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Draco Bahamut wrote:
All Arcadians humans are Mahwek, or there is plans to have Central Arcadians and South Arcadians ?
There are as many, if not more, ethnic groups in Arcadia as there are in the Inner Sea. Hopefully we can get into more detail in the future.
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Are the Caldaru half Mahwek ?
I initially wanted to include a new race on one of the final two pages, but we didn't want this to end up being too full of new races. (This is also why I didn't include deity information, though I wanted to.)
I'm with you on your first statement... I also want to see more done with Arcadia! :)
The Raven Black has the right of it, but I'll expand on that bit. Sure, NPCs can test much of the same stuff that designing a monster can, but it tests so much more. Making an NPC (like the popular villain round way back) can show a lot of creativity when coming up with motivations and backstory, but for the most part they are just going to be existing creatures with class levels. A brand new monster has to be designed from the ground up. You have to name it, come up with what it looks like, what kind of things it can do, in addition to origin and motivation/behavior.
Testing new writers with monsters is something I've done for the past few years I've been working here and hiring freelancers. It lets me see what people can do mechanically, creatively, and it lets me see their prose in a nice neat package.
Jarrett Sigler wrote:
I don't have any websites handy, but I do have a tiny bit of advice.
Focus on what the PCs do.
Many people spend a lot of time on backstory in order to set up their concept, but leave out the action of what the characters actually do in the adventure. Personally, I care more about leaping over pits of bubbling lava and fighting a flying ape at the top of a windy spire than I do about a long-dead wizard's scheme. (That's not to say a solid set up and backstory that makes sense isn't important, but don't spend half of your word count talking about it.)
As the guy who's been in charge of the AP back matter for well over the last three years, I like hearing things like this. :)
We have been somewhat inconsistent on this in the past (and heck we might be going forward too, but not if I can help it). Ideally, you'd use the name of the aura in the aura line, which is why when I develop a monster with an aura special ability I do my absolute best to change the name of the ability so that it doesn't start with the word "aura", because having the line look like this:
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Thanks for pointing that out Jacob. Everyone, disregard that part of my statement. :)
One of my big fears of judging this contest—and this round—is that I'm gonna slip up and make mistakes. I'm fine with me making a mistake, but I don't like when my mistakes affect other people.
Congratulations for making it to Round 3! Your item worked for enough people to make Top and you mapping skills got you through Round 2, and now folks get to see your monster. Like previous years that I’ve judged this round, I’m approaching judging the same way I would do a pre-development pass on a turnover one of my freelancers sent me. I start at the descriptive text at the top and then work my way through the statblock looking for errors or weak spots that need to be addressed in development. Then I read the flavor text and see how it is all integrated. My final judgment is not only based on errors or lack thereof. Some of my comments are just personal preference, so please don’t take anything personally. We just have different tastes.
Now on to your monster!
• The descriptive text assume action and gives little physical description. If it’s masked, how do I know it’s staring greedily? :)
• Hit points and AC are on point, and the attack bonus is on the low end. Saves are mostly fine except for a high Reflex (which is probably fine). Its damage output is low for a CR 7 creature (which can be fine if the monster focuses on other things that combat).
• On the melee line, when you have an “or” situation, hit enter and list the second attack type in its own line.
• I like that this monster has a ranged attack.
• Touch of the wild is an interesting ability. I like the progressive transformation aspect, but I dislike how you presented it. I’m typically not a fan of bullet points in special abilities (but I’m fine with them in judging monsters!). ;) They take up more space and often signal an overly complicated ability. In this case, what really bugs me is a list that starts with the number two. I understand why you did this since that’s the second round the target is affected by the ability, but it just throws off my brain and looks like an error. The final transformation if the target dies is neat, and can actually be a benefit as carrying the corpse of your companion back to civilization might be easier if they were a lighter creature. :)
• Wild snap trap is a neat ability visually. I like the idea of a plant that can act as a bear trap and I like that you have it work with touch of the wild.
• You spend a lot of design choices making these creatures good with nets, but you never bring that up in the flavor text. In fact, your flavor text is very light. You also mention Darkmoon Vale and mention that dinosaurs are among the ferocious beasts that valemasks like to hunt, however, there really aren’t any dinosaurs in the Vale.
This is a decent submission, but I think it could be tighter. I do not recommend this designer advance to the next round.
Each year I judge the monsters, I make a spreadsheet to track things like CR, alignment, size, and type (and any subtypes). I like to see what was the most common choices folks made and see who worked to find a niche. I also just like seeing the data.
So, I'm going to share the most common choice in each category to whet people's appetites for what they'll get to see on Monday:
Challenge Rating—CR 7
As of about an hour ago, I've completed reviewing all of the submissions. I'm going to sit on my thoughts for the evening and enter my comments tomorrow. As it stands, my comments document is about 6,000 words. There are quite a few interesting monsters in this batch, and over all I'm happy with the quality of the submissions this year. Good job everyone!
That's a fair criticism of my statement.
