Last Updated on July 15, 2022
Guide to the Froghemoth in 5e
In D&D, we get to explore strange fantasy worlds, which naturally means encounters with strange creatures.
You’ll get your fair share of zombies and trolls, and if done right, those can feel truly weird and horrifying, but sometimes you need a bit more to truly scratch that bizarre itch.
Cue the froghemoth, a massive aberration that is much more behemoth than frog. It’s the truly bizarre creations like this or a Goose Hydra that really let DMs and players drop all preconceptions about what it means to be an adventurer.
Sure, at this point in time, froghemoths are somewhat of an urban legend, an exciting thing that DMs look forward to throwing in campaigns.
At one point though, the concept of a gigantic tentacled frog with three eyes would be truly insane, a bit terrifying, and absolutely hilarious.
In this article, we’re not just diving into the lore and tactics of the froghemoth, we’re going to be looking at the froghemoth as a beautiful example of how weird creatures can truly enhance a good-old-fashioned game of DnD.
Huge monstrosity, unaligned
- AC: 14 (natural armor)
- Hit Points: 184 (16d12 + 80)
- Speed: 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR: 23(+6), DEX: 13(+1), CON: 20(+5), INT: 2(-4), WIS: 12(+1), CHA: 5(-3)
- Saving Throws: Con +9, Wis +5
- Skills: Perception +9, Stealth +5
- Damage Resistances: Fire, lightning
- Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 19
- Languages —
- Challenge Rating: 10 (5,900 XP)
Amphibious. The froghemoth can breathe air and water.
Shock Susceptibility. If the froghemoth takes lightning damage, it suffers several effects until the end of its next turn: its speed is halved, it takes a -2 penalty to AC and Dexterity saving throws, it can’t use reactions or Multiattack, and on its turn, it can use either an action or a bonus action, not both.
Multiattack. The froghemoth makes two attacks with its tentacles. It can also use its tongue or bite.
Tentacle: Melee Weapon Attack +10 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16) if it is a Huge or smaller creature.
Until the grapple ends, the froghemoth can’t use this tentacle on another target. The target has four tentacles.
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d10 + 6) piercing damage, and the target is swallowed if it is a Medium or smaller creature.
A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the froghemoth, and takes 10 (3d6) acid damage at the start of each of the froghemoth’s turns.
The froghemoth’s gullet can hold up to two creatures at a time. If the froghemoth takes 20 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the froghemoth must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, each of which falls prone in a space within 10 feet of the froghemoth.
If the froghemoth dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 10 feet of movement, exiting prone.
Tongue: The froghemoth targets one Medium or smaller creature that it can see within 20 feet of it. The target must make a DC 18 saving throw.
On a failed save, the target is pulled into an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the froghemoth, and the froghemoth can make a bite attack against it as a bonus action.
What Is a Froghemoth?
A froghemoth is a monstrous frog-like creature with two hind legs, four massive tentacles, three eye stalks, two nose stalks, a long barbed tongue, and a set of vicious teeth ready to eat anyone stupid enough to get in this thing’s path.
This is a creature that has been around since the days of AD&D, one that has likely given many adventuring parties an unhealthy fear of amphibious creatures to this day.
The exact origin of froghemoths is unknown, at least in 5e.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters tells us that the first froghemoths may have made their way to our plane in large metallic cylinders, although no conclusive proof of this has been found.
Another report says that froghemoths were created by an angered Ubtao, the patron deity of Chult.
This story says that Kubazan the toad, a trickster god of the Chultean pantheon, was sent to parle with Ubtao on behalf of the humans that he had forsaken.
Enraged that he was lowered to such a task, Kubazan took the side of Ubtao instead. As a gift for his loyalty and partially out of amusement, Ubtao turned Kubazan into the first froghemoth.
Perhaps both are true, perhaps there is some deeper lore that has been lost to the years. Whatever their origin, these are some truly weird creatures.
I mean, they are essentially frogs that have been mutated well beyond their natural state, even if they maintain the same basic intelligence.
Ecology of a Froghemoth
These massively weird and weirdly massive creatures can typically be found in swampy areas.
Their lairs are typically made of submerged collections of trees and debris. They may look a lot like a large dam placed randomly on the edge of a swamp or lake.
While the creatures are solitary, they will seek one another out to mate in the springtime, giving birth to a host of hundreds of eggs. There are even reports of single froghemoths producing fertile eggs all on their own.
Fortunately, many of these eggs will be eaten by predators, and of the tadhemoths that survive, few will make it to adolescence, and only a handful will reach adulthood.
Don’t worry though, you won’t be coming across a family of froghemoths any time soon, unless there’s enough food in one area to support multiple gigantic amphibians.
The creatures aren’t naturally territorial, but it’s hard enough to find a steady food supply for one, let alone a whole colony.
A day in the life of a froghemoth includes little more than lying in wait for prey and eating. There are two main ways they might go about this.
