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Samuel Kisko

Round 1: Migrus Locker
Round 2: Yithnai
Round 3: Fleshstripping in Zopotishto

Fleshstripping in Zopotishto


Round 3 - Top 16: Design a villain

1 to 50 of 56 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

Fleshstripping in Zopotishto

“Mind-altering spores compel a fallen, Dwarven folk-hero to harvest flesh for his fungal gardens.”

Spoiler:
GRIMSON VEGARD, FUNGAL GARDENER CR 5 [+5 barbarian 5]

Male Dwarf barbarian 5
NE Medium humanoid
Init +2 [+2 Dex]; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +9 [+1 Wis, +8 Ranks], Spot +1 [+1 Wis]

DEFENSE

AC 16, touch 10, flat-footed 16
(+4 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 70 (5d12+15+6) [+49 HD, +15 Con, +6 Toughness x2]
Fort +7 [+4 base, +3 Con], Ref +3 [+1 Base, +2 Dex], Will +2 [+1 Base, +1 Wis]; +2 racial bonus against spells and spell like effects, +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison
Defensive Abilities Dwarf traits

OFFENSE

Spd 30 ft. [20 ft. base speed, +10 ft. barbarian speed]
Melee great axe +11 (1d12+8) [attack +5 base, +4 Str, +2 great axe][damage 1d12, +6 Str, +2 great axe]
Ranged none
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Dwarf traits

TACTICS

Before Combat If Vegard is aware of on-coming opponents he will commands any undead and fungi nearby to assist him.
During Combat Vegard charges at the first opportunity and commands any undead and fungi nearby to assist him if he has not already done so. He will then fly into a rage.
Morale Should Vegard become grievously wounded or be clearly losing the battle, he threatens to slay a nearby innocent and escape if possible. If Vegard clearly cannot flee, he feigns death after he is struck with the next blow, hoping that his loathsome appearance will discourage close scrutiny.
Base Statistics In his enraged state, Vegard gains a +4 bonus to Strength and Constitution, 10 additional hit points, and a +2 morale bonus to Will saves but suffers a -2 penalty to his AC.

STATISTICS

Str 18, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 2
Base Atk +5; Grp +9 [+5 base attack, +4 Str]
Feats Improved Uncanny Dodge, Toughness x2, Uncanny Dodge
Skills +10 Climb [+4 Str, +8 rank, -2 hide armor], +9 Listen [+1 Wis, +8 rank], +9 Survival [+1 Wis, +8 rank]
Languages Common, Dwarven
SQ darkvision 60ft, dwarf traits, rage 2/day
Combat Gear hide armor +1, great axe +2; Other Gear ragged clothing

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Special Ability (Ex/Sp/Su)

Darkvision (Ex) Out to 60 feet.
Dwarf traits (Ex) Dwarf racial traits.
Rage (Ex) In his enraged state, Vegard gains a +4 bonus to Strength and Constitution, 10 additional hit points, and a +2 morale bonus to Will saves but suffers a -2 penalty to his AC. This lasts for 8 rounds. [3 base, +5 Con]

Background: In years past, the celebrated, dwarven folk-hero, Grimson Vegard, struggled valiantly to keep the mountain passes around Zopotishto cleared. He was given the honorary title of Midwinter King for three straight years, so renowned his valor and mirth. Vegard adventured extensively into the lightless depths of the earth, seeking its wonders. During his travels, he came across the chittering, black-scaled kobolds, who cultivate toadstools in the remote reaches underground. The kobolds’ toadstools released powerful spores that intoxicated Vegard, and he bartered for their hallucinatory mushrooms.

In a short time, Vegard became unstable and addicted to the spores’ hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. As Vegard’s insatiable yearning grew stronger, he frequented the kobolds and brought them untainted fertilizer in trade–he even haggled away his traveling companions on one occasion. Eventually, Vergard’s hunger for the spores grew excruciating, and he slaughtered the bothersome kobolds to claim their spore gardens as his own.

