Monday Monsters: Spider Webs & Venom

 

This Monday Monsters post is two things: late, and mostly about monster elements than whole creatures. As for being late, well, toddlers are walking human Petri dishes. Which is all I’ll say about that. This isn’t a parenting blog after all.

As for monster elements? If you’re familiar with Fate, you know about the Bronze Rule – the idea that you can turn just about anything in Fate into a character. Rather than do another arachnid-themed creature for this post, I thought it’d be fun to stat up common elements of said spider monsters: webs and venom.

The excellent Fate Adversary Toolkit introduces something called obstacles. They’re things the player characters have to deal with, but unlike enemies obstacles (usually) can’t be attacked. At least not directly. Hazards are obstacles whose main purpose is to damage characters, while blocks merely prevent characters from taking action. Those seem like great ways to represent spider venom and spider webs, respectively.


Giant Spider Venom

Good (+3) Giant Spider Venom, Weapon: 2

Spider venom is a hazard, as its main goal is to damage the character. To inject venom into an opponent, you could create a hazard instead of creating an aspect on a successful create an advantage action. Or even on an attack if the spider has a stunt that creates an aspect on a success with style, like the Giant Huntsman Spider. Once it’s been injected, the venom attacks on the spider’s turn using its single skill and on a success it inflicts extra stress equal to its weapon rating. (Here are the rules for weapon ratings.) The venom above is sort of a “standard” venom, and would fit the Giant Jumping Spider or the Giant Trapdoor Spider well.

Great (+4) Paralytic Venom, Weapon: 1
Great (+4) Nauseating Venom, Weapon: 1

Hazards can also attempt to create advantages, again using their single skill. In this case, the aspects should be something like Weakened, Shaky, Blurred Vision and other poison related effects. The paralytic venom above would be good for the Giant Orb-Weaver, while the nauseating venom could be for the Giant Hunting Spider.

Superb (+5) Necrotic Venom, Weapon: 4

If you really want something nasty, the necrotic venom above fits the bill. A high skill rating and a high weapon rating makes that poison very dangerous. Normally hazards can’t be attacked by the player characters; they just have to be avoided, usually be leaving the area. But as spider venom is inside the character, that’s not possible. So in this case it makes sense for the character to be able to attempt to overcome the venom, representing their body neutralizing the poison or someone applying first aid. The hazard again rolls with its single skill, and if the player is successful, it’s eliminated.


Giant Spider Webs

Good (+3) Giant Spider Webs
Superb (+5) Huge Spider Webs

Spider webs are blocks. They don’t actively attack characters, but passively prevent movement and make certain types of actions harder. Unlike hazards, blocks don’t get a turn, but provide passive opposition the player has to roll against under certain circumstances. In this case, the giant spiderwebs would probably make it more difficult to leave a zone, or to get close enough to a spider to attack it in melee. If the player character fails to overcome the block, it simply prevents them from taking whatever action they were attempting.

Just like the spider venom hazards, I think you could add spider webs to a scene whenever a giant spider would create an aspect. I probably wouldn’t have more than a single block per zone though, as I don’t believe their ratings stack. Plus, they’d start to get annoying. You’re looking to challenge your players, not irritate them. Blocks can be completely removed from the scene, but that’s somewhat hard to do. You need a successful overcome action, and the skill rating of the block increases by +2 steps. That could be done by burning the spider webs, hacking at them with an axe, or casting a big, flashy disintegration spell.


Lastly, in case you didn’t yet know, Evil Hat just released their Fate Horror Toolkit. I’ve snagged a PDF copy (shipping books to Japan is expensive, but I’ll get a hardcopy eventually), and can’t wait to dig into it.

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Monday Monsters: Spider Webs & Venom

Wednesday Warriors: Wood Elf Druid

Today’s Wednesday Warrior is one that I made several years ago when I first started making these characters. As usual it’s based on on of the paper minis made by Printable Heroes, but unlike most of the others it’s based on an exclusive mini. You could only get the Phytomancer if you were a Patreon supporter. Because of that, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing the PDF character sheet with the public. But as I’ve stopped making PDFs (for the time being at least), and as the featured image for this post was shared publicly on the Printable Heroes tumblr, I feel it’s okay.

