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Valeros

Clouds Without Water's page

RPG Superstar 6 Season Marathon Voter, 7 Season Dedicated Voter, 8 Season Marathon Voter, 9 Season Star Voter. 957 posts (958 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

This was easily my favorite. Made voting easy.

I liked your entries in every round, always strong, evocative stuff.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I had a pretty strong preference this round, but I have to say there were ideas I loved in all 4 proposals. Very nicely done!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Came to check out the proposals, but I don't see them yet. Isn't today the day?

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm excited! Four good finalists and Sodden Lands is my favorite under-appreciated region. This should be good. :-)

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Congrats to the top 4! Enjoy your week!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Didn't get time to write up comments on the encounters, but I did go over them all carefully. I had a couple definite favorites, but I can't predict who the top four will be. It'll be pretty tight, I think.

Four of you are about to have a very busy week. :-)

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Commenting always drops off at this stage. I'm sure there's some fatigue at work, but mostly it's just a LOT more work to read and comment on encounters and adventure proposals.

And I want to comment on all of them, but I need the time to do it. Commenting on a map or a monster was something I could do in relatively short blocks of time. Encounters aren't so much...

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

A more detailed comment will come later, but on a first reading...

Gah! This is super-creepy! Well done on the flavor and atmosphere!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Yeah, I think the Haunted Dungeon in particular is dangerous because of the multiple encounter problem. I'm not sure I could solve that, personally. Hopefully the top 8 did!

The problem with the bridge for me is that it's kinda boring as a location, so you need gimmicks to spice it up. I guess it's all a matter of how good your gimmicks are.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I have to say, I'm surprised by the map choice breakdown.

I haven't read anything more than the titles, but I checked in on each entry to see which flip-map was used.

5 Battlefield
2 Pub Crawl
1 Haunted Dungeon

Not what I expected, since on the surface Battlefield is the most difficult to make interesting. I think Haunted Dungeon has some other pitfalls, but I did expect it to be most popular.

Shows what I know!

Anyway, on to reading what you all did with them!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

For what it's worth, I did somehow picture it with the face of a Balinese demon mask. I wonder where that came from?

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name doesn't do much for me. A bit too literal and it doesn't evoke any sense of anything. Names are always hard. Do they have a name for themselves? For the game they play?

The description is sparse, and assumes action, but it does give a sense of the creature.

I like its archer nature, and the feats and so on built around that.

I too thought it might have a higher survival skill, as well as a higher Knowledge (nature). It lives to hunt, after all.

I like the collective noun. Works for me.

Special Ability names are good, not merely function. Wild Snap Trap is fun to say, too.

Presentation of the polymorph sequence could be better, but it's a neat sequence.

I suspect nearly all encounters with these guys are going to be ambushes. Either triggering a trap (and thus the polymorph) or arrows coming out of prepared hiding places. In that sense, I do think a polymorph or two will progress to the end before combat begins in earnest.

So little text is a missed opportunity. There was a lot more that could be done here, and the words were just not used at all.

In the end, I'm not totally sure this concept really makes sense. It sounds cool at first, but a lot of questions arise pretty quickly. If nothing else, more explanation of the rules they play by is needed.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name is both evocative and fitting, so well done there!

The description is nice. I like the tools in her shadow's hands. I do think I'd like something emphasizing the colorful nature of her cloak, since the cloak is such a big deal for her and visualizing it more clearly would be good.

At will crushing despair seems like it's probably too much. That could easily turn into a substantial advantage for her. And with Hollow Heart, you've got a -4 attack roll penalty.

Disguise is interesting. To me it suggests she may use it to blend in with a crowd of revelers to feed off them. In fact, I wonder if victims would even necessarily know they've been attacked by Hollow Heart in that kind of situation. Actually, that does seem to be implied in the bottom text.

I like the Special Ability names. Evocative and functional both. I particularly like Hollow Heart.

The SAs are thematically tight without overloading any particular aspect. But Soul Stitching at 5 fast healing and +5 to attack and damage rolls and you've got an ugly fight. Combined with the penalties on her opponents and that could get nasty fast.

Sorrowful Gaze is probably unnecessary. It's nice flavor, I just don't know if it's needed.

The write-up is cool, good stuff in there. But since you were riiiiiiight up against wordcount, it might have been a good idea to chop out a sentence or two.