Now, Grimson Vegard is more plant than man with fungal growths fused to his flesh. He appears as a gaunt figure with a grossly matted beard and hair. His skin is slick with mold, and various toadstools and polypores sprout from his body. He moves in a hazy mist of spores and with an oddly spongy gait.

Lightless Garden: Vegard dwells deep beneath the city of the Zopotishto in the Stained Peaks. The lightless, fungal gardens he inhabits are ripe with all manner of toadstools, puffballs, tubers, polypores, and other sorts of bulbous, fibrous, or flat patches of fungi.

Any corpses not used as fertilizer are buried in the spore-saturated soil and return as undead under the command of Vegard. Dogs, cats, large rodents, humanoids, and occasionally more exotic creatures from the deep all become servants. These creatures are treated as zombies. The fungi-covered corpses remain animated for 1d4+1 weeks before rotting away.

Vegard’s gardens are beginning to fail due to the lack of fresh fertilizer. He is compelled to keep the mushrooms reproducing to feed his spore addiction; thus, he has become more aggressive in his methods of collecting fresh corpses.

Fleshstripping in Zopotishto: Vegard and his animated minions have been harvesting their "untainted" fertilizer from the population of Zopotishto in a string of bizarre slayings. They emerge from the sewers into dwellings and alleyways to harvest the choice bits of flesh and gather any suitable compost. They mindlessly hack apart anyone in their wake and stuff the nutrients into the sewers to bring back to the fungal gardens. Eerie scenes of blood-soaked bones and grizzly bits of mangled tissue are the only evidence of their crimes.

Occasionally, Vegard and his animated minions retrieve live victims for the gardens. These unfortunate souls are subdued with soporific lichen and fungal growths. Vegard experiments on them by growing new types of fungus on their nutrient-rich bodies, including adolescent shriekers and violet fungus. Unfortunately, the victims are alive during this lengthy and excruciating process.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: Wow. And I dont mean that in a good way. Interesting fungus guy. But this is an encounter, not a villain. What in the world does this NPC--interesting as he may be--have to do with the PCs? Where are his goals and motivations and hooks and plots? We asked for that content for a reason. Plus the title of this entry is just whack.

I am sad to see this. The Migrus was homerun, in my view. This entry totally misses the boat and might even be an auto-reject for me. The ONLY thing this does right is the cute spoiler trick for the stat block.

I will comment more fully later. But man oh man this thing is a HUGE miss. And the reference to the other setting from round 2 by another author? I'm not feeling it.

My initial impression is that this thing doesnt get my nod for top 8.

I think this was the first submission this round. I think it came in Friday [yep, just checked]. It clearly could have percolated longer, and would have benefited a lot from baking a bit longer in the oven. This one wasnt "done" yet.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Making Vegard a pathetic junkie is strange decision; I've seen villains who are sad, sorry messes, but usually a tragic, egomaniacal, or vengeful villain is more focussed. And leaving his name out of the entry title seems strange as well.

To me, it seems you made the classic mistake of falling in love with your prose and your character, and failed to focus on the needs a DM has for a major villain, namely major plot hooks, schemes, and resources. Vegard is looking for his next fix, which might make him a foe if the PCs cross him, but unless the PCs are a party of mushroom-farming druids, it's just really unlikely that Vegard will take strong action against them more than once.

The over-the-top gruesomeness of infected but alive victims shows me that Vegard is an evil bastard, but it doesn't show up until the party is about to meet Vegard underground. I don't think you've thought through the necessary plot arc to make this guy a recurring menace.

Clark is right; this is more of an encounter than a major villain. It's even a good encounter, but I'm seriously disappointed.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Although there were moments of unexpected roughness (the first sentence has at least two commas too many), I was pleased with the writing in this submission, and I think it in many ways lives up to the promise of your first two submissions. The _idea_ of a tragic villain who became addicted to something vile below the earth is interesting. Tying it to the spores of toadstools is novel.

