The Slaadi are a race of toad-like extraplanar beings from the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Natives of Limbo, they are the counterparts to the Modrons in that they serve as the living exemplars of Chaotic Neutral. They originated in 1st edition as submissions of D&D fan and science fiction author Charles Stross perhaps by way of White Dwarf (although, contrary to common thought, not to its Fiend Factory); thence they hopped over to the eenfamous Fiend Folio.
Slaadi are mostly remembered for coming in multiple different colors and their horrific breeding cycle. See, the basic Slaad come in Blue and Red colors. Blue Slaadi have a corruptive bite/claw attack (depending on the edition) that physically and mentally mutates a victim into a Red Slaad. And Red Slaadi can implant eggs with their claw attacks that hatch into chest-bursting tadpoles that subsequently turn into Blue Slaadi.
If the victim of either a blue slaad or a red slaad is high enough level (AD&D), an arcane spellcaster (3e), or able to cast any sort of third-level spell (5e), then the result is instead a Green Slaad, a more powerful strain with innate spellcasting abilities. These are cherished and prized by the lower Reds and Blues, who seek to nurture them; as a result, green slaadi are notably arrogant and braggadocios. They have the ability to assume a humanoid form - in AD&D, this is the form of their original host, but in 3e this became a simple Change Shape ability, which is passed on to the higher forms.
If Green Slaadi live for at least a century, they have the chance to mature into the more powerful Gray Slaadi, who are the next tier on the progression ladder. These are much better mages, and have a particular skill in crafting and using magical items.
Death Slaadi are the next highest up on the list. In AD&D, nobody knows where Death Slaadi come from; in 3rd edition, it was stated that gray slaadi who have survived for at least a century in that form sometimes undergo a ritual that transforms them into death slaadi; the ritual seems to involve infecting themselves with the essence of Evil, which is why Death Slaadi are 'sometimes' Chaotic Evil and other slaadi are Chaotic Neutral. 5e says that the ritual requires consuming the corpse of a slain death slaad, which means the number of these monsters is likely fixed. These are portrayed as the brutal overlords of the race, albeit inferior in power to the mighty Slaad Lords.
There might, in the existence of Death Slaadi, be a proto Mencius Moldbug commentary on the 'Great Wheel': that chaotic good is a sham and that chaos is, at its core, evil - or at least Far Realm. Some at TSR recognised that That Way Comes Skub. So the first Monstrous Compendium appendix for Planescape (2e, barely) retcons that Death Slaadi are all chaotic-neutral like the rest of 'em. The 3e Monster Manual kicks that right in the pants, to restore the near-evil. The Epic book doubled down with the Black Slaad, also sometimes evil. Simply adding a chaotic good counterpart to the death slaadi is an idea that nobody seems to have thought of yet.
The exact list of types has (appropriately) fluctuated over editions, but the general list is Red, Blue, Green, Gray and Death, as this was the original slaad list in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
In 3rd edition, the Mud Slaad, Black Slaad and White Slaad were added as direct parts of the family tree. Mud Slaads, which appeared in the 3e Fiend Folio, are the least member of the member of the slaad race, inferior even to Red and blue Slaadi, and are portrayed as cowardly, cringing, insecure creatures with a sonic damage-inflicting shriek attack, that reproduce by mutating other creatures into more mud slaad. Black and White Slaadi are the ultimate non-Slaad-Lord forms of the Slaad Race, and appeared in 3e's Epic Level Handbook. Death Slaadi who survive for at least a century mature into White Slaadi (which would mean that the number of black slaadi, rather than being fixed, should be in perpetual decline), who in turn become Black Slaadi if they survive another century. Aside from different levels of epic power (HP, defenses, etc), both Whites and Blacks have the exact same abilities, including the ability to infect victims with raw chaos-stuff that can rapidly break the victim down into more chaos-stuff.
Dragon Magazine #306 introduced the Gormeel, which are a mutant slaad offshoot characterized by their Lawful alignment, because embracing order is the last thing you'd expect chaos to do, so of course it does that just to fuck with you.
In 4th edition, most of the color-based slaad returned, along with several alternative versions and new slaadi:
- Red Slaads are divided into Blood Slaads (pretty much their old selves) and Juggernauts (15ft tall musclebound bruisers).
- Blue Slaads are divided into Talon Slaads (armed with chaos phage implanting wristblades) and Digesters (oversized brutes who seek to literally eat away at reality),
- Green Slaads are divided into Curse Slaads and Madjacks, characterized mostly by their different sets of magical abilities.
- Gray Slaads are divided into Rift Slaads (who can manipulate the planar fabric) and Havocs (more powerful versions).
- Black Slaads are divided into Void Slaads (who have all sorts of life-draining tricks) and Entropics (who can shapeshift into life-draining miniature black holes).
- White Slaads (also called Chronos Slaads) have the power to pull replicas of themselves from the time stream.