The first is to lie at the bottom of a body of water with their eyestalks barely breaching the surface. Their tentacles will then reach out to the shore to strike out and grasp at any unsuspecting creature unlucky enough to get close.
The second method is to lie waiting in foliage (particularly large foliage) and lash out with their tongue for the same basic effect.
As most creatures, and even humanoids, are generally keeping their eyes out for smaller threats, the froghemoths can actually be quite easy to miss if you’re not careful.
If a group of bullywugs comes across a froghemoth, they’ll likely worship it as a god.
This is no easy task, but since the two basically share a language and since froghemoths really just want food at the end of the day, it is typically accomplished with a bit of perseverance and some loss of life.
Bullywugs will procure food and sacrifices for the monstrosity, looking after it and protecting it from harm. Naturally, this extends to any offspring the creature might have.
One of the benefits of a giant tentacled pet frog is that you essentially have a very large weapon if your tribe is messed with.
The froghemoth might even have a sense of loyalty if it’s been fed by this tribe for long enough. After all, these are unintelligent creatures, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid.
Bullywug tribes with their own froghemoth might be a bit brash, seeking to gain land or terrorize nearby villages for resources.
With a bit of direction, a huge amphibian can cause some serious damage to unsuspecting townsfolk.
Running a Froghemoth
With all their power and mass, froghemoth are little more than ambush predators on their own. This doesn’t make them any less threatening; it just means they won’t have many tactics to speak of.
In general, these creatures aim for the biggest target first and continue to attack until they’re significantly damaged. There comes a point where a meal can fight back too much to be worth it.
This isn’t the case when a froghemoth is a captured prize set loose by some nefarious organization.
In The Champion’s Belt, an adventure published in Dungeon Magazine issue 128, a froghemoth named Madtooth the Hungry is kept as the climactic match for a gladiator arena.
In this instance, the creature is underfed and has nowhere to go if it does fear for its life. The thing will fight to the last breath.
If a froghemoth is at the service of a bullywug tribe, we’re probably going to see a much larger battle. To me, this is one of the coolest ways to introduce the massive creature.
In an encounter like this, regular bullywug soldiers will fight alongside the beast like minions.
Of course, bullywugs are going to be more in control of this situation than their massive war beast. They’ll be doing their best to corral the adventurers toward the beast.
A lot of distraction will make it harder to focus with the real threat at hand, and the party will have to be very creative to survive.
After all, no matter who is in control of the creature, it has a very simple M.O. Grab creatures with tentacles or tongue and throw them into the old gullet so you can eat.
The fact that this thing has five different appendages that can grab creatures is really awful.
An average turn could see two tentacle attacks and a tongue attack (which, if successful, becomes a bite attack). That’s three adventurers at risk of being dinner for a giant frog in a very short amount of time.
Players will be wise to keep their distance from the creature as much as possible.
Those tentacle and tongue attacks are just too deadly to be risking. Ranged attacks will do just fine, especially if you can keep your distance.
They don’t have incredible speed, so if you can stay a good click away from them, you can let off as much damage as possible.
Obviously, one of the best things is to take advantage of the Shock Susceptibility in these creatures’ stat block.
There are just so many benefits — half speed, reduced AC and Dexterity saves, no multiattacks or reactions, and the inability to take an action and a bonus action in the same turn — that the players gain when this happens.
It honestly reduces the CR by several stages and turns HP into the hardest obstacle to overcome.
The question you might be asking is, how would the adventurers know this? Well, there are many ways to hint at this bit of info.
If the creature is in the control of some humanoids, either in an arena, bullywugs, or something else entirely, the actual handler might be using some sort of lightning damage to direct it before the fight begins.
Think of this like a cow prod, except it could be in the form of a spell or some magical device (setting dependent).
Then, if the froghemoth is just some threat the adventurers are tasked to deal with in some village, they might be able to hear rumors.
“There was an awful thunderstorm a week or so back. I could hear the pained screaming of that beast from out here on the farm. I don’t know if it was the noise, some fallen tree, or what, but that damn frog sure doesn’t like no lightning storms.”
In this way, we use an NPC to hint at the information without being so incredibly direct. The adventurers could even be the ones to hear the screaming as they go to sleep the night before they set out to deal with the problem.
It makes for an excellent setup if you end a day (or even a session) with some graphic description of the monster they’re about to slay screaming in agony.
Now, I’m not saying this to go for the sympathy card here, but these aren’t some evil goblin hordes; these really are just creatures. It even says it straight up in the stat block — these are unaligned monstrosities.
Another option for dealing with the beasts is to tame them. Albeit a much more difficult task, a froghemoth could make an absolutely insane sidekick or a fantastic protector for a nearby village.
If you have the kind of players who want to fix every problem with kindness for some reason, use your rumor mill to talk about how hungry this thing is. Their attempts at reasoning via food might actually work.
Taking Inspirations From Older Editions
Something I always see and always try to get away with myself is the concept of called shots in D&D; naming which part of the body you’re aiming for in hopes of disabling your opponent.
