D&D General Monster ENCyclopedia: Flumph

This is a series of articles about specific monsters from D&D's history. Each entry takes a look at the origin of one D&D creature, and tracks its appearances and evolution across different editions. As part of an alphabetical browse through a hypothetical Utterly Complete Monster Manual we are picking one monster per letter. The infamous flumph is our choice for the letter "F".​


Origins
Although the flumph’s shape seems to have been inspired by jellyfish, there is no mythological basis for a jellyfish that floats in air, so it is safe to say that the flumph’s origin story begins with the Fiend Folio. The Fiend Folio has a well-deserved reputation for adding some of the strangest and most bizarre creatures into the canon of D&D monster lore, so it isn't surprising that the flumph originated there. Perhaps less well known is that the majority of the Fiend Folio monsters started out as reader submissions to White Dwarf magazine’s Fiend Factory column. The next time you crack open the Fiend Folio, consider that you are looking at a selection of the best monsters editor Don Turnbull had in front of him. If you are curious about the critters Turnbull thought weren't good enough for the Fiend Folio, White Dwarf #16 and #17 present some of them in The Fiend Factory columns, or you can click here, here, or here for one blogger's look at a few of the rejects.​


1st Edition
Ian McDowall and Douglas Naismith share the credit for creating the flumph. McDowall is also credited for the babbler, dakon and guardian daemon in the Fiend Folio, while the flumph seems to be Naismith's only contribution to D&D lore.​

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Fiend Folio (1981)​

The initial description of the flumph sets out the characteristic shape and organs that the flumph has maintained (mostly) throughout every edition so far. Flumphs are saucer-shaped, about two feet in diameter. The upper surface has a large "mouth" in the center, and a four-inch eyestalk on each side. The softer, more vulnerable underside carries a mixture of small spikes and many short tentacles. There is also an aperture on the flumph's equator which can be used to expel liquid.

A flumph flies by sucking in air through its mouth and expelling it from its underside. Using this form of locomotion, it typically flies along only a few inches above the ground, but it is capable of rising up to ten feet in the air if it needs to. One reason it might have to do this is to execute its secondary attack, which is to drop sharp-side down on a target, pierce the target's skin with its spikes, and then squirt acid into the wounds from its tiny tentacles.

An embattled flumph only resorts to this complicated spike and spray maneuvre if its preferred attack fails. This preferred attack is a squirt of vile-smelling liquid sprayed on everyone up to twenty feet away, within a sixty degree arc. So strong is this smell that none of the target's companions will be able to tolerate his or her presence closer than a hundred feet for a few hours after the dousing.

From the stat block, we can also glean that flumphs are social creatures, appearing in groups of 2-16. They are rare creatures. They are of average intelligence, and of lawful good alignment, but they can communicate only with severely limited vocabulary in the lawful good alignment tongue. A flumph has an armor class of 0 (on the top) or 8 (for its underside), and 2 hit dice. Its spike attack does 1d8 damage plus 1d4 point of acid damage for 2d4 rounds. Magic is required to stop the ongoing acid damage, as there is no alchemical counter. A flumph has a movement speed of 6” (human walking speed) and maneuverability class of “D” (not great, similar to a sphinx).

Many early D&D creatures suffered from wildly varying color schemes between editions. This might be because the original illustrations tended to be black and white, so the initial coloration didn't stick as clearly in a typical reader's memory. As we'll see later, the flumph also changed colors over time, but for this first appearance, the monochrome illustration matches the description precisely — the original flumph is pure white in color.

Another characteristic of the flumph which has changed over time is exactly how helpless it is when turned upside-down. To start with, the Fiend Folio declares unambiguously that an upside-down flumph becomes completely helpless.

The flumph gets mentioned again only rarely during the 1st Edition era. The article It’s a hit — but where? in Dragon #114 has one table dedicated solely to the flumph. Delightfully, the same article also has tables dedicated to hit locations for the flail snail, forester's bane, and froghemoth, any of which could mount a challenge against the flumph for the title of "Oddest D&D creature beginning with 'F'."​

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Dragon #114 (1985)​

Adventure Trivia! is an article from Dragon #117 which presents one hundred D&D trivia questions. The final question in the set is: "Name the only monster whose alignment is listed as "Lawful good" in the Fiend Folio tome". The answer is, of course, the flumph. Bonus points to any reader able to answer the question in the article's subtitle, "What is the airspeed of an unladen carpet of flying?".​


2nd Edition
Everyone remembers that the flumph first appeared in the Fiend Folio, but its 2nd Edition appearance was more low key. Perhaps that's because 2nd Edition left it quite late to feature the flumph at all. There was no sign of it in the Monstrous Compendium version of the Fiend Folio published in 1992, in the hardcover Monstrous Manual, or for that matter in any of the first 22 monster collections released for 2nd Edition. Only in December 1995 did the flumph finally return to print in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two.

