Hi-diddly-ho, adventurinos! I felt inspired this week to do a short d&d one-shot Side Quest focusing on oozes and alternate dimensions that can be wrapped up in a short-and-sweet evening session! This one might make germophobic characters a little squeamish, so make sure your players are cool with swimming around in filth and ooze.
For those of you who are new to our blog, Welcome! We post a monthly Side Quest, which are short, free TTRPG encounters with corresponding maps that can be easily threaded into an ongoing or one shot campaign, allowing busy DMs to throw in a random encounter at the drop of a hat. Our Legend tier allows our Patrons to pick the game system, theme, and name a character or two in an upcoming Side Quest. We create a free adventure around their idea, and now everyone gets to enjoy this free D&D One Shot! Plus, Patrons receive a downloadable version of all our Side Quests.
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Short D&D One-shot: Presti-sanitation
In a world of exotic magics, it’s easy to take simple cantrips for granted. Mending spells fix broken goods, ethereal lights guide lost travelers around dangers, and minor illusions entertain and befuddle many. Few consider the cost of these simple tricks. When magic is involved, there’s always a cost. The winds of magic are fickle, and the cost of some cantrips come due. Perhaps there is a lunar eclipse on the horizon, a ley line flares up, or an ornery deity decides to cause mischief. Rumors flow about disappearances during trivial magical rituals, but few believe these audacious tales.
There’s a 1 in 20 chance when a creature casts prestidigitation that the caster and all creatures within 30 ft. instantly teleport to a pocket dimension of endless litter and waste. This is a land ruled by Juiblex, the demon lord of oozes. The only way to escape is to find the Shrine of Refuse and make an offering to the slimy sovereign.
A putrid green and brown landscape awaits any who arrive within the dimension, with odors of all kinds assailing their senses. Roiling hills of waste shift under a sunless sky while massive lagoons of filthy water flow beyond sight. The only signs of life come from oozletts (see Appendix) — tiny, colorless yet slightly prismatic oozes that congregate around trash piles and flee when approached.
Plane-shifting spells (such as banishment or plane shift) automatically fail. Casting prestidigitation causes all oozletts within 50 ft. to either attack the caster or merge into deadlier oozes.
Shrine of Refuse
Keen-eyed characters spot an unusual monument in the distance: a squat temple made of perpetually-melting sludge. An old, haggard-looking human man sweeps the oozing steps as the adventurers approach. The man is unkempt, wearing piecemeal clothing and little else aside from a worn broom. If the characters present themselves as friendly, the man introduces himself as Kalazar Zan (Lawful neutral human apprentice wizard), a wizard trapped within this pocket dimension of filth created by the prestidigitation cantrip. Kalazar answers all questions truthfully, as he is excited and eager to possibly leave this realm.
- He is cursed to sweep the steps of the Shrine of Refuse for all time, due to his experiments with oozes. He cannot leave the shrine’s vicinity nor enter the building.
- This pocket dimension is ruled by Juiblex, the demon lord of oozes. Kalazar has not seen the demon lord personally, but he fears that it watches him at all times.
- Oozletts come and go from the shrine, and while they have never hurt him, he has seen them merge and form larger, more dangerous oozes.
Kalazar can be freed from the steps of the shrine with a remove curse spell, but he remains trapped within the dimension alongside the characters. He joins the adventurers when they travel within the shrine.
No door blocks the shrine’s entryway, which leads to a long, winding tunnel ending with slippery stone stairs that lead underground. Creatures descending the stairs must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or slip on the stairs and suffer 1d4 bludgeoning damage.
The shrines’ malleable chambers have roughly 10-foot-high ceilings. The walls and floors are made of the same gelatinous material — it’s slimy to the touch yet surprisingly stable. Doors are made of thick fleshy material that stretches from floor to ceiling. There is no light within the structure. Each room contains 4-7 oozletts (unless otherwise noted) that squirm around the floor but ignore the characters unless provoked.
A short, winding tunnel leads on from the stairwell deeper into the next room. Multiple flowing pillars flood into the room yet never seem to fill the space. A fleshy membrane acts as a door to allow oozletts to squeeze through an orifice into the next chamber.
Membrane camouflage. The membrane refuses to open for any non-oozes, but it can be tricked. If a creature completely submerges themselves within one of the filth pools within the shrine, the door opens and allows them to pass. Creatures that drink or submerge themselves in the water of this dimension must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 24 hours.
