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The Ooze Imperium


Round 4 - Top 8: Design three thematically linked monsters

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Paizo Employee Senior Developer

The Ooze Imperium

Lines, angles, and polygons give objects physical shape and form, and form defines function. But there are those for whom this is an alien concept. For these beings, there is no shape, only pliancy; no form, only flux; and function is a product of the mental, not the physical. From their gelatinous citadels deep within the Astral Plane, the amorphous armies of the Ooze Imperium stretch their pseudopods across the multiverse, engulfing all who diverge from their philosophy of perfect plasticity.

Brain oozes, the epitome of this ideology of mental dominance over physical form, are the vanguards of the Ooze Imperium. Their mission is to impose the Imperium’s doctrine of formlessness upon other planes. Riding in psionically-controlled palanquins, once-intelligent beings that have been transformed into mindless hosts for the parasitic oozes, they infiltrate other planes to create and introduce various viscous slimes and jellies into these planes ecosystems, even transforming intelligent living creatures into imbecilic, ravenous oozes. Electric jellies, gelatinous cubes, green slimes and more are the foot soldiers of the Ooze Imperium; the brain oozes its generals. Eventually, they seek to replace the lines, angles, and solid surfaces of most planes with arcs, curves, and viscid gelatin. If the Ooze Imperium has its way, it will convert reality itself into shapeless, formless goo.

Thematic Link: The electric jelly, brain ooze, and palanquin all represent the Weltanschauung of the Ooze Imperium: structure and form are transitory states, and beings embodying these traits are nothing more than temporary tools to be used and discarded, for truth is found in the rejection of all things physical, in the utter lack of shape and fixed dimension. And without such tangible constraints, the boundless limits of the mind can be realized, until perfection is achieved in the form of amorphous ooze.

ELECTRIC JELLY
This creature looks like a roiling purple blob of slime. As it oozes towards you, it crackles with electricity.

Electric Jelly CR 4
Always N Medium ooze
Init -5; Senses blindsight 60 ft., electricity sense; Listen -5

DEFENSE

AC 5, touch 5, flat-footed 5 (-5 Dex)
hp 57 (5d10+30)
Fort +10, Ref -1, Will -1
Defensive Abilities split (slashing/piercing); Immune electricity, ooze immunities

OFFENSE

Spd 15 ft. (3 squares), climb 15 ft.
Melee slam +4 (1d6+1 plus poison) or touch +4 (poison)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks acid, electric pulse, electrolytic poison, engulf

TACTICS

Before Combat An electric jelly attacks any creatures it encounters without preparation.
During Combat An electric jelly has no concept of tactics. When it detects a living creature, it moves to within 5 feet and generates an electric pulse to stun its opponent. If the foe is still moving, the jelly slams the creature with its body until it can generate another electric pulse. Once its opponent is stunned or helpless, the jelly engulfs the creature and secretes acid to digest its prey.
Morale An electric jelly fights mindlessly until it is dead.

STATISTICS

Str 12, Dex 1, Con 22, Int –, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +3; Grp +4
Feats
Skills Climb +9
Languages none
SQ ooze traits

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Spoiler:

Acid (Ex) Once it has engulfed a foe, an electric jelly secretes a digestive acid that dissolves organic material and metal, but not stone, inflicting 1d6 acid damage per round. Cloth or leather dissolves and becomes useless immediately unless it succeeds on a DC 18 Reflex save. The save DC is Constitution-based. The jelly’s acidic touch deals 18 points of damage per round to wooden or metal objects, including armor and weapons, but the jelly must remain in contact with the object for 1 full round to deal this damage.

Electric Pulse (Ex) Once every 1d4 rounds, an electric jelly can generate an electric pulse that deals 1d8 points of electricity damage to everything within 5 feet of it. Living creatures within the area are also stunned for 1 round. A successful DC 18 Fortitude save reduces the damage by half and negates the stunning effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Electricity Sense (Ex) Electric jellies automatically detect any electrical discharges within 60 feet.

Electrolytic Poison (Ex) An electric jelly secretes an electrolytic poison that makes its victims more susceptible to the jelly’s electric pulse: Contact, Fortitude DC 18, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Dex plus –1 penalty to Fortitude saves against electricity (cumulative). Each successive failed saving throw adds an additional –1 penalty to the victim’s Fortitude saves against electricity. The save DC is Constitution-based. An opponent attacking an electric jelly unarmed or with natural weapons is subjected to its poison each time one of its attacks hits.

Engulf (Ex) An electric jelly can engulf a helpless or stunned foe up to one size larger than itself as a standard action. It cannot make a slam attack during a round in which it engulfs. The electric jelly merely has to move into a space occupied by a helpless creature, completely covering it. An engulfed opponent is subjected to the electric jelly’s poison and acid, and is considered to be grappled and trapped within its body. An electric jelly only uses this ability against a stunned, paralyzed, or otherwise helpless opponent.

Split (Ex) Slashing and piercing weapons deal no damage to an electric jelly. Instead the creature splits into two identical jellies, each with half of the original’s current hit points (round down). A jelly with 10 hit points or less cannot be further split and dies if reduced to 0 hit points.

Skills An electric jelly has a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened.

ECOLOGY

Environment underground
Organization solitary
Treasure none
Advancement 6-9 HD (Medium), 10-15 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment

An electric jelly oozes along floors, walls, and ceilings searching for food. A typical electric jelly is about 6 feet in diameter and 6 inches thick. It weighs about 400 pounds.

Ecology
Electric jellies have no natural place in a normal ecosystem. Created by the brain oozes of the Ooze Imperium, they serve no purpose other than spreading havoc. Like all oozes, electric jellies are amorphous creatures that live only to eat, feeding on organic matter (living or dead) as well as metal. It is believed that the ingestion of various metals helps fuel their natural ability to generate electricity. Witnesses have reported that electric jellies seem particularly fond of copper. Furthermore, electric jellies are attracted to electrical forces, and may gain sustenance from raw electricity itself.

Electric jellies have no known means of reproduction other than splitting into smaller jellies in response to physical trauma. When more electric jellies are needed, brain oozes simply create more.

Habitat & Society
Electric jellies inhabit underground areas throughout the world, scouring caverns, ruins, and dungeons in search of sustenance. They are frequently drawn to areas with high electrical activity. As mindless oozes, they have no society; they are simply biological weapons created and released by the Ooze Imperium to further their alien objectives. Electric jellies are often found as controlled minions accompanying raiding parties of mounted brain oozes.

BRAIN OOZE
This quivering, shapeless mass of translucent protoplasm holds a slowly pulsing, human-sized brain floating in its center, like the nucleus of a cell.

Brain Ooze CR 6
Usually LE Small ooze (extraplanar)
Init +4; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Listen +4, Spot +4

DEFENSE

AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 17
(+0 Dex, +6 natural, +1 size)
hp 51 (6d10+18)
Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +12
Defensive Abilities alien mind; DR 10/magic; Immune ooze immunities; Resist cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10

OFFENSE

Spd 10 ft. (2 squares), climb 10 ft.
Melee slam +5 (1d4 plus paralysis)
Ranged intellect drain ray +6 (see text)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks create host, intellect drain, paralysis, psionics, summon ooze
Psionic Abilities (CL 6th):
At will—black tentacles, confusion (DC 19), daze monster (DC 17), plane shift (DC 20), telekinesis (DC 20)

TACTICS

Before Combat A brain ooze prefers to fight from the safety of a possessed host called a palanquin. If forced to fight on its own (or to find a new palanquin), a brain ooze attempts to ambush foes using its Hide and Move Silently skills.
During Combat A dismounted brain ooze always remains hidden until it finds a suitable host. Once it has found a likely candidate, the brain ooze uses its psionics to separate the creature from its companions and keep opponents at a distance. The brain ooze casts black tentacles and confusion on groups, and specifically targets enemy spellcasters with its intellect drain attack. The brain ooze uses telekinesis to bull rush or trip anyone closing to melee range, followed by daze monster and black tentacles if they keep coming. If it must fight in melee, the brain ooze slams opponents, attempting to paralyze them, or plane shifts them to a random plane if its opponents seem unhindered by its attacks.
A brain ooze willingly enters melee combat only if its palanquin candidate has been separated and it has time to complete the create host process. The brain ooze first uses daze monster (or black tentacles if necessary) to immobilize its chosen victim, then paralyzes the creature with its anesthetizing slime before turning it into a palanquin.
Morale If unable to find or create a suitable host, or if it is reduced to 30 hp or less, a brain ooze attempts to flee, using black tentacles and telekinetic violent thrusts to cover its escape. If cornered or unable to escape safely, a brain ooze plane shifts to the Astral Plane. This is a last resort, however, for the brain ooze will have to explain its failure to its superiors and face the consequences.

