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Ardorwesp


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

Ardorwesp
Description: An ardorwesp is a peculiar amalgam of hornet and dragonfly approximately the size of a house cat. Its sleek, segmented body is flecked with copper, iron, gold, and—especially along its mandibles and six sawtoothed legs—adamantine. The drone of its gossamer wings grows softer the faster the creature flies.
Violent and territorial in the wild, ardorwesps are also surprisingly intelligent, and have been known to make alliances with humanoids devoted to vengeance, passion, or craftiness. Ardorwesps cannot speak, though they can communicate with each other, and usually understand one locally-spoken language.
Found primarily in temperate forests and plains, ardorwesps nest by burrowing into trees or hillsides. The creatures feed on the nectar of giant flowers, treants, and other fantastic flora. They also prey upon magical beasts, particularly stirges and wizards’ familiars, using such creatures as hosts for their young (though any creature, from halfling to hill giant, will do in a pinch).
Powers and Abilities: In battle, an ardorwesp can fly with amazing speed and agility. It lashes about with serrated legs hard and powerful enough to shred cloth and leather, and even sunder steel armor. The creature’s touch, whether claw or bite, magically paralyzes living creatures. Once a foe is rendered helpless in this manner, the ardorwesp can implant a pupa within the host.
The pupa grows quickly, hatching into a fully formed ardorwesp in 24 hours. This birth deals a great amount of physical trauma, more than likely killing a smaller host. A creature implanted with a young ardorwesp is best aided by mundane surgery, as almost any magical healing kills the pupa, but causes it to burst into a swarm of flesh-eating wasps.

Contributor

Physical description is fine, I can easily picture this creature.
The fact that it tends to ally with humanoids is cool, it's a free hint for building encounters. I wonder why it specifically seeks out creatures devoted to vengeance/passion/craftiness... does it have interest in these things itself? Or is that just a way to hint that they work with the church of Calistria?
The bit about communication is more about how it doesn't use known languages--or are they telepathic among their own kind?
I wonder if the part about sundering steel is suggesting the creature has a sunder ability, or just that it's perfectly capable of attacking foes in heavy armor.
I don't like that magical healing is worse for the implanted victim than conventional surgery--especially as you could cure them accidentally (with a channel energy, frex) and create the wasp swarm (which actually doesn't make a lot of sense--why does the pupa of this creature turn into a swarm of some other kind of creature).

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

Initial Impression: Cool, nasty hornet fly. Could have some low level promise. Let's see...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A
A smart insect. Good concept. Works with humanoids. See, this just drips Superstar. Not only is it a good monster, but it does what good monsters do--it comes into conflict with the PCs. You don't need to roll a random encounter with these things to actually fight them. Their very design concept puts them in the path of the PCs. They could be the secret brains behind a kobold incursion or some other humanoid menace that is such a common way to start a low level adventure. Recognizing that desing niche is definately Superstar. Nice work.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): A
Good description up front, good motivation up front. That is how you do it, people. This is NOT a first draft like many of the other submissions. Things like good organization and structure show in a submission that has been edited and reorganized, unlike the way some of the other more stream of consciousness submissions read. Well done.
Sundering attacks, adamantine, paralysis, pupae implanting. Good powers. This is a monster pitch and I want to see this thing statted out. Not sure I get the healing angle and the flesh eating wasps. I'm taking away your plus for that.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): A
OK, bugs aren't the sexiest, and you could have swung for the fences a bit more but this is a great monster that would be easy to use right away. And its got just the right touch of Lovecraftian mi-go to them.

Overall: A
Scheeming evil wasp things bring the low level boss mojo.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this creature advance

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

From the name, the description, and your avatar I'm feeling a Calistria vibe here. I think I would have just called it an ardorwasp, though, rather than the whole "wesp" thing. With the Calistrian theme and the ardor name, I think it could use some closer ties to said deity to explain it and its purpose a little better. A little bit of that, and I think this monster could go a long way and even be a big part of an ongoing elven or simply Calistrian campaign.

