Fell Toads

(Tom Clare, DragWars, October 14, 2007)

Fell toads are solitary, dull-coloured amphibians of about the size of a man's fist, often found lurking in quiet, damp places such as graveyards, cellars, and mires. With their drab hues and still, sombre bearing they are readily overlooked, perhaps taken for a clod of earth or a loose stone. Those passing may easily brush past them. This is unfortunate, for the creatures exude a sticky slime that has powerful hallucinogenic properties. The smallest amount of skin-contact is enough for the unfortunate victim to experience bizarre waking dreams, and, under the poison's influence, they may become dangerous to those around them. The toad itself, if touched, will croak once and leap away into the shadows.

Dull hues
The fell toad's natural camouflage makes it hard to notice. Characters passing it must roll against under their intelligence on 3d10 to spot the creature.

Anyone coming into contact with the toad must make a roll to check whether they were exposed to the creature's slime. Normally this is a 3 in 6 chance, assuming that the character is mostly covered with a typical suit of clothes. Armoured characters have a 2 in 6 chance; those who are less well covered – perhaps having stripped off their shirt while labouring – have a 5 in 6 chance. Anyone who fails must make a strong poison roll. Those who suffer a delusion will believe that some strange experience is occurring to them. How the character responds to this is up to the player, but the delusion will seem absolutely convincing. It will last for half an hour.

3d6 Delusions
3-4 A figure has joined the party and is silently regarding the character. Who is it, and what do they want with him?
5 The character's comrades suddenly advance on him, weapons drawn, ready to do him in.
6 Turning to glance at his comrades, the character realizes that they are all impostors! Although similar in build and appearance, and wearing their clothes, these are strangers masquerading as his friends for some nefarious purpose…. But do they realize that he has found them out?
7 Suddenly the character finds himself covered with squirming toads, eels, newts and other loathsome creatures.
8 The character finds his body is suddenly wonderfully light. Taking a step he launches himself into the air and discovers that he now has the power of flight! Up through the night sky he soars, over the trees and under the stars…
9 Something is crawling around just under the character's skin! They have to cut it out!
10 The character is aflame with blue and orange fire.
11 The whole area is alive with floating spheres of light, some red, some gold, some of other colours.
12 Voices begin speaking in the character's head – and a moment later he realizes that they are the thoughts of his companions he can hear! And they are not good thoughts…
13 The character's limbs are so heavy that he cannot lift them. He slowly sinks to the ground.
14 Intending to take a step, the character discovers that he has been bound tight by tiny laughing men who swarm over his body immobilizing him with fine golden threads.
15 Faceless foes and murderers surround the character, daggers drawn, ready to dispatch him.
16 Hideous trollkin monsters suddenly burst out from the rotting corpses of the character's companions where they have been hiding, waiting to get him alone…
17-18 Marvellous singing comes to the character's ears, joyous and sublime. He wants nothing more than to stand, enraptured, listening to the subtle harmonies.

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