STATISTICS

Str 10, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 19, Wis 18, Cha 20
Base Atk +4; Grp +0
Feats Combat Casting, Iron Will (B), Skill Focus (Move Silently), Weapon Focus (ray)
(B) denotes a bonus feat.
Skills Bluff +9, Climb +8, Concentration +12 (+16 to cast on the defensive), Hide +10, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +13, Knowledge (the planes) +13, Listen +4, Move Silently +10, Spot +4, Use Magic Device +14
Languages none; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ control ooze, mind over matter, ooze traits, ooze metamorphosis, ride palanquin, symbiosis

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Spoiler:

Alien Mind (Ex) Although a brain ooze has an Intelligence score, its alien psyche makes it immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects) just as other oozes are.

Control Ooze (Su) A brain ooze can attempt to rebuke or command any ooze within 60 feet a number of times per day equal to 3 + its Charisma modifier. This ability functions as an evil cleric’s rebuke undead ability, except that it affects only oozes, not undead. The brain ooze is considered to be 8th level for purposes of rebuking and commanding. A brain ooze can command up to 12 HD of oozes at one time.

Create Host (Su) A brain ooze can attempt to take possession of any intelligent living corporeal creature of its size or larger that is not an elemental, ooze, or plant and turn it into a symbiotic host called a palanquin, a mindless puppet under the complete control of the brain ooze (see the Palanquin entry). To create a host, the brain ooze crawls inside the mouth of a helpless victim (usually paralyzed by the brain ooze’s anesthetizing slime), reaching its brain in 1d4 rounds. The brain ooze then secretes a special enzyme that dissolves certain portions of the victim’s brain while leaving other portions intact, permanently reducing the victim’s Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma by 1d6 points per round. When all three scores have been reduced to zero, the victim gains the palanquin template and is now possessed or “ridden” by the brain ooze. At any time during this process, a remove disease spell with a caster level of 6th or higher will force the brain ooze to make a Fortitude save or be expelled from the victim, though the brain ooze will be unharmed. If the brain ooze is removed, restoration spells can restore the host’s reduced abilities and remove the palanquin template, returning the host to its previous form.

A single brain ooze cannot create a host from a creature with multiple heads (such as an ettin or hydra); multiple brain oozes (equal to the number of heads) must work together to create a host from such a creature.

Intellect Drain (Sp) This psionic attack is an invisible ray 60 feet long that reduces a target’s mental faculties. The brain ooze must make a ranged touch attack. Any creature touched by the ray suffers a 1d6 penalty to its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. This ability functions in all other respects as the touch of idiocy spell with a caster level of 6th.

Mind over Matter (Ex) A brain ooze uses its acute senses and perception to react in combat. It uses its Wisdom instead of Dexterity to determine its initiative modifier.

Ooze Traits (Ex) A brain ooze has all of the normal traits of oozes, except that it is not mindless, has no acid damage, and is subject to critical hits due to the visibility of its brain in its translucent protoplasm.

Ooze Metamorphosis (Sp) Through arcane and esoteric rituals brain oozes can transform living creatures into oozes. Any creature with the ooze type can be created with these rituals, including electric jellies, black puddings, gelatinous cubes, etc., as well as amorphous aberrations and slimes such as gibbering mouthers and green slime. A conclave of at least 6 brain oozes is required to perform the rituals, which take 1d4 hours to complete. A number of creatures equal to the number of brain oozes in the conclave can be transformed into oozes at one time. The caster level of the ritual is equal to the number of brain oozes performing the ritual.

Repeated applications of the brain oozes’ paralyzing slime and intellect drain rays usually render a subject helpless and/or mindless before and during the metamorphosis. Once the rituals are completed, the subject must make a DC 18 Fortitude save each round. The save DC is increased by +2 for each additional brain ooze over 6 involved in the ritual. On a failed save, the subject takes 1d6 points of Constitution damage as its body slowly liquefies. A successful save means no damage that round, but the subject must continue making new saves on following rounds. Three successful saves in a row means the rituals have failed for that subject and halts the damage. The save DC is Charisma-based.

When a victim’s Constitution score is reduced to zero, it loses all racial and class abilities and scores and becomes a normal ooze of the type chosen by the brain oozes performing the rituals. The victim cannot be raised or resurrected, though it can be reincarnated. Otherwise, a limited wish, miracle, or wish spell is needed to reverse the effects of the rituals and return the victim to normal.

Paralysis (Ex) A brain ooze secretes an anesthetizing slime. A target hit by its slam attack must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 2d6 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based. An opponent attacking a brain ooze unarmed or with natural weapons is subjected to its paralyzing attack each time one of its attacks hits.

Psionics (Sp) A brain ooze’s psionics are spell-like abilities that it generates with the power of its mind. These abilities have an effective caster level of 6th and are usable at will. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Ride Palanquin (Ex) A brain ooze can possess or “ride” any palanquin created by the create host ability. The brain ooze sits in the palanquin’s brainpan, tapping into its nervous system and using its senses (including its eyes), controlling all its actions, and accessing its skills (including languages), feats, extraordinary abilities, and physical supernatural abilities. The brain ooze also has access to the palanquin’s memories, and can attempt a Bluff check to impersonate its palanquin’s original self. The palanquin loses (and the brain ooze has no access to) its spells, spell-like abilities, and mental supernatural abilities. For details, see the Palanquin template entry. A brain ooze can only ride one palanquin at a time.

Summon Ooze (Sp) Once per day a brain ooze can attempt to summon an electric jelly, gelatinous cube, or gray ooze with a 50% chance of success, a gibbering mouther or ochre jelly with a 30% chance of success, or a black pudding or chaos beast with a 10% chance of success. This ability is the equivalent of a 3rd-level spell.

Symbiosis (Ex) A brain ooze shares a symbiotic relationship with its palanquin host. A palanquin cannot function without a brain ooze, and a brain ooze cannot act independently while riding a palanquin. The palanquin template makes them effectively one creature. A brain ooze may voluntarily relinquish possession of a palanquin in order to create a new one, but the former palanquin is just a mindless husk; if another brain ooze does not take possession of it within 24 hours, the palanquin dies. If a palanquin is killed while a brain ooze is riding it, the ooze must make a Will save with a DC of 10 + 1/2 the palanquin’s HD + the palanquin’s original Intelligence modifier. Success means the brain ooze is unharmed; failure means the brain ooze takes 1d6 points of damage to its mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), and is confused for 1d6 rounds.

Telepathy (Sp) A brain ooze can communicate telepathically with any other creature within 100 feet.

Skills A brain ooze has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks, and a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks. It can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened.

ECOLOGY

Environment Astral Plane
Organization solitary, mounted (1, with palanquin), raiding party (3-5, with palanquins, plus 3-10 oozes), or conclave (6-10, with palanquins, plus 6-20 oozes)
Treasure Standard
Advancement 7-10 HD (Small), 11-14 HD (Medium), 15-18 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment

Brain oozes are a tyrannical race of supra-genius, extraplanar, amorphous oozes with mental powers who reject physical form and venerate cerebral prowess. To this end, they view shapeless protoplasm as the perfect state of being and seek to dominate and impose their will and their form on all other races they encounter. From their outposts in the Astral Plane, they infiltrate other planes with deadly slimes and puddings, transforming intelligent beings into mindless slaves or amorphous ooze.

Brain oozes outside the Astral Plane are usually encountered in small scouting or raiding parties of 3-5 brain oozes riding native palanquins, accompanied by controlled lesser oozes such as black puddings, electric jellies, gray oozes, and ochre jellies. Conclaves of 6-10 brain oozes direct the activities of raiding parties and pursue the Imperium’s goals of ooze supremacy through use of their ooze metamorphosis abilities. Brain oozes also sometimes ally with intelligent ooze-like creatures like chaos beasts and gibbering mouthers.

Brain oozes speak no languages, instead communicating telepathically among themselves. In fact, brain ooze is a name applied to them by other races. Having no spoken or written language of their own, brain oozes have no name for themselves. They simply refer to themselves as “we” or “us,” and everyone else as “others” or “them.” If a brain ooze must communicate with a lesser (i.e., non-ooze) race, it uses the languages of its possessed palanquin.

Ecology
Lacking a complex digestive system or even the acid of their ooze brethren, brain oozes are able to absorb only small amounts of organic matter as food, but appear to get most of their sustenance via a symbiotic link with their palanquin hosts. Some sages speculate that brain oozes may also gain some nourishment during the host creation process, when a brain ooze dissolves its victim’s brain, reducing its mental capacity.

The specific details of brain ooze reproduction are unknown, but it is thought they reproduce asexually by a combination budding and fission. At a certain time in its life, a brain ooze’s brain divides into two duplicate halves. The ooze then extrudes a part of its mass which separates from the parent’s body with one of the brain halves, eventually developing into a physically identical clone of the parent. It is not known what effect, if any, the division of the brain has on a brain ooze’s mental powers.

Typical Physical Characteristics: A brain ooze’s body is translucent, and its large brain is clearly visible in the center of its protoplasm. An average brain ooze is about 3 feet in diameter with a thickness of 5-6 inches, but it can compress its body and its brain to only about two inches thick, small enough to fit inside a Medium creature’s mouth. It weighs only about 15 pounds.

