As seen in: Dragon Warrior (NES)
Also in: Every RPG ever
Distinguishing feature: Happily gelatinous form.
Strengths: Numbers.
Weaknesses: Weapons, magic.

Profile by parish | January 31, 2010

The common slime is a creature familiar to every explorer, from the rank amateur to the experienced high-level hero of legend. Slimes are the training wheels of adventure, a feral organism that roams the wilderness, attacking all it encounters heedless of danger to its own self. The slime's simple nervous system is drawn to the warmth of living bodies, on which it feeds. And when a slime encounters a bird or small mammal, there's no contest: A mid-sized slime mass can devour and digest a house cat with minimal effort.

Up against heavily armed adventurers, though, the slime is hopelessly outclassed. A badly-wounded low-level warrior or even a sleeping mage stands little chance of being bested by a group of slimes. And in fact, it's these wandering would-be champions who have become the slime's greatest adversary -- not because of natural food-chain-style predation, but simply because the picaresque fighter will inevitably encounter so many of the aggressive little beasts in the course of his journeys through the untamed wilds.

And so, the slime has evolved.

It began gradually, with a few slimes fortifying their mass by absorbing fragments of iron. But the corrosive nature of their bodies reduced the iron to rust, turning their blue coloration into a dull red and offering only moderate fortification. A tiny number of slimes were able to absorb silver deposits, a metal which greatly enhanced their durability and strength but whose poisonous nature reduced their stamina. These slimes are noted for their extreme resilience to external trauma and similarly improved survival instincts, as they will flee a dangerous opponent in order to preserve their lives.

Slimes in metal-poor regions instead turn to alternate methods to improve the odds. Many have discovered that by combining their mass, they can create far more powerful gestalt creations. Others have allowed themselves to be tamed by rogue warriors, who then use them as steeds. Still others borrow abandoned sea shells, like a hermit crab, or master basic magic spells.

Most impressive of these are the Heal Slimes, which have evolved the ability to cast curative magic on themselves or other creatures nearby. While hardly dangerous on its own, a Heal Slime can give a group of monsters the edge it needs to take down an unseasoned hero -- or even, depending on the monsters in question, a more experienced warrior. Yet the Heal Slime is an even more curious oddity for the fact that the species' healing powers seem to have granted it a rudimentary sentience, and even grand aspirations.

One Heal Slime in particular, a loner who had mastered human speech and called itself Healy, is said to have set its sights on the impossible: Becoming human. It lurked in a hidden cellar near a human settlement for ages, practicing its newfound skill, and eventually was able to beckon and persuade a solo warrior to allow it to tag along with him, compensating for the human's lack of magical ability with its curative skills. Healy and its companion were instrumental in undermining an early plot by a demon lord to undermine evolution, but though the human went on to accompany a prophesied Hero on a bigger quest, the Heal Slime was never seen again.

Some time later, though, a wandering minstrel calling himself Healy appeared to the Hero and helped unite that lone warrior with the party that had embarked upon their legendary quest. While there's no definitive proof that this man Healy was one and the same as the Heal Slime by that very name, curious circumstantial evidence ties the two together. This, of course, begs the question of how such a transformation could ever come to pass. Does the power of wishful thinking truly hold so much sway over the mortal form? Was it divine intervention? Some side effect of the demon lord's experiments in the manipulation of evolution? Or is there some other explanation for this mysterious change?

Scientists and philosophers alike have devoted vast systematic studies to the mystery of this Heal Slime, but even to the layman it should be clear that the difference between man and slime is less significant than many would believe, and that these gelatinous creatures have not only the potential for intelligence, but for moral reasoning as well. It's curious to think that the ability to reason between wrong and right could have arisen as a consequence of the species' adapting for survival, but stranger things have happened in the untamed wilds.

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