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Offline Minsk

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Intelligent Oozes
« on: April 02, 2005, 06:29:19 AM »
Hello everybody, I'm back with more stuff to share with you! This time I've got a new race for people's perusing. It'll be part of a setting that I am planning, but for now, here is the intelligent ooze!

 The ooze is a great oddity of nature. Apparently a stunted evolution of a one-celled bacteria, an ooze, jelly or pudding is an amorphous mass of organic material with absolutely no sentience. Though obviously a living creature, everything the ooze does is with unusual primitiveness, moving through the world with no purpose, only searching for food. To further display it's primeval nature, it's body is usually composed of acid and gastric juices to ease it's digestion, and it reproduces by merely splitting into parts.

 The intelligent ooze is the offspring of magical, alchemical or similar tampering. Originally the creation of a slightly eccentric gnome in search of a companion of equal intellect, and later made by other mages and alchemists who the gnome shared his discovery with, the intelligent ooze is a normal ooze that has been given a mind. Such a feat would be impossible without magic, but the oozes are living evidence of their creation.

 An intelligent ooze is, unlike its stunted cousin, extremely intelligent, articulate and inquisitive. They act and live much like all other races of the world, but their heritage is of course impossible to hide. After given a mind, the oozes are long in awe at how the world can be so amazing and filled with life and wonders. Many are overcome with wanderlust as they want to find out what they have been living without for so long. Usually an ooze is a good individual, as it respects life in all ways, having gained the opportunity of being part of the world. Intelligent oozes can only wonder at their futile and empty lives before being enlightened.

 But an ooze is still an ooze, and they are not regarded that well amongst the general populace of the world. Their shapelessness is highly odd and the slithering and slurping that sounds as they move is unnerving. The surface of their body roils and bubbles as they speak (another gift from magic). Their table manners are particularly disgusting, as they can't use utensils and rather crawl over plates and bowls and digest the food.

 But to those who know an intelligent ooze better, the ooze is a wise, witty and charming individual. They are very smart and learn things easily, and love the company of those who can stand them. Their voices are usually rich and deep. Usually, those who understand what kind of person the ooze really is, respect the ooze as much as it respects him.

 There are some limitations to the ooze compared to its mindless relative. To better help the flow of thought, the ooze's compound is thicker and more dense. An intelligent ooze cannot split into new oozes (which means that they cannot reproduce) and while they are amorphous to a degree, they cannot spread out and change shape as much and as fast as the normal oozes. Their acid is also less strong, a short touching of an intelligent ooze will merely irritate one's skin. The only benefit of this thickness, apart from great intellect, is that the ooze can manipulate objects, though this is limited mostly to pushing, pulling and thrusting.

 An intelligent ooze does not have a great impact on the society, as their numbers are limited and people generally avoid their company. Nonetheless, oozes who devote themselves to the art of magic make powerful sorcerers and intelligent oozes can also function as teachers, advisors or even in a more liberal religious position. Yet many rather travel the world to understand better the odd and beautiful place they've become part of.

Offline MoonHunter

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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2005, 09:58:27 AM »
http://www.strolen.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=6798#6798

These critters are more aggressive than your liquidmorphs, but perhaps they have had more bad experiences with mono-morphs.

Would oozes, as you present them, have anything in the way of material culture?  Would they need artifacts/ tools or even shelter? Oozes are pretty hardy lifeforms, except for the occasional drink of liquid and some organic matter, they have few needs. They are free of most of the concerns that drive people.

I could see oozes sheparding the local environment, so it would continue to produce "tastey" organic matter for them. So their idea of "farming" would be different than the orderly rows and yields of Human agriculture.

Perhaps the various kinds of ooze would live together... stone eaters shaping things, organic eaters and metal eaters defending the territory (and making things), and so on.
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Offline Minsk

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Intelligent Oozes
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2005, 11:42:39 AM »
Spooky beings indeed, Moon. Very nice!

 I wouldn't imagine an ooze to require much materially, because of their primitivity, they can survive in most conditions. The only natural danger I could come up with would be the Sun or extreme heat. Being mostly liquid, dehydration would be a bad, bad thing for them (I'm sure we've all seen what an earthworm looks like after sunbathing). Perhaps submersion in water could cause an ooze's form to start breaking up. For a normal ooze this is no problem as it is easily amorphous, but it might be a painful experience for an intelligent version.