Although the Annuals were supposed to represent collections of monsters that had been published in the previous year, there is no evidence of the flumph in any TSR releases for 1994. It appears as if editor Jon Pickens simply took the original Fiend Folio version and expanded it. As late as it appeared, the 2nd Edition flumph at least had a substantial one-page entry dedicated to it, and a new color illustration. Pictured this time is a yellow specimen of a "monastic" flumph, a more intelligent spell-casting version of the common (white-colored) flumph.​

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Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two (1995)​

The expanded description notes the thickness of a flumph as three or four inches thick in the middle, tapering to one to two inches at the edges. We learn that the flumph's body is mostly hollow, and that a flumph is able to manipulate small objects using the nimblest tentacles, closest to its rim. The tentacles hanging below the flumph’s disc make it easy to miss the cluster of sharp spikes on its underside.

More detail is provided on the flow of air through a flumph's body. It draws in air through the large hole at the top of its body between the eyestalks. There are a number of small holes on the underside through which air is expelled, and a number of apertures around its equator which are used for maneuvring. The flumph doesn't require much airflow to hover, creating only a gentle breeze and a slight whistling sound. It usually hovers only four to six inches above the ground, but can rise up to ten feet to drop on its prey or a foe.

This quiet hover allows the flumph to hunt rats, frogs, and similar creatures by sneaking up on them and impaling them with its spikes. It then injects digestive acids into the wounds with its tentacles. Once the prey is dead, it alights on the corpse and drains nutrients from it, again using its tentacles. The text notes that prey which has been injected with the acids sometimes takes some time to die, during which the flumph pursues it. Unlike in 1st Edition, magic isn’t required to counter the acid, it can be washed away using water, but at least 2d4 gallons or immersion in a fast-moving stream is required.

Flumphs still have their foul-smelling squirt attack, using an orifice on the front edge of their bodies. They can target opponents in a 60 degree arc, up to twenty feet away. Instead of keeping the target's companions away, this now nauseates the target for a few rounds. The odor lingers for a few hours and can be detected up to 100 feet away, so perhaps the attack still keeps other people away in addition to being nauseating. The squirt attack is the first line of defense against any creature the flumph considers a threat.

We learn that flumphs can’t speak, but have a unique sign language using their tentacles and eyestalks, and that they are nomadic, good-aligned, and peaceful (except when it comes to small rodents and amphibians). Flumphs are asexual, and reproduce by budding 1-8 tiny young on their undersides every two years. Young flumphs grow to maturity within a single month, and typically live two decades.

The more advanced monastic flumph is introduced here. They are pale yellow or green in color, with darker tentacles. While flumphs are rare, monastic flumphs are very rare. They gather in large caverns or in a large, nest-like construct made of grass and mud to share knowledge and worship unknown deities. They use their tentacles to decorate their cloisters with colorful natural pigments. These are usually abstract paintings, but some vaguely show flumphs hunting.

Monastic flumphs cast spells as clerics. Each cloister is led by an abbot, aided by a number of priors; the remaining flumphs are monks. These flumphs are highly intelligent and more gifted at communication than the ordinary sort, with 10% of them able to speak common or another language. Occasionally, common flumphs visit cloisters of monastic flumphs to exchange food in return for healing or guidance.

Flumphs are active at night and generally encountered in dark places. Although solitary in behavior, common flumphs may be encountered in groups of 2-16, while monastic flumphs are always organized into a cloister with 4-32 members. Both sorts are carnivorous, but of lawful good alignment, feeding only on vermin and other small creatures. Common flumphs have 2 hit dice, and average intelligence. Monastic flumphs have 5 hit dice (abbots), 3 or 4 hit dice (priors) or 2 hit dice (monks) and are highly intelligent. Their spike attacks do 1d8 damage, or a lesser 1d6 for the monastic kind, while the digestive secretions do an extra 1d4 damage for 2d4 rounds after a successful attack. As in 1st Edition, flumphs have an armor class of 0 on top, and 8 on their undersides.

Both sorts of 2nd Edition flumph are still entirely helpless if turned over.

The flumph gets passing mentions twice in the letters page and editorial of Dragon #228, but it isn't until Dragon #246 that the magazine gives the flumph some proper attention. It says something about the flumph that the teaser for The Ecology of the Flumph article in the previous issue just announces "Yes, we really did it."

Prolific Ecology contributor (and ENWorld community member) Johnathan M. Richards has the recurring Monster Hunters Association examine a living flumph specimen in a laboratory. In fact, a sub-committee of four wizards is hastily appointed to do the examination while the others flee from the stench of the flumph's captor, Buntleby.​

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Dragon #246 (1998)​

It turns out that Buntleby captured the flumph by accidentally flipping it upside down while it was hunting his familiar, Ozzie the osquip. During the course of the Monster Hunters' examination, the flumph escapes and proves quite determined to continue hunting Ozzie. Only a desperate leap from Buntleby protects the osquip from spiky doom. Eventually the efforts to capture the escaped flumph are drawn to a halt by the arrival of two monastic flumphs, who quickly best the Monster Hunters to secure the release of their relative.

