Sunday, February 3, 2013
Expanding the Clean-Up Crew
The monster categories I looked at in the last post (again, hat tip to Dave aka Sham), included the "clean-up crew": the things that exist in the dungeon and act as non-sentient hazards. These further split between the ochre jelly, black pudding and gray ooze - which are things reminiscent of the Blob from the movie of the same name - and the green slime and yellow mold, which are non-mobile but provoke immediate reactions from experienced dungeon delvers.
In the Monster Manual, as commenter Paride Papadia noted, a type of monster based on the dungeon environment comes up - the lurker above, mimic, trapper, piercer, roper and rot grub. All of these are added in the MM. Three others came earlier, in Supplement I: Greyhawk, the carrion crawler, gelatinous cube, and giant slug. I see the latter three as extending the "cleanup crew," particularly with the gelatinous cube being similar to the blob types. The carrion crawler explicitly competes with the others, while the gelatinous cube picks up much of the non-organic junk in a dungeon, making it a rich source of treasure.
It seems to me that there is a plethora of blob- and worm-type monsters, but relatively few extensions of the oddballs: the green slime and yellow mold types, which are more "pure hazards" than even unintelligent scavengers. One of the concepts I have for a monster expansion is to take this and align it against each of the "core" classes specifically; that is, dungeon hazards which make life difficult for separate classes.
The first of these is something I am calling dweomer moss. This is a moss which is normally quite harmless to humans and human-like creatures, but whose spores stick to the flesh and clothing of those who touch it or are in a 10' radius around it when it is touched. The spores, if not thoroughly cleansed, react violently when magic-user spells are cast, and cause damage and/or disrupt or change spells, sometimes quite spectacularly.
There will be similar things to make problems for other classes, including clerics, fighters and thieves. I'd love to hear how other folks are expanding the clean-up crew and other threats of life in the dungeon.