Wednesday Warriors: Cyclops Mercenary

Today’s Wednesday Warriors is one I’ve wanted to do for a while now: a cyclops mercenary.

As usual, this character was inspired by the awesome illustration done by Printable Heroes, as well as the cyclops from Privateer Press’ miniatures game Hordes (which I used to be heavily into). In that setting, the cyclopes are a savage race of monstrous humanoids with a limited prescience ability. I think that’s really cool, and used it as inspiration for one of the character’s stunts.

This is also the first adventurer larger than medium size. I’ve explained the weight rules before (and they’re available for free on the Fate SRD site), so I won’t explain them in depth yet again, but I felt that the effect was worth a stunt slot. Medium-sized opponents are going to have to pair up against this adventurer to negate that weight bonus.


Cyclops Mercenary

Cyclops_Mercenary

High Concept: Precise Cyclops Mercenary
Motivation: I Must Always Honor My Contract
Aspect: Former Bloodstone Wastes Bandit
Aspect: Civilization Is For the Weak
Aspect: Behemoth Hide Armor and Buckler

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Giantkin: Because I tower over most other humanoids, I count as a large creature with weight 2.
  • Limited Prescience: Because I can foresee my opponents’ next actions, if I spend an exchange doing nothing but defending myself, I get +2 whenever I Carefully defend myself against physical attacks until the end of the scene.
  • Voice of Command: Because I am used to commanding troops, I get an extra free invoke whenever I Forcefully create an aspect for one of my allies representing my tactical orders or advice.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Stress:
▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):
  • Severe (6):

The character 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.

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Wednesday Warriors: Cyclops Mercenary

Monday Monsters: Ogre

Unfortunately, I’m still under the weather from whatever bug my child brought home from daycare last week. (Which was the reason last Friday’s Cortex Prime content went out on Saturday afternoon.) So this week’s Monday Monster is going to be fairly straightforward. The ogre is a recent paper by Printable Heroes, and, like almost all of their minis, I felt compelled to stat it up for Fate Accelerated Edition.

Ogres seemed like they’d be a threat, a type of enemy introduced in the Fate Adversary Toolkit. Unlike hitters, such as the basilisk from a few weeks ago, threats can both dish out a lot of damage and absorb a lot of damage. They’re meant to grab and then hold the player characters’ attention. That being said though, they’re not all that challenging compared to many other monsters found in Dungeons & Dragons style fantasy games.

So I made the ogre an average threat, setting its lead approach at Good (+3), the same as the adventures found on this site. Apart from Flashy and Forceful, I really couldn’t justify putting any of its approaches above Mediocre; ogres are not know for being particularly careful, clever, quick, or sneaky. I usually try to follow the 1/2/2/1 or 1/2/3 spread for a monster’s approaches, but that just didn’t seem to fit here. So I went with what felt right rather than following the rules.

Which is basically what I always do anyway.


OgreHill Ogre

High Concept: Large Brutish Humanoid
Motivation: I Must Vent My Rage on Those Nearby
Aspect: Built Like a Brick Outhouse

Approaches:

  • Flashy: Fair (+2)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Others: Mediocre (+0)

Stunts:

  • Grim Trophies: Because I wear bits of those I’ve killed as jewelry, I get +2 to Flashily create advantages related to instilling fear in my opponents, such as Cowed, Daunted, or Intimidated.
  • Heavy Hitter: Because I hit with the force of a freight train, I deal +2 stress on a tied or better Forceful attack. (I don’t also gain a boost on a tie this way.)

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Average Threat
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • 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.

Monday Monsters: Ogre

Wednesday Warriors: Elf Monk

Today’s Wednesday Warriors was a bit of a challenge. See, I’m not exactly a fan of monks (or samurai or ninjas) in “standard” Dungeons & Dragons settings. Now, I realize there isn’t really a standard D&D setting, but given that most of the stuff I’ve experienced seems vaguely European, monks (and samurai and ninjas) always smacked of orientalism to me. Especially when the monk characters are illustrated so that they look asian. But monks are an established part of D&D-esque fantasy games, and, as usual, the illustration Printable Heroes did is awesome. So I figured why not?

