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Steve was my publisher, mentor, cheerleader, and friend for over five years, and nearly everything I've ever written was for him. I owe him so much, and I will miss him dearly. Thanks Liz, and thanks to Paizo for making it possible for 3rd party publishers like Steve to contribute freely and grow the game for all of us.
And, if you like Coliseum Morpheuon and Faces of the Tarnished Souk, check out Lost In Dream, Rite Publishing's recently-released Faces-of-the-Tarnished-Souk novel.
Lost In Dream is an odyssey across the plane of Dream, visiting the frozen plateau of Leng and delving into the depths beneath the Coliseum Morpheuon itself, and includes characters plucked directly from the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, such as Brynhild Eirensdottir, the Shining Valkyrie and Jubal D'tirn, the Fool's Champion, plus several more mixed in with brand new protagonists and villains.
Also, if you're interested in Faces of the Tarnished Souk and/or Coliseum Morpheuon, take a look at Lost In Dream, Rite Publishing's recently-published Faces of the Tarnished Souk novel.
Lost In Dream features several NPCs taken direct from the pages of Faces, including Magnus Thrax, Brynhild Eirensdottir, and Le Loup Solitaire, and further explores the wild and wooly plane of Dream.
Check it out!
Happy to see this available on Paizo.com!
Pathfinder roleplaying and its RPG predecessors were a major inspiration for Lost In Dream, which obviously is the child of Coliseum Morpheuon and Faces of the Tarnished Souk, so having the novel available here feels like a homecoming. Thanks Paizo!
For those who haven't read the blurbs yet - Lost In Dream is effectively a Coliseum Morpheuon/Faces of the Tarnished Souk novel, which in turn makes it a 3rd Party Publisher novel, all set on the plane of Dream as imagined by Rite Publishing.
This glistening gray +1 leather armor can change its shape and appearance up to three times per day upon command to assume the form of a normal set of clothing or a different type of armor, though it retains all its properties (including weight) when so disguised. The armor always has a rough texture, no matter what appearance it might present.
Once per day upon command the armor completely envelopes the wearer, assuming the shape and appearance of any object of the same size category as the wearer for up to 8 hours, so long as the wearer remains immobile and the wearer's body fits inside the mimicked object. The wearer gains a +20 circumstance bonus to Disguise checks when imitating objects in this manner.
Once per day upon command the armor exudes a thick slime that acts as a powerful adhesive for up to 1 hour. An adhesive-covered wearer gains a +4 circumstance bonus to Climb checks, CMD against disarm attempts, and saving throws against effects that cause the wearer to drop something held. Additionally, an adhesive-covered wearer gains a +2 circumstance bonus on combat maneuver checks to initiate a grapple, maintain a grapple, and pin a foe. Any enemy an adhesive-covered wearer grapples takes a -2 penalty on attempts to break or escape the grapple. Any weapon that strikes an adhesive-covered wearer becomes stuck unless its wielder succeeds at a DC 17 Reflex saving throw, and if stuck can only be pulled free with a successful DC 17 Strength check; this does not affect unarmed strikes or natural weapons. The wearer can dissolve the adhesive upon command.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Seriously great idea. Highly recommended.
Lots of ooze-y projectiles, which is awesome.
Lots of Frozen weapons, which ain't bad. Themes are good. "Really F-ing Cold" is a theme.
Lots of shields which animate and do weird tentacle/swallow/engulf things, which I love, and have loved ever since an iconic, life-changing Planescape game back in the 90s.
Several gnome-themed weapons in a row. Go gnomes! (Gno gnomes?)
Excellent staff vs excellent staff. Both have great formatting, good command of the rules, tight adherence to theme. Prices are wildly different despite being of similar level... but honestly I care very little about the pricing, and the one with more Wow-factor gets the vote, hands down.
Lots of good stuff churning through right now!
One area where Lovecraft's work has a slightly different tone and purpose is his Dreamlands stuff, which is a little bit less about crushing despair and more about weirdness, surreality, and the tension of a human mind or body trying to navigate such strangeness. It is, I suggest, possible to bridge that gap and come back 'round to Pathfinder, as attempted in the 3PP plane-of-Dream-based Coliseum Morpheuon and associated works incorporating the Dreamlands/plane of Dream, the Men of Leng, moon beasts, and other Lovecraftian elements.
It'd be neat in some future RPGSS competition to have one round (probably a latter round) involve the creation of a cursed item specifically, in which case Cthulhu-mojo could run rampant.
I also agree with the sentiment that just slapping tentacles on an item doesn't make it Lovecraftian, but just because it isn't Lovecraftian doesn't mean it isn't still fun. Tentacles are weird and creepy, and just scream "MONSTER OMG KILL IT" as few other appendages do.
