One of the great things about DnD, and RPGs in general, is that these are worlds of your own design.
That means that although the rules and mechanics found in the core rulebooks are pretty much the same from game to game, what you drape over the top of those mechanics, the world that the players can see and interact with, that the DM describes and controls, is as different from campaign to campaign as the players themselves.
This means you can invent landscapes and towns, creatures and new character classes, and even your new player character races.
When you read about the Grung 5e race, it was created for a one-off fundraising campaign by Wizards of the Coast and was never, perhaps, as wholly realized as a people as the other races in the game. Still, that is the fun of the game. You are free to take such one-shot ideas and turn them into a neat racial add-on to your campaign.
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What is Grung 5e?
The Grung are a humanoid-frog hybrid about the size of a Halfling. They come in a range of skin colors, which forms the basis of the rigid caste system at the heart of their societal structure.
Interestingly, although their skin color indicates an individual’s place in society, this isn’t fixed. A Grung can change their skin color and, therefore, their position, but this can only be done through the successful completion of “great deeds,” which will sometimes be rewarded with the offer to join a different, higher caste.
When should I play as the Grung 5e race?
The Grung make for an excellent racial choice if you want to roleplay a despicable race. They enjoy keeping intelligent races as enslaved people, often in a drugged state, they are self-centered, basically amoral, and their people are associated with all manner of war crimes and treasons.
They are, therefore, perfect if you want to play someone genuinely evil or at least with little thought or empathy for those around you. A good twist might be to play a Grung who has seen the error of its people and has set themself the task of showing that they are capable of repenting and changing.
Grung Caste and Society
The Grung are found in rainforests and tropical jungles; they are fiercely territorial and regard themselves as superior to any other race or creature they encounter. Such a mindset imbues them with a natural and slightly off-putting arrogance.
Society revolves around its rigid caste system. Each caste lays eggs in their designated hatching pool, and once hatched, the young Grungs join their caste, living in that part of their settlement that is set aside for them.
Grung 5e Skin Color
All Grung begin life a dull grey-green but quickly take on the skin color relevant to their caste. Grungs can be Green, Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, or Gold from the lowest to the highest caste.
The skin color designates the Grung’s caste and their role in society.
- Greens are the tribe’s warriors and hunters and also their laborers.
- Blues are artisans, builders, and providers of all the domestic requirements of the tribe.
- Purples are the overseers of these groups; they are found in administration and leadership roles, both in domestic and military positions.
- Reds come from a caste that supplies the tribe’s scholars and magic users.
- Orange is a band of elite warriors and nobility who have ultimate dominance over all others
- With the exception of the Gold, who form the tribe’s supreme leadership and highest echelons, the equivalent to the monarchy and their advisors, politicians, and court followers.
Great deeds in Grung society
The caste hierarchy is rigid and unchanging; once born into a caste, the Grung will remain part of it for their entire lives. On rare occasions, an individual will distinguish himself through the performance of a “great deed”, a loose term but always something exceptional and of great benefit to the tribe.
The performance of such deeds can sometimes lead to an invitation to join another caste. This is the only way a Grung can move between castes, and often even the performance of a “great deed” doesn’t automatically mean that such an invitation will follow.
If such an invitation is forthcoming, the Grung undergoes a ceremony involving herbal tonics and powerful ritual magic, resulting in them changing color and being allowed to take their place in their new caste. From then on, the Grung and any of their descendants are part of their new caste.
Grung 5e Stats & Racial Traits
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score is increased by 2 points, and your Constitution score increases by 1 point.
Age. A Grung reaches maturity very quickly; at 3 to 4 months, they will be considered an independent adult and can live for up to 80 years.
Alignment. The combination of a rigid societal structure and a total disregard for others means that the natural alignment is lawful evil. However, if you want to break stereotypes, Lawful Neutral or even Lawful Good might be permissible.
Size. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet, and your swimming speed is 25.
