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Kalyani Yafa, High Priestess of the Scaled One


Round 3 - Top 16: Design a villain

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka MythrilDragon

A line of Lizardfolk advances ominously swinging stone clubs from side to side. Behind them a wicked voice hisses an ancient incantation. With a crackling of unholy power, a humanoid figure looms behind them, rising in size until she tops twelve feet high. Upon her head a writhing crown of black and gold vipers hiss, thirsty for blood. In one hand she wields a ferocious leather whip that cuts the air like lightning. In the other she clutches a golden scepter, its cobra head bejeweled with sapphire eyes that radiate power. In a shrill voice she cries out, “Who dares to interfere with the disciples of the Scaled One? Come forth and look me in the eye if you dare!”

Kalyani Yafa, High Priestess of the Scaled One CR 18

Female Medusa cleric 11
LE Large [righteous might] monstrous humanoid
Init +1[+1 Dex]; Senses darkvision 60 ft; Listen +4[+4 Wis], Spot 10[+4 Wis, 6 ranks]
Aura Strong Evil

DEFENSE

AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 18
(+4 armor, +1 Dex, +5 natural[+3 base, +2 righteous might], -1 size)
hp 119 (17d8+51[+3 Con, 17 HD])
Fort +12[+9 base, +3 Con], Ref +9[+8 base, +1 Dex], Will +16[+12 base, +4 Wis]
DR 3/good[righteous might]

OFFENSE

Spd 30 ft.
Melee +2 whip of wounding +21/+16/+11[+14 base, +2 enhancement, -1 size, +5 Str, +1 Weapon Focus] (1d4[righteous might]+7[+2 enhancement, +5 Str](non-lethal)+1 point Con damage/x2) and
snakes +18[+14 base, -1 size, +5 Str] (1d4+5 plus poison)
Ranged mwk short bow +15/+10/+5[+14 base, +1 Dex, +1 mwk enhancement, -1 size] (1d6+1[+1 enhancement])
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks petrifying gaze, poison, rebuke/command reptilian creatures and snakes 8/day[3 base,+1 Cha, +4 feat] (+3[+1 Cha, +2 synergy], 2d6+12[+1 Cha, 11 levels]) , rebuke/command undead 8/day[3 base,+1 Cha, +4 feat] (+3[+1 Cha, +2 synergy], 2d6+12[+1 Cha, 11 levels])

Spells Prepared (CL 11th):
6th-animate objects, blade barrier* (DC 20),
5th-animal growth* (DC 19), righteous might, scrying (DC19)
4th-divine power, cure critical wounds, poison (DC 19), summon monster IV* (x2),
3rd-contagion (DC 17), dispel magic (X2), greater magic fang*, summon monster III,
2nd-bulls strength (DC 16), cure moderate wounds (x2), death knell (DC 16), hold person (DC 16), spiritual weapon*,
1st-bane (DC 15), divine favor (x2), doom (DC15), entropic shield, magic fang*, obscuring mist
0-detect magic (x3), detect poison, light, read magic
*domain spells; Domains Scalykind, War

TACTICS

Before Combat Kalyani casts righteous might before combat, these effects are included in the stat block.
During Combat Kalyani prefers to let her minions do the front line melee fighting. She uses summon monster III & IV to bring fiendish snakes into the battle. After petrifying attackers with her gaze she casts animate objects on them for an impromptu ally. A rod of absorption allows her to strategically aid her followers, attack her enemies, and defend herself with additional spells. In melee she uses her long reach and whip to trip opponents so that her followers have easier targets. Whenever possible, she commands snakes and/or reptiles to join the battle. When her righteous might spell ends she has several potions of shield of faith for additional protection (+4 deflection bonus to AC).
Morale When the tide of battle is no longer in her favor, Kalyani uses a divine scroll of word of recall to escape to a hidden sanctuary. Base Statistics When the righteous might duration ends after 11 rounds Kalyani becomes medium size with a space of 5 ft. and a reach of 5 ft. Her stats become Str 16, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 14. She loses 17 temporary hit points, damage reduction, and any size modifiers. Her Fortitude save becomes +11, and her Concentration skill check +16. The natural armor bonus becomes a +3 reducing her AC by 2. Her strength modifier becomes +2 reducing her melee attack and damage modifiers by 3. The damage die for her whip changes to 1d3.