It should be said that I really like Tianxia: Blood, Silk, & Jade by Vigilance Press. Kung fu and wuxia action is awesome, and I’d love to run a game of Tianxia one day. The Fate Accelerated version of Tianxia was really helpful in coming up with ideas for today’s adventurer.


Elf MonkElf_Monk

High Concept: Agile Elf Monk
Motivation: I Must Share the Gift of Enlightenment
Aspect: A Stranger In A Strange Land
Aspect: Lightning Dragon Kung Fu
Aspect: Bodhi Tree Mala Bead Necklace

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Flurry of Blows: Because my fists strike with the speed of lightning, whenever I succeed with style on a Quick attack, I may make another Quick attack against the same opponent or another opponent in my zone, instead of gaining a boost. (I only get one additional attack per exchange.)
  • Hardcore Parkour: Because I can perform feats of alarming acrobatics while I move, I get +2 to Flashily overcome physical obstacles that can be jumped, flipped, or climbed over or to move extra zones.
  • Stillness of Mind: Because I have spent years training to control my emotions, I get +2 to Carefully defend against attempts to create advantages affecting my mental state, such as Afraid, Charmed, or Enraged.

Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):
  • Severe (6):

The character 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.

Wednesday Warriors: Elf Monk

Monday Monsters: Kobold Tribe

This week’s entry are (finally) kobolds. After saying I haven’t done many fillers enemies, I seem to be doing a fair number of them all of a sudden. Though, to be fair, kobolds did win the Twitter poll about which monsters I should do next that I ran way back before the recent hiatus. So here they finally are.

Unlike the gnolls from two weeks ago, I’m going to make these kobolds using (almost) the standard filler rules from the Fate Adversary Toolkit. That means no stunts. These monsters are meant to do a single thing: get taken out in droves so that the adventurers look like epic bad asses. Plus, if you use the weight rules from War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, these kobolds will go down even faster. At a weight of 1/2 (one half), a medium creature, aka your average adventurer, outweighs a single kobold 2:1 and will get to turn one of their dice to a [+] after rolling. So, like most filler enemies, kobolds should really group up to stand a chance against an adventuring party.


Kobold

Kobold Warrior

High Concept: Small Reptilian Humanoid
Motivation: I Must Put the Tribe First

Approaches:

  • Sneaky: Average (+1)
  • Others: Mediocre (+0)

Weight: 1/2 (Small)
Role: Enemy: Average Filler
Stress:
Note: Treat groups of kobolds as a single character. Add +1 to their Sneaky approach for every two kobolds in the group, up to a maximum of +4. Increase their weight by 1/2 per kobold, and arrange their stress boxes into a single track.


Alternatively, instead of grouping filler enemies together into a single character, you could treat a whole tribe of kobolds as a single character. I’d probably make that a threat enemy. Threats are meant to, hold the PCs’ attention, soak up damage, and act as meat shields. Perfect for a whole yipping tribe of diminutive reptile folk.


Kobold Tribe

High Concept: Small Reptilian Humanoids
Motivation: We Must Expand Our Territory
Aspect: Overwhelming Numbers

Approaches:

  • Careful: Fair (+2)
  • Clever: Fair (+2)
  • Flashy: Average (+1)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Quick: Good (+3)
  • Sneaky: Great (+4)

STUNTS:

  • Absolutely Everywhere: Because we’re actually a whole tribe of countless small creatures, we can spend a fate point to attack everyone in our zone. (We make a single roll against everyone else in our zone.)
  • Cunning Plans: Because we riddle our warren with hidden traps, whenever we Sneakily create an advantage representing one of those traps, such as Spiked Pit, Tripwire, or Poisonous Vermin, we get an extra free invoke on a success.

Weight: 4 (Huge)
Role: Enemy: Fair Threat
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Mild (2):

The monster illustrations, including the awesome header image, are 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.

Monday Monsters: Kobold Tribe

Wednesday Warriors: Minotaur Druid

Another species of hero I haven’t done yet for today’s Wednesday Warriors: a minotaur.

With only six approaches and a single spread of numbers to plug in, I sometimes find it difficult to not replicate the stats of a previous adventurer. Let’s face it though, there are a finite number of combinations and I’m eventually going to start repeating stats. (If I was better at math I could tell you how many combinations there are. But I’m not.) That doesn’t matter all that much really, because a character’s aspects and stunts are really what makes them unique. Still, I’m trying not to use the same spread of approaches for different adventurers if I can help it.

