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RPG Superstar 2015

Rotling


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

1 to 50 of 77 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Rotling
Description: Vaguely humanoid, slimy and dull-black, a rotling is a walking cyst: a single tough membrane of living flesh, stretched tight around a swollen assortment of useless bones and rancid organs. Its forelimbs bear long claws which resemble grimy rib bones, and its otherwise featureless head bears a similar rack of tusks. When alert, it produces a low sound reminiscent of dripping water.
Fey-spawned aberrations, rotlings emerge spontaneously from bloated carcasses to punish the mortal world for irreverence toward death. Scavengers make them rare in wild places, and honoring the dead with even the most rudimentary rites will prevent their formation. Rotlings most frequently arise amid plagues and blight, on fields of battle, or from murder victims hidden in haste. They subsist solely on the decay of their innards, and starve after one month.
A rotling exists only to spread agony. It seeks healthy creatures to attack, then flees without killing, leaving its victims to suffer from festering wounds. It will not initiate aggression toward a severely wounded or diseased creature. Toward a creature on the brink of death and unable to communicate its pain to others, a rotling shows compulsive mercy; it immediately kills that creature, ignoring other concerns. A creature killed by a rotling never spawns another.
Powers and Abilities: The disgusting stench of a rotling causes violent gagging. In addition to carrying infectious gangrene, its attacks leave cursed wounds which will not heal. Its slick flesh is difficult to grab, and it has an unnatural resistance to physical attacks. Though blind, a rotling hears with its entire body and can navigate by echolocation. It has supernatural awareness of nearby creatures and their conditions. A terminally wounded rotling bursts, spraying pustulant filth and shards of bone.

Contributor

So far, "gross, I like it!" seems to be a theme this year. :)

I don't like the name, "rot" is too common a word and I can predict listeners wouldn't know exactly what creature you mean when you name it. Even something like "revenant cyst" is more descriptive and (IMO) more evocative.

I don't understand what a "fey-spawned aberration" is (is it a fey? an aberration?) or what fey have to do with punishing irreverence toward death. If it were described as an aberration or an undead, I'd totally buy this--unless your idea of fey is really weird, which is okay, especially if this is a part of a suite of death-themed fey, like the murderers of the Unseelie Court....

I like its ambush/flee tactics, how it avoids wounded and diseased foes, and how it mercy-kills the suffering. Smart work on saying a creature killed by one of these doesn't spawn another.

Powers are cool and clear.

Here's some advice on the use of the word "will."

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Here's another creature that makes up for a weird type by giving it a fey connection - which I'm not really buying. Nothing here feels particularly fey, or even much like most aberrations. Without those sentences suggesting type, I'd guess this thing was undead, and think it probably should be.

I do like the whole "infect then flee" angle. Far too many monsters - or at least GMs running monsters - take on fight to the death tactics, that would probably seem silly in a real-world situation. That these things don't kill, well, that gets into "why/how do I use this creature" territory. I guess they're just there to give you diseases then run away... hum, weird.

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

Initial Impression: The evil cyst is coming for you! Let's see what it brings with it...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A-
Really interesting big concept behind this creature. The name is perhaps a bit generic. Names usually come from what a creature calls itself or from the name others who encounter it have given it. Rotling obviously is from that second group. But still, I want a bit more pizzaz than that. That’s mostly constructive criticism, though, and I’m not grading you down much for that. The walking cyst idea is a cool one. I like the mercy kill idea too.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): B
Good description, good motivation. This creature would be a challenge and would come into conflict with the PCs. You don’t have to make boss-type or mastermind creatures to create conflict.
I do think this submission could have done with some editing and tightening. This wasn’t a first draft, but it doesn’t seem like a final draft either. One of the things being tested here is turning over professional material on a tight deadline. I thought you spent too much time on the description section. I think you under-performed on the powers section.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): B
I could see using these, but they aren’t making me lick my chops to use them either. I have to admit, I really do like the concept.

Overall: B

Recommendation: I DO recommend this creature advance, but it was close. You’re going to have to step it up if you advance.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

I REALLY like this monster, and I don't even mind the name (if a bit generic). And I dig the fey angle (though it may be my imagination of what I want rather than what you intended). I see this as the kind of mushrooms that grow in the First World...in the bad neighborhoods anyway. It's also developed very well in its motivations, ecology, and tactics. Kudos to you, sir.