As was the style of many Ecology articles, the footnotes expand the flumph's physiology and mechanics significantly. We learn that flumph eyestalks move independently, are retractable, have infravision, and grow back in a week if severed. A one-eyed flumph has a -2 penalty to attacks. They have no eyelids, so cannot close their eyes, and must sleep with their eyes open. This makes them harder to surprise, but more susceptible to light attacks. The specimen the Monster Hunters examine has dark blue, almost black eyes.​

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Dragon #246 (1998)​

The article reveals that flumphs have an innate anti-gravity ability, in addition to using their eight air holes for maneuvring. The jets of air are primarily used for horizontal motion, while the anti-gravity determines vertical displacement. It is their reliance on this directional anti-gravity which makes them so helpless when turned upside down. The flumph’s tentacles do not possess enough strength for it to be able to flip itself upright as they are flexible but hollow.

Under normal conditions it uses its tentacles as rudders so that it can spin around to aim the “front” air hole, the only one from which it can disgorge its noxious spray. The spray also doubles up as a form of locomotion, pushing the flumph in the opposite direction. The aroma of the defensive spray is described as an "unappealing melange of skunk musk, rotting cabbages, and the unwashed armpits of a sweaty, overweight orc". A flumph can use this spray once every ten rounds. The nausea and dizziness it causes prevents an opponent from functioning or attacking for 2-5 rounds, but the smell lingers on for as long as four hours.​

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Dragon #246 (1998)​

The upper air hole is sometimes referred to as a mouth, but it is used only to process air. The lower spikes are the organs used for ingestion. The digestive process a flumph uses is unflatteringly compared to a spider drinking the liquified insides of its victims. Once it drops down to spear its prey, it holds the target in place with some of its tentacles while others secrete the potent acid that begins the process of digestion. The dissolved nutrients are then sucked up through its tentacles. Flumphs compulsively attack rodents, even if they have just eaten. They favor such prey over the reptile or amphibian alternatives and it is hypothesized that they may have been bred specifically to control rat and mouse populations.

The flumph’s brain is on the opposite side of its body to the spraying hole, halfway between the rear air hole and its upper air intake valve. Although they are intelligent creatures, and capable of making some sounds as they process air, they have insufficient control over this process for intelligible spoken language and communicate with each other exclusively through tentacle and eye stalk motions, something which is hard for a non-flumph to understand and nearly impossible to emulate. Monastic flumphs who can speak Common (or another language) do so in short bursts of few words, and sound like a human who has breathed in helium.

Flumphs are nocturnal. During the day they often fly up into trees and settle in branches, gripping them with their tentacles. This protects their softer bellies and leaves only their hard tops exposed. The flumph is a light sleeper. While it has no eyelids, it can rapidly retract its eyestalks into its body if it wishes. It generally prefers to keep its eyestalks exposed, giving it limited visual awareness even while asleep.

Flumphs hear through four inner ears positioned below their maneuvring jets, which gives them hearing equivalent to that of a human. Their tentacle tips have an excellent sense of touch, but no sense of taste. Like their eyestalks, tentacles will grow back if severed. They have only a weak sense of smell, except when it comes to the odor of their own spray, which they can pick up from over a mile away. Flumph are attracted to this scent, assuming that it is a call for help from one of their own kind.​

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Dragon #246 (1998)​

Monastic flumphs have more tentacles than ordinary flumphs, at the cost of fewer spikes, explaining the slightly lower damage. They cast spells using their tentacles and require only somatic components. As flumph tentacles are in fairly constant motion, this makes it difficult to notice that one is busy casting. Since their proficiency in casting is linked to their hit dice, flumphs have access to at most third level spells.

The religious terminology associated with monastic flumphs (cloisters, abbots, priors and monks) comes from an early student of the creatures, rather than being terms flumphs give to themselves. The Ecology article reveals that monastic flumphs are actually the true form of the flumph species. So-called "normal" flumphs are in fact less intelligent, albino mutations that occasionally occur when a monastic flumph buds offspring. Most monastic flumph offspring are other monastic flumphs, but 10% are albino. Albino flumphs always bud more albinos, and over time these have come to outnumber their colored progenitors.​

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Dragon #246 (1998)​


3rd Edition
The 3rd Edition version of the flumph appears in an appendix to the adventure Box of Flumph in Dungeon #118, by Tim Hitchcock. In this amusing short adventure, the PCs free a captive flumph named Ulmoapop. Ulmoapop then begs the adventurers to help free its four family members, who have also been abducted. The adventure treats Ulmoapop as male, despite flumphs reproducing asexually in the earlier Ecology article.​

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Ulmoapop, Dungeon #118 (2005)​

The adventure appendix seems to describe a normal, white flumph, but the accompanying illustration shows a mottled yellow and orange patterned creature, and the italicized description says "a pale greenish-yellow disk". However, the lack of spell abilities and only average intelligence indicate that the stat block provided for a 3rd Edition flumph is probably that of a common flumph.

The basics of the flumph’s anatomy are the same as in 1st and 2nd Edition, but there is a lot of difference in the details. It is described as about the size of a barrel lid, just over 2 feet in diameter but weighing only about 4 pounds, with the tentacles making up most of its mass. The tentacles are thin and rubbery and the flumph is now able to use them to pull itself slowly across the ground (speed of 5 ft.). More commonly the flumph moves by drawing in air to buoy itself up and then using its body like a parachute. It has a speed of 15 ft. and poor maneuverability when flying in this manner.