STATISTICS

Str 20[14, +2 level advancements,+4 righteous might], Dex 12[8, +4 racial], Con 17[13, +2 racial, +2 righteous might], Int 14[12, +2 racial], Wis 18[15, +2 racial, +1 level advancement], Cha 14[10, +4 racial]
Base Atk +14[+8 cleric, +6 medusa]; Grp +23[+14 base attack, +4 size, +5 Str]
Feats Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Extra Turning, Exotic Weapon Proficiency-whip, Improved Counter Spell, Improved Trip, Leadership(18[level 17, +1 special power, -2 cruelty, +2 stronghold], cohort-Princess Myra Benadoir {aristocrat 5/sorcerer 3/cleric 4}), Weapon Focus-whip(divine favored weapon)**
**Bonus Feats
Skills Bluff +4[+2 Cha, 2 ranks], Concentration +17[+3 Con, 14 ranks], Diplomacy +12[+2 Cha, 10 ranks], Heal +10[+4 Wis, 6 ranks], Intimidate +12[+2 Cha, 10 ranks], Knowledge-arcane +7[+2 Int, 5 ranks], Knowledge-religion +7[+2 Int, 5 ranks], Knowledge-planes +4 [+2 Int, 2 ranks] Move Silently +4[+1 Dex, 3 ranks], Spellcraft +16[+2 Int, 12 ranks, +2 synergy], Spot +10[+4 Wis, 6 ranks]
Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal
SQ spontaneous casting (inflict spells)
Combat Gear +2whip of wounding, potions of shield of faith (3), rod of absorption(50 charges), Scroll of word of recall, chain shirt, mwk short bow, +1 arrows (25); Other Gear bracelets, rings, & necklaces of gold and jewels (5000gp)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Petrifying Gaze (Su) Turn to stone permanently, 30 feet, Fortitude DC 15 negates. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Poison (Ex) Injury, Fortitude DC 14, initial damage 1d6 Str, secondary damage 2d6 Str. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Rebuke/Command animals (reptilian creatures and snakes only) (Su) Affect these creatures the way an evil cleric turns undead. Number of attempts per day equal to 3+Cha, there is a +2 synergy bonus if the cleric has 5 or more ranks of Knowledge-religion.

Rebuke/Command undead (Su) Force undead creatures to cower in awe by channeling power through a holy symbol. Number of attempts per day equal to 3+Cha, there is a +2 synergy bonus if the cleric has 5 or more ranks of Knowledge-religion.

DESCRIPTION

Deep in the Jungles of Peridia the Scaled One, a goddess from a prior age, whose true name has been forgotten, is regaining power. The medusa Kalyani Yafa discovered the Temple of Coils over two decades ago and has since uncovered many secrets of the Scaled One. Wielding the goddess’ warlike power and command of serpents, she leads the Peridian Lizardfolk tribes. They revere her as a High Priestess of their primeval religion and the prophesized savior of their kind. Furthermore, she has cultivated a network of evil beings headed by her devoted acolyte, Myra. These cells of dark hearted individuals have adopted the ancient religion unaware that their wicked deeds are orchestrated by the medusa. Through this network, Kalyani spreads the glory of the Scaled One and sows the seeds of discord.

Kalyani is a cruel and callous ruler who demands unfaltering loyalty from her followers. Her wrath is fierce, and those who disobey her decorate her temple gardens as a stone testament to warn transgressors. Her dedication to the Scaled One is fanatical, and spreading the goddess’ influence across the world is Kalyani’s most sacred undertaking. Any who impede her find themselves victim to the medusa’s treacherous plans. Many of these plans may take years to fulfill, but she is patient and works zealously to see them completed.

