Dwellers in the Swamps

Important Note
The original Temple of the Frog adventure, 1 comprising a good part of Supplement II of the first edition of D&D, stands opposed to DA2. DA1, for its part, says of the Froggies that they are “members of [a] brotherhood” or “obscure religious order” (p. 43). Moreover, Miklos Haruska received a ring from “the Monks of the Swamp” (p. 55). DA2 elaborates, or perhaps “prevaricates” is better; the Monks of the Swamp are indeed the order’s “leaders”, but they are now a “clerical brotherhood” (p. 4). Even now, the “clerical brotherhood” is not restricted to clerics; in particular, the alien Saints are fighters and the inner-circle librarian is a magic-user2. In keeping with these hints from the future, the original Temple was remarkably lean on clerics 3 (although I was surprised to see no monks 4). The “miracles” of the Temple were wrought by technology, sleight-of-hand, and good old-fashioned wizardry. As of 1986, Blackmoor’s designer, Dave Arneson, made a conscious decision to replace the leadership with clerics.5 If you, as DM, are fortunate enough to own a copy of Supplement II, 6 please note that it was a deliberate, canonical decision to bestow the Temple with a clerical brotherhood. There must be Froggie clerics, and therefore there exists a Froggie deity. As for the powers of this deity, the least upper bound for a Froggie cleric is Sefton Bril’s Level 10. Some mention may be made here of Lorca. “The wizard… has been retained by Saint Stephen to assist in the order’s magical research”. He is a 10th level mage who resides in the guest quarters of the Outer Bailey.7 Escorted by an armed guard,8 he travels to the secret archive of the Keepers, where he hides a ring of frog control in a small, trapped box.9 It looks as though Stephen gave him the ring; the High Priest worries lest an “accident” befall his pet wizard. Given that the Order of the Frog now has agents in Vestfold10 and that the Wizard’s Cabal was born there 11, I would wager that Lorca was once a Caballero, and fled to the Order upon its ignominious defeat. Also, since he owns nothing that can be traced to the Cabal, and since he is aiding an organization that the Iron Duke does not support, it may be that he does not know of the Cabal’s return. Lately Tanis Azkanikin has been setting his crystal ball over him; should Lorca run into trouble, Tanis will teleport in and bail him out. At his level he should have 25 hp. He actually has 40. His constitution is likely to be 16-17. He has no special bonuses / penalties to hit, to armour, nor to saving throws. His strength, dexterity, and wisdom are therefore 9-12. Intelligence and Charisma are left to the DM. The swamps of Blackmoor cover a vast extent of land, particularly in the Barony of the Lakes. The swamps are growing. Before the Egg arose in 970, the water of the Channel (which was mostly still) and of the eastern Black Sea (which the Realm inhabits now) would sit there in the subtropical climate, evaporate, and alternate between moving warm weather to the northeast or cold weather southwest. The cold waters of the Skandaharian Sea would move cold weather southwest to meet it over the Black Sea’s northern shore. The Northern Marches were not nearly as cold and wet as they are to-day, they “would otherwise be almost subtropical”. 12 Thanks to the Shallows, the Black Sea has become colder; “it is the freezing temperature of the current from the Firefrost Channel that gives Blackmoor its temperate climate”. 13 The winds from the Black Sea have decisively changed to the southwest. More water has fallen on the Barony of the Lakes, which was already a flat, porous land prone to flooding. The growth of the swamps was a boon to the Temple of the Frog. It has also squeezed the farmers of the Lakes into tighter and tighter corridors of dry land; already they have been forced to abandon south of the Big Muddy to monsters and lizard men.14

