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Slaadi (used both as singular and plural, but slaad, pronounced: /slædslæd[8] or: /slɑːdslad[8] singular and slaads plural was also used),[2] were frog-like natives of Limbo[1] and well-known representatives of the Ever-Changing Chaos.[7] Evolved or uplifted from the primordial soup of infinite potential,[9] the belligerent batrachians were disorder given flesh and born carriers of chaos.[10]

DescriptionEdit

Redslaadgem

A red slaadi gem

Slaadi, in their base form, resembled large, bipedal frogs with long, sharp claws,[5] wide mouths filled with pointed teeth[11] and huge heads.[5] Embedded in most of their skulls was a gemstone the size and shape of a human child's fist, a jewel that shared their color and that could be seen beneath their forehead skin.[1][5] Looking closely, one could see that symbols were carved into the shard, markings unique to the slaad which could be used to determine its past kills, conquests, duels and other deeds.[4][5] If one could decipher the meaning of the tattoo, it could be used to determine the relative strength of the slaad, with other slaads being able to immediately identify the slaad by their mark.[5][12]

Despite generally sharing the same basic, if baffling, appearance, slaadi were nonetheless creatures of chaos and so no two were exactly identical. They always had at least mild differences in height, build and eye position even within their own subtype, some breeds being human-sized and gangly while others were huge and muscular, and many possessed even more distinguishing traits. While some classified slaads by color, slaads of the same breed could vary not only in their exact shade and pattern but also be of the opposite color entirely.[13]

Other potential differences included additional body parts and organs, features of greater or lesser size, various body types, and wholly unique features like horns, scales, tails and hair. More outlandish traits, such as blade-like claws, wings whether functional or not, and even a medusa's snake-like hair, were also fully possible.[13] It was also possible that, given that some of the more powerful slaadi had polymorphing abilities which allowed them to transform into humanoids, often those of their original hosts, that one might not even recognize a slaad upon meeting them.[5]

BehaviorEdit

Never try to fast talk a slaad.
— A planar proverb[14]

Understanding the minds of slaadi could be a maddening task for those that weren't insane, for few beings so willfully and completely embraced chaos as the natives of Limbo.[10] Attempts to trade and negotiate with them could be as frustrating and flummoxing as attempts to give or obtain information and conducting basic conversations. They refused to see reason much of the time, often reacting with rage when approached with arguments and logic even if being offered something beneficial, leading some to believe that they were simply crazy or at best, viewed a reality different to the one that most beings saw.[12][10] Flattery was seen as trickery and trying to deceive a slaad was an inexact method of cooperation, said to only work if the slaad believed that some new aspect of reality was being revealed to them.[10]

Trying to diplomatically engage a slaad was, in short, a fool's errand likely to get the would-be negotiator attacked more than anything else. Even demons were able to make deals, as tenuous as they were, but slaads made no bargains, accepted no bribery and ignored appeals for mercy. This was because slaads didn't recognize the traditional rules of diplomacy,[12][10] following their own unique and rapidly changing strings of logic that only the particularly insightful could follow, indicated by differences in their gestures, body language and tone along with changes in the context and relationships between parties that they were speaking about. Failure to communicate with a slaad could result in a wide range of random reactions and conclusions, such as believing the speaker wasn't real, believing the opposite of what they were saying was true, running away from them in fear, attacking the speaker with berserker rage or just making loud croaks until they went away.[10]

BeliefsEdit

Although slaad behavior could be written off as utterly mad and nonsensical, much of it was a result of their own alien cultural ideas for acceptable forms of interaction, a result of their chaotic environment.[12][10]While in Limbo, slaads were effectively needless, able to exist within it unharmed and requiring only food in order to live. As a result, slaadi lacked common concepts of possession, having no personal items and instead simply taking what they needed when it was required. Because slaads believed that they owned anything they could take, they revered those able to take the most and thus held individual strength as one of, if not the, greatest virtue.[12] Many slaads were obsessed with proving and improving their personal power and loved conflict, seeing it both as an exciting, chaotic clash of forces and a chance to show off their strength.[14][10]