I'm not crazy about monsters with built-in treasure, but it seems to work in this case.

Overall, I like this monster. I think the sort of encounter you could build with it, at some sort of festival, and the way you could sort of slowly build up to the moment of confrontation, is really cool. I do think the penalties and bonuses are a bit overdone, but that's tweakable.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name itself is fine, but I do think the monster ended up too far from the real world folklore. The connection is very vague, and I think a new name would have been a better choice for the creature as written.

The description is ok. But what sort of figure? Is it humanoid? And given its stealth skill, do haunting cries echoing around it always occur?

I see it's an urban creature, whereas the folklore version seems to be more of a country road sort of thing.

I like the Special Ability names. Both functional and evocative.

Divine Failure is the core here, and it's a solid ability. Certainly will knock parties out of their routines. The wording is twisty, there's got to be a clearer way to explain it all. Given the tendency of some groups to delay healing til the last second, this ability could cause some very nasty surprises.

I like the overall concept of this monster, and I think it explores the idea well. I don't think it's much like the matianak stuff I can find online, but really that's just a simple name change away.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

Name is serviceable. I'm good with archaic names for things.

Description feels a bit bland. And to me it reads as a bipedal creature, with "humanoid" and "hands" referenced explicitly, so I hope that's the intent.

Skipping ahead. That's just too many sleep-inducing and fatiguing abilities. I like tight themes, but you gotta spread it around inside that theme too. I'd pull both the at will abilities and Lethargy too. Doubling its hp via breath stealer does seem excessive.

I like the folklore this is playing with. And so the breath stealing is the core mechanic here to me. I get how you go from that to needing it to put people to sleep, but I think there's just too much of that.

The other factor here is that there's nothing less interesting to a player than having their character totally incapacitated. This could do that to several players at once. Around a table, they'll start looking at the clock on the wall...

I almost think it might be better to not have any sleep abilities at all, just the breath stealing and maybe lethargy scratches. Then it becomes a stealthy creature that sneaks up at night and wakes you with your breath half gone. Then it fatigues you, escapes with dimension door, and you're looking at every cat in the city with suspicious eyes for the next month.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name is fine. It creates certain expectations, and the monster plays off those. It's not a knock-'em-dead name, but it works.

I thought this might be like the Egelsee Cocktail from RPGSS 2013, but it's not. That one created an outright addiction. This one could have gone that way, but happily didn't. I think the dynamic you're aiming at is actually more interesting.

The description is cool. "Shimmers irredescently", "sweet, woody aroma", and "flow lazily" are all excellent phrases in service of your central concept.

The Special Ability names are fine, mostly functional. I like Aura Of Tranquilty. I'm assuming the fly effect is to indicate the state of tranquil bliss, much like meditating monks of legend. In that sense, it may have been better to use hostile levitation as was suggested elsewhere.

Center of Emotions is also very cool. Potentially extremely dangerous as well. Targeting Charisma to drain makes sense, but yeah, it's a dump stat for most and so very dangerous.

I don't buy Vulnerable To Emotion Magic as a weakness. It's not, really. It stops engulfing a creature, but it wasn't gaining anything from the engulf anyway.

I think where this goes wrong is that the ooze doesn't benefit from all this feeding, not mechanically. If the aura helped it gain something mechanically, it would make more sense. Same with the Charisma Drain for that matter.

This feels like a good idea that just needed a few more drafts of execution. I do like the concept, though.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name doesn't work for me. Regardless of how legit it is or isn't, it looks awkward on the page. That said, I have a good idea of what the monster is based on the name.

The description is fine, maybe a little sparse. Do all of them have noble finery? Nothing else says they were all nobles in life.

DR 5 could be an issue, except it will be a rare party with no slashing weapons.

Stats, feats, skills all support the central concept. Always nice to see that carried through.

Special Ability names are functional. The abilities themselves are the core of the concept. I definitely get the concern that the process of beheading takes too long for it to actually happen very often.

However...

The real fun is in the process itself. The realization of the players about what's happening and their frantic rush to stop it. There's not so much fun in actually getting their heads chopped off. The fun is in the threat, not the success of the threat. I realize that's a little meta. But it's still true.

