Saturday Surprise: Boss Ooze

This past week’s Monday Monster was a Black Pudding. As I mentioned in that post, the Fate Adversary Toolkit had recently been released, and I wanted to make some monsters to fit the four new categories of enemies described in that book: fillers, hitters, threats, and bosses. So in addition to the Black Pudding (a threat) I made two more ooze-themed monsters, a Gelatinous Cube (a hitter) and a Gray Ooze (a filler), and put all three slimes on a two-page PDF (which you can grab here: A4-sized version / letter-sized version). But what about the fourth type of enemy, a boss?

Well, even as I was writing up the other three monsters I already had an idea for the “boss ooze” monster. I just knew I wouldn’t have it done in time for Monday’s post. So I decided to save it for a special Saturday post. And now I present: Jubilaxus!

tumblr_o5yxx2s0uz1twabyxo1_1280Or more accurately, Jubilaxus, the Myxogastric Lich. This character was inspired by the Lich Ichor paper mini created by Printable Heroes. I absolutely love that mini. How could you not like a puddle of green, translucent goo containing a half-dissolved skeleton wielding an evil-looking magical staff? It’s fantastic. The mini is a “reskin” of the Black Pudding and is only available to Tier 2 Patreon backers. (Which is why there’s no illustration on the character sheet.) If you want the character as a mini, go back their Patreon.

Jubilaxus is meant to be a tough foe. They’ve got the same five aspects the fantasy adventurers do, three stress boxes, the full complement of consequences, and four stunts. The Fate Adversary Toolkit notes that boss enemies are meant to be able to both deal and take a good amount of damage, and suggests putting their lead approach two steps higher than the PCs. As I’m intending Jubilaxus to be used with the fantasy adventurer characters I post here, that means their lead approach is a respectable Superb (+5).

Jubilaxus’ stunts were fun to come up with. Autophagia and Endogenesis are variations of boss stunts found in the Fate Adversary Toolkit, but flavored to fit the slime theme. As both of these stunts cost a Fate point to use, and one is a “once per session”, I don’t feel that four stunts is too many. Corrosive Counterspells emphasises Jubilaxus’ necromancer abilities, something I thought was important as Autophagia and Endogenesis are about them being an ooze. Meticulous Planning was suggested to me on Twitter by Mike Olsen, the lead developer & writer of the Atomic Robo RPG. I asked for ideas about how an NPC with a high Careful approach would make use of it. That lead to a great discussion about how the six approaches differ from one another, and how to make them feel distinct at the table. When I said I was looking for a Careful-themed stunt, Mike pointed out that Dr. Dinosaur from Atomic Robo had a stunt representing their reptilian cunning. I used that as inspiration for Jubilaxus’ stunt.

If you know something about Dungeons & Dragons lore, you can probably guess where part of Jubilaxus’ name comes from. I also liked the sound of the name “Abraxus” for a lich and so mashed those two together. “Myxogastric” comes from “myxogastria“, a grouping of slime molds. I wanted something kind of gross as a title, like mucus, but without going that gross. Slime molds are unicellular amoeboid organisms that have a disturbing (to me, anyway) ability to congregate and act as a single, mobile organism when food is scarce. I thought that fit nicely with the ooze-themed stunts, and turned it into an adjective.

I’ll aim to do these Saturday Surprise posts once or twice a month. I’d eventually like to start releasing short scenarios. Nothing too fancy. Just a boss NPC and some mooks, a few scenes, some zone maps, and a reason for the characters to get involved. I’ll have to work up to those though. In the meantime, enjoy Jubilaxus!


Jubilaxus, the Myxogastric Lich

High Concept: Large Undead Ooze Hybrid
Motivation: I Must Absorb All Magical Knowledge
Aspect: Highly Caustic Necrotic Slime
Aspect: Multiple Lifetimes Worth of Fell Secrets
Aspect: The Dread Staff of Gol Amoroth

Approaches:

  • Careful: Superb (+5)
  • Clever: Great (+4)
  • Flashy: Great (+4)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Quick: Fair (+2)
  • Sneaky: Good (+3)

Stunts:

  • Autophagia: Because I can consume my progeny to heal myself, if I am
    attacked and there is a jelly, ooze, or slime filler enemy in my zone, I can
    spend a Fate point to absorb it. The filler enemy gets taken out, and I
    suffer no damage.
  • Endogenesis: Because I can disgorge smaller slimes from within my bulk,
    once per session I can pay a Fate point to bring one Gelatinous Stalker,
    two Bone Puddings, or five Necrotic Oozes into the scene. (See below.)
  • Corrosive Counterspells: Because I infuse my counterspells with necrotic
    energy, whenever I Flashily defend against a magical attack and succeed
    with style, I can give the attacker a Weakened, Withered, or Corrupted
    aspect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.
  • Meticulous Planning: Because I have planned for every possibility, at the
    start of any scene where I am present, as a free action before anyone
    else acts, I may attempt to Carefully create an advantage to create the
    Everything Is Proceeding According to My Designs situation aspect.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Good Boss
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

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

 

You can download Jubilaxus, the Myxogastric Lich as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF. As the special oozes created by the Engenesis stunt are modified versions of the Gelatinous Cube, Black Pudding, and Gray Ooze, you might want to grab the two-page A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF of them too.

 

Undead-Ooze-Boss_A4

As I mentioned above, the Lich Ichor illustration is the paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions  of the minis 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” (like the Lich Ichor), and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

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Saturday Surprise: Boss Ooze

FAE Fantasy: Updates

I hadn’t intended to make a Friday post. For the time being, Monday is monsters, Wednesday is adventurers, and every other Saturday (or so) is going to be something special. But I’ve made some changes to the character sheets, so I thought an update was in order.

First up: the Hardy Human Knight from Wednesday. I got some very good feedback on the character over on the Fate Accelerated Fantasy Google Plus site. Markus Wagner suggested that having to spend a Fate point and limiting the effect to once a session was too steep a cost for the “reduce a consequence” stunt. After some discussion I agreed and came up with an alternative; a second mild consequence slot.

In Fate Accelerated Edition, stress clears at the end of each scene. Stress represents exhaustion, scrapes and bruises, and other minor things that go away after a few minutes of rest. Consequences are more lasting effects. Mild consequence (those that mitigate 2-shifts of stress) clear up at the end of the scene, provided the character has had a chance to rest. Moderate consequences (those that mitigate 4-shifts of stress) clear up at the end of the next session, as long as it makes sense in the story. Severe consequences (those that mitigate 6-shifts of stress) clear up at the end of a scenario, again provided it makes sense in the story.

When a character takes a hit, the player can mark a single stress box and any number of consequence to absorb the stress. So, a character who takes a 4-shift hit could mark their 2-shift stress box and take a mild consequence to avoid being taken out. Both of those will clear up at the end of the scene, but they wouldn’t have many stress boxes left. Or they could take a moderate consequence instead. That will take longer to go away, but all three of their stress boxes are clear. A character with two mild consequences who takes a 4-shift hit could mark both mild consequences, still has all their stress boxes clear, and will clear both consequences (and any stress taken) at the end of the scene. Having a second mild consequence is obviously very useful.

The downside of consequences is that they are aspects, and like all other aspects, they can be compelled by the GM and invoked by other characters. When a player marks a consequence for their character, whomever landed the attack gets a free invoke on that consequence, just as if they’d made a new aspect. Because, in a sense, they have. So while having more consequence slots means you can absorb more stress, it also means you’ll have more aspects for your opponents to take advantage of.

But Fate points flowing around the table as players create, invoke, and compel aspects is a big part of the Fate game. So rather than a “fancy” stunt, I’m fine with giving the Hardy Human Knight a second mild consequence slot as one of her stunts. The character sheet has been updated, and all the old links should point to the correct place. But just in case, here are the links to the A4-sized PDF and the letter-sized PDF again.

Hardy_Human_Knight_A4-(1)

Next, I’ve updated all the previous character and monster sheets so that aspects are shown in dark blue text. I like how that makes them quick to identify when looking at the sheets. All the original links on the original blog  posts and on the collected list page should have updated.

As I said, I doubt that Friday posts will be a common occurrence. Two posts per week, plus one or two special Saturday posts is keeping me busy enough already. I’ll reserve Fridays for updates and corrections, which will hopefully be few and far between.

FAE Fantasy: Updates

FAE Fantasy: Human Knight

In previous posts (the High Elf Minstrel and Changeling Rogue) I’ve talked about the five categories of aspects I use for these Fate Accelerated Edition fantasy adventurers; a high concept, a motivation, a background aspect, a personal aspect, and an equipment aspect. So today I’m going to talk about stunts.

To keep things simple, I give all the characters three stunts and three refresh. (I did consider spending a point of refresh so that the Human Wizard had a fourth stunt representing their increased magical ability, but ultimately decided against it.) When creating stunts for each of the characters, I have three goals in mind:

  • each stunt should be flavorful and say something about the character;
  • each stunt should be interesting and encourage the player to do different things;
  • each stunt should be mechanically balanced.