I'm not sure the idea pushes much past the "novel" category, though, because the promising concept is essentially squandered by a rather ham-handed application. Ok, so Vegard is addicted to spore-smack. Cool. Interesting. But how does this force the NPC to interact with the campaign? Basically the old "monster crawls out of the sewer snatch-and-grab."

So the PCs gather the evidence, follow the attackers, and have a show-down in Vegard's underground lair. Great. That sounds like a fun evening. But that's all it is, really. I mean Vegard might survive this fight, but let's be honest, probably not. So he's a one-shot puppy.

That makes him more of a "bad guy" than a villain, in my book, and I don't think it's aiming high enough for this contest.

A better idea might have involved Vegard transporting his drug in a way that spreads to the surface world, with tips on how to weave the drug into the subplot of the campaign months before you "pull the trigger" on introducing the villain directly. Better "intermediary" bad guys than zombies (say, pushers, or other addicts) would make for more interesting encounters on the way to the bad guy.

I think a core concept as elegant as "mushroom spore addict killer" could have used a lighter touch than the smash-and-grab hook. It should have provided more than one hook, now that I'm thinking about it.

And yeah, the title was a poor choice.

Cool bad guy. Kind of a lame villain.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Word count: 500.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

I dont want to give this a full review. I stick with my prior comments. This is a big miss. I am so disappointed.

That said, this one I think qualifies to advance based on prior work and that should be considered--Yithnai, the Migrus. So I urge people to consider that, but I just cant bring myself to recommend it (even based on strength of prior work).

I TAKE NO POSITION ON THIS.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

Ah well, guess I was off mark on what you guys were looking for. I have a fondness for the tragic sort but it evidentially did not come off quite as I hoped.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll keep it in mind should I happen to move on.

Edit: I will still grovel for votes!

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Hang in there, Sam. I really hope the public gives you a break and lets you advance. I think you deserve it. It sure happens in American Idol. :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

Clark Peterson wrote:

Hang in there, Sam. I really hope the public gives you a break and lets you advance. I think you deserve it. It sure

happens in American Idol. :)

I am oddly flattered that you took it personally that I submitted crap :P

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

You should be. I really think you have what it takes to go all the way and I want to see you there till then end slugging it out in the final round. But I am helpless because it isnt up to me. I thought I did you a favor by abstaining from the review.

And it isnt crap at all. It is reall creative stuff, it just missed the mark.


I likes it!! Nothing like a fungus-filled, undead-hav'in, creepy dwarf to make your players say, 'ewwwww'. Is it the best entry? Probably not, but the body of work convinces me to vote in Sam's favor.


Honestly, while this is more encounter-ish than most, a lot of this round's entries strike me as more "bad guy" and less "villain"--there is a lot of Grand Moff Tarkin and Boba Fett instead of Darth Vader (or a lot of Blastarr and Doomsday instead of Doctor Doom and Lex Luthor to switch genres/mediums).

I think the main problem the authors encountered here is the focus on getting the stat block together. I might be a bit odd, but even when I read new monsters, I look at the stat block last. The picture and the description sell me on the creature, NPC, or in this case the villain, not the stat block. Without a graphic picture to help, putting the stat-block up front really mutes the excitment a character can create. Now, not every entry failed to provide a strong lead, or to create a villain, and I think this entry has merit as an example of what should have been done more. If it was a bit more villainous, it would have been a sure-thing. But before you dismiss this work, consider how many of the other entries are "bad guys" that would exist within the context of a single adventure or theme, instead of being "villains" who can hinge repeated, and varied, encounters or levels (do you see these NPCs as something that can evolve and grow with the PCs, which is something a villain should have done).


Clark Peterson wrote:

I dont want to give this a full review. I stick with my prior comments. This is a big miss. I am so disappointed.

That said, this one I think qualifies to advance based on prior work and that should be considered--Yithnai, the Migrus.