 The idea of various oozes banding together and shepherding the land is a wicked cool idea. I could see various blobs of mucus dissolving the soil to bring up fresher soil from the bottom for seeds to grow better, which the organic eaters would harvest as well as a thing with no appendages could, while the most acidic ones would digest any large stones in the ground.

 However, in the setting I'm planning the intelligent oozes are going to be rare creatures and wanderers of the world to boot, so a whole society of the things would be unlikely. Then again, I'd imagine an ooze to be the most acceptive of its kindred, so there could definitely be some cooperation occurring. Besides, this is just my setting! Someone could make a whole Empire of Snot for one's own world! Come to think of it, that's a brilliant idea...

Offline Nobody

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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2005, 11:58:38 AM »
There are a few things that need to be inquired into. For one, can oozes grow in size. Theoretically, the more they eat, the more they should grow. And further, if they can grow, since they have no centralized intellectual center, then is it spread out over the whole body, or is it magical in nature, because if it is spread out over the whole body, then the larger an ooz gets, the smarter it would become.

Also, can oozes wield magic. What magic systems would an ooz be able to wield magic in. For example, if a magic system requires the use of hands and complex body motions in order to channel magic, the obviously an ooz would be unable to do so, however if all it takes to channel magic is the ability to speak the true language, then an ooze would actually be beter suited to cast spells because he would be able to make sounds with his voice that other races were unable to make.

Thoughts?

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Offline Minsk

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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2005, 12:20:51 AM »
That first paragraph of yours made some really good points, Nobody. I use the notion that though the ooze's mind has been given by magic, it still works as spread throughout it. Considering the points you made, I've thought of two scenarios.

 The first is that, indeed, the ooze's intellect increases as it grows in size. However, to balance it out, the intelligence boost could be more gradual than the shift in size. That still doesn't mean you should hope to win in chess with a blob the size of a house. =)

 The other, more evil fate would be that the ooze's intelligence remains as is... at first. However, as the ooze grows, the mind is more spread out with increased size and it would take longer for the ooze's thoughts to run. So, in theory, the ooze would start becoming slow-witted, then dumber, until eventually it might return to the ways of the primeval oozes. This could be very fitting with a dark fantasy setting.

 Because of the ooze's intellect, I assume it could learn to become a magic-user if it wished, unless the setting in question was one where magic was hereditary or something similar which wouldn't allow it to be learned by just anyone (though a genius ooze isn't 'just anyone', but you get the point). However, the ooze's magic use would be limited to verbal spells due to the obvious lack of limbs. It might be able to emulate some simple gestures with it's shifting body, like spreading out a tendril of slime to imitate a pointing finger, but generally the ooze couldn't do the fancy stuff. But I'd imagine oozes to want to learn magic, as it could make their lives a lot easier. Polymorph spells could make them less disgusting and levitating could help them climb over those d**n steep stairs.

Offline Phoren

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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2005, 03:45:25 AM »
Perhaps, rather than either of those two options, it's intelligence could grow the more it ate sentient beings. Eats lots of people: Intelligent. Eats none for a long time, dim witted. Like the classic Zombie cliche of brain eating, but applied to oozes and with a real purpose. Maybe it works by absorbing the brain mass of it's victims, or their essence.

Along this line, if you had an ooze that ate a lot of say... Cows, which are not the most intelligent thing on the planet, then it would be very large, but not overly intelligent. Conversely, a small ooze in a lab, cared for by a wizard and fed on the brains of many elves, typically seen as more magickal than most beings, could possess advanced magick and a high intellect.

Maybe as an ooze grew, it would develop a feeling of sadness, that it had to eat things with minds in order for its own to grow. Or it could develop a psychosis, believing itself to be superior for that exact reason, and other beings as nothing but food stock. Like the typical vampire on TV or the movies.

Even in a setting with hereditary magick, the ooze could still use it, by logic, since if it is devouring the essence or brain of a creature with magick, then it has a piece of that being, or possibly the entire area where magick is, either a spiritual thing, or simple knowledge and a particular defect in the brain, etc.

This has probably got to be one of the most random, but still logical posts I have ever made. I hope it helps.

Offline Strolen

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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2005, 09:38:21 AM »
Growing intelligence:

Let the ooze grow in whatever way, naturally over time, eating, through eating sentience, whatever.

But maybe the larger it gets, the smarter it gets, and the more immobile it gets. Perhaps there is an optimum size that the ooze is able to control its movement at an acceptable rate or even fast rate. When it starts getting larger and larger it is more difficult for it to move. At this point the ooze usually decides to divide itself at that point and create a sibling ooze or it is a natural progression at that point that the ooze cannot control. (I like that later) Just through the normal jostling and moving, at a certain large size, the ooze separates automatically, halving the intelligence of each of the 'new' oozes.