As Kalyani’s power grows, so does her ambition. No longer content to rule over the Jungle tribes alone, she schemes to increase her sphere of influence. Kalyani knows she can not lead the Lizardfolk in a traditional war against the neighboring Kingdom of Yazel, so instead she plots to place a male heir on the kingdoms throne.

Princess Myra Benadoir of Yazel is how Kalyani intends to fulfill her plan. Kidnapped by agents of the medusa ten years ago, the king’s only daughter and heir has been brainwashed into Kalyani’s loyal servant. Princess Myra even plucked out her own eyes at Kalyani’s request, allowing her to stand in her mistress’s unveiled presence without fear of petrification. Kalyani is dealing with the reviled barbarian tribes of the Kraggen Reaches to determine which chief will have the honor of fathering the next heir of Yazel, a task Myra is eager to accomplish.

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

Initial Impression: Yeah, ok a medusa. Neat, but not knocking my socks off. Maybe I am jungled out. Moderate villain, moderate hook (thoug the fact there is a hook at all should make me happy since hook--or lack thereof--seems to be the thing that many are failing to do well). Just not that much oomph here. Not totally feeling it.

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

Word count: 491.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

I like the medusa concept, and the use of righteous might gives your villain a nice Clash of the Titans/Harryhausen feel.

Mechanically, this isn't working for me. AC 19 for a villain supposedly at CR 18?! That's an automatic hit for every fighter attack. It's unbalanced and a huge weak spot. Not the good kind of weak spot that a smart PC exploits, but the dumb weak spot that means a villain gets beat down easily. At the very least, those shield of faith +4 potions should happen before combat.

You might argue that the Tactics section says she uses minions on the front line, but at this level of play, that's meaningless. Dimension door and teleport means that there is no front line at EL 18. There is only melee, everywhere and anywhere the PCs want it.

Mind you, maybe that AC works if the HP are off the charts. But that's not the case either. 119 hp at CR 18 is again rather low.

The opening flavor is an improvement over what we saw in your Spine Peaks entry. There's still room for further refinement at a craft level (it repeats both "dare" and the snake imagery, which is overkill), but you are clearly upping your game here. The flavor gets fantastic in the last paragraph, with the kidnapped/brainwashed/blinded princess. That is a princess itching to be rescued, and then she's a bigger challenge when the party figures out she will betray them to the medusa. Wonderful twist, powerful twist on a cliched hook, and a great finish to this entry.

I wasn't a believer before. Despite some serious balance/mechanics flaws, this is a villain that I want to run. Consider me convinced for this round, but keep pushing yourself.

Recommended for Top 8.

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

Villain Concept (name, title, is it actually a villain?, design choices, playability?): B+
The Good: Loved the concept. I had a flashback to that cool snaky medusa from Clash of the Titans. Luckily neither that cheesy owl nor beefcake boy entered into my flashback. Like Wolfgang said, I got a big Harryhausen fix from this. Again, a good villain doesn’t have to be a gonzo multi-classed, templated nightmare. Yours is a monster with some class levels in just one class—and a pretty standard class to boot. Whacky builds do not guarantee a good villain. Villains need concepts and stories, and yours has both. Nice work.
The Bad: However, the medusa and lizardfolk seemed a bit cliché to me. I wished you had stretched a bit more. That connection was a bit too simple. Push yourself next time.

Stat Block Execution (proper content, proper format, good math, generally mistake free?, not abusing word count?): B-
The Good: What you did, you did competently. But like WB I have some issues with how you built this villain.
The Bad: I’m with WB. Some real poor design decisions here from a mechanical standpoint. I can’t say it better than Wolfie. Normally I don’t ding too hard for build issues. But the villain needs to actually be a threat at the appropriate CR. WB did a great job dissecting the problems here. Luckily for you, you crammed this weak spot in the muddled middle and had a good opening and a good closing.

