WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM?
You can’t find these anywhere in fifth edition, they are straight out of Dragon magazine issue number 50 in an article by Alan Fomorin.
ABOUT & ABILITIES
These are pretty much normal frogs in appearance but they grow to a weight of about 30 pounds. Now that’s a big frog. The body is a bile green and is covered with a slick mucus. Two translucent membranes connect its fore and rear limbs enabling these creatures to glide much like a flying squirrel does. They are climbers so you’ll find them up in trees or perhaps gliding from tree to tree.
It’s fore limbs end in hands with clawed fingers. It is common for these creatures to grab a hold of their prey with these clawed fingers, holding them fast while they feed.
The vampire frog gets its name from the two needle sharp fangs it has in the front of its mouth. These fangs are hollow. These hollow fangs are used to consume the blood of its victim.
The giant vampire frogs will hang upside down in trees much like a bat does. Their coloring makes them almost imperceptible while hiding in the trees. When a warm-blooded creature passes by, the frogs will release their grip on the tree, extending their membranous wings and glide silently towards their unknowing prey. The creature will attack from behind, landing on the back of its victim. While on its victims back, it will pierce their neck with its two front fangs drawing blood from its victim for an immediate 1D4 points of damage. Every round thereafter, the creature will do an additional 1D4 points of damage unless it is slain or thrown off its victim. At the same time this is happening, the vampire frog will grab a hold of its victim’s ears with its two clawed hands, and will intertwine its body in the hair of its victim using its mucus covered body to aid in adhesion much like glue. You see, this all happens while the giant vampire frog is hanging upside down on its victim.
To complicate matters even more, if one of your adventuring companions happens to be attacked by a giant vampire frog while adventuring in a swamp, any attempts at aiding your adventuring companion has a 50% chance to hit the victim instead because of all the thrashing that is occurring while the victim is having its blood drawn from its body. If the victim is hit they will take full damage but there is still a 30% chance that the vampire frog will absorb half of the damage from the hit but the victim will also take the other half. This is because the frog adheres so tightly to the victim’s body.
Yes, this all seems very complicated, and a little unclear but that’s the way things were back then during the advanced Dungeons & Dragons era. It is part of the appeal of the game. Back then we didn’t have five decades of streamlining done to the game.
Things were written a little differently back in those days. You are likely to encounter anywhere between three and 18 of these creatures when walking through their swampy homes. The DM will determine how many are present by rolling 3, 6-sided dice. The total of those three dice are added together and that’s how many bloodsucking frogs you get. These were two hit dice monsters which means that you roll to eight-sided dice to determine what their points are. And they had an armor class of five. So, you’re thinking, as a student of fifth edition well I can hit an armor class of five in my sleep and yes you could but back then an armor class of five was pretty good it is roughly the equivalent of a 15 or 16 armor class and fifth edition.
In addition to the 1D4 points of damage that one will get from the sucking of the blood, you also take damage from two clawed attacks. These are 1 to 2 points of damage each and there is also an attack that does 1 to 6 points of damage. I am merely making an assumption that the 1 to 2 points of damage are from the clawed attacks of the creature grabbing hold to the victim’s ears. I’m not entirely sure where the 1 to 6 points of damage comes in. And the 1d4 points of damage from the bloodsucking attack isn’t even listed in the stats that’s listed in the description but that’s again, the way things were back then. These somewhat vague descriptions and contradictory listings are what made it absolutely necessary for a dungeon master to take on a great deal of agency and make calls on the fly. While this can be somewhat irritating to those individuals used to a more streamlined and professionalized version of the game, these necessities back then are really what made exceptional dungeon Masters.
HOW TO USE THEM
These are not a monster that I would build an entire adventure around. I would use them as an encounter in a swamp maybe even a random encounter. I would Harrie the party by making there be a large number of them, perhaps as many as 10. This may even be a good monster to use as a beginning to an adventure. Here’s how I would do it:
I would shamelessly steal the plot line from a classic Star Trek episode. You know the one, where the pancake creatures take over an entire colony and one of them sticks itself to Spock’s back and intertwines itself in its nervous system.
Perhaps the party is sent to investigate a city that has lost contact with everywhere else in the realm. Caravans traveled through there and do not return, no one has seen any commerce coming out of the city or even any of its residents. Perhaps there are rumors going on about nefarious circumstances occurring in the city.
Whatever the case the party is sent to investigate. Perhaps they find that these giant vampire frogs have moved in or escaped from some wizard’s laboratory, being known for their abilities of rapid procreation. Perhaps they carry a disease. Once they bite you there is a very strong chance that you will contract a disease that turns you mad until eventually you die. The party finds themselves trapped in the city with a bunch of crazy people much like those in the movie the crazies. Certainly not a refined adventure or idea but it’s a start.