When stronger slaads oppressed and domineered their weaker brethren it was seen not as an objectional affront to be opposed as a group, but an acceptable activity and in fact the stronger slaad exercising his due right, a cruelty so normalized that it was performed without passion or ceremony. This bizarre, unspoken social contract that led to acts of such casual cruelty was something that slaads placed on all other beings they interacted with, treating others as tools to be used at their leisure[14][12] and reacting strangely well at attempts to bully them since they viewed it as the only acceptable form of interaction. Some slaads were said to believe that they were the only truly sentient beings in the universe, all others being imaginings of slaad minds, another possible explanation for their brutality.[10]

AlignmentEdit

There were conflicting reports about the response of the neutral slaadi to the moral extremes of good and evil; even the greatest of their kind could be hard to call evil, just unapologetically flippant and self-centered.[15][16] Those that dwelt in the lower planes were said to become crueler and harsher in order to survive in its infinite horrors, although whether or not they would turn back was unknown.[17] Other reports claimed that, in a natural need for balance, slaads exposed to sadism and hate would lean towards charitable and benevolent behavior, a theory supported by certain slaads themselves.[17][18]

Regardless, slaads were beings interested in the spread and triumph of chaos, seeing reality as too restrained by logic and sense and quickly growing bored by torturous inactivity and uninteresting stability.[2][10][19] While the more primitive slaad did so as a result of following their instincts, always striving after their own goals,[2][17] those with greater intelligence, whether it be from mutation or caste,[13] did so deliberately.[2] Despite the common slaads generally being lacking in intelligence and prone to barbarism, assuming that the random and unpredictable spawn of Limbo were necessarily moronic was, at the very least, dangerously unwise.[13][18]

Slaadi... prove that chaotic beings do not have to be stupid beings.
  — Xanxost the blue slaad[18]

AbilitiesEdit

Slaadvariants

Variant slaads

Even the more magically inclined slaadi possessed dangerous levels of strength, able to rip apart most with magically empowered tooth and claw. Slaadi were also known to have the power to summon others slaads with various levels of reliability. They were also incredibly durable, possessing a healing factor strong enough that they could recover from near-lethal wounds, and being resistant to a large array of elements including acid, cold, electricity and fire, on top of being immune to sonic forces.[3][4] Whether or not they could regenerate lost body parts was debated since there were reports of their heads exploding and then reforming a short time afterwards.[3][10] Certain slaad mutations could grant them unique abilities, such as a petrifying gaze, breath weapon, pustules of oozing or steaming toxins on their backs or greater magical powers.[13]

The strong sweep over the weak, and accidents of birth often help determine strength.
  — Xanxost commenting on the way things should be.[18]

Control over chaosEdit

Granting the slaadi a special advantage on their home plane was their control over a substance called chaos matter, a strange primal soup unique to Limbo composed of the basal elements of water, earth, fire and air but resembled none of its components. It was dry and hazy yet fluid and opaque, a highly destructive stew that couldn't be breathed and dissolved anything it touched. The strange substance floated throughout Limbo but even the raw chaos it was unstable in its instability, constantly forming into mountains, meadows, water and woods and changing back at random. However, chaos matter could be stabilized when introduced to sentient thought, allowing it to be reshaped into solid ground, breathable air, plants, and even used to regulate gravity.[14][12]

Beings known as anarchs, found more frequently among denizens of Limbo but occasionally in visitors, had even greater control over it, with true and rare geniuses being able to conjure buildings, animals and possibly even ecosystems. All slaads were innate anarchs, able to breathe and swim inside chaos matter without being eroded and shape it to their whims.[14][12][20] Even when unconscious, slaadi tightly controlled the area of chaos matter around them, allowing them to pass through it unharmed whether it was a ball of fire or mass of magma.[20][9]

CombatEdit

Githzerai vs Death Slaad-3e

A blue slaad battling a githzerai.

