Subterranean Races: The Puddlings (PFRPG) PDF

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Even dead gods can dream.

A subterranean race of highly intelligent oozes living in the hulking corpse of their long-dead creator god, the puddlings are as renowned for their unique society and fascinating arcanocrystalline technology as they are for existing at all. Unlike most subterranean races, the puddlings accept outsiders and their stories of the world beyond the corpse of their god with great enthusiasm. Highly cognizant of the fact that other races are much more similar to each other than they are to them, Puddlings go to great lengths to attempt to artificially induce homogeneity between any visitors and themselves, often with humorous results. Their drive for new experiences, even in a geographically constrained existence such as theirs, propels the puddling race forward, inspiring grand adventures and grand invention.

Subterranean Races: The Puddlings introduces the puddling race, their backstory, and everything necessary to add the puddlings to your game as a playtested player race. Features include:

  • Racial backstory, a racial plothook, and background for those GMs who want to use them as a burbling wacky wayside tribe rather than a focal point
  • A racial obsession regarding hats
  • Six alternate racial traits
  • Eight racial feats
  • One achievement feat for "outsiders" to earn
  • Hats
  • Seven items based on puddling natural resources, five alchemical items, and seven magic items, for a total of 19 new items.
  • Three new subterranean creatures, including ecology sections that describe how pieces of the subterranean depths interact with each other in a realistic fashion.
    • Arcanoplasm: an ooze made from unusable, entropic energy that the puddlings refuse to harvest
    • Blindfish: one of the few subterranean denizens that are good to eat and unlikely to eat you back
    • Crystallite: elementals containing shattered pieces of the god Aggranius, each with their own sliver of the fallen god's personality

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This pdf clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It is by now a tested trope that even gods may die in fantasy gaming - and where death is a possibility, one should not be surprised to see the concept of the divine assassin - whether in the guise of a Red Mantis of a psychotic killer. The assumption of this book is that there at least once was a divine assassin (perhaps a predecessor?) that has failed. When the divine assassin was sent to destroy Aggranius, lord of facets, the deity was prepared and rendered his own body into an eternal, resplendent prison for the slayer of gods, creating a race of oozes as stewards in the process.

At first, these beings, dissolving most materials, were basically stuck in a type of stone age - but ingenuity and an abundance of divinely infused crystals from their dead, but pretty present god, has allowed them to create their very own, unique technology, advancing in leaps and bounds in spite of their handicap. Now, ages later, the divine energy of Aggranius is faltering, the divine assassin stirs - and it's time for the puddlings to break their self-imposed isolation.

Now here is the deal - unlike about 99% of underworld races, puddlings...actually are not only cute, they are actually pretty nice guys! Relentlessly curious, they love interacting with outsiders, have a society based on consensus and always have a hat or two available for outsiders. Racial stat wise, puddlings get +2 Int and Con, -2 Dex, are medium, have a speed of 20 ft and speak puddle, their own language. They have acid resistance 5, get +2 to saves versus transmutation spells and effects, +1 to a skill of their own choosing, +1 DC of any transmutation cast. Puddlings with Int 11+ get 3/day mending as a SP. They have darkvision 60 ft. Contact to a puddling body causes 1 point of acid damage to metal, leather and paper equipment, with adamantine and acid resistant equipment being immune to this. They can't wear armor, but can wear shields, but their body's membrane can be enchanted as though it were a masterwork armor.

Instead of acid resistance, they can have the option to 1/hour spit acid (1d6 +1 per two character levels) as a ranged touch attack, increased acid damage (faster degrading for items, but retributive acid damage) or no item degrading. Extending the skill bonus to another skill. Now pretty cool: When you wear a magical het, you increase your Charisma, with the bonus scaling the more magical the hat is. Why? Because puddlings use hats to determine leaders for a certain duration. Hilarious and cool. Further enhancing skill bonuses is also possible. Overall, the race is balanced, cool and unique, with the alternate racial traits feeling right regarding their balancing - oh, and yes, age, height and weight tables are included and the race gets neat FCOs for the bard, fighter, monk, rogue, tinker and wizard classes.

