Grippli resemble small, intelligent, humanoid tree frogs. They are have a primitive culture and are nonaggressive.
They stand 2½ feet tall and weigh 25 to 30 pounds. Their bodies are shaped like those of frogs, except for the human-like hands and hand-like feet. Their eyes are yellow with vertical slit pupils. Their skin is gray-green with camouflage stripes and swirling patterns. Although their skin looks wet and shiny, it is actually dry to the touch. Grippli smell of old, wet vegetation.
They love bright colors and eagerly acquire any such items. They wear clothing only for decoration or for a particular functional purpose, such as for pockets. A normal encounter with grippli outside of the village finds them wearing only thin belts or loin cloths to hold weapons or acquired items.
They speak a language of croaks, groans, clicks, and squeaks. In a tribe there is usually at least one member that can speak either common, elvish, or some other jungle humanoids' language. When speaking any language but their own, they are barely understandable because of the croaking resonances in their speech.
Because of the grippli's coloring, opponents suffer a -3 penalty to their surprise rolls. Grippli defend themselves with snares, nets, poisoned darts, and the occasional sword or dagger. Any metal weapons must be manufactured elsewhere for the grippli, so swords are rare. They can adapt to use any weapons, and they have been known to use spears and blowguns on rare occasions. They never wear armor. Generally speaking the grippli prefer small weapons that don't get in the way of climbing.
A grippli can climb trees or non-sheer rock at its normal movement rate, thanks to its unusual hands and feet. When keeping still among vegetation, a grippli's natural camouflage causes a -3 penalty to its opponents' surprise rolls. They have infravision good up to 10 yards, which means they can operate at night almost as well as during the day.
They are very capable of formulating strategies and tactics to overcome a larger, more powerful force. Grippli prefer ambushes and traps to most other strategies. By trapping their opponents in snares and nets, they can hurl darts at them safely from high in the trees. If unprovoked, they attack only to steal various brightly colored baubles.
A grippli tribal village is made of small huts of wood and mud built on the ground, in the deep shadows of large trees. On rare occasions, a grippli village is found in the strong limbs of the trees. Each village is led by a tribe mother (AC 7, HD 3, 1d6+1 points of damage with a weapon). Once per day the tribe mother can emit a musk cloud, which is treated as a stinking cloud spell. She looks like any other grippli, except for being almost four feet tall. She has 1d3 mates of larger than normal size (AC 8, HD 2, 1d4+1 points of damage with poisoned weapons), standing three to three-and-a-half feet tall. The tribe mother is supposed to have a touch of the blood of their god in her.
A typical village has 5d6 males capable of defending it. There are an equal number of noncombatant females and 1d6 offspring, also noncombatants. They have basic family units, just like humans, and each family has its own hut. The tribe mother's hut doubles as a temple to their small, frog-like deity. Other deities in the pantheon include evil snake gods and spider goddesses.
Their natural high intelligence enables them to learn new devices and weapons quickly and easily. As a race they have no desire to manufacture such items themselves. However, they will trade for them with other races. Trade items usually include rare fruits or other hard-to-get jungle specimens. They are extremely cautious and only develop trade relations with groups that they trust completely, such as good elves or the rare village of good humans in their area.
Grippli eat fruit and insects. They trap small insects in large quantities and hunt the giant varieties like humans hunt stags. They are in turn hunted by most large, ground- and tree-based predators. Giant snakes and spiders in particular are fond of grippli as meals.
Grippli are rare in the world, mostly because of their low birthrate. They live to be 700 years old, but give birth to only six or so young in that time. Because of this, the grippli defend their young ferociously.