Contributor

... though the R2 rules specifically say to make the monster description world-neutral, so the author couldn't do that (or he'd be disqualified).

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
... though the R2 rules specifically say to make the monster description world-neutral, so the author couldn't do that (or he'd be disqualified).

What?!?! Who writes those things? Rules are fer sissies! But I guess that explains the missing campaign-specific material. :)

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Whoa. Familiar hunting wasps. That's pretty nasty, and you don't see that angle often.

Even more so, I like any ability that leaves a PC rushing to get a cure disease or whatever have you so a terrible wasp larvae does rip out of his face all alien style. Good stuff there.

I also really like the name. It feels very... buggy.

Shadow Lodge

I like this creature quite a bit...feels versatile as a boon or a burden. I REALLY like that the egg cannot be removed through use of magic; players will have to tend the issue rather than "magic it away". I wish that it didn't turn into a swarm as a result of magical healing, though...maybe if it simply burst, causing massive acid damage or some such.


If I were to use this in a game then magical healing would accelerate its growth. I also wouldn't let an Ardorwesp lay more than one egg a year since its reproduction ability is so brutal. Plus if PC's kill the Ardorwesp one spawn for the year then they would definitely draw her ire.

If this was put into a book as is, I'd use it as is. It's just too cool for my nick-picking namby pamby ways.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

POST REMOVED BY JUDGES


I don't mind the goddess' flavor (since we aren't naming names here...) being involved...especially since its an interesting monster.

That it goes after small magical beasts (like familiars) is really cool. I picture a few of the things in an aerial battle over the party with the Wizard's familiar while the party tries to sort them out.

A good evocative image goes a long way towards making me interested!


Alexander MacLeod wrote:
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
From the name, the description, and your avatar I'm feeling a Calistria vibe here. I think I would have just called it an ardorwasp, though, rather than the whole "wesp" thing. With the Calistrian theme and the ardor name, I think it could use some closer ties to said deity to explain it and its purpose a little better. A little bit of that, and I think this monster could go a long way and even be a big part of an ongoing elven or simply Calistrian campaign.
*stuff*

Umm, inform the judges of such things by email, I would implore, and keep to 'vote for me!' and 'give me your feedback!' in posts until voting closes. Please, please, please, don't do anything possibly silly.


For future official feedback purposes, I was curious as to the reason of the name 'ardorwesp' when 'ardorwasp' seemed more sensible?
I don't understand where the copper, iron, gold, and adamantine that these creatures are flecked with comes from. Do they only live in areas rich in these minerals?
I like the 24 hour pupa hatching. That reminds me of slaadi, who have disappeared from Pathfinder. I'm slightly puzzled, given how fast they can hatch young, why they don't end up as a dominant animal lifeform in vast swathes of land? Do they only lay one egg once a year, or have a lifespan of mere days? Or is there some sort of spider higher up the food-chain which eats them?
I'm wondering about the possibilities of these for wizards' familiars or druids' animal companions?

These seem to me to be useful for low-level challenges in wilderness settings. I'm unclear if they would ever swarm and perhaps be suited as mid-level challenges, or if they might advance in classes.

My overall impression is of some pretty solid writing and of a description of a monster that has some uses and flexibility for low-level challenges. The egg/pupa thing is neat.

Edit:
Thank-you for submitting this creature.

Andoran Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Nicely done on making a Calistrian monster without mentioning Calistria (it seems like a lot of entries are pushing the boundaries on the rules). This is an interesting creature, and the pupa/magical healing interaction is nasty.

Cheliax

I really like this monster. The adamantine legs make the sunder reference really cool, as I can see what this thing is doing to the heavy armor pcs. (Sunder armor = soft belly = egg in PC) Ardorwesp has one vote from me.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Umm, inform the judges of such things by email, I would implore, and keep to 'vote for me!' and 'give me your feedback!' in posts until voting closes. Please, please, please, don't do anything possibly silly.

Err... I'd like to echo this comment. Much as it might benefit me, seeing anyone disqualified for that reason would be a bummer, especially this early. Perhaps you should flag your first comment for removal, Alexander? It's borderline... but it's exactly the kind of thing I've been repeating to myself for three days, "Don't make that kind of comment when the monsters go public."

