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An umber hulk, pictured in the original Monster Manual
|First appearance||Greyhawk (1975)|
An umber hulk is a fictional creature in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. They are large, bipedal, insect-like aberrations with an ape-like build. The creature has the ability to confuse any creature that sees all four of its eyes at once. They are often found in the Underdark, where they are sometimes captured and enslaved by other races, such as illithids. Despite their bestial appearance, umber hulks possess a significant intelligence and language of their own.
- 1 Publication history
- 1.1 Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)
- 1.2 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)
- 1.3 Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)
- 1.4 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)
- 1.5 Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)
- 1.6 Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)
- 1.7 Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)
- 1.8 Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014–)
- 2 Licensing
- 3 Spelljammer campaign setting
- 4 Vodyanoi
- 5 Reception
- 6 In other media
- 7 References
The umber hulk was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the D&D game.
Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)
The umber hulk appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where it is described as a subterranean predator with iron-like claws that enable it to burrow through solid stone, and it eyes cause a dangerous confusion in opponents.
Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)
This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the umber hulk, although in this edition it was a "hook beast", known as a hulker. The hulker first appeared in Creature Catalogue (1986), and then appeared in the module City of the Gods (1987) for the Blackmoor setting, and later in the revised Creature Catalog (1993).
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)
The umber hulk was detailed in Dragon #152 (December 1989), in the "Ecology of the Umber Hulk".
Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)
Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014–)
Spelljammer campaign setting
Each neogi individual is guarded by his personal umber hulk slave. In the Spelljammer campaign setting, the starfaring race of neogi were seldom seen without at least one umber hulk slave, the enslavement of which was considered a rite of passage in their savage society.
A Vodyanoi, pictured in the original Fiend Folio
The vodyanoi (named for a Russian water spirit) are freshwater aquatic versions of the umber hulk. They lack the confusion ability of umber hulks due to only having one pair of eyes, but can summon electric eels once per day. They have slimy green skin that coats a thick, knobby hide and their claws are webbed. Saltwater vodyanoi are twice the size of their freshwater brethren.
The vodyanoi appeared in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). The saltwater vodyanoi appeared in Dungeon #79 (March 2000).
The umber hulk was ranked seventh among the ten best mid-level monsters by the authors of Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. The authors contend that the umber hulk "is an iconic Dungeons & Dragons monster" that was "invented specifically for the game, something that doesn't really stem from real-world myth or legend" and that "the umber hulk teaches players a set of rules and tactics to overcome a monster that is dangerous to even look at".
In other media
In the "Born to Run" episode of the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series, character John Henry is playing D&D, and kills an umber hulk with a vorpal long sword by rolling a 20.
The Umber hulk appears as an enemy in the Baldur's Gate series, and in other video games inspired by Dungeons & Dragons.
The Umber hulk is the first kill of Krag the Barbarian, in the American comedy web series Walking In Circles. He commemorates this by wearing a claw of the umber hulk around his neck.
- Gygax, Gary and Robert Kuntz. Supplement I: Greyhawk (TSR, 1975)
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
- Morris, Graeme, Phil Gallagher and Jim Bambra. Creature Catalogue (TSR, 1986)
- Nephew, John. Creature Catalog (TSR, 1993)
- Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
- Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1994)
- Jones, Tony. "Ecology of the Umber Hulk, The" Dragon #152 (TSR, 1989)
- Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
- Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. Savage Species (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
- Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
- Sernett, Matthew, David Noonan, Ari Marmell, and Robert J. Schwalb. Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and Truename Magic (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
- Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
- Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. p.292, Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2014)
- "Frequently Asked Questions". D20srd.org. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- Rolston, Ken (February 1990). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#154): 59–63.
- Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio (TSR, 1981)
- Madrid, Cienna (November 24, 2005). "The Dice Storm". The Stranger. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- McDonald, Thomas (September 2002). "Umber+hulk"&q=%22Umber%20hulk%22 "Maximum PC". Maximum PC.
- Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Rich; Grubb, Jeff (2006). Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-7645-8459-6. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Carroll, Crystal (April 17, 2009). "Review: Sarah Connor, 2.22, Born to Run". Firefox News. Retrieved 2009-08-27.