Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue In today’s Unearthed Arcana, three classes each receive a playtest option. The fighter gets a Martial Archetype option: the Rune Knight. The ranger gains a Ranger Archetype option: the Swa...
The destructive conquest sought by Juiblex, the Lord of Slime, weaves its way through the Rage of Demons storyline and Out of the Abyss.
It was high time that Juiblex got his due in a D&D adventure, since the loathsome Faceless Lord has long been one of the most evocative demon lords.
Juiblex made his debut in AD&D’s Monster Manual in 1977. There, he was described as “the Faceless Lord” and “the most disgusting and loathsome of all demons”—which is really saying something. Not only was Juiblex a “vast pool of slime”, he also had oozy servitors including black puddings, gray oozes, green slimes, and ochre jellies.
The oozes are one of the most iconic families of D&D monsters, highlighting the deadly environment of the dungeon crawls of the early game. Five of them appeared in original D&D in 1974: the black pudding, the gelatinous cube, the gray ooze, the green slime, and the ochre jelly. New oozes began to proliferate as early as issue 5 of The Strategic Review (the precursor to Dragon magazine) in 1975, which featured the slithering tracker. However, it was Monster Manual II (1983) that first began to organize the oozes. That book did so by imagining foul variations such as the crystal ooze, the deadly puddings (brown, dun, and white), the mustard jelly, the olive slime, and the slime creature. Many more oozes appeared in later years, with Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) first grouping these creatures as “oozes/slimes/jellies.” In 2000, third edition D&D used “ooze” as a creature type, while the fourth edition game made it into a keyword.
Juiblex’s connection to oozes made for an easy link between the Faceless Lord and dungeon adventuring in the first edition AD&D days. He took center stage in the late 1980s, starting with Manual of the Planes (1987), which revealed that he had his own layer of the Abyss made “of living fungus and rot.”
In 1988, the Faceless Lord made minor appearances in two different AD&D modules. Castle Greyhawk (1988) was the less notable of the two because of its farcical nature. There, Juiblex was a hoarder and an unwelcome relative, but his home base was numbered for the first time as the 528th layer of the Abyss. The Realm of Juiblex then made an actual appearance in The Throne of Bloodstone adventure (1988), which featured a magical mystery tour through the homes of many demon lords. Maps and random encounter tables gave the best insight ever into Juiblex’s realm.
THE JELLY CENTER
During the days of second edition AD&D, Juiblex continued to be an iconic presence in the lore of the game, even as he cut back on appearances. Though he was never statted up as a second edition monster, the Monster Mythology supplement (1992) did something more when it revealed Juiblex as a “lost god.” The Faceless Lord received new servitors—the slimy and equally faceless aboleths, introduced back in Monster Manual II—and also a new master, the Elder Elemental God.
Though Juiblex was also mentioned in the Planescape line, he got surprisingly little attention given his importance in the first edition AD&D days. Only one book is of particular note: Planes of Chaos (1994), which claimed that his home was the Slime Pits on the 222nd layer of the Abyss. This was also the layer assigned to Zuggtmoy in The Temple of Elemental Evil (1985)—creating a foundation for animosity between the two demon lords that would come to a head in more recent years.
Juiblex finally gained a starring role in the game with the advent of third edition D&D. Book of Vile Darkness (2002) was the first supplement since the original Monster Manual to give the Faceless Lord a full monster write-up. The Challenge Rating 20 deity was dismissed as one of the “weakest demon lords,” but as a foul monstrosity made of oozes, slimes, and jellies, he remained a terrifying figure. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006) dropped the demon lord to CR 19, even as it acknowledged his ongoing war with Zuggtmoy.
It was in the D&D magazines that Juiblex received the most attention during the third edition era. Dungeon 132 (March 2006) presented “Caverns of the Ooze Lord,” an adventure set in slimy caverns containing a shrine to Juiblex. Though the Faceless Lord didn’t make an appearance in the adventure, it featured plenty of slimes and oozes—many of them new to third edition.
Juiblex would return to Dungeon in the fourth edition era, featured as an entry in “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv” series of articles in issue 188 (March 2011). That article was the most complete description of the demon lord to date, and included both his history and information on his contested abyssal layer of Shedaklah.
Juiblex is mentioned in a few other fourth edition supplements. The most notable of these is Demonomicon (2010), which upgraded the demon lord to become controller of two layers of the Abyss: his original 528th layer and the contested 222nd layer. Whether this history will become part of the new lore of the Faceless Lord in the fifth edition era remains to be seen.
Out of the Abyss marks Juiblex’s appearance in the Rage of Demons storyline season (and subtly turns the Faceless Lord from “him” to “it,” as befits its unearthly nature). That adventure echoes the past by giving Juiblex a host of oozy minions—including the memorable “Pudding King” and the servants of an “Oozing Temple” that threaten to overwhelm the adventurers. Some D&D tropes never change!
About the Author
Shannon Appelcline has been roleplaying since his dad taught him Basic D&D in the early ’80s. He’s the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons, a four-volume history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time.