Cheliax

Love the "chest-bursting" aspect of the implanted pupa and the fact that the characters won't be able to use magic healing to fix it. What to do when you're miles and miles from civilization and you've got 24 hours to find a doctor? Abort the mission and race back to town? Or cross your fingers and let the cleric dig it out with a rusty dagger? Decisions, decisions...

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

These are pretty neat. I like the inclusion of adamantine in a creepy crawler monster. Makes these guys really nasty. This is one of the first I've looked at and I don't know yet if it's got my vote, but I will be checking back.


Treating the implanted creature with mundane surgery is a nice detail. This is a cool monster.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

I'm going to split away from the crowd a bit here. I don't like it. The description of the critter is pretty good, but there's no real reason given for a lot of their quirks. Why do they prefer to lay eggs in magical beasts? Dunno. Why are they attracted to passionate or vengeful mortals? Dunno (except that they have Calistrian associations without actually mentioning Calistria). How do they ally with mortals that they can't communicate with? Dunno. Why do they explode into a wasp swarm if magical healing is used to treat someone they've infected? Dunno, except to screw over the person implanted.

It's the "Calistria, but not really" thing that bugs me (pun not intended). Perhaps more than it should, but the idea of this was to create a setting-neutral creature. And the only reason this monster is setting neutral is that the word "Calistria" has been crossed out. The writing is pretty good, but the ardorwesp just rubs me the wrong way.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Epic Meepo

Alexander MacLeod wrote:
Multiple clarifications about his monster.

Alexander! What are you doing!

As a two time finalist in this competition, you should know better than to clarify your submission before voting is finished. And your post isn't even borderline about it. You are quite blatantly clarifying your submission.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Beautiful and dangerous insect-monster, intelligent and territorial, a handful of magical powers... this is a good creature, with pleasing aesthetics, but big magic bees have been done before.

My ears really perked at "make alliances with humanoids devoted to vengeance, passion, or craftiness"- it looked like you were about to go somewhere very interesting there, but instead you turned back to ecology, never explaining what it wants from these people or why it favors those virtues.

It's elegant in form and covered in shiny metals. It's intelligent, understands speech, and forms alliances with humanoids. It only drinks from magic plants while its young feast only on magic creatures creatures, and it's a robotic hellbeast in combat with a magical paralysis effect. You've skillfully instilled this creature with a downright draconic sense of haughtiness, and I know that wasn't an accident, but the lack of attention to its goals, thoughts and behavior makes that almost seem like a waste.

Does it really just want to reproduce and defend its territory?


Wow, this creature is something I don't want to meet in a dark alley... or a lit one!!!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I liked this but there was one niggle for me that I simply couldnt get my head around.

"Ardorwesps cannot speak, though they can communicate with each other, and usually understand one locally-spoken language."

I was hoping for clarification on how they communicate. Is it yes, no nodding of the head or body movements? Can they write in the dirt/sand with their paws or do they use some more complex form of communication - telepathy for example?

This was the only thing in this monster that I would have expected to be explained a little more, maybe in the powers, but thats just my take on it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Demiurge 1138 wrote:
It's the "Calistria, but not really" thing that bugs me (pun not intended). Perhaps more than it should, but the idea of this was to create a setting-neutral creature. And the only reason this monster is setting neutral is that the word "Calistria" has been crossed out. The writing is pretty good, but the ardorwesp just rubs me the wrong way.

Once more I have to agree with Demiurge. If you ignore all the blatant Calistria references, the creature leaves a lot to be desired. The description stops making much sense. Also, why do the ardorwesp's powers include so many forms of making the PC's lives miserable? They get their armor sundered by adamantine claws. They are paralyzed by any attack, which basically takes them out of the fight. And they can't even heal themselves from the implanted eggs, because that, too, will come around and bite them in the ... rear end? Sorry, while I understood what you might have been going for there (revenge motif --> no escape from that), this is a way to alienate your players. Might as well say 'now, here's a monster, don't bother doing anything, as this will kill your fun really quick'. There's nothing wrong with taking away one of the PC's toys. Making them jump through hoops isn't, in my opinion, Superstar designer quality.