Alignment: Brain oozes are almost universally lawful evil, unquestioningly following the doctrine of the strictly hierarchical Ooze Imperium. A few dissidents might lean towards neutrality or even chaos, but such misfits seldom last long in brain ooze society, as they are viewed as dangerous mutants that are purged from the ranks and eradicated as soon as they are discovered.

Habitat & Society
Brain oozes originated long ago on a distant demi-plane, now known as the Plane of Endless Ooze. From there, the brain oozes spread to other planes. Some planes repulsed them, but some they conquered, colonized, and converted to ooze, eventually creating a vast, planar dominion called the Ooze Imperium.

Most brain oozes live in sprawling, gelatinous fortresses floating in the depths of the Astral Plane. These garrisons serve as advance bases for the expeditionary armies of the Ooze Imperium in their war against all non-ooze life on other planes. There are no noncombatants in a brain ooze outpost; all brain oozes serve the Ooze Imperium.

The Ooze Imperium is ruled by the Ooze Imperator, an ancient brain ooze of Huge size with the spellcasting ability of a 20th-level sorcerer and enhanced psionic powers. From its mighty silver great wyrm palanquin in the Palace of Eternal Slime on the Plane of Endless Ooze, the Imperator directs the Imperium’s plane-spanning machinations. Beneath the Imperator, the brain oozes of the Ooze Imperium are organized into a caste-like hierarchy. Military ranks of the Imperium, from lowest to highest, are structured as follows:

  • Hyparch – captain of raiding party; lowest official rank
  • Cardinal – leader of conclave
  • Triban – field commander; coordinates conclaves in a particular region
  • Siniskalk – castellan of an Astral fortress, roughly equivalent to triban; reports directly to a praetor
  • Polemarch – warlord; leads armies on a single world; commands multiple tribans
  • Praetor – general; in command of a single Astral stronghold, can command multiple polemarchs; highest military rank
  • Exarch – planar governor; oversees single plane where the Imperium has a presence, directs multiple praetors
  • Proconsul – mystic/advisor to the Imperator, drawn from the ranks of the exarchs

The rigid chain of command of the Ooze Imperium is highly stratified. An individual brain ooze is born into its rank in society, either succeeding its clone-parent or appointed to a similar or lesser position to its clone-parent by its superiors. Only the most distinguished and successful brain oozes are able to advance through the ranks. Unexceptional brain oozes have no rank; they exist only to serve their superiors and the Imperium as a whole.

Common oozes, such as black puddings or electric jellies, have no rank in brain ooze society. They are mindless beasts and useful tools only; at best, they might be viewed as cute pets. Allied ooze-like beings such as chaos beasts or gibbering mouthers have no official rank in the Imperium, but particularly extraordinary specimens might be given the honorary rank of hyparch, or even cardinal.

Variants
Rumors exist of mutant brain oozes that have been given the traits of their lesser ooze brethren in disturbing transmogrification rituals. Some possible variants and their adjustments to base brain ooze statistics are presented here.

  • Brain Cubes: Appearing as brains suspended in Huge cubes of transparent gelatin, these variants lose their energy resistance and create host and ride palanquin abilities, but gain a speed of 15 ft., immunity to electricity, transparency, and the acid and engulf abilities of gelatinous cubes. Their ability score modifiers are Dexterity –4, Constitution +6, and their CR remains the same.
  • Brain Puddings: These Huge black monstrosities have 10 HD, a speed of 20 ft., and their create host, paralysis, and ride palanquin abilities are replaced by constrict, improved grab, and a black pudding’s acid. Their ability score modifiers are Strength +6, Constitution +4, and their CR increases to 8.
  • Gibbering Brains: These bizarre aberrations lose their blindsight, immunity to visual attacks, create host ability, and confusion psionic ability, but gain the ability to spit their paralyzing slime, as well as the bite attacks, gibbering, and ground manipulation abilities of gibbering mouthers. Their ability scores and CR remain the same.

PALANQUIN (Template)

A creature possessed by a brain ooze using its create host ability becomes a palanquin, a mindless puppet and mount for the parasitic brain ooze. Brain oozes use palanquins as transportation, infiltrators, and war machines. Once inside a host, a brain ooze modifies its palanquin to be more ooze-like, as well as stronger and more resistant to better protect its brain ooze rider. Because they become symbiotically linked to their hosts, with access to their weaknesses as well as their strengths, brain oozes prefer big, strong palanquins that are effective in combat. Brain oozes only create palanquins from a smaller, weaker creatures like humanoids or animals for specific purposes (such as espionage), or if there is no other option. A palanquin appears much the same as it did before its transformation, but its movements are jerky, as if it were just a puppet on strings. Closer inspection reveals a layer of translucent ooze coating its skin, and a dead, mindless look in its eyes.

Sample Palanquin
A brutish two-headed giant, well over 12 feet tall, stalks forward jerkily, its movements erratic. The blank, dead eyes of its paired heads stare into space above pig-like faces, and viscous drool drips from slack, tusked jaws. Its skin glistens with a thick coating of slime.

Ettin Palanquin CR 9
LE Large giant (extraplanar, ooze)
Init +8; Senses blindsight 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +14, Spot +14

DEFENSE

AC 19, touch 7, flat-footed 19
(+3 hide armor, –2 Dex, +9 natural, –1 size)
hp 65 (10d8+20); fast healing 1
Fort +9, Ref +1, Will +12
Defensive Abilities alien mind; Immune ooze immunities; Resist acid 5, cold 5, fire 5

OFFENSE

Spd 30 ft. (6 squares) in hide armor (base speed 40 ft.)
Melee 2 morningstars +14/+9 (2d6+8)
Ranged 2 javelins +4 (1d8+8) or 2 intellect drain rays +5 (see text)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks intellect drain, psionics, spit gray ooze, summon ooze
Psionic Abilities (CL 6th):
At will—black tentacles, confusion (DC 19), daze monster (DC 17), plane shift (DC 20), telekinesis (DC 20)

TACTICS

Before Combat Both of an ettin palanquin’s ooze riders will attempt to summon oozes before combat, sending them forward to soften up approaching foes.
During Combat An ettin palanquin begins combat by targeting obvious spellcasters with intellect drain rays from both ooze riders, and throwing double javelins at approaching opponents. Just before melee combat is joined, one ooze rider casts daze monster on the most heavily armored opponent while the other ooze rider spits gray ooze to destroy that foe’s armor. Once engaged in melee, one ooze rider focuses solely on melee attacks, using Power Attack to maximize its damage. The other ooze rider supports its partner with its psionic abilities (casting them defensively to avoid attacks of opportunity): it uses black tentacles and confusion on groups or foes who keep their distance, continues to attack spellcasters with intellect drains, and targets additional melee opponents with more gray ooze spit and telekinesis to bull rush or trip them.
Morale If the ettin palanquin is reduced to 30 hp or less, both ooze riders make full melee attacks using Power Attacks and their superior two-weapon fighting ability. If their palanquin is killed, the brain oozes abandon their slain host and attempt to create new hosts from opponents, choosing strong fighters over spellcasters. The two brain oozes do not cooperate; each is concerned with its own survival over that of its partner.
If unable to find or create new hosts, or if they are reduced to 30 hp or less, each brain ooze attempts to flee, using black tentacles and telekinetic violent thrusts to cover its escape. If cornered or unable to escape safely, a brain ooze plane shifts to the Astral Plane as a last resort, abandoning its companion.

STATISTICS

Str 27, Dex 6, Con 15, Int 19, Wis 18, Cha 20
Base Atk +7; Grp +19
Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Iron Will (B), Power Attack, Skill Focus (Move Silently), Weapon Focus (ray)
(B) denotes a bonus feat.
Skills Bluff +9, Concentration +11 (+15 to cast on the defensive), Escape Artist +0, Hide -7, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +13, Knowledge (the planes) +13, Listen +14, Move Silently +1, Search +7, Spot +14, Use Magic Device +14
Languages pidgin of Orc, Goblin, and Giant; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ control ooze, ochre jelly blood, ooze riders, superior two-weapon fighting, symbiosis
Other Gear hide armor, 2 morningstars, 6 javelins

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Spoiler:

Alien Mind (Ex) An ettin palanquin is mindless, but although its ooze rider has an Intelligence score, its alien psyche makes it immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

Control Ooze (Su) An ettin palanquin can attempt to rebuke or command any ooze within 60 feet a number of times per day equal to 3 + its Charisma modifier. This ability functions as an evil cleric’s rebuke undead ability, except that it affects only oozes, not undead. The palanquin is considered to be 8th level for purposes of rebuking and commanding. The palanquin can command up to 12 HD of oozes at one time.

Fast Healing (Ex) An ettin palanquin heals 1 hit point per round as long as it is possessed by a brain ooze.

Intellect Drain (Sp) This psionic attack is an invisible ray 60 feet long that reduces a target’s mental faculties. The ettin palanquin must make a ranged touch attack. Any creature touched by the ray suffers a 1d6 penalty to its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. This ability functions in all other respects as the touch of idiocy spell with a caster level of 6th.

