On Sundays I’ve been publishing monster illustrations that I’ve been making for Dungeons and Dragons games that I’ve been running. Today’s illustration is a giant toad. Now when I came to drawing this I was thinking, Giant toad, what the hells is that? I find a lot of the giant animals in D&D a bit hard to take seriously. Reflecting more on the giant toad, I have noticed that it is more interesting than I initially thought.
As I reflected a bit on the idea of a giant toad as a monster I started to wonder about how you might end up with a giant toad. One of the things about frogs is that they are very sensitive to changes in their environment – particularly water pollution. If there are plenty of frogs around that is a sign that they water is healthy. This line of thought got me wondering, What if the giant toad is a mutation caused by water pollution? Or what if the giant toad is nature’s vengeance against civilisation for polluting the environment?
Another thought that came to mind was ‘The Gitrog Monster’, a recent card from Magic: The Gathering. The card basically represents a giant poisonous frog that destroys your lands.
I had a read of ‘Sacrifice’, the short story written by Michael Yichao about this particular giant frog and that has given me some ideas too. The story starts off with fishers’ tales, about horrors that might be lurking under the water’s surface. I think the story helped me recognise that a monster which might not seem so impressive can be really dangerous if there are enough villagers who are afraid of it…