The toad-like form of the slaadi belied their agility and combat prowess, as they were skilled fighters and deadly predators.[3][14] Though they thoroughly enjoyed fighting in melee, typically with their claws and fangs, they were smart enough to use their supernatural powers when needed, although they were often hesitant to summon other slaads since they were wary of their own kind and so only did so in emergencies.[3]

Xanxost thinks they should fight the slaadi way. One on one.
  — Xanxost[18]

Outside of hunting animals in Limbo, slaadi fought to prove their greatness, their reverence for strength drastically impacting their fighting coordination, or rather, their lack of any. When fighting in groups, whether hunting animals or battling sentients, slaads never actually cooperated, instead taking turns. When they outnumbered their enemies, they would wait until the first slaad was defeated, typically sending in the weakest first to gauge the foe's strength, after which another would get to duel and so on. This sense of fair play meant that it was possible for one incredibly skilled warrior to defeat an entire horde of slaads, prompting the remaining slaadi to, in accordance to their beliefs, recognize the victor as their better and obey their rightful command.[14]

Fight a slaad and lose, the story's over. Fight a slaad and win - there's a thousand more standing in line just to prove they're tougher
— Jebeel Sloom, Limbo guide[14]

This mindset could also make fighting slaads incredibly annoying, primarily because they rarely ever ran away. Even defeating the toughest among them could prompt rivals and would-be leaders to challenge them for control, a persistence made irritating for anyone with urgent matters to attend to.[12] Once dominance was established, there was a good chance that the slaads would go find even more powerful slaad to test the being that defeated them. Their idealism in regards to strength also meant that against individually weaker foes, even when drastically outnumbered and being mowed down, they would continue to fight, convinced that their superior strength would win the battle.[14]

Blood WarEdit

Despite their love of violence, slaadi were offended by the concept of war, seeing it as the antithesis of their ideals. Their lawful counterparts, the modrons, opposed war because it was an emergence of chaos, but slaadi despised it because it was the ultimate destruction of individuality, a giant swarm where no single entity had a chance to prove itself.[17] In regards to the Blood War, a neverending battle between demons and devils, slaads were relatively insignificant, their desire to cause disorder hampered by their disorderly nature. Their chaotic ways meant that they couldn't seriously devote real armies and even when they gathered on a large scale they were somewhat ineffective.[17][19]

Though they praised the virtues of chaos, slaads on the whole fought for personal glory rather than to uphold their philosophy.[17] However, the slaadi attitude to warfare typically aided their cause in its own contradictory way; since the slaads were all following their individual whims, they often inadvertently fostered chaos as a group, specifically by not coordinating.[17][21] The slaad urge for bloodshed and need to test themselves led them to search out conflict, drives powerful and frequent enough to ensure that slaad warbands were fighting in the Blood War somewhere at any given time.[17]

...the baatezu. The cursed lawful baatezu. The hated...
  — Xanxost on one his typical asides[18]

Normally slaads fought against the baatezu since a win for law was a loss for chaos and a potential problem for Limbo. At the same time, it could hardly be said that the slaads worked with the tanar'ri as much as they occasionally joined them.[17] When one of the two groups were wreaking havoc the other might notice and take part in the destruction, but half of the time the two destroyed each other afterwards.[22] Even in the midst of battle, slaads were known to forget which side they were on, becoming so enthralled in the fighting that they accidentally slaughtered the tanar'ri before being beaten by the baatezu.[17]

If you will be fighting tanar’ri, here is Xanxost’s best advice: Run away instead, or bring along slaadi to help.
  — Xanxost's advice to mortals[18]

Normally slaads fought until they were killed or bored but it was said that sometimes they were outmatched by fiendish ferocity and so retreated into Limbo.[17] Slaads were often too unfocused to devote themselves to true training,[3] but such a defeat could prompt them to practice until they could best their betters.[17]

SocietyEdit

Slaad "society" could be most simply described as a form of anarchic tribalism composed of barbarian nomads, travelling mostly in gangs of two to five or packs of six to ten.[14][20] They didn't make permanent homes and were always on the move, either searching for food or looking for amazing displays of chaos and violence.[10] They rarely constructed anything and obtained any required tools either from raiding other civilizations or foraging for them, making the groups largely self-sufficient.[14]

