Masters of Umdaar – Bonus Content

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PHEW! Mean a busy few weeks. In the last two weeks, I’ve closed a successful Kickstarter, moved to a new apartment, and had my first game, Masters of Umdaar, published by Evil Hat. I’m astounded by all of the great support I’ve had for all three of the above (especially the moving… those bookshelves are heavy.)

Art by Tazio Bettin & Enrica Eren Angiolini. Image owned by Evil Hat LLC, used without permission.

In all of the excitement, I haven’t had much time to write content this game blog. However, I’ve struck upon a great idea: I’ll share with the interwebs some of the bonus Umdaar material that didn’t make the final cut.

(I don’t want to call this the “Director’s Cut,” because that implies that the editorial staff of Evil Hat where viciously changing things against my approval; quite the opposite. Their critiques were constructive, and they made sure that they knew I was ultimately in charge of the product; they helped me to create one of the best works I’ve ever done. However, I had huge difficulty with keeping to the small page count, which meant there were many things that I wish we had space for.)

Enjoy the bonus material!

Tables of Tables

In the early drafts, one goal for “Umdaar” was to have an instant Unplanned Adventure. Players could spend 5 minutes on character creation, and the GM, with a slew of randomly generated names and monsters, could create a setting in less than 15 minutes. (An ambitious dream, I know.) However, it was decided to include more pre-made material (like the “Starblades of Su’ul” adventure), and to par down the GM material a bit. Thus, it’s no surprise that the bonus content is entirely tables.

NAME GENERATOR

A generator for creating random PC or NPC names. Foll 4dF twice, once for the prefix (top half), and once for the suffix (bottom half).

—- Naga-
Shiro- Vir-
Exa- Kan- Wego-
Moor- Zy- Thal- Kaji-
0 <row 1> Slee- Myr- Arco- Or- P’Taq-
0 + ++ +++ ++++
0 -Da -Ra -Thar -Daar -Ak
-Seez -Gon -Star -Caya
-Tron -Lock -Uu  
-T’zo -Kor      
—- -Graz        

NATION / BIOFORM SUFFIXES

During character creation, players are encouraged to create a name for their Bioform or their home nation. This can be done one of two ways:

Free-form – Create the name yourself, based on the bioform type. For example, if you are a “Manta” person, feel free to call your bioform the “Mantiards” or simply the “Mantamen.”

Name Generator – Use the Name chart above, but also roll for a random suffix from the Bioform Name Suffix Chart below, and add them together. Ex. Names “Arco” + “-T’zo”, plus the Bioform Suffix “-Ani” = the tribe of Arcot’zoani. (If the result is too long, just use the Name Prefix and the  Bioform Suffix, such Arcoani)

0 + ++ +++ ++++
0 -ocks -iards -en -ols -ri
-ors -ons -als -dja
-ani -ians -ites  
-ans -icans      
—- -um        

MASTER – TITLE GENERATOR

Use the Title Generator below to create the Master’s title. Alternatively, you can use the Name Creator from the character section, or put the two together—ex. NagTaal the Lifetaker.

Foll 4dF twice, once for the prefix (top half), and once for the suffix (bottom half).

—- Mask-        
Fear Hope      
Bone World Gold    
Life Skull Mind  Slave  
0 God Light Blood War Lore
   0 + ++ +++ ++++
0 King/ Queen Monger Tyrant Hoarder Berserker
 Lord Taker Grinder Twister  
-Lock Raker Crusher    
Razer Breaker      
—- Destroyer        

Note: Hope & Light?

On the chart above, it is possible to end up with titles like “Hopelord.” You can reroll, but we suggest you go with it- no doubt the Master is a charismatic leader, who is worshiped by his oppressed subjects as a demigod!

BASIC TERRAIN-ING

In the first few drafts, “Umdaar” was more about the geography- the artifacts were more of a by-product of exploring, rather than the motivation. Thus, there were also random tables for creating wild biomes, AKA the Wildlands (although they work for Dark Domains as well); likewise, there was also generators for Midway points, and for buried structures or evil lairs waiting for them- this was called the Final Destination.

WILDLAND GENERATOR

Foll 4dF twice, once for the prefix (top half), and once for the suffix (bottom half).

—- The Midnight
The Shrapnel The Bone
The Star The Sludge The Subterranean
The Blood The Crystal The Psycho The Sky
0 The Time The Poison The Fire The Ice The Sunken
0 + ++ +++ ++++
0 Ruins Caves Swamps Cliffs Sea
Forests Mountains Sands Highlands
Tundras Jungles Islands  
Oasis Plains      
—- Pass        

MIDWAYS

Going through a Wildland without any incident is boring. Thus, we had a Midway generator; they are intentionally generic, so they could be dressed up to match any location. Some of them provide obstacles, while others provide “window dressing” for a character conflict (rather than having a scene take place in a vacuum).

  0 +
The Crossroads – Where two paths intersect. A place of detours, losing your way, and highwaymen. The Fortification – A man-made barricade, a roadblock, or proper fort. You must deal with the defenders, or physically overcome it. The High Ground – Before you is higher ground, granting anyone on it a tactical advantage. Alternates: Dunes, Barrow Mounds.
0 The Ruins – A cluttered area, rife with hiding places, forgotten artifacts, and sleeping dangers. The Fertile Ground- A blooming place in a hostile land, and an ironic place to be threatened. I.e. oasis, watering hole, mushroom grove, hot spring. The Shelter – A small shelter stands, bowing under the weight of the elements. Perhaps a resilient occupant still resides there. I.e. A camp, covered wagon, shack, hovel.
+ The Pass – Before you lies a natural path or bridge that must be traversed if you are to proceed. I.e. across a gorge, river, through a reef, a mountain pass. The Fog – An area where the senses are dulled, and teams can easily become separated. I.e. a dark bog, a misty rainforest, a sandstorm, a smoky lava field. The Obstruction – A terrain feature that cannot simply be walked around it- takes active effort to overcome. I.e. swimming a lake, scaling a cliff-face, climbing the massive trees.

