How do you kill an Umbral?

Fieari

Explorer
AKA, How do you kill the very concept of death itself? How do you end the idea of ending?

Krusty, I've been playing up the Umbrals in my 4e campaign right now. I introduced one during the heroic tier as something to run away from, and in the paragon tier, they're dealing with the fallout of having what is effectively a living black hole in the atmosphere-- namely, massive horrific weather changes as the atmosphere is sucked away into byss... or whatever mathematical equivalent explanation you can think of for reducing matter into 0-dimensions.

So, given that I've played this up so much for the past... well, almost YEAR of play, and that the party is heading into the epic tier and wants to take the thing out... how do they do that? It's been made pretty clear that ANYTHING that touches it is destroyed, and that magical energy and physical energy alike are destroyed in its singularity.

They've been planes hopping a bit into the three time-related dimensions (I've also REALLY played up the Etherial = Past, Astral = Present, Shadow = Future thing) so I'd like using higher dimensions to play into it. Perhaps they'd need to feed timelines into the thing? That is... wield worlds like weapons?

Or what do you think?
 

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Hey Fieari mate! :)

Fieari said:
AKA, How do you kill the very concept of death itself? How do you end the idea of ending?

Well I think the answer lies in Anti-matter. Indeed some Umbrals are anti-matter (some anti-time, some anti-spirit and so on).

Obviously it must be protected in some way against matter (or time or spirit etc.) to exist in our universe without spontaneously destroying itself (such as coming into contact with air molecules).

So its 'hit points' might be more like Resist All which you need to degrade.

Krusty, I've been playing up the Umbrals in my 4e campaign right now. I introduced one during the heroic tier as something to run away from, and in the paragon tier, they're dealing with the fallout of having what is effectively a living black hole in the atmosphere-- namely, massive horrific weather changes as the atmosphere is sucked away into byss... or whatever mathematical equivalent explanation you can think of for reducing matter into 0-dimensions.

Maybe it simply gets converted to negative dimensions and Byss could be a great barrier.

So, given that I've played this up so much for the past... well, almost YEAR of play, and that the party is heading into the epic tier and wants to take the thing out... how do they do that? It's been made pretty clear that ANYTHING that touches it is destroyed, and that magical energy and physical energy alike are destroyed in its singularity.

They've been planes hopping a bit into the three time-related dimensions (I've also REALLY played up the Etherial = Past, Astral = Present, Shadow = Future thing) so I'd like using higher dimensions to play into it. Perhaps they'd need to feed timelines into the thing? That is... wield worlds like weapons?

Or what do you think?

As above, I think its tailored to the specific type of Umbral. So with an anti-matter Umbral you'd need to feed it matter (ie. hit it). With one of the anti-time Umbrals you need to feed it 'time'. This might be something simple like having it physically manifest long enough to burn itself out (for a weaker Umbral).

Of course the key problem is that whatever hits it is usually destroyed in the process.

I remember a few months ago researching the OD&D Blackballs and there was basically the (relatively) easy version (which you could fight in a few ways) and the hard version (which you couldn't* and was a lot more plot device-y).

*Gate, Wish and Miracle worked on it.

I prefer the version where you can fight it. I just think it should be incredibly difficult to do so. Not only does it deal permanent damage but you also take backlash damage hurting it.
 

Fieari

Explorer
A little more background on my campaign. There is a character known as "The Necromancer" who is trying to utilize Byss to break through the Great Wall and attempt to confront the Supreme Being... or at least peruse the Akashic Records. In particular, The Necromancer intends to cast a ritual spell that happens to utilize an entire plane as a spell component, consuming it in the process, destroying it's past, present, and future in one fell swoop.

Which leads me to think that this Umbral may be Anti-Space/Time. Except its duration would be somewhat comparable to the heat-death of the universe.

I'm definitely leaning more towards utilizing timelines as weapons now. They'll need to create splinter universes and use each splinter universe as a single-use weapon, destroying that universe in the process (for simplicity, say that the umbral's HP are its defenses, and at first those are being taken down, and then the final blow that kills the umbral destroys the timeline). The splinter universe that they'll create will be actualized in the form of a sword or other similar melee (or even ranged) weapon.

I've already established the creation of splinter universes via manipulation of the Etherial Plane. (I've given the players artifacts related to each of the time planes that they can use at the cost of sanity) So now the question will be how to forge the splinters into weapons. A mere ritual just doesn't seem enough, somehow...

