Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ochre Jelly

The ochre jelly arose out of a joke.  We all get that, right?  At least on some instinctual level? 

I imagine it this way: Having suffered through green slime, yellow mold, and gray ooze, one of Gary Gygax’s players quips, “What’s next, brown jelly?”  To which Gygax—with the words “brown jelly” sitting right there in his notes—primly replies, “No…it’s ochre! 

Either that or someone spilled marmalade on a miniature, and he just ran with it.

(And before anyone accuses me of taking Sir Gygax’s name in vain, let’s look back at the early days of the world’s oldest role-playing game: A badly molded toy spawning the owlbear.  The black pudding, full stop.  Deities baptized by reversing the letters in players’ names (like Zagig Yragerne…as the God of Humor to boot).  Now tell me I’m out of line.)

But now the ochre jelly is an institution—heck, it’s apparently part of the Final Fantasy franchise, if my Googling is accurate—so let’s give it a look.

Paizo’s Pathfinder authors have actually ladled a bunch of adventure hooks (alchemists, canopic jars, etc.) into the Bestiary’s ochre jelly entry.   All take advantage of the unique property of the jelly: Since it only affects flesh and soft tissue (even wood is unaffected), it is in some respects less intrinsically dangerous than other oozes.  But that very manageability makes it easier to use in dangerously surprising ways. 

So in the subterranean wilds, a heavily armored PC with a mace might actually prefer the Large CR 5 ochre jelly to the metal-devouring Medium CR 4 gray ooze.  But an ochre jelly can hide (or be stashed) in places other oozes can’t—the bole of a tree, at the bottom of a tun of ale, in a vampire’s false coffin, and so on—surprising PCs when they’re unarmed, unarmored, or expecting other threats.

An ochre jelly dwells in an abandoned thriae outpost, feasting on animals that attempt to settle there.  In the honey-colored cells, the ooze is nearly impossible to spot.

Clever spellcasters, alchemists, and rogues can trap or breed ochre jellies in surprising places.  Oozes have been found inside wood golems, graven guardians, and animated cauldrons—even encouraged with food (“trained” is too strong a word) to “ride” Large skeletons.  And the treant renegade Bilewood is known for vomiting ochre jellies onto unsuspecting victims who come to treat with him.

As a comparatively new race of constructs, wyrwoods (see the Advanced Race Guide) jealously guard their autonomy.  Many of their defenses involve pit and ceiling traps that dispense ochre jellies.

Pathfinder Bestiary 218

We’ve made it to the letter O!  And 200 Tumblr followers—thank you, ozzie-111 and rpguildhall!  Not to mention all the anonymous, typo-tolerant souls here at Blogger who I don’t give nearly enough props to.  Thanks everybody!

Don’t forget, I’m in a question-answering mood.  Shoot me questions, thoughts, things you’re curious about, etc.  Send me an email—to avoid spam spiders, I’ll type my address as dailybestiary [at] gmail [dot] com, but you get the idea—or a comment and I’ll do my best to respond here.

1 comment:

  1. I like weird ents. I remember Dungeon Magazine #207 having an ent named Silvermaw, who covered his teeth in molten silver and went around biting werewolves. Good stuff. He would be friends with Bileblight.