(This comment is not aimed at Sam. I actually like his entry. This is a comment on Clark's statement above...)

What's the point of having multiple rounds of this contest if judges are going to let bad entries slide based on past rounds? That's a bit unfair to the people who were good enough to get to this round of the contest and did a better job with the task at hand. A true "RPG superstar" should be well-rounded enough to do well at all levels of the contest, and shouldn't require a free pass.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

pallen wrote:
I actually like his entry.

Glad you liked it, and I do hope people vote on what they liked this round.

I am somewhat curious if the opinions of the general public match up with those of the judges after voting is done. I am still fond of the fungal gardener myself :P

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

I like this entry, the 'eewwwe' factor is definately a plus for me. I can see my players going 'Kill it kill it!!!' as loudly as possible.

Unfortunately this feels more like an encounter than a villain to me. His goals don't carry him beyond being a bump in the path of a group. I could see him being used by a campaign villain but he just doesn't seem to me to rise to 'villain' status.

It's good work but it misses the mark.

Osirion

I see this guy and I all sorts of wonderful medleys of ideas dance in my head. There's a little bit of that crazy woodcarver guy from Sandpoint, with a little bit of Nausicaa's toxic jungle, a whole bunch of the Beowulf movie, with a bit of crazy mutant zombie action like a good Resident Evil (his "boss" form even reminds me of Tyrant). There's also a bit of one of my favorite monsters in there too--the Deepspawn! Love it, love it!

Tying it into the Stained Peaks was brilliant, and I love that you really did justice to fleshing out the setting a bit more rather than just name-robbing it.

Not crazy about the introduction with the kobold drug dealers--yet in my mind I know the truth (they're really myconids--shh). Just can't see a dwaven hero starting deals with kobolds, and kobold mushroom farmers just don't work for me. It'd be nice if you could have made them something else. It doesn't kill the idea for me. Not even close. It just takes it down a notch.

Man I'm glad the migrus made it. I really hated it, but wow the stuff you've done since then has converted me. You're awesome.

You get a bright, shiny Grimcleaver vote (the first so far!)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

This is my first post for round three.

I was high profile in my critique of the Migrus Locker, but I was a voter in Round Two. And Sam Kisko got my vote in Round Two.

He earned it.

Sorry Sam, you won't get it for Round Three. Not because of stat blocks or mechanics, but because the others are right. This is an innovative bad guy, but he doesn't qualify as a villain.

You can have a character who has great potential but goes down a dark spiral to become a destructive force that plots, plans, and sets larger events into motion. Those are elements of a villain. Unfortunately you don't seem to have that here.

The risk you run when adding a tragic element to a villain is that at the end of the day, they're not a villain but a minion... or a smaller cog in a bigger machine.

Want a suggestion? Pull a Little Shop of Horrors and make the g#&#&&n plant the villain, and this dwarf it's chief minion. One that brings it food and recruits while it's sentient master plots further ambitions..

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:


So the PCs gather the evidence, follow the attackers, and have a show-down in Vegard's underground lair. Great. That sounds like a fun evening. But that's all it is, really. I mean Vegard might survive this fight, but let's be honest, probably not. So he's a one-shot puppy.

That makes him more of a "bad guy" than a villain, in my book, and I don't think it's aiming high enough for this contest.

A better idea might have involved Vegard transporting his drug in a way that spreads to the surface world, with tips on how to weave the drug into the subplot of the campaign months before you "pull the trigger" on introducing the villain directly. Better "intermediary" bad guys than zombies (say, pushers, or other addicts) would make for more interesting encounters on the way to the bad guy.

I think a core concept as elegant as "mushroom spore addict killer" could have used a lighter touch than the smash-and-grab hook. It should have provided more than one hook, now that I'm thinking about it.

And yeah, the title was a poor choice.

Cool bad guy. Kind of a lame villain.