Re: the name: I don't have issues with that. Wesp is probably Old English, as the German word (wespe) is quite similar.

Still, I wonder if you haven't already made the one mistake that will disqualify you.


I also found a few problems with this submission.

The bit about not being able to speak, yet communicating and understanding language needs to be clarified.

I also don't like that magical healing turns this into a swarm of a different creature.

Why is it attracted to vengeance?

Finally, my biggest objection is that you seem to have gotten caught up in your idea, and failed to see it through to it's inevitable conclusion. This isn't old school basic D&D, where monsters politely stay put in their dungeon room, and wait for the PC's to discover them. Adventure writing has come a long way since then. Monsters move.

If any creature can be the host of an ardorwesp pupa, then what's to keep this thing from flying into a city (like one in the middle of a temperate forest or plain), where there are more people AND familiars than in the wild. A pupa forms into an adult ardorwesp in a single day, and you apparently made the ardorwesp asexual, since every ardorwesp has the ability to implant pupa. Each day, the number of ardorwesps in the city would double. This is world-changing stuff.

Last year, the golden rule for villains seemed to be "don't break our world", but a single ardorwesp in a city would do just that (see: black plague). Only, this would be an intellignet black plague, able to formulate strategy. PC's cant be everywhere at once. They can't fight every ardorwesp in a city, or even in multiple cities. Even if they could, a campaign full of fighting the same creature over and over would be boring.

You didn't do yourself any favors by making this a predator for everything. You should have stuck with magical beasts. If the ardorwesp is high enough CR to defend itself against the masses, then it's going to overrun the world. If it's low enough CR that most city militia can kill it (1st or 2nd level warriors), then it will become extinct when people start hunting these for their metal.

Sorry, it was a novel idea, but I'm just not buying the whole package.

Osirion

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

The Calistria vibes aren't a dealbreaker for me, but they do make me... uncomfortable. I guess it's because they're so specific, it's one thing to file the serial numbers off a creature originally designed as a servitor of a specific god by focusing on common portfolios (taking a servitor of Zon Kuthon and saying "This creature is often associates with those who worship gods of darkness and pain" for instance), but the combination of vengeance, lust, trickery and bugs is so specifically Calistria that it feels dishonest claiming that it's setting neutral.

That said, the writing is excellent, the creature is interesting and could be a fun encounter. Only being able to remove the egg with mundane surgery is very cool, but I don't like the swarm as a product of magical healing; it makes little intuitive sense and if the character is infested during battle it seems like most of the time it'll trigger within rounds of the egg being laid the next time the cleric kicks out a channel energy which makes even less sense.

Going on my shortlist for coolness and polish, but the Calistria thing and egg swarm may keep it from my top 4.


Anthony Adam wrote:

...I was hoping for clarification on how they communicate. Is it yes, no nodding of the head or body movements? Can they write in the dirt/sand with their paws or do they use some more complex form of communication - telepathy for example?

This was the only thing in this monster that I would have expected to be explained a little more, maybe in the powers, but thats just my take on it.

I think there has been real world scientific research that bees can apparently communicate with other bees by doing complicated dances.

So some sort of sign-language, accompanied by variations in frequency/pitch of wing-beats might be one way these could communicate with one another.


While I agree with some people that it has a lot of head-turning qualities, I don't necessarily feel that they are a problem.

I think, specifically, this monster creates a need in the party to be prepared to deal with situations that can't be solved with simple knowledge checks and after-encounter healing potions and channeling energy.

I can very well imagine an encounter with a group of these and having a party member fall after having larvae put in it and the party going into full panic trying to figure out what to do, and having to come together to do surgery to save their ally.

Thats a fantastic moment for great memories and RP and far too infrequent when people can rely so heavily on magical healing.


