Support my work via Patreon.
Designed by: Richard James Errington
I’ve seen, and reviewed, a fair number of exotic custom races for Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve arched an eyebrow at many an odd concept, but playable ooze may be the strangest yet.
Despite its sticky subject matter, “The Molded: Humanoid Ooze Sourcebook” is a well-organized sourcebook with detailed information on a new breed of ooze called the molded. We’re given new subraces, backgrounds, racial feats, and even a whole mini-adventure starring the golem-like creatures.
The molded are magically created beings, not unlike golems. An ooze is put through a magical forge called the Grand Mold, and emerges as a sentient humanoid ooze several days later. Molded are typically created to be servants to wizards and other arcane practitioners, but occasionally they find freedom – or freedom is thrust upon them, and they set out into the world.
Molded are rare and have no real society. They also have no concept of food, money, reproduction, or morality. Role-playing such an alien creature could prove a difficult task, or a welcoming challenge.
Playing a molded means to play an extreme player race that defies most conventional balancing from the Player’s Handbook, officially published material, and many other custom sourcebooks I’ve seen. The ability score changes alone are bonkers: CON +4, CHA -5, STR -3, INT -3, WIS -3. That’s a total of -14 points for a positive four in one stat, a brutal tradeoff that seems very crippling.
To make up for it molded have several advantages, such as the ability to squeeze into spaces only 1 inch thick, base damage resistance to bludgeoning, slashing, piercing, and acid, immunity to exhaustion, no food or air requirements, 15ft of blindsight, and increased unarmed damage.
The subraces offer even more abilities and advantages, such as innate casting and boosts to AC and speed with very little tradeoff.
It’s always difficult to make a judgement call on balance without sitting down and playtesting. But just on the surface the molded look like an extreme headache for lots of DMs.
Molded are essentially immune to any environmental survival challenges that players may face, and squeezing through tiny cracks, while appropriately thematic, could be a nightmare for DMs as the party stops caring about locked doors. Playing as a humanoid ooze should definitely feel better but it all feels like way too much, especially at level 1.
I was much more happy to see several interesting racial feats. These feats do a great job expanding on the molded’s capabilities, such as removable eyes, and forming bladed weapons out of their body Terminator-style.
The second half of the sourcebook is comprised of a one-shot adventure, called A Sticky Situation, designed for an average party level of 5.
This is a welcome addition as I very rarely see custom adventures built into sourcebooks. A Sticky Situation involves an isolated wizard selling a bunch of molded. Through a rather convoluted turn of events, it turns out the real wizard was attacked and transformed into a molded by his lookalike (twin?) brother, who’s now running an auction and trying to pay off his debts.
There’s a lot going on in this tiny auction house, including an evil imp that may or may not be behind everything, it’s not entirely clear. While the adventure is well-organized into multiple parts and subheadings (as well as adventure hooks and summaries) there needed to be a few more details regarding the villain, the setting, and the sequence of events in parts two and three. The complete lack of maps or other visual aides compounds the problem.
The whole thing ends with a giant chaotic fight with a bunch of molded and the other bidders, including several orcs and a gnome with minotaur guards who tries to steal the Grand Mold. Hopefully this situation leans more toward fun role-playing rather than just a big combat encounter.
The adventure is a neat idea but could use a bit more work, not unlike the molded themselves. Attempting to transform a wholly un-humanoid creature into a humanoid player race is a novel idea, but I would’ve preferred less extreme traits and abilities to better fit with existing races.
- Detailed information on creating molded, including their creation, their society, and their traits.
- New molded background (with multiple tables) and several interesting racial feats.
- Included One-Shot Adventure that does a great job introducing the molded to any campaign.
- The molded have extreme ability score changes and borderline game-breaking abilities and resistances right at level 1.
- No maps for the one-shot adventure.
- Some confusion regarding NPC names and stat blocks in the adventure.
The Verdict: “THe Molded: Humanoid Ooze Sourcebook” provides all the secrets of the ooze, including questionably balanced traits, subclasses, feats, backgrounds, and even a one-shot adventure.
Support my work via Patreon.