As a solitary encounter, one of these will get rolled over pretty fast, I think. But they can come in a mob of up to 5. And they can have followers. (Incidentally, undead or living followers?) So I think we can see what sort of encounter is hinted at here. Get some angry rabble attacking a party, grappling them, pulling a couple of PCs toward guillotines, and the panic is on. Great fun!

One tiny change I'd make to make that scenario work better is to say any creature could pin someone down in the guillotine, not just the guillowed who summoned it, which seems to be how it's written now.

You could make a fun encounter out of these. Maybe not so much solo, but as part of a group, yeah, definitely.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

Not a bad name. I have a definitely idea of what I expect it to do from the name alone.

Cracking spears of obsidian in its back feels a little video-gamish. Not sure what I think about that. Holy vestments is interesting, reinforces the vibe of the name.

I have a slight bias against undead. They just seem to come up too often, so they need to be a step above.

More climbing undead. I know some undead climb well, some don't. I've never been able to figure out what makes which ones which. It doesn't seem to always thematically fit.

Special Ability names are flavorful, always nice to see.

The shards are an interesting mechanic, allowing for ranged and/or grappling damage. There's a method for regenerating them, and doing so relatively quickly, so that keeps its damage output up. The aura and altar are cool, turning this into a kind of support creature for a larger group of lesser undead. That's a neat niche to play in. I do wish the altar had some sort of duration specified. As it is, it feels exploitable.

I really like its support role, but I don't know that I like it on its own. By itself it's just not quite clicking with me. Still, you do call out that support role specifically in the text, so that does help.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

I like the name. "Tatter" is a good word. Makes me expect an undead, though, and as I mentioned elsewhere, I have a slight bias against undead. The bar is a bit higher for me.

Description is fine. "Ruinous" is another good word. I do wonder about "coalesces", though. Is that literal or poetic?

Climb is interesting. Seems unusual for the rest of the monster concept.

Ability names are functional.

Isolate could be terrifying. I assume the everyone can still see each other, they just can't help the victim. What happens if a living creature is 5 ft. from the victim when the ability kicks in?

Naturally Ignored is cool too. Not crazy about the "incapable of" language, but I know what you mean anyway. Probably should find better language for it though. It does make me wonder if the description is appropriate though. Maybe revisit that to get across the experience of Naturally Ignored.

The origin of these is inspired. Well done.

I like the creepy family aspect, that's also well done, and grows out of their lonely deaths. I also don't think Paizo can complain about using something that's in their own PRD. Attic Whisperers lure living children in to their grasp, you're barely a half-step past that, if that.

I'm undecided on the flat footed issue. I like the intent of it, though I worry it may be too powerful. In the end, I don't think it's wholly appropriate, if only because the PCs know there's *something* there, and will be on guard even if they can't directly see it.

This isn't really a ghoul, though. No paralysis (though maybe there should be) and no corpse-eating. So the name could be considered misleading.

Overall, there's no doubt that players will remember this encounter. And with the origin story, there's plenty of material for a GM to work into campaign about individual tatterghouls and how they came about. I suspect this needs some work, but it would be worth doing.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

I don't like the name at all. It feels too forced and clumsy to me. That said, it does give me an idea of what it does.

Description in is ok, if a little generic. The third eye is interesting.

DR/non-magic is promising. Certainly forces players out of their routines.

Absorb and Consume Magic are maybe too similar in their naming.

Alright, the abilities are tightly themed, and that text makes it all make sense. The Mana Wastes are a good home for these guys, and in fact they seem sort of inevitable there.

I think the biggest problem with this one for me is that there aren't many surprises. Once you get the concept, nothing here really stretches it. The concept is fine, and it would likely be memorable, but...

On the other hand, I can imagine the players' reactions when they run into one for the second time. A bit of panicked shuffling of gear and some caution. Knocking them out of their routine a bit.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name creates a clear image. Plus, oyster! That's a rare choice.

Description is fine, if not exciting. The weapon use is the attention-grabbing part, the rest is functional.

Is there a reason scimitars seem to be preferred?

Quick Draw is a nice touch.

Ability names are functional. The abilities are functional as well, sort of bare bones in a way.

I wish it *could* gain benefits from items attached to its shell. As it is, all that is merely fluff decoration.

I kind of like them being solitary treasure hunters. Driven by greed.