I'm not clear on the size of this creature from the description.
If these are 'fey-spawned' (and do not reproduce themselves by infecting/killing others) it would have been useful to have a few more words on the subject of their origins. There's a strong description of them, and mention of events involving lots of corpses, but where do they come from??? Does a fey druid pop out to a site and pronounce a curse, or sprinkle alchemical powder onto the wind?
All this said, it does seem to be a creature which is easy to fit into a game. All you need is an unwanted corpse and a fey to do whatever it is that they do and bingo, encounter for the party. It should be easy to come up with an encounter on the fly incorporating one of these, and it may offer interesting hooks if in some way the creature can be tied to the identity of the original corpse and is carrying anything the corpse had on it. (For example valuable items swallowed immediately before death?)

My overall impression is this is a creature driven by instincts, probably not a thinker or driver of events, but easily usable and possible to hang some interesting hooks on.
Thank-you for submitting this.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

And heeeeere comes the nightmare fuel!

From the way the judges talked I was expecting a few entries along these lines, and the Rotling doesn't disappoint. I don't have much to add to the judges praise, but-

tejón wrote:
When alert, it produces a low sound reminiscent of dripping water.

I thought that this was a particularly deft (and creepy) bit of sensory detail. I'm not sure why I like that part so much but I do.


Lief has a panache for the descriptive side. The only thing that bums me is the name of the creature. Otherwise, I think it's intriguing that there's an aberrant coming from the First World. Don't see much of these with the feys.

Liberty's Edge Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

There is a lot of good stuff in here, but the entry needed some editing. I'm not sure how a fey-spawned creature would be concerned with death, but that's my own set of preconceptions at play.

The powers are very evocative, very creepy without going over the top.


I too have the urge to put "ling" at the end of all my monster names. Something I'm trying to work on for my home game.
I don't have much patience for gooey undead. This seems to play off the gross out factor a bit too much, which isn't everyone's cup of tea.
I do however like the tactics it employs, hit and run with letting the disease do most of the heavy lifting, that's interesting.

Scarab Sages

Did anyone mention the death throes power? Awesome. I was so-so about this one, till that last line. For whatever reason, the whole monster just congealed for me, right there.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Man... I went through all the other submissions, and all the comments on them, before glancing at my own thread. And look at that, it's nearly 10pm and I haven't even replied to any of them. Oy! Who wants to pitch in and throw the judges a pizza party?

Sean, I read your "will" thread yesterday, and immediately went through my submission... yeah, could have replaced all three of them with something else. I'll be mindful of that in the future. Good advice! Overall, I knew I had under-edited this a few hours after I submitted it. I was a bit scared of the deadline this time through, and submitted nearly a day early when riding the line would have served me well. Lesson learned!

All else aside, I'm happy to have received one of the coveted Twelve Recommendations of the Clark, even if it was the grudging 12th. ;)

To My Beloved Voting Public: (Yeah, gag on that stinky cheese!) I hope this here wee beastie pleases, because I'd love the opportunity to step it up next round -- not just for Clark, either.

While I can't answer any questions until sometime next week, I welcome and encourage them. And hey, if you read someone else's questions and think you know what I was getting at, speculate! I can probably learn a lot from what people read into my submission, whether it's exactly what I intended or exactly the opposite.


Man just thinking about coming across this thing gives me the jibblies (ala Strong Bad). And it explodes, spraying gross junk all over the place? I think I peed a little.

That's a good thing by the way. (Referring to the monster, that is-- not the pee.)

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

It's the sensory details that sell this guy. I read the sentence about how an alert rotling makes a sound of rolling water, and it clicked. I saw in my head the film clip of the terrified victim hiding behind a log, hoping this lurching grotesque doesn't find him. And he makes the tinest of noises. Perhaps a whimper, or a sigh of relief as it starts to move off. And then the thing rumbles calmly, and turns.

Mechanically, I like these guys. The idea of them striking and leaving festering wounds, then escaping is a good one, and I like them mercy-killing the helpless. Unlike some of the judges, I can see a fey tie here. Bodies return to the ecosystem--taken apart by scavengers and decomposers, covered by the elements, dessicated by the sun. Where bodies lie fallow and the scavengers have been killed by the actions of men, nature takes umbrage. I see these as more aberrations and not as fey-controlled, but a more spiteful agent of the First World might shelter (or even steer) these awful things.

