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Tremagguan


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

Tremagguan

Description: A tremagguan is a humanoid creature with leech-like flesh, with rubbery, translucent skin covered in a thin, oily film. Instead of hands, it has a mass of writhing larval flukes that serve it for fingers, and instead of a face, it has a toothless sucker. Few see this horrifying true form, as the tremagguan is generally shrouded in the illusory appearance of a medium-sized humanoid.

Tremagguans are the adult form of a parasite of humanoids and carnivorous predators alike. They lurk in humanoid populations, turning their considerable intellects to the task of finding ideal carriers to propagate their species. To reproduce, they befoul water or food with their egg-laden slime, and occasionally forcefully infect victims. No mere beasts, they are long-lived, intelligent, and inhumanly patient.

Powers and Abilities: Tremagguans reproduce by infecting humanoids with tainted food or water, causing "Wanderlust Fever". This disease compels the victims to seek the largest available predator, which is then infected when it eats the victims. Tremagguans choose unassuming victims to ensure the secondary infection of the predator, then engineer that secondary host's death by infecting (or recruiting) adventurers. Upon predator's death, its corpse incubates and feeds the pupal flukeworms, and after a maturation period several adult tremagguans emerge.

A tremagguan can cloak itself in a humanoid appearance of its choice, although its skin remains oily to the touch. Disguised tremagguans wear gloves and take other precautions to prevent skin-to-skin contact.

They are not potent physical combatants, but can overwhelm foes with powerful hypnotic pheromones. These pheromones can be used to stun attackers, to charm foes into obedience, or to erase the memory of an attack from a victim's mind. They can also infect helpless victims by forcing their finger-flukes down the victim's throat.

Contributor

Nice description of a disgusting creature, I can picture James Jacobs throwing one of these at us in his populated-by-grossness Sandpoint campaign!

I think its life cycle is overly complex:

tremagguan --> eggs --> humanoid --> large predator --> dead predator killed by adventurers --> flukeworms feed on the corpse --> adult tremagguan

I'd think it would be easier to infect the predators directly, or just use the humanoid host. The "wanderlust fever" is also strangely specific in its effects ("go get killed by a predator")--I know there are Earth parasites that make their hosts act erratically or aggressively so they get caught, but you can do that by pushing buttons in the victim's brain--and I don't think there's a "you want to get eaten" button in the humanoid brain. Now, if it were something like "it elevates feelings of paranoia and claustriphobia," that would drive the victim out of cities and into open areas, where predators might catch him....

I like the oily hands and the need for gloves to protect the disguise.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Stinky leech people! Bleck!

So, that idea and the gross/cool vision of them I get in my head aside, what I don't get from this is an idea of whether these things are a sentient, clever race, or just monsters. Sure, it says "no mere beasts" and there's a whole disguise element, but do these things pounce on you and gnaw you to death to snipe you with a crossbow. It's the cultural element that I feel is missing. Would I ever run into a town of these? Probably not with their difficult reproductive process, but creatures without a culture are largely just animals or monsters, and I'm not sure if that that's what the author is going for.

In other news: neat name. One philosophy in naming monsters is that a monster name is either what a creature calls itself, or what other creatures call it. This feels like a decent, racially adopted name, and avoid my pet peeves about over-the-top, multi-word descriptive names or combination descriptions, like "floatbody eyebags" or "body-stealing fluke lords."

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

Initial Impression: This thing seems like a reject from the old Fiend Folio. Its got that TSR UK feel to it. Leech people of the world, unite! All right, let’s dig in...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): B
Interesting choice–a parasite race that spawns more by contaminating humanoids. I don’t really like the “wanderlust fever.” That’s a lame name. Plus the details are poorly done. But the concept of these leech people is pretty cool. And their description and oiliness is nasty in a good way.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): B
The illusory predator among us is kind of overdone, but these guys are interesting. The creation process is perhaps overly complex.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): C
I just don’t think we need another doppleganger-style illusory predator. Maybe the voters will.