The writing is fantastic. It has style and flair. Personally, though, I wasn't "begging for more." For reasons stated by others earlier, I immediately found some holes in the concept. I would like to have seen those addressed in the write up, although I totally understand that the author was restricted in length and that can hinder such creative advancements. The biggest set back for me was that, after reading many of the posts, it is obvious to me it was meant to be campaign specific. Being that I don't play in the Pathfinder campaign (at this time), I had no idea who this deity was and therefore found some of the personality descriptions of the creature to be questionable. Now that I understand it better it does have a lot of potential as a very cool monster, but I think it needs to be tied to that deity and those personality traits need to be emphasized. I haven't decided on votes yet. I'm just reading and making notes. :)

Kudos to the author. I did enjoy reading it and you obviously did a good job on your magic item to get this far :)

Ken

Star Voter 2013

This is an interesting creature.

So it actually has rare metals as part of its body? wouldn't trappers going wild over hunting and captive breeding?

"Violent and territorial" and "make alliances" seem like diametrically opposing concepts. Especially from a foot long dragonfly with a stinger

"ardorwesps are also surprisingly intelligent, and ... make alliances ... cannot speak" How does it make alliances if it cant communicate with others? No mention of magic, psionics or written language. Also why would other races want to make alliances with it?

I love that you fit the wesp into the ecology. But a small flaw why would a foot long creature choose another foot long creature to impregnate when its pupa is fully developed in 24hrs. In life such impregnations are done on larger hosts as to provide more sustenance for the larva.

"The creature’s touch, whether claw or bite, magically paralyzes living creatures" This creature is part wasp and no inclusion of a stinger attack? and why does it need to be a touch based magic attack. A more interesting twist could have been a touch based paralyzing poison and a ranged magic attack.

"A creature implanted with a young ardorwesp is best aided by mundane surgery, as almost any magical healing kills the pupa, but causes it to burst into a swarm of flesh-eating wasps." This seems like an afterthought to the design. but on latter encounters the simple cure will be to burn the larva with fire and then magic heal.

as to other comments this is very world neutral, you have to know the qualities that Calistria has to apply them here.

Paizo Employee Developer

I really like the feel of this one. It's got a clear niche in the game but is universal enough that one could use it in a number of applications. I really dig the implant ability, though I agree with others' concerns that it needs a little bit of refining; I think a negative consequence for magical healing is neat but turning into a swarm seems strange to me. I think my favorite element is that their bodies are covered in precious metals. So often monsters provide no monetary reward but one could easily sell an ardorwesp carcass in whole or in part for loot. It's cool to see a beast who is its own loot.

This is the first entry I've thoroughly read and commented on (though I plan to do the same for all 32) but it's already in my vote column. Let's see if you can keep the lead.

Andoran

mmm
interesting concept... certain Calistrian priestess needs to get one of this to bugger her enemies :D

pretty cool indeed, and i usually don't like insects at all

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

Demiurge 1138 wrote:

I'm going to split away from the crowd a bit here. I don't like it. The description of the critter is pretty good, but there's no real reason given for a lot of their quirks. Why do they prefer to lay eggs in magical beasts? Dunno. Why are they attracted to passionate or vengeful mortals? Dunno (except that they have Calistrian associations without actually mentioning Calistria). How do they ally with mortals that they can't communicate with? Dunno. Why do they explode into a wasp swarm if magical healing is used to treat someone they've infected? Dunno, except to screw over the person implanted.

It's the "Calistria, but not really" thing that bugs me (pun not intended). Perhaps more than it should, but the idea of this was to create a setting-neutral creature. And the only reason this monster is setting neutral is that the word "Calistria" has been crossed out. The writing is pretty good, but the ardorwesp just rubs me the wrong way.

The Calistria thing did pop out but didn't really bother me much. The rest of the monster, though...

I like your writing. The description is pretty and it seems like a neat monster, but it just seemed kind of stitched together. "Okay, it's a bug, and it's a metal bug, and its claws are... adamantine, and it sunders armor and weapons... and it likes to hunt magical beasts, like familiars and stirges... but wait, no it can hunt everybody... and when it touches you, it paralyzes you... and then eggs! Eggs, it implants eggs in you, and they grow really fast... in one day! But you can take them out with surgery, but... if you use magical healing... hmm, if you do that, then all of a sudden it EXPLODES and grows a million tiny wasps that fly out and eat you... and they can't talk, but they can understand other people when they talk... and they're intelligent and like to ally with humanoids... but they don't eat them, except when they lay eggs in them."

