Ember Hulk
Ember Hulk

Ember Hulk

Ember Hulk

INTELLIGENCE:Average to Very (8-12)
HIT DICE:6 + 6
DAMAGE/ATTACK:3d4 / 3d4 / 1d10
SPECIAL ATTACKS:Usually none, rarely confusion
SIZE:M (6′ tall, 3′ wide)
MORALE:Elite (13)
AD&D 2e statistics

The story of the ember hulk is an amazing tale of adaptation and evolution. It seems once a prime wizard sought domination over the plane of Ash, to forge an army of evil Ash-born creatures with which he could assail his home world. To gather these creatures he charmed some umber hulks and forced them into the planes. Most of them died, but those which survived he kept separate and allowed them to breed. However, the wizard failed to notice that not all of the umber hulk offspring returned to him. Some had become planeborne and rebellious, though any neogi can tell you an umber hulk with proper training from birth is a docile and complacent servant. The wizard’s umber hulks raised some of their offspring away from his influence. When the time had come these planeborne umber hulks attacked and drove the wizard back to his world.

Ember hulks look like smaller, more upright, sleeker, umber hulk and have a definite look of intelligence in their eyes. They glow orange like burning hot coals, a survival trait they developed to fight off the cold of Ash. Most of them have four pairs of eyes but two of the eyes are noticeably bigger and have pupils, this helps them switch from seeing in the darkness of Ash (eyes with large pupils) and seeing in the blinding border of Fire (smaller eyes with no pupils); however this adaptation cost all but a few throwbacks their confusion ability. Their hot coal appearance is enhanced by the fact that their ancestors larger armoured plates have been replaced by smaller plates. Large plates are uncommon among them, though one individual has been seen with a skull shaped plate on his head with his smaller eyes serving as the skulls eyes.

COMBAT: Ember hulks are weaker than umber hulks but their natural heat makes the damage and up the same as normal for those without protection from heat. Those immune to heat take 1-10 / 1-10 / 1-8 from their claw/claw/bite attack instead. As mentioned above only a few throwbacks have the confusion ability but most ember hulk bands have one cleric.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: Smarter then their prime born ancestors, Ember hulks have an intelligence and cunning that can only be found on the planes. Ember hulks like a nomadic life, wandering through the plane of Ash to the edge of Fire and back to Ash again. It’s suspected that they must get close to fire to recharge their natural heat. While ember hulks are rarely found with treasure, every so often a group’s cleric has a small magic item or an individual hulk carries a trinket that looks interesting to it. Truly valuable items are buried in sealed off chambers deep in Ash until they are needed again. Most of these valuable items are stores of dead animals though occasionally potions are kept in these caches.

Ember hulk priests tend to wear a few loose animal skins and they worship no gods. Instead, they place spiritual importance in certain natural features such as elemental pockets. Water pockets are especially valuable, despite the fact the hulks get most of the moisture they need from their prey. Water reminds them of the home they were torn from. The caves where prey is common and living doesn’t hurt has become their afterlife. A prime world as an afterlife sounds funny to me too but the stories passed down from their ancestors must sound like paradise to the hulks.

ECOLOGY: Ember hulk feed upon creatures like descriat and rasts. Their hide-and-burst-out hunting method has been replaced by a more successful one, especially since most creatures on the plane are relatively small. They have hunters run the tunnels, herding prey to a central tunnel. Here the band feeds. If then ember hulks get a surplus of prey. they eat what they need and block off (and often divert) the tunnels to save the rest for a time of need. The cold of ash freeze-dries their food, preserving it. The desperate lack of food leads ember hulks to trade as well. They recognise sentients (especially non-edible ones like elementals) as potential sources of food for later times. After all why eat all the food now if that one prey item can bring you food continuously for years to come? This makes ember hulks neutral, compared to the evil of their prime cousins. Ember hulks have a limitless memory.

VARIANTS: Some ember hulks become mages. This is rare but true. Further mutations in their appearance are common, possibly due to inbreeding. Though family bands don’t breed with members of their own bands, when a band gets too big it splits into two bands, both are treated as separate bands in every way including regards to breeding.

Source: Joshua Jarvis

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