Overall: B-
I don’t think you did enough with leech man.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this creature advance.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

So much for my floatbody eyebag pitch. :-( But on to the issues as hand. Obviously, this is another masterpiece entry into the GROSS category--which I like, BTW. The reproduction cycle is crazy complicated and seems like a good way to go extinct. Everything else about the creatures is really cool (has to wear gloves, heh, heh, love it) except its motivation as mentioned above. Its a pretty complex fellow to essentially have the master plan of a virus. Give it a diabolical plot...now you're cookin'.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's a creature AND an adventure seed. O_o


Hmm. A bit more about Tremagguan 'society' (if such exists) would have been handy if there was a higher word count. I have several unanswered questions regarding how they 'learn' to disguise themselves with hats and gloves to avoid giving themselves away by touch, and if tremagguans all pupating from the same predator form some sort of clique to stick together or tend to drift apart. The complex life-cycle didn't leave much room to explain this.
With regard to use as encounters, these creatures seem reasonably flexible and easy for a DM to use, and could be dropped into adventures as a number of different kinds of challenge, some of them not even necessarily involving direct conflict with the creatures, but simply dealing with the results of Wanderlust Fever.
I'm not quite sure on why the life cycle needs to involve two different levels of infection, of prey and then of predators, although there are some weird real-world life cycles around that involve things like larvae of other insects that get themselves dragged into ant nests and fed by the ants.

My overall impression is of something which could probably be fitted into most games, if a GM desires, but which has (due to complexity) only had the bare essentials outlined here. Two page entry in a bestiary, I would think. This is only the 4th entry that I have reviewed so far, and I'm not sure yet how it measures up to the general field. I may come back to this one.
Thanks for submitting this creature.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This monster is creepy, evocative and dangerous. I also have a personal weakness for monsters with insanely complex life-cycles, so I respectfully disagree with the judges on this point.

What this monster suffers from, from my point of view as someone who might run it in a game, is that this niche feels WAY overpopulated. Doppelgangers were mentioned above. The avolakia from MM2 and Age of Worms come very close to the feel of this monster, but, IMHO, do it better.

The real weakness with this monster is that it doesn't make me say "I need to use THIS monster INSTEAD of any of THOSE monsters".

Nice job, though, MiB, I hope this criticism is constructive!

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

As a biologist, I have to say that this parasitic life-cycle isn't nearly as crazy as some real ones. It's not mutating frogs so that they grow more limbs and are thus slower and more easily eaten by birds. It's not giving them the urge to climb to the tallest point they can, so when the spores burst out of their heads they'll be able to disperse farther.

But I still have some life-cycle nit-picks. The "wanderlust fever" is sort of a bad name, and it's not really clear how it incites people to go get themselves et. The name suggests that they just are filled with a desire to travel to dangerous lands, which in D&D will probably get Bob the level 2 commoner in the dead-book really fast. I'm also not sure why they have to get their primary host killed in order to reproduce--it'd be cooler and grosser if they just grew to adulthood within, then burst out. Imagine the looks on your player's faces if they're fighting a grey render, which suddenly collapses in mid-fight... and explodes into leech men!

The actual abilities of these guys are pretty good. They've got mind-altering pheromones, can lay their eggs in the helpless and disguise themselves. They sound like a pretty good evil mastermind species with an unconventional motivation--propagation. Most monsters in D&D seem more motivated to killing adventurers than they do to ensuring the survival of their species, and if these guys start infecting entire villages, that's enough to both actually serve their interests and provide a good reason for them to be taken out by adventurers.

I like what you were going for with the life-cycle, but it's wonky. Other than that, I like these guys. Good description, good abilities. They're my favorite monster so far... although keep in mind I've only read three as of yet.

Oh, and good name!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Agreed that the connection to humanoids it a little weak. "Why do they pick on us instead of infecting big predators directly?" is a question that CAN be answered, but I don't feel that this version answers it. Still pretty cool.

I've basically dug every monster that I've read so far, and in this case, the point at which I 'dug it' was the part where they "befoul water or food with their egg-laden slime". That's pretty awful, and by 'awful' I mean 'great'.


Demiurge 1138 wrote:

it'd be cooler and grosser if they just grew to adulthood within, then burst out. Imagine the looks on your player's faces if they're fighting a grey render, which suddenly collapses in mid-fight... and explodes into leech men!

And here's another idea I'll be stealin'.

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

I don't know if you meant to do this, but you've riffed on the X-Files flukeman. I like the way you've considered the whole life-cycle of this creature, though.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

taig wrote:

I don't know if you meant to do this, but you've riffed on the X-Files flukeman. I like the way you've considered the whole life-cycle of this creature, though.

It's been so long since I saw that that I didn't even think of fluke-man when I read it.

In any event, taking a pop-culture image and running with it is hardly a crime (balors are balrogs, displacer beasts are coeurl, stone giants are Easter Island dudes, etc). D&D is an inescapably derivative genre of fantasy, and brilliance lies more in how you contextualize and develop something within the game world to work with the rest of the mish-mash.

At least, that's what I think.

