A lot of mixed emotions about this encounter, wow. I agree, you didn't do a terribly good job of representing the location that this encounter is tied to - but you did do a pretty good job of designing the encounter itself. That counts for a lot. And, as the fifth encounter I've read you're also the first to actually make the trap (is it really a trap it the only activation is manual?) and the monster actually tie together. I was really hoping for more of that.
And, hionestly, I like how you took a non-evil sort of creature and made it a good antagonist, though the comments above about PCs practically being forced to defeat them do apply - A monster attacks you, so you kill it. That's how the game works 99% of the time.
Maurice, I can see a lot of love/hate for this monster in the thread, and I agree. With all of it.
I love the idea of a creepy headless creature with giant leeches for arms. I hate how it's description can't decide if it wants to eat souls or blood.
I love how it feels unique, and does stuff I haven;t seen before. I hate how as a CR3 monster, it could potentially do both Con damage and Cha drain.
Actually, I really hate that. As has been mentioned, it takes the party out of comission for a few days. But actually, because it does DRAIN, it cannot be restored until the party has 4th level spells - which means 7th level characters. Or, I suppose you could pay for it, along with the expensive material components!
And that's the killer. Ability Drain cannot be healed (easily) before 7th level, so it shouldn't be dealt with regularity (such as potentially every round) until that level. That is a major flaw in the design work.
unfortunately, as others have mentioned, I don't think you quite made a superstar entry this round. There are a few reasons that I can see why:
I can't get a clear idea of what it looks like. You say 'monkey-faced' and 'whip-like arms', and it's a Small monstrous humanoid, but... that's it. You did an awful job describing what the creature physically is, which makes it hard to envision the monster at all.
You also tried to add monkey-creatures to places where they really stand out. Which is a pity, because these would have fit in great in the Mwangi Expanse, or especially Arcadia (which is the Golarion analogue to where your myth originates). So, it felt disjointed.
Lastly, your big superstar ability was stick-throwing. Not exactly an exciting option. Sure, I'm positive there are GMs who can find places and ways to make it interesting, but unlike a truly superstar encounter, it doesn't start there.
Michael, I think you hit a hard target here: an interesting ooze. It may have some small flaws, but you did pretty well with your idea and execution, so that's impressive.
I like Numerian monsters, and while 'cocktails' aren't somethign that fits a lot of adventures, seeing as these only exist in the same country you're likely to encounter robots and ray guns... I'll say it's pretty much spot on for where you chose it. Anywhere else in Golarion, not so much - a near hit.
Requiring the an underused mechanic for a monster like this is... risky. And that part I don't like as much. Especially because it's also not the straight up addicition rules, it's slightly different.
I like the abilities you have - glob, stench, fluid drain... but given your initial description, I would have also loved if it had some sort of hide bonus while in water. I mean, it makes total sense for a translucent ooze that lives in a river.
I love, love this archetype. Maybe it's because I'm playing an underwater adventure right now, maybe it just feels well balanced (though losing both swift and instant alchemy is sad), but I like the flavor, I like the salt bombs, I like the evolution up to gaining swim speed replacing poison resistance too - that's really clever.
Best of luck in this and future rounds!
Sorry, but I didn't like this archetype. Mechanical issues themselves aside, the biggest and first thing that turned me off was how the flavor and the mechanics seemed to work cross-purposes:
Personally, those are the only things I would consider natural to the river kingdoms. So a guardian against internal threats, maybe, but a guardian of the land? Not with bonuses versus animals, plants and fey. I know they can be the occasional threat, but it feels... wrong.
There are other concerns, too, like the total loss of most class abilities when more than a few miles from home, but they've been pretty well covered already.
Good luck in this round, and the next if you make it!
Man, this thread has exploded so much more than previous years. Or at least, I haven't managed to keep up with it.
You're all doing great work reviewing in here. It may seem daunting, but everyone should try to read every review - there's a ton of good information here!
While something like "water lily" versus "waterlily" is a pretty mild and probably stylistic choice, it does serve as a reminder for everyone - check your work! If possible, get both a native US speaker and a non-native speaker to check it. Sometimes you'll introduce strange spelling without even knowing it.