For both giving me strong abilities and some great descriptive text, the rotlings are on my short list. Which is going to need to get shorter at this rate.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

The image now in my head is of the 'blips' steadily increasing in frequency and variance, and the PCs realizing with horror that they have been surrounded.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka Benchak the Nightstalker

Talk about 180 degree departure from last round, Lief, this thing frightens me. It exists only in your imagination and text on a webpage, and still, it frightens me. I particularly like the rib-bone claws, delightful touch!

You've got one of my votes, to be sure.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Tejon, you have my vote. A roadkill back with a vengeance, a stray unburied cat returns to make wrongs right, a discarded pet that died lonely in the forest, it's all back to claw your eyes out. How cool can this one get ?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'm on the fence on this one. On one hand, the background idea is nice (but I'm not convinced it's really a fey thing). On the other hand, a creature that just does hit and run? In my experience, those are INCREDIBLY frustrating for the PCs to deal with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Dance of Ruin wrote:
I'm on the fence on this one. On one hand, the background idea is nice (but I'm not convinced it's really a fey thing). On the other hand, a creature that just does hit and run? In my experience, those are INCREDIBLY frustrating for the PCs to deal with.

so... what's the down side :D

I want to like this creature. It is well written and has a cool creation background. The visuals, however, don't really do it for me. Maybe that is something you (or someone else) could work on in the next round.


Some times it's to easy to fight monsters, I want something my party will fear. The rotling's hit and run tactics will wear them down and maybe even force them to think the creature is more powerful than it actually is. I really dig this guy and love the fact it naturally dies to starvation after about a month even if it isn't killed. Well done sir, you get a vote.

Star Voter 2013

Low level monster with disgusting powers whose origins fit within a world's ecosystem. (Low level because I imagine that cure disease and the restoration spells will have some impact on its powers.) Evocative in many ways except for its physical form, which is a cyst on bone crutches, seemingly. (Forelimbs with no mention of other limbs.)

Missed opportunity to pander to the old school vote with a reference to rot grubs.

Very solid.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I kind of like this creature but it seems to me to simply be a renamed nurgling without the campaign fluff. Its not an exact match but that was the first thing that came to mind when I read the beast's description.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Lief,

I love the concept that these creatures come into this world as a by-product of not honoring the dead with proper rites.

I love story, sometimes to a fault. I always want to know why something exists, and you covered that. I could probably be sold on the 'fey' angle, but the undead approach seems more logical. Then again, there's way a lot of undead in the genere at this point. Without you actually saying it, I can almost feel the struggle between types. The same goes for names.

This is a great contrast to your item as well. Vivid descriptions.

You're probably gonna get my vote (and I use the disclamer just because I'm still sorting through them). Having read your self-rejected items, the Blossoms, and now this.. I want to see what you'll do next.


Praise:
I'll say the same thing I tell the other gross entries: There are some people who really love gross, and kudos to you for committing to that. Though this does not follow from Seven Thousand Blossoms, it shares a level of quality description. I am reminded of the creatures from "Dead Like Me" from a few years back. They have a story, and a purpose, that is very clear. There is no question of how to use these guys.

Concerns:
I don't do gross. This isn't too bad in that category, so I might be willing to use these. I can see a few stories surrounding them, but nothing amazing comes to mind. These could very easily blend into a random encounter table and be replaced by any number of similar creatures. It is odd that it attacks healthy creatures without killing, will not aggress severely wounded or disease creatures, but in the same breath compulsively kills creatures that are near death. There is a lack of cohesion.

Overall:
I was expecting a little more from you Lief, Seven Thousand Blossoms was an excellent entry. Though technically a spell in a can, it was a f*ing awesome SIAC. It had flavor and heart, and would totally be in my bag of utility items. Many entrants are going full forward with the gross, possibly because of it's success in previous years, but I hope that this round's feedback will dissuade "gross for gross' sake" in the future. That said, your description is still pretty good, and your flow of ideas is somewhat cohesive.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Gotta throw down a post for my fellow Rush fan.