Aspects are a great way to add flavor to a Fate character, but you can also do that with stunts. A stunt related to a particular fighting style, casting spells from a certain school of magic, or overcoming obstacles in a specific way are all examples of how they can help define a character. I want each stunt I give these adventurers to add depth and personality to the character.

I also try to make sure a character’s stunts are all tied to a different action. Create an advantage. Overcome an obstacle. Attack. Defend. While it would be appropriate for some characters to have multiple stunts attached to the same type of action, I think that would end up being rather boring. The knight below is a good example. I could have given her two, or even three stunts tied to the attack action. She’s a fighter, and so that would make perfect sense.

But that means the player would only get to show off their character’s abilities in combat scenes. I didn’t think that would be all that much fun, and it means they might not feel all that effective in non-combat scenes. That goes for any action type. Tying multiple stunts to the same type of action pushes the character, and the player, in a specific direction. Now, I would have no problem if a player at my table made a character like that, because it would be their choice to do so. But as I am making these fantasy adventurers sort of like pre-gens, I don’t want to pigeonhole potential players. So I try to give these characters one stunt per action type.

Balancing stunts mechanically is generally pretty easy. There is a general formula for Fate Accelerated stunts, and I follow it pretty often. I tend to stay away from “once per session” stunts though. A “session” is a nebulous amount of time. While four hours seems to be the standard, it might be anything from a single hour all the way uf to six or even eight hours of play. I want people playing these characters to feel awesome, and limiting the number of times they can pull of their “special thing” goes against that in my opinion. The longer a session goes, the fewer times a player will get to use their “once per session” stunt. Worse, they may hold onto it, waiting for the “perfect” time to use it. But if that time never comes? Then the player missed their one chance to do something cool, and that is never fun.

If a stunt does need a limit to the number of times it can be used, I much prefer “once per scene” or “spend a Fate point” costs. Even a short session is going to have multiple scenes, giving the player more chances to use their stunts. Stunts that require a Fate point encourage the player to interact with the Fate point economy, often by accepting a compel or by having an aspect invoked against them, and that is really the heart of the game.

To be honest though, the stunts for today’s fantasy adventurer were some of the hardest to come up with. Two of them are combat-related, and the other is a “once per session” stunt.


Human Knight

High Concept: Hardy Human Knight
Motivation: I Must Restore My Family’s Honor
Aspect: Nothing Like A Good Ax By Your Side
Aspect: Seen Everything Twice
Aspect: My Mother’s Heavy Plate Armor

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Built Like a Tank: Because I can shrug off wounds, once per session I can
    spend a Fate point to reduce the severity of a moderate consequence that’s
    physical in nature to a mild consequence (if my mild consequence slot is
    free), or erase a mild consequence altogether.
  • Eye For Battle: Because I can instantly assess a charged situation, I get
    +2 to Quickly create an advantage to seize a superior tactical position in
    both mental and physical conflicts.
  • Stunning Blow: Because I strike with such tremendous force, whenever I
    Forcefully attack with a physical weapon and succeed with style, I can give
    my opponent a Stunned aspect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.

Refresh: 3
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢


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

Hardy_Human_Knight_A4

The character illustration is one of 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.

FAE Fantasy: Human Knight

Monday Monsters: Black Pudding

Last week I ran a poll on Twitter and Google Plus asking which monster people wanted to see for today’s Monday Monsters post. Surprisingly, the Black Pudding won with a total of 10 votes. The Purple Worm and Juvenile Blue Dragon tied for second place with 9 votes each, and the Cloaker came in third with 6 votes. Those will most likely be the Monday Monsters for the next few weeks, and I’ve already started writing them up.

Friday also saw the release of the Fate Adversary Toolkit, which is going to be a fantastic resource for future Monday Monsters posts. I grabbed a PDF copy as soon as it was available and read through it during my spare time over the weekend. (Which is not all that much. Who knew three-month olds were so demanding?) In addition to a rogue’s gallery of NPC baddies, GM advice about how to spice up combat, and rules for traps and obstacles, the book also introduces four new categories of enemies: fillers, hitters, threats, and bosses.

So I decided to try those new enemy categories out with the Black Pudding. I went back and forth for a long time about whether the pudding was a threat or a hitter. Its overall hardiness and ability to split into smaller blobs means it’s something the PCs have to focus on, which suggests it’s a threat. But its corrosive secretions can do a lot of damage, suggesting it’s a hitter.

