The black pudding has certainly transcended its joke-name origin. And since green slime was reduced to the level of hazard in 3.0 (what I would have given to sit in on that Human Resources meeting—“I’m sorry, Mr. Slime, you’re just not meeting your monthly quota of dwarves”), the black pudding is, for my money, fantasy role-playing’s iconic Ooze.
Typically it’s a subterranean ambush predator—with a CR, acid, and corrosion that guarantees it gets taken seriously. But there’s always some mad alchemist or druid who thinks he can control one, and that never ends well…
Oxenhill Aberforth was a chemist determined to control black puddings via alchemy, conditioning, and patience. All three ran out on him: he overfed his specimen, it split, and the resulting pair of oozes cornered and consumed him. Adventurers expecting to pick up their potion commissions must now contend with the ooze that has burst out the window to attack passersby on the cobblestones below, and the ooze still in the shop, feasting on a fortune in rare spell components.
Tan puddings live in the shady sides of desert dunes, moving over the surface of the sand in undulating waves that can be hard to spot. A traveler’s only warning might be the sight of a beige pseudopod engulfing a sidewinder just ahead.
The famous Stone Lake Tar Pit is not a tar pit at all—it is a Gargantuan black pudding held in place by ancient abjuration magic. The spells are maintained through a network of menhirs that give Stone Lake its name. A team of archaeologists, unaware of this, has begin to remove the menhirs, and the “tar pit” begins to stir…
—Pathfinder Bestiary 35
As a fledgling “basic D&D” player who didn’t even yet have the Expert Set, my first exposure to black puddings was the Bruce Heard-compiled AC11 The Book of Wondrous Inventions, where the inclusion of black puddings in fantasy dishwashers made for guaranteed mayhem.
Also, did Stephen King’s “The Raft” and/or Creepshow 2 freak anyone else out?