Actually, come to think of it, screaming tentacles would actually do that better. Cue the gibbering mouther!
Nickolas Floyd wrote:
I'm up to 7 years with no DQ, though I may have erroneously missed a season somewhere in there. While I've had some great 3PP softcover/PDF credits during that time (can't say enough good things about Rite Publishing!), my RPGSS contributions have never been so good/lucky as that magical first year in 2009 - Master's Perfect Golden Bell made it into UE along with a bunch of other RPGSS treasures from those first few years.
While I don't think one can get DQ'd for hardcover fiction, I'm unsure about something that comes out mid-contest, but if that turns out to be the case (not that I'm asking for it), as they say in The Wire: "Sound like one of them good problems."
RPGSS 2009 gave me a massive jump start, and I shall always be grateful. This contest, and the community it fosters, is just the best.
Jacob Trier wrote:
Actually, "Map" is an acronym - you're supposed to create a M.A.P.
Now everybody just freak out about what M.A.P. stands for... for a month.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)
He's right - very, very right. "Winning" RPGSS isn't about winning RPGSS - you win the moment you realize that IT can be done, and that you're already doing it.
Lost In Dream, a new novel from Rite Publishing, now available.
Dream - a surreal realm where delusions roam free and nightmares hold court.
A man called Rube is on a perilous quest, searching this unhinged land for something more precious than life or sanity – his own lost child. Captive on a black ship crewed by the dreaded Men of Leng, he finds himself crossing the Slumbering Sea in chains, brought face-to-face with a mischievous blue monster who might just be his salvation – or his doom. Struggling to reunite father and daughter, their odyssey past the edge of reality reveals ancient evils, fiendish plots, and a trans-planar scheme which threatens the very foundation of Dream.
Bursting forth from Rite Publishing's epic Coliseum Morpheuon and the high-octane Faces of the Tarnished Souk, Matt Banach's debut novel blends the wonder of Lewis Carroll and the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft to produce a wicked and witty fantasy adventure with a bittersweet heart, testament to the enduring power of a parent's love.
While its 3PP, Rite Publishing offers a high level campaign set in Dreamland called Coloseum Morpheuon (15th - 20th)
For anyone interested in an adventure set in Dream, drawing upon Rite Publishing's Coliseum Morpheuon and Faces of the Tarnished Souk series, the new novel Lost In Dream in now available. (shameless plug, this is my book)
"A man called Rube is on a perilous quest, searching this unhinged land for something more precious than life or sanity – his own lost child. Captive on a black ship crewed by the dreaded Men of Leng, he finds himself crossing the Slumbering Sea in chains, brought face-to-face with a mischievous blue monster who might just be his salvation – or his doom. Struggling to reunite father and daughter, their odyssey past the edge of reality reveals ancient evils, fiendish plots, and a trans-planar scheme which threatens the very foundation of Dream.
Bursting forth from Rite Publishing's epic Coliseum Morpheuon and the high-octane Faces of the Tarnished Souk, Matt Banach's debut novel blends the wonder of Lewis Carroll and the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft to produce a wicked and witty fantasy adventure with a bittersweet heart, testament to the enduring power of a parent's love."
Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop. Cheers!
Woo hoo! I am very pleased and excited to once more be getting Endzeitgeist reviews. Thank you again for your attention and kind words - I have always found your feedback exceedingly valuable.
There are more Gossamer Worlds on the way. With an infinite multiverse to choose from, it's gonna take a while to work through them all...
Here's what I would've submitted. Anyone and everyone should feel free to use it if they like. The concept depends heavily on Paizo-specific intellectual property, so I won't be submitting it anywhere else.
The shambling figure's face ripples, its wordless mouth suddenly overflowing with a vomitous torrent of hissing three-eyed beetles.
Huskwalker Scarab Swarm, Mythic CR 3/MR 1
----- Defense -----
----- Offense -----
----- Statistics -----
----- Ecology -----
----- Special Abilities -----
Mental Infestation (Ex) While using its inhabit ability inside a living host, a huskwalker scarab swarm can expend one use of mythic power to inhabit the host's mind, using the host's Intelligence, knowledge, and languages as if they were its own. This mental infestation fades after 12 hours, or ends immediately if the host dies or the swarm abandons the body.
Mythic Inhabit (Ex) Multiple huskwalker scarab swarms can combine to inhabit the body of a creature which is Huge (4 swarms), Gargantuan (16 swarms), or Colossal (64 swarms). Combined swarms share a single pool of mythic power.