Ultimately I decided to make the Black Pudding a threat, mainly because I also made a Gelatinous Cube and decided that monster was a hitter. To complete examples of all the new enemy types, I also made a filler Gray Ooze. That’s right, you’re getting not one, not two, but three monsters for this week’s Monday Monsters post! You’re welcome.

There were any number of aspects and stunts I could have made for these oozes, slimes, and jellies. The Black Pudding splits into smaller puddings when hit, is highly corrosive, is resistant to acid and electricity, and can climb any surface. The Gelatinous Cube is really hard to spot, can paralyze foes, is acidic, and can swallow targets whole. The Gray Ooze is immune to magic, is good at grappling, and again is very hard to see when not moving. But adding too many mechanical bits overcomplicates things, so I limited the aspects ato four and only gave the monster two stunts maximum.

The most notable feature of the Black Pudding is its ability to split into smaller monsters. I wanted to represent this effect without actually increasing the number of enemies in the scene. The more NPCs the GM has to manage, the more difficult running the game becomes. After some very helpful suggestions on Twitter, I decided on a stunt that creates a situation aspect representing this split whenever the monster takes a consequence. It can only do this when taking a consequence from a slashing or electrical attack to help keep the monster’s flavor. Giving it an additional mild consequence makes it tougher and increases the number of times it can split.

I decided the Gelatinous Cube was a hitter, as it’s relatively easy to avoid when you know it’s there, but can be very dangerous under the right circumstances. Like if you blunder into it when walking down a dimly lit dungeon corridor. A stunt that grants an extra invoke on Paralyzing aspects represents the strength of its numbing secretions, and it’s engulf ability can do a lot of damage. (I could have used the Weapon rules here. It’s a lot easier to say “Weapon: 2” instead of writing out “deals +2 stress on a tied or better result. But I didn’t want to introduce too many optional rules. Writing the effect out allows GMs who don’t know about the weapon extra rules to use the creature just as effectively as those who do.)

The Gray Ooze is a filler enemy. That means the GM can fill the scene with them, as they’re not all that powerful or hard to take down. Fillers don’t usually have stunts, but I think they’re fun to make and help capture the flavor of monsters, so I gave it one. As Gray Oozes are noted for actively hunting prey, a stunt that increases their chances of quickly grabbing a foe seemed appropriate. Put enough of these oozes together in a mob and they can become a problem. Especially if there’s another creature lurking about to take advantage of those free Grappled invokes. Like a Gelatinous Cube the characters haven’t spotted yet.

Oh. You probably noticed I said I made examples of the four new enemy types, but that I’ve only presented three here. If you’re wondering where the boss ooze is, stay tuned for this Saturday’s post.


Black Pudding

High Concept: Large Blob of Amorphous Black Goo
Motivation: I Must Absorb All Organic Matter
Aspect: Deadly Corrosive Secretions
Aspect: Extremely Sticky and Viscous

Approaches:

  • Careful: Mediocre (+0)
  • Clever: Mediocre (+0)
  • Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
  • Forceful: Great (+4)
  • Quick: Mediocre (+0)
  • Sneaky: Good (+3)

Stunts:

  • Bifurcation: Because I split into successively smaller oozes when damaged,
    I create a new situation aspect representing my increasing numbers, such
    as More Puddings, They’re Everywhere, or We’re Surrounded!, with a free
    invoke each time I take a consequence. I can only use this stunt when
    taking a consequence to mitigate stress from a slashing or electrical attack.
  • Pseudopods: Because I can extrude multiple pseudopods from my body at
    once, I can spend a Fate point to Forcefully attack everyone in my zone.

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

  • Mild (2):
  • Mild (2):

Gelatinous Cube

High Concept: Large Cube of Quivering Jelly
Motivation: I Must Sweep the Area Clean
Aspect: Almost Totally Transparent

Approaches:

  • Careful: Mediocre (+0)
  • Clever: Mediocre (+0)
  • Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Quick: Mediocre (+0)
  • Sneaky: Great (+4)

Stunts:

  • Anesthetizing Secretions: Because I secrete a powerful anesthetizing
    agent, I get an extra free invoke when I Sneakily create an advantage
    related to my paralytic touch, such as Paralyzed, Numbed, or Stunned.
  • Engulf: Because I can envelop creatures by moving over them, I deal +2
    stress on a tied or better Forceful attack as long as I move at least one
    zone before attacking. (I won’t get a boost on a tied attack this way.)

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Hitter
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

Gray Ooze

High Concept: Medium Blob of Magic Immune Slime
Motivation: I Must Constantly Hunt

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Active Hunter: Because I am adept at hunting mobile prey, I get +2 to
    Quickly create an advantage representing my ensnaring pseudopods, such as
    Held In Place, Grappled, or Restrained.

