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  • D&D 5e: Let’s Build A Grung!

    July 07, 2021 9 min read

    Author: Rhenn Anthony Taguiam


    Meta Description: Grung are one of the more obscure ancestries in Dungeons & Dragons 5e, especially thanks to their unique culture. Interested players of D&D 5e can look at this guide to learn more about them.


    Grung serve as one of the more obscure ancestries in Dungeons & Dragons 5e, mostly thanks to their rather unique culture. One might consider the Grung cute in D&D 5e, much in part of their frog-like appearance. However, despite their small stature, they have an aggressive caste system where they enslave people to do a wide variety of jobs. And thanks to their poisonous skin and ability to secrete poisons, the Grung aren't to be messed with. If you're interested in adding an unique member to your 5e party, a Grung might be an interesting choice.


    This quick guide has everything players need to know regarding the Grung. Moreover, we have some quick tips as to how you can create an entertaining and compelling Grung character that falls outside comic relief expectations.

    Basics: The Traits

    Despite their rather small stature, Grung can be extremely nimble and mobile creatures. Their Dexterity and Constitution bonuses make them very acrobatic and hardy, capable of evading and withstanding lethal attacks and blows from enemies. Here are other traits the Grung have that might interest players:


    • Ability Score Increase: DEX + 2, CON + 1
    • Age: Grung are considered mature as soon as their tadpole forms transform into frogs at 1 years old. They can live up to 70 years old.
    • Size and Speed: Small (3ft tall), 25ft walking speed, 25ft climbing speed.
    • Alignment: Grung like to boss people around, leaning towards Lawful alignments. Some Grung; however, become Evil as they turn into slave masters.
    • Racial Features: Grung have the following racial features:
      • Water Dependency, where the Grung suffer 1hr of exhaustion after a day of not immersing themselves in water for 1hr. They can only recover from this exhaustion by an hour’s worth of water immersion, or through magic.
      • Standing Leap, which grants the Grung the ability to long jump to 25ft and high jump up to 15ft, with no need for a running start.
      • Poison Immunity, which gives Grung immunity to poison damage and being poisoned.
      • Poisonous Skin, which forces any creature that uses their bare skin to touch the Grung’s for the first time will have to make a CON Saving Throw.
        • DC is 8 + CON Mod + Proficiency Bonus.
        • If the creature fails, they’re poisoned until the start of its next turn.
      • Languages, of which the Grung knows how to speak, write, and read Grung and Common.


    Grung: The Best Classes To Build

    Despite their small stature, Grung can become one of the most reliable assets to any team. Their Dexterous nature, coupled with their tough Constitution, make them perfect for classes that rely on their nimbleness and mobility. However, players might be interested in making a Grung capable of holding the line or even charming some of the most intimidating of foes.


    Here are some interesting character classes for the Grung that take full advantage of their traits and innate characteristics:


