Category Archives: Silliness
Okay, this is one run at “Three if By Air, the Game of Revolutionary War Air Combat.”
Written by Owen K.C. Stephens, Illustrated by Stan!
The final may play nothing like this.
Play on a hex grid at least 22 x 36. Each player sprinkles a handful of coins (no more than 20, no less than 5) across the grid for terrain. These represent things sticking up into the air–steeples, treetops, flagpoles, and so on. (Look it’s the 1700s, You are fighting HIGH in the air!) Center each coin in a hex. If an attack you be traced through a hex with a coin, you can’t make that attack unless an ability says otherwise.
Players — 2 Units — 6 each
Players — 3 Units — 4 each
Players — 4 Units — 3 each
Players — 5 or 6 Units — 2 each
Each player is British, or American. In 2, 4, and 6 player games, make teams of an even number of players. In 3 or 5 player games, it’s a free-for all (fog of war, and all that — the final game may include more factions such as Canadian Moose Dirigibles, Tidewater Steam Gliders, and Pogo-Armed Yetis, for all I know).
British players may have British or Hessian troops. American players may have American or French troops, but cannot have more French than American.
Make your units before play. You get 10 points. Divide them among these 5 attributes, which are used with combat characteristics, no more than 4 in any one attribute.
Offense: Used with ATTACK.
Defense: Used with EVADE.
Toughness: Used with HEALTH.
Speed: Used with MOVE.
Accuracy: Used with RANGE.
ATTACK: For each attack, roll 1d6 and add your Offense. If the value exceeds your target’s Evade, the difference is the damage you do.
EVADE: Each time you are attacked, roll 1d6 an add your Defense to see if you are damaged.
HEALTH: You can take damage equal to 2 + double your Toughness value. If damage would reduce you below this number, that unit is removed from play.
MOVE: Determines both movement order and how far you can go. Each round you can move a number of hexes equal to 1d6 + your Speed, to a maximum of 7. If you choose not to ATTACK, you may move an additional 1d6 hexes in phase 2. You can always move less than your maximum (including moving 0).
RANGE: Each round at the beginning of Phase 2 you roll 1d6 -3, and add your Accuracy. On that Phase you can attack foes a number of hexes away equal to this number, to a minimum RANGE of 1.
If you are AMERICAN, your units are Lightingrod Class War Kites. If on your first attack against a target your attack roll is a natural 6 (a 6 shows on the d6), you may also attack a second unit if it is within 6 hexes.
If you are BRITISH, your units as Beefeater Rocket Cavalry. You gain a +1 to attacks made against a target in an adjacent hex.
If you are FRENCH, your units are Hot Air Balloon Dragoons. When one of your units takes damage, it moves 1 hex in a direction of your choice.
If you are Hessian, your units are Trebuchet Infantry, lobbed into the air by ground forces each round. You may only move in a straight line each turn, and gain +1 ATTACk and +1 EVADE.
Each player picks one side of the map to begin on, in secret. All sides are then all revealed. If two or players pick the same side, and there is a side with fewer players having picked it, the players each roll a d6 (rerolling ties) and the one who rolls highest decides to stay or move 1 side clockwise to the nearest side with fewer players. After that, each other player in descending order of die rolls must move 1 side clockwise to the nearest side with fewer players until there is not a side of the map with fewer players assigned to it.
The each player rolls 3d6 and totals them. In descending order of those die rolls, each player places 1 unit within 3 inches of their side of the map. Proceed through this order until all units are placed.
Everyone rolls their MOVE. The unit with the highest move may choose to go first, or wait and go last. If two units have a tied MOVE, they may defer to one another, or write down their movement and reveal them simultaneously to move simultaneously.
The unit with the next highest MOVE then decides to go immediately, or go last (or next-to-last if the highest MOVE is going last).
Proceed until everyone has moved.
In order of MOVE, each unit rolls its RANGE, then attacks or moves another 1d6 hexes.
Proceed through all units, then the round is over, and go to Phase 1 of the next round.