The race also sports an array of 8 racial feats that grant light fortification, rerolls for the skills you obsess about (i.e. the ones you've chosen via racial traits), critical hits that let you penalize foes via latent telepathy, emit a blinding pulse 3/day, gain increasing armor bonuses, squeeze into cracks and crevices...and there even is an achievement feat that lets outsiders benefit from puddling arcanocrystals.

Which brings me to the puddling's unique resources - the arcane crystals, which can be used to decrease the costs of item creation. And yes, mining DCs and the like are provided. Arcane gel is interesting - also made from these crystals, it can be used as splash weapon and acts as an amplifier for magic, increasing the damage caused by subsequent exposure of magical energies. Memory crystals are used to keep...well, memories and consensus crystals are used to homogenize opinions - they thus are an integral component of puddling society. Mindtonic is a powerful tonic that can cure insanity and mental attribute drain to mental scores, making that tonic a good reason to travel to the puddling lands. The mugshot crystal can be used to...well duplicate mugshots...or show stretches of places, allowing for easier familiarization for purposes of scrying or teleport: Think of it as a kind of crystalline photo. Obsession enhancers and a costly, droning enhancer for casters complement a cool array of unique items.

A total of 5 different alchemical items can be found in these pages: Bouncers would be crystalline mines that ignore puddlings, while etch gel allows the puddlings to make exceedingly intricate stone work. Peptidoglycan boosters allows puddlings to gain the benefits of potions...and they can be thrown at puddlings, though that does deal a bit of damage to the recipient. The idea of throwing potions at creatures pretty much is awesome. Similarly, geodes that create crystalline caltrops are pretty cool.

The pdf's magic items are unique as well - Cryslinders, aka "wizard-in-a-can" or "Sunder that first!" are basically gel-based flame/acid/etc.-throwers. And yeah, the visuals are AWESOME and tunable variants are included. Decay-rate decreasing conservation-boxes and then there would be the humongous hat. This hat detects any other hats within one mile and then one-ups then. It sticks to the head of the wearer and also allows the wearer to record a d20 and use the recorded number instead of another roll. Talking poles help communication skills and can enhance the aforementioned blinding pulses of Puddling Fast-Talk. Universal Dictator translate puddle into other languages and the vessel of endless gel does basically what you'd expect.

The pdf also provides a bestiary: At CR 8, Arcanoplasm can absorb magic, also damage items with its attacks and unleash powerful force-damage storms. Damn cool! The CR 1 Blindfish is hard to keep track of and is farmed mainly for the use of its eyes as spell components. Finally, the CR 6 Crystallite is very dangerous to unarmed fighters and these using natural weapons, deals Con-damage (ouch!) and can use crystalline shockwaves - appropriately dangerous for remnants of Aggranius' consciousness.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf uses stock-art apart from the exceedingly cute cover. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Bradley Crouch is famous for his mastery of crunch and class-design, not for races. Turns out that he excels at the latter as well: The puddlings are awesome. For one, the very concept is novel, fun and unique. More importantly, the race actually PLAYS completely differently from other races: The collective of items and feats makes sure that the race as a whole actually feels completely different from any other race I have reviewed - the crunch actually emphasizes the unique history, society and structure of the society of these lovable blobs of goo. More importantly, they are a breath of levity, of fun and hope in the often pretty grimdark underworld.

How good is this pdf? Well, it's good enough to actually have introduced them to my main campaign. They are unique, distinct in mechanics and flavor, with each component of content herein emphasizing their unique culture. This is awesomeness and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the missing bookmarks. Get this unique race and bring some serious fun and wonder to your games!

Endzeitgeist out.


