|Demiurge 1138 RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8|
I've got another Creature Codex in the pipe, and I hope to submit some pitches to Paizo in the months to come. Of course, I'm currently more focused on finishing my teaching credential...
The final four pitches look great! This is an awesome set of finalists we have this year, and I'd be excited to read any of these modules.
This was a bad idea.
Both of the imps immediately threw out suggestion spells--"slay Lord Baz's assassin!". Fireday resisted. Luna did not.
Round 1. Color spray knocks Nisha out.
This led to a consultation of the rules. Could nonlethal damage be dealt on a coup de grace? After all, you can make lethal attacks with a nonlethal weapon at an attack penalty... and there's no roll for a coup de grace... but this was due to a Strength penalty...
Nisha rolled for her save-or-die at DC 11. It came up a 2. Goodbye, Nisha. On the other hand, Lord Baz was killed by the bleed damage she dealt, so it was not all for naught.
The first in a four part series. And yes, since I've de-templated this concept, that does mean that number 4 is going to be effectively an original creature.
Negative Energy Affinity (Su) A necromental is treated as an undead creature for the purposes of positive and negative energy.
Dessicator CR 2
NE Small elemental (extraplanar, necromental, water)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., Perception +7
AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 Dodge)
hp 22 (4d10)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +4
Defensive Abilities negative energy affinity
Immune elemental traits, undead vigor
Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee slam +4 (1d6 plus dessicating touch)
Special Attacks breath weapon (15 ft. cone, Fort DC 13 negates, 1 Con damage, once every 1d4 rounds)
Str 11, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative
Skills Escape Artist +8, Perception +7, Stealth +12, Swim +15
Environment Plane of Water
Organization solitary, gang (2-4), mob (7-12) or plague (20-80)
Dessicating Touch (Su) Any living creature struck by a dessicator’s slam attack must succeed a DC 13 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage and become fatigued. This damage and fatigue cannot be recovered until the victim consumes at least a liter of water. A creature that is fatigued due to this ability cannot become exhausted by multiple attacks, although multiple attacks can cause more nonlethal damage.
Dessicators are the least of the necromentals, but make up for this weakness with sheer numbers. They are vermin of the least trafficked regions of the Plane of Water, ganging up on unwary water elementals or mortals and draining them of their precious bodily fluids. Despite their awkward appearance, they are incredibly graceful in the water. On the Material Plane, dessicators gather near water in deserts, hoping to drain the last precious morsels of water from those already suffering from thirst.
Glad to see that this thread still has followers. I'm afraid that I haven't had much time to pay attention to it lately, what with my teaching, my Demiurge Press work, and my run at RPG Superstar. But that doesn't mean I've forgotten it! And to prove that...
Slaughter Wight Statistics:
Slaughter Wight CR 8
NE Medium undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., Perception +15
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+4 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 85 (9d8+45)
Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +11
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2
Immune undead traits
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +13 (1d6+6 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks channel negative energy (5d6, 8/day, DC 19), create spawn, energy drain (1 level, DC 19) sneak attack +3d6
Str 23, Dex 19, Con -, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 20
Base Atk +6; CMB +12; CMD 26
Feats Dazzling Display, Improved Critical (slam), Intimidating Prowess, Shatter Defenses, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Acrobatics +13, Intimidate +23, Knowledge (religion) +13, Perception +15, Stealth +16
Languages Abyssal, Common
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, gang (3-6) or onslaught (3-6 plus 12-24 wights)
Create Spawn (Su) A humanoid creature slain by a slaughter wight rises as a wight within 1d4 rounds of its death. This wight remains enslaved by the slaughter wight that created it until the slaughter wight is slain. Wights created in this fashion retain none of the abilities they had in life.
Slaughter wights are foul creatures that have been created by the gods of death for only one purpose—slay all in their path. Slaughter wights are a blight on existence, leaving depopulated villages in their wake and gathering an ever-growing army of life-draining monsters to their sides. Due to their ability to channel negative energy, they are viewed as powerful allies or thralls by evil clerics, and nightshades often employ them as aides-de-camp in their campaigns against civilization.
Thank you all for your comments and your votes! I'm glad that the caliban was able to speak to so many of you. Now, to peel back the curtain and reveal some of my thoughts and design philosophies behind the caliban.
Even before I knew I was an RPG Superstar contestant, I started thinking about the monster round. I'm a monster buff through and through, and I knew I wanted to do a few things in particular.
Firstly, I wanted to make a low-level monster. There's a lot of perception that low CR = boring, and I wanted to do my part to overturn that. Second, I wanted to make a non-evil creature that nevertheless serve as an antagonist. I wanted to make something to hang plots around, not just serve as a speedbump... but could also serve as a random encounter if the GM wanted to. Last, I knew I wanted to make a monstrous humanoid. James Jacobs has said that there aren't enough monstrous humanoids in the game, and I agree with him. And so many of them come with baggage. Morlocks live underground. Sahuagin live in the ocean. Skum live in the ocean underground. Doppelgangers are urban, and centaurs are good guys (for some reason).
I do hate to disappoint some of you, who either wanted the caliban to be a playable race or suspected it was "upgraded" to a CR 2 monster from a homebrew race, but the caliban was always intended to be a CR 2, Hit Dice-having monster. I don't believe that all vaguely people-shaped things in RPGs have to be playable. I also wanted to tinker with having high Hit Dice for the CR, but low ability scores. I think that those tweaks worked pretty well.
