The evil shampoos of the Dungeons and Dragons multiverse, oozes are classic monsters that no dungeon worth its treasure would be without. While the monsters with the Ooze type only have a handful of entries, each has potential to test a low level party, and there is even an ooze that could drive an entire campaign. So put on your ooze-handling gloves and let’s jump in!
Oozes as Monsters of the Week
Oozes are fantastic monsters of the week, capable of hiding in plain sight, terrorizing NPCs, and making a complete mess of things.
Grey Ooze (CR ½)
A grey ooze is capable of corroding non-magical metal, including the weapons used to smack it around. This is a personal favorite to throw against a low level party because you get them beginning to think strategically about what weapons and attacks they’re using against enemies. Its attack also corrodes nonmagical metal, which can allow your ranged characters or casters to shine. Like all oozes, it has a false appearance looking indistinguishable from an oily pool or wet rock as long as it remains motionless. A great low level bounty could be cleaning out oozes from a basement of the local tavern.
Gelatinous Cube (CR 2)
The Gelatinous Cube has got to be my favorite monster in D&D (though, the Rust Monster is a close second) because it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is gelatinous and it is a cube. These lovely gummi bois are transparent unless a perception check is passed. Plop a few in a frequented hallway and wait for the party to run into them, engulfing them in the process. Heck, a villain’s lair with pit traps that drop a victim into a gelatinous cube is truly sinister.
Slithering Tracker (CR 3)
Introduced in Volo’s Guide to Monsters, the slithering tracker is, in a word, icky. It slithers along the ground tracking the target of its vengeance. This creature, according to its lore, can only be made from willing sacrifices who crave vengeance above all. With an average level of intelligence and comprehension of languages, it can serve as a great monster of the week as it tracks down a player or important NPC in order to finally get its revenge.
Black Pudding (CR 4)
Neither delicious nor nutritious, black pudding is more corrosive than the grey ooze and splits into smaller pieces whenever it’s hit by lighting or slashing damage. It also has an aversion to light, which your villain or dungeon designer could use to their advantage, creating a temporary safe passage through a room filled with black pudding. And if you have a demon invasion in your campaign, then perhaps the oozes gain more sentience as Jubilex gets closer to the material plane.
Oozes as the Big Bad
There is really one answer to what ooze can be a big bad. And it’s not Jubilex. It’s the elder Oblex.
With a high intelligence and the ability to consume the memories of its victims, it is a perfect monster to be the power behind the court, or to run a powerful thieves’ guild in a city. They can also impersonate a victim, feeling, sounding, and looking exactly like them. What gives them away is the faint smell of sulfur that surrounds them. They’re capable of impersonating multiple creatures and can move the simulacrum up to 120 feet away.
It also packs a potent mix of innate spellcasting, including spells like dimension door and hold monster for when it needs to distract the party and get out quickly. This is the kind of creature that schemes for the long term and could be a powerful victim as it enacts its evil plan. This could be turning the kingdom into its own personal larder, consuming the king, and luring powerful and intelligent members to its court.
I hope you enjoyed today’s look at our favorite slime buddies. Next week, we’ll round off our tour of monster types with the Undead!
Art credit Wizards of the Coast