|Images of boggards
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 44
Boggards (pronounced BAH-gurd)1 are primitive toad-like humanoids with vile dispositions who have long plagued travellers who pass too close to their homes in swamps, marshes, and rainforests.23 They are sometimes termed toadfolk.4 Boggards have their own language, which is also called Boggard.56
Boggards look like a humanoid frog or toad with a human's posture and ability to use weapons. Boggards normally appear only four feet tall, as they sit back resting on their long, muscular hind legs like a frog; at full height they are substantially taller. A boggard's head looks almost exactly like that of its frog counterpart, with bulging round eyes and a vast mouth lined not with teeth, but a single sharp ridge of bone and filled with a large, extendible, sticky tongue. The torso is vaguely humanoid in appearance, with its elongated arms capable of manipulating tools, but is covered in the warty, grey-green skin of an amphibian. Its webbed hands normally wield crude weapons made of indigenous swamp material, often clubs of wood or bone, studded with the sharp teeth of local beasts. The armour boggards wear is of similar construction, being made of crudely cured reptile hides and the shells of giant turtles.2
Habitat and ecology
Boggards seem to prefer temperate swamps and marshlands, although breeds have also been found along the river banks of the tropical rainforests of the Mwangi Expanse in Garund. Boggards, like the toads and frogs they are so closely resemble, change their appearance depending on their environment. In the northern Mushfens of Varisia, the boggards' skin is generally green and brown and they resemble squat toads,4 while in the distant Sodden Lands, tribes of boggards sporting the bright colours of poisonous tree frogs are considerably leaner, and war with tribes that are the dull browns of cane toads. Supposedly these variation in colour often indicate unique abilities like tougher skin, poisonous flesh, sticky hands and feet, and several other amphibian adaptations. . “Bestiary” in The Skinsaw Murders, 84–85. Paizo Inc., 20077 Despite their aberrant appearance, boggards embrace their environment. For example, the boggards living in Brinestump Marsh collect and covet the brinestump clover that grow there.8
The boggard life cycle resembles that of frogs more than humans, beginning with their birth as tadpoles in the fetid birthing pools that form the centre of any boggard village. As tadpoles, boggards learn the first lesson of their lives: survival in the swamps is brutal. Tadpoles are forced to compete with their siblings for food. By the time they have spent half a year in this state, the tadpoles have reached three foot in length, and they begin sprouting arms and legs. It takes another three months for the arms and legs to grow to full size, at which point the juvenile boggards emerge from the birthing pool. The weaker members of the clutch, as well as any deformed young, are culled at this point.29
Following their emergence onto dry land, juvenile boggards are grouped into gangs that are led by young but experienced hunters who teach the juvenile boggards how to track and kill. At the end of this two years of training, each young boggard is sent off on a rite of initiation where they must hunt and kill a sentient humanoid. If the boggard fails to do this within a month, they are cast out of the tribe; most do not survive this exile. If they succeed in their hunt, they are considered an adult boggard and fully part of the tribe.2
The young of a tribe's priest-king follow a somewhat different path. They are fed a diet of poisonous dragonflies that kills most of them, but which gives some of the survivors enhanced mental and magical abilities. Most of the young who survive this diet, however, develop into mentally and physically stunted creatures known as bogwiggles.9
Boggard society is dominated by the priest-king of the tribe, also called its swampseer.3 The swampseer's residence, a ziggurat-like mound, sits at the center of each village with the huts of its immediate subordinates located around this mound, and those of the rest of the tribe around them. Boggards further denote their status through the size of their dwellings — boggards of greater standing tend to live in larger mounds — and through decorating their homes with shells, bones, and other trinkets.9
Boggards often have specific roles within their tribes, such as scouts who learn enough of the regionally common language to threaten and insult interlopers, or warriors who thrive on individual combat.3
Boggards make little use of metal, as it corrodes quickly in the humid environments they inhabit, and their tools are primarily made of stone, bone and similar materials as a result. They value magic items when they can obtain them, due to their resistance to physical corrosion.9
Most tribes are led by powerful swampseers who have been fed rare, hallucinogenic, blue dragonflies that allow them to hear the whisper words of their dark deity, the demon lord Gogunta37 (although some tribes are known to worship other demon lords, such as Dagon or Cyth-V'sug).7
The numerous boggard tribes of the Sodden Lands revere Rovagug. They view the appearance of the Eye of Abendego (an event which greatly benefited them even as it destroyed the surrounding nation of Lirgen) as a manifestation of the Rough Beast, and it sparked off a religious pogrom which led to the slaughter of their priests of Gogunta.10
The priest-kings are bigger and stronger than the rest of the tribe and as they age they only grow larger and more frog like till they no longer look like boggards but resemble giant, sentient, croaking frogs. As they age, not only do priest-kings grow in size, but also in appetite both physical and otherwise, demanding constant feeding, new mates, and conquest of the surrounding swamps.
Boggards view hezrou demons as sacred creatures. Boggard conjurers generally lack the power to control such powerful creatures, but are content to simply call them to Golarion and let them run amok.11 Gogunta may also send hezrous to areas of Golarion where boggard tribes can be found, such as the Mushfens of Varisia, the Sodden Lands and the River Kingdoms.12
Some rare tribes that live in the most ancient swamps of Golarion, places like the Mushfens, the Stinking Sink, and the Hollow Morass, are ruled by powerful spawn of Gogunta called a mobogo. These creatures are worshiped by their boggard tribes, who believe they are the direct offspring of Gogunta herself. Mobogo's resemble huge, three-eyed frogs with dragon-like wings that are the size of houses, and are, in the boggard's eye, an image of the divine.2 Interestingly, the commands of a mobogo when in charge of a tribe seem far from divine will, as for the most part, they demand nothing except endless supplies of food. Many tribes who are subservient to mobogos are actually led by a priest-king, who, from behind the throne, interpret the mobogo's endless hungry croaks in a manner benefiting their own, selfish needs.14
Boggards are most prolific in the northern swamps of the Sodden Lands, where the population has skyrocketed since the appearance of the Eye of Abendego.10 Other centers include Varisia's Mushfens,15 and the wetlands of the River Kingdoms.7
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Bestiary” in The Skinsaw Murders, 84–85. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 44. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Ecology of the Boggard” in Blood for Blood, 59. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide, 14. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Bestiary” in Sins of the Saviors, 82. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 304. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 216. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Boggards” in Monster Codex, 7. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 175. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Demonkind” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 35. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Lords of the Abyss” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 16. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 282. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Bestiary” in Crown of Fangs, 89. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 197. Paizo Inc., 2011 .