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

Nicolas Quimby wrote:
taig wrote:

I don't know if you meant to do this, but you've riffed on the X-Files flukeman. I like the way you've considered the whole life-cycle of this creature, though.

It's been so long since I saw that that I didn't even think of fluke-man when I read it.

In any event, taking a pop-culture image and running with it is hardly a crime (balors are balrogs, displacer beasts are coeurl, stone giants are Easter Island dudes, etc). D&D is an inescapably derivative genre of fantasy, and brilliance lies more in how you contextualize and develop something within the game world to work with the rest of the mish-mash.

At least, that's what I think.

It wasn't really a problem for me, and the fact that it made me think of a 15 year-old episode of a once-popular show is not a bad thing.

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

I like the oily hands, the pheromones, and even the "stick your leechy fingers down their helpless throats" grossology of it. The monster I thought of was more the Leechwalker, I think from the 3.0 Fiend Folio or MM2 (don't recall which). The hypnotic + slugs also recalls Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and the creepy earworms there.

I'd agree with the judges that the "disguised as a human but secretly hunts them" niche is overpopulated, and this is without getting into hags, vampires, lycanthropes, and other more archetypal villains than just doppelgangers. The life cycle is convoluted, but that doesn't bother me much.

More on their society, if they have one, would also have helped sell this entry. Do they recognize their own wormy kin? Are they rivals or do they work together? For that matter, are they loners? Do they abandon their spawn, or raise it and train it, or eat it, or what? Is their goal as a species to create the WORMPOCALYPSE, or are they just creepy parasites who pretty much like the world the way it is, as long as they get to slink around wormifying people when they feel like it?

Overall: Nicely described, a good name (100% agree with Wes), suitably gross, and some neat abilities, but it doesn't take me to a compelling place of "WANT!" for my campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The Pros: Good Name. Interesting, if slightly complicated life-cycle (I agree, the primary host should be the one to spawn additional creatures).

The Cons: While I'm not overly concerned about the gross factor, I'm not sure the creature adds something fresh to the game. There are multiple OGL creatures out there already that can do the 'larvae/infection' thing. Do we really need another? I don't think I'll use that particular archetype of creature that often.

All in all, I'm not quite convinced of the leech man's usefulness. Still, I wish you the best of luck for this round.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

For what it's worth: I totally got the lancet fluke life cycle reference. If you go down this round, it will be because not enough people did... and honestly, that would be a shame. These guys are pretty cool. But such a complex reproductive cycle strains credulity if you aren't aware of the real-world examples.


Okay, I gushed about the skintaker; now I'm going to gush about this one.

Like skintakers, this entry immediately inspires me with a cool adventure idea.

With monster attacks on innocent townsfolk at an all time high, a mysterious benefactor hires the PCs to do what the city guard and local militia can't, or won't: exterminate the monsters to stop more innocent people from dying. But the PCs aren't the only ones hunting monsters for fun and profit, a rival adventuring party is competing with them for business. Despite the party's best efforts, civilians are still running afoul of predatory monsters, often under increasingly unlikely circumstances. Worse, the local druids and/or fey are growing furious at the disruption of the local ecosystem caused by the deaths of so many top predators. Can the PCs uncover the mystery of these improbable monster attacks? Can they discover their benefactor's horrible secret? And can they do it in time to save the city from pissed-off druids and nature spirits?

Just like with the skintaker, I want to run or play in the adventure this entry suggests. Really awesome. Using adventurers as part of this beastie's life cycle was absolutely brilliant, a stroke of genius. Chances are, my vote is either going here or with the skintaker. They're both so good.

EDIT = It seems we have four votes to distribute. That makes my life much easier!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Lief Clennon wrote:
For what it's worth: I totally got the lancet fluke life cycle reference. If you go down this round, it will be because not enough people did... and honestly, that would be a shame. These guys are pretty cool. But such a complex reproductive cycle strains credulity if you aren't aware of the real-world examples.

Oh, I totally believe that a creature COULD have a life cycle like this, I just want to know why in this case. Humanoids are hard to deal with; if a creature is preying specifically on them (and doing so just to reproduce) there should be a reason for it.

It could be as simple as saying "human groups tend to get their food an water from a shared source, making them easier to infect en masse."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I like the idea here. Like a vampire without all that angsty Ann Rice crap that never comes out right during adventures anyways. Good niche.

I think the life-cycle is overly complicated and could written up better. All in all, though, this is definitely a keeper for me.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I like the idea. I love the name. Goodness, names are hard.