The Caliban in the Real World:
So the caliban was actually the third monster inspired by real-world legends this round, along with the argopelter and the boto-ocota-de-rosa. Not just the eponymous Caliban, but a whole host of cryptids from the American South. The South is home to lots of stories about hairy hominids with goat-like, reptilian and fishy features, such as the Maryland Goatman, the Lake Worth Monster of Texas and the Honey Island Swamp Monster from Louisiana. These provided a lot of the trappings for the caliban--the fishy/goaty appearance, the unsettling scream, the hatchet (favored weapon of the Goatman) and the four toed tracks (left by the Honey Island Swamp Monster, or possibly an American alligator, depending on whether you ask a True Believer or not).
About that Name...:
Yes, the caliban is named in reference to The Tempest, although the Clash of the Titans reference was also somewhere in the back of my mind. The name was inspired by Caliban's role as a monstrous birth. I tinkered with "mooncalf", an old-fashioned word for a monstrous birth and one that is actually used to refer to Caliban himself, but mooncalf had two strikes against it. Firstly, the word is pretty obscure. I was afraid if I used it that I'd get lots of confusion about why it wasn't very cow-like or from the Moon. Secondly, there's already a mooncalf in "the world's most popular roleplaying game", and it is from the Moon. So mooncalf was out, and caliban was in.
Again, thank you for all of the comments, criticism and feedback. I'm especially impressed by Eric Morton's caliban plot-hooks. I've been an admirer of your monster request thread for some time now, and I'm happy to have grabbed your imagination.
See you in R4!
Thank you all for your comments, praise and criticism alike! I'm happy to see that there was such a strong positive response to the huckster. There are definitely things about it I would change in a future draft, though.
River Kingdoms... or lack thereof: My thinking was based on the Round 2 rules text "suitable for use in the River Kingdoms". I was inspired by the mention of snake-oil salesmen in Gralton and other impoverished provinces, but I didn't want to tie the archetype down too much. Looking back on it, I could easily have made the connection explicit in a sentence, and should have.
Secret Recipe: Sean didn't seem to quite understand the purpose of this ability, and there were a number of other voters who also responded negatively to it. My thinking was that it would allow the huckster to smuggle alchemical items into places where they weren't allowed; see the large number of cities where poisons are contraband.
Snake Oil: Yes, the snake oil is supposed to scale up like a bomb, starting at 1d6 at 1st level and progressing at odd-numbered levels. That was completely an oversight on my part.
Tainted Brew: I realized upon rereading it that tainted brew was sort of vague. Yes, the idea is that the poison grants snake oil benefits until the duration wears off, whereupon it affects the target like a poison. If I had my time again, I would absolutely change the wording on this.
Cure-All: I debated whether or not to make this ability scale like a paladin's mercies, but decided against it because I didn't want to risk taking too much from another class (not to mention take up more word count!). Looking back on it, I'm still not sure if I would change it to scaling.
Again, thank you all for your feedback! Maybe I'll see you in Round 3!
What I like about this contest is that, sure I want to win, but I don't feel competitive about it. I feel more of a chummy camaraderie with my fellow contestants than I do a rivalry. And I think that's nice.
Tomorrow my plans are to play Pathfinder rather than to watch the Super Bowl. After years of GMing, there's finally a regular game I get to play in.
I think we're all planning to ghost this round. I hope so, at least. I'd hate to see any of this year's contestants flame out as some have done in years past. I want this competition to be fair and honest, and that the victor clawed his way to the top square, rather than having some of the obstacles removed by poor behavior.
Best of luck to you all! I'll catch you on the flip-side!
Steven Helt wrote:
Well..we used to choose a book and teach verse by berse expositorilly. We started the Gospel Project curriculum, though and this week we're covering the ENTIRE book of Psalms. Class will last approximately four years, six months and three weeks, not counting Easter and Christmas services. :b
That's very ambitious. Same group for the whole 4 years?
Me, I just finished doing some lesson planning of my own. Photosynthesis. And I expect it's just going to take a week or two.
I love the Vordekai suggestions in this thread. Glad to see that people want to use the item in their games--the ultimate praise for a design, I think.
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and criticism alike. I hope I can wow you all with my archetype in Round 2.
Joseph Kellogg wrote:
But the rules this year explicitly disallow even "Please vote for me!" posts. The judges said that people skirted too close to the line in the past, so they're putting the kibosh on everything. Personally, I'd avoid posting anything publicly, anywhere. Sure, you can tell your friends to vote for you, but what kind of friends weren't already going to vote for you?
I'm confused here, because the FAQ and the rules say different things. In the FAQ, it says this:
What if I am a contestant? wrote:
...but Rule 5 has this to say:
RPG Superstar Official Contest Rules wrote:
Only discussion that "could be considered as adding to, expanding upon or clarifying the content of their current submissions" is an offense. Which should I listen to, the FAQ or the Official Rules? Could one of the judges please clarify this?
I, like Isaac, am a young'un (ripe old age of 25). I'm currently a student teacher, and I've actually been designing D&D rules content (monsters, specifically) for slightly longer than I've played the game. My love of monsters is part of my love of all manner of living things, which has translated into a Master's Degree in Entomology and a position as a student teacher in middle school biology.
I've entered this contest every year since it started, and I'm very excited to actually have the chance to compete this year. Good luck, all!
Steven Helt wrote:
Huh. I know the comments made me nervous enough to check out the submission tool and make sure it was available. I guess I'd recommend all of us do that so there's no shenanigans on Friday!
I know my heart jumped into my throat! But it's there. All is right in the world.
Good luck, everyone!
I really liked this item--the evasion of traps is something I haven't seen before, and a clever player could use this item to turn a dungeon's defenses against its inhabitants.
Anything that encourages creative and clever play is a plus in my book! Congratulations on making it into the Top 32, and I'll see you in the archetype round!