If a player ever goes 3 rounds in a row without any unit making an ATTACK against a target in range, that player’s units are considered to have no taste for battle and retreat, and are removed from play.
If you have eliminated more than half of an opponent’s units, that opponent is eliminated and any remaining units are removed of play.
One side wins when all opposing sides have had all their units removed from play.
Carson pulled the twine tight, again. She walked around the enormous almost-sphere of the material, again. She pulled a new skein of twine from her coat pocket, and tied it to the end of the twine coming off the twine-ball. Again.
this won’t work, mortal
The voice was much weaker than he had been when she’d started. Good. A few more hours, and even she wouldn’t hear it anymore.
She smiled, and she began tugging, wrapping, and walking around the twine. Again.
“It will, Svarmag, thank goodness. While you deigoth can only be bound by unique memorials, they don’t have to be hanging gardens, or colossi.” She patted the oversized string ball affectionately. “Just, you know, noteworthy.”
they built the sphinx itself to bind me
Carson smiled. “And then Napoleon’s troops screwed up and let you out, I know. Though let’s be honest, if you were stored in the nose, you probably aren’t why they built the sphinx. I’d bet there were dozens of you stored in there. You were just the lucky booger who escaped.
this is not fitting. it is not permanent. it is no…
Carson felt a grin tug at her face. Oh, it would take some planning. A foundation, dedicated to the cultural impact of the ball. A little money. Some websites.
But yes. Svarmag would be bound in twine, Forever.
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I had a chance to sit down with the awesome folks of Nerdarchy at Gen Con 2018, and talk a bit about tabletop gaming, content creation, and the evolution of RPGs!
(And some thoughts on Starfinder RPG, Paizo Inc., 5th Edition D&D, Green Ronin, crowdsourcing, and more!)
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I haven’t done one of these for a while, so:
TOP TEN INEVITABLE GEEK SHOWS
10. The Southsons Family Park and Morty
Irreverent animated family comedy that riffs off more popular shows, while trying to create its own catchphrases and making all the same mistakes and with less original writing.
Look, Supernatural has gone on forever, all the main characters have died (most more than once), and no spin-off has been produced. So:
Young hunky gender-swapped clones of the most popular characters–Deanne, Samantha, Charlie, and Cassielle, try to make their own path and escape the shadow of their originals.
A reboot of the T-Rex Transformer as a high-functioning sociopath robot that solves crimes. Seven episodes over four years!
7. Mithral Girls
Linda Carter heads up this heroines-of-a-certain-age sitcom when powerful, confident women who saved the world in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s decide retirement isn’t the best use of their golden years.
6. Crowd Hoot
UNIT was disbanded for budgetary reasons… but not everyone is willing to leave the Earth undefended. Every time a new threat looms, rogue “Companion’s Companions” gather a different force of people who have traveled in a TARDIS before to deal with it. All under the direction of the mysterious mastermind “DN.”
5. Agents of G.O.T.H.A.M
It practically writes itself, continuity be damned.
4. Throne of Games
Political intrigue, sex, betrayal, and war as a single shared video game universe groans under the weight of Smash Brothers, Tekken, Mortal Combat, and Kingdom Hearts all fighting to control the Grid. The mash-up you never asked for!
3. The Mighty Crusaders
Heroes are big, in movies and on TV. Archie Comics characters are making a big push on TV and streaming. So doesn’t it make sense for the heroes originally written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to get their own show?
The Shield, Flygirl, the Black Hood, War Eagle (if the rights can be ironed out), the Shadow (again, rights), the Comet. The Crusade starts now!
2. Star Trek: Eugenics War
After the war, the records of what happened when got badly confused. The Eugenics War is now, and Khan is Earth’s last, best hope.
I mean, it’s worth a shot…
1. CSI: Brainiac
He’s stolen cities and destroyed planets to collect all the knowledge in the universe. But there are some unsolved mysteries throughout the galaxy Brainiac can’t stand not knowing the answers to. So the all-powerful artificial intelligence has gathered the best CSIs of all worlds and sets them to solve one mystery each week.
