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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Short Shameful Review: Goo and Pudding

Another in the series of reposts of my old material from Usenet. This one is from the 26th of June 2003. Again, I've edited this, removing the link to a picture that has changed since eight years ago. Here's "Short Shameful Review: Goo and Pudding".

Jo eBay recently brought up the issue of black puddings, which made Jake ask me to do another FRPG monster review. As it so happens, I planned on doing black puddings as part of the general group of slimes and oozes.

The difference between oozes and slimes in D&D is: all oozes are based on the movie "The Blob", while all slimes are based on Nickelodeon. In other words, oozes roll along and engulf people, while slimes just sit there, waiting for you to stick your hand in them and scream "Ew!" Beyond that, game writers love to assign arbitrary "powers" to either a slime or an ooze, give it a color, and stick it in a book and sell it. They are also easy for illustrators to draw. Thus, you have thousands of grey oozes, pink oozes, plaid oozes, green and yellow polkadot oozes, and so on and so on... Occasionally, someone will try for some variety and call it a "jelly" or a "pudding".

Occasionally, you will find a random bit of description tacked onto an ooze, like a visible nucleus in the "giant amoeba" from the Hackmaster monster books, or the slithering tracker -- which looks *exactly* like a giant sperm, at least in the article in Dragon # 86. They claim it's a tadpole. Yeah, right; but I note that it also has anxiety problems and frizzy red hair. Also, this is so far the only article I have ever read -- ANYWHERE -- that has footnotes and an APPENDIX to the footnotes.

Dragon # 219 has an article on "The Ecology of the Black Pudding", which has this fine quote: "The creature spasmed and quivered in the ebony darkness of the cavern interior. Readjusting to its new form, it pulled itself together into a central mass." More pseudoporn!

One thing to note about black puddings and other oozes is that most are cut in half by lightning instead of being killed, perhaps because lightning is *sharp* and flat.

Then there is the gibbering mouther ("thought to be the spawn of an evil and nebulous blob gawd," according to Hackmaster.) Gibbering mouthers are blobs with eyeballs and mouths that incessantly babble and spit contact explosives. Yippee! Sounds like <INSERT NAME OF FOX TELEPUNDIT HERE>.

There is also the ochre jelly. This is mainly a black pudding that's pretending to be a non-black non-pudding. The Dragon #104 article describes it as as fluid-filled membraneous sack, sort of like a Hefty bag full of water, but we all know it's really just a black pudding sprayed ochre color. My favorite part about the ochre jelly is that some people noted how similar "ochre" and "ogre" were, so one list of "tricks and traps" had ochre jellies that look like an ogre until you get closer. This is part of the whole "make things that look like other things so you can trick the players" theme of the D&D universe, which is something we'll be seeing a lot more of later. It's like the entire D&D universe *really is* out to get you.

Especially the gelatinous parts of it.


  1. Is this part of a series? Keep 'em coming.

  2. If I'm remembering correctly, I wrote five of these. There were other Short Shameful Reviews, but they were for movies and TV shows, not D&D stuff.