The saucer-shaped body is thin but resilient. It has a single armor class of 16 no matter where it is struck. The flumph still has two four inch eyestalks either side of its upper orifice and a cluster of hollow spikes which it uses to absorb nutrients dissolved by acid secreted from its tentacles. (In previous editions it ingested through its tentacles rather than through the spikes.) It can still eat any animal or vegetable matter but its dietary preference has changed from rodents to minerals (particularly salt).

A flumph still favors its rancid spurt as a first line of defense, but it can now only use it once per day. The noxious fluid lasts for 1d4 hours, but causes nausea for 2d4 rounds followed by 2d4 rounds of sickness in any creature that fails a fortitude save. So repulsive is the smell that any creature within 100-ft will also be sickened for 2d4 rounds unless it saves. The effects are suppressed for 24 hours after a successful save.

If this attack does not drive away a foe, the flumph will either flee, or resort to a plummeting charge, propelling itself above a target and then dropping down to impale with its spikes (a +8 melee attack). This causes 1d8 damage plus a further 1d4 damage from the acid secreted by the tentacles. The acide continues to burn for 1d4 rounds, but only does an additional 1 point of damage during this time. Spending one round flushing or immersing the wound in water is sufficient to remove the acid, but the flumph can make additional tentacles attacks each round each doing 1d4-2 damage plus 1d4 acid damage, followed by 1 more point of acid each round for 1d4 round. The ongoing damage from multiple tentacle attacks is cumulative. The flumph itself has acid resistance 10, for obvious reasons.

A flumph’s senses are a little different than previously. They have darkvision (60 ft.) and no sense of smell, but they are now able to speak. All of them can speak Celestial (they are still “usually” lawful good) and some of the cleverer ones can also speak Common. They have 2 hit dice (11 hit points), but there is an “advancement” line indicating that some flumphs can have up to 6 hit dice. Their size category changes from tiny to small once they have 5 hit dice.​

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Dungeon #118 (2005)​

The society of these flumphs differs from previous lore. Some are still solitary, but small families (3-6 individuals) are more common. Occasionally 2-3 families will combine to form a tribe of 7-8 individuals. In such a tribe each flumph is assigned a particular role: hunter, guardian, entertainer, explorer, etc. They are found in temperate regions or underground, but they are shy and avoid interaction with other creatures.

A 3rd Edition flumph is still mostly helpless if turned upside down, but gets one chance per day to try to right itself with a successful escape artist check.

Knowledge Arcana was an electronic magazine published between 2004 and 2007 which drew largely on contributions from members of the WotC online community. In issue #9, there are two tongue-in-cheek articles about flumphs. In Lawful Great - One Flumph's Epic Journey to Herodom there is a stat block for a male celestial flumph fighter 6/paladin 4/anointed knight 4, and in Unglued! Top Secret New D&D Miniatures Set there is a D&D miniatures version of Flumphy, the Huge Fiendish Dire Flumph of Legend. This article poses, but doesn't answer the question "How can you make a Lawful Good flumph fiendish?".​

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Knowledge Arcana #9 (2007)​


4th Edition
The flumph remained even more a fringe creature in 4th Edition, appearing only in an online April Fool's article, Dungeon Delve: Fool's Grove. This ten page adventure includes encounters with envelopers, carbuncles, kercpas, a brain mole, al-mi'rajes, a flail snail, a stench kow, flumphs, an umpleby, and campestris. In other words, all the "classic" monsters. The particular type of flumph detailed here, is called — in typical 4th Edition style — the flumph headstabber.

The story doesn't provide much context or background for the flumph species (it describes them as “pathetic creatures”), but mechanically they have a spike basic attack (1d6 damage, with ongoing 5 acid damage), and a flight of the flumph attack which combines flight with the spike attack. The stink squirt that these flumphs can use causes allies next to the target of the squirt to become weakened, but seems to have no effect on the target itself (other than smelling horrible).

These flumphs have slightly more hit points than before (38), and an armor class of 16. They are unaligned (for the first time) and can speak Common albeit with an extremely limited vocabulary. They have a flying speed of 6 with an altitude limit of 2, but appear to also be able to crawl when necessary as they have a “walking” speed of 1. Flumphs are categorized as a magical beast, rather than the aberrations they were in 3rd Edition.

If the 4th Edition flumph is turned upside down (knocked prone), it becomes helpless, but can make a save to right itself.​


5th Edition
In the run up to 5th Edition, James Wyatt penned a regular Wandering Monsters column on the Wizards of the Coast website. The articles in this column took a look at various monsters from D&D's history, and considered how they might be presented in 5th Edition. In Wandering Monsters: Fiend Folio, Wyatt suggests that the monastic flumph—a social creature interested in collecting knowledge and serving strange deities—should be the default flumph, since that seems much more characteristic of an intelligent, lawful good creature than the rodent-hunting sort.

He also introduces a new ability and role for the flumph in the underdark. Flumphs are psionically sensitive, and overhear telepathic communication from other psionic creatures, such as mind flayers. They lurk near aboleth cities, githyanki enclaves, and colonies of psionically-active yellow mold, perhaps even feeding on their psionic energy. As a game hook, this means that flumphs can provide adventurers with information obtained from other strange creatures. It also suggests that flumphs communicate telepathically themselves. Most of these ideas were kept for the 5th Edition flumph.

