Caves of Qud is a challenging game. It presents numerous optional challenging tasks in the form of steam achievements. Ranging from dying, to eating a bear corpse, to collecting rare and valuable artifacts, to killing an ancient death machine that spews rockets. But only one achievement is the most difficult. Learn about why leaping like a frog is so difficult, and how you can use mushrooms to unlock the secrets of the universe and join the fraction of a percent that have become the apprentice of a legendary frog.
Preface- What makes “Leap, Frog.” so difficult?
“Convince a frog to teach you how to jump.”
Compared to other achievements, this probably doesn’t sound very difficult. How hard could it be to befriend a frog and convince them to give you a lesson on jumping? In reality, it is incredibly tedious. There is no shortage of frogs in Qud, Ice frogs roam the jungles, and bloated pearlfrogs inhabit the deep caves, sucking up unwary adventurers with their massive tongues. But regular frogs do not have the knowledge or experience to teach you a skill that they know instinctually. What you need to find is a Legendary frog. Unlike legendary Mechanimists, Barathrumites, Putus Templar, Dawngliders, Snapjaws, and many others, legendary frogs do not appear randomly on the surface of Qud or within it’s caves. They can only be found in lairs. Specifically, Ice Frog lairs, which only spawn in the Jungle biome. It is my current understanding that Ice Frog Lairs spawn with such rarity that there may be less than one in the entirety of any given generation of Qud. So manually wandering through the jungle in order to search for one is a time consuming and possibly futile task. I will present a method that guarantees that you will be able to track down a much coveted ice frog lair (If there is one to be found) in a slightly more reasonable period of time.
Section One- Creating a character.
This section is technically optional. Any character has the potential to seek out and befriend a legendary ice frog by utilizing the other sections of this guide. Creating a character with this purpose in mind will expedite the process and increase your chances of surviving in the harsh land of Qud and ultimately succeeding in your goal, however. I will give a list of mutations that I find useful, a small explanation of why each mutation is useful, and an example of a character I created following my own guidelines. Base stats are less important, I recommend prioritizing Strength, Ego, and Agility. Starting class also isn’t particularly important. You will want the Cudgel skills, and either the Pistol or Bow and Rifle skills as well.
Multiple Arms: The most important. Gives you two “Worn on arm” slots, two weapon slots, and one “hands” slot. In total, this allows you to host 5 additional fungal infections. I will discuss the importance of this in section two.
Two-Headed: This grants you an additional head slot and an additional face slot. Two additional fungal infections.
Multiple Legs: Grants you one additional feet slot. Not as point efficient as your other options, but the benefits to movement speed and carrying capacity can make your character much more survivable.
Chimera: Using your mutation points to buy new mutations and grow even more limbs is not as early game efficient as other options, but will ensure that you are eventually covered in arms/legs/faces/protrusions to grow fungus on.
Light Manipulation: This character will struggle to deal damage with melee attacks. Having a powerful, dependable ranged attack and a source of light bundled together is one of the most useful things I can think of, other than having additional limbs. (Mutually exclusive with Chimera)
Night Vision: Want to play as a Chimera and still be able to see in the dark? Then night vision is for you.
Flaming Ray/Freezing Ray: Want to play as a Chimera and still have a dependable ranged attack? Just want to have one of the best mutations in the game? Just remember to take advantage of the short cooldown.
Double Muscled: Can greatly improve your lackluster melee damage.
Triple-Jointed: Increasing Agility to improve your dodge value can be nice as well.
Make sure to take the physical defect Amphibious. It’s not particularly harmful, and the bonus frog reputation will come in handy.
Mutations to avoid
Regeneration: This will cure your itchy skin before in can develop into a fungal infection. It’s a very useful mutation on it’s own, but unsuitable for this run.
Carapace/Horns/Quills: All of these occupy one of your equipment slots.
Example character Build: (Copy this text into Caves of Qud. Go to Build Library, then press E and paste the code in.)
Section Two- Befriending the Fungi
Now that your character is set up, you’re ready to set out into Qud. Where should you go first? Directly into the jungle? No, this will get you slaughtered by goatfolk far before you accomplish your objective. What you need to do is seek out a patch of land with mushrooms growing on it. Wandering around the salt marshes will present an opportunity for you to earn some early XP by hunting glowfish and crocs while you search. (Optionally, you can do the village quests in Joppa or your randomly generated village to level up a bit as well.) Once you find a location that has some mushrooms, you’ll want to approach the nearest puffshroom and coat yourself in fungal spores until you get the itchy skin status. After this, you’ll simply have to wait until it develops into a fungal infection, which will occupy a random equipment slot on your body. There are four possible fungal infections that you can get, and we’re only interested in one of them. If you don’t get the correct infection type, you’ll have to try a different color of puffshroom, which each have their own randomly assigned infection type. The fungal infection that we are looking for is called Mumble Mouth. If you get the wrong infection type at first, you may want to restart the run, or find yourself a copy of Corpus Choliys in order to cure it.