The targets of their pillaging were often the humanoid races that had made their way to Limbo and established settlements, many of which banded together specifically to fend off slaad attacks, whether they were clannish isolationists, mixed societies or hodgepodges of dwarf, elf, orc, goblin, halfling and human.[14] Slaads had no respect for other cultures, speaking their own language and showing disdain for other tongues although able to communicate telepathically when needed.[5][14] They were loyal only to their own kind, but even then, rival gangs were always ready to rip each other to shreds.[14][20]

GithEdit

GES

Githzerai encountering slaadi in Limbo

The slaadi desire for unrestrained freedom led them to avoid areas in Limbo dominated by the githzerai, the lawful newcomers, relatively speaking, of Limbo. The slaads outnumbered the githzerai but the two groups existed in some semblance of peaceful co-existence.[9]

HierarchyEdit

Despite being embodiments of chaos, slaads did operate under a hierarchy, but not one regimented in the traditional sense. Their chain of command was undisciplined and informal, based not in any respect for abstract authority but the pragmatic deference to beings of greater power; in other words, stronger slaads ruled over weaker ones using brute force, threatening the disobedient with destruction. The hierarchy ascended from the common but weak red and blue slaadi, the slightly less common green slaadi, the rarer gray slaadi, and, at least in the minds of most, ended with the dreaded death slaadi,[1][4] although more powerful breeds such as white and black had been reported.[7]

The death slaadi were said to be the closest the race had to kings, thought of as the most perfect specimen of their kind by other slaadi and so dutifully obeyed. They were the creatures responsible for directing the efforts of the slaad race and inscribing the symbols of rank into the heads of other slaads.[4][14] Because the closest that slaadi came to actual lawfulness was their willingness to acknowledge and serve more powerful beings, the authority of greater slaads typically only extended only as far as they could physically reach.[14][9] Without the cohesion to form proper armies or the desire to enter intrigues like fiends, the slaad desire to bring themselves into power typically manifested as strong slaads sending their weaker brethren as thugs.[4]

ReligionEdit

On the whole, slaads worshipped no gods, at best being intelligent servitors of chaos used by the deities in Limbo as warriors and messengers. They didn't recognize gods as divine beings to be revered, nor did they bow to any primordials, which combined with their chaotic ways, meant that missions given to them were likely going to go wrong in some way.[9][23]

Slaad LordsEdit

Main article: Slaad lord

However, slaads did possess their own kind of pantheon, an enigmatic group of revered, eldritch entities known as the slaad lords. Neither deities or demigods, slaad lords were more akin to demon lords or archdevils, supremely powerful manifestations of their kind with their own realms and special powers.[16] When within Limbo, they were similar in power to lesser deities, maintaining domains stable even in their absence.[9] While they were in a position to demand service from weaker slaadi, several slaad lords didn't care to do so, although less out of a respect for their free will and more out of a simple disinterest in having followers.[16] When they did lord over the other slaads, they did so in the typical slaad fashion, a combination of bullying and threats, combined with less oppressive methods like cajoling them into the desired behavior.[9]

Ygorl, the Lord of Entropy was second in age and power to Ssendam, the Lord of Insanity, who lacked concern for the activities of the slaad race thus making Ygorl the de-facto ruler of Limbo.[16] Ygorl had actual slaad worshipers and fanatics under his control, although almost all slaads followed his instructions regardless to avoid destruction.[16][23] He made few demands of the slaads, but those he did had a drastic impact on their kind, such as him ordering the death slaadi to rally mobs of the red and blue to invade other planes in order to perpetuate both their race and chaos itself.[16]

The abilities of the slaad lords were shrouded in mystery, another result of Ygorl's dictates. Ygorl believed, perhaps correctly, that if knowledge of the slaad lords became too widespread that they would be treated with the banality that accompanied familiarity, treated as another caste of slaad and forced to fend off beings from across the planes wishing to prove their strength. Anyone asking about slaadi deities was to be devoured and Ygorl himself consumed any slaad close to becoming a slaad lord themselves in order to keep their numbers low and perpetuate their rarity. Thus, outside of an overarching idea, the process of becoming a slaad lord was barely understood.[16]