The 5th Edition Player's Handbook mentions flumphs on the Wild Magic Surge table; one of the possible surges summons 1d6 frightened flumphs for a minute. This is the first time the creature receives a mention in the Player's Handbook, and this promotion is cemented with a full page write up in the Monster Manual.​

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Monster Manual (2014)​

The 5e Monster Manual flumph has some significant changes. Gone is the spiky underside; instead each of the flumph's tentacles has a few spikes attached to the end of it. No longer are flumphs white, or green and yellow; their coloration now varies with mood, soft pink for amusement, deep blue for sadness, green for curiosity, and crimson for anger. There is no mention of a harder top, or a softer underside (but neither was there in 3rd Edition). Flumphs don't have any sort of anti-gravity ability now, but simply propel themselves with jets of air, the sound of which is said to give them their names.

Following Wyatt's lead from the Wandering Monsters column, these flumphs communicate telepathically, and feed by siphoning mental energy from psionic creatures. They remain lawful good, and are sensitive to the emotional states of nearby creatures, actively seeking out creatures whose thoughts suggest goodness. They freely share information which might help defeat the evils resident in the underdark. Flumph society is said to be organized into cloisters, but these don't have a leadership structure; each flumph contributes to the group in its own way.

Mechanically, the flumph now has a tendrils attack, which does both piercing (1d4+2 points) and acid damage (1d4 points). The acid damage persists until the target succeeds on a save or lesser restoration is cast on the damaged area. They also have a once-daily stench spray ability. This coats anyone in a 15-foot cone who fails a save with a foul-smelling liquid that lasts 1d4 hours. Such a person is effectively poisoned for this duration, as is anyone else within five feet of them. The stench can be removed by water, alcohol or vinegar.

Supporting their newfound telepathy are the advanced telepathy and telepathic shroud abilities, which allow flumphs to hear the thoughts of others (within 60 feet), and also protect themselves from any mental intrusions or divination spells. Flumphs can’t be surprised by any telepathic creatures, but are vulnerable to psychic damage. They have 2 hit dice (7 hit points), an armor class of 12, a “walking” speed of 5 ft, and a flying speed of 30 ft. Flumphs have darkvision (60 ft.). Although they understand Undercommon, they are unable to speak except via telepathy.

The 5th Edition flumph is the least helpless yet when turned upside down. It gets to make a save every turn to right itself.​

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Monsters & Creatures: A Young Adventurer’s Guide (2019)​

The flumph also has two pages dedicated to it in Monsters & Creatures: A Young Adventurer’s Guide, one of a series of D&D books aimed at younger readers. The text is a summary of the Monster Manual entry, but there is some new artwork, a size guide and a handy list of things to do and not do during a flumph encounter.​

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Monsters & Creatures: A Young Adventurer’s Guide (2019)​


Flumphs and other monsters
The Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two notes that although flumph flesh has a foul taste, ogres and some goblinoids will eat them. The Ecology article in Dragon #246 notes several similarities between flumphs and grells (nomadic behavior, ability to hover, tentacles) and suggests the possibility that they may be related, although also conceding that no grell would ever come to a flumph's rescue. (This relationship is explored further in Richards’s unpublished The Ecology of the Grick.)

The same article deems more conclusive the link between the flumph and belabra or "tangler". The beladra can’t fly, but can glide. It has tentacles and eyestalks and sprays a debilitating bodily fluid (blood, in its case) if a tentacle is severed. They also reproduce asexually by budding. The Ecology article goes on to suggest that the belabra could be a precursor species of both the flumph and the grell.

Although it isn’t related, the mindwitness (from Volo’s Guide to Monsters) will sometimes ally with flumphs. The mindwitness is an almost unthinkable combination of a beholder crossed with a mind flayer, created when a beholder undergoes ceremorphosis in an elder brain pool. If such a creature becomes separated from an illithid colony it tends to seek out other telepathic creatures to give it instructions. In 5th Edition, the flumph is a good fit for this, and a mindwitness that joins with flumphs will adjust its alignment and worldview accordingly.

Since they feed on psionic energy, 5th Edition flumphs can be found near communities of mind flayers, aboleths, githyanki and githzerai. They often go unnoticed as they consume only as much mental energy as they need and flee if confronted by evil creatures. According to Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, flumps are able to open illithids’ special qualith door locks, which requires at least four tentacles.

There is a rumor of a possible beholder/flumph crossbreed in the 2018 Extra Life adventure Lost Laboratory of Kwalish. This is said to have an eye ray inducing laughter and generosity, and one which turns the target into a squirrel. The last part of the Nerds candy promotional series of adventures, Restoring Harmony: Adventure Together, involves a dozen flumphs being tortured by a bugbear and some goons. One of the possible outcomes of the adventure involves persuading a beholder to join the flumph cloister.

