As long as Dungeons and dragons the monsters disappear, the gelatinous cube may not be the smartest or fastest predator in the dungeon, but it has the potential to be one of the stealthiest. Reckless adventurers with insanely low perception are known to walk straight into gelatinous cubes sprawling through dungeon corridors, blending almost perfectly into their surroundings.
Created by Gary Gygax in the 1970s, the Gelatinous Cube appeared in the original Monster Manual. Gygax, was able to draw inspiration from microscopic organisms such as the amoeba. Its creation has since continued to appear in other popular media, such as Adventure time and Disney’s Pixar Animation Forward.
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It’s a silt
Gelatinous cubes belong to the Ooze monster family, which are usually amorphous drops that take specific shapes. The gelatinous cubes themselves are always cubic in shape, but that doesn’t mean their bodies aren’t malleable. They’re incredibly adaptable as they glide through dungeons, choke on hallways, and squeeze through openings.
Like amoeba, seeps engulf and consume prey in a process called phagocytosis. When moving through a creature’s space, that creature must make a Dexterity saving throw to determine whether or not it is engulfed in the Cube. On a successful save, the creature can choose to be pushed within 5 feet of the cube, but a failed saving throw can be fatal for lower-level creatures.
When engulfed, the creature immediately becomes restrained and takes 3d6 acid damage. Additionally, the creature begins to suffocate, and at the start of the Cube’s turn, it continues to try to dissolve its prey by dealing 6d6 acid damage until the creature escapes. As the cube moves, the engulfed creatures move with it. They also have pseudopodic tentacles which they can use to perform melee attacks, and on a successful hit they deal 3d6 acid damage.
Most oozes are pretty dumb
Since Seeps don’t have a brain, Gelatin Cubes aren’t smart monsters. They have an Intelligence score of 1 and -5 on any saving throw that requires them to use their absent brain. The lack of intelligence, however, does not make them any less dangerous, especially for inexperienced adventurers. With a remarkably high build of 20, their slimy forms are more than equipped to make up for their lack of intelligence. In fact, their lack of normal physiology provides them with immunities against things like charm, fear, deafness, and exhaustion. Also, due to their size and nature, they cannot be knocked out.
The gelatinous cubes are also translucent, which means they can hide in plain sight, stretching their bodies through a dungeon corridor to wait for unsuspecting adventurers to fall into them. It takes a DC 15 Perception check to spot a Cube that hasn’t moved or attacked, and those that fail to see it face a surprise round of combat when entering it.
Gelatinous cubes are blind
Gelatinous cubes have neither eyes nor ears, which means they cannot see or hear what is right in front of them. Lucky for them, they have Blindsight, which means they don’t really need eyes to see where they’re going or ears to smell what they’re looking for. Instead, they use their perception to find their way, detecting objects and creatures up to 60 feet away and initiating their slow, slow wander in the direction they want to go.
However, the gelatinous cubes move very slowly, so it’s not difficult to get away from them, especially for those with a decent head start. The problem is, since they’re not always easy to see, many adventurers join them without realizing it until it’s too late. With this surprise advantage, a party member could be swallowed up before anyone knows what is going on.
Where do baby cubes come from?
Gelatinous cubes reproduce asexually or by budding. Some cubes can split into two cubes of equal size, while others have buds which, when cut, can grow into a whole new cube. These little cubes are left unattended where they are cut and must fend for themselves. In some cases, they are actually reabsorbed by the parent cube the next time it spills into the area, but those that are not reabsorbed feed on small organic compounds that cross their paths, eventually becoming a gelatinous cube of normal size.
“Adult” gelatinous cubes may merge with other cubes to become massive, but such a merger is only temporary, lasting only a few days before the two separate again and continue with their individual lives.
Look at all that booty
Many seasoned adventurers will be happy to tackle a gelatinous cube, sometimes even looking for them to destroy them and pick up any loot they drop. Depending on the creature’s age and size, an adult cube could potentially carry years of parts, weapons, armor, amulets, shields, icons, and skeletons as they don’t digest than organic matter.
Their highly acidic digestive fluids are only able to break down organic matter, such as plants, animals, and humanoids. Everything they consume stays in the Cube, traveling with it wherever it goes. Since the loot is fully cushioned in the mud, this doesn’t make the gelatinous cube noisy as it moves. Still, the creature can’t make its findings invisible, so seeing a bunch of skeletons and armor hanging in the air is a good clue that the party is about to stumble upon a gelatinous cube.
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