I mean, I actually feel the opposite of Clark in that this guy seems like the MOST stream-of-consciousness monster of any of the ones I've read, at least in terms of having a refined concept and playing all of its abilities to that concept. I don't think you found the real core of your monster, so you just kept adding chrome and spoilers and tinted windows and neon license plate holders. Your piece shows editing in how you write and organize, so it's there in the form of the piece, but not in the concept of the monster.

If you had, for example, stuck with the "allies with humanoids" and "hunts magical beasts and lays its eggs in them" parts, you would have had a logical reason for it to ally with humanoids (instead of eating/implanting them), plus a specific predatory niche (vs. PCs, it would be going after familiars, but also as masterminds for humanoid tribes and why they're hunting down the griffons and unicorns and what-not). You'd also have avoided the concerns about "Why hasn't there been a WESP-POCALYPSE by now?"

Overall: Pretty, shiny, but way too much going on. I think this guy is a neat idea that lacks focus.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

This is a good strong entry.. and is now competing for a vote!

Like many others, I like the potential cooperation with humanoids. It makes encounter building so much easier and likely. I can't overstate that.

I did sort of feel uncomfortable with the Calistria connection. I'm only saying that to be honest, not to be a detractor. That seemed a little fast and loose with the rules. On the other hand, it is for the Judges and not me to weigh in on that; and having done it- you did it well! I think Martin Luther said, "Sin boldly!".. if you're going to sin at all. But I might have my theologians mixed up. ;-)

Ah, here we are!

If you consider that I really am strongly leaning towards voting for you because this entry is so well written and makes me like a bug entry (when I usually don't).. hopefully that won't make you feel bad.

I like the pupa hatching thing, but I wouldn't punish magical healing.. just require cure disease.

Osirion

I liked it. There is a weak point or two (allies with humanoids/cannot communicate, being notable). But really, this monster works on many different levels for me. With feed back from a developer, the relatively rough patches would be smoothed over (communicates through wing vibrations and the aforementioned cure disease swap out).

I voted for this.


I like the hornet angle of this creature, however, you state they are flecked with metals, much like Charles Evans stated earlier. I would clarify do they actually have metal or does their body look like that type of metal. I'm sorry if I seen a bug made out of metal, especially precious metal my character would try to "harvest" the materials. I could even think of a few weapons that could be crafted out of the adamantine extremities of this creature. Something new, I liked most of what it could do.


Jason Rice wrote:


If any creature can be the host of an ardorwesp pupa, then what's to keep this thing from flying into a city (like one in the middle of a temperate forest or plain), where there are more people AND familiars than in the wild. A pupa forms into an adult ardorwesp in a single day, and you apparently made the ardorwesp asexual, since every ardorwesp has the ability to implant pupa. Each day, the number of ardorwesps in the city would double. This is world-changing stuff.

Vampires are monsters in D&D/Pathfinder monsters and if they existed they could would take over the world also. They would have to in order to survive.

I will admit I had the same thought, but if my suspension of belief can allow vampires they can allow this one.

I would have given it telepathy so though, so it could communicate with other creatures.


Alexander MacLeod wrote:

Ardorwesp

A big, scary looking bug monster. I've seen those before. but perhaps this one has something new to offer.

They seem to be at least semi-intelligent. which opens up some nice implications, but since they can't really communicate with anyone except themselves, it will hardly matter ( aside from not being mindless and employing smart tactics)
What's so special about wizards' familiars that they prefer them as hosts for their young. Why would they choose a familiar raven over a mundane one? (especially considering that the familiar has a quite powerful bodyguard.

