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Inside the Pit: Monster Design 101

Monday, September 27, 2010

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.)

James Sutter
Fiction Editor and Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Aboleths Monsters Paizo Pathfinder Campaign Setting Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Whiteboards
Cheliax

Will this be in the quiz ?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

An explanation of flow charts


Its too bad it would have been nice to see you play with the tropes of the mad wizard/aboleth creation.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We need to see that spreadsheet!

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Pygon wrote:
An explanation of flow charts

And as you can see in the link: questions are supposed to be in diamonds. Just figured I'd help edit the editorial staff... smiles mischievously

Cheliax

Shouldn't that be "Did the Aboleths create it?"??? Another editing pass is needed me thinks ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Nevynxxx wrote:
Shouldn't that be "Did the Aboleths create it?"??? Another editing pass is needed me thinks ;)

Never heard of a band called "The Aboleths", but it sure is a cool name.

Cheliax

Rite Publishing wrote:
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.

Cheliax

Hahahaha!!!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I deeply appreciate the dialing back of those two origin options, personally.

And I welcome "created by goblins" with open arms!


This revision of history shall not stand! We mad wizards will regain the recognition that we once had and still deserve!!!!!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Dr. Mairkenstein wrote:
This revision of history shall not stand! We mad wizards will regain the recognition that we once had and still deserve!!!!!

U MAD

Shadow Lodge

Rusty Shackleford wrote:
same with mad wizard. It's been done to death, after Owlbear and Bullette.

Owlbear

Bullete


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!

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

James Sutter wrote:
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.)

Congratulations sir, you have the quote of the day. Unfortunately it is to long for a twitter post.

Poor Wes.


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
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.)

Congratulations sir, you have the quote of the day. Unfortunately it is to long for a twitter post.

Poor Wes.

We can have my gaming group do the truffle shuffle in the background and it will be the video that broke youtube!

Contributor

I would just like to say that SKR suggested the aboleth origin for the delver, so before you start stabbing yourselves, LOOK TO THE BALD MAN FIRST.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I... this was glorious.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tacticslion wrote:
I... this was glorious.

Still is, as it's still downstairs on the whiteboard in the Editorial Pit, I do believe. :D

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*pokes his head over the cube*

Yep. Still there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

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...)

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