Huskwalker scarabs dwell in the shadows of the ancient metropolis of Sothis, quietly scavenging carrion from the city's streets. Some citizens keep the three-eyed insects as talismans of civic pride, noting their curious resemblance to Orision's national emblem and to the Black Dome – the colossal beetle carapace which dominates Sothis' skyline. Doomsayers believe the scarabs are the fractured soul of Ulunat, Spawn of Rovagug, come to reanimate the long-dormant husk.
Mindless individually, huskwalker scarabs form a sinister hive mind when swarmed together. Frighteningly adept at concealing its presence and predations, a swarm strikes suddenly then walks the body of its victim away, using the host as a larder, breeding ground, and servant in both life and death.
The user activates the stone by throwing it at any surface within 30 feet, causing the stone to burst upon impact with a loud thunderclap and a flash of bright lightning. The user and all allies of the user within a 30-foot radius of the bursting stone may take a 5-foot step and may take an immediate action to draw a weapon, ready a shield, retrieve a stored item, or stand up from prone. If any affected allies are flat-footed, they lose that condition.
If the user activates the stone during the surprise round of combat, all affected allies may act in the surprise round even if they would otherwise be unaware that combat has begun.
The 5-foot step granted by the stone does not count against a character's movement for the round, nor does it affect a character's ability to take another 5-foot step later in the round, however a character may only benefit from the effects of one scatterstone per round. Once thrown, if the stone fails to impact a surface within 30 feet it does not burst and falls inert without being consumed. Bursting consumes the stone, leaving behind only a scattering of gritty ice.
Formatting question - how to manage the break between the last special ability sentence/paragraph and the beginning of the zzMonsterDescriptionParagraph?
Since the special abilities are not italicized and the zzMonsterDescriptionParagraph is not italicized or otherwise emphasized, I'm wondering how or if there's a way that the two are supposed to be visually distinguished.
If the last special ability listed is only one sentence and leads off from the bold ability name, I figure this is not an issue. However, if the last special ability listed is (heaven forbid) long enough to require a line break of its own...
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Mark, you're allowed to create a monster that's only found in one particular city.
Good to know! I reckon this will be helpful in figuring out how to make these beasties uniquely Golarion-esque, as opposed to urban but world-neutral.
There're a lot of amazing Golarion cities out there...
The Notes for the Competitors say: "When you are finished, your stat block shouldn't have any "blank" entries like "DR —.""
That makes sense with respect to stuff like DR, which many creatures don't have...
But: Does this also apply to essential statistics, such as Int, Con, CMB, and CMD?
For instance, undead creatures don't have a Constitution score, their stat block typically includes the usual array of base stats, with "Con —" serving as a placeholder to remind us that the undead doesn't have a Con score... and because a stat array without a Con spot would just look weird, and seem like a typo as opposed to a purposeful omission.
I figure that in the end, substance and reasonable adherence to the prompt will win out over the technicalities, but it'd be nice to have a clarification to make sure that the judges aren't expecting something format-wise that is purposefully divergent from the way we usually see things in the Bestiary.
Chris Lambertz wrote:
There are a lot of templates out there, many of them mimicking the features of a creature that could be designed without explicit use of a template but which would nevertheless end up looking very much like a creature with that template applied.
There is the official PRD list of simple templates here, but is there anywhere else we can check to make sure that we're not accidentally applying a template?
I apologize if this seems obtuse, but there are certain types of Bestiary entries that involve a certain type of monster which shares other characteristics with monsters of that type, which could be described as a template, and I wouldn't want to "accidentally" write up a monster of which it could be said "oh, that's just a Blahblahderbeast with the zombie template", for a not-actually-doing-that example.
I think all of "you guys" (the prolific posters, Anthony Adam certainly included) are doing an excellent job of shepherding this year's RPGSS boards along. The commentary is just as much a spectacle as the voting itself, and I've seen a TON of great analysis, commentary, support, good humor, and general camaraderie expressed in these THOUSANDS of posts we've seen since Round 1 kicked off.
I'm happy to see Sir William's post, and I don't think there can be much higher praise than that. Kudos, everybody, and let's keep it up as this great big crazy thing just gets crazier...
Erik Mona wrote:
Here here! The evolution and positive development of the RPGSS process over the years has really been a pleasure to observe (I just watched in 2008, participated in 2009, and have been lurking around ever since...) Despite all the first-time foibles which will pop up no matter what, I definitely agree that the overall quality of the item submissions AND the community discourse about the entries and the contest process in general has really improved.
Think about it - how many man-hours of game development strategy and design theory do we have packed into all these years, all these message board threads...? It boggles the mind.