Attacking equipment ( if I read your line about sundering armor right) is always a two-bladed sword for me. With some creatures these powers are just fine, because they fit the theme of the monster well ( like with the chymicks) but destroy a suit of armor, just because a creature happens to have razor-sharp claws, will make your players pissed. Why are these claws so much more powerful than those of say, a dragons, that they rip your armor right apart?
The paralyzing by touch is a nice idea to get around the standard poisoned stinger. Somehow every flying bug monster needs to have poison, but stingers get boring pretty soon. in this case the touch ability really works.
Why does the pupa transform into Wasps when killed?
Ok, this is a magical beast with a body partially composed of metal and a paralyzing touch. "It's magic!" would be a valid answer, but this ability doesn't fit the monsters theme good enough and is a stress on my suspension of disbelieve. Maybe if you elaborated the connection between ardorwesps and normal wasps ( Radioactive, magic mutant wasps! ) i would have taken it , but not this way.

Creativity/Innovation
Ok, this is a flying, insectoid critter. It needs some kind of poison and will likely implant eggs in its victims. It's a pretty cliché concept, but you tried to do something really different with it. partly you succeeded. (the paralyzing touch) partly not ( the pupas-that-transform-when-killed-by-magical-healing).
After all you managed to present us a flying, insectoid critter pretty much unlike any we have seen before, so you found innovation in a well explored niche.

Tilt:
I don't see much use for these beside a random encounter. maybe as a short out of the can oneshot adventure. "the local farmers are terrorized by - "* roll* " a swarm of vicious ardorwesps. You need to help them."
One might try to use that the wasps are intelligent but have no way of communicating. They might try to tell the locals something of great importance and the PCs must go and try to figure out, what that is.
But if I hadn't spend some time thinking about the wesps ( Which I wouldn't have if i saw them anywhere outside of this contest) i wouldn't have had an idea like this, your entry should try to incite ideas like this more than elaborate on which diversity of flowers the creature feeds ( at least in my eyes.)

This entry if well written and fairly creative, but just didn't grab me. I think I'm not considering it for a vote ( but I may consider to consider it.)

Star Voter 2013

Bees meet Spider Eaters with a side of ebola virus.

I'm sorry, but no vote from me. Just too much competition. Flying races read well, but they are a pain in the ass to run in combat at the table, unless you buy those glass cylinders in bulk. Although they're good to teach players the virtues of aerial superiority at the table....

And the propagation cycle doesn't make sense unless stirges are common in your world, as no beast is going to be able to support a population based on the pets of DnD's mostly stay at home class. Yes, they can use anything in a pinch, but that pinch is going to be constant. Now, if you had said that Queens come from Gandalf's fluffy friend, that would have been something else.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

  • Writing: Solid and evocative, your writing paints a very clear sight picture. What kind of emotional hook were you going for here?
  • Originality: Your writing serves you well but the heart of it is an oversized wasp with adamantine claws.
  • Mojo/ spirit: Without Calistra, a DM would want to build up some context around these.

    Spoiler:
    Writing: My impression of your writing style.
    Originality: Is this creature a unique creation? Does it fill a unique niche in the game?
    Mojo/ spirit: Do I want to see your creature in my game?

  • Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    Demiurge 1138 wrote:

    I'm going to split away from the crowd a bit here. I don't like it. The description of the critter is pretty good, but there's no real reason given for a lot of their quirks. Why do they prefer to lay eggs in magical beasts? Dunno. Why are they attracted to passionate or vengeful mortals? Dunno (except that they have Calistrian associations without actually mentioning Calistria). How do they ally with mortals that they can't communicate with? Dunno. Why do they explode into a wasp swarm if magical healing is used to treat someone they've infected? Dunno, except to screw over the person implanted.

    It's the "Calistria, but not really" thing that bugs me (pun not intended). Perhaps more than it should, but the idea of this was to create a setting-neutral creature. And the only reason this monster is setting neutral is that the word "Calistria" has been crossed out. The writing is pretty good, but the ardorwesp just rubs me the wrong way.