Description (quality of writing, hook?, theme?, organization, contains all mandatory content—physical description, motivation/goal, scheme/plot?): A-
The Good: Ambition. Now that is a villain. That creates conflict. Oh man, that princess twist is good at the end. And the flavor text up front is real nice. There is a reason wine critics talk about the nose and the finish—because that first whiff as you prepare to drink and the taste that lingers afterwards really make an impression on the wine drinker. The nose and finish of this entry are its strengths. I’ll admit, when I started that princess paragraph I said to myself, “oh great, a kidnapped princess to set the PCs in motion.” But I got more. So much more. The ripped out eyes. Genius. Way to end strong.
The Bad: I thought the “Any who impede her find themselves victim to the medusa’s treacherous plans. Many of these plans may take years to fulfill, but she is patient and works zealously to see them completed” was a bit weak. Give me some more solid info here.

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor and setting?): B-
The Good: I want to run this villain.
The Bad: I will have to rework the stat block and rebuild her.

Overall: B
Full-bodied villain with good, earthy intro text nose and a strong princess twist finish with a hint of evil, but an off-vintage needing a stat block rebuild.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the goblin ears item. And Spined Peaks barely made it in the top 16 in my view. That said, this villain is a step forward. I have some substantial concerns about the need for the stat block rebuild, but there is enough flavor here that I will recommend you for the next round. But if you advance it is really time to knock it out of the park.

RECOMMENDED for Top 8, but with reservations due to the need to rebuild the stat block.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I'm finding that the Tactics section of the stat block has been a real trap for contestants this round, with some of the clunkiest writing I've seen yet because people don't seem to know how to phrase this information in a helpful way. I'm pleased to report that this is not a concern with this submission, and in general the tactics section on this one was very well executed. Keep in mind that sizes ("Medium," for example), are always capitalized. And while we're on the subject of capitalization, you don't need to capitalize Lizardfolk.

The writing in the entire submission isn't all that impressive, however. In addition to the problems with capitalization we've got some misused commas, some problems with possessive apostrophes, and just a general sense of competence rather than brilliance. I do think that's a step up from your country submission, but work remains to be done on this front. I can't find a lot of fault with what you've done here, but nor am I dying to work Kalyani into one of my campaigns. This is good, but it's not great. Very, very soon you're going to need to deliver "great" to stay in this competition.

Pay attention to the stat block concerns raised by Wolf. They are valid and something you're going to want to work on in future rounds, should you survive this one. As you design your monsters, think about what sorts of characters will be facing them and what sort of capabilities you can expect them to have. Once you're done, go through the stat block again to make sure that the AC, saves, hit points, and damage potential in particular are right for your chosen challenge level.

The network of agents controlled by Myra sets up an easy way to introduce Kalyani into the campaign before actually bringing her on stage, and was a wise choice. This sort of juke is key to surviving the "villain/bad guy" criticism that's been so popular with the judges this round. Myra herself is an interesting character, and the bit about her having plucked out her own eyes is a nice, memorable touch.

But still, Myra is perhaps a touch too important to the storyline here. Kalyani's schemes all hinge on Myra, an NPC. That means that the PCs are really sort of incidental to the core story element you've introduced with the villain. How do the PCs become involved? Where is the adventure here?

You've given me enough with the stat block and the general background that I can make some of that stuff up myself. I am not totally lost in the woods, here. But nor did you provide me with a very good map, so I've got to do a little more work than maybe I ought to with a printed product.

I am ambivalent toward this entry. It isn't _bad_, but it does not by any means blow me away. I think at this point in the contest I am looking to be blown away, so I'm going to reluctantly withhold my endorsement this time.

Not Recommended for Top 8.

Still, I hope I'm wrong and that you come up with something really awesome in the next round.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka unfettered

A medusa cleric is all right, but it doesn't grab me and the design choices make me feel like Kalyani is more of a bump in the road for the PC's than a final foe. The overall flavor is good though and I could see a revamped Kalyani as an excellent villain.