Perhaps the splinter timelines would have guardian spirits? That they'd have to either kill or capture in order to forge the blades?

Incidentally, I haven't ordered the Vampire Bestiary yet (though I intend to soon). Does it contain any Umbrals, or will I need to stat those up myself for the moment?
 
Last edited:

Hey Fieari mate! :)

Fieari said:
A little more background on my campaign. There is a character known as "The Necromancer" who is trying to utilize Byss to break through the Great Wall and attempt to confront the Supreme Being... or at least peruse the Akashic Records. In particular, The Necromancer intends to cast a ritual spell that happens to utilize an entire plane as a spell component, consuming it in the process, destroying it's past, present, and future in one fell swoop.

Cool. :cool:

Which leads me to think that this Umbral may be Anti-Space/Time. Except its duration would be somewhat comparable to the heat-death of the universe.

As I recall I had different Umbrals for different 'antitheses'. But there would be unique Umbrals as well.

I'm definitely leaning more towards utilizing timelines as weapons now. They'll need to create splinter universes and use each splinter universe as a single-use weapon, destroying that universe in the process (for simplicity, say that the umbral's HP are its defenses, and at first those are being taken down, and then the final blow that kills the umbral destroys the timeline). The splinter universe that they'll create will be actualized in the form of a sword or other similar melee (or even ranged) weapon.

I've already established the creation of splinter universes via manipulation of the Etherial Plane. (I've given the players artifacts related to each of the time planes that they can use at the cost of sanity) So now the question will be how to forge the splinters into weapons. A mere ritual just doesn't seem enough, somehow...

Perhaps the splinter timelines would have guardian spirits? That they'd have to either kill or capture in order to forge the blades?

What level are the PCs likely to be when all this 'kicks off'?

Incidentally, I haven't ordered the Vampire Bestiary yet (though I intend to soon). Does it contain any Umbrals, or will I need to stat those up myself for the moment?

This Vampire Bestiary does not contain any Umbrals but (in true Krust fashion) a later book should have them.

Once I get the three parts of the Vampire Bestiary finished I'll be working on a sort of hybrid of Vampire - Epic - Adventure - Bestiary (incorporating the Against the Reptile God adventure). This will ultimately (if I get it finished of course) be a chain of adventure-bestiaries for the epic tier (each with a new Vampire race...but not wholly about vampires or centred around them). One of these will have a strong Umbral influence.

I will be fixing/adding a bit of stuff to the current Vampire Bestiary when I update it soon (and add the adventure maps). Depending on how many pages this update adds I may have to increase the price. Of course if you have already purchased you'll get the update ('for free') at the original price.

After the maps are added to the pdf I will create/allow the Print Version to be available.
 

Mr.Satan

First Post
Unique umbrals? Like this?

Entropic Creature

Whenever an immortal is slain, an entropic creature is birthed into reality.

“Entropic Creature” is an acquired template that can be added to any immortal (referred to hereafter as the “base creature”).

The entropic creature uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities, except, as noted here.

The base creature loses it's divine template.

NB: An entropic creature can reacquire divinity after the acquisition of this template.

Size and Type: The base creature's type changes to Undead. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice: An entropic creature has maximum hit points.

Speed: An entropic creature gains a fly speed equal to it's base land speed with perfect maneuverability.

NB: Entropic creatures do not fly; rather they are not subject to gravity in the same way other creatures are. They can move in any direction through any medium, disintegrating solid matter in their path.

Special Attacks: An entropic creature retains the special attacks of the base creature and gains the following:

Entropic Mastery (Ex): The damage dealt by entropic creatures is permanent.
A limited wish spell will heal 1 hit point of permanent damage. A miracle or wish will heal 1 point of permanent damage per level of the caster.
Those slain by an entropic creature are brought closer to the true nature of death and as such cannot be raised. However, they can be resurrected, albeit suffering a loss of 2 levels (from resurrection) or a loss of one level (from true resurrection).
Entropic creatures destroy non-magical matter with a touch. Magical items must make a Fortitude save (DC is 10 + 1/2 Hit Dice) each time they touch, or are touched by an entropic creature, or be destroyed.
Anyone grappling with, or striking the entropic creature suffers permanent damage equal to the base damage dice their attack would usually inflict.