Ochre Jelly Blood (Ex) An ettin palanquin’s blood is like ochre jelly. Any wound from a slashing or piercing weapon that inflicts 5 or more points of damage sprays an adjacent 5-ft. square with acidic blood, which deals 1d6 points of acid damage. A creature caught in the spray can make a DC 17 Reflex save for half damage. The save DC is Constitution-based. The acid dissolves only flesh.

Ooze Immunities (Ex) An ettin palanquin has immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning.

Ooze Riders (Ex) An ettin palanquin carries two “riders,” brain oozes that control its every action. The palanquin cannot function without at least one controlling ooze; the palanquin template makes them effectively one creature with two minds. Only one brain ooze is needed to control the palanquin; the second brain ooze can take an extra standard action each round, limited to the following actions: using a psionic ability, activating a magic item, attempting an ability or skill check based on mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma), or using an special ability specifically tied to an individual head (such as spit gray ooze). These extra actions are independent of the palanquin’s normal actions. The second brain ooze cannot take an extra action if the palanquin is using its superior two-weapon fighting ability.

Psionics (Sp) An ettin palanquin generates these spell-like abilities with the power of its ooze rider’s mind. These abilities have an effective caster level of 6th and are usable at will. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Spit Gray Ooze (Ex) An ettin palanquin can spit a glob of gray ooze at one opponent within 30 feet. The palanquin makes a ranged touch attack; if it hits, the target takes 1d8 points of acid damage. The glob is not an actual gray ooze, but it functions like gray ooze acid, dissolving organic material and metal, but not stone. Armor, clothing, and metal or wooden weapons hit by the ooze dissolve and become useless immediately unless they succeed on a DC 17 Reflex save. The save DC is Constitution-based. The acid deals 17 points of damage per round to wooden or metal objects, but the ooze must remain in contact with the object for 1 full round to deal this damage.

Summon Ooze (Sp) Once per day an ettin palanquin can attempt to summon an electric jelly, gelatinous cube, or gray ooze with a 50% chance of success, a gibbering mouther or ochre jelly with a 30% chance of success, or a black pudding or chaos beast with a 10% chance of success. This ability is the equivalent of a 3rd-level spell.

Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex) An ettin palanquin fights with a morningstar or javelin in each hand. Because each of its two heads controls an arm, the palanquin does not take a penalty on attack or damage rolls for attacking with two weapons.

Symbiosis (Ex) An ettin palanquin’s two brain ooze riders share a symbiotic relationship with their host. If both brain oozes abandon their host, the palanquin becomes a mindless husk; if another brain ooze does not take possession of it within 24 hours, the palanquin dies. If the palanquin is killed while brain oozes are riding it, each ooze must make a DC 13 Will save. Success means the brain ooze is unharmed; failure means the brain ooze takes 1d6 points of damage to its mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), and is confused for 1d6 rounds.

Telepathy (Sp) An ettin palanquin can communicate telepathically with any other creature within 100 feet.

Skills An ettin palanquin has a +5 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks, and its two heads give it a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks.

Languages An ettin palanquin speaks a pidgin of Orc, Goblin, and Giant. Creatures that can speak any of these languages must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence check to communicate with an ettin palanquin. Check once for each bit of information: If the other creature speaks two of these languages, the DC is 10, and for someone who speaks all three, the DC is 5.

Creating a Palanquin
“Palanquin” is an acquired template that can be added to any Small or larger intelligent, living, corporeal creature that is not an elemental, ooze, or plant (hereafter referred to as the “base creature”), that has been subjected to the create host ability of a brain ooze (hereafter referred to as the “controlling ooze”). For details, see the Brain Ooze entry. A palanquin uses all the base creature’s statistics except as noted here.

Size and Type: Size and type are unchanged, but palanquins gain the ooze subtype. Palanquins encountered outside the Astral Plane also have the extraplanar subtype.

Ooze Subtype: The ooze subtype is only used to describe creatures that share characteristics with oozes, not all creatures that are truly oozes. A creature with the ooze subtype is considered both an ooze and a creature of its normal type for the purpose of spells, abilities, and effects that affect those types. A creature with the ooze subtype usually possesses some or all of the traits of the ooze type (as noted in the creature’s entry).[ooc]

AC: A palanquin’s slimy coating increases its natural armor bonus by +2.
Saves: A palanquin uses the base creature’s base Fortitude and Reflex saves, and the controlling ooze’s Will save.

Defensive Abilities: A palanquin retains the base creature’s defensive abilities and gains those described here.

  • Alien Mind (Ex): A palanquin is mindless, but although its controlling ooze has an Intelligence score, its alien psyche makes it immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects.
  • Ooze Immunities (Ex): A palanquin has immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning.
  • Resistance to Energy (Ex): A palanquin exudes a thick coating of mucus through its skin that not only provides some physical protection, but resistance to energy as well. This protective slime gives a palanquin resistance 5 to acid, cold, and fire. If the base creature has better resistance or immunity to one or more of these energy types, the palanquin retains the better quality.

Initiative: A palanquin uses either the base creature’s or the controlling ooze’s initiative modifier, whichever is higher.
Attack: A palanquin retains all the base creature’s attacks and weapon proficiencies, and gains the controlling ooze’s intellect drain as a ranged touch attack that it can use once per round. A palanquin with other weapons (manufactured or natural) uses its weapons or intellect drain, as desired.

Special Attacks: A palanquin loses the spells, spell-like abilities, and mental supernatural special attacks of the base creature, but it retains the extraordinary and physical supernatural special attacks of the base creature (for example, a medusa palanquin would keep its petrifying gaze but a human cleric palanquin would lose the ability to cast spells and turn undead) and gains those described here.

  • Brain Ooze Attacks (Sp): A palanquin gains the intellect drain attack, psionics, and summon ooze abilities of the controlling ooze (see Brain Ooze entry).
  • Spit Gray Ooze (Ex): A palanquin can spit a glob of gray ooze at one opponent within 30 feet. The palanquin makes a ranged touch attack; if it hits, the target takes acid damage based on the palanquin’s hit dice according to the table below. The glob is not an actual gray ooze, but it functions like gray ooze acid, dissolving organic material and metal, but not stone.
    [ooc]Spit Gray Ooze Damage by Hit Dice
    [list]
  • 1-6 HD: 1d6 acid
  • 7-12 HD: 1d8 acid
  • 13-24 HD: 2d6 acid
  • 24-48 HD: 3d6 acid
  • 49+ HD: 4d6 acid
    Armor, clothing, and metal or wooden weapons hit by the ooze dissolve and become useless immediately unless they succeed on a Reflex save with a DC of 10 + 1/2 the palanquin’s HD + the palanquin’s Constitution modifier. The acid deals a number of points of damage equal to the save DC per round to wooden or metal objects, but the ooze must remain in contact with the object for 1 full round to deal this damage.

Abilities: Change from the base creature as follows: +4 Strength, -2 Dexterity. Constitution remains the same. The base creature’s Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores are reduced to zero, but the palanquin uses the mental ability scores of the controlling ooze.
Base Attack: A palanquin uses either the base creature’s or the controlling ooze’s base attack bonus, whichever is higher.
Feats: A palanquin retains all of the base creature’s feats except for those involving the base creature’s mental abilities or scores (such as Iron Will, Magical Aptitude, etc.) and gains the controlling ooze’s feats as well.
Skills: A palanquin retains all of the base creature’s skills, languages, and proficiencies, and gains the controlling ooze’s skills as well. If both the base creature and the controlling ooze have the same skills, use the higher of the two for skill ranks. A palanquin retains the base creature’s racial skill bonuses, but does not gain the controlling ooze’s racial bonuses on Climb, Hide, and Move Silently checks. A palanquin also gains a +5 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks due to its protective slime coating.

Special Qualities: A palanquin loses the spells, spell-like, and mental supernatural special qualities of the base creature. It retains the extraordinary and physical supernatural special qualities of the base creature and gains those described here.