On the stat block front, you're missing a lot of math. As part of the submission requirements I'd like to have seen it. Hopefully someone else will take the time to confirm it all matches up.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The stats for this CR 18 villain are a killer for me. She's dead in one round with a good party (119hpts, low AC, low Reflex), and most likely from a scry and fry.

This is unfortunate since I do like the blinded & brainwashed princess hook.


I'm going to assume that since the cohort is both blind and a 'most prized asset' in terms of Kalyani's plans, that she's going to be firmly kept out of the way of any combat that may occur. Okay. Unusual use of the Leadership feat, but it opens up all sorts of possibilities if the PC's complete a 'kill the monster, rescue the Princess' mission and happen to restore the princess' sight at some later point by use of a spell such as heal.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool opening text / hook. Nice stuff with the princess at the end.

The mechanical problems may demonstrate a lack of experience of higher level play – if so, it may have been smarter to stick with a lower CR villain. The AC in particular would have been an easy fix, with better and/or magical armour.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

Medusas always make for good 'bad guys' but this one is definately a villain which I am pleased to see.

There is some lacking math in the stat block which I would like to have seen but not a big thing. The low AC (as already pointed out) is the death of this villain and at CR 18... well no need to get out the rubber hammer here.

The wording in the description is clunky and cumbersome in places. The princess however is a very nice twist on a cliched hook.

While I'm not completely sold on this one I do like it, It'll be in contention for my vote that's for certain.

Osirion

I'm not super crazy about Kalyani Yafa as a medusa name. It feels a little random-syllably to me, and might be alright as some kind of pseudo-arab thing, but it doesn't read jungle medusa to me.

I loved the large and in charge opening flavor with her looming over her forces, whip flailing and daring her foes to lock eyes with her. I wondered a bit about a whip of wounding for a couple of reasons: first can something wound if it only does subdual? Not that whips SHOULD do subdual--they're freaking deadly but still. Second if she's using this on pokey or timid soldiers of hers it would seem they are going to be seriously screwed up by her "encouragement" bleeding out all over the place.

I wonder at her being a cleric. It seems like the goddess she worships here hogs some of her spotlight. You imagine her as the top of her food chain, but then she's not. It's not to say she isn't a villain. She clearly is, but with as dominant as she is, you'd really like to see her be more self-sufficient in her power.

I love--really love the idea of her animating her petrified opponents. That rules as tactics go.

I think she's probably a little light on AC and HP, but it doesn't kill the idea for me.

It's pretty fresh and fun and I certainly like it. It remains to be seen if it gets my vote (I've only read three so far). If you do I'll pop off a post and let you know. Good job though.

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

I am not jungled out, nor am I bothered by the lizardmen/medusa connection. My reservations about Kalyani are almost solely mechanical, because players are bastards and they'll kill your villain before the surprise round is over.

Consider beefing her up by assuming that cleric is an unassociated class for medusae. Some think cleric is an associated class for everyone, but maybe it depends on your build. By giving her 14 levels of cleric, you can really beef up her offensive capabilites and hit points. Her saves can even go up a little. To push a litle further, you could still give her one unassociated level and still make her cr 18. If you're worried about her reflex save, how about cleric 14 favored soul 1? It still works in the story: Kalyani was chosen by the Scaled One and after some time searching out her destiny becamed a more regimented cleric. She then embraced her great destiny and set out to make the world tremble under the mighty petrifying gaze of the Scaled One.

Cleric is a great class, but it might be unassociated for a monster that doesn't achieve all it should from just adding the eleven levels. What threat are her spell choices for 18th level adventurers? Now, give her the extra HD and spells and she is more formidable.

I didn't like righteous might being added in. Will she have that cast no matter how or when the party sees here? Make it a ceremonial thing, or tell us she prefers to fight as a large creature when she can plan.
I would rather have her raw stat block and let me worry about the situations she gets in. Just tell me what she prefers and I'll accept it or reject it like I do every NPC villain.

