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  • Building a Grung in 5E

    May 05, 2024 5 min read

    Author: Chris Katrev


    In 2017, Wizards of the Coast released One Grung Above as part of their annual fundraising campaign for Extra Life. This 4-page PDF primarily consists of character stat blocks from a streamed game session, concluding with a brief section outlining traits for the Grung as a playable race.

    Thematically, Grung are humanoid frog creatures with a rigid caste system based on skin color. They can change their skin color through a ritual but must perform significant deeds to earn the privilege. However, Grung are known for enslaving sentient creatures and keeping them in a poisoned state, making them generally unfavorable beings. Despite this, playing against the typical Grung stereotype can provide an intriguing role-playing experience.

    Exploring Grung Traits

    Mechanically, the Grung race presents challenges due to its traits being directly adapted from the monster entries, leading to potential balance issues in long-term campaigns. Despite its power, it can add an interesting dynamic to self-contained game sessions.

    Ability Score Increase

    Grung are known for their agility and resilience in the wild. Their Dexterity score increases by 2, enhancing their nimbleness and reflexes, while their Constitution score increases by 1, fortifying their endurance and vitality.

    Arboreal Alertness

    Gifted with keen senses, Grung have proficiency in the Perception skill, allowing them to detect subtle changes in their environment and perceive hidden dangers with precision.


    Adapted for life both on land and in water, Grung can breathe air and water, granting them unparalleled freedom of movement in aquatic environments and enhancing their survival capabilities.

    Poison Immunity

    Grung exhibit a remarkable resilience to toxins and poisons, rendering them immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.

    Poisonous Skin

    A unique defensive mechanism, Grung possess skin that secretes a toxic substance upon contact. Creatures grappling them or touching their skin must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 minute.

    Standing Leap

    Despite their small size, Grung possess remarkable agility and strength. They can execute prodigious leaps, with a long jump spanning up to 25 feet and a high jump reaching heights of up to 15 feet, showcasing their athleticism and acrobatic prowess.

    Water Dependency

    While adaptable to various environments, Grung have a critical dependency on water. Failure to immerse themselves in water for at least one hour during a day results in one level of exhaustion, highlighting their unique physiological needs and vulnerabilities.


    Grung possess the ability to communicate fluently in their native tongue, enabling them to interact with other Grung, but they do not speak Common or any other languages.


    Exploring Grung Class Options

    Let's explore the diverse array of possibilities that Grung characters offer across different classes. This section assumes that you're making use of the "Customizing Your Origin" rules introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.


    While suitable for melee-oriented builds, ranged artificers typically rely on spells rather than weapons, making the Grung's poison less useful for them.


    The addition of poison to your attacks, coupled with Standing Leap, significantly reduces the impact of difficult terrain for Grung barbarians.


    With the exception of College of Valor, bards lack the number of attacks needed to fully benefit from the Grung's poison. However, Standing Leap and an extra skill are noteworthy additions to their toolkit.


    Similar to bards, clerics may not utilize the Grung's poison effectively due to their limited number of attacks. However, the added benefits of Leap and an extra skill are valuable.


    A Circle of Spores druid focusing on Polearm Master could synergize well with the Grung, though durability issues remain unresolved.


    With a plethora of attacks, fighters excel at maximizing the Grung's poison capabilities, especially when utilizing two-weapon fighting. Additionally, the extra skill and Standing Leap provide versatility and mobility.


    As masters of unarmed combat, monks can make full use of the Grung's poison, especially considering their numerous attacks and the requirement for skin contact.


    Though not as proficient as fighters in utilizing the Grung's poison, paladins remain a solid choice until higher levels. The additional skill and Standing Leap enhance their versatility and mobility.


    Similar to paladins, rangers can make use of the Grung's poison effectively, especially in early levels. The added skill and Standing Leap help bridge the gap with rogues and provide mobility.


    Despite the allure of poison, rogues may struggle to fully utilize the Grung's poison due to their reliance on single attacks. However, the additional skill and Standing Leap offer valuable utility.


    While the Grung's traits provide some benefits, sorcerers may find better options among other races, as they do not particularly benefit from the Grung's unique features.


    While viable, Grung Hexblades may not maximize the poison's potential as well as fighters. However, they can still make use of it effectively in combat.


    Like sorcerers, wizards may find limited utility in the Grung's traits, aside from the novelty of being a frog-like spellcaster.


    Exploring Grung Feat Options

    For Grung characters, several feats can complement their abilities and enhance their effectiveness in various roles. Here are some feats that are particularly well-suited for Grung:


    It increases your speed by 10 feet, and when you make a melee attack against a creature, you don't provoke opportunity attacks from that creature for the rest of the turn. With the Grung's already impressive mobility, this feat enhances their ability to dart in and out of combat with ease.

    Squat Nimbleness

    This is a great feat for a Grung because it enhances their agility and mobility, granting them increased speed, proficiency in Athletics, and the ability to move through the space of creatures larger than them.

    Tavern Brawler

    This feat is great for a Grung because it enhances their close-quarters combat abilities, providing proficiency with improvised weapons and enhancing unarmed strikes, which complements their natural agility and combat style.


    The ability to apply poison to weapons more effectively is enhancing the Grung's Poisonous Skin trait. It increases the save DC of the poison you apply and allows you to apply poison as a bonus action. This further amplifies the Grung's ability to incapacitate foes with their toxic skin.

    The feat increases your Strength or Dexterity score by 1 (up to a maximum of 20). Additionally, it allows you to stand up from prone using only 5 feet of your movement, and climbing doesn't halve your speed. This complements the Grung's climbing ability, making them even more adept at navigating vertical terrain and recovering quickly from falls or knockdowns.


    Exploring Grung Background Options

    Grung, with their amphibious nature and affinity for water, can integrate into most water related backgrounds. Below are several backgrounds that align well with Grung characters:

    As amphibious creatures, Grung naturally bond with water, and the Fisher background reflects this connection by emphasizing their proficiency in fishing and comfort in aquatic environments. Proficiency with water vehicles and relevant tools further enhances their versatility and survival skills.

    This background signifies military training, complementing Grung's agility and adaptability with skills in combat and navigation. Proficiency in water vehicles and navigational tools further enhance their capabilities in aquatic settings.

    With specialized knowledge in ship construction and maintenance, the Shipwright background offers valuable skills and connections within maritime communities, equipping Grung characters with resources for their sea-bound adventures.

    Proficiency in water vehicles, essential tools, and key skills like Athletics and Perception make the Sailor background a versatile and fitting option for Grung adventurers seeking adventures on the high seas.

    Proficiency in Athletics and Intimidation, along with features like "Bad Reputation," reflect the Grung's potential for physical prowess and mischief, adding depth to their character backgrounds and interactions within pirate crews.

    In conclusion, Grungs stand as intriguing and versatile characters in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, offering a unique blend of amphibious abilities and cultural depth.