Star-Runner Chronicles Monster Manual, Entry #5: The Sludge Monster

            There are many species of monsters which stalk the lands of The Star-Runner Chronicles world. In the swamps, bayous, and wetlands of the world lurks the sludge monster. Halfway between single-celled organism and multi-cellular creature, it slinks its way through moist regions single-mindedly foraging for food. Join us as we discover more about this dim—but dangerous—lifeform

Sludge-Monster-Portrait

The sluuuudge monster! The sluuuudge monster! The sluuuuuuuuuuuudge mon-ster!

Sludge Monster Fast Facts

Creature Type: Slime
Elemental Type: Water/Herb
Elemental Weakness: Non-Elemental—Chi branch
Size: 2 to 20 feet tall
Weight: 3 to 3,000 pounds
Defense: High
Strength: High
Speed: Low
Magic: None
Habitat: Swamps, Bayous, Wetlands, Sewers
Diet: Meat, assorted plants, and feces
Subspecies: Green Sludge Monster, Brown Sludge Monster, Black Sludge Monster, Mottled Sludge Monster
Most Applicable Tropes: Blob Monster, Obliviously Evil

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            The sludge monster, one of the most grotesque and gloopy denizens of the damp. They are a known hazard to travelers in swampy areas because of their indiscriminate appetite for all things organic. But, are these creatures truly mindless or in actuality malicious?

Appearance and Anatomy

            The Sludge monster looks much like a brown, muddy green, black, or multiple-mucky-colored mass of opaque, lusterless slime. They range in size from a two-foot-tall pile of goo to the rare twenty-foot-tall monstrosity of muck. They possess no eyes, mouth, or any appendages whatsoever, and move in the same fashion as an amoeba—one pseudopod extending and pulling the body along to its position, then being reabsorbed into the main mass as the next one extends forward.

            Sludge monsters have no teeth, claws, or internal organs. Instead, much like a slime mold, they are composed of multiple microorganisms living as one loosely organized mass. The sludge that they produce helps to keep the microbe colony together, and also contains digestive enzymes which slowly break down their food once it has been engulfed. These enzymes are, luckily, not so powerful as to begin dissolving skin or hair on contact and cannot eat through metal or plastic armor, so most adventurers can be engulfed but still have a reasonable chance of being rescued. The main danger of being engulfed by a sludge monster is suffocation. The mass will not infiltrate a live body, but will cover the mouth and nose to cut off its prey’s air supply. So, it is recommended that if one is ever engulfed by a sludge monster, one should take a deep breath and hold it before the nose and mouth are drawn in instead of wasting one’s breath screaming.

Diet

            Sludge monsters are omnivores, and will eat anything organic—plants, animals, dead leaves, carrion, rotting garbage, even feces. They are not very aggressive hunters, however, and actually prefer stationary or very slow-moving meals. For instance, they will pursue a turtle on land, but once the little guy hits the water, the sludge monster will not follow far because their swimming speed is just too quick to bother with.

            They also have an aversion to fae, fae-beasts, anyone with fae or fae-beast blood, and anyone or anything infused with fae or fae-beast magic. This is why, when traveling through sludge monster territory, it is generally recommended to wear fae-enchanted armor if at all possible…especially when traveling alone. No one knows quite why they dislike all things fae, since fae and fae-beast magics are no more effective than most other types of magic against them. One old folktale suggests, however, that the first ever sludge monster broke a pixie’s wing and he got even by tormenting it with his nastiest tricks for a whole century to teach it the proper respect. As silly as it sounds, that’s the best explanation anyone has come up with so far.

Habits

            Sludge monsters, for all the danger they pose to unwary travelers, are actually quite lazy. They do not have the intelligence to understand concepts like “danger” or “fear”…or any emotion at all, really. They only know “food” and “not food.” They eat to live and live to eat—rinse and repeat until dead.

            Though thousand-pound sludge monsters have been found and reported, they commonly don’t top fifty pounds, and only every few decades is a two-hundred-pounder ever discovered. Larger, heavier sludge monsters are generally the result not of their natural life cycle—their reproductive cycle consists of a small clump of microbes breaking away from a larger sludge monster when it reaches one hundred to one hundred and fifty pounds. Instead, they come to be due to an over-abundance of food in an area. When sludge monsters sense that there is a high concentration of food in their habitat, they will merge together into a larger organism to better take advantage of the bounty. The only thing that can stop a sludge monster of this size is to take its food away or kill it.

            Speaking of killing a sludge monster, due to their composition and their alignment with both the water and herb elements, they are notoriously hard to kill. Elemental magic does little to stop them, and melee and ranged weapons barely scratch them. They only seem to be seriously harmed by one type of non-elemental magic—chi magic. Why this is, no one is certain, but it is theorized that since chi magic directly manipulates the magical energy within the user and/or target’s body, it interferes with the connections between the individual organisms which make up a sludge monster colony, thus causing confusion and cell death when they are hit with it directly. No one has tested this in the lab as of yet, however, because sludge monsters are difficult to contain and chi users are more often practical mages than experimental mages.

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            That’s it for this week, folks! Join us next week when we learn all about the notorious man-eating bush! If you’re new, feel free to archive binge here on the blog. If you liked this article, others under the Monster Manual and Magic categories might be right up your alley. Also, be sure to check out a free sample of The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner (.mobi for Kindle, .epub for basically every other device including Nook, Kobo, PC, and iPad) or Wolfie Star-Runner Plays with Hellfire (.mobi, .epub), and grab the books from Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo if you enjoy them. You can also check me out on Twitter at @DanielleVFreman or poke around my Pintrest page if social media is your thing.

            Already read the books or a sample? Don’t forget to tell the world what you thought with a rating or review on Goodreads, Shelfari, the aforementioned fine retailers’ websites, or on Twitter with the hashtag #WolfieSRImpressions (.gif, meme, and emoji reactions accepted). Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you again next week!

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About starrunnerworld

I'm an independent author who specializes in Fantasy and Sci-Fi.
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