Specifically, I like that they're intelligent or at least a semi-intelligent race. There's only so many bizzaro random wilderness encounters I need. I can build an adventure with these, not just have adventurers come across them by happenstance.

The lifecycle probably ate up too much of your word count that could have been dedicated to the creature itself. Ultimately the lifecycle isn't the most interesting part of this creature. I think that is what folks are telling you.

The description is very evovative. I'm also pleased that these guys aren't combat monsters. They're sneaky bastards and you don't try to fill too many roles.

I wish you good luck Jared!


Jared Goodwin wrote:

Tremagguan

I like these guys. They are well thought through leech-people with just the right amounts of creepy, icky, sneaky, manipulaty , powery.

Ok, at least 2 of these are not -y words ;)
It's not like you are trying to do too much on any front, just to gross someone out or get strong emotions from your audience. You present us a race of well designed smooth, slick and believable leeches.

While these are a believable Race and a worthy addition to any campaign world, even in their already well populated niche, what I am looking for are the great ideas.
I can imagine using Tremagguans as spies and agents for some greater evil, and using them from time to time as a change of pace ( not so much of a change in an age of worms campaign ;) ) A nice, little, flavorful NPC or enemy that is in an interesting way different and adds color to the scene.
But are they giving me great ideas? Get my head spinning, thinking about plots involving these? Want to run them right now? I have ideas about them, but they are not too exciting.

Creativity/ Innovation:
While I'm pretty sure I have already seen leechpeople with suckerfaces that disguise as humans, I can't tell where ( My mind tells me it's darkwing duck, it might be right, but meh!)
The concept is so basic and well fitting, that it might simply be floating around in our common consciousness ( we've all at one point thought about these monsters) and you simple pulled them out of it, but presented them in a way many people ( including me) are comfortable with. And if you can make your ideas fit with those of other people you are a good designer. This is neither really new nor innovative, but it's creative enough that they have a fresh, new feeling around them. It's like if you always knew how strawberries taste, but now eating them for the fist time. (And it's exactly as imagined)

Tilt:
they are cool, easy to add to any existing setting, easy to use and believable.
A worthy addition, but not what I'm looking for. I want ideas so great, they might be difficult to fit in, but making you want to have them nevertheless. I will probably use one soon in my campaign, but only because i already hat something planned out that will be improved with the addition of leech people, not because they gave me new ideas.
But this year there are many solid monsters like this and few that grab me like I hoped for.

I'm considering you for a vote, but it might be nabbed by something less slimy , more flashy.
Your creation is well rounded and tightly designed. I really hope you'll make it in the next round.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

On reflection I really think that the overly-complicated life cycle gives this creature a certain charm and sets it apart, while also potentially giving it some really solid adventure hooks.

I would like to see more attention paid that aspect, however, if a second draft of the tremagguan appears later in the contest.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
tejón wrote:
For what it's worth: I totally got the lancet fluke life cycle reference. If you go down this round, it will be because not enough people did... and honestly, that would be a shame. These guys are pretty cool. But such a complex reproductive cycle strains credulity if you aren't aware of the real-world examples.

Agreed, Lancet Flukes are the most over-complicated lifecycle I've heard of and the ants sitting on top of grass blades is crazy. Though actually with the "Wanderlust fever" thing, I wouldn't be surprised if the original inspiration were T. Gondii which causes infected mice and rats to actively seek out areas marked by cats and in humans has been linked to behavioural changes (including slowing reactions and aggression) and schizophrenia.

*shudder* no matter how many I read about, these kinds of parasites never stop being deeply freaky.

I quite like this monster, though I would prefer if they had some mechanism of getting out of the predator other than waiting around for those pesky, unreliable adventurers to turn up (that's the one bit of the life cycle that seems quite unreasonable to me, I'd prefer Demiurge's chest-bursting) and as others have said, I'd like some hints at their society, or lack of one.

Star Voter 2013

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

I think its life cycle is overly complex:

tremagguan --> eggs --> humanoid --> large predator --> dead predator killed by adventurers --> flukeworms feed on the corpse --> adult tremagguan

Talk to mother nature. That's a classic propagation method, I believe. (I see others have beat me to it.)

You know what? This gets my first vote. There's tons of things that you can do with these creatures, everything from a single serial killer with a very hard to detect modus operandi to an outbreak scenario. Props for making a lick of biological sense.

And when the players groan about another doppelganger encounter, that will change when they catch humanoid leeches sticking their hands down some commoners throat.

It's a pull-the-rug monster on PLAYER expectations.

Star Voter 2013

You got my vote.