I had a long post written, but then realized that it could be summed up a lot easier in 3 sentences: I love the idea, and the plot hook can easily run multiple adventures off of, depending on how he escapes the first fight I see him more of a villain the second and third fights, after the PCs have destroyed his main garden and he's in spore deprivation.. I love that you gave him a way out of the fight and explain why it might work for him where it won't for most bad guys. The one thing I would have liked to see was the 'more plant than man' thing show more in the stats... because it doesn't seem to be affecting him much yet.. but that is also due to the limit of the SRD I think

You've got my vote - I've read them all and I have 2 'yes', 10 'hmm maybe' and 4 'no'- Is that a problem?

Osirion Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

You're in MY top 8, but not my Top 4. Sorry. Too bad, your city was one of my faves!

I have to agree, it's more of an encounter. A cool encounter, but just a bit short. I think if he had an escape plan, maybe he could have become recurring.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Quick Thoughts:
+1 for being low CR
-1 for really riding the line between villain and monster

You could make more out of this guy - but it's work you'd be doing that the entry itself doesn't do for you. I have to come down on the "monster" side here. Or "random junkie". Doesn't pass the whole adapt/react to the PCs/etc test.

Osirion

sam wrote:
Grimson Vegard is more plant than man with fungal growths fused to his flesh.

Ok... Where is the plant part?

(I read first then looked at the stat block.)
He's Barbarian 5. That's it. Oh and he's moldy. He's old barbarian cheese.

I loved the description/background. The stat block lost me.
I was so looking forward to seeing a plant template or a plant monster with levels.

How is he commanding undead and fungi monsters?
(if I missed something please let me know.)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

fray wrote:
Ok... Where is the plant part?

Due to the rules restrictions I can not elaborate on my entry. However, Cpt_kirstov post above may shed some light on your questions. I'll get back the post after round 3 ends.

Thanks!

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

Sam: such an awful title and kind of a clear take on Little Shop. After Yithnai you were a fan favorite. Maybe you still are, but I can't vote for you based on previous work. I needed you to kick my butt with your villain.

This is not a villain at all, just a sad homeless addict. Killing him (ridiculously easy for his CR) will just be an act of mercy.

You're a good writer and you evoke disturbing images very effectively, but I can't vote for you.

Whomever dropped the GD bomb: please edit if you can. We are supposed to have a PG13 decorum and that really pushes through the envelop. I am sure we could all be more colorful if Paizo didn't cater to different ages and beliefs. That word should be edited or scrubbed.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

pallen wrote:

(This comment is not aimed at Sam. I actually like his entry. This is a comment on Clark's statement above...)

What's the point of having multiple rounds of this contest if judges are going to let bad entries slide based on past rounds? That's a bit unfair to the people who were good enough to get to this round of the contest and did a better job with the task at hand. A true "RPG superstar" should be well-rounded enough to do well at all levels of the contest, and shouldn't require a free pass.

I'm not. I said this one was a disappointment and didnt recommend it. I did note that some could vote him based on the strength of prior entries, but I wasnt going to do it.

I dont know why you ask what the point is? That kind of stuff (allowing a stumble to a person who has previously hit home runs) happens all the time in the very reality contests that this contest is based on.


Bless you for spoilering the stat block.


This is a really fun encounter for the chamber 17 in the dungeon crawl. Flavor is great and low CR is great but it's not really a villain.

...and as I was not as enthustiatic about your country as others, I doubt you get my vote.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Clark Peterson wrote:

...I said this one was a disappointment and didnt recommend it. I did note that some could vote him based on the strength of prior entries, but I wasnt going to do it.

I dont know why you ask what the point is? That kind of stuff (allowing a stumble to a person who has previously hit home runs) happens all the time in the very reality contests that this contest is based on.

I'm with Clark on this one. The reality (har har no pun intended) is that for each round, I'm judging people on the sum of their work.