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Happy holidays all! Regular articles will return with the new year, but for now please enjoy this bit of silliness.
It was the Night before Adventure and all through the Party,
Not a Creature Was Stirring, their snores much too hearty.
No one on watch, they trusted a spell,
And if it didn’t work, their mage they’d give hell.
The steeds were all stabled, the familiars asleep,
The summoner’s eidolon made not a peep.
The rogue clad in mithral, paladin in full plate,
Knew the forces of evil would just have to wait.
When from camp’s edge there arose a loud scream,
Two boom, three zaps, and one laser beam.
“To arms” a knight screamed, to weapons they dashed,
Though the bard didn’t make it, his head was too bashed.
The wards all collapse, some hirelings did flee,
As a cyborg rust monster attacked us with glee.
“I won’t kill you all” it said in voice clipped,
“I’ll just rot your stuff, so your power is dipped.”
The adventurers all gasped, and considered the horrors,
Of loosing their status as bad-ass top scorers.
They rolled their initiative, and cast up their buffs,
And leaped up to engage in violent fisticuffs.
The monster did taunt them, and call them bad names,
As it used its evasion to dodge magic flames.
They stabbed it, and slashed it, and missiled it with magic,
Until its form was quite punctured, lifeless, and tragic.
The adventurers smiled, and kicked the dead brute,
For they knew in its lair, there was surely more loot.
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Sometimes things don’t go well in an RPG, and all the player characters die. This sad event is often known as a Total party Kill, or TPK.
But what ELSE could you call it, if someone asks you what your game was like the day after a wipeout?
TOP TEN ALTERNATIVES TO CALL THE GAME IF IT WAS A TPK
10. The ultimate validation of our sense that our characters faced real risks during gametime.
9. Teambuilding exercise to all travel beyond the pale.
8. Once-in-a-lifetime investment prospect involving buying a farm together.
7. Impressive group effort to push up ALL the daisies.
6. Six-way tie of the world “playing opossum” championships.
5. Story-driven opportunity for everyone to make new characters.
4. Achievement of biological function zero.
3. The “Last Stand of the Swiss Guard” memorial game session.
2. An involuntary change of the campaign to an all-outer-planes petitioners game.
1. Unscheduled playtest of the we are all dead and dying and not coming back rules.
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For more than a decade now, I have been collecting the most profound things I have written online.
Here’s a sample of more than 140 of the best examples.
“Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Goblins are the screaming, burning chaos of little minds.”
A rolling d20 gathers no moss… and delays the game until it stops %*#^ing rolling!”
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A clear, accurate, useful map is priceless.
Edition Wars were BETTER back in my day!
A fool and his money are a miniatures games company’s target audience.
A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. A gamer is the same, but also wants to tell your company with a decade or more of experience how you could do things soooo much cheaper.
A game worth playing, is worth playing badly, on the path to playing well.
If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I now understand why player characters often burn down kingdoms…
Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. At least then you know what bypasses its DR.
A house divided against itself cannot stand… unless that’s just step one of transforming into a robot.
A closed mouth gathers no foot. But with enough force, you can JAM one in there.
A good lawyer makes a bad neighbor, especially if actually they’re a superhero and villains keep dropping buildings on the law firm but some rubble crosses onto your property.
Editing (or being edited by) your spouse leads to a much closer understanding of each other… or divorce. There’s no middle ground there.
Theory: Sailor Moon is actually a were-sailor. She was bitten by a rabid sailor which is why she transforms into a hybrid scout/sailor form.
When you have a cat in your home, you MUST delight in every precious moment. Because one day you’ll wake up to a hairball in your eye.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Google Maps search.
*Absinthe* makes the heart grow fonder. Any other claim is a typo.
Moving is like doing homework so that you can exercise too hard in painful positions with the main reward being massive inconvenience.
What if you only lose your soul if picture’s taken while sneezing and no one says “bless you”? We’re one coincidence from zombie apocalypse!
It’s beginning to look like the term “testerical” may be my longest-lasting legacy. … I’d be okay with that.
A man cannot serve two masters. Well, he can, but it eats into Netflix time.