Once you have found a puffshroom that dispenses mumble mouth spores, the run can properly begin. You’ll want to cuddle up close to that particular fungus, let it infect you, allow your new infection to grow and sprout, and repeat. Do this until every single part of your body is covered in mumble mouth. Once you have several infections, you will have to provoke the puffshroom into producing more spores by giving it a gentle whack. You may need to take breaks to find water, since this process can take quite a bit of in game time.
Why do I want Mumble Mouth at all?
“Dozens of tiny mouths tessellate the infected skin, their moist lips pursing in asynchronicity and panting out prattle. Every so often, the cacophony harmonizes into sensible speech.”
Mumble Mouth will randomly teach you secrets about the world. Each time you enter a new screen for the first time, each instance of mumble mouth has a small chance to reveal a random secret. One instance of mumble mouth only speaks up occasionally. But by having over a dozen different mumbling mouths covering your body, you will learn a constant stream of information, and some of that information will be useful. In the process of hoping to learn the location of an Ice Frog Lair, you will discover countless ruins, numerous places of interest, and perhaps a few rare and valuable artifacts. This will take quite a bit of time, and quite a bit of exploring. I recommend wandering across the surface of the salt dunes, which allows you to rapidly enter many new tiles in a row.
The challenges of being covered in mushrooms
Occupying all of your equipment slots with Mumble mouth may not be the most tactically sound decision. You will have no access to armor, melee weapons, or special equipment like compass bracelets, backpacks, or mechanical wings. If any enemies get too close to you, you will have to fight them off with weapons equivalent to your bare hands. Mumble mouth does grant a small amount of AV, equivalent to or better than early game armor. Luckily, you will still be able to use your ranged weapon slots, and any combat oriented mutations that you possess. Combined with a few levels worth of hit points, this will be enough to help you survive, as long as you do not take unnecessary risks.
Section Three- Befriending the Frogs
Now that you’ve covered yourself in helpful fungus, you’re well on your way to learning the location of an Ice Frog Lair. But in the mean time, you have another issue to address. By default, frogs don’t like you! Even with the Amphibious physical defect, you’ll have a negative reputation with them. So, how do you get the wily amphibians to respect you? Unlike the Barathrumites, they don’t offer a plethora of quests to boost your status. You’ll have to take a very different approach. You’ll have to alter the written histories of Qud to make them believe that you’ve performed heroic deeds that favor them. How do you do that? By obtaining items called Schrodinger Pages. For these, you will have to travel to the Six Day Stilt, a structure in the northern salt dunes. If you are lucky, there will be several Bookbinder merchants to be found there. Bookbinders have a small chance to stock Schrodinger Pages, so make sure that you come back frequently to look through their goods each time they restock. Eventually, you’ll get a Schrodinger Page [Chapter Unspecified], which you can use to increase your reputation with frogs. It will most likely take 2-3 of these to get your reputation high enough.
Additional notes on reputation:
All Legendary creatures have a positive or negative reputation with a small number of factions. If you slay one of these creatures, you will gain reputation with factions that disliked them. If you perform the water ritual with them, you will gain reputation with factions that like them. Make sure you check every legendary creature you come in contact with, in order to make sure that you do not accidentally do something that frogs dislike. This may lead to unpleasant circumstances, such as not being able to perform the water ritual with Q-Girl because frogs “Dislike her for her queer appearance.” But that is a risk that one must take in pursuit of the forbidden knowledge of jumping. If you happen to learn about the Legendary Ice Frog Lair before you’ve raised your reputation with frogs to at least neutral, don’t visit it yet, as they will attack you.
Section Four- Miscellaneous Tips
-Make sure to avoid buying the Jump skill using skill points. If you already know the skill, you will be unable to learn it from the frogs.
-Invest mutation points into Light Manipulation/Flaming Ray/Freezing Ray. These skills will be your best source of damage until you find a good ranged weapon.
-If you come across a legendary Pariah, make sure to learn the Trash Divining skill from them. It provides another source of new secrets.
-Visit Mayor Haddas in Ezra once you get the chance. He teaches the Customs and Folklore skill, which grants bonus reputation when performing the water ritual.
-Visit Mayor Nuntu in Kyakukya when you get the chance. Ask him to share all of his secrets with you, it is possible but rare for him to know the location of an Ice Frog Lair.
-If possible, befriend the Goatfolk and Naphtali factions as well. Legendary members of these factions can potentially know the location of an Ice Frog Lair.
-Kippers and Chefs (Found most often in the Six Day Stilt) can sell Psychal gland paste. When cooked in a meal, this reveals a single random secret.
-Members of the Consortium of Phyta will hate you because of your allegiance to fungus. Stay away from the plant merchants in Kyakukya and Ezra. The Earl of Omonporch seems to remain neutral to you even if his faction hates you, however.
-There is no need to do the main quest line at all. I never went to Golgotha when I completed this run.
Section Five: TL;DR
An abbreviation of this process, for more experienced players.
Step 1- Make a character with many limbs
Step 2- Cover yourself in Mumble Mouth
Step 3- Roam the world, learn secrets, collect money, buy Schrodinger Pages to befriend frogs
Step 4- Eventually discover an Ice Frog Lair
Step 5- Leap, Frog.
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