Like cleric, druids in Dungeons & Dragons sometimes have access to healing magic. As I explained with the half elf cleric a while back, because of how stress and consequences work in Fate and Fate Accelerated Edition, healing magic has the potential to be very powerful. So, rather than give the minotaur druid healing abilities, I sidestepped the issue and made them an elementalist. I’ve already done a fire themed mage, and I had stone on the brain from writing up a basilisk for this week’s Monday Monsters post, so an earth themed druid seemed fun.

Burden of Stone and Hymns of the Earth are defensive stunts. The first rewards the druid for defending with their lead approach, similar to the dwarf runepriest, while the second allows them to control the flow of battle somewhat. I’m imagining the minotaur’s bellowing song causing pillars of rock to burst from the ground (Yes, yes. Like Ludo from Labyrinth) which provide cover for allies and makes it more difficult for opponents to get in close. Though I have no doubt creative players will find other uses for the stunt. Thunderhoof Charge was, well, I couldn’t make a minotaur character and not give them a stunt about hitting opponents with their horns.

The aspects for this character came together pretty quickly. The high concept is always [descriptor related to lead approach] [species] [class]. There’s the aspect representing important gear carried by the character, one about personality, and one about background. Ironbark Quarterstaff and Buckler and Ridiculously Bull-Headed practically wrote themselves, while Hurloon Tribe Stone-Caller came about when I changed the character’s class from stone-caller to druid. (Bonus points if you know where that Hurloon Tribe reference comes from.) The motivation aspect was harder. I feel that rangers, druids, wardens, and other nature worshipping characters should have motivations about protecting wild places, upholding the natural order, or, in this case, halting the spread of civilization. I like them to be worded so that they are slightly antagonistic, but won’t cause huge problems between players (problems between characters are fine, though).


Minotaur_DruidMinotaur Druid

High Concept: Vigilant Minotaur Druid
Motivation: I Must Halt Civilization’s Advance
Aspect: Hurloon Tribe Stone-Caller
Aspect: Ridiculously Bull-Headed
Aspect: Ironbark Quarterstaff and Buckler

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Burden of Stone: Because my counterstrikes magically weigh down my opponents, whenever I Carefully defend against a physical melee attack and succeed with style, I can give the attacker a Weighed Down aspect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.
  • Hymns of the Earth: Because I can raise spires of rock from the ground with my song, I get +2 to Cleverly create an advantage to create aspects related to rough, impassible or hazardous rocky terrain in my or an adjacent zone.
  • Thunderhoof Charge: Because I hit with the strength of an avalanche after building up momentum, I get +2 to Forcefully attack with my horns as long as I move at least one zone before attacking.

Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):
  • Severe (6):

The character 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.

Wednesday Warriors: Minotaur Druid

Monday Monsters: Basilisk

The basilisk is another awesome paper mini made by Printable Heroes, and I felt compelled to stat it up for Fate Accelerated Edition. (Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten that Kobolds won the poll I ran on Twitter back in October of 2017. You’ll be seeing them soon.) It’s a classic monster that has a really nasty ability: turning opponents to stone.

As the monster itself isn’t that dangerous in a fair fight, making it a Hitter seemed appropriate. Hitters are types of enemy introduced in the the Fate Adversary Toolkit. Unlike threats, hitters can dish out a lot of damage under the right circumstances, but they aren’t that durable. They’re easily dealt with, relatively speaking, once the players discover what their trick is. That works really well for the basilisk, as they’re slow and lazy, preferring to attack foes from ambush whenever possible. Their petrifying gaze is also easily avoidable (by averting your eyes or using a mirror), but can be deadly if the players/characters aren’t prepared for it.

I made the basilisk a fair hitter, setting its lead approach at Great (+4), one step above the lead approaches of the adventurers on this site as I intend for them to be used together. I made Forceful its best approach, as the basilisk’s gaze attack is sort of “force of will” effect, and Quick its worst approach, reinforcing that it’s rather slow. To highlight its ambush attacks, I reused a stunt from the Juvenile Black Dragon and just gave it a different name. Cunning Ambush Predator deals two additional stress on a successful Sneaky attack if the basilisk has an “concealing” aspect attached to it. That encourages the GM to have the monster set up an attack first by creating an an aspect like Hidden, then really laying the hurt on a character.