I plan to seed the ground above my burial site with caltrops.
So just LET my enemies dance on my grave…
I think Luke Skywalker has probably upgraded his prosthesis a few times since Empire Strikes Back. I think of that as my Personal Hand Canon.
I have no option about whether the chicken or the egg came first. I’m eggnostic.
I’m sorry the release date of the new RPG/Movie/Novel you were looking forward to got delayed, but…
I’m pretty sure my patronus is a fat badger. So far it doesn’t chase off dementors, but just kinda shows up and disapproves of them.
As a security measure, I like to keep passwords on post-it notes scattered around my desk. They just aren’t passwords I use for anything.
There are many ways in which game designers are like cats. Mostly, these are not related to being adorable.
Oh Fine. Apparently mixing dragons and turtles or dragons and lions is classic, but my Dragon Lobster is “dumb” and Dragolverinne “silly.”
If someone stabs you instead of crying out “touché!,” the correct response is to yell “Ouché!”
It’s hockey mask and machete, right? No wearing a human-flesh-face-and-chainsaw until after Memorial Day, as I recall Slasher Etiquette.
A man is known by the company he keeps. At least, he is if his company’s advertising budget is big enough.
A man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. His lawyer’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, either.
A man’s home is his castle. And the heating bills on castles are outrageous. I recommend renting a small fort or keep, instead.
“I’ve been trying to figure out how to attack this stronghold, but I’ve had to reconsider every plan…
“Of COURSE you have. What do you expect from a redoubt?”
A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. A college-level course can be catastrophic.
Honesty is the best policy… but honestly how many companies do you know that actually follow their own policies?
You can’t judge a book by its cover. Sentencing is even more complex, and allows an appeal.
Familiarity breeds contempt. Familiars mostly breed with fairy-dragons. And a few imps. Maybe a brownie.
All good things must come to an end. An unfortunate number of terrible things just go on, and on, and on…
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Or at least wash it off first.
Too many cooks spoil the broth. And is it too much to ask for SOMEONE to make a salad for table 7 if we have so many damn cooks?!
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or… isn’t broke? What if it’s broke but kinda works? What if it’s not but it’s crappy. This proverb sucks
Cleanliness is not next to Godliness. Unless your dictionary only has 7 entries.
You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Unless you use an ostrich egg. Then it just takes the one.
Keeps your friends close, and your enemies closer. “Prayer” only has a 40-foot-radius.
Birds of a feather flock together. Dinosaurs of a feather engage in sudden but inevitable betrayal.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Unless it’s bulletproof glass. In that case, go ahead.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The squeaky kobold gets a fireball!
Jumping to conclusions can be bad exercise. Also, it provokes attacks of opportunity.
Don’t learn safety rules on accident. I mean, that’s better than not learning them at all, but still.
The heaviest thing to carry is a grudge. Though it still doesn’t slow down dwarves at all. which explains a lot, actually.
One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time. Another is glossy magazine covers. A third is bad olives.
Your mind is like a parachute. Always pack it yourself, don’t wait too long to use it, and it’s better with a giant picture of Daffy Duck.
Dress for the adventure you want to go on, not the adventure in your zip code. As long as the adventure you want to go on is HR appropriate.
Labels are for cans, not people. Nutritional information should be universal. If you’re on a desert island you need to know who to eat first.
If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Also the forge, volcanoes, the Elemental plane of Fire, and Arizona.
It isn’t whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game. Although constantly losing may suggest you suck at playing the game.
Always get your ducks in a row. Then, one lightning bolt later, fried duck!
Wake up and smell the coffee. Because apparently you have the technology or contacts to have coffee get made while you are still sleeping.
A bird may love a fish, but where would they live? I mean, sure a houseboat, but let’s be real even most humans can’t afford a houseboat.
“Flopportunity” – A chance to make something that could be extremely unsuccessful.
“Evil Stew” – A thick soup made from everything in the house that is “about to go bad.”
Early to bed and early to rise doesn’t actually mean you’re getting any more work done.
“Like a bat out of a handbasket.”