Personally, I'm always impressed by non-US contributors getting everything correct with US spelling. English is a ridiculous language.
Unfortunately, I really don't like your item, and there's a number of reasons. Slight formatting errors, and burying the lead, and also that this item is almost a combination of every girdle mentioned in the "How to be a superstar - design a girdle" thread from a few years ago. Perhaps it's parallel development, but I've seen like, ten girdles that do almost everything here, so it feels very uncreative.
And also, I really don't like the "grappled about the body" description, because that's not a game rule. In fact, I would never assume a PC is just grappled about the body. After all, being grappled means you don't have both arms free (you can never use two-handed weapons), so by being too specific you basically negate your item's real star ability.
Without that, this is a cloak that gives you compression and a few snake traits, all of which have been done before.
I look forward to seeing more creativity from you next round.
Chris, congratulations on making it in. Your item in particular makes me super jealous, because it's extremely similar to my own orb of mists from last year that didn't make the cut, right down to it affecting "spells or abilities whose names contain cloud, fog, or mist."
Still, similarities aside, your item is very clearly better than mine was, so good on you. I'm just going to be jealous over here. ;)
I just saw the two same items against each other, back to back. The only difference was that they changed place. The one on the right was on the left and the one on the left was on the right. This happened right after I voted for neither of them. I wonder if that has an impact.
That's pretty much what I was expecting. People seem to think the 'vote for neither' really means 'vote both down'. It doesn't. It means "someone else will vote on this pairing later."
Wasn't "over 200,000 gold" a dq?
As discussed elsewhere... it's not directly a DQ. At that price, in 3.5e, it became an epic item - which before epic existed were artifacts.
So, an item that's over 200,000gp should probably be an artifact, yes. But unless it can't be crafted, technically it's only really bad design.
Judges, feel free to make a more official ruling on that.
Belladonna Blue wrote:
As a woman just starting school to study game design with the express intent of eventually ending up in the video game industry (and the RPG industry -- I like diversification!) I'd be interested in reading this, too. But waiting until Superstar is over sounds fair. :)
Do a twitter search for #1reason and #1reasontobe, both tags from just a while ago touching on being a female game designer in the video game industry. Specifically the latter.
Please, just be an example. referencing a non-existant slot is a decent mark against you, but specifically saying you used the ears slot breaks anonymity.
I cannot stress this enough people - DONT TALK ABOUT YOUR ENTRIES UNTIL AFTER VOTING HAS CLOSED!
Though waiting a few days and thinking about it is a fantastic idea, remember all of you who would wait until the last hour/minute/second to submit your item that internet blips happen. Give yourself at least a few minutes before the absolute last one to confirm that your item gets in!
New month, new age (I turned 27 on Archerfeast), new item.
I love this idea, but not only is it too similar to the very obvious gaming reference, the effect is still very similar to last year's spellbreaker gauntlets, so it's not the sort of item I would actually submit.
Also, as normal, I did a big rewrite at the last second in-post, so I'm sure I made some typos. Don't be afraid to call me out on it. ;)
As an immediate action, the bearer of the shield may expend one charge to deflect ray or gaze attack they are aware of and is targeted at them, harmlessly deflecting and dissipating the original energy.
Alternately, as a readied action, the bearer can instead reflect any gaze attack, ray or line spell targeted at them or that would otherwise have to pass through their space. The bearer of the mirror shield must be aware of the incoming attack, though they do not need to know of it's exact nature or even direction to reflect it.
When reflected, the original effect effectively ends in the bearer's square, and then re-originates from it in a direction of their choosing, exactly as if the original source was in the square, except that the maximum distance is reduced by the distance the effect traveled to reach the bearer's square.
While I use an iPhone, most of my players use Androids, and there's one consistent request around the gaming table: Spellbooks.
All of my players have their spell sheets, and we have the rulebooks, but any time they want to use a spell we can't think of off the top of their heads, they say "you know what I'd love? To be able to write down all my prepared spells in an app so I can reference them really quickly."
That's almost a direct quote, too. There's a bit of a request for a digital character sheet app, as well. Right now, they're using 3rd party apps that sometimes get stuff wrong, and there's all sorts of confusing arising.
