Formless spawn of Azoth
Part Cthulhuvian horror, part alchemetic elixir, the Formless Spawn of Azoth is an intelligent black oil, which can shape itself however it chooses. It is also caustic – touching it inflicts 1d4 damage.
Its intelligence depends on the amount of liquid gathered together in a single body: in small quantities it behaves like any normal liquid but a cube 1 foot high* has intelligence (and size) 1 (enough to attack and to hunt for more Azoth). A cube 3 feet high (roughly the volume of a stereotypical pirate’s barrel) has intelligence/size 3, a 10-foot cube has intelligence/size 10.** The maximum is intelligence 20: larger bodies of Azoth exist, but they are no more intelligent.
Its real strength is its ability to assume and hold forms. One of its favourite tricks is to masquerade as a labyrinth. A 10′ cube can stretch itself to form an 80′ corridor or two 20′ square rooms or any other combination of spaces and switchbacks.*** It will lure a party of adventurers in by making noises at the farther end, then continually add rooms in front of them, taking them away behind, until it has them where it wants them. It can hold small items, like door knobs, to augment the illusion. It’s also fond of masking pits and chasms. If prompted to attack it can collapse onto the party inflicting 1d8 damage per round to each person until the adventurers manage to free themselves.
And it’s a magical ingredient, a necessary component of the philosopher’s stone and a host of other magic items, spells and potions. Usually sold in very small flasks.
It is said that the great alchemist Agathodaimon worked closely with Azoth: he called it an indispensible help and the keeper of his memory palace.
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: you decide
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Hit Dice: 5hp per point of Int/Siz (note, unlike Int, there is no ceiling for HP)
Attacks: Siz 1-2: 1d4. Siz 3-6: 1d8. Siz 7-9: 2x 1d8. Siz 10-15: 3x 1d8. Siz 16-19: 4x 1d8. Siz 20+: 5x 1d8. Or “tunnel collapse:” 1d8 per round until you save vs Str -encumbrance.
It can be hurt only by fire or by magic weapons.
If encountered in a stand-up fight (a rare occurrence) the number of attacks it gets per round depends on its size/intelligence (see stats). These attacks take whatever form you like – long ropy strangling tentacles, mouths that spit Azoth at faces, great wallowing waves, stabbing spears, gloopy attempts to get inside the PCs’ armour…
It can move in short, fast bursts but can’t sustain a pace much faster than a running man.
If set on fire it will try to shed the burning parts to keep from being entirely consumed (save or take burn damage again next turn. Recalculate size from current HP. Quickly, now! No, sod it; just abstract to 3 basic sizes: initial, barrel size (when 15hp are left) and 1 cu. ft/5hp).
It is imiscible with water but avoids rivers because running water is inimical to its magical nature (save vs confusion/paralysis each round).
If it’s so smart, why does it hang out in places where PCs all come with torches? See 9and30’s “I meant to do that” for advice of/on genius. I reckon if it can it arranges for a strong smell of naphtha or open barrels of gunpowder or some other fire deterrent in the anteroom of its hideout. Anyway, burning Azoth is probably not at all good for you. The smoke alone. You make that up.
Why doesn’t it divide into many pieces to get more overall attacks per round? Because it would rather make the best decisions each round as the figh develops, and it doesn’t trust its less-intelligent sub-selves to do that. Maybe it also fears mutiny from some of its less trustworthy impulsive sides.
* 7.5 US gallons. or about an anker.
** Calculating volumes sucks, and a linear relationship between volume and Int would quickly lead to hyper-intelligent spawn. The Int/Siz rating here is a fudge for convenience’s sake. Anyway, all these numbers are rough. Wing it. The reason I’m sweating a bit about the size to intelligence ratio is that it affects the monster’s versatility and threat level. Something man-sized with human intelligence is trouble like Terminator 2, while something small enough to hide in your Guinness that’s still smart enough to cut the brakes on your car is a campaign all on its own.
*** OK, here we go with the volumes. It can encompass 8 times its own volume. So a Siz 5 spawn is just big enough to make a 10′ box, a SIz 11 could cover 10 squares of 10’x10′, Siz 12 can do 14 squares, Siz 15 could do 27 squares and Siz 20 could do 64. I know the surface area goes strange for differently shaped volumes, the reason it doesn’t get a free pass for doing a single giant bubble chamber with a high ceiling is then it needs more buttressing, OK?
Also in my Flash Gordon games this is secretly what the priesthood of Klytus are; man-size bodies uniformly possessing 15 Int. Individual priests are expected to return to the main pool periodically to share their experiences and receive new orders (something they are not always keen to do). They tend to be creatures of few words: compared with the hard work of talking, keeping the glass eyes and gold mask in place, even when asleep, is trivial.