You reap what you sow. Which means there’s a skull with a scythe and robe that’s quietly going around sowing the heck out of things.
You have to take the bad with the good. The facts of life. The facts of life.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but “You’re never too old to learn.” Which tells me the old dog’s teacher sucks.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. So you need two cakes, which explains the American obesity epidemic.
You can lead a horse to water. Actually, can you? I am sure a few of you can, but it’s not as common a skill as it used to be.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That’s just how the pyrotechnics spell works.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Play musical instruments as the place burns to the ground.
The way to a man’s is through his stomach. The way to a man’s stomach is for a facehugger to burst out of a yonic egg and mouthfuck him.
Variety is the spice of life. So it comes from worm butts on a desert planet.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Unless you are paid by the word, in which case for SOME reason, it doesn’t count. 😛
Two heads are better than one. Though an ettin is only CR 6 and a hill giant is CR 7, so maybe one head is actually better.
Too many chefs spoil the soup, but not enough chefs ruin the restaurant.
There’s no fool like an old fool. Well, except a young fool which, just by process of basic logic, we can determine has some similarities.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but less than three to pet their belly.
There is no honor among thieves. Which may be true, but my MAIN issue with them is that they steal things.
Strike while the iron is hot. It’s more likely to give into your union demands if it’s uncomfortable.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil, but the squeaky mouse gets eaten by the cat.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And bad intentions. And anything else the devil can get his hands on, he’s a pragmatist.
Rome was not built in a day. But it sure burned down fast.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The proof of the pie is in the radius.
Keep the home fires burning. That way your enemies have no place to sleep or change their shoes.
Practice makes perfect. I suspect that’s why so many doctors and lawyers think they’re perfect.
Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Which is why the Devil’s Advocate is such a good lawyer,
The pen is mightier than the sword. But not the vorpal sword.
One swallow does not a summer make. Which is either profound on a ‘winter is coming” level, or the tagline for bad porn.
One man’s gravy is another man’s poison. Especially with Vishkanya. Though “Vishkanya Gravy” sounds like a nasty euphemism
One good turn deserves another, but you’re just as likely to roll a 1 next turn.
Old habits die hard. I think they’re mostly worn by vampire nuns and you have to stuff holy wafers in their hems after you deravelcate them.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Which I think means all venturing is painful, according to that other proverb…
Nothing hurts like the truth. Especially +1 keen flaming truth.
No pain, no gain. Of course there’s plenty of pain that ALSO produced no gain, so fuck that.
No news is good news.
No, seriously, nowadays none of the news is good.
Necessity is the mother of invention. But does invention ever call? Ever write? Nooooooooo…
Money doesn’t grow on tree. Except black walnut. Those things are cash cows.
Misery loves company. But honestly most company is kinda sick of misery.
A man is known by the company he keeps. Unless they’re idiots and never noticed him.
Look before you leap. It’s nice to at least know where you are going to go splat.
Love is blind. Love makes the world go ’round. Which may explain why we seem to be headed to hell in a handbasket.
Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Because if your enemies line up for a lightning bolt, they quickly learn to spread out.
A leopard can’t change its spots. A cuttlefish can. A cuttlepard is CR 5.
It takes two to tango. Also, to flank.
Man does not live by bread alone. Normally he’s also near some other stuff. Maybe a chair, or a tree.
Good things come in small packages. So do evil things. Package size is a terrible gauge for moral value.
Don’t judge a book by its cover – there are critics that will do it for you.
Don’t cry over spilled milk. You’ll get your tears in it and make it salty.
Blood is thicker than water, and harder to get out of the carpet.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but the CR isn’t as high.
Clothes make the man. A woman probably made the clothes.
Beauty is in the eye of the generic non-IP floating eye-monster with ray attacks.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That’s what catapults are for!
Actions speak louder than words. Full-round actions, especially.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Unless it’s the heart that’s absent, which makes the body grow colder.
A watched pot will not toke.
A lion won’t eat where it sleeps, but a spider must. A spiderlion is CR 5.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or a teleport spell. Plane shift works, too. Or just summon giant eagles.
