Masters of Umdaar: The Starblades of Su’ul (from universe 3858)

What Happens Next? header image from Masters of Umdaar. Pencils by Tazio Bettin, colours by Enrica Eren Angiolini, via deviantArt

Dave Joria’s Masters of Umdaar, which I recently got an opportunity to run as a campaign at long last, includes a starter adventure called The Starblades of Su’ul. In it, the player characters, the Archaeonauts, set out to find one of the eponymous legendary swords before it can be claimed by Kaji-Sa the Bloodmonger, who is collecting the blades and already has one in her grasp. It’s a great adventure, fun to play and wonderfully evocative of the aesthetic (there are Lazer-Wolves!).

The adventure can stand alone, but it can also serve as the first session of a longer campaign, in which the players race Kaji-Sa (or other villains) to find the rest of the Starblades. It’s a fairly popular way to start an Umdaar campaign; it’s certainly how I did it!

The funny thing is, I’ve never seen any stats online for the other Starblades. In fact, it’s rare to see anyone stat up any relics that the Archaeonauts might uncover, even though people share heroes, monsters, and villains aplenty (check out #Umdaar and #MastersOfUmdaar on Google+, or the Elektrokhan, Facemonger, and Scorpotaurs from Dave Joria’s own Tangent Artist Tabletop blog), and even the occasional cliffhanger-style trap. But no relics, and no Starblades. I wouldn’t have minded some examples as a leaping off point when I was preparing my campaign.

So in this blog I present the Five Starblades of Su’ul (from at least one of the alternate universes of Umdaar, let’s call it 3858 why not), and some other resources that I used to run my campaign of Masters of Umdaar. I’d love to know if you find it useful!

The First Starblades of Su’ul

The Masters of Umdaar book provided stats for two of the five Starblades: one in a sidebar for player characters to pick up and use in the final fight, and one in the write-up of Kaji-Sa, the adventure’s main villain. I’m presenting both here for completeness, and so you can see what common threads I picked up on to write the other three:

Oriax, the Fearsun (Quick/Flashy)

Once per scene, when you Quickly or Flashily attack, you can call out the name of the weapon. This releases a mental attack against any one enemy in sight, who cannot add an approach to their defend roll.

T’Gyan, the Blacksun (Sneaky)

Once per scene, while Sneakily attacking, you can loudly invoke the name of the weapon. If you do, you gain +2 to the attack and then, after the attack, immediately disappear. Go into Hiding with no free invoke. You cannot be attacked until you’re brought out of Hiding by an overcome action or you make an overt action, such as attacking or moving between zones.

Dok’Lar, the Blightsun

The next Starblade is in the possession of Shiro-Tron, cyborg cordyceps fungoid. The sword appears to be constantly tarnishing, crusting with dark rust, which flakes off to reveal pristine metal underneath before it tarnishes again. It emits an aura of rising, malignant decay.

Dok’Lar, the Blightsun (Forceful/Careful)

Once per scene, immediately before you Forcefully attack or Carefully defend, you can call out the name of the weapon to send a wave of negative energy washing over one target in your zone. The target becomes Weakened with one free invoke.

Nargon, the Mindsun

The fourth Starblade, the Mindsun, is hidden in the Pit of Cursed Wisdom, in the deepest depths of the Crystal Caves. The Mindsun glows from within and has a rudimentary psychic power, reaching out to those that approach with glimpses and whispers of its millennia of experience. It can expand the consciousness of its wielder, making them think smarter and faster, but too much can temporarily overload the synapses, so be cautious.

Nargon, the Mindsun (Clever/Quick)

Once per scene, you can invoke the name of the weapon to open your mind to it and apply its brainpower to the current situation. Gain +2 to Cleverly or Quickly create an advantage and outcome surge the result. If you succeed with style, your opponents gain a boost against you representing the information briefly overwhelming you.

Moor-Da, the Wrathsun

The final Starblade is in the hands of Master Appa-tax herself. She is never parted with it, and has used it to cut down and immolate hundreds of her enemies. The sword glows as if red hot, though it is usually cool to the touch, but when swung in anger it bursts into wreaths of flame. It calls to nearby fires, becoming incandescent.

Moor-Da, the Wrathsun (Forceful/Flashy)

Once per scene, while Forcefully or Flashily attacking, you can cry the name of the weapon. If you do,  you gain +2 to the attack and, after the attack, set your enemy On Fire with magical flames. If you succeed in the attack, the aspect has one free invoke. For the remainder of the scene, gain +2 to every attack when your enemy is On Fire.

Other useful resources for an Umdaar game

I used a lot of different resources when preparing for my Masters of Umdaar campaign, but these three are the ones that I came back to most and found especially useful.

Tangent Artist Tabletop published a bunch of Masters of Umdaar Bonus Content that  was cut from the book for space reasons. This includes random tables for names and locations (the actual book didn’t have enough random tables, you see). They later added a further random table for the Lands of Light, plus some adventure/plot tables that I didn’t use.

Awesmic’s channel on YouTube has rips of the theme tunes and incidental music of several Saturday morning cartoons (Thundercats, Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, you name it). These are perfect you an introductory theme for your game, or maybe even background music in some situations. My favourite is this extended instrumental version of the Silverhawks theme, which is clearly the right aesthetic but not as recognisable as other themes in the same style.

Gbagok at the forums has spent several years drawing Masters of the Universe characters and presenting them in Unofficial Character Bios. There is now a huge collection of genre-appropriate, cool-looking characters in a consistent art style that you can use for inspiration or representation. Only diehard MOTU fans will recognise more than a handful, I bet, but if you’re still not comfortable using an official character then maybe have a look at some of the MOTU fan characters that Gbagok has drawn in the same way.

What resources have you found most useful for Umdaar? And how have you statted up the Starblades or other artefacts in your games?

Header image is the What Happens Next? section header image from Masters of Umdaar. Pencils by Tazio Bettin, colours by Enrica Eren Angiolini, via deviantArt.

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