3.5 short term, 5/5 long term

5/5

This PDF clocks in at 16 pages, of which 13 pages are content. This supplement introduces a race of intelligent ooze-like creatures. To start, we get a description of the puddlings’ history and society, including the species’ creation myth. It is written to be sufficiently generic to fit in to a typical campaign setting. The story also has the puddlings restricted to a relatively small region, making them easier to fit into your world. Puddlings do not have genders, and their language (Puddle) involves visual motions and effects as well as sound.
Next we get the racial traits. Puddlings are humanoids with a special subtype. While this typing may disappoint those who wanted a true playable ooze, it is much easier to work with (if you really want a true ooze race, consider In the Company of Gelatinous Cubes instead.) Puddlings must pick a skill as an “Obsession”, which gets a bonus and becomes a class skill, but which they are required to keep at max ranks. Their ooze-like body takes up their armor slot, but can be enhanced like a normal armor.
As usual with racial write-ups, I am irked by the fact that a default alignment is included. While the default puddling alignment (neutral good) fits with the lore presented, I’m still not fond of non-neutral alignments being made the default for an entire species.
Next we get a bunch of alternate racial traits which replace the standard puddling traits and mimic the abilities of “actual” oozes like Gelatinous Cubes, whilst still remaining balanced against the core races. There is a racial trait which increases your charisma when you are wearing a hat (explained via racial lore).
After that we get a bunch of racial feats which build off of the puddling’s racial features. These feats range from basic number-boosts to feats like Slimepression, which allows a puddling to squeeze through cracks significantly smaller than themselves.
Next comes a bunch of new items and alchemical goods, with explanations as to how they fit in to Puddling society.
Finally comes a pair of monsters native to Puddling society. There is the Arcanoplasm, a CR 8 ooze, which disrupts and feeds on spells cast nearby, and temporarily drains the power from magic items (but without the headaches of permanent item-destruction that accompany rust monsters). There is also the Blindfish, a CR 1 animal adapted to the dark underground area of the puddlings. It reflects foreign sources of light, giving it concealment and dazzling those who looks at it.
There is very little visual art in this product, and what art there is is mostly black-and-white.
Short Term Rating: This supplement is sort of a grab-bag. The monsters can be easily inserted into an encounter without much trouble. The items are trickier, since they are all tied to puddlings and puddling lore, so putting them in a campaign without introducing puddling society may be difficult. It is relatively easy to add puddlings into a campaign world, though, making for a final short term rating of 3.5/5.
Long Term Rating: Okay, I’ll admit it, I am biased in favor of oozes. Even so, the puddling society as presented is easily added to most campaign worlds, and provides enough information to make puddlings the focus of an adventure or even a whole campaign. It’s not perfect: not every feat or item is particularly interesting. But for such a low price, what you get is really good. 5/5.


Oozes with heart

5/5

This is a bold and imaginative supplement for the Pathfinder RPG. The Puddlings are a well balanced fully realized ooze race suitable for both PCs and NPCs. Everything to make a Puddling character is within including alternate racial traits, favored class options, race feats and items both magical and non-magical.
Although it is a playable ooze race, which I'm not sure has been done before, what truly sets the Puddlings apart are the origin mythology and society. I cant do justice to the heart and humor in this PDF, but I can give it my highest recommendation. There are 14 full pages of great content and it is well worth the price.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available (and welcome Interjection Games)!


Wow! Creativity central. This sounds very fun. And yes, welcome Interjection games - you have a slew of new releases to check out!!!

Silver Crusade

Oh wow. Everything about this, from the cover to the hat obsession, sounds like this was made for folks that want more Adventure Time in their games. :)

putting in the cart


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mikaze wrote:

Oh wow. Everything about this, from the cover to the hat obsession, sounds like this was made for folks that want more Adventure Time in their games. :)

putting in the cart

Oh. My. Glob. You're right. :)

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lilith wrote:
Oh. My. Glob. You're right. :)

Can't not read in that voice.

In all seriousness, this looks like a fun product. Picking up soon. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And it's really supposed to be spelled as "puddling", and not "pudding"?

Sounds like fun either way ... :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You had me at hats.


Yep, Andrew actually sold me on the Adventure Time look without me knowing anything about the show at all. Let's just say, after I was done, I took a look at the series and yes, I essentially reinvented the same feel!

We currently have a Puddling in our campaign. Given the memory crystals only contain the memories of those who were successful enough to find the Puddlings, the race has a very skewed opinion of how successful the typical adventurer is. This results in a very self-assured, but not cocky little adventurer. To him, it's just the way things are supposed to be.


Front page - awesome!

I'm glad my attempt to inject a little cute into the enslaving, totally irrational grimdark that subterranean campaign settings invariably become in this day and age has got some appreciators. It means I'm not alone. :)


Reviewed. My first review.


Thanks, Smoo :)

I've got the beginnings of a campaign setting started up with these fellows as a central races. 2016, if we're lucky :)


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

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