Wandering Monsters: Dungeon Denizens

And here I was starting to think that we were just not going to get a Wandering Monster article this week which, given the playtest packet that is getting released today, I could forgive. Well, maybe. Depends on what it looks like.

Gelatinous Cube
I always thought it was weird that gelatinous cubes were uniform in size. I would start them out at Medium, or even Small, and scale them up as needed. Also, while it is probably refreshing for adventurers everywhere that they no longer paralyze on contact, it would make a very devious optional trait to tack on from time to time.

Gray Ooze
I am pretty happy with how these guys are presented mechanically. Unlike 3rd Edition, they do not automatically destroy metal weapons, instead penalizing your damage rolls until the penalty reaches a certain point, after which it is destroyed (which I think should be ported over to the rust monster). They also only have cold and fire resistance as opposed to outright immunity, making them more dangerous than usual to both warriors and wizards alike.

I would consider having them penalize armor, as well, considering it destroyed when the armor bonus is reduced to zero.

I also liked the bit of Ecology in 2nd Edition, where it mentioned some smiths using very small oozes to etch their works. Could make a nasty surprise for characters poking around in an underground forge, especially if they can mimic the color and texture of the surrounding terrain. Speaking of mimicking things...

I both like and dislike limiting the mimic to copying nearby objects. I think it is a fine restriction for "young" mimics until they learn to refine this ability to change shape or, to keep things simple, increase the DC to detect the mimic if it copies an object that it can see. You could also combine the two, and just make younger mimics easier to pick out of the lineup.

For some reason, which might be 4th Edition's object mimic and/or an article I read on scorpions, I also envision them crushing prey, dissolving them with acid, and then slurping it up. At any rate, you could give them an optional trait that lets them vomit acid on enemies, or deal bonus acid damage to creatures that are stuck to them.

Ochre Jelly
This is an example of where I drastrically prefer the 4th Edition version over the previous iterations: it dealt acid damage, ongoing acid damage, and split when it got reduced to half its hit points.

I do not get why it is unaffected by lighting or slashing damage. Is the assumption that each slashing attack cuts it in half? If just breaking its membrane of whatever does the trick, then piercing attacks should also suffice. I would just make it split when it is reduced to half its maximum hit points.

These are actually pretty cool: they can grab you, throw you around, and use you as a shield. The limited telepathy also syncs with their aberration type. The only immediate additions I can think of are the otyugh variants (neo and charnel), and a disease-transmitting bite (like they had in 4th Edition), perhaps as an optional power.

Also pretty solid, though I think that a more elegant solution to its weakening tendrils would be to just impose disadvantage on Strength checks. This would also allow you to give grappled characters an opposed Strength check to resist being reeled in.


  1. I liked that the 4E mimic was considered an Aberrant. For some reason it just clicked for me, that these come from the Far Realm and are attempting to make themselves fit into our (characters') world. Also helps explain how they can take so many varied forms and are relatively common. The "a wizard did it" story just makes me want to ask why they show up in an ancient tomb or temple. Wouldn't that just make it some type of advanced magical construct? Shouldn't it be confined to the wizard's tower where presumably the first one created ate his creator?

  2. I never really understood the grey ooze. To me it was just a standard level 2 slimy thing to stick in an old bone pile to satisfy the ooze-crazy players. I had no idea that they could dissolve weapons in earlier editions. I was looking for lower level rust monsters, but... (rubs hands together gleefully)

  3. @Svafa: A monster that found its way into our world, and preys on us by assuming the shape of everyday objects makes for a much more compelling monster than a "treasure chest that eats people, because fuck adventurers". Actually, that sounds like a good adventure hook for a horror-murder mystery in an urban setting (especially in Eberron).

    @Anon: I could see kobolds, troglodytes, and other underground races using dried out grey ooze spores in clay flasks as acid-cloud bombs.

  4. coooooooooooooooooooooooool

  5. And that helps me with a flavorful encounter idea to stick in the Kobold Lair in a KotS revamp that I'm doing. Of course, now I have some ideas for locked-room mysteries now, too...

  6. @David: I attempted a locked-room murder mystery for my now-defunct 4E campaign. I found it daunting, given the vast number of ways in which a room might be penetrated in a world of magic and monsters.

    I had the victim--panicked by previous assassination attempts--commission an air-tight and magic-proof vault in which he would sleep. It had enough air to get him through the night...yet the next morning he was discovered dead from asphyxiation.

    The solution was that the chandelier (it was a well-appointed vault) was a disguised mimic. It didn't even need to take action to kill its target, it just needed to breathe. (Don't ask me how the mimic itself wasn't asphyxiated; the whole plot was horribly contrived.)

  7. What about raggamuffin, would they be some sort of mimic aberration creature?

  8. @David: I would have just had the mimic turn into his bed and kind of suck him in. Kind of like a slightly less-stupid Death Bed. That, or cover up the hole that lets air in and just say that mimics do not need to breathe.

    @Planeswalker: I actually had to look these things up to find out that they are constructs. I would go with awry results of an animate object spell or leftovers of a golem. You could also make them bits of clothing from murder victims (or murderers).


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