Like almost anything, flumphs can be crossbred with giant space hamsters. Dragon #175 mentions the subtropical amphibious crimson displacer shrieking transparent fomorian groaning aboriginal lamia heavy war gelatinous elder dun berserker blood sea heucuva huecuva guardian one-eyed one-horned flying purple people-eating astral ixitxachitl shambling vampiric beholder rust poisonous slithering volcanic storm tri-flower flumph thessal spitting cockatrice paisley super-genius abjurer blink faerie throat leech rotting teenage mutant ninja ju-ju republican charioteering interposing glaive-guisarme all-beef patty special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onion on a sesame-seed bun goblinoid fire-retardant anchovy death great wyrm myopic megalo giant space hamster of fear and flame. No, there will not be a Monster ENCyclopedia entry covering this creature.​

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Promotional art, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (2017)​


Flumph parts
One cup of flumph spittle is listed as a possible ingredient for enchanting a green dragon's tooth in the article The Magic of Dragon Teeth in Dragon #98.

In Dragon #246, the Monster Hunters Association consider using bits of flumph for potions of levitation (brain liquid is sufficient for three potions), oil of acid resistance (made from inner layers of about twenty tentacles) or as components for levitate, reverse gravity, Melf's acid arrow, and stinking cloud (spray gland) spells. A stinking cloud that uses the spray gland as a component is also likely to draw the attention of any flumphs within a mile.

The Monster Hunters also suggest using the flumph as a non-magical hat, or to make a booby-trapped spiked chair. The flumph's hard top is described as turtleshell-like, hard enough to be fashioned into a buckler shield. It isn’t clear how many of these ideas were viable though, as a few Ecology articles later (in Dragon #258) Willowquisp has a report prepared on useful flumph by-products “or lack thereof”.​


Forgotten Realms
There is a Fierce Flumph tavern in the fortified city of Eshpurta, detailed in the Lands of Intrigue boxed set. "Flumph on a stick" is also apparently a thing in the Dock Ward of Waterdeep (see Ed Greenwood's The Unforking Family Tree). More recently, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist features the Pink Flumph theatre and, in the library of Kolat Towers, a tome titled Flumph Mating Rituals with a cover showing an embossed image of two flumphs with entwined tentacles. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), this is a fake cover hiding a spellbook.​

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Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (2018)​

Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage has a cloister of actual flumphs, rather than flumph-themed buildings or books. They are keen to share information about the warring mind flayer colony and githyanki stronghold located nearby. In Acquisitions Incorporated there is a flumph named Phfffffffft locked in a cupboard in the Dran & Courtier Inn in the settlement of Red Larch. The same book mentions an ancient tome titled The Poetry of Flumphism, penned by a famous monk.

Flumphs also feature in some Adventurers League stories, including DDEX2-8: Foulness Beneath Mulmaster which follows the sad story of Laal and Xol, a pair of mated flumphs. Xol was recently killed by an unknown assailant while trying to warn of nearby troglodytes, and his mate attempts to hire the adventurers to investigate his death. Ph’theev, a fussy but earnest flumph stars in the adventures CCC-TRI-16 ALLY1-1: Ph’theev, the Despondent and CCC-TRI-17 ALLY1-2: Ph’theev Unbound. In the first, the heroes must assist Ph’theev return home to its cloister, while in the second they must work with the flumph to deal with a child who has inadvertently become infected with great evil. In DDAL-DRW-19: Fall the Cold Night a flumph named Murbur is the last guardian of an amethyst dragon’s hoard. The dragon’s spirit was separated from its body and is now spread throughout the walls of Xorvintroth. Now an old flumph, Murbur keeps what is left of the dragon’s fading spirit company. The flumph is still grieving the dragon, and this means Murbur is usually a deep blue color.

Minsc & Boo’s Guide to Stuff and Things features flumphs fairly extensively. Not only is the flumph domain detailed for clerics inspired by their goodness, but the adventure involves foiling a dastardly plan to abduct enough gassy(!) flumphs from a level of the megadungeon known as Undermountain: The Musical to be able to produce Flumphapolusa, a theater event designed to distract the nobles of Waterdeep while the villain — an evil goblin werehouse — infects them. That’s not a spelling mistake, the villain is a lycanthrope who changes into a house. He is named Gahzeebo. It is probably best that we don’t spend too much time on this adventure. Minsc & Boo’s recycles an illustration of Eldark the Mage in telepathic conversation with friendly flumphs that originally appeared in the Adventures Outlined Coloring Book.​

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Dungeons & Dragons Adventures Outlined Coloring Book (2018)​

The most recent depictions of flumphs in the Forgotten Realms come from D&D themed Magic: The Gathering sets. In the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set, a flumph features on cards #15 and #361.​

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Magic: The Gathering: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, card #15 (2021)​

In the Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, Gluntch, the Bestower appears on cards #275, #422 and #533.​

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Magic: The Gathering, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, card #275 (2022)

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Magic: The Gathering, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, card #422 (2022)​

Gluntch is also available as a limited edition glow-in-the-dark, augmented reality-enhanced pin, in a licensed line by Pinfinity.​

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Magic: The Gathering Limited Edition: Gluntch the Bestower pin (2022)​


Greyhawk
The flumph is mentioned a few times in the Keoland regional scenarios for the Living Greyhawk campaign. KEO3-03: Will of the People details the Flustered Flumph Inn in the town of Laketowne. In KEOI6-02: Wasteland, the adventuring group returns to the Flustered Flumph Inn which, following a murderous attack on Laketowne, is now the only building in town still standing.