2. Flooded Chambers
Liquid filth flows freely from the ceilings and pools on the floor below. 10-15 oozletts fill both the north and south chambers. Characters must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw to avoid stepping on an oozlett and drawing their anger.
Thin wall. A weakened section of ooze wall can be noticed on a successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) or Wisdom (Perception) check. The wall has an AC 12, 25 hit points, vulnerability to cold damage, and immunity to acid, poison, and psychic damage. If the wall is reduced to 0 hit points, a path opens into the spawning pool room.
Treasure. The corpse of a previous explorer lies buried in the muck in the south-east corner of the room. Spotting the corpse requires a successful DC 18 Wisdom (Perception) check. Digging the explorer out takes 30 minutes to exhume the body from the slime. Searching the body reveals one small leather packet containing 8 pinches of dust of dryness (DMG Pg. 166) as well as a sapphire carved into the shape of a sparrow worth 150 gold pieces. Anything else is ruined from the muck.
3. Spawning Pool
16-20 oozletts swarm along the floors and walls within this room. Characters must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw to avoid stepping on an oozlett and drawing their anger.
Treasure. Searching within the spawning pool reveals a sealed leather pouch containing three gems worth 30 gold pieces each.
4. Altar of Sacrifice
The largest chamber holds a stone altar with a copper bowl resting on its surface. Characters may make a DC 12 Intelligence (Arcana) check to recognize that the engravings on the bowl depict Juiblex consuming sacrifices made of humanoids, magic items, and oozes. Any creature that touches the bowl telepathically hears Juiblex’s voice — an unsettling mixture of squelches and hisses informing them that to escape his realm, they must make a proper sacrifice.
The sacrifice. The adventurers must provide Juiblex with one of three sacrifices to escape:
- Sacrifice of body: One humanoid creature must be reduced to 0 hit points while near the bowl. The body immediately dissolves into ooze and the adventurers instantly teleport back to their original plane.
- Sacrifice of magic: A magic item of rare quality of higher must be placed within the bowl. The item immediately dissolves into ooze and the adventurers immediately teleport back to their original plane.
- Sacrifice of slime: Oozes with a combined CR level of 6 or higher must be slain while within this room. The oozes begin to shine brightly as they die, covering the floor with light. Once the entire floor is covered, everyone within the room immediately teleports back to their original plane.
Oozlets as Familiars
With a little time and patience, dedicated magic users can train the tiny oozlett to act as their familiar. The caster must first cover themselves in the water of the pocket dimension or succeed on a DC 15 Charisma (Animal handling) check to convince the ooze to not flee. The caster may then perform the find familiar spell to secure the oozlett as a familiar. Oozletts lose their unstable form ability when becoming a familiar.
Tiny ooze, unaligned
- Armor Class: 13
- Hit Points: 12 (2d8 +4)
- Speed: 30 ft., climb 10 ft.
- STR: 7 (-2)
- DEX: 17 (+3)
- CON: 14 (+2)
- INT: 6 (-2)
- WIS: 10 (+0)
- CHA: 2 (-4)
- Damage Immunities acid, poison
- Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned, prone
- Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 10
- Languages —
- Challenge ⅛ (25 XP)
Amorphous. The oozlett can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Unstable form. Multiple oozletts may combine into larger, more dangerous ooze types. Once an oozlett merges, it can not return to its original form.
- 4+ oozletts → one gray ooze
- 8+ oozletts → one slithering tracker
- 12+ oozletts → one ochre jelly or gelatinous cube
- 20+ oozletts → one black pudding
Merge. The oozlett merges with other oozletts within 5 feet. This oozlett grows one size larger and gains 1d4 hit points for each oozlett added. If the combined total of oozletts is equal to or greater than the required number for the unstable form ability, the oozlett transforms into the appropriate new ooze.
Pseudopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2 (1d4) bludgeoning damage plus 1 acid damage.
I hope you all enjoyed this quick and dirty one shot side quest! Maybe next time your adventurers will think twice about using prestidigitation so casually. From here it’s up to you to decide if you want to create a deeper story arc involving Kalazar Zan, Juiblex, or anything else you enjoyed about this encounter. We would love to know if you use this Side Quest, so please drop a comment here on the blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Discord to let us know how it went! If you want a printable PDF version of this Side Quest, it is available (along with our other Side Quests, maps, and more fun things) exclusively on Patreon. Lastly, if you enjoyed this adventure, consider checking out our longer campaigns and map packets on our Shop page or grab another free D&D map on our Side Quests page.
Happy Side Questing!