Third Death (Su): If destroyed, an entropic creature implodes in upon itself. All targets within the entropic creature's reach must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 the entropic creature's Hit Dice) or be sucked into the void and lost forever. Occasionally, beings lost in this manner find a way to return but they are never the same creature they were before unless they are somehow protected against the dimension of entropy.

NB: An entropic creature that is destroyed, is irrevocably slain.

Void Gaze (Su): Any intelligent creature looking at the entropic creature can become lost in the unrelenting depth of blackness. Intelligent creatures within 5 feet per 2 Hit Dice of the entropic creature must make a Will save or become fascinated for 2d6 rounds. The save DC is 10 + 1/2 the entropic creature's Hit Dice. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Special Qualities: An entropic creature retains the special attacks of the base creature and gains the following:

- Damage Reduction (Ex): An entropic creature gains damage reduction equal to half it's Hit Dice/- (rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5).

Abilities: An entropic creature gains -2 to Dexterity and -4 to Intelligence.

Organization: Solitary.

Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +4 (no extra equipment) or CR +7 (extra 10 levels of equipment).

Treasure: Standard.

Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +7 (no extra equipment) or +10 (extra 10 levels of equipment). <hr style="color:#000; background-color:#000" size="1">
 

Fieari

Explorer
As I recall I had different Umbrals for different 'antitheses'. But there would be unique Umbrals as well.
Hrm. What were the names based on? A naming scheme would help...

What level are the PCs likely to be when all this 'kicks off'?
20th or 21st, I suspect. To be honest, they may even try it sooner, and IF they succeed, it'd push them straight into epic.

I'm statting the Umbral as a level 25 Super-Solo. The party is actually highly optimized, so it's pretty normal for me to throw level+4 or +5 at them, and have them win (with difficulty). As of last session, the players are level 17.


Oh, and earlier you mentioned something about Negative Dimensions. What would that even MEAN?! Cardinality is actually one of the few mathematical concepts that doesn't have a negative. Likewise with dimensionality, except dimensions at least have fractions-- but those aren't spacial dimensions, instead a way of referring to different types of fractals.

If a negative dimension is just like a positive dimension except certain things are flipped around, I'd think it'd be easier to sit it as a plane within briah instead. That's what briah's for, after all.

Another thought would be, instead of a negative dimension, to have it wrap around to the 10th dimension... or even the 11th (akashic records). Maybe a negative akashic library, where everything that DOES NOT EXIST, NEVER EXISTED, and CAN NOT EXIST, EVEN IN IMAGINATION is written down? It would contain everything the akashic records don't.
 

Hiya mate! :)

Fieari said:
Hrm. What were the names based on? A naming scheme would help...

Tamas = First One

Casim = Old One (I swopped the name with the Pseudonatural 'Old One' which is now called Maadim...both names sound more apropos now.) Looks like a giant ball of darkness with tendrils. Bit like a living black hole I suppose. The Casim itself would be about planet size, although its reach could be much greater.

Thaumiel = Elder one (okay this one is complicated to explain its look. Its a two-headed giant but the heads are disembodied and each head has one wing. On its arms writhe two black serpents). Probably Giga-size in 4E. Anti-Time

Agshekolah = Greater God (looks like a colossal black house cat stomping about, walking on its hind legs...looks like Tacgnol...google that). Possibly mega-size in 4E. Anti-Spirit

Golohab = Intermediate (looks like a Gargantuan Tortoise whose shell is a small volcano shooting and spewing red fire). Anti-Matter

Tagiriron = Lesser (looks like a huge spiky-armoured warrior). Anti-Thought

Ghareb Tzerek = Demi (looks like a large swarm of ravens that fly in the shape of a skull). Anti-Life

Samael = Quasi (looks like a medium werewolf with yellow poison dripping from its mouth). Anti-Entropy

20th or 21st, I suspect. To be honest, they may even try it sooner, and IF they succeed, it'd push them straight into epic.

I'm statting the Umbral as a level 25 Super-Solo. The party is actually highly optimized, so it's pretty normal for me to throw level+4 or +5 at them, and have them win (with difficulty). As of last session, the players are level 17.

