Black pudding (Dungeons & Dragons)
|First appearance||Dungeons and Dragons Set (1974)|
In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the black pudding is a fictional creature of the ooze family. It resembles a bubbling, heaped pile of thick, black, pudding-like goo, roughly fifteen feet across and two feet thick.
The black (or gray) pudding first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons set (1974).
The black pudding appeared in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) under the "deadly pudding" entry, reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). The creature was expanded on in Dragon #219 (July 1995).
The black pudding appeared in the third edition Monster Manual (2000) under the "ooze" entry, and the version 3.5 Monster Manual (2003) along with the elder black pudding. The elder sentry pudding appeared in Dungeonscape (2007).
In fourth edition the black pudding appeared in Monster Manual 2 (2009).
Throughout its long history in the game, the black pudding has been portrayed as a mindless, underground-dwelling scavenger which drags itself around caves and sewers and absorbs and digests whatever it finds. Like most oozes, puddings are mindless and thus neutral in alignment. Black puddings with increased game statistics were included in the 3.5 edition Monster Manual as elder black puddings to provide a challenge for more powerful player characters. These use the same descriptive language as normal black puddings with the addition of some foreshadowing to give players a clue that the elder black pudding is more dangerous, a trend in 3rd and 4th edition D&D to provide the Dungeon Master with simple methods of scaling a monster's degree of challenge to the players developed.
Usually black puddings, and creatures such as oozes in general can ignore some or all damage from weapon attacks. Often they penalize the player by potentially destroying physical weapons. Finally, a slashing type weapon attack can cause the black pudding to split into two separate, independently functioning monsters. Conversely, black puddings have either had a vulnerability to area damage spells, or no special defense against damaging magic, allowing magic using player characters to combat a black pudding more effectively than player characters oriented mainly to physical combat such as fighters or rogues.
Other types of deadly pudding creatures in Dungeons & Dragons have included the white, dun, and brown puddings. The only significant variation between black puddings and these other types is the terrain they usually inhabit: black puddings live underground, white puddings live on arctic plains, dun puddings live in arid deserts, and brown puddings live in marshes.
In the Dungeon! board game, black puddings were nearly impervious to sword attacks, but could be easily defeated by a wizard's fireballs.
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
- Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
- Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
- Richards, Johnathan M. "The Ecology of the Black Pudding." Dragon #219 (TSR, 1995)
- Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)