After all, the point of this contest (in my mind) is to identify who among all of the candidates is most likely to create an innovative, well-written and exciting adventure. Nobody hits a home run every time at the plate, and in my mind Sam has hit two grand slams already, so even with a big whiff this time he's still in the top 4. And frankly, this wasn't a failure - the writing is great, the concept is good, it just doesn't go far enough - it's still better than a couple of the other entries, and I've read all but one.

Now if I were judging based on only this round, he'd immediately be out of contention. However, the strength of his past submissions is totally relevant. It's just that right now he's batting 0.667 instead of 1.000.


I concur. I'm judging on the quality of the parcipants' corpus at this time; though of course the latest round has to take precedence, previous work must be part of the consideration.

That said, if this were a real clunker it wouldn't get my vote. It's not. It doesn't jump off the page like his first two submissions, but it's good enough when taken in that context.

It got one of my votes.

But if next round's entry doesn't buzz and others do, expect to get the boot.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

“The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all�- Mark Twain

I do appreciate the criticism - in the end it will help me critique my own work and improve.

darkbard wrote:
It got one of my votes.

Huzzah! Sounds like I got a couple votes and a glimmer of hope to move on.

Osirion

For me, the big issue with this entry is that it's a neat idea, but there are no rules in the entry to support it.

In this particular instance, we are playing within the lines, and the challenge is to paint something that remains evocative within those constraints. This is darn evocative, and screams 'Myconid! Animation spores!' as loudly as it can, without actually saying 'Myconid.'

Love the idea of a dwarf somehow becoming a spore-infected 'pseudo-king' to a fungal critter community, but it feels empty without the non-SRD material that would be required for the dwarf to be able to do these things or have these part-plant-traits.

Taking this idea sideways, perhaps a dwarf could have killed a Giant Ant Queen and somehow ended up tricking the surviving ants into thinking that he was their queen (by dressing up in armor made from her carapace or whatever). Now he's found the 'family' to replace the Clan that disowned him for being a twisted little freak, and gone even nuttier than he already was, sending out his 'followers' to try and find resources that he can use to replace them as they fall (since he obviously can't pump out new ones!). If he's an Adept who dabbled in dark matters, he might be able to Cure them, if they survive, but still can't replace them, leading him into dubious attempts at kidnapping other Giant Ant Queen larvae, or unthinkable attempts at creating half-dwarf / half-giant ant hybrids...

Giant Ants, unlike Myconids, are in the SRD, and at least possible for this sort of shambling outcast dwarf to adopt as his new 'family.'

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

ancientsensei wrote:
Whomever dropped the GD bomb: please edit if you can. We are supposed to have a PG13 decorum and that really pushes through the envelop. I am sure we could all be more colorful if Paizo didn't cater to different ages and beliefs. That word should be edited or scrubbed.

My regrets, but it's too late for me to edit. I'm not sure really pushes through the PG-13 envelope as you describe (not by the movie standard for sure), but I would edit it if I could, simply because you asked. My apologies.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013 aka Core

Set wrote:

..leading him into dubious attempts at kidnapping other Giant Ant Queen larvae, or unthinkable attempts at creating half-dwarf / half-giant ant hybrids..

Wow, and I mean that in a good way.

Taldor

*sigh* PRO/CONs!

PRO:

Fungus dude! Awesome! But see Cons.

tied in with previous work. Other contestants, this makes me view your materials in a more generous light.

CON:

There's no plant template in the SRD. This undercuts the entire theme of the villain! This guy might have been better served in a context that wasn't as restrictive.

Well, okay. We've been captured, we escaped the fungal gardens of doom, we've burned out the infestation, and the little dwarf dude ran away. Enh. Let's move on. There's no villainy here. Lots of cool, lots of evil, not much in the way of long term prospects.

Wait? Undead? How's that happen?

If the PCs don't hop on board the plot train to head to this location, they will never, ever come into conflict with this little dude. He's got no "tentacles", as it were, reaching out into the wider world.

