Thursday, November 12, 2009

Orion Slave Girls and the Slaad of Planet Algol

Yes, the above Star Trek clips have Nothing to do with the subject of this post...aside from Green Skin...

I am quite fond of China Mieville's creation Bas-Lag, despite Dickensian Leftist fantasy not being my regular cup of tea (I'm more a fan of contemporary leftist reality), and I especially loved the Weavers.
"Large, multidimensional spider-like beings who regard life on Bas-Lag as an ongoing work of art. They use their considerable powers to interfere with events according to their individual sense of aesthetics, and seem to appear primarily before major events. Weavers speak in a disjointed, babbling flow of half-poetry, and are totally unpredictable. The Weaver who appears in Perdido Street Station has an absurd fascination for scissors, however this fascination is only the most recent in a series (it is mentioned that the Weaver was previously interested exclusively in chess sets), and can change radically without notice. Their minds, when read, seem to be in a constant state of dreaming. A Weaver also appears in Iron Council. It is unclear whether it is the same Weaver or a different one, but it advocates social and economic revolution, sparking the train strike and the eponymous union that the book centers on."
I found the babbling insane multidimensional arachnid genius quite charming, and I knew that I would have to have a race on Planet Algol that rips off...I mean that is inspired by them.

While going over candidates for the Elder Races it struck me that Charles Stross's contribution to the Fiend Folio, the highly magical chaos-infused Slaad, were a perfect fit for the role of "Planet Algol's Weavers."

They're chaotic, alien, magical, extra-dimensional and geniuses...

Actually Blue and Red Slaad are Low intelligence, Green Slaad are Average, Grey Slaad are High and only the Death Slaad are Geniuses; There goes my Slaad/Weavers idea?

Nope, the Blue, Red, Green and Grey Slaad are juvenile Slaad. Reds are infants, Blues toddlers, Green children and Grey are teenagers. When Slaad reach adulthood (which takes thousands of of years) they are the real Slaad- the capital-S Slaad, the insane, multidimensional, babbling, eccentric geniuses. Most juvenile Slaad frolic in "The Pond", a pocket dimension of chaos energy where the young Slaad-lings frolic and sport. Sometimes they get lost and wander onto Planet Algol, sometimes their "elders" summon them. But they're children; Incredibly powerful, dangerous, and insane children.

Contrary to their name and depiction, Death Slaad are not brooding bad-asses. They are eccentric collectors that speak in a babbling wordplay. They have goals inscrutable to mankind and spend millions of years fulfilling these goals, which are their equivalent of a recreational hobby, albeit an obsessive one.

There's no description of what color they are in the Fiend Folio, they're whatever color they want to be! Scarlet, purple, black, pink, garish patterns. Adult Death Slaad display the same variation in colors and patterns that real life frogs and toads do, except with an insane chaos psychedelic style.

Death Slaads are not malicious. They get their name from the fact it is especially easy to meet your death while dealing with them, but in most cases it is an accident, a misunderstanding. It's hard for the Slaad to remember how fragile other beings are while they are in the frenzy of their obsession. Besides, there's millions more of the small mammalian insects with such brief lives.

The Slaad may have evolved on Earth in the Devonian Period or on Planet Algol in a similar era. They were originally a species of frog-like being who were exposed to immense magical radiations that kickstarted them onto a path of accelerated, multidimensional evolution. Now the universe is their playground. Make that play-pond.


  1. Ah, and I thought I was the only DM who liked Slaad's. As always, groovy!

  2. Ah, Yvonne Craig ...

    Oh and slaads are cool.

  3. Slaads rule and so does (Original Series thru DS9) Trek. Well done!

  4. Slaad were one of my favorite D&D monsters, and like my other favorites, the Mind Flayers, they have appeared in D&D and non D&D games of mine.