  • Brain Ooze Qualities (Sp, Su): A palanquin gains the blindsight, control ooze, and telepathy abilities of the controlling ooze (see Brain Ooze entry). In addition, palanquins eat and breathe, but do not sleep, like oozes.
  • Fast Healing (Ex): A palanquin heals 1 hit point per round as long as it is possessed by a controlling ooze.
  • Ochre Jelly Blood (Ex): A palanquin’s blood becomes like ochre jelly. Any wound from a slashing or piercing weapon that inflicts 5 or more points of damage sprays an adjacent 5-ft. square with acidic blood, which deals acid damage based on the palanquin’s hit dice according to the table below. A creature caught in the spray can make a Reflex save with a DC of 10 + 1/2 the palanquin’s HD + the palanquin’s Constitution modifier for half damage. The acid dissolves only flesh.
    Ochre Jelly Blood Damage by Hit Dice
    [list]
  • 1-6 HD: 1d4 acid
  • 7-12 HD: 1d6 acid
  • 13-24 HD: 1d8 acid
  • 24-48 HD: 2d6 acid
  • 49+ HD: 3d6 acid
  • Ooze Rider (Ex): All palanquins carry a “rider,” a brain ooze that controls their every action. A palanquin cannot function without a controlling ooze, and the controlling ooze cannot act independently while riding its palanquin. The palanquin template makes them effectively one creature.
    In the case of multiple brain oozes riding a palanquin with multiple heads (such as an ettin or hydra), only one brain ooze is needed to control the palanquin. Each additional brain ooze can take an extra standard action each round, limited to the following actions: using a psionic ability, activating a magic item, attempting an ability or skill check based on mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma), or using an attack or special ability specifically tied to an individual head (such as a bite or breath weapon). These extra actions are independent of the palanquin’s normal actions.
  • Symbiosis (Ex): A palanquin shares a symbiotic relationship with its controlling ooze. If the controlling ooze abandons its host, the palanquin becomes a mindless husk; if another brain ooze does not take possession of it within 24 hours, the palanquin dies. If a palanquin is killed while a controlling ooze is riding it, the ooze must make a Will save with a DC of 10 + 1/2 the palanquin’s HD + the palanquin’s original Intelligence modifier. Failure means the controlling ooze takes 1d6 points of damage to its mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), and is confused for 1d6 rounds; success means the controlling ooze is unharmed and may continue to fight on its own or attempt to create a new palanquin (see the Brain Ooze entry).

Environment: Same as the base creature, plus the Astral Plane.
Organization: Change to solitary, raiding party (3-5, plus 3-10 oozes), or conclave (6-10, plus 6-20 oozes)
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +2; in the case of multiple controlling oozes in a palanquin with multiple heads (such as an ettin), each additional controlling ooze adds a further +1 to the CR. Note that this CR adjustment may not be adequate for some high-CR base creatures whose CR is based on many supernatural or spell-like abilities that this template removes. In such cases, a decrease in the base creature’s CR might be more appropriate.
Treasure: Change to standard. A palanquin has no treasure of its own, only that of its controlling ooze.
Alignment: Change to usually lawful evil.
Advancement: Change to none. A palanquin cannot advance after being possessed by a brain ooze.
[b]Level Adjustment:[b] —

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

First impressions matter. And my first impression here is: WTF? Astral oozes with a Weltanschauung? You gotta be kidding me.

So, fine, you have my interest as a reader right at the start. I'm curious. But you write a very large check here, making the promise that you will make oozes cool, somehow. We'll see. Back to reading the rest of this....

::later in the Kobold Mines::

Uh, wow, there's a reason you used those spoiler tags. Brain Oozes have 13 special abilities and traits! That's an insane amount of complexity. Some of those abilities are very interesting (ooze metamorphosis) but some just seem complex for complexity's sake (paralysis, why?).

I don't know. On the one hand, I can see that your making a case for inhuman, alien monstrosities, and that's always a good thing. But oozes are the subject of a fair bit of mockery, and I don't know that players will take them all that seriously as monsters. They're telepathic, ok, which helps. But do I really want to write an adventure around these guys? Maybe.

And the psionics, again. It's limiting the potential audience for the monsters.

There's a lot of cool ideas here (the palanquins, the electricity, the protoplasmic empire...), but I wish it were heavily streamlined. Even more to the point, I wish that some of the design choices had been for simplicity and ease of use. Mind flayers, to use an apt comparison, are similarly alien things. But they just have four (4!) powers, and they exist in a non-psionic version as well as the default.

I like a lot of the core ideas here. But the execution leaves me pretty cold. We'll see what the voters think!

Rating: 1/3

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

My first thought: If the Ooze Imperium battled the Blink Dog Nation, who would win?

Electric jellies don't really seem to offer anything more than the half-dozen other oozes in the game. The electric poison that reduces Dexterity and lowers Fort saves against electricity adds a touch of interest, but so far in the contest this monster gets the biggest "meh" vote from me. It's not actively bad, it's just not very innovative or interesting.

Also, I think you might want to take another look at the language in the Split power. Under what circumstances does an electric jelly split? When it is hit at all by slashing or piercing weapons? Does it have to do this? It just seems weird that shooting a Medium-size ooze with an arrow would force it to split into two weaker creatures. What if I've got manyshot and rapidshot and light it up like a Christmas tree?

After the hyperbolic description of the Ooze Imperium, I was expecting the brain oozes to be truly terrible opponents of epic stature. The fact that they're only CR 6 took me aback a bit. It's also worth pointing out that the brain ooze's preferred tactic of casting black tentacles and confusion on his opponents is like casting a stasis spell on your campaign. Action is going to grind to a halt, and I'm not certain that is ever a good thing. That's more a problem with the spells than with the design, but get ready for a lot of page flipping and dice rolling and PCs not in control of their own actions thanks to this tactic.

The guys over at Wizards of the Coast believe that monsters should basically have only one schtick, so I fully expect that 4e will give monsters only a small handful of powers. I've long been dubious of this approach, but I've got to say that the brain ooze's THIRTEEN special abilities are really helping me to see the light.

The various effects that lower the Intelligence of a brain ooze's victims confuse me, perhaps because I am merely a few steps away from being a palanquin myself. In the "create host" power you say that the enzyme "permanently reduces" the victim's Intelligence. I think what you _mean_ to say is that the enzyme causes ability drain. But the very next power ("Intellect Drain") seems more like it should be damage, even though you specifically say drain. Well, you say drain in the title of the power, anyway. Does that count?

Either way, a creature capable of draining 2d6 points of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma each round and an Intelligence-draining 60-foot ray is probably not really a CR 6 creature.

The Ooze Metamorphosis power strikes me as problematic because the CR 6 creatures can create any kind of ooze imaginable, presumably including the CR 30 genius loci from the Epic Level Handbook.

Some of the details about the Ooze Imperium are sort of interesting, but this submission is a really difficult sell for me. There's not enough panache and flair here for the concept to rise above its goofiness into something truly interesting and cool, which is a real pity because I do sort of like oozes and I'm generally interested in a way to better use them in a campaign.

In general I like the name palanquin to describe the hosts of the brain oozes, but there's not much to them other than "these guys gain some ooze traits." I do like the gray ooze spit, but by the time we got to ochre jelly blood it started to feel a bit paint-by-numbers.

I've really liked some of your previous submissions, but this one was a misfire for me.

MY RATING: 0 out of 3.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Comments (name, title, thematic link, design choices, playability, quality of writing, hook, theme, organization): B-
I like that you used viscid and goo in the same paragraph, but I had to Google Weltanschauung. Writing is a bit stale, though slimy.

Monsters (proper format, good build, abilities and tactics, quality of mechanics, interesting new mechanics): B
I’ve liked funky oozes ever since I first got the Greyhawk supplement to original D&D where it lists an “ogre jelly” in Tricks and Traps (“appears to be a mere ogre, but…”. Problem is, they are always neat ideas but I almost never actually use them. So let’s see what you do…

Zappy Spice: B-
Not that interesting. Zap! Ouch! Stop that!

Smarty Spice: B
This one is cool, but I’m not sure the ooze metamorphosis ability is well thought out. Gosh darn, oozes have way too many abilities. I’ll admit, my eyes glazed over in the habitat descriptive text. Too much oozy info.

Drooly Spice: B+
Good name. Template is cool. But really only usable with the brain ooze which limits its appeal. I have to admit, I really do like the brain ooze and palanquin combo. That is a cool creature.

Tilt (did it grab me, is it unique and cool, do I like it, flavor): C
I’ve read this a few times and over several days and I just can’t figure it out, but this entry leaves me flat. It is just not inspiring me. Not feeling it.

Overall: B-
A good combo of two creatures makes for one fun monster out of three. Will that be good enough?

Rob, I thought this was a step back for you and you had been on quite a roll. Let’s see what the voters have to say. I hope you make it, but I can’t give you a strong recommendation here.

Very hesitantly RECOMMENDED FOR TOP 6

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Thanks to the judges for their comments. As Erik recommended last round, I tried to "push the envelope" this round, apparently with mixed results. But I stand by my entry, and hope others like it.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

To the voters, a message from the Ooze Imperium:

CHOOSE OOZE!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

Would I use this in a game - No.

Is it well written - Adequate.

Does the theme hold up - No.

1/3

Comments - I think this is the end result of having far too much time to write out the round 4 entries. The theme is obvious which is good but not compelling. The critters themselves are over worked with far too many abilities and they loose a lot of usability. I doubt I would ever use them in a game and I think that is the bottom line of this round.


I don't find oozes that interesting in the first place and if I tried to tell my players that the adventure they would be playing in would focus on a group of oozes that want to convert everything else to an oozy state, they'd look at me funny and tell me to stop smoking the hobgoblin pipe weed. They just couldn't take it seriously and, no offense, but neither could I. There are a lot of limits with what I could do with these as written.
The Pallanquin is interesting and it does make a nice combo with the Brain Ooze. I can see getting some use out of this but most of the fluff and the Electric Jelly is pretty meh for me.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If there is one thing I like as much as fungus, it's ooze. Just ask my player that has been carrying around an ooze bane Ram Dao since level one.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

I was going to hate this at first, but I really like the idea of a brainy ooze sliding into someone's mouth, eating their brain, and taking control of their body. Also, cool name with Palanquin. I'm not sure I would use this in the kind of campaigns I run, but it would be a neat side adventure.