The Mind of the Frog

which they share with Afridhi special forces and a flock of green dragons) “in order to block access to the City of the Gods”17. barring Stephen. and the Egg). to the Badlands. The Frog intends to drown the world in a great flood. the Frog is surrounded by enemies. Like everyone else. are “few” now. who needed the Temple as a base of operations. Stephen had not learnt the subtlety required in this region. Fins of the Frog. 4th dungeon]. The Keepers are the highest level clerics and remain (as of DA2) the one faction the Rock cannot subvert. Moreover.The Frog is an evil entity best classed as “minor deity”.k. the Frog allowed him to take command of the Temple and to run it as a private barony. Vidor Strang (M8)] 2* 20 outer circle monks [3rd level clerics. the Frog is a Jealous God who desires no allies he cannot betray. The Gator aim is to escape to a place where they can breed and prepare for a general conquest. some 7th lower. This failed too. particularly the lizard men. included soldiers. Saint Stephen is beginning to lose ground as a leader. it reflects badly on the Frog. included soldiers. Chief Keeper. 15 This was good for Stephen. but little more. like the other evil powers worshipped in the region (Zugzul. a group of adventurers released the baroness and a cyborg destroyed the Temple. because under Stephen’s reign its followers had grown to a great mulititude: 0* 6 saints (incl. and the Egg would demand subservience. 90 other. All the saints. it is certainly less minor and more divine than any mortal. 30 swamp rats. First he took captive 25 people from Burrit. the Gator god. like the Frog and Zugzul. during which time it steadily lost much of its influence. the lizard men have been more than able to contain them. and since the Frog gave him the authority. a.16 Stephen rebuilt and reorganized the Temple. there must be an Immortal who serves them / is served as patron. Even so. and can even cast cleric spells. He also redoubled his recruitment efforts.a. especially. The two sides have reached a stalemate. . in which the Gators have been hoping that Blackmoor will fight the lizards for them. he mounted an attempt on the City of the Gods. Sefton Bril C10] 5* 200 lay brothers (120 temple. The more mainstream churches in the region find this difficult to accept. the Gators’ god is unacceptable to a pantheon and incompatible with a monotheism. And it was good for the Frog. Their powers and (implicit) divine protection have enabled the Gators to survive.) 6* 200 hirelings (Lorca. Stephen sent additional patrols into Buster’s and Botha’s Woods. the Gator Man deity is a direct competitor. have perished. Seeing a winner. costing him potential allies throughout the DA3 map. Doing an end run around a god’s chosen is never recommended… The Frog has decided that Saint Stephen’s free ride must now come to an end. and to the Kerman Peaks. It is never to be forgotten who ranks highest in the Frog’s eyes. 80 bailey. who are (on paper) much weaker than they. they have made no headway since taking the Barrier Swamp. Saint Stephen’s researches and experiments have been too successful. and then he dared lay hands on the Baroness of the Lakes. The Soldiers established themselves in the Valley of the Ancients and the southern woodlands (particularly the southern Blasted Woods. And. 80 slavers.18 When he was ready. As for the others. It had been ruling Frog Island for 150 years. Soon. sparing only those who adopt an amphibious biology. see below) 1* 16 inner circle monks [13 4 level clerics. The survivors among the clerics. 19 And. raid them so mercilessly. taking over the remnants of the Keepers and converting his most trusted and powerful hirelings and lay brothers into the Soldiers of the Frog (3-4 level fighters)th and the Teeth of the Frog (5-level assassins)th. The Gator Men The Gator Men are an exceptionally powerful race. 5 thth dungeon. The Gators have therefore elected to wear down the lizard men. 3* 30 acolytes [1st level clerics] 4* 32 keepers [6th level clerics upper dungeon. plus Resident and Hugh Karf (each C6). Surprisingly.) Unfortunately. Since all other races. Then down came Stephen from the heavens.

. II p. Try to find the Judges Guild’s First Fantasy Campaign instead. 7 DA2 p. But he didn’t. 25 18 DA3 p. 1985). 11 11 DA1 p. 15. 21. . 59-60: more data on Loch Gloomen 15 Presumably this was the end of Ga’mor’bah’lach and Fra’lach’stane from DW 2M3.23. 7 19 Blackmoor and Tenian agents have noted that the Gator Men they have met are 7th level. that. 15 th DA3 p. the first version did not house Monks. 5 This is not just DA2. 4 level p. 21. 40 9 DA2 pp.31.46 th DA3 p.^) 17 DA3 p. whereas the Lizard Men contigents are hunters and raiders. This adventure was set 1000-1015. 31 3 Sup. 27-47 2 DA3 p. 38 has a “1st priest” acting as Stephen’s spokesman. Actually. But they are not as unevenly matched as it seems: 0* Cunning can trump ability. you’re a sucker if you buy it. II pp. 4 Oddly. 43 12 DA1 p. 20. also note DW 2M3. The Gators in the encounter tables are probably the Gator equivalent of NPC adventurers. 1* Swamp dwellers have coexisted with the Lizard Men for centuries. 15. 43-44 13 DA1 p. 43 10 DA2 p. it’s got more data and it’s cheaper too. 3rd level p. in which a 9th level priest buys slaves in the Dragon Hills. 43-44 14 JG pp. The book says “F5” but F. 20 8 DA2 p. even though Monks were first introduced in that same supplement. 6 “Fortunate” is a relative term.29. Blackmoor has just begun to interest itself with the Barrier Swamp.1 Sup. Also. 4. since DA2 came out in mid-1986. 16 DA3 p. Arneson could have used the analogous Mystic from the OD&D Master’s Set (pub. while Lizard Men are at 2nd. certainly Lizard Men are no slouches at the ancient art of ambush. 6th level bodyguards p.30. especially in one’s own turf.