This little (FALSE! Otyughs are approx. 8 ft in diameter on average) garbage critter has been around since the 1E Monster Manual. Its original description says something along the lines of a weird “omnivorous scavenger… diet of dung, offal, and carrion... hate bright light… found underground.” (Gygax) Now, these are pretty generic descriptors, giving GMs plenty of room for interpretation. And use. And misuse! Starting with the name. How exactly does one pronounce otyugh?
Who cares? A classic piece of the old-school puzzle is that very similar monsters can have wildly different powers and abilities. Maybe all those pronunciations are valid, and the monsters themselves are merely local variants?
In any case, a “standard” otyugh in 1E had a few specific attacks and abilities. Low AC (AC3), 6-8 HD, 3 attacks (not detailed – assumed to be a tentacle/tentacle/bite series), typically carried a disease of some flavor (they get around) and are never surprised. They are described as having a “sensory organ stalk” and 2 tentacles sprouting from the main body, which also houses the grotesque mouth.
|Jacob Blackmon, used under license from|
Rogue Genius Games
The bigger problem, literally, is the neo-otyugh. These are bigger, smarter, tougher and more damaging versions of their smaller kin. Still 3 attacks, but almost double the HD, and could be up to “very intelligent”. Scary. Essentially, its your home garbage disposal getting pissed and coming after you with tentacles and a weird eye-stalk tentacle. The stuff of nightmares!
Anyway, the otyugh has gone through several artistic transformations in the 40-ish years its been part of the game, but most of the time it is still very recognizable. Three tentacles atop a spherical body, a big mouth full of sharp teeth in the center, 2-4 stumpy legs to carry it around. Or, does it have legs? Couldn’t it just as easily swim through garbage, like in a famous movie about wars out in the stars, where the heroes are trapped after sliding down a garbage chute during a rescue? Certainly, that could be an otyugh, and good for it to be getting high-profile work!
Anyway, thanks for reading, and I’m sure Jayson wants his blog back!!! Come by and visit me on Twitter @SkeeterMFGreen, and the Goddammit, Zach! Youtube series, courtesy of Uncle Matt’s RPG Studio. See ya in the dungeons!