    • Barbarian: Despite the small stature of the Grung, they can still make powerful Barbarians, especially with the right build. It makes sense for some Grung to be extremely protective of their families and tribes, and their connection with the nature around them may help mold some of their stronger clansmen into Barbarians. Players may be interested in trying out a Grung Barbarian for their innate hardiness, as a CON bonus will give them a decent HP boost.
      • Thanks to the innate DEX Ability Score bonus of the Grung, choosing the Barbarian will allow them to make a more offensive approach to combat. This DEX bonus, added to their CON Ability Score bonus, will help them be hardier against spellcasters that usually deal more damage. After all, most of the more powerful spells force DEX or CON Saves to resist their effects.
      • Moreover, the innate DEX and CON Ability Score bonuses enable the Grung Barbarian to focus more on their STR-based builds, which works well with the Rage mechanic of the Barbarian. Rage, alongside Unarmored Sense, Danger Sense, and Reckless Attack, will enable the player to explore the limits of their Barbarian’s skill set without worrying about dying in the battlefield.
      • Given the lore of the Grung, players might have fun building a Grung Barbarian based on flavor - and the Grung seems to be a perfect fit for the Wild Soul, Beast, or even the Ancestral Guardian. Meanwhile, more specialized Primal Paths include Battlerager and Berserker for offense, and Totem Warrior for the added utility perks.
    • Bard: The Grung’s rather innocent appearance and small stature might make them feel harmless or even charming to a fault, which some players may want to take full advantage of. Given that Grung will probably be an uncommon ancestry in most cities, a Grung Bard would definitely catch the attention of other adventurers and relevant people, potentially making their Grung an instrumental character in social games or even politically-heavy adventures.
      • While the Grung doesn’t possess an innate CHA Ability Score bonus to supplement the Bard, it does have the CON bonus to boost its hardiness and a DEX bonus to make it a ranged combatant. Thanks to their Standing Leap and Poisonous Skin, they have both handy mobility and defensive options should they find themselves in a pinch.
      • Players who want to make a Grung Bard might also want to make sure they invest enough in both CHA and DEX in terms of Ability Scores. This way, players can take full advantage of Bardic Inspiration and Song of Rest throughout the campaign or adventure.
      • Party-wise, a Grung Bard seems perfect for players who want a “cute” but equally-skilled character in the group. Flavor-wise, the mysterious nature of Grung might fit the Bard class, especially as the Bard can highlight the Grung being a representative of their clan or even a verbal historian. In terms of bard Colleges, a Grung Bard might be a good fit for the College of Lore and the College of Valor.
    • Ranger: The natural nimbleness of Grung makes them ideal for roles that involve speed and mobility. As such, Grung Rangers will likely take full advantage of their small stature to position themselves in higher ground to systematically eliminate opponents from afar. Likewise, they may use their favored environments to their advantage. Flavor-wise, it makes sense for players to make Grung Rangers from backgrounds that involve defending or protecting their homes and tribes.
      • The Grung’s innate DEX Ability Score bonus makes them ideal long-ranged Rangers. Moreover, their CON bonus makes them much hardier than other ancestries, which may also explain their talent for navigating various kinds of terrain. These bonuses, coupled with their traits such as Poisonous Skin and Poison Immunity, make them great explorers.
      • Flavor-wise, the innate mystery surrounding the Grung make them ideal Rangers that want to protect their homes first and foremost. Players may make Grung Rangers that specialize in scouting ahead of their clan, informing everyone else of threats they may see or fight them head-on.
      • The mysterious Grung and their protective nature over their homes make them ideal Rangers, especially when dealing with environments close to bodies of water. Swarmkeeper, Primeval Guardian, Horizon Walker, and Fey Wanderer make ideal archetypes for Grung Rangers, especially when paired with their ideal terrain and enemy choice.
    • Rogue: Grung who want to use their speed and agility for more fatal encounters may choose a Rogue instead of a Ranger as their Class. Unlike the more tactically invested Ranger, the Rogue makes quick work of their enemies with their dexterous nature. A Grung may appear innocent on the outside but quick with the blade when provoked, with enemies barely noticing the Grung making a move - and even if they do, they’re falling to their deaths.
      • Thanks to the Grung’s innate DEX Ability Score bonus, they may make for extremely nifty and mobile fighters. With the right build, Grung can use their Sneak Attack and Cunning Action to attack foes and retreat out of sight. Moreover, their CON Ability Score bonus makes them much hardier compared to other Rogue builds, as they can take more punishment.
      • Players who play a Grung Rogue may also have a more creative take as to how their Grung got to acquire or learn Thieves’ Cant, their Expertise, and even their supply of tools. The Grung Rogue may have stolen these from intruders, or the Grung Rogue may have been tasked to infiltrate the nearby village to get to know of any threats they may need to watch out for.
      • Similar to the Ranger, a Grung Rogue is a perfect fit for players who want to roll a character with close attachments to home. Unlike the Ranger that can be more head-on, a Grung Rogue may serve as spies against other Grung tribes, or perhaps even scouts that can check ahead for enemies and intruders without being spotted. As such, Roguish Archetypes such as Assassin, Scout, and even Thief makes sense for the Grung Rogue.
    • Sorcerer: If Dungeon Masters stick to making the Grung an uncommon ancestry in their adventure, it makes sense for Players to opt for Grung Sorcerers as spellcasters. After all, their mysterious nature will help Players flesh out backstories of how Grung got in touch with their Sorcerous Origins - be it through the help of supernatural influence, or perhaps an innate quality in their Grung tribes.
      • Despite their lack of CHA Ability Score bonuses, the DEX and CON bonuses the Grung offers might make their Sorcerers more capable of defending themselves from most spells, especially since those mostly demand DEX and CON Saves. As such, Grung Sorcerer players may allocate more points to CHA while not having to worry about the lack of their defensive options.
      • Interestingly, the DEX bonuses of the Grung also make their Sorcerers more capable of wielding ranged weapons, enabling Grung Sorcerers to sideline as archers while conserving their spells for crucial moments. The added CON makes them much hardier and able to take more punishment, enabling them to be direct damage dealers without wasting too much of their Sorcery Points and Spell Slots.
      • Given the more nature-inclined affinity of Grung, their Sorcerers may also share similar motifs and themes with their Sorcerous Origins. For instance, the Grung Sorcerer may opt to become Storm, Shadow, Sea, or even Psionic Soul in terms of their Sorcerous Origins. However, players may opt for more unique Origin choices, which may drive their Grung Sorcerer into exploring the bigger world around them.

