FoE: Hillock, the Brutal Giant

Hillock is the first boss-like monster encountered when playing Path of Exile; in the Twilight Strand where the exiles awaken, he has to be defeated for the door into the outpost to be opened. He’s a hulking brute of a zombie, delivering powerful blows that make a hit-and-run strategy almost a necessity. In Fate of Exiles he can become something far more – a powerful but simple-minded adversary to harass the players until they can put his monstrous unlife to an end once and for all.

By the game lore, Hillock was born large and never really stopped growing, becoming a hulking behemoth of a man who found work as a smith; when he killed his first victims, he found a taste for killing that matched his taste for ale and food and took to slaughtering anyone who crossed him. When he was eventually slain and his corpse thrown into the sea, everyone hoped that would be the last of it; unfortunately for those sent into exile, his massive corpse washed ashore on the cursed land of Wraeclast and was given a new and terrible life.

I’ll present two version of Hillock here; one is merely a powerful zombie who can be fought and put down by the players, much as the online game has him. The other is Hillock as a villainous NPC, a cunning predator that plagues Lioneye’s Watch and makes any gleaning efforts far more dangerous than they might be otherwise.

First up, we have the simple opponent.

Name: Hillock the Brute

Aspects: The Bigger They Are, Hits Like A Glacier

Skills: Fighting +3; Physique and Notice +2; Will and Deception +1

Stunts

  Just A Dead Man – At the start of any scene, Hillock can make a Deception check with a +2 bonus to pretend to just be a dead body lying in the surf. If he succeeds, he gains a free boost on his first action.

Brutal Blow – If Hillock succeeds with style on a Fighting attack, he gains an additional shift.

Stress Track: This version of Hillock has three stress boxes before being Taken Out.

This version of Hillock is a simple and violent opponent – a mountain of half-rotten flesh that looks like an unusually large corpse laying at the edge of the beach, as inert and harmless as can be. When someone enters the same zone as him, however, he springs into action, making a surprise attack at the closest person and pursuing them relentlessly until his victim is dead, he’s dead (again), or he loses track of them. He’s huge, and he packs an incredible punch, but he’s literally mindless and not very fast. Smart PCs should have little trouble once they understand what they’re up against.

And then there’s the more dangerous version of him.

Name: Hillock the Destroyer

Aspects: Cunning Like A Rabid Beast, Powered By Rage, Cursed By The Land

Skills: Fighting +4, Physique +3, Notice and Will +2, Deception +1

Stunts

  Brutal Blow – If Hillock succeeds with style on a Fighting attack, he gains an additional shift.

  Necrophage – Once per scene, Hillock may spend a Fate point to consume any corpses in the same zone as him; he recovers an amount of stress equal to the number of corpses consumed this way.

Stress Track – This version of Hillock has four Physical stress and two Mental stress.

This version of Hillock is a feral creature, a predator that thrives on causing fear and suffering. He’s much quicker and more dangerous in this version, with enough cunning to set up ambushes and arrange corpses nearby to enable the use of his Necrophage stunt. He’s smart enough to retreat when he’s being beaten, and driven by his hatred and anger to hunt anyone who bests him. He can easily becoming a recurring threat as exiles attempt to explore Wraeclast, appearing at inopportune times and forcing them into fights where the odds are against them.

This version can make life exciting for the unfortunate souls of Lioneye’s Watch, forcing players to deal with him before they can go any farther in their explorations, lest they either get ambushed by him or return to find the outpost in shambles after he attacked it.

One intriguing idea is that when the exiles first arrive on Wraeclast, they have to face Hillock the Brute; his destruction at their hands serves as a catalyst, destroying what was left of his humanity and leaving the corpse a vacant shell for the cursed power of the land, letting him rise anew as Hillock the Destroyer. Putting him down the second time becomes a risk not only because of his new strength, but also because of the threat that he might rise a third time, even deadlier.

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FoE: Hillock, the Brutal Giant

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