Mark Patraw

Chimera Toad

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An unusual hybrid of multiple organisms that can be encountered in ASCII's 1996 Wizardry Side Story IV: Throb of the Demon's Heart (??????????IV??????, or Uiza-dorii Gaiden IV: Taima no Kodou) Nintendo Super Famicom roleplaying video game (RPG). While the optional, in-game English translation given for the creature's Japanese name, ?????? (Kodokugaeru), is "Chimera Toad", in my opinion, that should be read as something like "Lonely/Solitary Frog" instead, as ??? (kodoku) means "isolation/loneliness/solitude" and ??? (kaeru) is frog (the "k" becomes a "g" in a compound word like that). Further, "chimera" is Greek in origin and is usually written phonetically as ??? (kimera) in katakana characters and the Japanese word for toad is ?? (gama), thus, if Chimera Toad was what the developers were truly after, then I feel that the monster should have been titled ????? (Kimeragama). All that said, I'm not even remotely fluent in Japanese, so it could be that there are linguistic rules/puns in play that I simply don't understand.

For reasons known only to their horrified psychiatrists, unethical mages with too much time on their hands have a tendency to take up the loathsome hobby of fusing together different organisms to create strange chimerae. Most of these abominations die moments after being joined, but, with enough determination, a steady supply of unfortunate test subjects, and more than a little luck, the heartless spellcaster may eventually stumble upon a combination of creatures that not only survives the horrific process but remains viable enough to breed true. An unlikely amalgamation of amphibian, reptile, and insect, the Chimera Toad is one such specimen.

A Chimera Toad can lash opponents with its sticky tongue (1D3 damage, and the organ is long enough to strike player characters located at the rear of the party, where physical attacks can't normally reach). Fortunately, for any Fairy player characters you may have, the creature will only hit, and not attempt to devour, tiny winged demihumans with said tongue. More worrisome are its serrated, praying-mantis-like arms, which can inflict painful lacerations (1D4 damage). Curiously, the creature favors standing erect, balancing uncertainly upon the tip of its muscular tail, when it lashes out with these chitinous appendages.

Chimera Toads may look intimidating, but, in comparison to many other Wizardry monsters, they aren't particularly dangerous (after all, they're only Level 2 creatures). When pitted against a party of adventurers, unless said heroes/heroines are novices and/or completely inept at their professions, a Chimera Toad isn't likely to survive the encounter, because it only has 4-8 (2D3+2) hit points and a rather poor Armor Class of 12 (for comparison, a normal, unarmored human adult has an AC of 10. Note that, in classic Dungeons & Dragons rules, which Wizardry is based upon, the larger your AC number is, the easier you are to hit.) A Chimera Toad's unimpressive AC can largely be attributed to the difficulty it has in coordinating the movements of a form that nature never intended to exist (you'd likely have troubles too, should you ever have the misfortune of waking up with sections of your body replaced with parts from other organisms). If things look desperate, a Chimera Toad can attempt to summon another of its kind to aid it in battle, by producing panic pheromones (this action has a 30% chance of success, and, while there is no limit to the number of times that reinforcements can be solicited in this manner, no single group of creatures can ever exceed nine members total).

Newsprint, tissue paper, brown paper from a grocery bag, wire twist ties, white glue, and acrylic paint.

4.3 cm (1.7") x 8.0 cm (3.2") [widest point x highest point]
* The listed measurements can vary, depending on how the joints are positioned.

Eight points: Coxae, femora, tibiae, and tarsi.
I had intended to make this figure an immobile sculpture, but, I reasoned that the long, thin insect arms would probably break off easily without some kind of rigid internal support (just the pressure of paint brush strokes would probably do it), so, I ran bendable wire through them, which, as I constructed the limbs from individual segments, has the added benefit of making them poseable.

Four days: February 18, 19, 20, and 22 (2015).

More photos/information at my web site:

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