Sons of the Toad
From hearing the hideous rumors and legends whose nature I have already outlined, I was prepared for something out of the ordinary in the way of criminal personality. But even at first sight, when I watched him as he was borne to prison through a moiling crowd, Knygathin Zhaum surpassed the most sinister and disagreeable anticipations. He was naked to the waist, and wore the fulvous hide of some long-haired animal which hung in filthy tatters to his knees. Such details, however, contributed little to those elements in his appearance which revolted and even shocked me. His limbs, his body, his lineaments were outwardly formed like those of aboriginal man; and one might even have allowed for his utter hairlessness, in which there was a remote and blasphemously caricatural suggestion of the shaven priest; and even the broad, formless mottling of his skin, like that of a huge boa, might somehow have been glossed over as a rather extravagant peculiarity of pigmentation. It was something else, it was the unctuous, verminous ease, the undulant litheness and fluidity of his every movement, seeming to hint a an inner structure and vertebration that were less than human - or, one might almost have said, a sub-ophidian lack of all bony frame-work - which made me view the captive, and also my incumbent task, with an unparallelable distaste. He seemed to slither rather than walk; and the very fashion of his jointure, the placing of knees, hips, elbows and shoulders, appeared arbitrary and factitious. One felt that the outward semblance of humanity was a mere concession to anatomical convention; and that his corporeal formation might easily have assumed - and might still consume at any instant - the unheard-of outlines and concept-defying dimensions that prevail in trans-galactic worlds.-- "The Testament of Athammaus", Clark Ashton Smith
We are thus introduced to one of Smith's most memorable characters, Knygathim Zhaum, whose lineage can be traced back to both the proto-human Voormis and the toad god Tsathoggua. Although singularly powerful, Zhaum was not the only one of his kind as Tsathoggua has ranged far and wide, from Earth to Saturn and beyond. The children of the batrachian deity often are feared and shunned both for their power and their inhuman appearance. Many opt for the life of a lawless adventurer.
Sons of the Toad
Requirements: CON 15, STR 12, CHA >12
Prime Requisite: CON
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 12
|Experience||Level||Breath Attacks||Poison or Death||Petrify or Paralyze||Wands||Spells or Spell-like Devices|
The Sons of the Toad are descendants of the toad god Tsathoggua and are thus exceedingly rare. Although they possess the general shape of a man, they could no way be construed as human as they possess rubbery skin, often of a greenish-black cast or brightly spotted like a jungle toad or snake. Unless they take pains to hide their appearance, many people will react with fear or revulsion.
Sons of the Toad are natural warriors, forced to defend for themselves at any early age. As such, they may use any weapons or armor. Their greatest defense, however, and the parting gift of their father is that they are remarkably difficult to kill.
Whenever a Son of the Toad would normally be struck dead (but not disintegrated), they must make a savings throw versus death. Should they fail, they permanently perish. Should they succeed, however, the Son of the Toad will be able to regenerate from the mortal wound in 1d3 days. Once per level, when the Son of the Toad dies and successfully returns they may roll on the following mutation chart as their body undergoes a metamorphosis while in a comatose state.
Roll 1d6 with a bonus equal to the number of times the character has previously died:
1: Infravision, 60': You gain golden reptile eyes which glow in the dark.
2: Slick: A thick mucous covers your body, allowing you to make a savings throw versus paralysis to escape grapples and bonds.
3: Camouflage: Your spotted skin can adapt to your surroundings in one turn, giving you a +2 to surprise.
4: Prehensile Tongue: A ropy, muscular tongue develops. It may reach up to 5' and can be used as an extra hand, but cannot hold a weapon larger than a dagger.
5: Leaping: Your legs and feet reshape, allowing superhuman leaping capability. You can leap up to 20' in length or 10' in height.
6: Amphibious: Large air sacs develop in your neck. You may hold your breath underwater for one minute / lvl + CON modifier.
7: Snake Arms: Instead of regular arms, you now have two boa snakes for arms. You don't have any hands, sadly, but you may bite with each hand for 1d4 damage. If you have the mutation Poison Bite each arm gains an additional poisonous bite.
8: Hypnotism: The penetrating gaze of your cobra eyes allow you to cast Hypnotism once per day.
9: Tail: A thick, ridged tail extends from your lower back to the ground. It may be used as an extra hand to hold a shield or a torch or can provide an extra attack for 1d6 damage.
10: Armor Scales: You've grown thick bony plates like an Ankylosaurus. Treat as plate mail.
11: Three Heads: The villagers are definitely going to burn you now. Three frog/snake heads (your choice) extend from your shoulders. If you've got a Prehensile Tongue, Hypnotism, or a Poison Bite, you get two more of these to play with.
12: Poison Bite: You've developed long fangs which can inflict a poisonous bite. On a successful attack, the enemy takes 1d3 damage and must save vs death or perish. This may be used twice per day.
13: Elongation: Your flexible mass can actually stretch up to a length of 20', with individual limbs reaching up to 10'.
14: Growth: You've grown into a hulking monstrosity, now towering 10 to 12 feet in height. Add +4 to STR and CON.
15: Swallow Whole: Your maw is able to greatly distend, allowing you to swallow man-sized prey whole. If you roll a 19 or 20 on an attack roll, you may choose to swallow your enemy, who will suffer 1d8 hit points of damage every round until one of you dies. Enemies may attempt to dig their way out of your massively distended belly, but may only do so with small weapons and a -4 penalty. After swallowing prey you cannot walk and will require 2d4 turns before digestion is complete.
16: Formless Spawn: Undergoing a terrible mutation that takes one full turn as your body liquifies, you are able to transform into a thick, viscous pool of living black fluid. While in this form you may easily pass through cracks, escape bonds, etc. Moreover, you take no damage from normal weapons and may strike with tendrils for 2d4 damage. This is an extremely draining ability, however, and may only be maintain for a number of rounds equal to your level. At the end of this period you become an inert mass, requiring another full turn to reconstitute yourself.
17: Always Comes Back: Like Knygathin Zhaum, you simply cannot be killed. Unless completely disintegrated, you will return from the dead in 24 hours with no savings throw required.
This horrific process changes the character into an increasingly inhuman monster. As such, they will lose 1 CHA each time they mutate.
As mentioned above, a Son of the Toad may only gain one mutation per level. Should the character die a second (or third, etc.) time per level, they do not gain another mutation. Although hardy, the process of returning from death's door is extremely taxing. If the Son of the Toad dies more than once per level, they lose a level, returning to the base XP of their previous level. Please note that this process cannot be gamed to get more mutations by 'repeating' the same level over and over.
Gathkyn Umahz dies at level 2 but makes a successful savings throw, gaining a prehensile tongue for his troubles. The next session, Umahz dies again before reaching level 3. As he had previously died at level 2, he returns to 0 XP and must wait until 3rd level before he can mutate again.
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