FAE Fantasy: Ghouls

The life of a fantasy adventurer would be pretty dull without dangerous foes to overcome, right? To that end, I’ll be posting a fantasy monster each Friday afternoon from now on. The first of these foes? Ghouls.

One of the things I really enjoy about Fate is writing aspects. It’s kind of like a word puzzle to come up with aspects that are clear, concise, and still capture the spirit of the thing they’re attached to. For me it’s a kind of “lonely fun” similar to juggling ability scores, feats, racial, and class bonuses during character creation in some other fantasy games, but without the math. Which is great, because I don’t feel math is one of my strong suits.

Just like with the fantasy PCs I’ve made, I’m building these monsters using the guidelines found in Fate Worlds of Adventure: Masters of Umdaar. Because it’s suggested you give NPCs stunts tied to a specific approach in Masters of Umdaar, they’re built with the same six approaches that PCs have, rather than the good at / bad at “skill sentences” suggested in Fate Accelerated Edition. I’m also using the guidelines for number of stress boxes and how high lead approaches should be from Fate Core. One of the things I’m still coming to grips with in Fate is that the stats of an NPC are mainly determined by its purpose in the game. Main NPCs represent pivotal forces of opposition, supporting NPCs are notable opponents, and nameless NPCs are mainly speed bumps.

While ghouls can be dangerous, especially in large numbers, they’re not anything all that special. So I built them as Fair Nameless NPCs as described in the “Running the Game” chapter of the Fate Core book. They have two aspects, a lead approach at Fair (+2) and a single stress box. Their main purpose is to drain the PCs of a few resources; a Fate point or two, a few stress boxes, and maybe a Mild Consequence. I also made a slightly tougher ghast, built as a Good Nameless NPC, to provide a bit more of a challenge.

Note: As the size and mass of creatures is often important in fantasy games, I decided to use the Weight mechanic from War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus with these monsters. As it’s open content, I can share how it works here. Simply total up the Weight of each side in a conflict, provided everyone’s in the same zone. If a side outweighs their opponent by at least 2:1, they can change any one die to a “+” after rolling. If a side outweighs their opponent by at least 4:1, they can change two dice to “+” after rolling. This allows bigger creatures to be more dangerous without giving them a ridiculously high numerical bonus. It also means a group of smaller creatures working together can bring down a larger one through weight of numbers.


Ghoul

High Concept: Medium Diseased Undead
Motivation: I Must Gorge On Fresh Meat
Aspect: Grave Dirt Encrusted Claws
Aspect: Unnaturally Agile

Approaches:

  • Careful: Mediocre (+0)
  • Clever: Mediocre (+0)
  • Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
  • Forceful: Average (+1)
  • Quick: Fair (+2)
  • Sneaky: Average (+1)

Stunts:

  • Diseased Bite: Because my bite is infectious, once per scene I can force a defender to absorb 2 Stress from a successful Forceful attack as a Ghoul Fever Mild Consequence.
  • Paralyzing Touch: Because I can paralyze foes with a touch, whenever I succeed with style on a Quick attack, I may forgo the boost to give the defender a Paralyzed aspect with a free invoke.

Stress:
Weight: 1 (Medium)

You can download the Ghoul as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Ghoul_A4


Ghast

High Concept: Medium Diseased Undead
Motivation: I Must Swell The Pack’s Ranks
Aspect: Grave Dirt Encrusted Claws
Aspect: Unnaturally Agile
Aspect: Nauseating Charnel Stench

Approaches:

  • Careful: Mediocre (+0)
  • Clever: Average (+1)
  • Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
  • Forceful: Fair (+2)
  • Quick: Good (+3)
  • Sneaky: Average (+1)

Stunts:

  • Diseased Bite: Because my bite is infectious, once per scene I can force a defender to absorb 2 Stress from a successful Forceful attack as a Ghoul Fever Mild Consequence.
  • Paralyzing Touch: Because I can paralyze with a touch, whenever I succeed with style on a Quick attack, I may forgo the boost to give the defender a Paralyzed aspect with a free invoke.

Stress: ▢ ▢
Weight: 1 (Medium)

You can download the Ghast as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Ghast_A4


Ghoul Packs

Fate Core recommends combining identical NPCs into groups called mobs. Treating multiple NPCs as a single character makes things way easier for the GM to keep track of. To make a mob of ghouls, simply add one additional stress box, increase the weight by +1, and increase the Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky approaches by +1 for each ghoul after the first. So a pack of three ghouls could be treated as a single character with the same aspects, stats, and stunts as listed above, but would have three stress boxes, a weight of 3, Forceful and Sneaky approaches at Good (+3), and a Quick approach at Great (+4). Now that’s more of a challenge for a seasoned adventurer! Don’t forget to reduce those bonuses each time a member of the pack is taken out.

 

The character illustrations are the free paper minis made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you back the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

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FAE Fantasy: Ghouls

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