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You were the first person to bring hupia to my attention. I'll do what I can. :)
Eric Hinkle wrote:
As far as I know, Howard's usage is the oldest I'm aware of.
I also always think of Icke, even before thinking of "V."
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
I'm glad that we found a home for it after it got cut. I was worried that there wouldn't be an appropriate place for it after Mummy's Mask, and I'm glad the opportunity presented itself here.
captain yesterday wrote:
Does it weird you out that a Texan wrote the hodag? ;)
A cryptid-loving, monster nerd Texan, of course.
Lord Gadigan wrote:
Awww... Look Wes, they're talking about our babies.
Thank you, Paizo staff and contributors. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into one of my favorite activities. Thank you for publication after publication keeping the great ideas flowing. After skimming the PDF I'm truly impressed.
It's posts like these that make the stressful days better.
I'm gonna answer your second question first. Segada is in the northeastern part of Arcadia. It's roughly marked on the inside cover of the book. If it were a perfect analog to North America, it'd be somewhere in New England.
Which leads me to your second question... I'm not a huge fan of direct analogs, and when writing Segada I wanted to have it make sense in regards to things that we've already said about Arcadia and have it make sense in regards to climate and geography. I didn't give the artist a ton of direction for the big city vista illustration other than the type of building materials that would be available and the type of vibe I was going for. The clothing styles are partially inspired by Iroquois designs, but, as I said about analogs, I didn't want to copy anything, but rather use elements to make something new. The hairstyle is an example of that. The priest of Kazutal has some strong Mesoamerican elements by design, but I also wanted to include other elements as she is very far from her homeland and I wanted to show at least a sliver of other Arcadian people since I only had one city to play with. (Pssst... don't tell anyone, but that priest of Kazutal looks really similar to my character in our regular developer game that James is running... it might even be her.)
There are a few Aroden-related threads around here, but I wanted to point out a relatively new thread someone started about wanting to incorporate an investigation around his death for a campaign. It might help sow some ideas or present some new angles.
I've been entertained reading the conspiracy theories. :)
The main reason I didn't explore religion in Segada is that the other authors were doing a bunch of stuff with deities, and we didn't want every city to have a big focus on deities. It makes good sense to focus on that in Aelyosos, Anuli, and Radripal, and we felt that was plenty.
The second reason is that I'm not 100% ready to lay out a pantheon of gods that are worshiped in Arcadia. I have a good idea of the direction I want to go with it, but I'm not completely happy with what I have, so I didn't want to paint myself into an "it's already in print" corner.
I included a mention of Kazutal and an illustration of a priest of Kazutal because I'm certain of that deity (and I'm playing a cleric of Kazutal in our developer game). What I didn't realize until now is that I didn't include any people of interest or places of interest that were religious-based. This lack of inclusion wasn't meant to define anything about the people of Segada. They're just as religious as anyone else.
Mark Seifter wrote:
I've been that way for years.
Congratulations to the top 4. Seems the module pitches will have a much tighter focus than precious years, being specific to the Sodden Lands.
Last year's focus was in fact Darklands, and even many of the early rounds that season were Darklands-focused as well.
To prevent times in earlier seasons where the completely open pitches ran aside something in our production schedule or someplace we had special plans to develop, we've tried in subsequent competitions to nudge the final pitches into a place that won't conflict with something we currently have on the burner.
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.