I only see one real adventure in the text: Myra. While I like that Myra is a plot twist, I would rather this high-wisdom villain be more insidious. The princess is guarded fairly well - is actually guarded by the servants who let her down. Since Kalyani is vindictive towards those who fail or disobey her, they get princess duty. Kalyani let's the location of the princess slip though certain channels, and the PCs come 'rescue' her - returning her to spy on her former homeland, bear a usurper child, even getting her sight back in the process.

To me, your best villain is far and away the princess, who has the best potential to be a reoccuring figure. If you had given me fluff about the medusa, and then statted the princees-turned-evil-cultist, you would have had my vote before I read any other comments. As it is, the other contestants will have to really be disappointing for this to be a top half. Better than most who entered, I am sure,but not supervillain.

Congratualtions on making superstar top 16.


Erik Mona wrote:
Keep in mind that sizes ("Medium," for example), are always capitalized. And while we're on the subject of capitalization, you don't need to capitalize Lizardfolk.

I have seen this type of comment coming from the judges a lot lately. Maybe it's been specified at the begining of the contest, but where can we find the "rules" to when we should use capital letters, standard letters and the bold or italic fonts ? I understand that the basics of the English language apllies, but I noticed that there seems to be another set of rules for RPG litterature.

Just wondering.

By the way, great contest !

Cheers !


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

Quick thoughts:
+1 for a medusa cleric being cool
-1 for being more a single encounter than a villain

She's a good encounter, but really at most is the 'final boss' of a "Forbidden City" type module. Which is fine, but not something really memorable.


I need more votes.

I'm so torn here. Honestly, I'm not super blown away by Kalyani Yafa overall, but as people have mentioned before, Myra with her eyeball-action is a keeper. The acolyte of a medusa who has put out her own eyes so that she may serve her better? That is steal-worthy, and makes the gorgon-ness of Kalyani integral rather than a somewhat arbitrary choice.

So could I steal Myra and note vote for Kalyani, and still sleep at night? I haven't decided yet. But my vote for Kalyani would in all honesty be a vote for Myra.


The princess hook is pretty nifty and the bit about animating her statue pals is very nice as well, but at the end of the day she's ripe for speed-bump-only treatment by PCs. It may have been a better choice to cut back on the cleric levels and keep her at CR 10-14.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Clark Peterson wrote:

Villain Concept (name, title, is it actually a villain?, design choices, playability?): B+

The Good: Loved the concept. I had a flashback to that cool snaky medusa from Clash of the Titans. Luckily neither that cheesy owl nor beefcake boy entered into my flashback. Like Wolfgang said, I got a big Harryhausen fix from this. Again, a good villain doesn’t have to be a gonzo multi-classed, templated nightmare.

Ouch, that's the second time I've seen Clark use my entry as an example of what NOT to do. Poor gonzo multi-classed, templated nightmare. What did he ever do to anyone?

Oh, yeah, all that killing stuff. Okay, well, fine then... :)

P.S. Count me in on the fans of the Harryhausen feel. I liked the entry.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I really liked this one. Sadly, not enough to propel me to give it the vote, but I really liked it.

As many, many posters have observed, she'd make a terrific bump in the road. In fact, I'd think she'd be a good hench-medusa for some of the other, more subtle rat-bastardly villains in this contest.

While my vote isn't there, I'm absolutely going to *yoink* the idea, which I hope you'll take as flattery.

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

The medusa reads like an encounter and the only shining point is the princess....even that isn't true. The princess is only cool when you take the suggestions of the other posters into account.

I don't think you will receive my vote.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka TerraNova

While this villain has my vote, i must agree to the general tenor of the board: The princess is where the submission really shines. Had you focussed on her, and made Kalyani a shadowy power in the background, i think this could have been so much greater.