This way the intelligence can grow, but it does not become insanely intelligent just because it is big.

Of course there are oozes that this doesn't happen to naturally. There can still be many very smart oozes, but instead of being the norm they can be more rare and unique (just like adventurers are suppose to be).

Some, when they get to the point of intelligence could perhaps stop traveling and would have other oozes help supply them with what they need. Or perhaps they find a nice spot that allows them minimal movement while maximizing their resources. These could be the wise oozes and could grow to large proportions. Then the thought of where the knowledge comes into play as well I suppose. Perhaps there are some other races that have learned about the oozes ability to become infinitely smart and have a deal with an ooze. In a library or something, they tend to an ooze in the basement who they constantly read or bring books and food to it to increase its knowledge and use it as an oracle or something. Whenever they have a question they can go to the ooze who has absorbed all knowledge in the library or something. That is, until the city was attacked, the library invaded, and the uber ooze was jostled into an army of 1000 normal oozes all with equal intelligence.

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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2005, 09:44:52 AM »
This is one of your very best posts, Phoren. I can imagine a brain eating ooze as a very impressive *bad guy* You should create an ooze carecter.

Offline Minsk

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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2005, 01:57:48 PM »
Wow, I attracted the attention of Strolen himself. Moments like this make me wish there was a 'rock on' smilie. I'll just have to make due with this: ^-^ \,,/

 I totally agree with Cheka, the brain-eating idea is wicked cool. It'll make the oozes from misunderstood blobs to really evil (or self-loathing) creatures of destruction. They would definitely have potential for an unusual antagonist. Although, let's be frank: how many of you would take a bad guy seriously that looked like something out of one's nose?

 Strolen brought out exactly how I had imagined the brainy oozes to be like: the adventurers would be rare individuals who aren't insanely big fellows, while the larger wiser ones act as more of advisors or sages for other people, being gooey wealths of knowledge. The reproduction idea was also very plausible and works well with the notion of people not liking oozes: if the things are so vile, then people wouldn't create many of them. Yet the larger oozes dividing would ensure that there'd always be a small stock of oozes. ...unless one were to wipe out the big ones and hope the little ones never gain girth.

Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2005, 03:48:18 PM »
I dunno' about ooze villains... I mean, it's just kind of silly to have a vast criminal empire ruled by a giant pile of jelly, no matter how intelligent.
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2005, 06:14:22 PM »
It would certainly be a very surprising ending to a campaign,to have the main bad guy as a gigantic ooze which,when attacked,splits into several smaller and more mobile oozes.  :o

Offline Ancient Gamer

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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2005, 07:03:22 PM »
Here comes AG with his facist opinions on silly lifeforms (or his hard gained advice. You choose what to call it):

Spellcasting ooze...
Intellectual ooze...
Brain eating ooze...
Chess playing ooze...

I get "Men in Black" vibes... :shock:

My personal experience is that you have to be very, very careful when using "silly villains" (or "silly heroes" in your case) such as oozes, beholders (come on! A pulsating globe of flesh with eyestalks... pleeeeaase), cockatrices, etc...

In a roleplaying game which aims to be scary, serious or have a brutal, lethal feel, a monster taken "from the latest Disney cartoon" could be really bad. It would totally ruin the atmosphere! Of course if pulsating globes of flesh and translucent strawberry flavoured chess players is your kind of thing, rock on baby! (The last sentence was harsh, but is close to a comment I got from my players many years ago. They giggled and laughed at my "scary villain", the sinister ooze within some caves. They wondered which flavour it had and tried to make it edible with magic after slaying it. They laughed themselves dumb, but I felt dumber).

In a humor based parody game I guess Beholders and oozes are great. It is also ok if your players are young.

My question to you is: Would these oozes, slithering through the streets of your towns, be good additions to your setting? If not: Try to make them fit or drop them if you can't.
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2005, 06:21:18 AM »
You know,creating an ooze mafiaso might be interesting. Think of a giant blob with Al Capone's personality,emerging as the under world's most feared figure.
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Offline Minsk

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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2005, 09:12:22 AM »
...I wasn't serious with the chess playing bit, Ancient. :wink:

 Ancient has got points, an ooze isn't exactly an awe-inspiring bad guy. I agree that one such as an ooze wouldn't make a great lead villain. However, a brain-eating slime would be an interesting cohort or other break from the usual continuity. Of course, Maggot's "Blobfather" idea was possibly one of the greatest ideas since Swiss cheese.

