Confession: I have trouble keeping track of my jellies, oozes, and puddings. Which one splits when hit by an edged weapon and which one grows because of electricity? Does that one just dissolve organics, or does it corrode metal as well?
Last week, my middle school group broke into level zero of Dwimmermount, unwittingly leaving nice, gaping holes in their wake and paving the way for the first and fourth levels of the dungeon to be overrun by Kitherian slimes from that distant, jungle planet, so I knew that I'd need jellies a'plenty!
Rather than go back to reference books mid-session, killing tempo at the table, I grabbed an index card and jotted this:
1-3 harms; 4-6 helps
1. sickly orange // sticky // salt
2. muddy yellow // eats flesh // fire
3. putrid green // eats organics // water
4. vivid green // eats metal // scraping
5. scummy brown // eats everything but stone // electricity
6. slick black // eats everything but metal // roll twice
Each of the four times that they encountered oozes this session I tossed four six-siders to discover color, diet, and vulnerability.
Once I established results for a particular color, those results became fixed ... the next muddy yellow blob would have the same properties as the previous one ... so that the players could learn from their encounters.
Six explorers and one hireling entered the dungeon, making straight for the stairs down to level two. Before they even reached the headless statue of Saint Mavors, however, a scummy, brown ooze dropped from the ceiling upon Dilliam, the party's wizard (who was in the front rank of course). Rather than dissolving his flesh, the beachball-sized thing merely clung to his head, pulsing, bubbling, and stinking like rotten cucumbers.
"I grab it and pull it off!"
[one failed saving throw later ...]
DM: "Okay, your hands are now stuck to the goop."
Then Salren the Elf decided to help out ...
"I'll grab it and pull it off of him."
[another failed saving throw later ...]
DM: "Alright, your hand (and hook ... Salren is missing his/her left hand) is now stuck to the goo on the back of Dilliam's head. Brunhilda the hireling offers to pull it off."
[Brunhilda actually managed to pass her saving throw, so when she became stuck to her employer's head, she managed to yank her hands out of her gauntlets, leaving them dangling across his eyes.]
"Um ... I put the back of my head against the wall and scrape it off."
DM: "Salren is in the way."
"Okay ... I put my forehead against the wall and wipe it off that way."
DM: "Alright. [rolling a wandering monster check] Your forehead is now stuck to the wall."
"I pull really hard."
DM: "It stretches some ... but your neck is really feeling the strain."
"I'm going to reach into Dilliam's pack and take his spellbook. Do I need to roll?"
DM: "No ... no his hands are stuck to his head and his head is still stuck to the wall."
Salren then asks, "Can I cast Shocking Grasp?"
DM: "With your hands ... still ... you know what? Sure."
"Okay, I cast it."
I had Salren roll for twice the normal damage, but the dice were surprisingly merciful and Dilliam staggered free of the smoking ooze with one hit point left. I also had him permanently reduce his intelligence by a point and the group trundled merrily onward.
They dodged two other oozes and a strange dripping, bubbling sound before descending to level two.
They did pause to talk about how to sell some orichalcum pannels that they noticed, what they would buy with the money, and who would carry each pannel until Salren eventually pointed out that the panels were bolted to the floor and none of them had any tools with which to pry the bright metal loose.
Down on level two, they explored a half-dozen new rooms, encountering a carrion crawler ("hella-worm" in their lingo) which stunned Salren, and found a cache of ancient Thullian texts. Eventually happening upon the lab of a physick, the party tried poking random pills into the recumbent elf's mouth until she/he recovered.
Packs full of books, they trekked back up toward the surface, only to encounter another scummy, brown ooze waiting on the ceiling. Studying their map, the group decided to risk a dash under the slime rather than using their map to circle around to the long way ("We'll go really fast.").
It fell directly on Dilliam of course.
Returning to civilization, the gang was staggered to discover that the tomes and scrolls they had recovered were worth thousands! At long-last, a princely haul for our battered Dwimmermount delvers. The resulting experience propelled four of the characters to level two and Jager the Extremely Cautious Elf to level three!
The rest of the session centered on the group slowly realizing that platemail, which they can now finally afford, is awesome!