The introductory adventure KEOI3-02: Stuck Between a Rook and a Hard Place covers a local festival known as the Running of the Flumphs. For this event, gnome revelers try to outrun harnessed flumphs. The whole thing is like a diminutive running of the bulls, but with less gore and more stench. There is a full stat block at the back of Stuck Between a Rook and a Hard Place, and although it isn't quite as detailed as the one in Dungeon #118, it predates it by a year or two, making it the first appearance of the flumph in 3rd Edition, albeit in a less canonical source. This version of the flumph appears to be the 2nd Edition version, but slightly updated to 3rd Edition stats. Its spikes do 1d4 damage plus an extra 1d4 acid damage for the next 2d4 rounds, but the acid can be washed away. The nauseating spray can be used every 1d4 rounds and nauseates the target for 1d4 rounds on a failed save. This flumph has a decent armor class (20) and only 2d8 hit dice (9 hit points). It is encountered in pairs, or in a colony of 4-16.

Flumphs are known to inhabit the plane of Silly and Unused Monsters in WG7: Castle Greyhawk, and in an encounter titled The Room That Lets the Party Make It to the Next Set of Rooms, the PCs... hold on, Castle Greyhawk again? We definitely decided to skip monsters from there. Next!​

Original Adventures Reincarnated #3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, published by Goodman Games, includes a 5th Edition update of the classic D&D module. In the section with expanded encounters for the spaceship, there is a potential meeting with a flumph named Hruhbrt. If permitted to do so, Hruhbrt will join the adventuring party until they leave the confines of the spaceship. This flumph has recently been freed from stasis, but does not understand that it has been abducted from its home planet. Its last memory prior to awakening was floating in the canyons of its homeland, a place called Chwesh-Brrp. This confirmation that flumphs dwell on other planets lends additional credibility to the other-world origination theories noted in the Spelljammer section below.

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Original Adventures Reincarnated #3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (2019)​


Spelljammer
The Ecology of the Flumph in Dragon #246 theorises that flumphs originated from a different world, and that they may have traveled on grell spelljamming vessels to reach new planets. It is pointed out that because they reproduce asexually, even a single flumph can eventually found a race on a new world. Different conditions on newly settled worlds are also suggested as a possible explanation for the mutation of monastic flumphs into the albino variation.​

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Flapjack, Spelljammer: Adventures in Space (2022)​

There is a flumph named Flapjack as a member of the crew of Moonbeam in Light of Xaryxis in the 5th Edition Spelljammer: Adventures in Space set. Flapjack serves as the spelljammer for the galleon, and also has some spellcasting abilities. He can cast mage hand and minor illusion at will as well as magic missile and unseen servant once per day.​


Miniatures
After decades without representation as mini, the flumph finally received an official miniature in the WizKids D&D Icons of the Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage set, as figure #1.​

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D&D Icons of the Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (2019), image from MinisGallery

Flapjack, the pirate flumph from Light of Xaryxis has his own miniatures in the D&D Icons of the Realms: Spelljammer: Adventurers in Space set.

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D&D Icons of the Realms: Spelljammer: Adventurers in Space (2022)​

No article on the flumph would be complete without a mention of the official licensed Figurine of Adorable Power flump, released by UltraPRO in January 2020. Who doesn’t want this 3¾ inch vinyl cutie overseeing their next game? Two alternative color variants were released as part of D&D Live, a pink amused flumph and a green curious flumph.​

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Figurines of Adorable Power: D&D Flumph (2020), image from UltraPRO


Computer games
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms features the flumph both as a potential familiar (“adorable, yet smelly”) or a melee opponent (“angry”).​

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Flumph familiar, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (2017), image from Idle Champions wiki

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Angry flumph, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (2017), image from Idle Champions wiki


Flumph names
Flapjack, Flumphy, Gluntch, GuBu, Hruhbrt, Laal, Murbur, Phfffffffft, Ph’theev, Ulmoapop, Xol.​