Going by the original designations, I think:

- Blackballs = 21 Elite (33 Minion)
- Gamaliel = 24 Elite (29 standard)...I recently made the Gamaliel one of the Devoids (an intelligent race that is Half-Umbral). The Gamaliel always was the template for a half-umbral, the Umbral part is a black minotaur that is molesting (to put it politely) the 'host'. Gamaliel are known as "Obscene Ones".
- Samael = 27 Elite (31 standard)
- Ghareb Tzerek = 31 Elite

- Tagiriron = 34 Elite
- Golohab = 37 Elite (32 Solo)
- Agshekolah = 41 Elite (31 Mega-solo)

- Thaumiel = 44 Elite (29 Giga-solo)
- Casim = 47 Elite (27 Tera-solo)
- Tamas = 51 Elite (26 Peta-solo)

The above might need some fine tuning (up or down a level for instance) but its a fairly close overview to what I had originally envisioned.

With true Mega-size and upward beasties think about combat in terms of peeling an onion in that it has multiple 'layers' dictated by distance. To use a crude example of Godzilla, you would fight him on the ground then fight on the monster itself. So with a Casim, there will be 4 'strata' of combat.

Oh, and earlier you mentioned something about Negative Dimensions. What would that even MEAN?! Cardinality is actually one of the few mathematical concepts that doesn't have a negative. Likewise with dimensionality, except dimensions at least have fractions-- but those aren't spacial dimensions, instead a way of referring to different types of fractals.

Undimensionals. Things that exist on the other side of the known (positive) dimensions.

If a negative dimension is just like a positive dimension except certain things are flipped around, I'd think it'd be easier to sit it as a plane within briah instead. That's what briah's for, after all.

When an immortal is (truly) slain, think of that acting like a cookie cutter slicing into the fabric of reality and leaving an 'immortal shaped' gap of nothingness into which entropy can fill.

Another thought would be, instead of a negative dimension, to have it wrap around to the 10th dimension... or even the 11th (akashic records). Maybe a negative akashic library, where everything that DOES NOT EXIST, NEVER EXISTED, and CAN NOT EXIST, EVEN IN IMAGINATION is written down? It would contain everything the akashic records don't.

Its possible that when the Supreme Being created the first...who became his adversary (in effect Satan) that he might have stolen or destroyed (perhaps during their battle) some of the akashic records. This may have resulted in negative dimensions.
 

Fieari

Explorer
I'm considering how to run this, and I think I'm going to lower the encounter down to a tough Level 25 Solo, despite the Umbral devouring Space/Time, which you had for Thaumiel at 44 Elite. This would be an Avatar, or even a mere Aspect of the bigger devourer... a preview, so to speak. The reason for lowering it is because I was trying to decide the different stages for it's Super-Solo status, and decided that the quest to obtain the weapon to defeat it would cover the multi-stages I wanted instead.

Since they are not epic yet, they won't be creating their own Shard Timelines, but one has been pre-created for them already in the plot, so they'll need to collect that. The difference between that timeline and this one are subtle, but a big difference is that in the Prime timeline, a devil summoned an aspect of the local god of rage in the form of the Tarrasque, while in the other timeline, the devil was defeated before the summoning could be completed.

So I plan to rule that in order for them to get close enough to the other timeline in order to work with it, they'll first have to defeat the Tarrasque (I want them to fight it anyway, because I had a lot of fun designing it). So that's step 1.

Step 2 will be forging the other timeline into a sword, which will involve facing the Zeitgeist of that timeline in the form of a powerful being. That I could make a level 20 supersolo, I think, equivalent to the tarrasque.

Step 3 will then be fighting the Umbral, which I've tentatively statted as follows (wording may be awkward, but I'm just drafting at this point):

Blackball of Time (Aspect of Thaumiel) Level 25 Solo Controller 35,000 XP

Initiative: 19 Exp: 35000
HP: 1180; Bloodied: 590
AC: 39 Fortitude: 41 Reflex: 39 Will: 39

Move: Fly 3
Immune: Status Effects (Prone, Stun, Daze, Etc.), Forced Movement, Non-Magical Attacks

Action points: 2
Str: 28 (+21) Dex: 25 (+19) Wis: 25 (+19)
Con: 28 (+21) Int: 25 (+19) Cha: 25 (+19)

Auras
------------------
Aura 20: Momento Mori
Any Creature or Object starting their turn within the Aura is immediately pulled 5. If pulling would require a creature to move diagonally 1 square in order to avoid an intervening obstruction (such as a tree), the creature may make a saving throw to stop being pulling for this turn.

Aura 10: Backlash
Any damage dealt against the Blackball from a source within the Aura deals Necrotic damage to the source equal to half the damage dealt.