Based solely on this work, I don't think I'd be able to vote for you, man. Taking into account your previous two entries, if I can't swing a full four votes, I think you'll probably get a golden ticket to the monster round.


Clark Peterson wrote:


I dont know why you ask what the point is? That kind of stuff (allowing a stumble to a person who has previously hit home runs) happens all the time in the very reality contests that this contest is based on.

I don't watch reality TV, but judging by the quality of entertainers who have won American Idol, I think you'd do better to base your contest on something else.

Back to the task at hand, regardless of the quality of magic item and country entries, I argue that a designer that can't come up with a decent villain isn't an RPG superstar. If anything, villains are more important to a good adventure than either magic items or countries. I won't vote for a mediocre villain just because the author's previous entries were golden. (And, in fact, I think you'd end up with a better overall superstar result if entries were anonymous until voting for each round was over.)

Again, having said that, these comments are not directed at Sam or his entry.


Core wrote:
“Mind-altering spores compel a fallen, Dwarven folk-hero to harvest flesh for his fungal gardens.”

I think you win the Gonzo Over the Top prize for this round. Wow. :)

The images this entry adduces are creepy and eerie. Very bothersome in a good way. It's almost like an intelligent vegepygmy - to the point where I can see this guy as a tribal leader in Barrier Peaks. That said he's a murderer feeding weird fungal gardens. What sort of threat is he to a party? This fellow seems more of a mystery waiting for the PCs to happen upon, like there should be someone else behind him or with him.


Well, it's not a villian, but Sam, I love your ideas and your writing and I want, no I NEED, to play an adventure written by you. So I don't care, I'm voting for you.


Entirely perpendicular to the actual discussion, 'vegepygmy' is going into my lexicon forever.

Anyhow, I guess the threat-to-party question hinges on what else comes out of the garden if allowed to bloom long enough...

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Darkjoy

Well,

I think that Samual is a writer, and he's very good at it but for the last couple of rounds I've had the nagging suspicion that your skills at game design were not so well-developed. The stat block leaves me uninspired, you introduce zombie control but don’t back it up mechanically.

Maybe you should have gone another route, the myconid way was wrong.

Osirion

Samuel Kisko wrote:
Set wrote:

..leading him into dubious attempts at kidnapping other Giant Ant Queen larvae, or unthinkable attempts at creating half-dwarf / half-giant ant hybrids..

Wow, and I mean that in a good way.

Oh, it's all your idea, I just took it into a dark alley and had my way with it.

I love the idea, the outcast who adopts members of some other species as 'her babies' and becomes a menace as they wander deeper into antisocial crazytown. The SRD was the tripping point here. If you could've used Myconids for this (which I've always had a soft spot for), I'd be all over it like jam on toast.


I like how you tied this to someone else's work. It takes some humility to do that, and it's commendable.

One thing - if you refer to your own work as "Crap", it's not gonna help us much, eh?

I do like a plant-covered dwarven barbarian, and I also like how that is conveyed through flavour text over clunky rules (I realize it had to be done that way, but still - I hate seeing all these little things added just so that we can be 100% positive that he's "more plant than human" when simply SAYING that would probably be enough).

Quibble - I wish his stats while in Barbarian rage were better arranged.

All in all, I give it a low 80%. It's alright, but not perfect.


Awesome idea, but it just doesn't quite work as presented.

I kind of wish you had gone all-out with the idea even to the risk of DQ by really taking the SRD limitations and running with it... say, perhaps by using a Phantom Fungus as the base creature instead of dwarf, using the elite array to get his INT a bit higher, tack on the barbarian levels instead of the usual progression by HD, and use a few feats to replicate dwarven traits. It would be an unusual abuse of the rules, certainly, but that kind of daring would have cinched you for my vote if you made it past the DQ filter.

As is, it's a strong maybe.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
hellacious huni wrote:
Well, it's not a villian, but Sam, I love your ideas and your writing and I want, no I NEED, to play an adventure written by you.