So yeah, a digital spellbook tracker for our spell-slinging PCs. Especially for the Android.
I agree with Will, that despite all the criticism and everything else going on in this thread, that there is an important lesson to be learned; what you wrote didn't ultimately get across to the readers.
One very obvious point to bring up; yes, Qwoshokk isn't the real villian of this adventure and is more of a driving force. But from what you wrote the judges and readers had a hard time keeping him in the deific-power-source category because there's so much time focusing on his motives and actions related to this adventure.
I personally had no problem with Draco Noir - because it's the sort of mismash of languages that makes English what it is. Sure, the parts of the name have different origins, but ultimately they're "fancy English".
I'm also surprised at how all the judges called out the alchemical dragon, which is a new vehicle presented in one of Paizo's core rulebooks, as not just being wrong for the area, but wrong for Golarion. I can get that if it was from splat books, but it's in a core book so it should be at least acceptable in the game world, even if only rare, right? I mean, it's a fair point on the parachutes, but still.
I like this encounter too, it feels very climactic, or at least penultimate, which is good, but there's another good point raised above - it happens too much in two stages, one of which is only added at the later tier. If it was more one area it would work better, but still.
I love, love that you made a primarily non-combat encounter being your encounter. It's fun and different. And the map and the huge list of possibilities is awesome.
On the flip side, you present almost nothing but the encounter itself. The lead-in is really weak, the lead-out is similarly, and both introduce game balance concerns.
I would have liked the encounter to play out a little differently, timing-wise. I can see a slow delay, but once the island has sunk would it do so in a single minute? I mean, if it's collapsing through an empty cavern, wouldn't it happen in a matter of seconds? Or if it's collapsing through water or slowly crumbling maybe take longer than that? One minute seems like an odd timeframe.
And with that in mind, since your combat was kinda added-on anyways, I might have liked to see the encounter with no combat at all, and simply having the different levels being different timeframes. Lower level characters get an extra three rounds once the island begins to go under, for instance.
Still, I'm impressed so much by your for building a non-combat encounter that I think I'm going to vote for you on the guts alone.
I know a lot of people didn't like the idea, but I'm a fan of FF XIII's loot system. Nearly every monster you fight drops something. A tusk, or a hide, or a poison gland - very few things dropped actual coins. Then, you dump them all back in town to an NPC for coin.
You're not going to get rare drops in the terms of boars dropping vorpal swords, but you are going to get rare drops like "flawless tusks" or something, that then allows you to craft masterwork bone items or trade for a bucket of money.
Erik Freund wrote:
I feel that a good antagonistic group would be something that always causes headaches for the PCs wherever they go. A cult of murderers, for instance, who gains power by murdering people might be an excellent antagonist for a series of adventures.
Beyond good antagonists are the great ones; the hellknights, for instance, are an example of a great antagonistic group. A lot of the time, they'll be doing things that the PCs don't like, such as lynching rebels in Westcrown. Other times, they do things that interfere with the PCs but the PCs might not disagree with if they were on the other side of; keeping the law in Cheliax in general for instance. Other times still, they directly align with the PCs. You can bet if a dragon attacked a city, the hellknights would be there to help stop it.
In a lot of ways, an antagonistic organization is a lot like a villain. A good villain is pure and simple evil. A devil, for instance is a perfect "good villain". A great villain, however, wants something beyond destruction. They might even not consider their acts to be evil. Ozymandias from Watchmen is a perfect example of a "great villain" because he has goals that are perfectly evil from the outside, but perfectly good from the inside. Lex Luthor is another example, though he's less cut and dry thanks to a gajillion spin-offs.
If you're having trouble thinking of a good organization, try to think up a motivation a "great villian" could use, and make that the goal of an orginization. It may not be a perfect solution, but I think it'll give you a good start on figuring out where the line is.
I think bstern has hit it right on the head - Neil is right, this is effectively a job application. The judges aren't just looking for a cool item, they're looking for a potential future coworker. Would you want to work alongside a guy who always passes on the details?
I know I'll make sure to make sure I submit my Wondrous Item with top-notch spelling, to take a load off his mind. ;)