Eldritch Excursion – Winners and Oozers

Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the place where I examine the intersections of flavor and mechanics as they perfectly meld together into a gelatinous, wriggling pile of roleplaying sludge. Yum. My last couple of blogs were heavier on the flavor, so today I’d like to offer something that’s a lot more focused on mechanics. But first, a brief examination of one of my favorite parts of Pathfinder: the oozemorph.

Let’s start with the first edition oozemorph. It’s flavorful. It’s unique. It changes the way you interact with the game world. It’s basically a taste of second edition’s Versatile Heritage system years before we’d get to see it formerly implemented. It’s also an objective downgrade for your character’s effectiveness and I couldn’t care less.

In contrast, consider the second edition oozemorph. It’s an archetype that any character can take. It builds up slowly, increasing in its penalties and unusual effects over time. It’s less disruptive to the other aspects of your character. Perfectly functional. It’s also very different from what made me fall in love with it in the first place.

You’re thinking what I’m thinking, right?

Oozemorph (Rare Heritage)
Your physical form is unstable and prone to melting into a gelatinous state. Whether it be from an aberration in your lineage, a persistent curse, or an esoteric offshoot of traditional druidism, your manifestation marks you as what’s commonly referred to as an oozemorph. Your base form becomes that of an ooze. In this form you cannot speak, cannot use weapons, shields, or other held items, nor can you use any actions that have the manipulate trait.
While in your ooze form, you gain a pseudopod attack. Your pseudopod deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage and has the agile, finesse, and unarmed traits, and is in the brawling weapon group. You gain the ooze trait in addition to the traits from your ancestry. You gain the Change Shape ability (see below). You can choose from oozemorph feats and feats from your ancestry whenever you gain an ancestry feat.

Change Shape [one-action]
(occult, oozemorph, polymorph, transmutation)
Frequency a number of times per day equal to your level
You change from an ooze shape to a form based on a normal member of your ancestry. This form has a specific, persistent appearance. Maintaining this shape is taxing; for each hour beyond the first that you remain in this form, you must succeed at a Fortitude save at a DC that’s Hard for a character your level or revert back to your ooze shape. After the fourth hour, it becomes a Very Hard DC until you revert back to your ooze shape.
Special: If you gain the ability to change shape from your ancestry or an ancestry feat, it is now limited in uses and shares the same uses per day as this ability. It also requires hourly Fortitude saves to maintain.

Ancestry Feats
The following feats are available to oozemorph characters.

Druidic Attunement                     Feat 1
Your ooze form is not the result of some curse or corruption, but instead the culmination of your natural connection to the world. You gain the druid dedication feat; if you’re already a druid, you instead gain a 1st level druid feat of your choice. Your Change Shape ability loses the occult trait and gains the primal trait. If you violate the druid’s anathema, you also lose access to your Change Shape ability until you conduct an atone ritual.
Special: This feat may only be taken at 1st level and cannot be retrained.

Morphic Weapon                     Feat 1
You’ve learned how to shape part of your mass into a deadly weapon. When you select this feat, you gain a morphic weapon attack that deals 1d4 piercing damage and has the agile and finesse traits; one that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage and has the shove trait; or one that deals 1d6 slashing damage and has the sweep trait. Each of these unarmed attacks is in the brawling weapon group. You may spend an action with the transmutation trait to manifest or reabsorb this weapon while in your ooze form or while in a form granted by your Change Shape ability.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Each time you do, select a new attack from the options above.

Ooze Empathy                     Feat 1
You have a natural affinity for slimes and oozes. You can ask basic questions of, receive basic answers from, and use the diplomacy skill with oozes (and other amorphous creatures, if the GM allows) even while in your ooze form. In most instances, oozes will give you time to make your case.

Clinging Slime                     Feat 5
Your slime is particularly adhesive and capable of carrying your gelatinous body. You gain a climb speed of 15 feet in your ooze form. You may take a single action with the transmutation trait and spend a daily use of your Change Shape ability to coat yourself in adhesive slime, granting this climb speed in any form for one minute.

Resilient Mass                     Feat 5
Your amorphous physiology is difficult to discern and even harder to exploit. You gain resistance to precision damage and critical strikes equal to your level; if this resistance is greater than the critical strike’s extra damage, it reduces the extra damage to 0 but doesn’t reduce the attack’s normal damage.

Fluidic Body                     Feat 9
You gain a better understanding of your shapeshifting abilities and are no longer limited to taking the shape of your own ancestry. When you Change Shape, you may gain the effects of a 2nd level humanoid form.

Malleable Weapons                     Feat 13
Prerequisites Morphic Weapon
You gain a more precise control over your natural weapons, allowing you to improve their capabilities. Increase the damage die size of your morphic weapon and pseudopod attacks by one step. You may take a single action with the transmutation trait and spend a daily use of your Change Shape ability to shift your morphic weapon between the three available choices.

Master of Mass                     Feat 17
Prerequisites Fluidic Body
Your continued use of your shape shifting abilities has spurred a rapid growth in sheer size that also expands your shape shifting capabilities. While in your ooze form, you constantly gain the effects of enlarge. When you use Change Shape, you may gain the effects of a 5th level humanoid form.

And that’s my rough take on the oozemorph as a Versatile Heritage. I think it captures the spirit of that wonderful (if janky) first edition incarnation without stepping on the toes of the new version. Heck, you could take both. If you’re interested in giving this a shot in your home game, or you’ve got some critique and suggestions, feel free to drop a comment and let me know. I love feedback on this kind of stuff!

Nate Wright

Hey there. I'm Nate Wright, author of the Eldritch Excursion blog. I'm also a credited freelance author on several releases from Paizo. When I'm not scooping up my thoughts and slapping them onto your feed like so much delicious ice cream, I can be found on social media where I retweet pixel art and talk about how great summoners are.