Looking at the character now, there are a few things I would change. As I made this Wood Elf Druid a few years ago, I see now that I’ve repeated a few stunts on other characters (which I suppose is inevitable), and some of the aspects are too similar to other characters I’ve made more recently. Still, I like the character. I like that this druid’s “attuned land” (to borrow a Dungeon World phrase) is a swamp. I feel that’s not something you see all that often in D&D inspired fantasy.


Wood Elf Druid

High Concept: Morbid Wood Elf Druid
Motivation: I Must Halt the Blight of Civilization
Aspect: Born in the Bogs of Hell Marsh
Aspect: Herald of the Devourer Wurm
Aspect: Ironwood Bark Carapace Armor

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Bramble Binder: Because I can summon plant vines and creepers from the earth, I can Quickly create an advantage to bind or ensnare my opponent. The first time each scene someone tries to break free of my snares, the opposition increases by +2.
  • Extremely Disturbing: Because I know how to creep people out, I get +2 to Cleverly create an advantage to instill fear or disgust in my opponents.
  • The Withering: Because I can drain life force with my touch, whenever I Sneakily attack a living target and succeed with style, I choose one: remove a free invoke from an aspect on that enemy or upgrade the boost from my success with style into an aspect with a free invoke.

Weight: 1 (Medium)
Stress:
▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

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

The character illustration is the exclusive Phytomancer 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: Wood Elf Druid

Monday Monsters: More Giant Spiders

This is going to be fairly short as the real world is eating into my free time again unfortunately. (Which is why I wasn’t able to put up a Cortex Friday post last week.)

As I mentioned in last week’s Monday Monster post, I’m going to try something different with the monsters going forward: monthly themes. May’s theme is giant arachnids. I had planned on doing just one at first, but as I statted up the jumping spider and orb-weaver spider from last week, I realized I could make several different kinds of spiders by setting different approaches as the lead approach. The giant trapdoor and huntsman spider below are the results.


Trapdoor Spider

High Concept: Large Trapdoor Spider
Motivation: I Must Wait in Ambush for Prey
Aspect: Sensitive Web of Tripwires

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Camouflage: Because I am nearly undetectable when the lid to my burrow is closed, I get +2 to Sneakily defend against attacks and to oppose creating an advantage as long as I am benefitting from an aspect related to concealment, such as Burrowed, Concealed, or Out of Sight.

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

  • Mild (2):

Huntsman Spider

High Concept: Huge Huntsman Spider
Motivation: I Must Investigate Anything Caught in My Webs
Aspect: Acute Sense of Touch
Aspect: Excellent Vision

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Nauseating Poison: Because I inject a potent poison with my bite, whenever I succeed with style on a Sneaky attack, I may give my opponent a Sickened aspect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.
  • Robust Hunter: Because I have a thick exoskeleton, I get +2 to Forcefully defend against physical attacks.

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

  • Mild (2):
  • Mild (2):
Monday Monsters: More Giant Spiders

Wednesday Warriors: Schedule Change

Long story short, there isn’t going to be a Wednesday Warriors post today.

I mentioned this in Monday’s Giant Spider post, but I’m thinking about moving Fate Accelerated Fantasy to a Patreon model this fall. The content would still continue to be free, and there would only be a single pledge level of $2 to $3 per month. The money would be used to pay for a professional website with extra going to charity, or possibly going towards commissioned artwork for printed materials. I’m not sure yet.

But one thing I am definitely thinking about is the rate at which I post and whether that is sustainable. Monsters can be easy to make, depending on their power level and importance, but adventurers are always a more involved process. They’re also something Fate players and GMs need fewer of, as player will (presumably) use their characters for multiple sessions.

So to that end, I’m going to be moving Wednesday Warriors to a bi-weekly schedule. Meaning that they’ll go up every other Wednesday. That’ll prevent me from getting burnt out (and having to take a hiatus like I did a few months ago), ensure that I have more time to produce quality work, and prevent people from getting flooded with material they don’t really need.


 

Wednesday Warriors: Schedule Change

Monday Monsters: Giant Spiders

I’m going to try something different for the Monday Monster posts for May: a theme. All the monster entries for this month will be related, and if I think it works out well, I’ll continue to do that moving forwards. Part of this is to better help me plan out my posts, as I’m considering moving this over to a Patreon come fall. Everything here will still be free, I’m just considering creating some sort of extra for people who decide to subscribe.

