# What is the ecological role of the common fantasy monster, the slime? [closed]

This was a sudden thought during the world build I'm currently doing. What is the ecological purpose of a slime?

Most monsters in a fantasy universe can be put into a food chain without much thought. Woolies eat grass, dragons eat woolies and I eat the dragon. But where do slimes go?

When killed they turn into water/ liquid and the closest amount of damage they can do is dissolve clothing so they can't really eat other monsters.

My question really is: where do slimes sit in the food cycle? And why?

• Control adventures population, otherwise they can procriate too much breaking the chain food – jean Jun 5 '18 at 20:28
• You eat the dragon? Are you sure it isn't the other way around? – That Brazilian Guy Jun 5 '18 at 23:03
• You're obviously royalty, then, because dragon is a meal for kings – can-ned_food Jun 6 '18 at 1:31
• @can-ned_food: But they don't eat us, it's a common misconception. They actually eat gold and treasure -- that's why they're always sitting on a pile of it. And here I thought they usually ate canned food and the horse it rode in on. – nzaman Jun 6 '18 at 11:07
• This really ought to refine what kind of slime exactly is involved here - a Dragon Quest style slime is a vastly different beast from a D&D slime which is itself vastly different from a slime mold - the concept gets interpreted in very many ways (hence, I suspect, the too-broad close) – Pingcode Jun 6 '18 at 11:35

### Cleaning Symbiosis

Slimes actually eat all the very little stuff that big monsters can't really touch and that they don't want to have on them. All those very, very tiny critters, the waste products, the little adventurer bones that always stick between your teeth...

That's why they aren't killed by larger monsters. Larger monsters would rather protect slimes as long as they are doing their job. And being pretty much mindless there is rarely any occurence of normal slimes acting up in any way.

They are living an easy live of eating away stuff from larger monsters, which is why they are delivered their food and don't really have to fight for it. No need to compete with each other, lots of food, being protected by stronger beings, ...

Larger monsters simply breed slimes to be mindless little critters that can't harm anyone, just like humans are breeding animals for different purposes.

That's also why it's so easy to kill them for adventurers. And why you will soon have stronger enemies after having killed lots of slimes. Be careful who you are making your enemy...

• In reality you have slime molds: non-mobile colonies of single celled organisms that eat the residual organic matter on rocks et cetera. Your slimes are mobile versions of those that eat the matter on other creatures. – Daron Jun 5 '18 at 16:15
• en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saprophytes – Willk Jun 5 '18 at 16:40
• Slime molds are mobile, they just move very slowly. I had always assumed the slimes from fantasy were based on real-world slime molds. – plasticinsect Jun 5 '18 at 17:14
• Slimes also breed by division, so they rarely differ more than 50%. And may often acquire properties of what they eat, so the adventurers can have a very nasty surprise meeting a slime that ate supplies of an alchemist or eyes of a dead cockatrice, or a small piece of elemental chaos. – SF. Jun 5 '18 at 17:43
• Sortof like pilot fish – EveryBitHelps Jun 5 '18 at 20:18

There are actually a number of different slime type creatures in fantasy games, with varying characteristics. The three main ones that come to mind for me are:

• Dragon Quest - Probably the most iconic slime, weak and fairly harmless these are probably the ones you are thinking of from your description.
• Final Fantasy Flans - In FF the Flan is actually quite a tough creature, basically immune or highly resistant to physical damage and only really killable through magic. So almost the opposite of your described slime.
• Legend of Zelda Chu Chu - A kind of mix between the two. Fairly easy to kill but later versions come elementally charged and require precise timing to avoid being hurt when you attack them.

You are incorrect about what happens when they dies though, they don't turn to water they remain slime or goo. I doubt this would have much dietary value, but it can probably provide sustenance to something. To my mind their closest real life relative is a jellyfish, and it turns out most jellyfish eat each other. I imagine it would be the same with slimes, stronger slimes eat the weaker ones.

But looking at the Chu Chus they drop goo which can be used for potion making in Legend of Zelda, so it makes sense that some creatures may hunt and consume them for some beneficial effect.

• Also, seaturtles eat seajellies. So: fish >O jelly >O turtle – can-ned_food Jun 6 '18 at 1:07

Some say that slimes were placed by the gods as a warning: slimes eat anything, even you. They serve no role other than that of theological education: they keep the greatest warriors humble. "For in the end, we are all just slime food".

There is another, competing theory that the slimes are the remaining protomatter from which we all arose, and if we go extinct, it is from the slimes that life will be rebuilt.

I'd think they'd be down around molds and lichen, largely making its own food, and not being tasty or nutritious enough to be prey for anyone. Jellyfish in the sea would be the closest comparison.

Their relative weakness, and appearing in great number make them a perfect target for budding adventurers.

• Except that jellyfish are quite unlike either terrestrial fungi or lichen. – can-ned_food Jun 6 '18 at 1:08