While this was a very interesting idea, and the writing was done well, I was left wondering what the real danger of this monster was. Not that drinking a cup of their eggs or having them force their "hands" down my throat doesn't sound horrible, but from a gaming point of view, they don't seem that powerful or dangerous. I see a lot of potential for this monster, but I'd like to see more unique powers that make them more interesting.

Nice, but not high on my list.


Jared Goodwin wrote:

Tremagguan

cut for space

This is the thirteenth monster that I am looking at. I do not read the comments below the entry before posting my opinion. An apology if this is duplicative of someone else’s entry, in part or whole.

Leechman! Ew, nasty, almost Dr. Whovian. Wait, it gets an illusion to look like a normal person. Next year, I want to see a race of normal people that use illusions to look like monsters. ;) Ah, so they are ultimately a parasite. Hm. How about that. A huge (relative to normal parasites) humanoid one? They attack people. They foul water with their slime (So there could be like, wars with their slime and aboleth slime? Oops, I have a certain From Shore to Sea in mind now.) This feels more like a hazard almost.

Powers:
*infect humanoids…(okay)
*…with “Wanderlust Fever”… (title needs work)
*…so that they seek out predators. (To what, throw themselves in front of them as a meal?)
*its young are disgusting (cool)
*It can use illusions, but it’s skin remains oily (we already knew this, mostly)
*powerful hypnotic pheremones (that pass through the mucosal membranes of their leech-like skin?)
*stun, charm or erase memories of an attack (kinda like a super-doppelganger, except all that they care about is getting the victim to the next lion so the great cycle of life can continue)
*force finger-flukes down a throat (ew gross)

Summary: This one, unfortunately, really lost me. I think it needs a serious rewrite. I can’t see how it really fits in as a monster since we already have doppelgangers. There’s an idea here struggling to get out, it just didn’t make it out in a good, descriptive form. It has monstrous elements, true, but it seems far more focused on the ecology of the creature than how it’s a threat to the world for PCs to come in and hack up and then revel in the glory of the doing? I would like to know more about its motivations, and why it would want to charm people and erase their memory, especially if they are going out to become a Suicide Snack for bigger monsters.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka DankeSean

The first image that popped into my head when I read this was the X-Files Flukeman as well, but that's not a bad thing; that thing horrified me back in the day. if you drew inspiration from that, good choice; if not, you're tuned into the right wavelength. I like these guys; I kind of want to see them statted up as a race as well as a monster entry just because there aren't enough new racial concepts that aren't just variant humanoids or anthropomorphic mammals. The whole lifecycle part is maybe a little overwritten, but that's minor. I'm strongly considering tossing a vote in with the leeches.

Star Voter 2013

"A tremagguan is a humanoid creature with leech-like flesh, with rubbery, translucent skin covered in a thin, oily film." A first read this line is interesting, but when the line dissected some oddities appear. Whats is leech-like flesh? Is flesh skin? If so there is a second description. thin and film are almost synonymous in the way their being presented.

"instead of a face, it has a toothless sucker" Such a dominate feature probably deserves a little more description/flavor

"Tremagguans are the adult form of a parasite of humanoids and carnivorous predators alike." Needs a bit of editing. Could have probably been reworded lower in the paragraph, or removed

"(use) considerable intellects to ... propagate their species."
"To reproduce, they befoul water or food with their egg-laden slime" Theres a design flaw here. There is also a descriptive flaw in that theres no illustration of how smart these creatures really are.

"they are ... inhumanly patient" As they seem to be parasitic humanoids I dont know if these creatures should be 'inhumanly patient', that seems to be the opposite of what I would expect

"Tremagguans reproduce by infecting humanoids ... (who then infect larger) predators". This is a design flaw. While this parasitic infection is a common cycle in lower beings, as presented it doesnt make much sense for a considerbly intelligent race

"Tremagguans choose unassuming victims to ensure the secondary infection of the predator, then engineer that secondary host's death by infecting (or recruiting) adventurers." This is a great attempt a hook but it's not working due to how this sentence is constructed.

"Upon predator's death, its corpse incubates and feeds the pupal flukeworms, and after a maturation period several adult tremagguans emerge. " Parasitic eggs arent designed to kill the host until the pupae just consume to much. There was an excellent opportunity to have pupal chest-bursters wondering around in this large predator. You probably could have replaced 'pupal flukeworm' with 'juvinile tremagguans'

"These pheromones can be used ... to charm foes into obedience" If they can charm then why not directly implant their eggs directly into the larger creature? The obedience pushes these creatures into slave masters and that really hasnt been presented in this entry.