This level of craziness reminds me of some of the whacky things that were around in Spelljammer (Giant Space Hamsters, Dohwar, the beholder barkeep on the Rock of Bral....)

Ahem.

I haven't finished reading this yet, but the discovery that the monster they've just been fighting was in fact the host of a small ooze-protected brain would *definitely* freak some players out. I think that this one definitely has potential for DMs able to either put a comic or properly sinister spin on it.

Not certain If I'll vote for it yet. Still reading through the entries.


Yay oozes! The Ooze Imperium would totally crush the Blink Dog Nation.

Though I'm a fan of oozes, I don't think I'd use any of these as-is. Way too many special abilities to keep track of. However, I am definitely stealing some of the ideas.


I liked this one; it's sheer strangeness appeals to me. As Mr Evans said above, I can see this being used for either horror or comedy (or, ideally, both, which can be tricky to pull off well). I can actually see how I might use this, which is a big plus. Where many entries this round have had just one cool creature, this has two. Unfortunately, the electric ooze really is quite 'meh', as if it had just been added as filler.

So, in the end, I chose to cast my final vote elsewhere. I'd like to see this get through, but it's one of the ones I'm less confident will manage it.


I like ooze, but I just don't agree with the idea that ooze gets to have a brain. Still, there could be some fun here.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

Ooze Imperium? Okay... That had me wondering when I clicked on this entry.

Brain Ooze was interesting but I got a tick reading all of it's abilities. Although I'm certain Jubliex would love them.

They were well linked and thought out but they're nothing I would use. That always makes it hard for me. As a DM I want something I can use but also I have to look at this in the bigger picture, is your entry suitable for advancement in this contest? Is it superstar material? It's good and well thought out but I'm not certain it was executed properly. I'll stick it on the fence for now and come back to it.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

The Ooze Imperium wrote:

To the voters, a message from the Ooze Imperium:

CHOOSE OOZE!

I couldn't think of a good pun for my voter campaign, but you've hit it here! Choose Ooze indeed!

Of course, I put an ooze in my monster group too, so maybe I have a vested interest in people digging the ooze!

Wait, how do you dig ooze? I mean, it's OOZE.

Never mind... :)

P.S. I like the brain oozes, reminds me of the intellect devourer concept, always one of my favorite monsters. Also, the palanquin template gives a decent answer to the "what happens to the creature AFTER its brain is eaten?" question.

Qadira

I wanted to not just like, but LOVE, this entry. I think the idea of having an empire of malevolent brain oozes is a great idea. I am one of those people that think they aren't used enough. Every once in a while somebody will throw a gelatinous cube into a dungeon and that's about as far as they go with it. I think that's a shame...nasty evil amoeba things are a neat idea.

HOWEVER, I have to agree with all those who said that 13 special abilities is overkill to the max. It's confusing, and I wouldn't want to DM it.

I guess what I'm getting at is overall idea goes a long way with me, but the execution of it fell flat on it's face...er pseudopod. :)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

No.


This was actually the first entry I read as the title grabbed me. But it also meant I was expecting a bit...more, I guess. The brain ooze was fun (damn that's a lot of abilities to remember though), but the others are just 'ehh' for me, and I can't think of any time soon that I would introduce these monsters.

Based on your prior work though (I liked Iskandria and Onuyaka a lot) you're in my second tier for this round. I still have one more vote to decide on and you're still in the running.


While it's not perfect, I do think you're on to something here. I've maintained a very bleak view of the ooze type, and this entry makes me want to familiarize myself with it more. Inspiration is one of the big turning points for me, and you gave me a group of creatures I could see using. And using well.

I will echo other comments on the number of special abilities for the brain ooze, though. While with enough prep time it shouldn't be much of a problem...yeesh. It's gonna be difficult to run on the fly.


There's such a great potential here. I would love to ahve seen the narrative bits combine some old school Aristotelian mumbo-jumbo with the science-y bits for more flavor. I respect that you trie dto do something inventive with a set of monsters that have always lacked distinction.

But, while interesting and even useable on some level, oozes just didn't do it for me in the end. I do think I'll use the concepts however.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

The oozes just left me feeling a bit slimy and used.

Kind of like my mostly-ex wife (rimshot)

In the end though, not enough to make me interested.

This might get that dangling 3rd vote based on the previous entries.


I loved the writing in first paragraph or two (and some later). I love the concept. I can see these guys as an overall alien invasion campaign arc. Seems like a better idea for a story or movie than for D&D. There's too much to keep track of and too many powers as everyone has mentioned. It's too long, should have been cut down to make it more digestible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I attack the palanquin!


Sorry Rob oozes just don't do it for me although yours seem well designed. You are very creative and I have enjoyed seeing all your entries. Iskandria is my personal favorite of you work in the four rounds. I am expecting to see you some of your work published professionally in the future. Wishing you the best. Good luck.

Osirion

I like the creation myth part of this entry, explaining where all those monsterous oozes come from, something that has always been missing from the game.

As commented elsewhere, the brain ooze is too complicated. Simplify and tighten it up and I think it would work. All the "take over a palanguin" powers should be wrapped up into a single power or just put into backstory.

Oddly, the electric ooze is the odd man out in this entry. I understand why it's there, but the link is weak.

This kind of infiltration has been used in sci-fi stories and can work well. I'd believe it in a high-level Greyhawk campaign.

This is on my list of "To Be Considered". I think it will be one of my votes, but I need to finish reading all the entries.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I positively hate oozes as monsters. Nothing more boring. Gah.

However, somehow, you came up with fluff that not only made them work as interesting monsters, it also made them work as a society and made sense from a thematic point of view. The palanquin is just sick! (In a good way). Bonus points for ooze society ranking :).

While I can't see myself using this in a standard campaign, it would be perfect for Planescape or another nonstandard setting. You've got my vote this round, both the Boomer award for sheer creativity and the most points for clear and concise stat block execution.

Keep up the good work!


I really like the story you have presented here. The writing is evocative and I really dig the brain ooze. Way to play against type with an intelligent ooze. I want to know more about these guys.

However, what is preventing it from being a slam dunk for me is the high level of complexity. Maybe it is their alien nature combined with their ooze qualities, but they just seem like a nightmare to run. The seem unnecessarily complicated, and while I would love to tell (or read) a story with these guys, I would hate to run a session or adventure with them. Just too complicated.

This goes as well for the Palanquin. While the idea is cool, and I think you pulled it off very well, as a DM I hate running encounters with creatures that can posses others. Can they do it in combat? If so, what happens if they manage to posses a PC? If they can't, what happens to the host if the "possessor" dies? Or what happens to the possessing creature if the host dies? Does damage to the host damage the possessor? What about area effect spells? Can you actually damage one without damaging the other? As you can see, there are just too many questions, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to figure out the answers, especially when there are a number of other critters I can run.

I do however like the Electric Jelly. It is a well designed, flavorful, ooze. But really, as other's have said, it just seems tacked on, and do we really need another ooze creature? Also, I think it was a mistake to go with this one first. Why not lead with the Brain ooze, clearly your "head" creature, then move into the palanquin, and finish off with the electric jelly? Rightly or wrongly order communicates priority and importance, especially in lists. Note how many times people (and especially PCs), in the absence of any other compelling reason simply work through a list of things from top to bottom. Simply dropping the Electric Jelly to the bottom would have improved this entry.

All that said, I do really like the flavor and background and story you have going here. I just think on the whole the creatures are just too complicated, and I know for sure they are too complicated for me to want to run in my campaigns.


A cool idea gone -way- overboard... and a third ooze obviously tacked-on just to fill the 3 creature requirement. This entry could benefit greatly from some well-considered consolodation of powers and simply dropping a few of them at the curb.

You also seriously dropped the ball on the electric ooze. If you had spent half the creativity on it that you quite frankly wasted on the brain oozes you would have had a much stronger shot at advancing.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

This was the first one to catch my interest. I really like the concept here with your sinister oozes. I think that anything to give oozes a place in the fantasy setting is a good thing, and your introductory text really inspired my own imagination. I think I would have embraced the ooze nature of the oozes rather than making the brain oozes parasites but I can see where you're going with that.

I am left wanting to see more. I think you could really work all the oozes together coherently, and I'm curious to see what you'd work up. I'll probably post more after taking a closer look at some point.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I approve of your thematic link and what you're trying to do here. Visiting a classic monster type and trying to breathe new life into them, you can't beat that for a plan.

And with the Brain Ooze and the Palanquin, you're clearly on the right track. Rightly or wrongly, I always associate the word palanquin with one of two things- chinese emperors or Alastair Reynolds space operas. There's a bit of the latter in this entry, in a very very backalley way.

