Racial Ecologies: Guide to Grippli (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Fat Goblin Games
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“We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.”
A jungle’s expansive canopy can hide a great many secrets. Hidden for thousands of years, away from the eyes of men, one can find the crumbling ruin of empires, dark monoliths, and forgotten temples. Within this savage and often unforgiving environment, a race of intelligent frog-like creatures have found a home. Mistaken as weak, these peace loving beings were once the target of oppression and slavery. Having cast of the shackles of tyrannical rule and surviving a great civil war, the grippli now seek greater things...
Racial Ecologies is a line of small supplements from Fat Goblin Games. Each one is richly detailed with information on racial histories, personality, physiology, and all the details on playing the race, including optional racial traits, character traits, feats, new equipment, and a full stats on an NPC you can use in your next game.
Overall I think this is a very good supplement. If you love the Grippli race, you'll be very happy with their fleshed out history and the description of their society. The alternative racial traits, character traits and racial feats are all very fun as well.
I only have two complaints. First, the PDF needed a bit better editing, as some of the information on racial traits is a bit confusing and there are errors on some of the stats of the new grippli-specific equipment. Second, we were only given Favored Class Options for five of the classes. I would have like an option for every class. These are minor complaints though.
I picked up all of the race books from Fat goblin games, and I’ll be going through giving a short review of each one. I’m very into the study of animals, and I like seeing how the wonder of nature is combined with high fantasy.
Third, I’m doing Grippli.
This is a 10 page PDF, with 7 pages dedicated to the grippli, 1 page to a PC, 1 page to an add, and 1 to legal mumbo jumbo, as is required.
The lead in is the History section, which is the best one thus far by a wide margin, and connects the grippli to lizardfolk and boggards in a neat way. The name heqet refers to the frogmen races, the grippli, This is the first race PDF from Fat Goblin games that reads as a race guide from page one, and not the authors opinion of the animal the race is based on. There are tons of plot hooks from step one, and I already want to play a grippli before I get past the history of the race, which is about one page of text total. Bravo.
Next comes Physiology, which is about half a page, but packs a ton of info in a clear fashion. I know what they look like, and how they dress, very quick and evocatively. It does make some assumptions that you know what a frog looks like, assumptions the other race books should have made. Grippli are noted as starting their lives as tadpoles, as most frogs do, but glazes over the slow morph from tadpole to frog. It also calls them tadlings once they hit land, and not froglets as with real frogs, but that’s a minor quibble. I would like to see something about how they protect the tadpoles, either in special vernal pools or spawning dens, or a change to the fluff that there is no tadpole stage, and that they emerge from the egg as froglets, like the Solomon Island frogs (Ceratobatrachus guentheri), or if you wanted to add, ‘pregnancy,’ steal from the Surinam Star Fingered toad (pipa pipa), toads that carry the eggs of their young in the fleshy pores of the females back. Note that these are science nerd nitpicks you could easily add to your game, and detract in no way from the product.
Psychology and Society is next, and again, this reads like a real PC guide, not a monster one. Grippli are a friendly, good aligned race, and while wary of outsider, can be welcoming to new friends and are very positive in outlook. It talks about their villages and cities built in the trees, and how they are laid out for the community. Interestingly, it mentions marriage here, which reminded me that nowhere does it say how many grippli occur from one mating. I’m running with one, as with most intelligent races. A note to avoid PCs trying to produce swarms quickly perhaps? This section also details social structure, and gives some good, quirky notes about what grippli enjoy, like drums, fruits, and insects. It has notes on clothing a decoration here as well, and discusses the technology level of this type of tribal culture. There is a sidebar that goes into the other types of villages, and covers all ways that frogs/toads live, except for the fringe animals that live completely underwater. (EDIT, They do cover this later) Considering how few campaigns occur underwater, this is no issue whatsoever. Enemies and Allies follows as a short section, again it’s clear and concise.
We then get to the PC info, which gives the racial stats for Grippli, and quite a few alternate traits. Cold Blooded comes first, and is the first mention that grippli are warm blooded. It’s well balanced, but unlikely to see play in anything but a dark sun style game, where it would be taken without question. Deep Breath is next, which nullifies my previous statement that this document does not cover fully aquatic frogs/toads, because this does EXACTLY what they do. One issue for clarification here. It replaces fast movement, so RAW, these guys can’t move. RAI they can’t climb, but still. Swim does what you think it does, and replaces camouflage. Tongue Lash and Terrifying Croak are both amazing frog powers, and both replace swamp stride. Last is Toxin, which replaces camouflage. I feel like too many things replace camouflage, but I don’t know what else they should replace. After that, you get two racial traits, both of which read as good, but I don’t use traits in my games.
Feats are next, and there are five solid feats here. With stacking, you could make a Grippli Monk that could jump insane heights! All the feats here are solid, and I’d give them more detail, but I want to touch on the Favored class options! Not something you see in a lot of third party race books, and they all fit well, except for Paladin. I don’t really read the Grippli as getting this for Paladins, but none for Druid. Just my $.02.
Page 6 is info on how to run a grippli of most classes, skipping such as the gunslinger and samurai. On the right, we have a mount, the emerald dragonfly, the only actual complaint I have about the book. This should have been written with vermin companion rules or a cost like a horse, to keep consistency. How else will my PC get one?
Page 7 is all new mundane equipment, which is all appropriate and solid, but I’m not 100% on the armor stats, they might need a slight tweak to fall in line.
Page 8 is a PC example, that could be dropped in as a first line grippli to a group of outsiders.
The green in the background blocks some text from being clearly read on the bottom of a few pages, as in the other racial books.
Page 4, Clarify what Deep Breath replaces.
It comes as a sign from above, that as I create a Grippli character for the next Pathfinder game I will playing, I should receive an e-mail that tells me, “Racial Ecologies: Guide to Grippli is now on sale!”, and for two dollars no less! So, I quickly bought it, read it, and applied it to my character. I have always been a fan of the Grippli race, and whenever I feel like playing a light-hearted character, it’s my go-to. But, the information on Grippli has never been abundant, other than the basic, “They live in swamps, are nice, and love shiny objects!” But no more! The dark ages of Grippli information is gone!
The history that Fat Goblin has created is great, expanding on the vague history presented out since the Grippli was first introduced in D&D. The pictures are amazing; too bad there aren’t many in it, but the amount of information is abundant enough to make up for that. I love fleshing out characters completely, especially if there is a large amount of material on the race.
I definitely give this a 5/5 review, because it’s a must-have for any Grippli fans, or for anyone who wants to play a fun race. I hope that a sequel to this guide is released which expands on Gods and more of the social(Mating, partnering, ect), weapons, and religious ritual aspects of the Grippli that are included in this book; along with more pictures of Grippli themselves showing off their colorful and unique patterns, of course. I would buy it in a heartbeat.
I can see an all Grippli adventure for my group sometime in the future. Thanks Fat Goblin!