But that’s still a few months off. Back to the current post. May’s theme is arachnids. Giant spiders are a classic fantasy adventure monster, probably because spiders give some people the creeps. While I’m not arachnophobic or anything, I still don’t enjoy seeing a spider in an unexpected place (like my apartment), especially large ones. Plus, the ensnaring webs and various types of poison giant spiders produce makes them interesting opponents.


 

Jumping Spider

High Concept: Large Jumping Spider
Motivation: I Must Actively Hunt Prey
Aspect: Incredible Vision

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Pounce!: Because I ambush prey with powerful leaps, I deal +2 stress on a tied or better attack, as long as I moved at least one zone before attacking. (I do not also gain a boost on a tie this way.)

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

  • Mild (2):

Orb-Weaver Spider

High Concept: Huge Orb-Weaver Spider
Motivation: I Must Investigate Anything Caught in My Webs
Aspect: Incredibly Long Legs

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Cocoon: Because I wrap my prey in strands of sticky spider silk, I gain an extra free invocation whenever I Carefully create an aspect related to ensnaring someone in my webs, such as Enmeshed, Trapped, or Wrapped Up.
  • Paralytic Poison: Because I inject a paralytic poison with my fangs, I get +2 to Sneakily create an aspect related to its debilitating effects, such as Benumbed, Enfeebled, or Weakened.

Weight: 4 (Huge)
Role: Enemy: Mediocre Hitter
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Mild (2):
Monday Monsters: Giant Spiders

Wednesday Warriors: Orc Spellsword

Continuing on with the theme I started in Monday’s monster post, this Wednesday Warriors is an Orc Spellsword.


Orc SpellswordOrc_Spellsword

High Concept: Reckless Orc Spellsword
Motivation: I Must Attract the Notice of The Tusked Mother
Aspect: Failed Initiate of the Ebon Circle
Aspect: Everything Has A Price
Aspect: Wickedly Sharp Arahk

Approaches:

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

Stunts:

  • Arcane Siphon: Because I drain magical energy from my opponents, whenever I succeed with style on a Sneaky attack, I may choose one of the following options: remove a free invoke from an aspect representing some sort of magical effect on that opponent; or upgrade the boost from my success with style into an aspect with a free invoke.
  • Cunning Offense: Because I am always looking for ways to take advantage of the situation, I get +2 to Cleverly create an advantage representing flaws, weaknesses, or oversights in an opponent’s plans or arguements.
  • Overcharge: Because I put more power than necessary into my spells, whenever I attempt to Flashily overcome an obstacle using magic, I may improve the results by one step (a Fail becomes a Tie, a Tie becomes a Success, etc.) If I do, I add a Dangerous Arcane Feedback aspect with no free invokes to the scene.

Weight: 1 (Medium)
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: Orc Spellsword

Monday Monsters: Orc Warband

This week’s entry are orcs. Like the gnolls and kobolds from a  weeks ago, the orc warrior and javelineer are filler enemies from the Fate Adversary Toolkit. So again, you can fill a scene with these enemies without worrying about overwhelming the player characters. The orc chieftain is a threat, though not a huge one as their lead approach is the same as the adventurers.


Orc_Javelineer

Orc Javelineer / Warrior

High Concept: Medium Savage Humanoid
Motivation: I Must Prove Myself in Battle

Approaches:

  • Forceful: Fair (+2)
  • Others: Mediocre (+0)

Stunts:

  • Opportunist (Javelineer):
    Because I am armed with javelins, I can attack opponents in adjacent zones and I increase the active opposition of anyone attempting to move into my zone by +2.
  • Heavy Hitter (Warrior):
    Because I carry a big honking axe, I deal +1 additional stress on a successful Forceful attack.

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

Note: Treat groups of orcs as a single character. Add +1 to their Sneaky approach for every two orcs in the group, up to a maximum of +4. Increase their weight by 1 per orc, and arrange their stress boxes into a single track.


Orc Chieftan

High Concept: Medium Savage Humanoid
Motivation: I Must Lead the Warband to Victory
Aspect: Only the Strong Deserve to Rule

Approaches:

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

STUNTS:

  • Breaker: Because my blows leave my opponent’s’ defenses in ruins, I get an additional invocation when I Forcefully create an aspect related to destroying armor, such as Broken, Destroyed, or Rent Asunder.
  • Summon the Horde!: Because I keep most of my force in reserve, I can spend a fate point to bring two orc javelineers/warriors into the scene.

Weight: 1 (Medium)
Role: Enemy: Mediocre Threat
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

The monster illustrations 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: Orc Warband