May 29, 2023

Down We Go into the Lair of the Frog God

With a little over an hour to play, my Afternoon TTRPG group at school was missing three people. Our usual game of Alien RPG Chariot of the Gods would have to wait another week.

Scattered across my desk are three or four RPG books and my eyes land on Lair of the Frog God (Itch PDF/Physical), by Chaoclypse. Then my eyes shift to a stack of Down We Go (Itch PDF/Physical/KS Physical Bundle), by Apes of Wrath and PlusOneExp, character sheets I had printed as a in case of emergency, break glass game. The decision was made.

I grabbed the character sheets and handed them to the two kids who had shown up, and told them to read the sheet and fill in things as you go down. I did not have the Down We Go book with me, but as a seasoned referee, I figured there should be no issue.

And I was right!

The kids needed a little guidance in character creation. Mostly it was not reading everything because they were too damned excited to play the Lair of the Frog God (hereafter referred to as LotFG.) After about 5 minutes of character creation we set out. When I asked them why they were adventuring to the temple they both shrugged. I offered each of them to roll on the character motivation table found on the back cover of LotFG. Both rolled a 6 and that was enough to create excitement because they both Loved Frogs, which they reveled in for the remainder of the time we played.

Now I’ve skimmed the book briefly and had an idea of the basic beats. But I had not run it yet, let alone read everything in the short book. It seemed that it would be simple enough in design to be able to run it without much issue. I found this to be true.

Warning: potential spoilers ahead

LotFG Layout and Design

LotFG has a seven creature bestiary, with stats for Cairn (Itch PDF/Physical/Special Edition Physical), a six point point-crawl with a d6 encounter table, a twelve room dungeon with a d6 encounter table, one d6 character motivation table, and a bunch of cool art.

The layout is very usable with the bestiary in the front followed by the point crawl then the dungeon and as mentioned previously the character motivation table is on the back cover.

The point crawl does feature a split in the path to give a potentially different experience through different play throughs or a potential return to where you came from. The points on the crawl are 1 to three sentence blurbs that give enough information to get a creative referee started. I think my favorite place with the Philosopher’s Cave.

With d6 human philosophers and d6 frog philosophers all chatting about the meaning of existence i was able to garner a great conversation with myself and let my students make the decision to sit and waste their time or move on from the cave. Remember time is limited for these kids to get to the temple. We also had a lot of fun with the Well and I actually rolled an encounter with the ancient tiny frog wizard, and used this instead of the Cairn of Eyes.

Finally we found the muck engulfed Lair of the Frog God. With some interesting ideas my group of adventurers stepped into the muck and followed the stairs down.

The Dungeon and Bestiary Conversations

Now even though I did not have my copy of Down We Go I was able to recall how to convert creatures to DWG stats. It really is not a tough feat. Take the creatures HD (usually provided in most OSR systems) and add 10, this is the Difficulty of the creature and therefor the target number for affecting it in game. next to determine the Damage and Hits a creature has split the number of HD between these, accounting for flavor of the creature. finally create a Special description of the creature taking into account anything relevant to the creature see below.


(adapted to DWG from Cairn)

DIF: 14 DAM: 1 HITS: 3 SPEC: Sticky Tongue

It was very simple to make this on the fly and keep the numbers in my head. I ran this adventure without even a piece of paper in front of me. And I never had to roll any dice. It was lovely. I love giving students the chance to see a game run without having to read a bunch of boxed text or shuffle through a book lost and unable to find that thing that I know I just saw somewhere. It is good for the health of the game to keep things moving and having an hour to play with students each week has helped me hone my skills in improve and keeping the story moving.

Noe the dungeon itself was well laid out and simple in design but with enough diverging paths to create a unique structure. Consisting of three interconnected loops the dungeon can easily be see anew multiple times and not become old for a referee to run with different (or even the same) group at least a couple times. As with any OSR style game the random encounter table adds just the right amount of variety to make the game feel new and fresh.

Anyway back to the game.

We ran out of time but not before my adventurers were accosted by giant flies, wading into a giant frog egg sac retrieving an idol that gave rerolls but sapped hits from the character if wielded [adapted from a magic item rolled in bastards. Pearlescent Edition (Itch PDF/Physical)] and having a fight with the frog (stats found above) in the prison.

The loose procedures found in Down We Go and the ease in which Chaoclypse created his adventure made this a joy to run. And the students could not wait to find a time to finish this adventure together. As they were walking out to get to their rides I could hear them excitedly chatting about how the fight went and how the internal snake that was planted in the frog guard.

In Conclusion

Lair of the Frog God

First off LotFG was fun. The frog theme is not necessarily novel but it worked well for my students. I imagine a group of players around most tables would be able to have a good time with this as well. It is fun and flavorful and holds together well while giving a referee a lot of room to improvise and just enjoy the chaos that comes from a simple point-crawl into a dungeon.

This could slot well into something like Batrachian Swamp (Itch PDF/Physical) as an additional location to explore if you are really feeling like running an even longer frog adventure! You may want to look through both before hand and decide how they piece together and make sure anything you explore is not duplicated (who am I to tell you not too duplicate material maybe that’s your thing, if it is don’t let me stop you and go for it.)

I would highly recommend this game and watch out for Chaoclypse as a new and upcoming RPG artist-for-hire and adventure designer. Links to all of his stuff found above!

Down We Go

Down We Go was easy. The stats for creatures is so simple one stat controls everything you need for a beasty in combat. Add that to not rolling dice for the game makes a very easy game to pick up and play. My 14 year old students had a blast picking which two Roles they were going to put levels in. Rolling a few dice here and there and telling an exciting story. I do not feel like I was able to even scratch the surface of this game (especially since I didn’t have the book with me, but the gameplay was so simple and eloquent that i can easily see myself running this again easily.

I would love to dig deeper into the depths of Infinopolis (the setting for DWG) or just using the procedures for generating any number of things that are available in the book.

Pick this one up, this is wonderful and could easily be farmed for a ton of ideas involving creating stuff for a dungeon crawl, point/hex crawl or even a full on campaign. Plus the player facing rules fit on a character sheet and can be used at a moments notice.

As always thank you for coming along on this ride with me. Please feel free to share this article if you enjoyed reading about my (mis)adventures in RPGs.

Derek Bizier, the now amphibious Halfling Master

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