AscensionEdit

Generally speaking, when slaads ascended to higher ranks and consequently had the power to pursue their desires more freely, they were able to better define themselves as individuals. The logical end point of this was that in order to obtain true freedom, slaads had to become truly unique individuals by completely escaping the ranks of their kind. To do this, slaads had to tap into an aspect of chaos unexplored by any other slaad lord, which could be as simple as destruction, as benign as creativity or as malevolent as murder.[16]

The process was incredibly dangerous, but if it succeeded the slaad would infuse themselves with power and purpose, becoming a personification of their own particular flavor of chaos with no resemblance to the common slaads. The limitations of slaad lords or how many could exist were unexplored as a result of Ygorl's tampering, but given that they lived on the plane of ultimate possibility, anything was possible.[16]

EcologyEdit

DietEdit

Slaadi were an entirely carnivorous race although they weren't strictly predators, willing to scavenge corpses and devour 'exotic' foods such as certain mephits and fiends.[4][18][24] It was said that chaos was as vital to them as food and that without pandemonium they felt pangs of discontent[10] although literally speaking they could actually consume chaos matter, particularly when they were young.[14][25]

UsesEdit

Slaads could be skinned to produce a poison that could be smeared on weapons, something only a few githzerai were willing to hunt them for but a divide between the races. It was also possible to coat the slaads in a fatty substance and then distill the poison from the mixture without killing them.[14]

LocationsEdit

Slaadi were native to Limbo,[1] but could be found throughout the Elemental Chaos[22] and around the Supreme Throne.[26]

Limbo-3e

A map of Limbo

Known by the githzerai as Urkocl and by the Ysgardians as Slaadheim was the slaadi's primordial home and center of dominion, referred to by them as the Spawning Stone.[14] It was a place of untamed, bestial savagery and lust covered gore and worse and inscribed with a mysterious script meaningful only to some slaadi that seemed to wriggle and change, although whether or not they actually moved was unclear.[25] It served several purposes, primarily as a rallying point for the slaad to meet and mate[16] as well as a storage location for food, weapons and anything else the slaadi found worth keeping.[14] The stone drifted throughout Limbo although there were varying reports about its exact size and shape.[13] In some descriptions it was geometrically complex while others described it as a mile long, three-quarter mile wide slab.[1][25] At times, it was said to be a whorled, multicolored sphere and at others a bent, blue-gray horseshoe that flared out at the ends.[10][14]

It was reported that the inside was honeycombed with circular rooms where the death slaadi inscribed the symbols of rank on the lower slaads, but it was difficult to even try to see the Spawning Stone.[14] Aside from the fact that it was surrounded by churning, elemental vortexes,[10] and that the powers of normal anarchs were weakened when they entered a hundred miles of it, non-slaadi weren't allowed within miles of the Spawning Stone and the slaadi threatened anyone who tried with immediate death.[14] Atop a large iron throne perched on the Spawning Stone normally sat an ancient death slaad known as the Guardian of the Stone, who combined martial skill, sorcerous power and anarch mastery to prevent any other creatures from drawing close.[25][10][14] Rumors had it that if the stone was ever wrested away from the slaadi then the new owner would be reborn as a death slaad with anarchic power, but at the same time it could just melt away into the chaos and force the slaadi to create a new one.[14][20]

ReproductionEdit

Slaadtadpole

A slaad tadpole bursting from its host's chest

Typically reproduction fell to the common slaads, the red and blue, which propagated the race by afflicting others with a condition referred to as chaos phage, in a horrific, maddening process similar to those used by parasites or viruses. Red slaadi implanted eggs beneath their victim's skin which would devour the host's insides from within before emerging as a blue slaad tadpole. Blue slaadi on the other hand infecting their victims with a disease that slowly transformed them into red slaads, leaving them with no trace of their memories or former skills.[1][2][3] If either slaad had infected a capable arcane caster, the result could instead be a magically empowered green slaad, generally superior to both its parents. Despite being integral to each others continued survival, red and blue slaads despised each other yet nurtured any green slaads that they produced.[4]