After all, there is nothing prohibiting a villain from working for another villain, and i see a lot of potential in her, from foiling her plans to father a new heir to the throne with one of the barbaric tribes, to stopping political ploys of noble houses trying to ally with her, and finally bringing her in alive, and break the brainwashing... especially, since its really a true brainwash, and not some spell. Just casting "Break Enchantment", and "Heal" for her eyes won't cut it.


MythrilDragon wrote:
[i]A line of Lizardfolk advances ominously swinging stone clubs from side to side.

This is my first entry read for this round. I'm going to give more in depth commentary and not read anyone else's comments.

You start with a weak introduction and follow it with passive voice. On this round, everyone probably got the "flavor text intro" idea, but it's best to get it right.

There are interesting ideas like the whip of wounding. However, what's villainous about this character? She's a good nemesis, an excellent NPC opponent or BBEG, yet I think you missed what makes a "villain".

Osirion

This one was soooooo close. I may end up voting for it, but it falls just short of a true villain.

I would like to have seen specific plots beyond the princess. The words spent on the generic statement "get her angry and she'll plot against you" would have been better spent providing an actual example. Something like:

"The Company of the Rose stood against her when she moved against [kingdom]. The adventurer's fought her minions for years until they were betrayed from within by a companion subverted early. While the Company was disorganized from competing loyalties, Kalyani's forces over-ran the country in a surprise assault."

Or something like that. I haven't wordsmithed it yet, but you see what I mean. More examples of her villainy would have been better.

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

Overall, I liked the vibe, but not the execution. In addition to what others have said about the low AC/hp, I thought the feat choice was pretty poor. Instead of extra turning and combat casting (a waste of a feat other than as a prereq - just take skill focus concentration instead.) you could have given her ability focus on her gaze, and possibly on her poison also. The save DCs for those are pretty low for high level play. Also, with the snakes and the greater magic fang, which lasts 1 hour per level, I'd think that spell would be a must for her before the battle tactics.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

I like a lot of the imagery here: the giant medusa, the animated, petrified allies, the subservient princess. These images actually want to make me use her. I think you could've worked the latter two better into the intro, though. While your intro was good, you could've hooked me a little better.

I especially like the tactics section. Not only is it well-written, but you've presented really helpful tactics. The animate objects part is pure brilliance, and the rod of absorption and scroll of word of recall are great standards of villiany.

I'm not sure that I like the forgotten deity vibe I'm getting from the back story, but that's just personal preference. How does worshipping a nearly forgotten deity change Kalyani? I don't quite see how it's relavent, and would've prefered that to be dropped.

Others have stated my concerns with the stat block. You've got a few little formatting bugs, but nothing horrendous. I would have prefered that you customised the text of the Rebuke abilities to Kalyani, instead of just using the core text. "there is a +2 synergy bonus if the cleric has 5 or more ranks of Knowledge-religion." If? Should probably be "since" instead.

But, overall, I like it. I might be "borrowing" her at some point.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Maybe it's just me, but I immediately got a strong Iskandria vibe off of Kalyani Yafa.

Let's see: jungles, forgotten temples, a cohort who is an aristocrat/sorcerer/cleric?

I don't know where you got the inspiration, Andrew, but this is such a perfect fit for Iskandria that there is no way I won't be stealing her for Iskandria. I wish I had known about Kalyani when writing Iskandria - she would have have made a great adventure hook!

Yeah, she seems a bit weak for CR 18, but animating her petrified opponents is inspired. I like the tactics too, and the use of righteous might to make her really big and scary. Plus, I've always liked medusae, and her description rocks.

For my game, I'd probably drop her power level (I don't think I've ever had a campaign go to 18th level), throw on some bracers of armor and maybe a ring of protection, and she might just do all right, especially with some minions to take the brunt of combat.

You got my vote. Congratulations, and good luck!

(And while not a fan of the Spined Peaks, I loved the Goblin Strand of Ears.)


