Over the weekend, I had a good review of book cover art with the illustrator. I'm so excited for this next project. My test readers/editors are starting to kick me feedback and everything is coming together for an early August release! I do not know this author, but think Ylgolth might look like this.
So, let's talk bad guys - the Slaadi.
Slaads, or the Slaadi as they call themselves, are hardly worth talking about in RPGs. They're basically frog monsters. I always felt that, if you look at the amphibian lifecycle, they would lend themselves to some completely terrible and awful monster powers. Think about it - they lay eggs, there's a metamorphosis to tadpole, and so on. Yet, they live in these terrible conditions where knowledge and transfer of power becomes bit of an issue. So, this post will break it down for the Forsaken Isles.
Like dragons, Tania has organized Slaadi into colors based on the same relative power structure. In Merakor, Alerius had extensive conversations with an Anthracos named Polgyerx. Most of their knowledge comes from this as the Slaadi do not share their way of living with outsiders.
Let's start at the beginning. Before Time flowed, before Set was bound in the Abyss' center, Set was worshipped by and created worshippers. This where the Slaadi come from. Created by and forever worshipping Set, they revelled in their ability to create and reshape reality around them - Set's Dark Gift. But, when Set was bound in slumber, the Slaadi lost most of their powers. They are able to reclaim this by intruding into Set's Dreams. As they rise in power, the ability to change the dream, to cast the dream, to empower the dream grows.
Transformants are tadpole-like snakes. Only Azuros+ can create transformants. Each contains a kernel of the slaad creating them. They infect any sentient host. If they infect a non-sentient creature, the transformant can briefly take control of it for a few minutes before dying. The creature must be smart enough to be capable of speech, complex ideas, and societal organization. The creator of the transformant knows, through the infection, the possible nature of the infected host. A more powerful host will birth a more powerful Slaad. They can also divide and create more transformants.
Powerful Maker Slaad's Transformant + Powerful Sentient Host = Powerful Slaad
Upon infection, the host is considered a Fecundus, or green Slaad. The maker can exert total control over the host, seeing/hearing/knowing what the host does. They are also able to access memories (if vaguely) and innate powers of the host. This works well with wizards but not so well with clerics. The Slaadi infection breaks divine contact. Mages can use magic to compensate, and so make it appear that the infected cleric is still divine. Clerics and paladins are not ideal candidates though.
Should the Maker wish it, the Fecundus can become an actual Slaad. This causes the skin of the host to shed. A total metamorphosis occurs. Green Slaads acquire the ability to change their appearance and access memories of their Maker. This emboldens them for a greater capability to execute on their Maker's instructions. To Slaadi, knowledge and intelligence is everything. All Slaadi, but especially Fecundus Slaads, are driven by 3 Imperatives:
- Get Gold for Master; gold because it retains magical properties across dimensional travel
- Please Master
- Eat Intelligence
The easiest way to Eat Intelligence is for Master to give other Fecundus, or maybe even an Azuros+ to the new Slaad. As the Fecundus eats Intelligence, it becomes smarter and more capable. At a certain point, they can ascend to Azuros state. This is done by invitation, or by consuming enough that the Fecundus realizes what must be done to trigger the Azuros metamorphosis - slow death.
Azuros Slaadi acquire an awareness of Set's Dream and are able to wield it by touching other creatures, with some lasting effects.