Amphibious. You can breathe both air and water.
Poisonous Skin. Any creature that grapples you or otherwise comes into direct contact with you must make a successful Constitution saving throw at the end of its turn or suffer the effects of close contact with your skin’s natural poisons for 1 minute.
If the victim breaks off contact with The Grung, they make saving throws each round. A successful roll means that the poison is no longer affecting them. The DC for this saving throw equals eight + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. This poison does not affect fellow Grung.
Standing Leap. A Grung can make a long jump of up to 25 feet, and a high jump is up to 15. They can do both from a standing start position.
Water Dependency. For a Grung to fully benefit from a Long Rest, it must immerse itself in water for at least one hour of that recuperation period. Failing to do so negates all benefits of taking the rest as if they have gone without sleep.
Animal Instinct. All Grung have proficiency in either Nature or Survival skills. The choice is up to the player.
Languages. All Grung can speak, read, and write Common and their own Grung language.
What are the best classes for Grung 5e race?
While many classes are open for the Grung player, spellcasting is something they only naturally excel at sometimes.
Their small size prohibits many benefits from opting for the more “tank”-like paths such as Barbarian. However, there are still a few benefits to be found in some of the more mainstream class choices.
The Grung may be small, but they are generally quick, so Fighter is an obvious choice as this class can maximize the number of attacks it can make better than any other.
If you opt for a two-weapon fighting style or choose Crossbow Expert, you can cash in on these additional attacks. And, of course, if you concentrate on getting up close and personal with your enemy, you can also utilize your natural body poison as a bonus attack.
Monk is a great choice for many of the same reasons as Fighter. The excellent ability score increases, and the multiple chances to use the poison attack makes this a perfect option for a Grung character.
The downfall is that any bonus actions you get as a Monk are almost always unarmed strikes that specify bludgeoning damage, rather than more of a grappling nature which would have given even more opportunities for poison attacks.
The Paladin gets fewer attacks than the Fighter, so they don’t get to capitalize on the Grung’s natural poison attack quite as readily. However, the Paladin Grung does offer some great opportunities for roleplaying as the Paladin’s world outlook, and the average Grung’s natural tendencies are generally worlds apart.
But of course, as an adventurer, you are anything but an average Grung, and such a class choice suggests that you are on the road to redemption, as discussed above.
Again the ability scores combine well with the Ranger class, and the addition of water movement is also helpful for a career wandering the wilds and moving about unseen. The Grung’s poison attack encourages the same strategies that support Hunter’s Mark.
The ability score increase is always helpful, and the ability to leap and swim adds valuable capabilities to the Grung Rogue’s skill set. The downfall here is that Rogues generally max out at one attack, which means there is less opportunity to use the skin poison attack to its fullest.
Grung 5e Race Guide: Play as a frog!
The Grung was a race that appeared in earlier versions of the DnD rule set, so it is nice to see them reintroduced via the 5e rules. They are a non-canon race, from Volo’s Guide to Monsters, so there is a bit of debate about how balanced and valuable they are to the game.
The information might be contradictory, as it often is with non-official developments, but an intelligent DM can get the balance right.
The fun of the race comes more from role-playing than their actual abilities. You could play them as the belligerent, self-centered race they are, but a lot of fun can also be had by subverting such expectations.
Please give them a funny froggy name, such as B’Leep, B’Lahp, B’Lip, B’Loop, Groak, Krr’ook, and Roark, utilize their leaping abilities for unexpected attacks, and obviously, the poison skin is an excellent feature. Just try not to poison the Cleric when he is laying on hands to heal your wounds. That’s just rude!
Like most aspects of DnD, playing the Grung is what you make of it. So why not be the weird, jittery, high-jumping, croaky, water-baby Fighter with a blade, a crossbow, and a poisonous sheen that people are always careful not to brush up against? Sounds like fun to me.
Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages. She is also a professional content writer at SlashGear.com