Coming up with the petrification effect was a bit harder, but still fun. In Dungeons & Dragons (and similar games), a player whose character has been affected by the gaze attack has to fail a number of dice rolls before they’re completely turned into stone. That seemed like a perfect place to use a countdown, again from the Fate Adversary Toolkit. The Stone Curse countdown starts when the basilisk successfully sticks a Slowly Petrifying aspect onto a creature. I felt being partially petrified should have an effect on a character, which of course means it needed to be an aspect. That allows it to be invoked and compelled, giving mechanical weight (ha!) to a character slowly turning into a statue.

Basilisk


Stone-Eyed Basilisk

High Concept: Medium Magical Lizard
Motivation: I Must Add To My Den’s Statuary
Aspect: Extremely Robust Digestive System
Aspect: Incredibly Slow Metabolism

Approaches:

  • Careful: Good (+3)
  • Clever: Fair (+2)
  • Flashy: Fair (+2)
  • Forceful: Great (+4)
  • Quick: Average (+1)
  • Sneaky: Good (+3)

Stunts:

  • Cunning Ambush Predator: Because I attack from ambush, I deal +2 stress on a tied or better Sneaky attack while benefiting from an aspect related to concealment, such as Buried, Disguised, or Hidden. (I won’t get a boost on a tied attack this way.)
  • Paralyzing Gaze: Because I can turn creatures to stone by locking eyes with them, I can attempt to Forcefully create a Slowly Petrifying aspect on an opponent at any distance, as long as we can both see each other. In addition to creating the aspect, a success begins the Stone Curse countdown for that character (see below).

Weight: 1 (Medium)
Role: Enemy: Fair Hitter
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

The Stone Curse

Obstacle: Countdown
Opposition: Great (+4)
Countdown: ▢ ▢ ▢
Trigger: An exchange elapses.
Trigger: Someone tries to remove the curse, by overcoming the Slowly Petrifying aspect, but fails by 2 or more shifts.
Outcome: The Slowly Petrifying aspect becomes Totally Petrified, as the character turns into a statue.


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.

Monday Monsters: Basilisk

Saturday Surprise: Cortex Prime Content

In addition to Fate (both Core and Accelerated versions), Cortex Plus is another game system that I enjoy. There are similarities between the two, which is probably why I like them both. So, although the name of this blog won’t change, I’ve decided to branch out and start making fantasy monsters and characters for Cortex as well.

The first Cortex Plus game I played was Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. (Which is sadly out of print now.) I’m honestly not that big of a supers fan, but was really surprised when I first opened the MHRP book, as it was nothing at all like what I was expecting. I thought the game would be much more rules heavy, with levels and classes, long lists of action types, and detailed rules for movement, possibly even using a grid. Instead I found a much more “free form” game, where die sizes not only represented how powerful characters were in certain areas, but also how much they cared about certain things. Once I understood how the Cortex Plus Heroic Roleplaying system worked, I really liked it. The Leverage game introduced me to the Action Roleplaying variant, and the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide showed me the Dramatic Roleplaying version (as well as a generic version of Action Roleplaying). All three versions of Cortex Plus have similar base mechanics, but change things so that each is a better fit to tell heroic, action, or dramatic stories being told at the table.

The latest version of Cortex Plus is called Cortex Prime, headed up by Cam Banks, which had a kickstarter last year. This new version of the game brings all three versions of Cortex Plus (heroic, action, and dramatic) together into a unified system with lots of dials, switches, and variant rules to highlight different aspects of the stories you want to tell. (It’s totally possible to replicate the heroic, action, and dramatic versions of Cortex Plus with the optional variant rules found in Cortex Prime.)

Full disclosure, I was lucky enough to be part of the Cortex Prime kickstarter, writing a Spotlight, a setting for the game, as a stretch goal. I’ve written a paranormal romance setting about teenage witches called Spellcaught that uses many of the variant rules for dramatic roleplaying. It’s very much inspired by the Secret Circle book series by L.J. Smith.