Anyway, the Electric Jelly is very much a wasted 1/3 of the monsters here. It's the real downer on it for me, since you were otherwise so much on the right track.

And yeah, 13 is a bit much. Heh.

Anyway, good 2/3 of an entry, and a strong consider for me because of that.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Aotrscommander

I read the title and thought..okay, this is going to be interesting.

This came close to getting a vote. I like the idea fairly alien mindsets, as must be apparent by now. The electric jelly, though, was a bit 'meh' and I think the splitting is a little too clunky.

The Brain Ooze was nice - I have to agree on the general consensus it has a few too many SA, mind, but I have every sympathy with you. Oft times I've done things with scad-loads of SA/SQ just to make it Right. I think it could have been better off being a bit higher CR though, as befits a mastermind.

The Palaquin again, was a nice idea, but a bit clunky in mechanical practise; same as applies as to the brain ooze.

Overall, nice ideas, clunky execution.

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
And the psionics, again. It's limiting the potential audience for the monsters.

I won't respond to this in detail, because this is not the place, but that comment does seem a little unfair, considering that psionics are in the SRD and little if any issue has been made about using other parts of the nonCore SRD.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Aotrscommander wrote:


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
And the psionics, again. It's limiting the potential audience for the monsters.
I won't respond to this in detail, because this is not the place, but that comment does seem a little unfair, considering that psionics are in the SRD and little if any issue has been made about using other parts of the nonCore SRD.

I would second this idea as well because he didn't really use psionic mechanics. Unless I'm misremembering, he used the Monster Manual-style pseudo-psionics that they use for mind flayers and yuan-ti--that is, it's called psionics but it's really just spell-like abilities. It was just a bit of frosting, not a poisoned apple, even if you hate psi.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Jason Nelson 20 wrote:
Aotrscommander wrote:


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
And the psionics, again. It's limiting the potential audience for the monsters.
I won't respond to this in detail, because this is not the place, but that comment does seem a little unfair, considering that psionics are in the SRD and little if any issue has been made about using other parts of the nonCore SRD.
I would second this idea as well because he didn't really use psionic mechanics. Unless I'm misremembering, he used the Monster Manual-style pseudo-psionics that they use for mind flayers and yuan-ti--that is, it's called psionics but it's really just spell-like abilities. It was just a bit of frosting, not a poisoned apple, even if you hate psi.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

That's all I'm allowed to say. That, and CHOOSE OOZE!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

From reading the other posts, I guess I'm in the minority, since I really loved the Ooze Imperium. I like the creative twist on making oozes something more than mindless (at least when controlled and summoned by the Brain Oozes), and love the planar invasion plot-line built into the monsters.

True, the electric jelly is only "another ooze in the aresenal", but it's a fun one. As for the criticisms for it, it's not that different in lots of ways from the Thurderstruck - one's an electric ooze, the other's an electric zombie. It also sorta make me nostagic for the Stun Jelly.

I'm thinking this has my vote.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Rob, you have another supporter here. LOVE oozes! Always have, always will. Now, take this with a grain of salt, because almost everyone I have voted for in past rounds has been knocked out.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I like oozes too, I tend to use them pretty heavily in my campaign, along with constructs and elementals. I'm not looking for uncrittable things; one of the characters has a weapon of legacy that lets them crit constructs for that reason - they just fit the tone. There will be even more oozes when they head east into the endless swamp ...

I think one of the things that hurt this entry in a lot of people's eyes was the "Holy crap, umpety-ump special abilities!" thing. In thinking on it, you'd have been better served lumping a lot of the non-offense abilities into one, calling it Ooze Intellect (Ex), and leaving it at that. I suspect you'd have been able to cover Alien Mind, Mind over Matter and Ooze Traits this way. In addition, simplifying Create Host, Ride Palanquin and possibly Symbiosis and combining them would help as well.

That alone would put you at 9 instead of 13. It still has something like 5 offensive abilities, but that is in keeping with its role, I think.


Oozes:
I'm going to be somewhat picky here, and say that I'm not completely convinced by the mechanics of the 'Ooze metamorphosis' ability of the Brain Ooze.
As I read it, at present, sufficient Brain Oozes can turn a Toad (a tiny animal) into a Gelatinous Cube (a huge ooze). Where does all the extra 'stuff' come from? I'd like to suggest that the (normal) size of the end result creature can not be larger than the (normal) size of the base creature, unless these Brain Oozes are carrying out weird hypergrowth effects as part of their transformation ritual.

I'm not a fan of the limitations of the Brain Oozes' abilities with respect to other oozes, either. I know that Brain Oozes have a *lot* of abilities already, but some sort of method of making sure that they can't be randomly attacked/eaten by other oozes that they encounter if their 'rebuke/command' quota is already full would make sense to me. Something like an aura that automatically pacifies any uncontrolled mindless oozes that approach within 10ft of a Brain Ooze or a Palanquin currently controlled by one or more Brain Oozes.

I like the gibbering mouther varient Brain Ooze that you suggest a lot. (A potential very nasty surprise for players who assume that it's just another gibbering mouther).
EDIT:
Query regarding Brain Pudding removed, since unlike a Black Pudding no indication is given that a Brain Pudding can split- my mistake!

I can see the point of posters who have commented on the apparent disconnect in theme (beyond its ooze nature) of the Electric Jelly. Maybe Electric Jellies could bestow some kind of advantage upon a 'Brain Ooze' master in an adjacent square, such as using up their 'electric pulse' ability to allow their Brain Ooze master to fire off some kind of 'psychic bolt' ranged attack which makes them particularly favoured minions for Brain Oozes during attacks on enemy positions.

As a final point, I take it that the abilities of a Brain Ooze to rebuke/command other oozes increase with HD (or even class level)? (I look forward to clarification on this point, once voting is over and you are freer to respond to queries/comment.)

I have liked and voted for your entries in previous rounds, and you get one of my two 'certain' votes for this round because I find it good to see someone come up with a society/raison d'etre for all these oozes that have been around for years.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

I was really let down by this entry. I like that you stick by it, but with all the discussion of gonzo vs useable entries, I feel you went out too far on your branch.

Oozes - even sinister ones - don't do much for me. When I put together a consortium of bad guys, I want a lot of variety. Maybe the ooze template hepls with this, I think it has the opposite effect of turning all your variety into one thing. Kind of like pseudonatural creatures, and other Far Realms concepts.

I think the raw mechanics appear sound, and that is an important consideration for me, but other entries are mechanically sound and keep my interest.

Congratulations on making the Top 8. Remember, we'll always have Iskandria.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

ancientsensei wrote:
Remember, we'll always have Iskandria.

Play it once, Sam. For old time's sake.

I don't know what you mean, Miss Elsa.

Play it, Sam. Play "As Times Goes By."

(And CHOOSE OOZE!)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I voted for you. Please send me a CHOOSE OOZE badge (or "button", if you prefer).

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

I have read over all the entries and thoroughly read through yours. I decided to Choose Ooze (or rather, I'm a member of the Slobs for Blobs fan club) as my first vote.

Wolfgang Baur was apprehensive about the Astral Ooze nature of the Brain Ooze. I'm all for Body Snatching Blobs from Outer Space. Adding those particular sci-fi elements to a fantasy setting is a far more creative and gutsy move than adding the more mechanistic computer-program / mainframe / simulacrum elements that I picked up from Mind the Machine (though I did like that entry too). At the same time, he was worried that your Psionics would limit the audience. I have never run a game with psionics, I don't like them all that much. But I think nothing of including monsters with spell like abilities described as Psionic. Who hasn't used a Mind Flayer or two in their games at some point or another? On top of that, your Ooze Imperium fits a very similar campaign role as the IP-Protected Illithid do, and I assume that was by design.

Erik Mona was largely unimpressed by your mechanics, and I think his criticism was valid. I would really like to see a streamlined version of the Ooze Imperium that addresses his criticisms. Do it!

Clark Peterson was left flat and uninspired. It should be no surprise to me that I had a very different (almost contrary) feeling.

All things considered, your entry was the best, in my eyes, because you not only gave us three new monsters, but gave us reasons to use a dozen old, little appreciated ones. That, and I like your cheesy "Choose Ooze" marketing scheme (for obvious reasons).

You did in fact push the envelope this round, and I find irresistible the mental image of adventurers having to travel to a floating astral battle fortress that is propelled by the combined telekinetic might of the oozes aboard, to confront the Praetor and his council of jar-dwelling ooze advisors (complete with red back-lighting and high-pitched telepathic "voices").

Not every game is going to have a place for that kind of cheese, but the fact that you have proven that you CAN deliver it if you want (in addition to delivering the beyond-great "straight fantasy" stuff that you have in previous rounds) shows that you have EXACTLY the versatility that I want in my RPG Superstar.


Now, if there’s a gonzo entry in the four I’ve read so far this round, this is it. Intelligent oozes invading other worlds? Whoa! This is Spelljammeresque. You have my attention with the theme.

