Now that Bestiary 2 is wrapping up and Misfit Monsters Redeemed will soon arrive in all its flumph-loving, snail-flailing glory, Wes has asked me to give you all a quick lesson in monster concept design. Although everybody approaches monster design differently, while developing Misfit Monsters, we decided to codify certain key design principles by illustrating them on the Editorial Pit whiteboard. The attached image, sometimes known simply as the Aboleth Flowchart, represents a basic but often overlooked tenet in the creation of new monsters for Golarion. (The diagram for lesson number two, the so-called "Mad Wizard Rule," is somewhat less technical, as it's just the phrase "Did an insane wizard create it?" surrounded by a cloud of a tiny "no"s and a drawing of me stabbing myself in the eye with a highlighter.)
I hope you found this peek inside the design team's methods and philosophies educational! Next time on Inside the Pit: how to make Managing Editor Wes Schneider weep like a frightened child! (Hint: It involves spreadsheets and the 2011 product schedule.)
Its too bad it would have been nice to see you play with the tropes of the mad wizard/aboleth creation.
They have. in Dungeon Denizens Revisited. Mimic, Cloaker, et al, all ancient aboleth bioweapons. Now, it's a good concept for certain monsters, like the Faceless Stalker, but I can certainly see why the want to not keep using it, especially since the misfit monsters need something more...unusual to justify themselves.
same with mad wizard. It's been done to death, after Owlbear and Bullette.
You people don't appreciate how difficult it is to keep dungeon ecology balanced. The owlbear keeps down two dungeon denizen populations with one monster. We may be mad, but we are masters of Gygaxian Naturalism!
Can you guys make this graphic/slogan into a T-shirt? From far away it looks like a mad robot's head, too!
Absolutely awesome, and good to see that some tenets of design stand the test of time. (either that or the whiteboard marker ink turned permanent after more than two years... (all you transmuter/permanency freaks might want to look into that...)