- Flux Slaads are the smallest and weakest of their ilk, often fleeing the Elemental Chaos to set themselves up as rulers of bullywug tribes.
- Slaad Spawners are mutant slaads of any of the aforementioned breeds who can produce baby slaads (not slaad larvae, miniature adult slaads) from noxious boils on their backs.
- Golden Slaads have been transformed by exposure to a surge of raw chaos, and randomly shift into and out of the form of a golden slime.
- Putrid Slaads are slaad zombies.
Slaadi are ruled by the Slaad Lords, who represent unique aspects of Chaos.
- Ssendam, Lord of the Insane, appears as either a giant golden slaad or an immense translucent-gold slime that resembles an amoeba with a human brain for a nucleus. It has been described as being either male or female in different sources, and with the alternate forms of a naked man wielding a black sword that stuns what it touches, a golden slaad, or a gorgeous gold-skinned elf-maid with 0 Wisdom.
- Ygorl, Lord of Entropy, manifests as either a giant black slaad or a shadowy, sickle-wielding, bat-winged humanoid skeleton. Also played by the epic Michael Clarke Duncan in the game "Demon Stone." Some sources say he actually experiences time backwards.
- Tales of the Outer Plane added the forgotten Slaad Lord Wartle, whilst Dragon Magazine #221 added Chourst, Lord of Randomness (who is basically the most ADHD Slaad imaginable), and Renbuu, Lord of Colors (who loves to experiment with changing colors on everything), who later became official in the Planescape expansion Planes of Chaos.
- Dungeon #101 added Bazim-Gorag the Firebringer, who became official in the "Champions of Ruin" splatbook for the Forgotten Realms. He has two heads, a fiery aura, and a glaive wreathed in black flame.
- Secrets of the Plane Below mentions Norsar the Many, a white slaad lord with the ability to pull hundreds of different temporal duplicates of himself from the timestream.
They got a lot of attention in the World Axis, but were really revamped; amongst other things, they changed from being chaotically random to wanting to dissolve all of reality into an endless chaos, changing them to the 4e definition of Chaotic Evil (since 4e skubtastically decided to reduce Alignment to a spectrum of Lawful Good - Good - Unaligned - Evil - Chaotic Evil). This was explained in "Secrets of the Plane Below" that slaad believe there was once an infinite multiverse of many parallel realities (think Marvel or DC), but somehow they all got smooshed together into the present cosmology. This really pisses them off, and/or has driven them mad, because they supposedly can still see into the former parallel realities and now they want to rip reality apart in order to free them.
4e slaads even got their own Demon Prince; Urae-Naas, a "female" slaad so bloated with eggs she can't walk anymore and has to drag herself along on her long arms and enormous tongue, who rules over the Phage Breeding Grounds; a bounded 10-mile demiplane made from the ever-rotting guts of her dead boyfriend, the Primordial Ramenos, which serves as the 53rd layer of the Abyss. The plane's most distinguishing feature is the legions of humanoid slaves trapped within the rotting walls of the entrail-caverns, screaming vainly for release before she drags her bulk their way and decides to implant them with her brain-eating progeny.
That's not to say they were entirely stripped of their randomness; they got a really fun "Slaad Reaction Table" in the Secrets of the Plane Below splatbook, where trying to talk to a slaad could result in it suddenly becoming convinced the party doesn't exist, bursting into croaking laughter, attacking them in a mad frenzy, or its head exploding violently before the rest of it nonchalantly wanders off.
Pathfinder replaced them with the more snake-like Proteans of the Maelstrom, creation and destruction in one, and who created much of the rest of the multiverse in their experiments with chaos. Whether or not this was a bad thing is a question long debated by philosophers (except the Abyss, most people are pretty sure on that one and it's generally considered the Protean's oldest mistake), but Proteans are open to debate on the matter. They're also open to dissolving you into raw chaos with warp waves, some of their castes are as violent as any Slaad, but on the whole, they tend to be more philosophical and varied than their froggy cousins.
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|The inhabitants of the Planes of Planescape|
|Upper Planes:||Aasimon - Angel - Animal Lord - Archon |
Asura - Eladrin - Guardinals - Lillend
|Middle Planes:||Formians - Githzerai - Inevitable - Marut |
Modron - Rilmani - Slaadi - Kamerel
|Lower Planes:||Alu-Fiend - Baatezu - Bladeling - Cambion |
Demodand - Erinyes - Hag - Hordling
Imp - Kyton - Loumara - Marilith - Obyrith
Succubus - Tanar'ri - Yugoloth
|Transitive Planes:||Astral Dreadnought - Githyanki|
|Inner Planes:||Azer - Elemental - Genie - Grue - Mephit |
Salamander - Sylph
|Sigil:||Dabus - Cranium Rat|
|High-ups:||Archangel - Archdevil - Archfey |
Archomental - Demon Prince