"These pheromones can be used ... to erase the (foe's) memory" I'm not sure if I like pheromones erasing memories. This could probably been reworded to cloud a foe's memory

"They can also infect helpless victims by forcing their finger-flukes down the victim's throat." Are the fingers the eggs? If so im not sure if I like that

This concept need some revisions, tweaking, and editing to make this into become a more disgusting and devious master planner.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

  • Writing: The long details on the life cycle seem to pull away from what is a fairly creepy monster. Have you considered using a more emotive style to evoke a bit of horror?
  • Originality: A creepy slug thing that masks itself as a human and poisons wells. I don't find this as redundant as Clark does but the doppleganger similarities are there.
  • Mojo/ spirit: The life cycle is too much. The creature itself has possibility though.

    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?


  • Praise:
    The 'devil walks among us' aspect is very cool. I like that it fights by sowing confusion, and seems to have a pretty simplistic attack pattern. I like that it has it's own disease, that could be expanded upon in a big way, and I'm always open to stuff like that(so long as it's kept simple).

    Concerns:
    The normal form of this creature just sounds really goofy to me, like the tentacle from Maniac Mansion. I couldn't really buy this as a nasty villain. It sounds intelligent, but as a humanoid, how did this thing really evolve? It sounds like it has to leech(excuse my pun) off of other humanoids, and with how weird it looks and likely acts, I can't see this ever evolving into a bipedal creature.

    Overall:
    The goofy normal form is something I don't know if I can get past. The mechanics, however, sound very interesting. I like the disease, but it seems like it takes way too much effort to reproduce for such a large creature. It has some interesting tactics, but I don't feel much cohesion. I'm not grabbed by this leech-man-thing.

    Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

    How did the author respond to the challenge? The creature's life cycle and appearance are split and partly duplicated over both the Description and Powers and Abilities sections, not leaving a lot of room for effective traits.

    How does it stack up


    • as an opponent? This creature ought to do everything it can to discourage and divide investigators using its various abilities, to avoid a stand-up fight, since I would agree it's "not [a] potent physical combatant".
    • as something other than an opponent? It was probably predictable that at least one entry would take weird real-world biology and make a monster of it. Like another entry, this is a whole rolled-up adventure in itself. As an intelligent, disguised, patient plotter, PCs might interact with a tremagguan for an extended period before discovering its nature.
    • in relation to other monsters? A few creatures have complex patterns of reproduction like this one, even more so in earlier editions of the game. It's one of the few (so far) humanoids in this round.
    • in relation to the author's item? The lyre of truth-telling, with this entry, might suggest a liking for extended role-playing arcs, hopefully not an underestimation of their difficulties.
    • in itself? Its true appearance is moderately well done, though it doesn't reach the heights of descriptive prose. I thought its life cycle was well thought out and should unfold in a fascinating small-town mystery.

    Worth a second look, I think, though it has problems in its organisation.

    Paizo Employee Developer

    The physical description of this creature had me hooked immediately. I like the synergy between their leech features and their role as a parasite. It's obvious when you consider it, but it works. As has been mentioned, their life cycle seems overly complex, and they appear to have no purpose but to reproduce. While there are lots of creatures for whom this is a paramount motivation, it makes for one-dimentional monsters. Adding a society or ecology beyond just how it spawns would be good, and you certainly have the word count if you simplify the stages of development. If this creature were a threat for other reasons and it had the nasty side effect of being a gross parasite beast, then it would really solidify it as a superstar entry. I wonder, as well, if wanderlust fever is a subtle geas to get players to fight big monsters. "You drink the water and suddenly want to go into the bulette-infested badlands." I hope to see what you have for us in future rounds.

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

    My thoughts on the tremagguan...

    The Name: As nonsense names go, this one seems fairly pronounceable. But any goodwill earned by the monster name was lost by the lame name of wanderlust fever.

    The Description: My first thought upon reading this was, "X-Files fluke man." The tremagguan quickly distinguishes itself from the fluke man, so the comparison isn't necessarily detrimental to the monster. However, it does make me want to see the tremagguan in a modern setting, making it harder for me to picture in a fantasy setting. Especially since a fantasy setting already has tons of parasitic infiltrator monsters.

    The Powers: Props for using a bizarre real-world life cycle as inspiration for a parasite. However, the life cycle could have been described in a better way. Specifically, the part about the victim of wanderlust fever specifically seeking out large predators seems off. At best, a parasitic disease should encourage a victim to wander in the wilderness, possibly a specific terrain, and to become aggressive or territorial. Having it specifically seek out a large predator seems overly specific, even compared to the real-world source material upon which the tremagguan is based.

