical societal hierarchy of their own where more powerful Slaadi use their less powerful cousins as muscle and swiftly stomp out disobedience.
Most Slaadi attack with their claws and bite, but smart Slaadi are able to use summons and spells. One such example is the Death Slaad, who you may think is the hulking Blue creature above, but that is in fact a Blue Slaad while the Death Slaad is the smaller and leaner Slaad in front. Death Slaadi start as Gray Slaadi who have undergone a ritual transformation, and while they were able to use spells in their gray form, Death Slaadi focus all of that power specifically on making things dead.
Your average Slaad has been an agent of chaos and disorder for a few editions now, but fourth edition paints a pretty bleak picture of these monsters by letting us know that their “hold on reality is tenuous at best.” They seem to have an awareness of things beyond other creatures’ perceptions and will attack for little or no reason at all. They also apparently reproduce Alien-Style by laying eggs in a victim and then just sort of waiting for the egg to turn into a tadpole and eventually burrowing into its host’s skull as the host slowly goes mad.
Fight off the top, you should know that the Slaadi take up five entire pages of the Fifth Edition Monster Manual, making them one of the most fleshed out monsters that you’re probably not using enough. A Red Slaad can inject an egg into a humanoid victim just by scratching them, while a huge Blue Slaad can use a similar attack to transform a victim into a fully grown Slaad themselves using a disease called “Chaos Phage.” Green Slaadi are the spellcasters and shapshifters of the group, but Gray Slaadi are effectively just extensions of their masters, the Death Slaadi, who are easily the most evil and sadistic of all of the Slaadi types.
Have you encounter a Slaad in your D&D adventures? Which kind? How did you avoid their attacks and the terrifying side effects? Let us know in the comments!