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I’m back with a question about the monsters of Algennon, a fantasy setting full of magic and danger. This question is about a member of the Pudding family (sluglike creatures that vary greatly in natural weapons): the Licorice Pudding, a dark purple slug monster covered in tentacles it can electrify and use to kill prey. It evolved on the rocky shores of the Chalcanthite Sea, slightly aided by the transmutation magic and selective breeding of the Fomorians, who I’ll describe better another day soon. Anyway, the Licorice Pudding, like its peasoupy brethren, has a distinct smell (of licorice in this case), is the size of a human head, and has two small eyes and a few mouth tentacles. Another ability, like Peasoupers, is the power to spawn from water, in this case water that has been struck by lightning. Storms are pretty common on the Chalcanthite Shore, so some days you will see Licorice Puddings crawling out of the seas in droves. Due to the Fomorian’s meddling, Licorice Puddings are more aggressive than normal and seek out settlements to torment in the standard ways (eating their food, electrocuting their militia, and causing electrical fires). So, with all the criteria in this question, what’s the best way for medieval people to defend their settlements against Licorice Puddings? Keep in mind I’m not asking for an actual military plan, because that would vary based on the settlement, number of Puddings, and all that stuff. I need a strategy that will work on all Licorice Puddings.

Extra criteria:

  • Licorice Puddings rarely organize with others of their kind, but strangely, will often join in groups with other Puddings.
  • They eat mostly plants in the wild, but will eat any food that people prepare just to spite them.
  • A Licorice Pudding can put out 500 volts, which can cause severe burns, internal injury, and cardiac arrest.
  • The people of Algennon have medieval technology. The most advanced creation is a rudimentary printing press, which has no use in direct warfare. Answers must fit with the technology level.
  • They can’t move super fast, and at their quickest can move 10 km/h.
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    $\begingroup$ What's wrong with hunting parties after storm, people pinning them to the ground with a sharp stick, then collecting them for the cooking pot? Do they move fast? What do they taste like? $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2023 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ What makes one answer better than another? (questions that lead to all answers having equal value are prohibited.) What ideas have you had and why didn't they work? What resources do the settlers have? What tools, weapons, and technology? How many settlers? What frequency the attacks? How many puddings per attack? Are they nocturnal? Keep in mind that "what's the best X?" questions are frequently closed because "best" is entirely subjective and circumstantial. Are there any trained fighters among the settlers? What's stopping you from answering this yourself? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 17, 2023 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @AngryMuppet depends on how you cook them. Boiled, they taste like rubbery fennel. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2023 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ The way I would design such a monster, it would be unintelligent and very slow moving (not 10 km/h) because you said it is a slug. It would be able to climb walls (because slug). It would move under cover of night (hard to see because dark purple) and sneak into people's homes to kill them. It would avoid open lines of sight, preferring sewers, alleys, and crevices. A thick ring of salt around the settlement or around any camp would be a mostly effective defense, as would keeping doors windows and chimneys sealed. Of course, your monster is nothing like this, and that's too bad. $\endgroup$
    – causative
    Jan 17, 2023 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Jobah_HigherMind Kudos for using the correct plural of octopus! $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2023 at 22:27

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Ah yes, the "what would a medieval person do?" kind of question. Those woodworkers, masons, and even everyday folk got up to some pretty fabulous stuff. These puddings, while unique, could be easily handled.

Passive Defenses

This could mean walls, grates, and even just pointy sticks. Walls can be vertical but also include overhangs and all sorts of slopes. Masons (and carpenters) were more than capable of creating intricate structures. Sure, slime monsters can climb some surfaces, but it is worth testing out how well they can climb. Is 5 feet of vertical wall too much for them? What about 5 feet upside down? What about a bendy wicker "skirt" halfway up the wall?

Additionally, these slimes, like all creatures, will need something firm to adhere/hold on to when climbing a slope, so a simple sand or mud bank may be enough to foil these pests. Defenses could also be as simple as muddy ditches with retractable bridges. That is frequently what castle moats were!

An enterprising person may even find out that these things do not like salt, lye, or another easily obtained medieval chemical. If so, the tanners' guild (or night soil guild) may have a fun new product to sell to towns!

It could also be possible that sand and other dry, particulate matter can coat and dry out these puddings. Cats do a similar thing with litter and sand. It would not be hard (especially in a coastal area) to have dry sand embankments.

Active Defenses

This is for when a pudding is "in your face." Consider that most non-sword weapons are hafted with wood, and you can see how simple shovels and even sticks could be used to gather and fling these pests away.

Depending on the prevalence of puddings, special implements may come about. Maybe an extra long handled shovel or something like an extra-wide-mouthed traditional lacrosse sick can allow a peasant to safely handle these creatures.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great job keeping the technology level as a main part! Keep in mind, however, that Licorice Puddings spawn from any water that has been struck by lightning. If your village’s well system is connected to a river that extends into open air, Licorice Puddings will likely be able to infiltrate your outer defenses. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2023 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Jobah_HigherMind well may be defended with a piece of fancy technology that I like to call "a lid". $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2023 at 20:29
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You said that Licorice Puddings can eat anything (even though they prefer plants), meaning that they are omnivorous. I have following plan: Initially people catch several Licorice Puddings and place them in some kind of enclosed area. In order to avoid starvation Licorice Puddings start eating each other. Wait until only one Licorice Puddling survives. Hopefully the survivor is tough and acquires taste for flesh of other Licorice Puddings. Repeat the procedure until you have enough of cannibalistic Licorice Puddings. Keep them separated, so they won't kill each other, and periodically feed them. In case of invasion by their wild non-cannibalistic cousins, release said tamed cannibalistic Licorice Puddings.

Inspiration for my answer (ends at 0:56): https://youtu.be/yZxHCrzl6UQ?t=13

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  • $\begingroup$ That’s ingenious, especially because it doesn’t require the people to do any killing. Also, since these Puddings naturally don’t get along with each other, it makes sense that they would have no qualms against attacking each other. $\endgroup$ Jan 18, 2023 at 12:27

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