|Umber Hulk Classic|
As a game mechanic the Umber Hulk is a fun enough monster, a big brutal armored thing that has plenty of attacks. In addition, hulks have their confusing gaze that makes entering melee with them more difficult. As monsters they works something like the Owlbear and Shambling Mound - a large slow thing that tears parties apart if they fail to run or destroy the beast from a distance. Like Shambling Mounds, Umber Hulks also enjoy attacking from ambush, but they are weaker than Shambling Mounds in terms of HP, AC and especially immunities.
|New Umber Hulk|
However, below are some alternatives for using the Umber Hulk's stats (or even it's name) in genres where giant bug men from the depths make less sense, or when you want to use the Umber Hulk without losing the sense of terror and mystery provided by new monsters.
1) Rust Hulk (Automaton) - When the ancients dug into the earth, their profligate ways frequently led to the abandonment of complex digging automatons. Walled off or dropped down pits at the end of an excavation, these living machines have sat in the dark for endless years, slowly decaying with their clockwork minds winding down and winding up into greater and greater madness. Many have failed completely, but others have found their own purposes deep in the earth, breaking free of their forgotten cells and tunneling mazes, galleries and runs that appear pointless to any mortal. The ancient machines will defend their creations, using the antediluvian mining equipment that makes up their limbs as weapons and driving their enemies into terror and confusion with unnatural noises and wild flashes of light from their mechanical bodies.
2) Clay Rudiment (Elemental) - A simple and brutish form of Earth Elemental or spirit, these roughly fashioned brutes form out of mine tailings and stream clay. They seek to return to the earth, tunneling back into the mines and excavations that created them. There they sit and wait, ready to prey on any surface creature that passes near. Clay Rudiments often contain numerous gems and valuable minerals which sparkle and glow with magical light that cause greed and avarice in their enemies.
3) Mine Mort (Mine Revenant) - When disaster kills men deep beneath the earth, it often does so slowly and horribly. It should not suprise anyone with even the simplest grasp of necromancy that the spirits of men who die in such a way often return, and are often angry. Formed from a mass of bones, earth, rusted, rotting mining equipment and fear the Mine Revenant attacks as a whirling mass of angles and claws, it's terrible presence sucking the oxygen from the air around it and projecting the confusing final emotions of the dead who make up the Mort's aggregated soul into the minds of those it faces.
4) Brown Shambles (Fungus Colony) - Another underground menace, huge brown piles of fungal growth that are often mistaken for wet rock outcroppings. Brown Shambles are instead predatory fungal colonies with rudimentary intelligence. Bursting into sudden movement they will club down any living creature that comes near with the goal of feeding on its body. In combat, Shambles release toxic spores that confuse and befuddle any living creature within melee range.
5)Wumpus (Deep Predator) - These creatures of the depths are rarely seen, as the are capable of drawing darkness around themselves for protection and concealment, as well as casting it into the eyes of others to disorient and confuse them. Some claim they are stooped albino thing with asymmetrical but hulking muscles. Others that the Wumpus is a mass of Brown hair, with numerous baleful eyes peering from within. Predating almost exclusively on intelligent creatures, Wumpuses are hated almost universally, as their filthy claws will snatch at any creature which dares to descend into the deeps of the earth and are unwilling to negotiate or speak with any who have tried.