 I'd try to debate how an intelligent amoeba is not otherwise a silly opponent, but if you think that beholders are goofy, then I can see that such a debate would lead nowhere. I was just attempting to take an RPing norm and trying to look at it in new light, my apologies if oozes were too light-hearted an idea. Much of my setting that I'm planning works in similar fashion (my current pet idea is taking the weakest race conceived and turning it into a superpower empire). BTW, how in the world did you guess I was also planning beholders for that setting?!

 Oh yeah, before I forget, here's a true story. Joking on an ooze pales in comparison to the Golgothan poo demon references galore that sounds when a bunch of players who have seen Dogma are introduced to the earth elemental. That was one of the better days when we played.

Offline Strolen

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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2005, 10:39:06 AM »
What about a hyper intelligent slug mafia underworld boss?


Noboby would call Jabba the Hutt silly. OK, maybe, but it is also an oozing blob that defies convention. Heck, The Blob was even remade twice and slime is the topic of quite a few SF films so many people don't think it a total dump of an idea. Overall, I wouldn't discount ooze so easily, I think it can be done but, as everything, it depends on your players and how you work it.

---------

Ooze eats brains...and replaces them taking over the bodies. Very rare and a special skill but known to happen. Ooze could be feared in the realm due to the fact that it is hard to kill and once it gets on you it is very difficult to remove. It is only a matter of time before an 'infected' person watches the ooze seep up the arm and towards the ear. People are killed if they get the infection and burned as burning is one of the few things that are guaranteed to kill it. Some try and lay in the hot searing sun but anything less then the desert sun doesn't do anything as the ooze can live off the persons own fluids and would kill the host in the process. The ooze doesn't want to kill the host (which I suppose could be any animal you think?) as it gives it added mobility. Can they talk through the body? Might depend on the intelligence of the ooze. They only last a little while in the bodies since they will grow rapidly in the lush environment of a host. So any tasks they wish to perform in the guise of the host must happen relatively quickly.

------

Put a hyper intelligent ooze inside a body and have that in charge of your underworld. It would have to change bodies so perhaps the identity of the leader is secret and grows as he changes between bodies, using the bodies influence to build up this ooze head boss. Maybe the ooze can combine as well, so these oozes that go out and take over bodies, after they kill their host, they return to the main ooze body increasing its knowledge.

-----

I don't know, the ooze is just d**n fun to think about!

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2005, 05:25:13 PM »
Well, that's fine, but here's what I think:

Jabba the Hutt makes a good (if not exactly fear-inspiring) villain, in that he is rather anthropoid in appearance. He isn't terrible, just disgusting and a bit off-putting, and it works well with his mafia-don vibe. In addition, a mafia don is not really the same kind of villain as a mastermind sorceror or something.
By the way, I do consider Jabba the Hutt to be silly. He's a giant stupid worm. C'mon! :)

On the other end of the spectrum, there is The Blob. The reason the blob makes a good villain is that it is a true monster- it is not certifiably intelligent, nor is it certifiably animal, but it is incredibly dangerous. The Blob is good because humans have trouble getting their minds around it- what is it? Why is it devouring the city? Why doesn't it die? Thus, the Blob makes a good "horrible monster" villain, in contrast to Jabba's "crime boss" villain.

But the problem with intelligent oozes is that they are in between. They aren't human-like enough to be some sort of crime boss or warlord without seeming utterly silly. But they are intelligent, so they are too human-like to be the sort of otherworldly monster that engulfs your village.
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Offline Phoren

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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2005, 10:13:59 PM »
Perhaps we're thinking the wrong way here. Instead of engulfing and devouring the city, rather than having the traditional human/gnomish/elven scholars, sages and merchants, replace some of them with the oozes, communicating with customers, peers and people by forming letters using a small amount of themselves on a sheet of paper. Perhaps some of them could be guards for the marketplace, since traditional ruffian weapons won't be particularly strong against them.

Mayhaps that really powerful wizard could really be a blob, using an illusion spell, and the players will never know until it fails. And if they think it silly, then use a few high level spells on some random encounter, and then they should quickly change their mind when they see it has just obliterated an orc war party just by looking at it, etc etc etc.

Offline Strolen

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Re: Intelligent Oozes
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2006, 05:32:28 PM »
I like this thread...not sure where to put it though. Scroll - Comments?

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