You know, I have never used an Umpleby – perhaps I simply
didn’t find the illustration that exciting when I was younger. Reading,
re-ordering the information, and then converting it, I find that this is
actually a rather fantastic creature. First off, the idea of a walking carpet
storing static electricity is interesting. However, the Umpleby is better than
that, because it is also a creature that offers the PCs at least three
interesting choices: (1) Are the problems caused by the creature worth the
benefits of its treasure sense?, (2) If not, how do we escape the thing while
avoiding its massive shocks?, and (3) If so, how much treasure are we willing
to reward it with to keep it around? More mercenary players might also wonder
how to find and loot its lair.
Contrast Urchins. I have used these a lot, over the years,
because they are nothing more than a way to directly link PC greed with a
serious danger. If these things were not marine, they would be less dangerous,
because their venom isn’t lethal, but if you use Cave Urchins in your game, the
wandering monsters which come to feast while you are helpless are a
Another thing you might wish to consider: locals might use
blowguns with urchin spines to easily capture prey, invaders, or PCs. This is
yet another solid entry from the Fiend Folio.
And now we are truly reaching the end. There are only five
posts to go before the Fiend Folio is fully converted: Vision and Vodyanoi; Volt and Vortex;
Whipweed, Witherstench, and Witherweed; Xill and Xvart; and finally the Yellow
Musk Creeper and Yellow Musk Zombie.
If you feel like tipping, here is a way to do so.
Umpleby: Init +0;
Atk Claw +2 melee (1d4) or net +2 ranged (30’ range, entangle) or electric
shock +2 melee (1d30); AC 16; HD 4d6; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Entangle, electric
shock, immune to electricity, treasure sense; SV Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0; AL N.
These shaggy humanoids are 8 feet
tall on average, and weigh about 400 pounds. They seem more curious than
intelligent, and have been known to shamble along behind a party of
adventurers, often getting in the way, simply to see what they are doing.
Although they will fight to defend themselves, these beings will not usually
attack otherwise, being content to observe. Their shambling gait is fairly
loud, making it almost impossible for a party with a trailing umpleby to
Apart from its clawed hands, an umpleby
has two means of defending itself. The first is using a net the creature makes
of its own long, brown hair (which is stored wrapped around its waist). If this
hits (ignoring armor), the opponent must succeed in a Reflex save equal to the
umpleby’s attack roll or become entangled. An entangled creature can attempt a
Strength check each round to break free, using an Action Die. The initial DC is
12, but this increases by +2 with each failure. On average, an umpleby will
have 1d4-1 such nets available.
The second, and more dangerous,
attack is with an electric shock. The creature can generate and store vast
amounts of static electricity, and can deliver enormous shocks with a single
touch. Not only does metal armor not aid the defender in this attack, but the
umpleby gains an attack bonus for each +1 such armor would normally provide!
The victim is allowed a Fort save (DC 15) for half damage, and damage cannot
exceed 50 hp.
When an umpleby delivers the 50th
hp of electrical damage, it goes to sleep as soon as it is possible and reasonably
safe to do so. For each full hour the creatures sleeps undisturbed, it recharges
1d30 points of potential damage, to a maximum of 50.
The umpleby can speak the common
tongue in a halting fashion but rarely does so as it is generally uncommunicative
creature. However, it is incessantly hungry and thirsty, so that an offer of
food and water may forge an instant loyalty to its benefactor – and this is
valuable because an umpleby can sense precious metals and gems up to a range of
100’, even through solid rock. A loyal umpleby will advise and help its
benefactor (although not fight for them) so long as the benefactor continues to
reward the umpleby with food, water, and a reasonable proportion of any
treasure discovered as a result of its advice. If not sufficiently rewarded, an
umpleby simply leaves, and will refuse to co-operate in any way with any
members of the party that offended it.
Umpleby’s have a great love of
treasure, and if an umpleby’s lair is found, there is often a huge treasure
trove therein. However, the creature never willingly gives up the location of
its lair, even to those it has a bond of loyalty with. Torture and death are
Black Urchin: Init
+4; Atk Spine +1 ranged (1d6); AC 16; HD 1d6+1; MV 10’ or swim 20’; Act 1d20; SV
Fort +6, Ref -2, Will +0; AL N.
Green Urchin: Init
+5; Atk Spine +1 ranged (1d7); AC 17; HD 2d6+2; MV 10’ or swim 30’; Act 2d20; SP
Camouflage; SV Fort +6, Ref -1, Will +0; AL N.
Red Urchin: Init
+5; Atk Spine +2 ranged (1d5 plus venom); AC 18; HD 3d6+3; MV 10’ or swim 30’;
Act 3d20; SP Venom; SV Fort +7, Ref +0, Will +0; AL N.
Init +5; Atk Spine +4 ranged (1d5 plus venom); AC 20; HD 4d6+4; MV 20’ or swim 50’;
Act 5d20; SP Camouflage, venom; SV Fort +9, Ref +2, Will +0; AL N.
Init +5; Atk Spine +3 ranged (1d5 plus venom); AC 19; HD 4d6+4; MV 15’ or swim 40’;
Act 4d20; SP Venom; SV Fort +8, Ref +1, Will +0; AL N.
These urchins are marine
creatures, similar to the mundane sea creatures of the same name, but three
feet in diameter, of various colors, and able to shoot their thousands of three-inch
long radiating spines at other creatures which come too close. The creature can
fire one spine with each Action Die, to an effective range of 100 feet.
Depending upon the type of urchin, some of these spines also carry venom.
This would cause most creatures
to leave these urchins alone, but a dead urchin can be broken up quite easily,
and inside each body is a gem which varies according to the type of urchin, as
Black Urchin: Black gem valued at 2d10 gp.
Green Urchin: These pale green urchins are difficult to see in
water, gaining a +10 bonus on opposed checks to remain hidden. They contain
green gems worth 3d10 gp, with paler gems being more valuable.
Red Urchin: Dull red with black-tipped spines, this urchin’s venom
requires causes 1d3 temporary Agility damage due to grogginess, and affected
creatures must succeed in a DC 10 Fort save or fall asleep for 1d4 rounds,
potentially drowning as a result. These effects are cumulative, so that failing
three saves results in 3d3 temporary Agility damage and 2d4 rounds of sleep. This
temporary Agility damage heals at a rate of 1 point per turn. The creature’s
red gems are worth 4d10 gp each.
Silver Urchin: This, the rarest of the urchins, is dull silver with
black-tipped spines. Its spines carry a venom which acts on the victim’s
nervous system, causing 1d3 Personality damage, and requiring a DC 20 Fort save
to avoid a catatonic trance lasting 1d3 days (and almost certainly resulting in
drowning if rescue is not at hand. The gem contained within the creature is
worth 8d10 gp.
Yellow Urchin: Like green urchins, these pale yellow creatures gain
a +10 bonus to opposed checks with hiding in water. Their spines, which have
light green tips, carry venom which will paralyses victim for 1d4 turns (Fort
DC 15 negates). Its gem is worth 6d10 gp.
A Handle Poison check can extract
1d10 envenomed spines from a slain urchin (if it has venom), but the spine
itself must be used to deliver the toxin, which remains effective for 1d4 + HD
days. Blowguns can be used for this purpose.
Urchins have been encountered up
to half a mile from salt water. Although rarer, cave urchins exist which have a
move and climb speed equal to twice the equivalent urchin’s normal land move.
It is entirely possible that
other colors of urchins exist, which have different types of venom.