"The party finds themselves in the underground lair of an evil wizard. After some wandering, the fighter sees something floating at the end of a hallway. They approach the object and find a skull, suspended in mid-air, staring back at them. As the fighter reaches out to grab the skull, they meet resistance, a gelatinous barrier that quickly pulls the adventurer into itself."
Oozes are a classic Dungeons & Dragons monsters. With the most famous being the transparent, acidic, and cubular Gelatinous Cube.
But, what exactly are oozes in D&D 5e? What sorts of traits do they share? And, how can you use them in your game?
This article is a basic rundown of 5e’s ooze creature type for newer Game Masters to better understand these globular monsters.
Let’s start things off with what we mean when we say "ooze" in D&D 5e.
The Ooze Creature Type
Ooze is one of the many creature types in D&D 5e. The monster type comprises of different gelatinous creatures.
Basically, if a creature has an amorphous and gelatinous but physical form, it’s probably an ooze.
Page 7 of the Monster Manual describes ooze creatures as:
So, pretty much any amorphous creature with a gelatinous physicality qualifies as an ooze creature.
Now, oozes are not elemental creatures. The latter are born and draw their power from one of the four elemental planes while the former is just a goopy, animate mass. Yes, a water elemental technically is an amorphous creature, but it doesn’t count as an ooze since it’s already an elemental.
D&D 5e Ooze Creature Traits
Ooze creatures in D&D 5e vary in their design and purpose. But, they generally share a few common traits like their amorphous physicality and lack of intelligence.
One thing many oozes have in common is their gelatinous forms. A good number of oozes in 5e have the Amorphous trait which lets them move through a space as small as one inch without squeezing.
Not every ooze has this trait (the gelatinous cube being one of the more recognizable examples), but many, if not most, of these creatures do.
Another common trait of the 5e ooze creature type is their acidic nature. Many oozes deal acid damage or have the ability to dissolve either organic or inorganic matter and sometimes both. Again, not all oozes have this trait, but quite a few of them do.
Oozes also often don’t suffer from negative conditions. Specifically, they usually have an immunity against the blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, and prone conditions. This is because, while technically alive, oozes have an unusual physicality.
Since they don’t have eyes, oozes also have the blindsight trait. This means they can detect creatures out to a specified radius without sight.
Finally, most oozes lack any sort of significant intelligence. They’re mindless creatures that only exist to consume.
There are some exceptions like the fairly intelligent oblexes found in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, but most oozes mindlessly flow from one dark, damp area to the next, absorbing everything in their path.
Using Oozes in Your Game
Oozes often only get used as minor combat encounters during underground adventures or as traps set by villains in their lairs.
Given their relatively few options and lack of intelligent creatures, oozes rarely find themselves as the endgame villain or serving as the main boss of a campaign. You’ll usually use oozes as low-level combat encounters or traps.
Their lack of intelligence and sentience makes them ideal enemies for player characters to fight without feeling bad about it. So, they’re kind of like undead creatures, in that respect. The difference is your options are much more limited with oozes.
Some examples of how many games typically use oozes include:
- A gelatinous cube used by a cult that serves as a trap in a narrow hallway
- Gray oozes that reside within the ruins of an ancient and long-abandoned dwarven city, slowly consuming the decorative brass and bronze metals
- A pit of black pudding used by a wizard to dispose of by-products of their magical experiments
This all said, some oozes, namely the oblex found in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes have a higher level of intelligence. They’re still driven to consume anything and everything they can. But, they’re more clever about it.
While it’s a bit difficult to have oozes in 5e be a villain, you can use them as a sort of natural-ish calamity.
The idea being a plague of oozes sweeps across the land. No one knows the reason, but more and more of the gelatinous creatures invade the landscape, destroying crops, polluting water sources, and consuming the populace.
Yes, the party is technically combating creatures, this idea follows a more "man vs nature" theme. There is no central villain, just a bunch of oozes making things awful and goopy.
Oozes in 5e by CR
There are only a few oozes in 5e’s Basic Rules.
Wizards of the Coast has added a number of other ooze creatures in various sourcebooks like Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and adventure modules like Out Of the Abyss. So, if you want to pad out the number of oozes at your disposal, you might want to look into the additional materials.
That said, there still aren’t that many ooze creatures in D&D 5e. So, here’s a short list of the Basic Rules oozes in 5e by Challenge Rating.
- CR 1/2
- Gray Ooze
- Gelatinous Cube
- Ochre Jelly
- Black Pudding
D&D 5e Ooze FAQ
Are Oozes Alive?
Technically, oozes in 5e qualify as living creatures. They’re like large, cell-based organisms; they have not thoughts and seek only to consume. But, spells that don’t work on non-living creatures, like healing word for undead and constructs, still work on oozes. So, based on that, oozes should count as "alive".
What Do Oozes Speak?
Most oozes don’t speak any language in D&D 5e. Some more powerful oozes may speak Common or a few other languages, but your typical ooze monster can’t speak.
What is the God of Oozes in 5e?
The god of oozes in 5e is technically the Demon Lord Jubilex.
Summary of Oozes in 5e
That’s about it on 5e’s ooze creature type.
Many creatures with either a gelatinous or otherwise amorphous physicality usually qualifies as an ooze. This isn’t always the case (i.e. water elementals) but it’s a general rule to go by. Most oozes aren’t very intelligent and are driven mostly to just consume everything in their path. Because of this, most oozes deal acid damage with their attacks and dissolve organic matter, inorganic matter, or both. Since they’re creatures driven only to consume, oozes make for great low-level monsters or as traps. But, using them as the villain of a campaign requires a bit of creativity?
What’s your favorite ooze to use in your game? Or, what’s your favorite story encountering on ooze? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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