On the Ecology of the Neo-Otyugh/Otyugh

Via Gamebanshee, Concept art for Otyugh
"I hate these things!" - Arcaila Moreu, Adventuring Sellsword

Nomenclature: Gulguthra, Otyugh, Neo-Otyugh, Shit pile, Refuse

Description: A tri-pedial thorny tentacled beast with dun colored rocky flesh, a gaping maw, and a set of 3 eyes on a mobile stalk. It is noteable that it is usually covered in fecal refuse.

Things that are known:

  • They live and eat refuse and fecal matter
  • They also eat people

Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • They are particularly sensitive to their environments, picking up traits from wherever they happen to live. Swamp Otyughs cause rotting when they strike, cave otyughs can seep acid through their skin from the acidic water
  • They often have psychic powers
  • It doesn't actually feed on refuse. It feeds on residual psychic energy from pain and terror. This is best communicated through refused in ancient battlefields, mass graves and dungeons
  • They are all unwanted children, abandoned by their parents
  • They are the discarded, diseased and sick heads of a hydrae
  • They aren't an animal or creature as such, but instead giant semi-sentient colonies of bacteria living in monster dung
  • They aren't live children abandoned by their parents, but instead children who died and did not receive a proper burial
  • Alchemical waste and detritus ends up somewhere and becomes an otyugh. Neo-otyughs occur when this process is performed on purpose
  • They are the formed rage of a planet against those who dump their waste instead of sorting and cycling it again
  • They are the droppings of the many-handed Setebos, the god of rage and blind violence
  • It is the result of a vicious ingested magical poison, transmuting the filth in their gut into a baby otyugh which bursts from the rear orifice of its owner
  • They are sentient creatures produced from hemorrhoids by the curse of a witch
  • The otyugh has a more primitive form the paleo-otyugh, with tentacles that have spines and fears fire
  • Some otyugh have been known to shoot beams of fire or light from the tentacle containing its eyes
  • They have a rare third stage of evolution known as the ultimo-otyugh, powered by the massive consumption of methane. This large armored form drifts through the air from place to place, attacking all life with beams of light and fire, gouts of flame, and streams of noxious poison
  • They are secretly star spawn from beyond the outer crystal barrier of the heavens. They mine refuse for methane, stored in a hyper-pressurized extradimensional space, storing enough until they can blast away from the surface of the earth on a pillar of fire.
  • These star spawn explode when killed. The historian and philanderer Mockoropius says that it was the explosion of a single one that took out the entire shimmering spire quarter of Massansopolis in the year of the cancer rat
  • All otyughs may use the methane they collect to levitate
Christopher Burdett. Go Look.
  • It is the final fate after death of all those who were annoying and abrasive to existence before death
  • Refuse to an otyugh is profound, the degree to which it is rejected and shunned is the beauty and purity of it. Adventurers are outcasts themselves, proving irresistible for most otyughs 
  • Otyughs communicate via modulated smells, which is why they collect dung
  • The otyughs view the world through a strange lens, with an aesthetic sense completely reversed from our own. They attack out of strong revulsion, as we would a spider or insect.
  • They are the shit of the gods, proof of their existences
  • They are what happens if you try to raise the dead long after it is safe to do so.
  • Otyughs are demi-gods elevated by sentient anthropomorphic dung beetles worshiping offal pits in the mists of early time. Each settlement of beetles raised their own god, and these gods turned out to be capable of breeding true. Back in the day, the biggest settlements pumped enough sincere worship into otyughs that they could grant spells to the high priest of the settlement.
    • Goblins discovered this by accident, and many goblin tribes have a guardian otyugh they worship and feed with sacrifices. This is the source of some goblin shaman spellcasting ability.
  • A grove of powerful swamp druids defended a border against incursions for a thousand years, constantly animating the swamp itself to defend against intruders. The composite residue built in the swamp, and has been responsible for shambling mounds, otyughs, and a variety of carnivorous plants. Otyughs are centered on enlarging parasites feeding on corpses, merging them with the corpses, and granting dark sentience.