    The Buzz: The biggest problem I'm seeing with the complex life cycle of this monster is that some readers aren't going to be familiar with its real-world analogues. As a result, the description of the tremagguan's life cycle needs to take pains to describe itself in a very plausible way.

    The Vote: A nice effort, but in the end, it didn't quite click for me. I will not be voting for the tremagguan.

    Star Voter 2013

    Eric Morton wrote:

    The Powers: Props for using a bizarre real-world life cycle as inspiration for a parasite. However, the life cycle could have been described in a better way. Specifically, the part about the victim of wanderlust fever specifically seeking out large predators seems off. At best, a parasitic disease should encourage a victim to wander in the wilderness, possibly a specific terrain, and to become aggressive or territorial. Having it specifically seek out a large predator seems overly specific, even compared to the real-world source material upon which the tremagguan is based.

    There are a couple real life examples of the 'wanderlust fever'


    I've been thinking about this one some more, and it seems to me that it might be more at home in a gothic horror game than in D&D/Pathfinder.
    But, that said, whilst most of the other entries have in some way or other fallen down for me, the tremagguan does seem to me to be one of the best concepted and presented entries of this round, which (with a somewhat fleshed out description) could easily fit in a bestiary.
    Therefore it gets my third vote for this Round.

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

    In the very first line, there was something that made be scratch my head a bit. What exactly does "leech-like flesh" look like? Is it differnt from slug like or worm like flesh? Maybe I don't get out enough and there is something distinct about leech like flesh, but I couldn't tell you what it is. I think you could have saved some words there and just killed that bit, and started the description with "A tremagguan is a humanoid creature with rubbery, translucent skin covered in a thin, oily film"

    Aside from that nit-pick, I thought that the monster was fine, and well described, but too much space was wasted on it's life-cycle. Even accepting that this is based on a real world parasite, that's just too much detail in your 300 words about the life cycle, instaed of on what the mature form that the PCs encounter does and it's powers. Aside from its pheramones, it's not a big threat, and unless it gets lucky and all the PCs fail their saves, then I'm thinking this is a 2-rounder before the reamining PCs kill it. It either needs to be more of a menace once you fight it, or needs to have controlled infected hosts, or other servitors ready to defend it.

    Good submission, but not quite superstar for me.


    In defence of the tremagguan (possibly) not being geared towards melee encounters, it's a parasite and that means it's doing its stuff best if its unwitting targets don't even know that it's in the area and operating. It should be geared to avoiding detection/escaping retribution, in my opinion, rather than seeking direct confrontations.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

    Does it grab me visually: Creepy! The unmasking of this creature would certainly startle the PCs. And finding water full is egg laden slime is extremely gross and has convinced my to buy a water filter.

    Would I use it in game: Probably not. The life cycle is pretty complex, and there are already plenty of creatures that are super creepy but masquerade as humanoids.

    Would my players enjoy an encounter with it: Yes, depending on what part of the reproduction cycle they met one of these. If a PC was infected with Wanderlust Fever, I would have a hard time convincing him that he has a burning need to get eaten by a bear. However, if they were the ones to kill a predator or found a corpse with maturing fluke worms, then they would become very invested in destroying the tremagguan.

    Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

    Yeah, not a fan of it's life cycle process, but other than that it's good solid entry.

    Ihate to say it but it's just not quite enough to go into my Keep pile, but that being said, I do like your entry, I just don't think it stacks up to some of the others.
    Sorry and Good Luck. :)

    Star Voter 2013

    If you don't make it, at least know that one voter out there is convinced you was robbed. Great work and if it's not to be, reap your vengeance next year.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

    Okay! I can talk now. Thanks for all of the comments, including (and especially) the critical ones. I believe strongly in the idea that nothing can be improved without criticism and iconoclasm.

    These are meant to be scheming villains who are opposed, instead of monsters you fight. While there are lots of disguised ambushers in the Bestiary, there's a shortage of disguised schemers, and most of those are overcomplicated high-level brutes. I saw a niche between rakshasas and vampires, who are powerful masterminds, and doppelgangers, who are just shapeshifting people trying to get by. These are parasites who pose a whole challenge in the form of a mystery, not a challenge in the form of a fight (unlike vampires) but enough of a challenge to have a whole story on their own (unlike doppelgangers).