Weight: 1 (Medium)
Role: Enemy: Fair Filler
Stress: ▢ ▢

You can download the Black Pudding, Gelatinous Cube, and Gray Ooze as a two-page A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Pudding_Cube_Ooze_A4

I’ve modified the monster sheets again. Aspects are now in a dark blue color so they’re easier to see in the text. I’ll be updating the Ghoul, Ghast, and Umber Hulk to this style soon. I’ll post an update when I do so.

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: Black Pudding

FAE Fantasy: High Elf Minstrel

Back in the Changeling Rogue post I mentioned that the main reason I used Masters of Umdaar as a template for these fantasy characters was the aspects suggested in MoU (a high concept, a motivation, a personal aspect, a shared aspect, and a free aspect). I also talked about how I felt the shared aspect wouldn’t work, as these characters were intended for a one-shot and I wouldn’t know which ones would be picked. Instead, I gave each character two personal aspects; one related their background or upbringing, and another related to their personality.

That left the free aspect to define. I suppose I could have left this blank so the players would be able to personalize their characters a bit. But as I was expecting to run this game for people entirely new to Fate, I thought it would be best to have everything about the characters filled in for them. I also could have just filled in the aspect with whatever else seemed interesting about the character, but I wanted a bit of structure as I would be making a lot of these characters. I wanted a fifth category.

That’s when it hit me the equipment a character carries is often important in fantasy games, especially games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. As I was drawing on those games for inspiration, and perhaps emulating them a bit, I wanted to give each character an important, unique, or special piece of gear. So I decided upon equipment as the fifth category of aspect.

I could also have done equipment with a Stunt, and this is how the artifacts in Masters of Umdaar work. But those are artifacts; more than being unique, they’re fairly powerful. So leaving equipment as an aspect worked better here. I feel it also gives players more say about when equipment is useful in a scene and how it gets used. Some equipment aspects, such as Dwarven Heavy Plate Armor and Shield and Expertly Crafted Set Of Thieves Tools, are fairly straightforward about when and how they might be used. Others, such as Heirloom Wyvernbone Lyre, are much more open to player interpretation. Which is by design.

Speaking of lyres, here’s this week’s fantasy character: a high elf minstrel. I decided to go with a “mundane” minstrel rather than a Dungeons & Dragons style spell slinging bard, so none of the aspects relate to magic. It would be very easy to replace the Traveled To Every Corner Of The World or My Reputation Precedes Me aspect with something that implied magic use if you wanted the character to cast spells. Something like Arcane College Dropout for instance.


High Elf Minstrel

High Concept: Dramatic High Elf Minstrel
Motivation: I Must Collect the World’s Legends
Aspect: Traveled To Every Corner of the World
Aspect: My Reputation Precedes Me
Aspect: Heirloom Wyvernbone Lyre

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Charming and Open: Because I can trick people into saying more than they should, after I Sneakily create an advantage to discover an aspect about someone, I get +2 to Sneakily create an advantage to discover or create mental aspects on that character for the rest of the scene.
  • Flashing Blade: Because I am a master duelist, at the start of a conflict, as a free action before anyone else acts, I may attempt to Flashily create an advantage demonstrating how impressive of a fighter I am.
  • Story Collector: Because I have memorized hundreds of stories, I get +2 to Cleverly overcome obstacles if I can recite a story or poem of a famous hero facing similar circumstances and how they triumphed.

Refresh: 3
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢


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

Dramatic_HighElf_Minstrel_A4

You’ll note that the character sheet layout is slightly different now. Rather than a little line of text below the image, I’ve added a Credits & Info box containing, well, credits and information. The previously released characters have all had their sheets updated to match. We also have a Google Plus page, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.

The character illustration is one of 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.

FAE Fantasy: High Elf Minstrel

Monday Monsters: Umber Hulk

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.


Umber Hulk

High Concept: Large Gorilla-Beetle Hybrid
Motivation: Craving For Humanoid Meat
Aspect: Subterranean Juggernaut
Aspect: Steel-Hard Chitin Plates
Aspect: Super Sensitive Antenna

Approaches:

  • Careful: Mediocre (+0)
  • Clever: Average (+1)
  • Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
  • Forceful: Great (+4)
  • Quick: Fair (+2)
  • Sneaky: Fair (+2)

Stunts:

  • 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: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

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

UmberHulk_A4

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: Umber Hulk

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.

FAE Fantasy: Ghouls