I'll put it this way--I wanted to vote for you. Really. Just wasn't really screaming "villain" to me, as much as I wanted it to be.

You might not write for Paizo, but you should be allowing the world to see your creative output.

And I agree that I'd love if you DM'ed for our little group. Your ideas are unique and edgy, which is refreshing in this 'generic' and cookiecutter business.

Cheers, and good luck, and I hope we see more of you down the road!!

Andoran Star Voter 2014

Set wrote:
The SRD was the tripping point here.

Great pun.

"Tripping" is a term with pretty modern connotations, which have been pretty taboo in this competition. E.g., the judges slammed the guy who came up with the wizard's PDA.

Zopotishto's population is 3800, mostly slaves, so it's hard to imagine it has a very extensive sewer system, if any.

Finally, if you're going to place a villain in the Land of the Stained Peaks, take advantage of the rust-taint. Maybe all those nasty spores and fungi mutated because of all the filthy toxins and rust.


Well, this one is not quite a villain, but with a bit of work it could easily be one of the most fun villains to run. The Migrus Locker is creepy genius. I immediately ordered one from Amazon, can't wait to receive.
And, you get a vote from me, Mr. Migrus Locker (you gotta love that new nickname!).

Andoran Star Voter 2014

Ignore half my last post. I misread it as flesh-tripping, not flesh-stripping.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

In any other context, this would be great fun, but it's absolutely skating along the edge of the contest rules. Is Grimson Vegard a villain? I don't think he is. I think he's a cohort of the villain here, which is a non-SRD magical location.

A henchman is permissible, so I'll vote on the drug-addicted dwarven barbarian, and not on the undead and fungi that are not in his stat block and derived from an illegal source.

On second thought, this drug-addicted dwarf may still get my vote. I'll come back to this later.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

I think that this entry should have been saved for the design 3 monsters round. There you could have designed a fungus lord template to have given your dwarf barbarian, and a fungus-zombie creature and spore addict creature and hit a home run. As a villain, he doesn't have a big plot other than getting his next fix, and as has been mentioned, you gave him some powers that just don't get backed up mechanically. I say he dies as soon as the violet fungi grow and eat him up, never having an encounter with the PCs at all.


Notes: Saved this one for last because I expected to enjoy it the most, but I was kind of disappointed. Definitely an encounter. I can't picture the barbarian drug addict experimenting. I would have chosen a different class type. Links were a great idea. Couple grammar things bothered me. Was strange seeing a low level guy after reading a couple of the big hitters. Still probably vote for this because the guy's a genius and I want to see more of his stuff.

Osirion

JoelF847 wrote:
I think that this entry should have been saved for the design 3 monsters round. There you could have designed a fungus lord template to have given your dwarf barbarian, and a fungus-zombie creature and spore addict creature and hit a home run.

See, now I want to see this! I'm gonna have to write it up and use it in my next game. Barbarian becomes an interesting choice as well, as it could represent an individual who is already given to 'surrendering control of himself' in some way. A non-spellcaster is ideal for this sort of thing, IMO.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

I don't think I've ever run a real tragic villain before. I'm not quite sure what to think of that yet. I'm thinking that it could provide plenty of ground for good play, but it would have to be handled very carefully.

As others have said, I think your idea conflicted too much with the requirements of the contest. Had you been able to go all out, create something brand new, you could have had a very interesting - mechancically, at least - entry. As is, it looks rather uncentered and thrown together.

I think his biggest problem as a villain is durability. It's not that he's incapable of surviving a fight, it's that (at least as I understand it) he'd be more willing to die than to give up his garden. Once the PC's find his lair, he'd fight to the bitter end, even if grossly overpowered. And finding this garden isn't going to be much of a deal. Good villains always have hiding places and escape plans.

Your entries have shown some real creativity, both in the round and in the last rounds. This entry, though, just has too many issues to come together as a villain.

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