Grippli eat fruit and insects, trapping small insects in large quantities and hunting giant insects like humans hunt stags. Grippli are in turn hunted by many jungle predators, in particular giant snakes and spiders. Lizardfolk and kuo-toa may also hunt grippli, though they have strict taboos against eating grippli flesh. Grippli are the enemies of bullywugs. They are nervous around strangers, and often use wild elves or fey as intermediaries. Powerful predators such as green dragons sometimes enslave whole villages of grippli; at such times, they tend to accept their fate rather than waste lives in futile rebellion.
Grippli can live to be 700 years old, but have an extremely low birthrate, giving birth to only six or so young in all that time. They understandably defend their young ferociously. Dragon #324 gives them a much more modest 180-year lifespan, having females become fertile at 25-year intervals after maturity (which they reach around 30 years).
Grippli crafts are generally limited to simple objects made from vines, wood, and stone. They cherish metal heirlooms, which they must get from other races. They use snares, nets, poisoned darts, and the occasional sword or dagger. On rare occasions, they may use blowguns or spears. It is common for them to make poisons, potions, herbal tinctures, and alchemical goods. Most grippli homes are decorated with polished glass, quartz, and other brightly colored baubles they trade for with other races in exchange for rare jungle herbs and extracts.
Grippli are found in tropical swamps and jungles. Typical grippli villages are made of small wood or mud huts built on the ground, hidden in the deep shaded areas beneath heavy jungle foliage, or in the boughs of large trees. A ceremonial area on the ground may contain remnants of bonfires.
Typical physical characteristics
The average grippli stands two and a half feet high and weighs 25-30 pounds, although particularly ancient warriors may have twice that height, with an equivalent increase in mass. Their bodies are essentially identical to frogs, but they have humanoid hands and prehensile feet.
Grippli love brightly colored clothing, but wear it only for decoration, or for the sake of having pockets. Most grippli only wear thin belts or loin cloths to hang weapons or other items from.
A grippli is usually neutral in alignment. Those that deviate from this are usually good; an evil grippli is rare indeed.
Each grippli village is led by a tribe mother, a female of unusual height (almost four feet tall) with the ability to emit a defensive musk cloud. She is accompanied by one to three mates, each three to three-and-a-half feet in height. The tribe mother is said to have a touch of the blood of their goddess within her. The one in Needle is also psionic. In theory, the tribe mother is divinely ordained with absolute power, but in practice she leaves most day-to-day decisions to experienced hunters. Still, only the mother can speak for the tribe when negotiating with outsiders.
According to Dragon #324, grippli have a "simple faith in a nameless froglike goddess... depicted in sculptures of wood or stone as a bulbous frog with vibrant rainbow skin." Most other races believe she may technically be a forest spirit rather than a true deity, but she's a goddess as far as the grippli are concerned. Others suggest she might be a relatively benign aspect of Blibdoolpoolp. "Spider and snake creatures round out the grippli religion as demons and evil spirits."
Those few grippli who know of the gods of other races consider Lolth to be the chief enemy of their race, though the Spider Queen herself pays them little attention.
The grippli language is composed of croaks, groans, clicks, and squeaks. There is also a Batrachian Common tongue they can use to speak (rarely) with other froglike humanoids such as bullywugs. In each tribe, there is usually at least one (such as the tribe mother) who can speak Common, Elvish, or some other local language. Their croaking voices make them hard to comprehend in any language other than their own. Other races can learn Grippli, but cannot truly master it without magic. Writing is taboo to the grippli; only the tribe mother is permitted to make written records. Grippli has no written form, but the mother can read and write in Undercommon.
Grippli have no surnames, and place little importance on names in general, identifying each other as much by sight as by words. They often pick up nicknames when among other races. Common grippli names include Brillup, Bullgup, Chirk, Quartle, Bellum, Kaillum, and Quon.
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- Breault, Mike, ed, et al. Greyhawk Monstrous Compendium Appendix (TSR, 1990)
- Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
- Cole, Joshua. "Winning Races." Dragon #324 (Paizo Publishing, 2004)
- Mentzer, Frank. Needle (TSR, 1987)
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- Wyatt, James. "Half-Pint Heroes." Dragon #262 (TSR, 1999).