The image of one dragging itself along on the beach feels silly.

Its low intelligence may not serve it well. I believe an INT of 7 has a -2 modifier on Appraise, for example.

I like the idea of this monster. It's fun, it's memorable. But I don't think the execution got it there. It's just not exciting enough. Still, there's a good version of this out there with another revision or two.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

The name certainly gives me a strong idea of what to expect. I have a slight bias against undead, I feel like they're very overused. So the bar is a little higher for this type of creature for me.

Description is fine, though sort of what I expect from an undead. Also, it's described as "emaciated" with "rail-thin limbs", but then weighs 500 pounds. Granted, it's 12 ft. tall, but that doesn't seem particularly emaciated.

Burrow makes sense to me, it's a way for it to get to buried corpses for one thing. Though I guess they have to be buried in less than 24 hours.

Bind Corpse is obviously the core of the creature, and a major consumer of word count. It needs the words, there's a lot to sort out here. You've certainly put a lot of thought into the mechanics, but I'm not sure it's quite enough.

The DR mechanism is a clever way to deal with the duration of the binding. But while you've modeled most of the wording on existing PRD wording, I do feel it needed a bit more of an explicit connection between the DR and the HP counts. Yes, that's how DR works, but even the PRD takes the extra words to make it extra clear in the Stoneskin text.

I have to agree I don't see why the armor bonus scales up with size. I think scaling the HP with size accomplishes the same idea of bigger being tougher, and makes more sense.

Consume Spell seems very random to me. It's not on theme with the rest of it.

Horrid Destruction is a good name, and a good ability that fits well.

The text is fine, if a little sparse. The reasoning for their creation is sound.

Overall, I think this might have been just too complex an idea for the word count. The Bind Corpse ability, as many words as it uses, could have used more. Some were spent on Consume Spell, and a few on the background, but I can't escape the idea that 600 words just isn't enough to do this idea justice.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

I don't know what to expect from this name. Sounds vaguely like it might be from Slavic folklore? Google tells me it's Sanskrit, and refers to "a title for the consuming fire of the funeral pyre." That sounds promising.

Flakes of ash! Flaming saliva. Looks like we're on that fire trail with a firebear!

I like the collective name.

Spittle is ok, a 2d6 ranged attack.
Howl Of Hungry Flames is a good name. Ah, see, this is what I like. Special Abilities that feed off each other. Catch 'em on fire, drag 'em closer with Howl, Swallow 'em whole.

"Gluttonous gullet" might be overdoing the alliteration a bit.

Whoa! 13 feet long? 5000 pounds??? Hmm. I'm not sure its stats feel right for that. That's several times the weight of a very large grizzly bear, but this has the same STR and CON as a grizz. Feels off to me. Easy fix, though, just cut the dimensions down.

Overall, I think this would be a memorable encounter. The flames, they are everywhere! And they're pulling me to this giant maw!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

Name feels pretty generic, though it does give me ideas about what to expect.

The description is nice, makes me want to see the illustration.

The spell-like abilities along with the description give me a clearer idea of where this is going, but that vision just makes the name feel wrong.

Bluff seems a bit of an odd choice.

Special ability names are functional, if not exciting. And while disemboweling and remove heart seem thematically linked, I'm wondering how that ties into the more druidic things we saw earlier.

The plural "quarries" seems odd there, I think the singular would have worked fine. Very minor personal preference, though.

Ok, after the text I have a clear idea of what these are supposed to be, sort of feral and animalistic. For me then, the big mistake of this monster is the name, which doesn't convey that at all.

Overall though, I think there's an absolutely terrifying encounter with this thing in the hands of a good GM. Stalked by a feral but intelligent creature that enjoys the hunt, punctuated by moments of extreme gut-ripping violence.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

I'm so-so on the name. It certainly conjures a certain image. But there's something about "swarm" that doesn't fit with the older style "wyrm" for me. That makes it feel a little forced.

I like the part of the description about a writhing mass about to burst free. That creates a sense of menace and danger. I do think, though, that the description makes me expect an undead creature. I think the "dull gray" and the hollow eye sockets are the main guilty parties there.