The Tiger Lord wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Keep in mind that sizes ("Medium," for example), are always capitalized. And while we're on the subject of capitalization, you don't need to capitalize Lizardfolk.

I have seen this type of comment coming from the judges a lot lately. Maybe it's been specified at the begining of the contest, but where can we find the "rules" to when we should use capital letters, standard letters and the bold or italic fonts ? I understand that the basics of the English language apllies, but I noticed that there seems to be another set of rules for RPG litterature.

There's no official RPG style guide that I'm aware of that explicitly spells out what formats to use for what. Just follow the examples of how they do things in the SRD, and things will be good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm a bit torn on this one myself. While I like the classic nature of a medusa, I always kind of think of them as reclusive loners. After all, its hard to lead an army when they can't really look at you. Both of your previous entries kind of grew on me over time so I hope this one does too. With a few tweeks I could see using any of your entries in a campaign. I hope you make it to the next round so we can see what else you've got. Maybe if she was a yuan-ti...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I'm going to check out wether I can use a villain or not and wether I like em. I won't be checking stat blocks for errors and stuff, I simply don't have the time or the expertise. This is the second of my reviews after doing a quick quick scan of them all.

I like the starting with a quote.
CR 18 is high...
Could be usable for high level, but has low AC and can be killed in 1 fight. In the end I don't really feel for this one, sorry.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

My few pennys here:

1. I like the overall design.

2. The princess definately locked in the "Evil" part for me.

3. I wanted to say that the inventiveness of making the PCs fight one of their friends as an animated statue just pushes my geek button!

4. AC is a little low I agree: a few memorized spells or accutrements from the Temple Treasury to improve AC and miss chances could easily have made her a tad more useful in combat at the CR18 level in my opinion. Heck just giving her combat expertise would have helped immensely!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Starting with a description is a good idea. Boxed text dialogue is always a risk and I suspect my local group would have a good laugh at "Come forth and look me in the eye if you dare!” They're a cynical lot.

She rules over lizardfolk. All of their gods are Scaled Ones. The title is pretty much content-free.

This stat block shows deft use of the rules, such as the whip of wounding and her little trick of animating petrified enemies. I looked up a couple of things and couldn't fault them.

She could benefit in several ways from a higher Charisma. I'm not sure I would have used it as a dump stat. Her stats in general are modest for CR 18.

Good plots, really good use of a cohort. It may not quite be as apocalyptic as I would assume for CR 18. Much lower, though, she wouldn't be able to do the animating petrified enemies thing, so I'll forgive that.

Possibly keep this. Princess Myra tips the scale for me.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka MythrilDragon

Thanks everyone for the kind words and helpful hints. I hope that I'll have a chance to WOW you with the monsters I am cooking up for the next round.


On further review I have to drop this entry from my short list, mainly because of the AC issue. You could have done -so- much better with just a little thought.

CR 18, dex 1 and still wearing a non-magical chain shirt? Hell, I could have accepted it if you tried to be cute and made it Scale Mail (especially since the increased dex penalty really does nothing to you with your skill choices) but as-is it just seems very lazy.

She's also listed as wearing nonmagical rings and shield of faith is only listed only as an afterthought. Why not toss in a +2 ring of deflection instead of some of the loot-only stuff, when certainly by 18th the players will see it as just a lump of cash anyway?


Notes: Medusa Cleric of lizardfolk god. Cool mental image. Too far away from everything to be a campaign long villain. Writing ok, not great. Not bad overall.

Taldor

I actually think the tactics have won me over and that this will get one of my votes. Especially with the sleeper agent princess after Kalyani goes down. Who knows, maybe Kalyani is raised later for vengeance....

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

To be honest, I did think the nonmagical chain shirt was a bit odd and didn't look at the AC entry. But it's an easy fix, as other posters have mentioned: just hang on a couple more Christmas tree lights, like proper armour for her level and some rings and amulets. While it was bad that the author didn't catch it, I would almost say this is a criticism of 3e maths rather than of the character concept.

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