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Dragon #246 (1998)​


Comparative statistics


References
Fiend Folio, p39 (July 1981)
Dragon #98, p13, The Magic of Dragon Teeth (June 1985)
Dragon #114, p50, It’s a hit — but where? (October 1985)
Dragon #117, p26, 88, Adventure Trivia (January 1986)
WG7: Castle Greyhawk, p78 (January 1988)
Dragon #175, p100, Editorial: Reeeeeep!!! (November 1991)
Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two, p58 (December 1995)
Dragon #228, p6, D-Mail (April 1996)
Dragon #228, p16, Final Quest (April 1996)
Lands of Intrigue, Book Two: Amn, p39 (August 1997)
Dragon #246, p76, The Ecology of the Flumph (April 1998)
Dragon #258, p58, The Ecology of the Flail Snail: The Price of Flailure (April 1999)
KEOI3-02: Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place, p3, 15 (2003)
KEO3-03: Will of the People, p11 (2003)
Dungeon #118, p16, Box of Flumph (January 2005)
KEOI6-02: Wasteland, p6 (2006)
Knowledge Arcana #9, p8, Lawful Great - One Flumph’s Epic Journey to Herodom (May 2007)
Knowledge Arcana #9, p57, Unglued! Top Secret New D&D Miniatures Set (May 2007)
Wizards of the Coast website, Dungeon Delve: Fool’s Grove (April 2009)
Wizards of the Coast website, Wandering Monsters: Fiend Folio (August 2013)
Wizards of the Coast website, Fiction 2013: Spin a Yarn: The Unforking Family Tree (December 2013)
Player’s Handbook, p104 (August 2014)
Monster Manual, p135 (September 2014)
DDEX2-8: Foulness Beneath Mulmaster, p5, 9-10, (January 2016)
Volo’s Guide to Monsters, p176 (November 2016)
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (2017)
Dungeons & Dragons Adventures Outlined Coloring Book (August 2018)
CCC-TRI-16 ALLY1-1: Ph’theev, the Despondent (September 2018)
CCC-TRI-17 ALLY1-2: Ph’theev Unbound (September 2018)
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, p62, 74, 150 (September 2018)
Lost Laboratory of Kwalish, p59 (November 2018)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, p222, 224 (November 2018)
Minsc & Boo’s Guide to Stuff and Things, p10, 22-32 (January 2019)
D&D Icons of the Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, figure #1/44 (March 2019)
Acquisitions Incorporated, p61, 184 (June 2019)
Monsters & Creatures: A Young Adventurer’s Guide, p10-11 (July 2019)
Original Adventures Reincarnated #3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, p257 (November 2019)
Figurines of Adorable Power: D&D Flumph (January 2020)
Magic: The Gathering: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, cards #15 and #361 (July 2021)
D&D Nerds: Restoring Harmony: Adventure Together, p6-7 (September 2021)
Magic: The Gathering, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, cards #275, #422 and #533 (June 2022)
Magic: The Gathering Limited Edition: Gluntch the Bestower pin (June 2022)
DDAL-DRW-19: Fall the Cold Night, p8-10, 13-14, 19, 21 (July 2022)
Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, Light of Xaryxis, p13 (August 2022)
D&D Icons of the Realms: Spelljammer: Adventurers in Space, figure #?/47 (October 2022)

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Order of the Stick (2006)​


Other ENCyclopedia entries
Visit the Monster ENCyclopedia index for links to other entries in this series.
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Cleon

Legend
The flumph gets passing mentions twice in the letters page and editorial of Dragon #228, but it isn't until Dragon #246 that dragon gives the flumph some proper attention. It says something about the flumph that the teaser for The Ecology of the Flumph article in the previous issue just announces "Yes, we really did it."

The Monastic Flumphs in Johnathan Richard's Ecology article reappeared in an The Ecology of the Grick article he wrote. Unfortunately, the Grick Ecology article was not accepted for publication by Dragon magazine so we can't really consider it "official" information.

Said article indicates the Monastic Flumphs inhabit a "secret temple" which is apparently hollowed out in the shape of a giant flumph...

"Shame we didn't actually get to see the flumph's temple cavern," Willowquisp sighed. "I would have loved to have seen it for myself. Cartificant's notes were quite intriguing. Did you read the section on the wall paintings?"

"Indeed," replied Spontayne. "But did you notice anything about how this one was laid out?"

"What do you mean?"

"Think about it: A flat, circular cavern, with two narrow passages leading up and a mess of curving - one could almost say tentaclelike - passages coiled below. Remind you of anything?"
 

Richards

Legend
Those interested in reading the unpublished "The Ecology of the Grick" article can click on the "Grick" link in my signature. It reinforces, to some extent, the supposition that grell and flumphs are related, and expands the concept to roll gricks into the mix as well. But, as Cleon points out, the article was rejected and thus never became "official canon."

Awesome entry as always, Echohawk! I really enjoy these articles of yours -- keep up the excellent work!

Johnathan
 



Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
Heh. Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not sure that Giant Space Hamsters have appeared enough times in D&D to make much of an article. They are specific to AD&D 2nd Edition, and were found almost exclusively in the Spelljammer setting. The Monster ENCyclopedia series might eventually look at some of D&D's "one hit wonders", but for the first A-Z run, I think we'll stick with creatures that have appeared in several editions of the game.
 



Celebrim

Legend
The Flumph manages to be a better monster than many in the Fiend Folio because it is truly alien and reminds you of nothing but itself. The flail snail seems preposterous. But the Flumph just manages to be weird and kinda cute in a bizarre alien tentacled sort of way - some wayward migrant from an unfathomable ecology rather than a chimerical hodgepodge.

I've never actually felt the need for one. But if I ever did DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS IN SPACE, then you can be sure there would be Flumphs.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
Can anyone write up one of these articles? Just curious....
Good question. I haven't thought that far. I decided that I wanted to write a series of articles on the history of D&D monsters, and since I'm posting them exclusively on ENWorld, I picked "Monster ENCyclopedia" as a title for the series.

Morrus has been kind enough to feature most of the articles on the news page, which I'm very grateful for, but which wasn't something I planned for originally. I hadn't considered that anyone else might want to contribute an article to the same series. Is there a specific monster you want to cover, qstor?
 

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