In case you can’t tell by the title alone, let me clarify. Bullywugs are one of the most brain-dead monsters I’ve talked about up to this point. So much so that I can’t even make a witty or clever joke for the title.
With a Bullywug, what you see is what you get. They are far from deep, powerful, or exceptionally interesting. Their design is pretty funny on the most simple level, but that’s about it.
Unfortunately, they aren’t just Kermit the Frog in D&D. If they were, I’d have something very different to say.
Lore: Wannabe Rulers of the Swamps
Bullywugs have decently interesting lore. However, it is far from thrilling or engaging. You could theoretically make a side quest out of these guys, or a starter quest, but you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want a primary enemy for your campaign.
These frog creatures consider themselves the king of the swamps. They have a strange sort of etiquette, especially when dealing with outsiders. They are all subject to their leaders, the self-proclaimed lord of the muck.
There are two ways for a Bullywug to make his way up in the chain. The first is to simply murder its rivals through cunning and underhanded tactics. The other is to find a treasure or magical items to present as a tribute to their liege. The latter tactic is the more common, so raids on caravans in a Bullywug’s swamp is common.
They consider themselves above those who trespass on their lands, and they make it known. Trespassers will be dragged before the king and queen and are forced to beg for mercy. They can be bribed or tricked into letting them go, but not before the ruler tries to impress their hostages with their treasure and realm. They have a massive inferiority complex.
Also, they make friends with giant frogs. Because these guys are nothing if not consistent.
What the fuck do you want me to say?! Look at this guy! What is there to say?
They’re frog people. That’s it! It is hardly creative, especially considering that we just talked about the Bulette and the Beholder line. The only positive is that these guys are kind of funny to look at.
Stats: Another Starter Enemy
If you’re expecting these guys to be super powerful and dangerous, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention.
These guys have pitifully low HP, balanced only by a decent AC. Their only skill is their stealth, which is helped greatly by their ability to use Swamp Camouflage, which gives them Advantage on all dexterity checks in the swamp. They can move decently far on land thanks to their Standing Leap, but they are definitely more dangerous in the water thanks to their Amphibious ability.
Also, they can talk to frogs and toads. Thrilling.
They are pretty dangerous for a first-level monster in terms of damage. With Multiattack, they can strike with both their bite and spear attacks within the same turn. If both attacks hit, the player can suffer from a 1d4+1 and a 1d6+1 from the chomp and spear respectively. Or, if you really want to be a dick, you can raise the 1d6 to a 1d8+1 by having the Bullywug stab with two hands.
However, if the party is any higher than the first or second level, then these guys won’t be a threat. Plus, the fight itself leaves little room for creative tactics. Once the Bullywug gets in close or is closed in on, it becomes a simple game of ‘hit it until it dies’. Far from the most thrilling enemy in the game.
Despite my neigh saying, I don’t hate the Bullywug. But they are far from my favorite. They don’t have an exceptionally interesting or creative design. Their lore is neat but offers little room to explore in gameplay beyond a side-quest. With their stats, they can only provide a decent challenge to a first or second level party. They just aren’t that great.
With that in mind, let’s put them on the Best of the Bestiary list!
- Death Tyrant
- Animated Armor
- Rug of Smothering
- Bugbear Chief
- Vine Blight
- Twig Blight
- Needle Blight
- Bullywug <——
- Flying Sword
When I review a D&D monster, I look for creativity and a challenge. Aside from their decently interesting lore, the Bullywug lacks both of these things. They can be fun to work with, but they will never be my first pick.
I don’t hate them, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate any monster in any of these books! But they are never going to be my go-to monster.
But hey! At least they’re more interesting than Solar and Deva!