[RPG] a mud-filled cyst


The 8th-level spell Clone has a mention of a mud-filled cyst in the ground in its spell components:

a vessel worth at least 2,000 gp that has a sealable lid and is large
enough to hold a Medium creature, such as a huge urn, coffin,
mud-filled cyst in the ground, or crystal container filled with salt

What is a "mud-filled cyst in the ground"? Not being a native english speaker, I've been searching online; the common meaning of the word cyst is usually some abnormal growth. Alternatively, a cyst can be some sort of bladder or sac.

This spell mentions specifically that it has to be in the ground and mud-filled, which makes me believe that it's based on some lore or reference. Anybody here any clues on what it is or how to find or construct it in a D&D setting?

Best Answer

A cyst, in the biological sense, is a "closed sac, having a distinct membrane and division compared with the nearby tissue". You would expect to see some sort of membranous, organic sac full of mud, dug into or emerging from the ground.

This possible method of using the clone spell is almost certainly a reference to the depiction of the creation of Saruman's Uruk-hai in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, which features the new orcs appearing to be grown within grotesque, muddy sacs at the bottom of the mining pits in Isengard - first we see the grown Uruk-hai squirming underneath a membranous cover, then emerge covered in mud as other orcs cut and peel the membrane away, as can be seen in this video or these images:

Uruk-hai face beneath the membrane Orcs pull away the membrane to free the Uruk-hai Muddy Uruk-hai emerges from the cyst

The game does not describe how you're meant to create or engineer that. The important part, as far as it is concerned, is that whatever magical means are required to arrive at this state, the required resources cost at least 2,000gp - you should assume understanding the spell also conveys understanding of the requirements of an appropriate vessel. However, it is important to remember that the clone spell does not consume the vessel as a material component, so once you have created one horrible fleshy mud-sac you can re-use it to cast clone again if you so desire. One assumes you can shovel in some fresh mud, flesh and diamonds and the membrane will regrow.