Alright. After a very long introduction, let’s get to what you all came here to see: Dungeons & Dragons inspired fantasy content for the Cortex Prime game. I’ll start with a character, then use that as an example to explain the variant rules I’ve used. While I’m also going to explain a bit about how the system works, this will make much more sense if you’re familiar with Cortex Plus or Cortex Prime. Unfortunately, Cortex Prime isn’t available to the general public yet, but you should have access to the SRD (system reference document) if you backed the kickstarter, or if you support Cam Banks on his Patreon. The Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide is available on DriveThruRPG, and two versions of Cortex are very similar, and even backwards compatible. Onto the character!


Audacious Human Battlemage

Distinctions:

  • I Must Learn To Control My Magic
  • Raised In The Thornwood War Camps
  • The Blood Of Dragons Runs In My Veins

Audacious_Human_Battlemage

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d8
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d6

Roles:

  • Holy One d4
  • Mage d10
  • Scoundrel d6
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Combat Casting (Mage) d6
  • Flame Magic (Mage) d6
  • Military Tactics (Warrior) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Vials And Pouches Of Spell Components d8

Stunts:

  • Burning Hands: Because I can hurl balls of magical fire, whenever I include Flashy in my dice pool and achieve a heroic success on an attack, I may attach a d6 On Fire! complication to my opponent or create a d8 On Fire! scene distinction instead of stepping up my effect die.
  • Explosive Runes: Because I can scribe explosive runes on inanimate objects, whenever I attempt to overcome a physical obstacle by breaking it, I may step up my Forceful die. If I do, the GM adds a die to the Doom Pool equal to the size of my effect die.
  • Flamecrafter: Because I can make fire do my bidding, while it is present I may add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die by one whenever I create or step up a fire related asset.

Yup. That’s the Cortex Prime version of the first fantasy character I ever posted: the Audacious Human Battlemage. She looks different from her Fate Accelerated version, so lets go over those changes.

Distinctions are fairly straightforward, as they act somewhat like character aspects. If a player narrates how one of their character’s distinctions benefits them in the current situation, they add a d8 to their dice pool. Or, if they narrate how a distinction hinders their character, they gain a plot point and add a d4 to their dice pool. Plot points are rather similar to Fate points. Cortex Prime characters always have three distinctions.

Approaches and Roles are the meat of the character. In Cortex Prime, characters should always have at least two “dice buckets” to pull dice from. Whenever a character takes an action the player will add one die from the approach list and one die from the role list that best fit the action being taken. The six approaches are exactly the same as those in Fate Accelerated (Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky), and describe how a character is doing something.

Roles are sort of like jobs, or classes if you prefer. They’re collections of abilities, skills, training, and knowledge in a certain field. For these characters, I’ve gone with four roles that cover archetypical fantasy classes: holy one, mage, scoundrel and warrior. (These are the same four roles from “The Old School Job” by Philippe-Antoine Menard in the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide.) The holy one role covers knowledge of religion, casting divinely empowered spells, and the swaying of crowds with sermons. Mage covers knowledge of lore and history, deciphering ancient languages, and, of course, casting arcane magic spells. Wizard-y stuff, if you will. Scoundrel covers sneaking, hiding, disarming traps, knowledge of poisons, use of thieves tools, and other “fantasy thief” actions. Warrior covers fighting with weapons, maintaining armor, knowledge of tactics, and other fighter-y type actions.

Specialties and signature assets are, respectively, narrow areas of expertise within a role and physical items that benefit a character in certain situations. As with just about everything in Cortex Prime, if the player can explain how something on their character sheet is relevant to the current situation, they get to add that thing’s die to their dice pool. But you can generally only add a single die from each category, or “dice bucket”, to your roll.

Stunts are similar to the stunts in Fate Accelerated. They’re little rule modifications that kick in under certain circumstances and help define and differentiate characters from one another. Cortex Prime doesn’t have action types as Fate does, but how a player decides to use the effect die from their roll sort of establishes different action types. Using your effect die to create or step up a useful asset is sort of like Create an Advantage; using your effect die to remove or step down an asset or complication that’s hindering your character is like Overcome an Obstacle; and forcing an opponent to either take your effect die as a complication or be taken out of the scene is an attack. Including a specific die in your dice pool is similar to using a specific approach in Fate Accelerated, and heroic successes (beating the difficulty by 5 or more) are pretty close to success with style. With those as rough guidelines, I’m going to try and keep a character’s stunts as similar as possible between the two systems.