Now the Electric Ooze. Hmm, hmm, hmm. I like the zappy surprise. Most players aren’t going to be expecting a rolling ball to touch them like a man exiting a carpet on a cold winter’s day. But a primary attack that they can only use randomly? That’s worse than zombies. It’s poison attack is surprising and effective – though a Fort DC 18 is really high for CR 4.

Brain Oozes remind me of Robert A. Heinlein’s Puppet Masters. Puppet masters with spells. Its spell selection is rather interesting. Almost a combination of some of the most frustrating spells for players. Couple that with its ray attack and being hidden inside a host, and this thing hits really hard for its CR. This creature has too many abilities to keep careful track of.

I was happy to see the palanquin template as the third entry. This is a solid, unified submission in my mind. The theme works incredibly well together. That said, this last critter had a few too many duplicate abilities with the host, as well as more combat boosts like extra standard actions and an intellect drain and the acid blood spray. I suspect that your home game is a pretty high-powered one as even a palanquin is nasty. If the creature merely enhanced the abilities of the host, that would be a better point in the design.

This entry has several points in its favor. You snuck in other variant monsters, it has this Ooze Imperium thing going that sparked my imagination (gruesome as it is), and it hits hard. It hits a little too hard in combat, and I do have concerns about that. I also have concerns about the amount of abilities here. So I have a mixed sense of these creatures.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Callum wrote:
I voted for you. Please send me a CHOOSE OOZE badge (or "button", if you prefer).

It's in the mail, sir. It's in the mail. :)

Taldor

While I think there are enough slaver races bent on destroying humanity, like the neogi and mind flayers, I think there is room for the Imperium.
The use of weltanschauung is over the top. Point of view? World-view? Paradigm?
I don’t use psionics, so I would hack that out.
Upon second review, why would I use this instead of neogi or mind-flayers or any other underdark slavers? To explain all those oozes in dungeons? They have a union?
This gets my third vote because it is sixth from the bottom in my mind, but the gap to my top two is wide.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Thanks to the judges and to everyone else for reading and commenting. There were some critiques I disagreed with, of course, but also some good points raised and new ideas presented.

I'll post some general comments about the big issues first, followed by posts about the individual monsters, where I'll respond to specific people's comments.

And a special thanks to everyone who decided to CHOOSE OOZE! :)

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

13 special abilities!?! You’ve got to be kidding!!!

Well. What to say about this? I did worry about it. But ultimately I decided to keep them because they define the brain ooze. But does a DM really have to keep track of 13 different abilities in combat? Let’s go to the videotape!

    1. Alien Mind: Immune to mind-affecting effects. Not much to keep track of.
    2. Control Ooze: An ability that can be used in combat, but it’s just an evil cleric’s control undead ability. Again, not much to keep track of, IMO.
    3. Create Host: Okay, a more complicated power, but is it really usable in combat? It takes 1d4 rounds to even start the process, and another few rounds to finish it – are the PCs just going to sit around during this time while the brain ooze turns one of their buddies into a palanquin? I addressed this in the brain ooze’s tactics, stating that it is only used when they have time to finish the process safely, but maybe I should have hammered the point home more. But this is really just a mechanic for explaining how palanquins are created. And since undead have “create spawn” as special attacks, I made this a special attack for brain oozes.
    4. Intellect Drain: Again, a combat ability, but a single spell. I separated it from the other psionic (spell-like) abilities as this is the brain ooze’s primary attack, like the mind blast is for the mind flayer.
    5. Mind Over Matter: Nothing to keep track of here, as the math has already been done for you in the stat block.
    6. Ooze Traits: Describes how the brain ooze differs from other oozes, which actually makes bookkeeping slightly easier since being to subject to critical hits is normal for most monsters.
    7. Ooze Metamorphosis: Not applicable to combat at all, just a mechanic for explaining how other oozes are created.
    8. Paralysis: Combat ability, but a rather simple one. Should be as easy to track as a gelatinous cube, carrion crawler, etc.
    9. Psionics: Line from the SRD describing what psionics are in this context. The actual abilities for this power are no more difficult to keep track of than any other monster’s list of spell-like abilities.
    10. Ride Palanquin: Not a combat ability: describes how brain oozes use palanquins, but the information is really about applying the palanquin template.
    11. Summon Ooze: Possibly a combat ability, but it’s single use and should ideally be used before combat. A single d% roll, nothing to keep track of.
    12. Symbiosis: Not a combat ability: describes the effects of either a brain ooze or palanquin losing the other. Nothing to keep track of here until the palanquin dies.
    13. Telepathy: Line from the SRD explaining what telepathy is. Nothing to keep track of.

So really, there are only 4 powers that a DM needs to keep track of in combat: control ooze, intellect drain, paralysis, and the psionic spell-like abilities, none of which are overly complex. One could add summon ooze and symbiosis to the list, but those are special abilities that only come into effect pre- and post-combat, needing no bookkeeping during combat itself.

This actually highlights one of my major issues with 3.5: the fact that everything little thing needs to be explained and detailed to cover every situation. Just compare the monster write-ups from the 1e MM to 3.5. Without this aspect of 3.5 rules, 7 of the abilities (create host, ooze traits, ooze metamorphosis, psionics, ride palanquin, symbiosis, and telepathy) could be described much more succinctly in text (or in some cases, not at all), leaving it up to the DM to decide exactly how they work, but that is not an option in 3.5. Or perhaps it is, but describing them “descriptively” in text would have used up too much of the word count, so making them official special abilities allowed me to put them in the stat block.

gbonehead wrote:
I think one of the things that hurt this entry in a lot of people's eyes was the "Holy crap, umpety-ump special abilities!" thing. In thinking on it, you'd have been better served lumping a lot of the non-offense abilities into one, calling it Ooze Intellect (Ex), and leaving it at that. I suspect you'd have been able to cover Alien Mind, Mind over Matter and Ooze Traits this way. In addition, simplifying Create Host, Ride Palanquin and possibly Symbiosis and combining them would help as well.

That’s a good idea. I did briefly consider it, but then the individual ability descriptions seemed too long, so I broke them up to make them easier to read. But I guess a lot of text is a lot of text, regardless of how you break it up.

Erik Anderson wrote:
Erik Mona was largely unimpressed by your mechanics, and I think his criticism was valid. I would really like to see a streamlined version of the Ooze Imperium that addresses his criticisms. Do it!

I will definitely try to rework it into a more streamlined version, if/when I have the time.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Psionics again?

No, not really.

Jason Nelson wrote:
I would second this idea as well because he didn't really use psionic mechanics. Unless I'm misremembering, he used the Monster Manual-style pseudo-psionics that they use for mind flayers and yuan-ti--that is, it's called psionics but it's really just spell-like abilities. It was just a bit of frosting, not a poisoned apple, even if you hate psi.

Jason got it exactly right. Note that in this case, “psionics” is simply spell-like abilities manifested by the mind (and one of the brain ooze’s 13 special abilities was basically a line from the SRD explaining this). These powers do not use the psionic rules, they use normal spells as spell-like abilties (I don’t think most of those powers even have direct psionic equivalents).

Look at the mind flayer in the MM: one of the special abilities is “psionics,” and the description describes the spells used. The point is that the brain ooze uses its mental powers for its spell-like abilities, and someone using the psionic rules could replace them with actual psionic abilities, but I don’t know the psionics rules well enough to make them truly psionic (and it is a “niche market,” as Wolfgang pointed out).

I think my mistake here was changing the stat block’s “Special Abilities” heading to “Psionic Abilities.” Since they actually are spell-like abilities, perhaps I should have kept the original heading.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Why Ooze?
First off, I never thought of this idea as gonzo. Oozes have been around since 1e, and I still think black puddings are Bad Muthaf^%&%$s! I wanted to answer the question, “Where do oozes come from?” I mean, they don’t really fit into any normal ecology. Do they just spontaneously form and go around eating things? So I thought it would be interesting to take a class of mindless creatures and create the “brains” behind it: oozes are the product of an organized, extraplanar empire. If you meet an ooze, it was created by the Imperium. But perhaps I didn’t stress that enough.

For the record, I’m not a huge fan of oozes, either. But they did seem like a perfect candidate to have their origins explored. Some people mentioned that and agreed, and I appreciate them highlighting that fact.

I also didn’t consider a humorous aspect to the oozes, either. I’ve never viewed oozes as humorous. Weird and dangerous, yes, but not funny. I was trying for a bizarre, alien vibe, like H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space or Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters. So while one could play up the humorous aspect, I pictured PCs fighting a normal monster (like an ettin) with more power and mental abilities to boot, something confusing and a bit strange. And when they finally defeat it, out of its mouth crawls an ooze with a brain, who then starts trying to take over one of them! To me (and my players), that is more oogie horror than funny humor, but YMMV.

Erik Anderson wrote:
On top of that, your Ooze Imperium fits a very similar campaign role as the IP-Protected Illithid do, and I assume that was by design.

Yes, I have to admit, mind flayers, in all their IP-protected glory, were something of an inspiration here.

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