14 July 2011
I might be biased- some of my happiest memories are of me standing near one of the various lakes or creeks or streams of my childhood and catching up some frogs. I only mention this because my girlfriend apparently hates frogs with a passion, and would probably run in terror from a frog-man the way I'd probably run from a spider-man (but not the superhero. Don't be silly!)
So regardless, Frogmen will probably make it into the next retroclone I play, in some form or fashion. They can be tougher but a little clumsier, have a little less force of will but be able to make some mighty fuckin' hops when they want to. I could see them in articulated plate-mail with large halberds, leaping in concert at their foes and crashing their pole-arms on the heads of their enemies. I could see them wearing robes with blasphemous symbols and casting death on their enemies. I could even see them tenderly caring for their friends, applying ointments and balms under the guise of Great Kaadraak, Froggen god of Mercy.
I think they might even be a central part of a campaign premise- what if ape-men (humans) and frog-men (these guys) both evolved parallel to each other? They could be the only two intelligent civilizations in the world, and much like in real life, they'd mostly get along. They wouldn't have too much of a struggle over natural resources after all, since the Frog-Men and Humans don't really eat the same things (insects vs pretty much anything but insects, ideally), they don't have the same habitats (forests and plains for humans, swamps and lakes for Frog-Men), and they probably wouldn't have the same cultural values.
You could really make the argument for Frog-Men being both more independant and more group-minded than humans. Naturally speaking, frogs aren't very social. They hang out in an area, croak a little, and seek insects through camoflague. They seem to enjoy being around other frogs, but not too closely. It's said that humans gathering around a fire after a successful hunt is one of the main reasons that we have language, so maybe the Frog-Men aren't much for talking. After all, what's there to talk about?
But then men aren't apes any more than Frog-Men are actually frogs, so maybe they'd realize that they're a lot stronger in groups than individually and go from there. After all, frogs aren't especially quick or dangerous, so once they'd gained intelligence, I could see them beginning to form bands, especially where the protection of their eggs and tads would be concerned. Much like in humans, protecting the next generation is the single most important thing available. Unlike humans, the identity and paternity of an individual Frog-Man would be difficult to discover. With most Frog-Men females laying their eggs in similar, protected places, perhaps the question would be irrelevant, leading to a society without real parents and without the problems of psychology that would arise. The tads would be raised by the community, perhaps in a socialistic society where a band of educators and leaders would take care of children. While we're on the subject, there would be no such thing as sexual pairing, either, leading to a race that is entirely unaware of the concept of a nuclear family or a mate, other than as vague concepts such as the person one is mating with/has mated with/will mate with and the tads that have been descended from such a pairing.
I think I'm far too interested in this for my own good, and will leave it be for now. But beware! More Frog-Men psychology and cultural analysis will come!