I like that the dragon is fly (poor). Far too many non-pro monsters have fly (perfect). Poor flight is fairly common for dragons, but the 60 ft. seems rather low compared to most others. But then it only moves at 20. So it's slow all around, which is thematic I suppose, but always kind of worrying to me.

The special ability names aren't that inspired, just sort of functional. The breath weapon is fine. I guess nauseated is the right effect, but I'm not sold 100% on that, something else might fit better. The aura is a nice thematic touch. The concept of swarming wounds is cool, but partial concealment isn't superexciting.

I like most of the text. I wish it was a bit more explicit about making it clear the monster is a symbiot of some sort. I like giving the dimensions of the monster.

Overall, imagining a combat with one of these, I don't think it would be as memorable as the description promises. I think that's mostly a result of the special abilities, which don't seem that impressive individually or collectively.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

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Taylor Hubler wrote:

Raven, I know you put a winking smiley in your post, possibly to indicate you meant to be sarcastic, but your comment is pretty insulting to both Jeff and Garrett. An apology is in order, and you most certainly should consider showing a bit more restraint in the future.

I know for a fact who was involved in workshopping this monster, and I know the comments thus far have not been influenced by that workshopping. To suggest otherwise is speculation at best and mudslinging at worst.

If I lose votes over this then so be it. Jeff is a good man and fellow contestant, and Garrett has been an excellent commentator. Both deserve a bit more respect.

He may have been referring to a comment (not from Garrett) that makes a definitive statement about the inspiration for one the special abilities.

That made me uncomfortable as well, as it feels against the spirit of the no clarification rule.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Gah. How did you DQ, BJ? Word count?

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

The Raven Black wrote:
R D Ramsey wrote:

Yeah, there's no policy against them happening during the voting period.

Actually, I was told that this kind of thread had to wait till after the voting period ended.

It's definitely ok to say who you voted for during the voting period. At least it has been in every previous RPGSS. And that's all this kind of thread needs to be. Who you voted for and maybe why, if you want.

The polls have run during voting in past years, but as I said earlier, I don't think there's much value in looking at them as "exit polls". Just as expressions of support.

It's probably a (very) bad idea for the contestants to say who they voted for as that can easily be taken the wrong way, but the rest of us are free to do so.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

This should be an interesting round, what with no theme provided. We'll see a very wide variety across the 16 entries, I suspect!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Yeah, there's no policy against them happening during the voting period.

They aren't particularly predictive beyond the top few in each round, and those are always pretty obvious anyway.

I think it might be helpful to drop the spreadsheet and "exit poll" ideas, but keep a thread where people can just say who they voted for. It's fun to do that, and if it's seen more as a way to express support than to tally up votes, it might be better for all concerned.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

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I'm very glad this made it through despite the image size problem, and I look forward to seeing the full size map soon!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Re-reading my comment here, it sounds harsher than I intended. I looked a these maps thinking what I'd do with them if I was doing the next draft, so sometimes the focus was on what I didn't like. I think in this case my tone was a little careless, and I apologize for that.

I do like this idea, and your detailing of your imagined encounters here is helpful in understanding what you planned to get across!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

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Ah! I looked carefully at the full size version and spotted the windows. It was difficult even when I knew to look for them!

Yeah, you did suffer a bit from those symbols and lines not being as obvious as they should be.

And credit for finding a location that at least made sense with your squarish limitations.

If it helps, the map I turned in last year was worse. I was in the same boat as you- no drawing skills and terrified by that. I've practiced some since, and even bad hand drawings are better than bad computer drawings. Even if it looks like a 3rd grader drew it, it's usually better to get ideas across by hand. And it improves with practice!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Best of luck to all you guys. I think this was genuinely the most difficult voting of any round 2.

Well over half the maps are contenders for advancing, in my opinion, so it'll probably be a close one!

Special kudos for getting maps in with a very short deadline. Getting anything turned in is an accomplishment, and getting all those good entries in under those circumstances is darn impressive.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I'm pretty sure I could find previous variations on every map idea in the contest.

The question is, is this a good version of what it is? And I think it is. It looks like the idyllic little getaway it's supposed to be. It's got a crash site! And little orbiting spheres!

It would have been interesting to have a hint about how to control its flying.

Sometimes you have to know when the location itself is the star. This map knows that.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

This is the start of a cool location. It needs to be pushed a bit further to find all the interesting elements you could add, but the basic premise is an interesting one.