  • A goblin hero once saved a lesser demi-god from a dark fate. The bemused and grateful god said the goblin could have a mount. The goblin wished for something stable and not too fast (he was easily travelsick) that could grab and break stuff, and was heavily armored, and could peek around corners, and was not too dainty. Oh, and it could wade through anything. His name was Otyugh, and his mount was named Otyugh too.
  • Lizardfolk shamen were getting pounded by constructs their civilized wizard neighbors built to go into the swamp and root them out. Frustrated, they pooled their collective energies and tried to figure out how to make constructs of their own, to bring the power of the swamp to bear against civilization. This was the best they could do. However, the fecundity of the swamp allowed them to manage something the wizards never could with their constructs--otyughs can reproduce.
  • A furious court wizard cursed the courtier who used intrigues to oust him, making him clearly visible to all as the spying, muckraking, lecherous, disease-riddled piece of shit he was. Unfortunately, he also told him to go screw himself, so the resulting monstrosity could reproduce without help.
  • Otyughs are slaves brought from another dimension to do heavy lifting and swamp work, by the Makers Before Time. With the fall of the Makers, no one else had the knack or the inclination to tell the otyughs what to do, or to send them home.
  • Modron trapped on Prime lose their crispness and gain infections and unsightly growths, becoming otyugh. Driven mad with shame and pain, they degenerate to animal intelligence.
  • Otyugh are the individual sperm of the god of rot, filth, corruption, and fertility.
  • Otyugh are massive striding constructs of swamp pixies playing Godzilla. They are inside the armored torso, giggling madly as they smash stuff.
  • Otyugh are larval Eye Tyrants.
  • Giant Otyughs exist, one was sighted in Sham Padmoen. They rise from the decayed souls and corpses of dead giants outcast from their society
  • Otyugh are the result of civilization. For every intricate sculpture, every profound play, every elaborate painting, every organized government, and even the ordered philosophy of law, there is an otyugh. They recall the work of their birth, those born of music can emit a deafening scream, those of painting a mesmerizing display, those of sculpture can petrify those near. They bud from themselves, full of loathing and hate for themselves and all men and their works. Their existence is suffering. They desire nothing but to devour all of civilization. A ruined, filth and decay covered dungeon is as to ponography for them, a brief glimpse of the end of all things
  • Otyugh are beautiful creatures turned inside out
  • They are exceedingly intelligent, with a highly literate culture. However all their communication is olfactory and their writing is in smell coated excrement pellets, making their works unknown to men
  • They are said to run a prison known as the otyugh hole, where if one can survive a week, internal reserves of strength might be found
  • They have been known in large enough piles of refuse to swarm
  • They are dungeon overlords, who hold a shadow council to decide the contents of every underground realm in the land. 
  • They often act as 'watchdogs' for tribes of primitive screwheads
  • The watchdog bit is an excellent cover for their rulership over tribes of primitive screwheads
  • Smart and organized societies integrate the Otyugh into the cycle of waste disposal. This often makes them the best person (thing?) to talk to when things get lost
  • They have a tendency to form unions and then strike
  • The type of waste they eat determines which special abilities they have
The ecology series is a crowdsourced series of articles, and contributors can be found on google+ under the hashtag #crowdecology. They are limited posts, but following me on G+ will allow you to see them. All artwork is credited where the artist could be found. Classic ecology articles from Dragon magazine are used both for reference and inspiration; the whole impetus of the idea was to create 'classic' ecology articles that are actually useful. Let's Read the Monster Manual by Noisms is also a source of inspiration.  


  1. Nice. (After your first few entries I thought of a beholder connection, and then there it was on your list!)

    1. Yes.

      Also, My apologies, I forgot the crowdsourcing disclaimer at the bottom.

      I am only responsible for about 20% of the above.

  2. Lord have mercy! That was "extensive!" LOL

    As about a complete a "list" as I've ever seen! Excellent! such efforts are truly appreciated!


    1. You know there's a whole series of these, right? 16 by the current count. Nightmare is currently being worked on.

      You can see them all by clicking on the Ecology tag.

  3. I must be missing the joke.

    What's with the 'Wow' and extra "Quotations" in the comments?

  4. G+ Source: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CourtneyCampbell/posts/1XahwEobCsH


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