In the recent Ghoul post I said I’d be putting up a new fantasy monster every Friday. I was planning to call these posts “Friday Fantasy Foes”. Thinking about it over the weekend through, “Monday Monsters” has a better ring to it. So we’ll go with that instead moving forward. A new fantasy monster for Fate Accelerated Edition every Monday afternoon. This week’s entry? The Umber Hulk.
The Umber Hulk paper mini by Printable Heroes was what rekindled my interest in making more of these fantasy resources. It’s such a fantastic illustration that I felt compelled to stat it out for Fate. That’s when I remembered all the fantasy adventurers I’d made last year and decided to blow the digital dust off them. (Note: This is why I never throw anything away; I always go back and revisit old projects.)
Reading the flavor text for the Umber Hulk from the Dungeons & Dragons 5E website gave me great ideas for several aspects and stunts. But it also raised the issue of the monster’s size. In many fantasy games, D&D and Pathfinder among them, size matters. Characters often get modifiers to hit and deal damage to opponents of differing sizes, and I wanted to include that here. The scale rules from the wonderful Fate SRD website looked like a good solution at first.
But if I was mirroring the different sizes of creatures found in D&D, I would need six scale steps: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, and Gargantuan. The scale rules suggest granting a +1 bonus to the attack and defence roll of the bigger character for each scale step of difference between the combatants. They also suggest larger characters deal an extra 2 shifts of stress on a successful attack and reduce any damage they take by 2 shifts of stress for each scale step of difference. That’s not so bad when there’s only a single scale step of difference between the characters. Like a Medium adventurer fighting a Large Umber Hulk. But when there’s a big difference? Say a Medium adventurer facing off against a Gargantuan Purple Worm? That’s three steps of difference, meaning the Worm is getting +3 to attack and defend (in addition to whatever its approaches are), is doing an extra 6 stress of damage on a successful hit, and is reducing any damage it takes by 6 shifts. That means the Worm would probably instantly kill anything it hits and be practically invincible. But the fantasy genre often has “normal” sized characters being able to take on huge opponents, so I needed some different rules.
I took my question to the very awesome Fate Accelerated Google Plus group, and someone suggested the Weight rules from War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus. As I’ve gone over the Weight rules in the Ghoul post I won’t reiterate them again here, but they seemed like a better choice. Changing a maximum of two dice to “+” results when fighting a smaller opponent is a decent bonus, but it doesn’t make larger creatures unassailable. The Weight rules also allow characters to cooperate to negate the bonus, which I feel is another staple of the high fantasy genre.
So with that decided, I started writing up the Umber Hulk. Again, the role of an opponent largely dictates the stats it gets in Fate, and this monster is meant to be fairly challenging. With that in mind I built it as a Fair Supporting NPC, meaning it has a five aspects, a lead approach slightly higher than the average PC, has three stunts, three stress boxes, and even has a consequence. Adventurers beware! Don’t try to tackle this monster on your own.
High Concept: Large Gorilla-Beetle Hybrid
Motivation: Craving For Humanoid Meat
Aspect: Subterranean Juggernaut
Aspect: Steel-Hard Chitin Plates
Aspect: Super Sensitive Antenna
- Careful: Mediocre (+0)
- Clever: Average (+1)
- Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
- Forceful: Great (+4)
- Quick: Fair (+2)
- Sneaky: Fair (+2)
- UMBER HULK SMASH!: Because I am an insectile engine of destruction,
I get +2 to overcome physical obstacles that can be smashed through.
- Sharp Digging Claws: Because I have claws sharp enough to burrow
through solid stone, I deal +1 additional stress on a successful Forceful
attack and can not be Disarmed.
- Mind Scrambler: Because I have a hypnotic gaze, I get +2 to Sneakily
create an advantage representing my mind scrambling effects, such as
Confused, Dazed, or Hypnotized.
Weight: 2 (Large)
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
- Mild (2):
The monster illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support 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.