Ylem

A slaad-infused quadrone experimenting with magic

The bizarre and complex reproductive cycles and interrelationships of the slaad helped form the basis for their social system.[16] Slaadi were known to use, or at least be referred to by, gendered pronouns, but they were more accurately described as 'its' or 'theys', since they were technically hermaphrodites that had to first fertilize each others eggs to make them viable.[16][25] Realizing that it was possible to magically cure chaos phage, slaadi often established temporary prison camps to hold their incubators captive. They were known to prefer reproducing using stronger beings since they would likely spawn stronger offspring that would be better able to distinguish themselves.[17]

They leaped at the chance to infect fiends for that reason, part of the reason why they scoured the deserted battlefields of the Blood War aside from the free food, and the fiends themselves were known to hand over captured enemies to the slaads, fully aware of the grisly death that awaited them.[17] Other slaadi also seemed to be vulnerable to the effects of implantation, although since the process killed the slaad host as it would any other host, it was effectively pointless to do so.[25] Even modrons it seemed weren't necessarily immune to the effects of chaos phage, as there were reports of a blue slaad tadpole and monodrone that had somehow fused to create a rogue quadrone with whims and creative urges combined with a need to find order.[27]

SSpawner

A slaad spawner

Even without outside factors, the rules for slaad reproduction were reportedly fluid. For example, in some cases it was stated that blue slaadi infected their victims through bite while in others they shared the red slaad method of clawing. Sometimes it was said that slaad tadpoles appeared from the victim's chest while in others they burst out from the brain.[1][2][3] There were also reports of slaads producing offspring of the same type as themselves, and even random types.[2][28] It was possible for multiple slaadi to fertilize the same egg, creating some of the stranger offspring, although such knowledge was hidden from non-slaads.[25] Some slaads were themselves infected with a variant strain of chaos phage that caused postulant boils of blood and bile to emerge from their back that when ruptured, a painful experience the host slaad typically sought to avoid, caused a young, miniature slaad to be gorily born.[19]

Life CycleEdit

Slaadburster

A tadpole bursts from the ambitious actor that summoned its parent.

Slaad tadpoles, born in a bath of blood, were voracious and immature, devouring vermin, corpses and anything else they could find. Unable to properly fight and concerned only with cramming food into their wide mouths, the deformed slaad juveniles had to compensate with an extremely fast metabolism and developmental phase. It wouldn't take more than a few hours for their undeveloped hind legs to grow, their translucent tails to shrink and their flesh to darken in a revolting, molting process,[28] and in just a few more days they would fully transform into mature members of their species.[1][2] It would take several years for a fully-grown slaad to be completely self-sufficient despite being fully grown.[4]

The exact lifespan of slaads seemed to vary.[16] Slaads slain in battle permanently died, although it was said that the green slaads possibly had some system of reincarnation similar to that of a lich.[5] Upon reaching a certain age, slaads traveled deep into Limbo, having come to some instinctive realization that allowed them to undergo a special transformation. Most, presumably, broke down into their basal essences and dissolved into the primal chaos of Limbo, but some returned as higher forms of slaad. This metamorphosis seemed to exclude the red and blue slaads, but it was possible that they too could advance into a higher form.[1][16]

Even slaadi die when they die.
  — Xanxost[18]
Putrid slaad

A putrid slaad

Occasionally, necromancers and other malevolent mages transformed slaads into undead versions of themselves known as putrid slaads, almost uncontrollable monsters that shared their living selves desire to devour and devastate. Because slaads were creatures of raw chaos whose corpses quickly decayed after death, the vile caster had to lethally infuse the creature with shadow magic while it was still alive. Waddling forward, the undead slaads leaned close to their victims, emanating mewling croaks from their hideous maws followed by a combination of putrefied filth and digestive acid. The creatures could also arise spontaneously when slaads were killed to the Abyss, presumably infused with entropic energy similarly to the black slaads.[29]

Spawning StoneEdit

Some mysterious quality of the Spawning Stone gave slaadi eggs their fertility and without it all slaadi would be infertile.[10] Every few years, seemingly at random, each breed of slaad would feel an undeniable urge to reproduce and be led back to the Spawning Stone from wherever they were.[10] Each breed had their own season, although only slaads were able to tell them apart, involving their own invocations, rituals, and preferences creating different temperatures, environments and blends of chaos matter, effectively resulting in different "flavors" of chaos for each kind. The cycle was thought to involve the core breeds, in order the red, blue, green, gray and death slaads, holding the area around the stone, which could range from a few miles to a hundred yards based on numbers, until forcefully ejected by the next type, the hordes of red slaadi having the numbers to remove the death slaadi.[14]