It does look like an interesting place for a fey or druid ambush, for example. Someone who could use the landscape.

For most others, though, it would play a lot like an empty field.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

On my first pass through, I didn't give this map enough credit. Looking at it now, I'm impressed with the efficiency and clarity with which it presents a complicated location.

Plus, you know, an ice dam is just cool on its own.

If I'm reading it right, it looks like the spillways can be used as a defensive measure outside the crenellated wall, which is cool. I also like that it's tied to a larger strategic goal. Gets you into the story of it.

I do agree the key could be smaller and the real estate used for more coolness. Also maybe a pointer to the lair of the white dragon.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

So this is a pretty neat boss battle type map. A black dragon in a landscape that's likely as inhospitable to the pcs as his breath weapon.

There's a nice mix of hazards to negotiate during the battle, and they'll definitely shape players' actions. I do worry a bit about the methane- if it's colorless and odorless, they won't detect it, so any explosion is going to come out of nowhere to them. That won't go over well at the table. I guess maybe it hisses and there could be some sort of DC to know what it is...

I agree it's suitable for all sorts of encounters. It could certainly work as a hellscape, for example.

Nice, fun map.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I'm on the fence about this map. I want to like it, but that's almost entirely because of the aboleth fossil. That's a really cool idea, and I think you could do a lot with it.

I think the idea has maybe been set in the wrong location. There's lots of other places where an aboleth fossil would be more disturbing than at what seems to be a remote, collapsed lighthouse.

I can see how a collapsed lighthouse could fit into backstory for the the fossil (Especially if there were shipwrecks below the lighthouse. Never a good sign!), but on a map it feels sort of random and disconnected.

Your 50 words are very nice, by the way. Hits just the right pacing and tone.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Not much to add to what's been said. There's just not enough here. The idea isn't a bad one, just needs more development.

If I think about what would be cool in a demon-worshipping storm kindler's secret island lair, that's what I want to see here. The symbol isn't a bad idea just too much of the map. And not enough other cool stuff. Just sort of the basics.

One possible explanation for the compass rose- He wants the wind tunnels to point north, into the Eye. But then, it's still better to just flip your map. There's no reason you can't.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Another dungeoncrawl style map. This one's pretty good. Several paths through the system, good variety of rooms. Desecrated anvils!

Secret tunnels to a hidden shrine! Hard to get much more classic than that. In this case there's a good reason for it, and it helps tell the story of what's going on here.

And there is something going on. Right now. This is a sort of already-in-progress scenario here. That might limit its reuse, but it does show the world is dynamic, and I always like dungeons that have something already happening in them. More alive that way.

Good use of space. Full without being too busy.

My only real critical comment is that the 50 words feels wasted on a key. Better to put that on the map, if you feel you really need it.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I really like this map. It really shows a sense of visual design as well as thoughtful world and game mapping. It uses the grid without being bound by it.

It feels like there's a bit of a story being told here. Old noble houses, fallen into ruin. Even their mausoleums are crumbling and forgotten. Statues have been toppled, chapels broken into.

Cemeteries are fantasy rpg classic locations, and it's great to see an example showing us they don't have to be the same ol' same ol'.

To the extent I have any complaint, it would be wanting a bit more of an adventure hook. whatever's going on here probably isn't as straight-forward as 'slay the vampire', and that's fitting for Galt, but it wouldn't hurt to give us a little more of the vision.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

A classic setting. Who doesn't want a skull idol in a necromatic swamp?

Though the most intriguing thing to me are the petrified trees. Imagining how those may factor into a combat situation is interesting.

The mists could add a dimension too, keeping the players from seeing much of the area at any given time.

I get what you mean with the successive +5 ft marks on the shrine, but I think it's clearer to give reference to a 0 ft level, so then +5, +10, +15 and so on. I don't know if that's official Paizo style, but it does seem to be the most common method.

The tower foundations don't seem like the most fascinating places, at least not without some text attached to them. As it is, they're the places of interest along the edges, but they're pretty much unknowns, and a bunch of stone isn't inherently cool.

Not a bad map, though. Some fun, creepy scenarios to play out here.

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I think your idea could make for a great map and a very fun encounter.

