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Froghemoth

This immense, three-eyed frog-like creature rears up on powerful hind legs. In place of arms, four huge tentacles thrash and writhe.

Froghemoth CR 13

XP 25,600
N Huge aberration
Init +5; Senses all-around vision, blindsight 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16

DEFENSE

AC 28, touch 9, flat-footed 27 (+1 Dex, +19 natural, -2 size)
hp 184 (16d8+112)
Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +11
Immune electricity (partial); Resist fire 10
Weaknesses slowed by electricity

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +20 (2d6+10/19-20 plus grab), 4 tentacles +18 (1d8+5 plus grab), tongue +18 (1d4+5 plus grab)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (30 ft. with tongue)
Special Attacks constrict (tentacle, 1d6+10), swallow whole (3d6+10 damage, AC 19, hp 18)

STATISTICS

Str 30, Dex 13, Con 24, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 11
Base Atk +12; CMB +24 (+28 grapple); CMD 35
Feats Cleave, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Lunge, Multiattack, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Perception +16, Stealth +14 (+22 in marshes), Swim +18; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception, +8 Stealth in marshes

SPECIAL ABILITIES

All-Around Vision (Ex)

A froghemoth’s stalked eyes allow it to see in all directions at once. It cannot be flanked.

Slowed by Electricity (Ex)

Although a froghemoth is immune to damage from electricity, whenever it would otherwise take such damage it is instead slowed for 1 round.

ECOLOGY

Environment temperate marsh
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Thankfully rare, the froghemoth is one of the deep swampland’s most ferocious and monstrous predators. Capable of catching and eating dinosaurs and even dragons, the froghemoth is a frighteningly effective ambush hunter. When lying in wait for prey, the immense creature secrets itself in deep marsh pools and mud so that only the top of its eyestalk emerges from the surface. The froghemoth’s eyes are incredibly keen, but even more impressive is the monster’s tongue. Like a snake, a froghemoth can “taste” its surroundings with extraordinary accuracy.

Scholars have long debated the origin of this strangely immense predator, arguing that its unusual senses, physiology, and resistances make it something more than an animal. Druids and other servants of the natural world agree—the froghemoth may act like an animal, but it never seems fully “comfortable” in its environs. Perpetually ill-tempered, a froghemoth often seems to kill simply for the sake of killing—vomiting up partially digested meals in favor of new prey when it encounters such. It’s not unheard of to find these strange creatures far from their normal habitations, as if the marsh didn’t agree with them and sent them wandering in search of a new home. Some sages argue that the froghemoth isn’t from this world at all, and that these wanderings are instinctual urges to seek out its true home—a home not represented by the strange world in which the beast finds itself trapped.

A froghemoth is 22 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs 16,000 pounds.

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Ecology of the Froghemoth

Sages spend long hours speculating on the history of the bizarre creature commonly called the froghemoth. Some learned scholars insist such a monstrosity must be the result of arcane experimentation. Others point out that it can be found in the deep places of the earth, suggesting some eldritch mutation shaped by dark energies seeping in distant caverns. Yet the bizarre tale of the froghemoth does not begin either on or under the earth.

In truth, the monster is a child of the stars; a creature inadvertently brought to the known world aboard a doomed vessel in an age long past. Its home world a hot, swampy land filled with volcanoes and violent lightning storms. Though the froghemoth was biologically well suited to its new, gentler environment, as a race, the creature became the servant of a restless anger; some say they are homesick. Today, the monstrous aberrations have expanded their range across the planet, both above and below the ground. They make their homes wherever the water is warm and fresh and they can lie comfortably submerged, waiting for an opportunity to vent both anger and hunger.

Physiology

While froghemoths share some similarities with mundane frogs, those who have studied the massive amphibians realize the similarities are largely superficial. While a froghemoth at rest – with its webbed rear feet and tough, warty skin – might be mistaken for a great frog, once the creature begins moving, any observer can tell the two are entirely distinct creatures.

Locomotion

For one thing, froghemoths are not natural jumpers. Swimming is their preferred method of locomotion. In the rare cases when a froghemoth is encountered on dry land, the great beasts often crawl: their tentacles grasping ahead, pulling their massive bulk slowly forward as their rear legs push. Such movement is deceptive, suggesting clumsiness rather than mere laziness. A froghemoth can stand and walk bipedally, and in battle, it is found upright more often than not. The sight of such an abomination walking is even more disturbing than a four-legged motion might be.