Each group was supposed to have their eggs fertilized by their own type by the end of the process, although slaads so routinely got caught up in the mating frenzy that it was normal to find a few dead slaadi floating through the air, having instinctually implanted their kin. The mating process caused currents of chaos-stuff to manifest around the Stone and flow outwards throughout Limbo which other slaads could recognize and follow "upstream" to reach the stone.[20] Eventually the currents would twist into tidal waves and tsunamis until the stone fell into the grasp of a different slaad breed and the whirlpools became chaos storms,[14][20] destructive maelstroms that slaads loved to follow.[10]

GemEdit

Embedded in a slaad's brain is a magic gem. Acquire it and the slaad is yours to command.[1]
— Unknown

The Spawning Stone itself was able to produce slaadi independent of slaad breeding, and slaads created by it had a small fragment of the stone magically implanted in their brain. Even slaads that weren't born from the stone often ended up with a gem regardless since they were instinctually drawn to it and received one upon coming into contact with it. The gems contained the life force of the slaads but had no intrinsic value, save for their ability to control the slaad they were taken from if obtained.[1][5]

Slaads obeyed the wielder of the gem and couldn't be magically controlled in other ways while subjugated, but it was dangerous to try and abuse the power of the stone since the slaad was unlikely to respond kindly to such a being if it ever broke free. Threatening to break the gem could force them to fulfill three 'requests' but if not properly rewarded for their services, either with humans for them to take back to Limbo or something else they saw as a great treasure, they would likely kill the controller after being released. Slaads seeing their kin controlled via their gem were likely to swallow the consumer before resuming their business.[1][5]

With enough surgical skill, the gem could be removed from an incapacitated slaad without magic although the process had a fair chance of killing them in the process. Spells like hold person could temporarily paralyze a slaad and were said to cause the gem to emerge from their foreheads, but simply destroying the symbol could be done with a greater restoration spell. Properly worded wish spells or spells like imprisonment or trap the soul could also be utilized to cause the gem to appear in the caster's hand.[1][5]

HistoryEdit

Contrary to popular belief, slaads were not naturally limited to the handful of commonly seen, toad-like forms. In truth, the slaadi were beings of ultimate chaos that naturally followed no set pattern of shapes or sizes.[20][25] Some true slaadi looked like ordinary slaads but had four arms or a single arm sprouting form their chest. There were gigantic breeds, that reached 20 ft (6.1 m) and sometimes 60 ft (18 m) tall, while others were squat, short and barrel chested with flat heads and wide-slitted eyes. The truly alien true slaadi could look entirely different from their common kin, having orange skin and tendrils for arms with eyes covering the boils on their back rather than being placed on their heads.[25] Stranger still in appearance were true slaadi that had almost no resemblance to their kin at all, Ygorl and Ssendam being excellent representatives of how variable they could appear.[20]

For some odd reason, modern slaadi had been restricted in form, although fortunately for them, trying to apply order to the inherently chaotic was practically impossible.[20] Even the Spawning Stone itself could produce incredible flukes, such as the gormeels, slaads that served the forces of law rather than chaos.[30] Slaad mutants different enough to be classified as true slaadi were still born and often moved to secret nurseries where they were fed raw chaos and that could house over a hundred of the creatures at a time. Whether or not the mutants were hidden by or from Ssendam and Ygorl was unclear, but the two apparently had the power to allow slaads of their choice to regain their true forms.[25]

Rumors and LegendsEdit

The origin of the slaadi sparked much debate amongst scholars; as far as most could determine, the slaadi had always existed in Limbo.[14][22] According to some scholars, the slaadi were descendant from the batrachi, one of the creator races of Faerun,[31] though a being that claimed itself to be a batrachi denied this claim.[32] If the slaadi themselves were to be believed, they were the first beings to inhabit reality, even before the deities or primordials.[22] However, since there were hundreds of slaad origin stories, most of which blatantly contradicted each other, this was often viewed as just another way the slaads embodied chaos.[10]