However, I think the limitations on this map made it the wrong idea for this round. The map itself can be at most 120 x 150 ft, and that's just not enough space for this idea.

Cloud palaces, not to mention the clouds themselves, need to be much larger than they are. The 'massive' galleons mentioned are just 25 x 8 ft., not to mention they aren't really mapped for us. The maelstrom isn't very large either. Etc, etc.

This was a good idea, just the wrong one for this map.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

You've got a classic title and concept. The map is tiny, and I wish I could see it better. Spending some time with it, I think I can make out most of it. I encourage others to do the same, it's possible!

It feels like you've put some thought into the idea. You've thought about what an ice devil might have in his den, what might make it unique and challenging.

The map itself seems a little random, though, with things in odd places. It really is one big room with some stuff scattered around it.

I'm not sure I get the ice fort. It feels small for a fort. Once you're inside, what you see is what you get and you can cover the whole thing very quickly. I think it might have been better to have left the ice fort off.

I like the thought behind the elements of the room, but it would be good to have more though into the flow of the players moving/fighting through it.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I can get past the blockiness, though I think the cartographer would have to work pretty hard to get this map right.

The bigger problem for me is that this site doesn't live up to its place in its culture. That's the big risk of trying to leverage existing lore.

This is an important site in the region, a place where major events took place. Events crucial to the history of the area. There's a minor artifact more or less enshrined in it.

And for that kind of location, it's underwhelming. It needs much more.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

This one's interesting. It's a well thought out location. It's logical for its intended purpose, and it's logical for the encounter. But it's not exciting somehow.

I'd love to play on maps with this much thought behind them. But without the 50 words, I'm left looking at it and thinking all the interest is down in that crypt off in one corner of the map. While it's realistic to have a bunch of similar rooms in a place, it's pretty much handwaving time when they come up at the gaming table.

I've got no doubt there's some story that would get me in the rest of the building, but I can't know what that is. :-/

This vote will be a tough call.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Like Neil, I think as soon as this map comes out, players are thinking "ambush." And I wonder why what looks to be a prepared trail up from some docks ends in a ladder. And why they didn't just build traditional fortifications up top rather than sniper posts. And that landslide trap looks like a one-time thing.

So I'm getting conflicting signals about what this location is supposed to be. On the one hand, it looks constructed. On the other, it's defended like it just happened to occur to someone.

All that said, it's much more interesting than the usual ambushes we see. It's not Monkey Goblins Attack! level, but it's not a random forest road either.

Outside of the docks or whatever they are, the meaning of the map is obvious, and the terrain levels are marked just enough without overdoing it.

I dunno. This map alone isn't enough for my vote, but it's not a *bad* map, and your Round 1 entry was one of my personal favorites. So I'm filing this as a maybe.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Wow! This has enough ideas for 2 or 3 maps!

As much as my instinct is to say it's cluttered, it's not really. It's just using all available space for new ideas. Kudos for pulling off that balance.

Having said that, I do worry that there's too much going on from a gameplay stance. It feels like once the PCs are in here, it's go go go until they're done. Sometimes in a dungeon crawl it's a good idea to leave a little breathing room here and there.

And I tend to agree that the logic behind the dungeon and its location could be better.

As for the map, until I looked at the key I read the spiral staircases as some sort of torturous revolving door. There's a pretty standard symbol for spiral staircases, which isn't this one. And there's a couple of misspellings, including the location name and "altar" (4 times!). The whirlpool was a little confusing, as if the swirling lines were permanent features, but the key straightened me out.

But I like all the little icons for everything. I like the bodies half in the wall in the writhing room. I like the compass rose having a horseshoe for the horsemen.

I'm undecided on this one at the moment, but I suspect the sheer number of ideas will win me over.

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Another cool idea that looks like it needed more development time. The basic concept is strong. I'd like to see this location based on the concept.

I like the phrasing "Progress is manifest by way of sweltering heat, molten steel and ignorance burning away."

I'm wondering too about the 8 stall stable. Seems like a lot of horses, even if that is a giant cart!

I *think* the idea here is that coal is fed into a fire below the floor, and that's what keeps the metal molten, but I'm not sure.

There's a few boxes with Xs inside outside the southern wall, not sure what those are supposed to be.

Anyway, the core of this is cool, but it did need some more development to push it to the top for me.

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