Aura 5: Life's Last Grasp
Creatures within the Aura may make a saving throw or athletics check (DC 34) to avoid 1 square of forced movement caused by Momento Mori. If Momento Mori causes additional forced movement within this Aura, additional saving throws or athletics checks may be made. All creatures within the Aura take 10 ongoing damage at the start of their turn. Only one such on going damage may be saved against per turn.

Aura 0: Mort
Any Creature or Object that comes into direct contact with the Blackball is immediately annihilated, compressed into a singularity. The soul is also absorbed into the singularity, preventing resurrection. Even a Wish cannot reconstruct a creature or object destroyed in this way. If Forced Movement would cause a creature to touch the Blackball, or if the Blackball moves into a creature's square, the creature may make a saving throw at +5 or athletics check (DC 29) to avoid touching the Blackball, immediately moving 1 square if necessary.

Traits
--------------------
Anihilation
Attacks from Non-Magical sources, including Non-Magical weapons, do no damage against the Blackball, and the weapon used is immediately destroyed, although Backlash damage is still dealt as normal.

Attacks from Magical sources do not actually touch the Blackball, but instead attack the magical matrix holding the Blackball into existence. Any attack that would be sufficient to reduce the Blackball to 0 HP, does in fact touch the Blackball itself, and is destroyed as well as nullified. With one exception, no attack can deal damage for this "final attack", although backlash damage from Momento Mori is dealt as normal.

The exception is weapons forged from Time itself, but the weapon is still destroyed in the effort of the final blow.


Standard Actions
----------------
Black Arc Lightning
(Basic Melee) Reach 5; +30 vs AC; 5d12 Necrotic Damage

Lightning Storm
The Blackball attacks with Black Arc Lightning against up to 3 creatures within reach.

Minor Actions
-------------
Gravitic Pull
"Random debris is sucked towards the Blackball, crashing into anything in the way"
(Close Burst 20) +30 vs AC; 5d10 Damage

Note: The Blackball starts combat with no Rechargable Skills, and Rolls to Recharge only once per round, Recharging one Ability as applicable.

Sever Past * Recharge 1,2
(Ranged 20) +30 vs Higher of Fort / Will; Deals Half Target's Remaining HP in Necrotic Damage, Half Total HP on Crit
Effect: Creates an Etherial Copy of the Target, Hostile to the Target (and Target's allies). Etherial Copy has all skills -2, at-will abilities, and traits of the Target, -2 Defenses, Vulnerable Necrotic 10, HP equal to the Damage dealt to the target, and cannot succeed at any saving throw. Etherial Copy cannot move away from the Blackball, and is effected by all Blackball auras. Etherial Copy acts on its own initiative. When the Etherial Copy is destroyed, the Target gains HP equal to that which was dealt-- unless destroyed by the Blackball.

Sever Present * Recharge 3,4
(Ranged 2) +30 vs Higher of AC / Will; Target Cannot Use Abilities Beyond Basic Attacks; Unconscious on Critical.
Effect: Creates a Spectral copy of target, as per Sever Past, except equal defenses/skills, encounter abilities, HP equal to bloodied value of target, Vulnerable Psychic 10. When the Spectral Copy is destroyed, Target regains use of abilities (and wakes up, if applicable).

Sever Future * Recharge 5,6
(Ranged 20) +30 vs Higher of Reflex / Will; Drains 1d4 Healing Surges and Immobilizes; Petrify on Critical.
Effect: Creates a Shadowy copy of target, as per Sever Past, except +2 to all defenses/skills, all abilities, HP equal to HP equivalent of Healing Surges Drained, Vulnerable Radiant 10. When the Shadowy Copy is destroyed, the Target gains HP equal to that which was dealt (and is unpetrified, if applicable)-- unless destroyed by the Blackball.
 

Hey Mr.Satan! :)

apologies for missing your post yesterday.

Yes that Entropic Creature Template would suffice for 3.5/Pathfinder.

Unique umbrals may have some vestige of the deceased immortal still imprinted upon them.

It would be interesting converting the template to 4E...

- I have been thinking that Permanent Damage could be restored by an out of combat Ritual (Miracle etc.)
- Third Death is a tricky one...
- Void Gaze would probably become a Daze attack (save ends) that increased to Stun if you failed a save.
 

Loving the Blackball Design Fieari! :)

I would change the Lightning Storm so that it can chain from one target to another within 5 squares of the previous target.

Other than that, its a very well designed monster. :cool:
 

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