The hezrou are the tanar’ri that look the most like slaadi, though they are not as handsome or as strong as the greatest warriors of Limbo.
  — The humble Xanxost[18]

Some compared the slaadi to demons, given their penchant for destruction, and indeed certain slaadi came into existence via prolonged exposure to entropic, abyssal energy such as void slaads. Slaadi almost certainly existed around the time when the Abyss first formed, some having been bathed in its corruptive energy and transformed into twisted tadpole monsters, and intelligent slaads weren't always opposed to infusing their kind with its unholy power.[33] There were theories that the two races were once one, with demons either being a corrupted race of slaadi or slaads having been demons that broke free of the Abyss's truly evil influence, although if such ideas were true, neither showed any affinity for each other any more.[22]

The StonesEdit

Whatever the origin of the slaadi, it seemed inextricably linked to the Spawning Stone, which itself had more than one creation myth. Some legends said that the overlord of the modrons, Primus, was responsible for the Spawning Stone, having created it and casted it into Limbo eons before the arrival of the githzerai. According to such tales, Primus's intention had been to use the law-infused Stone to generate stability in Limbo, in order to prevent its chaos from spreading. While it did make it possible for ordered minds to exist in Limbo, the chaotic energy it absorbed accidentally spawned the slaadi, which immediately set about exterminating every modron colony on the plane. If the story was true then Primus seemed unfazed by his failure, either dismissing the slaadi as threats or choosing to willfully ignore their existence.[1]

Another theory posited that the reason why the slaads were limited was another result of Ygorl's tampering, possibly with the help of Ssendam. When the two first became slaad lords, they considered the possibility that through random mutation, a slaad could appear that was stronger than them and that could supplant them. Possibly taking a lesson from the githyanki queen, they decided to handicap their competition by ensuring that no slaad could arise that would naturally be stronger than them, while allowing them to retain their chaotic natures.[20][25] Thus, Ygorl created the Spawning Stone from the purest essence of Limbo and used the blazing white, arcane runes that covered its structure to bind the essence of the entire race to it, although it was possible that the two simply altered it rather than having made it.[16] Only a few of the slaad lords, possibly including Bazim-Gorag, knew for certain about the nature of the Spawning Stone, and true to the secretive ways of the slaad lords, they refused to reveal such knowledge.[10]

There also, at times, existed a seemingly connected structure known as the Pandemonium Stone, a great spire covered in similar runes to the Spawning Stone that randomly materialized in an elemental maelstrom within the Elemental Chaos. No god or primordial claimed to have made it, all having known of its existence before the Dawn War, and some entity of god-like power seemed to be gestating inside of it. The enigmatic pillar possibly anchored the minds of the slaadi to reality similarly to how the Spawning Stone restrained their forms, potentially signifying that whoever or whatever trapped them might also have been responsible for their crazier behaviors.[10][33]

MultiverseEdit

One of the most controversial theories about the slaadi postulated that all of their contradictory origin stories were correct because multiple alternate realities simultaneously existed, possibly even an infinite amount. Perhaps the slaadi all descended from different universes and could still faintly see the others realities or all realities collapsed into a single timeline at some point leaving the slaadi the only ones capable of seeing and remembering the possible multiverses. The theory was thought by most scholars to be absurd, but it was hard to say what was truly impossible for the avatars of chaos.[10]

AppendixEdit

GalleryEdit

AppearancesEdit

Adventures
Dungeon #43: "Into The Silver Realm" • Dungeon #101: "Prison of the Firebringer" • Curse of StrahdTomb of AnnihilationWaterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Comics
Referenced only
Forgotten Realms: "Converging Lines"
Board Games
Betrayal at Baldur's Gate
Video Games
Neverwinter NightsForgotten Realms: Demon Stone
Adventurers League
Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer's IsleEscape from Phlan

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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ConnectionsEdit

Main article: Slaad lords
Slaadi
Impulsive Beings of Inherent Chaos
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