It’s often something we shy away from as DMs because it can lead to unbalanced encounters, but I highly encourage you to try it out with a froghemoth.
When the stat block was first widely distributed in the AD&D Monster Manual II, there was a whole section devoted to dealing with the various body parts of a froghemoth.
In fact, its body, tongue, and tentacles all had different ACs.
The basis of this concept was that if you dealt a certain amount of damage to either the tentacles or the tongue, you could sever it and make the encounter that much easier.
For 5e, I wouldn’t necessarily add in different ACs for the different pieces of the body, but that’s certainly an option.
When I do allow called shots, I like to increase the AC for smaller pieces of the body as they’re harder to hit.
This makes even more sense for the tentacles and tongue, as they are very muscular pieces of the froghemoth that won’t be quite so easy to lop off.
For each tentacle, I would say about 20 hp (2d12 + 7) is enough to remove it. That’s about an eighth of the full creature’s hit dice, which is roughly what the AD&D’s statblock would translate to.
By that logic, the tongue would only take about 17 (1d12+10) hp to sever since it is a bit weaker.
Of course, if we’re going to be debuffing it in this way so that our players can have some old-school fun, we should probably give it back one of its bonuses.
Originally, the froghemoth was twice as fast in the water thanks to its webbed feet.
Giving this thing 60 feet of swimming speed might sound insane, but there’s only so far it will go before it’s out of range of the adventurers who are probably staying on land, so it works.
Making Weird Monsters
The froghemoth really doesn’t have any inspiration in the real world. To be clear, I mean in real-world myth.
Sure, there are many legends of giant frogs, but none have alien eye stalks and a host of tentacles. No, this creature was truly a strange addition, even for D&D.
The creature’s oddness can be linked back to the reason it was created. Gygax was writing the science-fiction-themed setting Expedition to Barrier Peaks and needed particularly alien creatures to really fit the locale.
A mutant frog certainly fit the bill, and it was enough of a fan favorite that the creature has reappeared in every edition of D&D since.
Most recently, we’ve seen it in Tomb of Annihilation as a result of Chultean deities and as an alien creature in the Lost Laboratory of Kwalish.
Regardless of the true origins of the creature, both feel just as true to its spirit. Weird is not exclusive to alien settings; look no further than the creatures of the feywild to see that.
I mean, really, what is the difference between fantastical and strange? Is it that fantasy creatures have some basis in real-world myth? Fine, but you can’t tell me that a human/horse hybrid isn’t one of the strangest things out there.
We’re just used to a lot of these creatures because they’ve been a part of our cultural upbringing since we were kids (especially if you’re a nerd).
My petition to you is to look at the froghemoth as more than just a zany creature to throw in for the shock value. Look at it as inspiration and as a template for how to really build some outlandish creatures for your players to encounter.
Sometimes you’ll end up with something that’s just silly, like a five-headed goose hydra (Honkdra, if you will).
Sometimes, you’ll end up with something that feels like it could really exist in some alternate world, like a six-legged flying bison (shout out Appa).
Take an animal, or even another fantasy creature, and change something about it. Think about how it might evolve, or add some strange mutation to it that sets it apart.
I mean, there are so many ways that you can go about this. Let me try one in real time just to prove that it can be cool.
Let’s start with something simple, a dog. Now, let’s make it large, like lion sized. I want it to feel mythical in nature, like it could be worshipped.
What if I add in features of something flying but not your average bird wings or bat wings. I want it to have features of a praying mantis.
Nice; now we’re cooking.
Okay, so this creature has the body of a massive dog (I’m thinking St. Bernard, but maybe a very large greyhound would be more fitting) and two long insectile wings that lie flat along its back, much like the mantis.
It has the head shape of a dog but with large mandibles and compound eyes.
Naturally, it should have a bit of an extended torso/neck so there’s room for an extra set of forelegs (raptorial legs), like that of a mantis.
These can really feel like the melding of the two with the chitinous limbs covered in dog-like fur. They would end in a long point like the mantis, but it can definitely look like a long, single canine claw
For the final touches, so this can really come together as a mythical creature, I want its coloring and design to match that of an orchid mantis.
The soft whites, pinks, and greens keep it from being too grotesque and can make it look more on the noble side of things than like nightmare fuel.
That took about five minutes, and I personally feel that I just created a really interesting, unique creature that would be absolutely terrifying to encounter, all while being incredibly interesting to learn about.
Sure, it would take a bit more time to flesh out the lore and stats for such a creature, but in my eyes, that’s where the fun really comes in.
If you’re not afraid to diverge from the path, you can end up with some truly awe-inspiring creatures that don’t take a whole lot of effort to create.
Your players will be caught off guard and excited, and they will probably end up talking about it for years to come. Who knows? You might be creating the next froghemoth.
I hope this amazing astronomically-sized amphibian is as exciting to you as it is to me. Hopefully, it might even inspire you to sit down at the drawing board and come up with your own unique 5e monster.
As always, happy adventuring.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.