    The name is trematode + yuggoth + -ian. The whole idea came from a note in my idea notebook of "migo + crazy ant parasite?" Other ideas that went into the hopper were mind flayers, a general disease-as-villain brainstorming theme, Star Trek II, and, yes, the TSR UK weirdness. I'm crushed that Clark dismissed it as it as a Fiend Folio reject (especially since it was Clark, what with Necromancer Games's whole motto); I really thought the concept would be something that would fit right in had it been submitted to White Dwarf 25 or so years ago. I was never a fan of X-Files, but a GIS search for "flukeman" is pretty much what I described, yeah. I need to remember to Google things to see if they've been done.

    I made some key errors. For one, I fell way too in love with the concept. Yes, it's based on a real animal. No, that doesn't justify the overcomplicated life cycle. It would have been sufficient to make a severe infection of wanderlust fever (a terrible name) simply make people more reckless and inclined to take chances, then make the flukes grow to adulthood in a fresh humanoid corpse. That would have left room for more concept stuff and more story hooks.

    There are some lousy descriptions. "Leech-like" was a mistake; these are not leeches, have nothing to do with leeches, and that's just thematically close enough to be distracting. Nearly everyone described them as leechmen, and I assume many dismissed the concept because it didn't meet the expectations I mistakenly raised.

    But the biggest mistake was not considering the context of the submission. This is not a monster book monster. It's only interesting before the PCs and the players figure out what's going on, and its combat stats should all be focused on making an interesting story and not an interesting combat. This monster should be a setting-book or adventure-book monster, not an entry in a list of monsters sure to be read by the players. This submission request, were it an actual call for freelancers, was obviously for a book like Bestiary II, not Strange Happenings in Darkfantasytown.

    So maybe I'll squeak by for next round, we'll see. If I don't, there's some good reasons why.


    Jared Goodwin wrote:
    But the biggest mistake was not considering the context of the submission. This is not a monster book monster. It's only interesting before the PCs and the players figure out what's going on, and its combat stats should all be focused on making an interesting story and not an interesting combat. This monster should be a setting-book or adventure-book monster, not an entry in a list of monsters sure to be read by the players. This submission request, were it an actual call for freelancers, was obviously for a book like Bestiary II, not Strange Happenings in Darkfantasytown.

    Jared, thanks for having the courage to do an excellent self-analysis. I think your comment above applies to others who entered as well as yourself. It should almost be required reading if the contest uses this round again next year. :)


    Honestly? I disagree with that last part. I think there were a few monsters this year that were iconic enough in their own right to fill a niche in a core MM release someday. And again, honestly? I think that should be the goal. There are certainly droves of generic monsters in the MM, to fill random encounter tables and provide minions. There are also a dozen campaign's worth of iconic monsters, which players love to hate. I think that, as a Superstar, the goal should be to create a creature so awe-inspiring, so devious, so beautiful and terrible and fun, that it will become a permanent part of the D&D bestiary. A lofty goal, to be certain, but I think the best entries aspired to that goal.


    I think that's actually what he said. He lost track of writing a cool monster, one so cool that it could be iconic. All the classic D&D monsters didn't get to be iconic because they had 5000 word writeups or Archology articles of adventures about them. They all started off with little blurbs and stat blocks.


    There is lots to like in this submission, lots of nice, superstar, touches, amidst a couple of mis-steps. The glove thing is very nice - every shapeshifter needs a tell tale to give alert PC's a chance, and also to provide potential red herrings. "Why doesn't he ever take his gloves off? Is he a tremagguan or does he just have cold hands?"

    Wanderlust fever is, despite the name, another great tell tale, and story entry point. Especially when you consider how many stories begin with someone disappearing into the woods. This monster, once met, will cast a shadow over every subsequent disappearance even when it's not there, and that sounds good.

    It's life cycle will bring it into conflict with the PC's, and that is the key to a good monster, not just being a stand up fighter. I think you might be being a little too self-critical, there is lots of good here.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

    Richard Fryer wrote:
    I think you might be being a little too self-critical, there is lots of good here.

    Oh, I proudly stand by my work, flaws and all. Everything can be improved with the addition of more time, more eyes, more insight, more thought. That's no reason to let the perfect be the enemy of the good and give up on anything that isn't flawless.


    Commiserations. All other things being equal and entries the same, I think I would have voted for the giant lizard too, if you had gone that way instead. I don't know what difference it might have made to the overall result though.
    Will we see you again maybe next year?

    Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

    Hey Jared, my gut tells me that you were close. You have already picked up the things I could see that could have improved your monster. Keep up the writing, maybe try the Pathfinder Society Open Call, I suspect Josh Frost would be quite receptive to a PFS scenario from you.

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