I thought about a fillable form too, since the simple, avoidable formatting errors are totally tragic. It breaks my heart every time I see a cool item from a designer who had a neat idea but woefully under-researched how to present it.
As stated above, a "Superstar" should be able to be both creative and mechanically/technically correct. This has been a common thread since the beginning, and the Round 1 FAQ even goes so far as to specifically tell everybody this from the get-go.
And in the end, I think that's the right way to go about things. In a contest with thousands of entrants, we need criteria by which to judge people, and their ability to follow a format and proofread their own work is essential.
I'm seeing a lot of items with really neat ways to activate them. Stuff a lot more creative and evocative than a mere command word or 'you turn it on' - not to say that sometimes a simple activation isn't perfectly fine, most of the time it is. Some of the activations are pretty wild, but I'm getting a lot of 'wow, I can immediately picture this being used, and it is cool'. Lots of physical action, lots of dramatic flair.
Let's get some positivity goin', eh?
Thank you, Cheapy.
One thing I'd like to point out is that I can tell that a lot of entries were made by first-timers who love Pathfinder, are excited about the game, and want to contribute to it. They've taken that monumental first step of daring to submit something of theirs to this great big crazy contest, and the simple fact of their participation in the endeavor is something to be celebrated. Regardless of technical foibles or other critiques, everyone who contributes this year - and comes back to contribute again next year - is doing something super.
Huzzah to every single damn person who got up the guts to submit this year. Thank you, and I wish you luck.
Neil Spicer wrote:
Monster entries in the actual Bestiary books are typically shorter than what you'd see in a monster write-up from the back matter of an Adventure Path chapter...
Thanks Neil! Helpful as always.
It'll be very interesting to see the wordcount limit for Round 2, then, to see how this plays out.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I am very interested in what might be the effective difference (if any) between "Create a Bestiary entry" (short prompt for this year's Round 2) and "Create a monster and stat block" (short prompt for 2013's Round 3).
Is this simply an innocuous, non-substantive change in terminology, or something more?
7 Tidals Dip- shredded Chicken, Bleu Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Mo’fo HOT Sauce, Served With Blue Corn Tortilla Chips and Celery $8.99 = DIP OF ABENDEGO
Dill Chips- Battered and fried dill pickles, served with horseradish, ranch and Mo’fo mustard $7.99 = GOBLIN EARS
Pretzel Sticks- Salted Pretzel Sticks, served with “YOUR BEER NAME” beer cheese $7.50 = EZREN'S WANDS OF SALTY SALVATION
Entrees (all served with their choice of side)
Breaded Pork Tenderloin- Served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles $11.00 Add cheese, $1.25 = TUSKGUTTER'S REVENGE
Mo’fo Cluck- Chicken marinated in mo’fo hot sauce, breaded with seven deadly spices served with lettuce, tomato, red onion & jalapeno’s $11.00 = PHOENIX FIRE
Buffalo Wrap- Breaded Chicken, mo’fo hot sauce, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, ranch $10.50 = CHELISH BEDROLL
Shewman Special- Peanut Butter, Jalapeno’s, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles $10.50 = GOBLIN BUTTER SANDWICH WITH CHEESE
Twisted Pretzel Burger- Pretzel bun, sharp cheddar cheese spread, onion straws $10.50 = TWISTED CHAINS OF ZON-KUTHON
Burger Wing Combo- ½ pound Lucy burger (American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, 6 traditional wings with choice of sauce and waffle fries $12.00 = SARENRAE'S UNHOLY UNION
BIG ASS BURGER- 32oz chuck burger! (This item does not come with a side!) Choose from 4 different styles…ask your server $32.00 Oh yeah! Everyone who attempts this challenge receives a FREE BIG ASS BURGER t-shirt just for the attempt! = THE WORLDWOUND
Peanut Butter Pie- Graham cracker... = THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CAYDEN CAILEAN
Scotty’s Chocolate Cake- Chocolate icing & Toffee Chips (Ask to have it served warm!) = SWEET MWANGI MUD
Matt and Justin did (as almost always!) a great job! You're very welcome! :D
Yes indeed - Thank You Endzeitgeist for all of your reviews, critiques, and encouragement over the course of the years - and yes, by now it has been over two years since we first launched Ahkar-Kosh, our #1 guy.
The thoughtful feedback you've provided us has shaped and upheld these characters more than you can possibly know - there have been innumerable times during the design process when I've stopped and considered a current project in light of a past review and thought, WWEZGD? (What Would EndZeitGeist Do) And the resulting characters are all a result of this constant push to top ourselves, maintain line quality, and surprise gamers out there who may think they've seen it all.
So yeah, thank you. A lot.
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