Froghemoths are amphibious. In their early lives, they are aquatic, but as adults they develop powerful lungs and breathe air. The four upper appendages of a froghemoth, though often called tentacles, are properly considered arms. Like your tongue or the arms of an octopus, the arms of the froghemoth are muscular hydrostats. That is, they are limbs comprised entirely of muscle and contain neither bone nor major blood vessels. These limbs are strong and flexible, capable of strangling and crushing massive prey.

Senses

The head of the froghemoth is dominated by a single central eyestalk possessing between one and three keen eyes. The number of eyes seems to make little difference to the ocular abilities of the froghemoth, which are impressive. The pipe-like nostrils of the froghemoth are also distinctive to the monster. The tips of these nostril tubes are often frilled, so when the froghemoth is submerged, with only eyes and nostrils above the water, the nostrils resemble floating vegetation. Froghemoths can collapse these tubes, retracting them into their skull, and will often do so when moving over dry land. The ears of a froghemoth are internal, designed for listening below the water, rather than above it.

Teeth and Tongue

Inside the froghemoth’s mouth we find two more items worth mentioning.

The first is that, unlike most amphibious creatures, froghemoths have razor sharp teeth. As the froghemoth typically swallows its food whole, its teeth are mainly defensive. Nevertheless, in areas lacking small prey, a froghemoth is quite capable of tearing apart larger creatures and swallowing them piecemeal.

Secondly, the mouth of the froghemoth contains a long, elastic tongue, perhaps the most frog-like quality of the beast. This tongue is fastened to the front of the froghemoth’s mouth and is normally kept rolled up inside the creature’s head, though it can reach down its own throat with its tongue to dislodge food or items stuck there. When hunting, the froghemoth uses its tongue as a fifth limb, attacking, grasping, and pulling victims into its mouth to be swallowed.

Adventurers report that froghemoths often lick objects of interest. It uses its tongue to examine potential food and new objects–even, at the appropriate times, potential mates. Indeed, the creature uses its tongue for smell, taste, and touch since the tips of its arms are not particularly sensitive.

The final physiological feature of the froghemoth worthy of discussion is its nervous system. The nerves and spinal cord of a froghemoth are prodigious in size and conduct massive amounts of electricity from brain to limb. These powerful electrical charges allow the monster to react with a speed that belies its size. This also explains the creature’s curious reaction to electrical attacks. Though the nerves of the froghemoth can absorb and conduct any amount of electricity, electrical attacks from outside the body confuse the creature’s muscles as they try to distinguish between the charges sent from the brain and the foreign signals; thus, the apparent slowness of the creature when struck with electrical attacks.

Life Cycle

Froghemoths dwell in fresh water environments in warm and hot climates. Generally, they make their homes in swamps, but they can also be found living in the shallows of a warm lake or along the banks of a slowmoving river. Each froghemoth has a territory of four to nine square miles, which it considers its own. For most of the year, it instinctively avoids  the territories of other froghemoths. The exception to this rule is during the mating season. Froghemoths feel the compulsion to mate in the early spring or during particularly rainy spells, and they leave their homes in search of a mate, often wandering many miles. This accounts for most froghemoths encountered out of the water.

Although froghemoths hunt less during the mating season, they are more aggressive, and they often form mating pods of two to six. Froghemoths are hermaphrodites and, following their two-week long unions, each of these mating aberrations lays between 10 and 100 eggs—in the still waters, no more than 6-10 ft. deep.

Froghemoth Eggs

The small globes, just visible under the brackish water, are black, leathery looking, and approximately a foot in diameter. Piled in a heap, they seem held together by a yellow slime. A fish trapped in the slime quivers spasmodically every few seconds, near death and in obvious distress.

Eggs Hazards and Hatching

The quirks of the froghemoth’s nervous system are most readily apparent in the beast’s juvenile forms. The froghemoth eggs, each about 1 ft. in diameter, constantly release pulses of electrical energy into the water around them. Combined with the slimy gel holding the eggs together, this pulse makes froghemoth eggs a very real hazard for any creature passing through the waters nearby.

The eggs incubate for two months before they hatch, releasing newborn froghemoths into the world. Newborn froghemoths are ravenous, and they consume their eggshells, then the slime holding the shells, and then any unfortunate creatures caught in the slime. This is not the end; they then turn on each other. Coupled with the willingness of older froghemoths to eat their own young, this cannibalism helps insure their numbers are never too great.

Section 15:
Kobold Quarterly issue 12, Copyright 2009, Open Design LLC, www.koboldquarterly.com. All rights reserved.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder RPG Bestiary. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.