We also provide rules for people to make their own undead player race in the Advanced Race Guide. That we haven't provided an undead playable race in print on our own speaks to the fact that such a thing isn't an angle we're interested in presenting in regards to the creative direction and design considerations for our campaign setting. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean that we want to.
Mark Griffin wrote:
When you lose a 5 dollar bet with yourself, where does the money go? Do you just set it on fire? If you win do you steal 5 bucks from Owen?
I get to keep it. If I feel like making a thing out of it I'll just move the money from one pocket to the other. I rarely gamble, so when I do, I aim to always win (even when I lose). :)
I agree on both counts. I've had a PC die in the second volume of Skull & Shackles and the second volume of Mummy's Mask. The "What Ifs" are my favorite part of the those articles. I like to explore possibilities without them actually being canon.
Well, I haven't read *yours* yet...
*induces a bit of panic*
... I'm only up to the ones that came in before I left work today.
Just joking around, Walter. :) I'm sure your submission will entertain me. It's a monster, right. I love monsters.
Fun fact—the first monster submission came in on Tuesday. I bet myself $5 that the first submission would come in by the time I went to sleep on Monday... and I lost the bet.
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Maybe we can create a thread in each adventure path forum with a discussion of "How did you continued the campaign" or something like it.
I'd personally like to see a thread like that.
I've been responsible for each of those articles since Skull & Shackles—with huge support from James and Rob of course (and with Jim writing the one for Giantslayer because I couldn't tackle it)—and I'm always curious if people actually use those to expand their campaign. So far it seems like the thing people respond to the most is the "What if the PCs lose?" portions of those articles.
It's pretty much a developer/designer job duty. :)
It's something that's very important to me, because I see how upset people can be when they get something expecting content that we never said a product would contain, which is why I try to clarify products I'm responsible for without giving too much away.
For the previous contestants: (Sorry current contestants, I'm not sure if responding would be against the rules or at least against decorum, so I ask that you refrain unless I hear otherwise from Owen.)
I'm getting ready to judge and review your monsters this weekend, and I was reviewing my judging method from the past couple of years. It got me wondering how it was received by y'all? For those that might not remember, I basically went through the item like I would be marking it up for further development, pointing out the things I'd fix while doing my normal job. I worried at some point that this method might hurt feelings, but I'm mainly wondering if it made sense to folks and if you found it helpful. I'd love to hear what y'all think.
Yeah, it's on the eastern coast pretty much directly across the ocean from Cheliax.
Brandon Hodge wrote:
I'm really excited for everyone to get their hands on this one! As we get a little closer to its debut, I'll be sharing some tales from playtesting, what elements you can expect to see from Occult Adventures, and what it was like to work with one of my best friends as developer!
While I'm here, I wanted to make sure that you current contestants that are already thinking about monsters knew that a couple of use monster fanatics revived some advice threads from a judge and contestants that we've used in previous years.
My "So You're Designing a Pathfinder Monster" thread. Full of dubious advice I'm sure.
Eric Hindley's "How I Make a Monster" thread.
And... as a bonus this thread contains links to Mikko Kalio's blogs (and other A Sword to Hire stuff).
Yeah, Joana has a good memory and mad linking skills. :)
Now that the contestants' maps are turned in and the Round 3 rules are out, seems like this would be a good time to dust this thread off and bring it back into regular rotation.
For those of you just tuning in, the first post of this thread contains a bunch of monster design advice I wrote a couple of years ago, and I answer a bunch of questions in the body of the thread as well. I hope this helps folks make some awesome monsters. I'm looking forward to judging the monsters again this time around!
That's awesome! It always makes me happy when someone can really connect with something I wrote.
Right now, don't sweat the technical aspects. I hate to say it, but many of the people worrying about it right now won't have to. For now, folks should, if they want to get ahead of the game, be thinking about cool encounter maps, making a bunch of sketches, and coming up with ideas. Make sure your idea is exciting, clear, and hopefully unique. Those elements have been the strongest criteria for previous map rounds.
If you make it into the top 32+alts, then you need to start worrying about DPI and whatnot. (And I'm sure you can get a lot of advice once that happens. Those technical changes are super fast... clever ideas take much longer.)
Some of the information that we trickled out over the course of the campaign setting was contradictory. Erik's article in Pathfinder #100 aims to shore up some of those instances and clarify some loose ends.
I feel I should also mention...
I entered the contest the first three years and never got close to placing. I submitted items that I thought were good and shiny, but I overlooked some stains and blemishes. I remember being bummed when the results were posted. You kids have it easy with your spreadsheets and data and stuff. ;)
So I feel you.
I also kept at writing and putting my self out there. I know that not everyone who enters this contest wants to be a freelancer, but for those of you that want to be a freelancer, don't let this contest be a reason you stop trying. Get out there and find other contests, find publishers that have open calls or accept pitches.
Mikko Kallio wrote:
Personally, I always turn over work that is both properly formatted and represents my best ideas (and conforms to the publisher's requirements). Which is--I firmly believe--the main reason why Paizo keeps offering me more work. (Devs, correct me if I'm wrong.)
You're not wrong. :)