FINAL DESTINATION GENERATOR

Foll 4dF twice, once for the prefix (top half), and once for the suffix (bottom half).

—- The City        
The Temple The Labyrinth       
The Cathedral The Fortress The Forge    
The Prison The Crypts The Library The Castle  
0  The Factory The Pit The Tower The Dungeons The Coliseum
  0 + ++ +++ ++++
0 of the Fallen Goddess of Plague  of Cursed Wisdom of Despair of Eternal Life
of the Starfarers of Madness of Shadows of Mutation  
of the Nameless God of Screams of Torment    
of Gold of Forbidden Joy      
—- of Eternal War        

LAST BITS

The last worthy bit of content cut from Umdaar was the Adventure Generator, but that is long enough that it warrants a blog post of its own. Until then, readers, game on!

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Monster Showcase – The Exquisite Corpse

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THE BACKSTORY

For this week’s Monster showcase, I wanted a monster that brought out one of Fate’s strengths: the written word. With Fate Core, words are more than a way of communicating information and categorizing one stat from another, they are the bricks and mortars upon which the game is founded.

I present you a comedy/supernatural monster, “The Exquisite Corpse.” It is named, of course, after the French surrealist party game from the 1920’s (also known as Consequences). In the game, players write down a word on a piece of paper, hide it, and pass the paper to the next player. This is continued until a complete but nonsensical sentence is formed. For example, one of the earliest recorded sentences, which gave the game its name, was “the exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”

THE CREATURE

Description: The exquisite corpse is an unusual undead being, consisting of several body parts stitched together dunstan creepyand reanimated through science or sorcery. It is a built for beauty rather than brute strength, and each part in the monster’s composition was carefully selected. If the handsome parts don’t quite match, this can result in a gait that is more jaunty than shambling.

High Concept: Miss-matched Charming Reanimat

  • +4  – Rapport
  • +3 – Fight, Physique
  • +2 – Provoke, Will, Notice
  • +1 – Deceive, Athletics, Contacts

Stress: 4 Physical, 3 Mental

Say What?: The Exquisite Corpse is a master of double-talk, providing pedantic answers or promises that, upon reflection, mean nothing. When others try to pry out answers and promises out of the corpse (with Provoke or Empathy), it may oppose with Rapport instead of Will; if the Corpse successfully resists, the inquisitor will mistakenly believe they have found the answer they were looking for until the end of the scene.

THE SET-UP

The Exquisite Corpse starts with only a High Concept, but will have other aspects added on to it. These additional aspects are written by the players in a random fashion. The framework for each aspect is:

The Exquisite corpse _adverb_ _verb_ the _adjective_ _noun_.

Assign each of the missing words (adverb, verb, adjective, noun) to a different player, and have them write it down where others can’t see.


If you’re looking for something to write your game notes on, why not try the Fate Accompli erasable note-cards? The Kickstarter’s fully-funded, and hitting stretch-goal after stretch-goal. It ends on August 20th, so make sure you check it out now!

FateAccompli_Now_on_KickStarter


After players have written their assigned words, compile them together. Depending on the number of players, it might be best to write four or five sentences, and pick the best three; look for sentences that tell you something about the corpse’s motivations and weaknesses. Here are a few samples (I promise, these are completely random):

The Exquisite corpse tensely instructs the sudden quilt
Interpretation: he is an informed figure that takes his jobs and his hobbies very seriously.

The Exquisite corpse widely tests the frantic peace
Interpretation: she is a troll, who loves to disrupt the status quo and to sabotage negotiations for everyone; or perhaps she is contracting you to disrupt a treaty.

The Exquisite corpse easily visits the robust toad – Interpretation: the corpse is a speedy individual, who knows where to find the toads you need as a potion ingredient.

The Exquisite corpse wetly covers the complete throat – Interpretation: the corpse is not a vampire, but is still obsessed with necking.

The Exquisite corpse swiftly punishes the stiff grade – Interpretation: I don’t know what this means, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

WHAT LIES BEYOND

After you have an idea of what the character is like, you may want to drop the randomness. However, there’s nothing to say that you can’t continue on in the adventure this same way. For example, the term “Exquisite Corpse” is sometimes used with Round Robin stories: one author will start a composition, but leave it unfinished, passing it on to the next. The later writers are allowed to read what has come before. For example, you can try this set-up:

The exquisite corpse sits down at your table and flashes you a mossy grin. “I have a job for you… well, it’s a three part job, but I think you can handle it. First, you will need …”

Each player must:

  1. Finish the previous sentence.
  2. Add a complete sentence of their own.
  3. Start a third sentence, but leave it unfinished.

WHY DO THIS?

I feel that players want to play. As I’ve theorized in the “Can You Picture That?” blog a few months ago, anything that is playful and creative gets players to flex their muscles, and to get them in the frame of mind that this is a story that they are creating, not reacting to. I have yet to try this specific style myself, but am anxious to (I suspect it might be a fun side adventure in the latest Fate World setting, “Nest.”) If you try it out, tell us what you think!

Until next time, folks, keep on rollin’!