Lastly, the doom pool. The doom pool is a collection of dice that the GM uses to set the difficulty of tasks attempted by characters when they’re not being opposed by an NPC, as well as a GMing resource. Whenever a player rolls a 1 on any of their dice, the GM can give that player a plot point to add that die to the doom pool. The GM can then spend dice from the doom pool for various effects, such as adding more dice to an NPC’s dice pool, creating assets, complications, and scene distinctions, separating the characters, or even ending the scene. It’s a fantastic pacing mechanic and I absolutely love it. Part of the reason I like it so much is that I don’t really like setting the difficulty of PC attempted tasks, as I don’t trust myself to be fair. It’s a lot of pressure to get it right, and I’d rather just avoid all that. With the doom pool, there are clearly defined mechanical game effects that increase the doom pool, and there are clearly delineated effects I, as GM, can spend those dice on. I vastly prefer running Cortex Plus/Prime games with this variant rule.

As a bonus, let’s stat up a ghoul and a ghast so people can see what Cortex Prime monsters might look like. Again, they were the first Monday Monsters I posted to this blog. Cortex Prime divides NPCs into three categories: Major, Minor, and Extras. Major NPCs are the important characters that PCs will be interacting with fairly often, are created with the same elements as player characters, and are further divided into Light, Medium, and Heavy power levels. Minor NPCs are less important characters, but are still going to interact with PCs in a meaningful way. Extras are faceless, nameless mooks, similar to filler enemies from the Fate Adversary Toolkit.

Ghouls could be either Minor or Extra NPCs, depending on how the GM wanted to handle them. As Minor NPCs they’d be more dangerous, giving the players a fairly decent challenge. As Extras, they’d be a horde of ravening undead that the characters could mow through to look awesome. I’ll do both versions so show the difference. Ghasts are meant to be beefier, so I figure it should be a Minor NPC.


Ghoul (Minor NPC Version):

  • Ghoul

    Medium Diseased Undead d6

  • Grave Dirt Encrusted Claws d6
  • Unnaturally Agile d8

Ghoul (Extra Version):

  • Medium Diseased Undead d6

Ghast (Minor NPC):

  • Medium Diseased Undead d8
  • Grave Dirt Encrusted Claws d6
  • Unnaturally Agile d8
  • Nauseating Charnel Stench d6

Ghast

Stunts:

  • Paralyzing Touch: Because I can paralyze foes with a touch, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die by one when inflicting or stepping up a Paralyzed complication on a target.

Note: Both the Minor NPC and Extra versions of the ghoul have the Paralysing Touch stunt as well. It seemed a bit silly to put it up there two more times.


That’s pretty much it. Minor NPCs in Cortex Prime have at least three trait dice that don’t need to follow the same categories as PCs (though they can). Extras are even simpler; just a single appropriately named trait die. Both versions of ghouls can use the Paralyzing Touch stunt, but as an Extra will still only be rolling 2d6, it probably won’t be very effective. Which is why you should probably group Extras, and even the Minor versions of ghouls together into mobs. Just add an additional d6 to the Medium Diseased Undead trait for each additional ghoul in the mob, up to about six or so, and give them the following stunt:

  • Mob Cohesion: Because I am a mob of creatures, I act as a single unit, and opponents may target my Medium Diseased Undead trait with attacks (each trait die counts as a separate target for area effect SFX). Each attack that would create a d6 or higher complication or effect die removes one of my trait dice instead. When my last Medium Diseased Undead trait die is gone, I am taken out.

So a mob of five ghouls would have the trait Medium Diseased Undead 5d6. All of those dice are included in the dice pool (along with any other relevant traits) making mobs fairly dangerous. At least until the PCs start targeting the mob trait dice with attacks, and begin whittling them away.

Well, I’ll wrap things up there as this post has grown to over 2000 words. Going forward, I’m going to try and post two or three Cortex Prime monsters or adventurers every Friday. Once I’ve caught up with the Fate Accelerated versions, that will slow down to a single monster and adventurer per week – the same ones for that week’s Monday Monster and Wednesday Warrior posts.


The character and monster 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.

Saturday Surprise: Cortex Prime Content