If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. Unless what you love is working, in which case apparently you’re screwed.
The friends of our friends are our friends. Except Arlo. Fuck that guy.
A single stick is easily broken. A bundle of sticks is difficult to break. A stick golem is CR 5.
War has no eyes, and justice is blind. Leaving both vulnerable to sneak attack.
If you use your wealth, it diminishes. If you use your wits, they expand. If you use the critical hit deck, you lose a hand.
The foolish build walls. The wise build bridges. The wizard builds a staff of blasting.
The idiotic speak. The wise listen. The rogue rolls for initiative.
Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. But you CAN tongue-kiss it.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, bring a cleric. And a summoner, preferably with one of the broken archetypes.
“If you wait long enough by the riverbank, the bodies of your enemies will float by. But writers don’t have that kind of time.
Can you imagine if dead souls had access to social media?
“Still in Limbo. Working off sins of things I did when I was, like, 8. Really??”
Hcum gnihton spelled backwards is nothing much.
The Black Pudding is not NEARLY as evil, NOR as moist, as the Ochre Bunt Cake!
People need priorities.
Arguing about a game online with people who don’t even play with you should never be at the top.
Go home spellchecker. Your drank.
Any popular game that has human interpretation of rules is inevitably going to have people bitch about how those rules are interpreted.
I am well aware that nearly everything I do could be done by a million monkeys pounding on a million typewriters.
As a result, my career is based in large part on flinging less poo than they would.
Mint absinthe. It’s the ghost of Christmas Passed Out.
“I kept thinking a shark fin was following me, but it was just a fluke.”
Never complain about anyone but yourself. And your dice. And fascists, because frak them.
A clean conscience makes a soft pillow. But so do the corpses of your enemies.
A smile is worth a thousand words. But for some people’s smiles, those are all words of warning.
Life is more than just surviving. That’s why we have refrigerators.
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So, we took a capiekie to the 4th of July gathering we went to.
That’s a cake, stuffed with a pie, stuffed with cookies.
It seems complicated, but making one isn’t that difficult.
The first step is always to pick complementary flavors. In this case, it’s a rum-glazed yellow cake, stuffed with a cherry pie, that is itself stuffed with chocolate cookies. Cream pies don’t work well for this. Sometimes, to see if it’s a good three-way match, I ask myself if there’s one flavor of ice cream or sauce that would go with all three dessert elements.
So, construction is in steps.
First, bake your cookies. It’s okay if they are only lightly done. Then bake the pie crust by itself, without filling, in a pie pan. Then make the cake batter, and pour about 1/3 of it into a springform pan. Then lift the crust out of its pie pan, and settle it into the batter. Then a layer of pie filling goes into the pie crust, then a layer of the cookies (just one layer—you can set the rest aside for a second capiekie if you want), then the rest of the pie filling. Then the top crust of the pie (just set it on, no need to crimp it or anything), and then the rest of the cake batter, which should cover the pie crust.
Then, cook as directed for a square cake, though realistically you’ll need to check doneness with a toothpick at the edge (since the center is gooey pie when the cake is solid).
In this case we went with a rum glaze, but you could frost it. Just… only frost the top. A capiekie’s sides don’t have a lot of structural support.
Then cool in the fridge overnight, and remove from springform pan after a good 12 hours of cooling.
Make sure you are taking this thing to a party. It’s not a leave-it-on-the-house-to-snack-on kind of dessert.
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Idea: Gelatinous Oozes change shape from cubes as they age, and gain special powers, based on their shape.
Gelatinous Torus: Gets increased speed and Spring Attack
Gelatinous Pyramid: Gets Spell Resistance equal to 15 + CR
Gelatinous Reuleaux Triangle: Gains the power of two other oozes, selected as random.
Gelatinous Apollonian Gasket: Can cast enlarge and reduce person, even on oozes, at will
Gelatinous Hyperboloid: Can cast haste and slow at will, and time stop once per day
Gelatinous Lemniscate: Gains the ghost’s rejuvenation ability.
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