If I had to guess, I’d say Phil was gratified to get a chance to use this species of monster in the Guilded Age text somewhere. The gelatinous cube is a mainstay of Dungeons and Dragons, and has been since the first edition of the game came out… 46 years ago now… so it’s filtered into general nerd culture a little bit, too.

Byron would’ve been better advised to whittle this thing down from the edges: if D&D handbooks are anything to go by, “slashing attacks do full damage.” I’m not sure how Byron got out of this one, but that was probably one of his undocumented berserkings.

(I kind of snickered at the phrase “difficult or annoying.” Harky is a difficult but non-annoying opponent, whereas Goblaurence is a difficult and annoying ally.)

(Almost used the somewhat analogous Tar Baby as the illustration here, a story I grew up with and still enjoy in the can’t-believe-Disney-produced-this sense, but I was concerned someone might take it the wrong way.)