    You hit on most of my initial complaints with this entry. So I'll just chime in I agree with your assessment.

    also, I keep trying to anagram Ardorwesp into something. The name really, I sigh to myself before this lame pun, bugs me.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

    For what it's worth, my post above is the impression of someone who has no idea who Calistra is (though I've looked her up since).

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

    As for the familiar thing, they really just need to lay their eggs in a magical creature (its worth noting that familiars in Pathfinder are now just animals, no longer magical beasts, but I'd still count them as magical creatures).

    I personally have no trouble believing that the familiars of first-level wizards and sorcerers are among the most vulnerable and easiest to find 'magical creatures' in many settings, but I could be wrong here.


    Praise:
    Cool description. I can see this as a low level random encounter, or a swarm of these as an evil druid's minions. The pupa aspect could create some hooks, as the party tries to cure one of their own or an important figure. Description is solid, and there are few questions in my mind. I could definitely see one of these as a familiar, something I don't see very often.

    Concerns:
    I have only a few very petty issues here. It doesn't seem like it's invasive, or even is concerned at all with humans or humanoids, so that leaves it as a random encounter. Even as that, it seems forgettable as another giant insect. I see no reason for the PCs to ever mess with one of these, and if it understands language, it seems like an easily avoidable encounter.

    Overall:
    The entry is solid, well written, but I'm not super impressed. I can definitely see a purpose for this, but why wouldn't I just use a giant dragonfly or hornet? It doesn't offer anything that's not already out there on a basic level.


    Nicolas Quimby wrote:

    As for the familiar thing, they really just need to lay their eggs in a magical creature (its worth noting that familiars in Pathfinder are now just animals, no longer magical beasts, but I'd still count them as magical creatures).

    I personally have no trouble believing that the familiars of first-level wizards and sorcerers are among the most vulnerable and easiest to find 'magical creatures' in many settings, but I could be wrong here.

    Umm, Page 82, Core Rulebook:

    Familiars wrote:
    A familiar is an animal chosen by a spellcaster to aid him in his study of magic. It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but is now a magical beast...

    Unless that's been changed in the 2nd printing?

    (I only have my dead tree copy of the first printing to go by.)

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Epic Meepo

    My thoughts on the ardorwesp...

    The Name: Based solely on the contents of the submission itself, the name doesn't click with this monster. Only when one intuits an unspecified Calistria connection does "ardor" start to make sense.

    The Description: It's a well-described monster that I can picture in my head. However, I'm not too fond of monsters that are made of valuable metals, because PCs inevitably try to extract those metals from the monster once they kill it. Another thorny issue is that of a mute monster somehow working with humanoid allies.

    The Powers: Things work fairly well right up until the wasp-swarm bit, which seems entirely non-sequitur. Also, I'm always leery of monsters that can pump out spawn in large numbers without a large investment of time and effort.

    The Buzz: I agree with many previous posters that the obvious Calistria vibe of this entry is skirting the edge of the contest rules. The entry was supposed to be setting-neutral, yet this one contains themes that make little or no sense unless one tries to tie things together with a Calistria connection that doesn't appear in the submission itself.

    The Vote: I'm not sure that I like this one. Even if I did, I happened to read the post that the judges deleted before it went away, and that post changed the way I was interpreting the monster. On those grounds alone, I'm going to recuse myself and not vote for the ardorwesp.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

    Charles Evans 25 wrote:
    Nicolas Quimby wrote:

    As for the familiar thing, they really just need to lay their eggs in a magical creature (its worth noting that familiars in Pathfinder are now just animals, no longer magical beasts, but I'd still count them as magical creatures).

    I personally have no trouble believing that the familiars of first-level wizards and sorcerers are among the most vulnerable and easiest to find 'magical creatures' in many settings, but I could be wrong here.

    Umm, Page 82, Core Rulebook:

    Familiars wrote:
    A familiar is an animal chosen by a spellcaster to aid him in his study of magic. It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but is now a magical beast...

    Unless that's been changed in the 2nd printing?

    (I only have my dead tree copy of the first printing to go by.)

    You are correct, sir. I was mistakenly taking the 'animal' type from the beastiary entry (which is actually supposed to be for the base creatures that familiars come from).

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