    Beyond Croak: Interesting Character Backgrounds

    Despite the cloistered nature of the Grung, it’s not impossible for them to leave their tribes and embark on a life of adventure. And it’s thanks to their mysterious nature that Grung can become extremely interesting characters - after all, it’s up to the Player and the Dungeon Master to decide just what motivated the Grung to leave their tribe, and what manner of goals and treasures they seek in the process.


    Here are some interesting character backgrounds for your Grung character:


    • Folk Hero (Player’s Handbook): A Grung might have saved their tribe chieftain or the entire clan from a vicious monster and has been heralded as their Folk Hero. This might entitle them to some benefits - such as good reputation or, in some instances, the privilege of going out of the tribe and embarking on an adventure. Players and Dungeon Masters may have a ton of fun customizing this background to fit the Grung’s backstory, as a Grung Folk Hero might find themselves surprised with how things work with others in “the big city.”
      • Tools: Vehicles (Land), Artisan’s Tools x1
      • Languages: None
      • Proficiencies: WIS (Animal Handling), WIS (Survival)
    • Mercenary Veteran (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide): Players who want to stay out of the stereotypes associating Grungs and far-off tribes may want to try making a Grung Mercenary Veteran. What led them to a life of battle may be developed over time, but the fact that a Grung has spent decades fighting for money may immediately make them interesting characters for a party. Are they part of a mercenary troupe? Are they working on their own? Or, more importantly, who’s their target?
      • Tools: Vehicles (Land), Gaming Set x1
      • Languages: None
      • Proficiencies: STR (Athletics), CHA (Persuasion)
    • Noble (Player’s Handbook): What about creating an actual frog prince? A Grung Noble might be a welcome change of pace to the party - be it a Grung Nobility from their tribe, or an actual nobility from a far-off nation that’s on a quest to gather an army and reclaim their rightful place. Players might want to try a Grung Nobility for the giggles or perhaps transform this rather humorous concept into quite the compelling narrative within the campaign that other players will fondly remember.
      • Tools: Gaming Set x1
      • Languages: Any one language.
      • Proficiencies: INT (History), CHA (Persuasion)
    • Pirate (Player’s Handbook): Given the Grung’s dependency on being near water, it makes sense for some of them to embark on an adventure and become Pirates and other seafaring fighters. Whether your Grung is a crewmember of a famous pirate crew or perhaps even a captain is up to you. And both options may make your Grung Pirate more interesting, considering how having various ancestries or an all-Grung crew may even switch up dynamics with other party members.
      • Tools: Vehicles (Water), Navigator’s Tools
      • Languages: None
      • Proficiencies: STR (Athletics), WIS (Perception)
    • Urchin (Player’s Handbook): A Grung doesn’t necessarily have to hail from a family or a clan with tight-knit relationships. For instance, a Grung might be separated from their parents and have been living off scraps in the city, eventually coming to terms with the confusing layout of alleyways and roads or even learning a thing or two about deception and crime with all the gangs lying about. A Grung Urchin may be on a quest to make a name for themselves and have a better life or perhaps be out for vengeance against the very people that separated them from their family.
      • Tools: Disguise Kit, Thieves’ Tools
      • Languages: None
    Proficiencies: DEX (Sleight of Hand), DEX (Stealth)