This is a disgusting creature which is somehow something a little different from other disgusting things. It's not born of evil but of neglect. Nasty puss filled death at the end... this is a killer entry on a random encounter table or as a way of bringing attention to a murder victim.

One of my favorites.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Nicolas Quimby wrote:

And heeeeere comes the nightmare fuel!

From the way the judges talked I was expecting a few entries along these lines, and the Rotling doesn't disappoint. I don't have much to add to the judges praise, but-

tejón wrote:
When alert, it produces a low sound reminiscent of dripping water.
I thought that this was a particularly deft (and creepy) bit of sensory detail. I'm not sure why I like that part so much but I do.

I actually really liked that sentence as well. The concept of the creature is cool, and I sort of imagine limbs and stuff squirming around under the membrane that covers it, kind of like an especially squicky baby moving inside a tummy.

I like the disease theme, the hit-and-run tactics, the pustulent death explosion, the mercy killing, the doesn't kill people who are already diseased.

The only thing I don't like is the name; I don't think it's nearly cool enough for such an interesting monster concept. It's just kind of a blah and generic name for a monster that is anything but.

Overall: Really good. Fix the name and you're aces. On my short list for a vote.


This one didn't grab me as much as some of the others. However, your previous work makes me want to see where you will go, given the chance. You got my fourth vote.

Star Voter 2013

Wicht wrote:
I kind of like this creature but it seems to me to simply be a renamed nurgling without the campaign fluff. Its not an exact match but that was the first thing that came to mind when I read the beast's description.

Is it weird that I love those little guys?

I also immediately thought of nurglings when I read this entry, but I think Lief went way beyond what was a possible inspiration or starting point and went a long way with it. I think its a great monster because there are things I absolutely love about it, but it isn't a perfect monster, because there are things I absolutely hate.

To Love:
-The visual
-The hit and run tactics combined with the desire to spread infection
-origin and the potential for tie-ins (I mean, think of all the improperly disposed of corpses adventurers leave in their wake - there would be a veritable army of these things chasing after the party)

To Hate (but easily fixed to make the perfect monster :)
-The name (I'll add my vote to the revenant cyst - that sounds cool)
-Creature type (I'll echo the judges). Making it a fey or aberration just seems like you're being cute with the creature type. With a cyst for a body and rib bones for tusks and claws it's so clearly an undead. Maybe its an undead from the fey world, but its still an undead. These things seem like the perfect fodder for Clerics and Paladins to smite into oblivion - don't take that away from them.

Sorry if the criticisms seem harsh, I just think that this great creature could become a perfect one (I want to see this in print dangnabbit).


i really liked the feel and concept here.
parallel with some other entries, it's a 'different take' on undead, fey in this case. (lantern thralls being elemental)

re: creature type, i don't see the big problem with it, though making it BOTH undead and fey COULD work.

then again, if they aren't functioning off of negative energy AT ALL (since it dies of starvation after a certain time, unlike 'immortal' undead), it probably SHOULDN'T count as undead at all. after all, in the real world, lots of stuff can start growing from dead bodies, so a particularly far-out fey version that grows from within and re-fashions the corpse to pursue it's obsessive ends seems just about spot-on, even though in some ways it SEEMS like undead (animated corpse), it's more like an Alien-esque 'regurgitation' of life. creep-tastic :-)

i would have liked a BIT more on it's life-cycle, like exactly how the rotlings comes to grow from the corpse... is it a spore type thing, that only finds suitable 'ground' in appropriate corpses?

anyhow, good luck and I hope you make it to the next round! (and you've got my vote now!)


I keep coming back to this creature, I think its just interesting after it plagues a village and the "heroes" get there to deal with it, it could be dead from starvation already. Causing even more confusion. It just seems awesome and the fact that Lief can change gears from round to round seems solid also. I really hope this critter's creator makes it to the third round.

Side note- The name thing has been done to death in this contest at least this name doesn't like some one trying to speak words off a Boggle grid.

The Exchange

Deliciously disturbing. Again, your writing skills make this wee foul thing shine above many other contestants. The little extras are what gave you one of my votes: the sounds it makes, the mercy killing, the final explosion of gore and bone shards.

You got the mojo.


As someone who often has a visceral reaction to descriptions, and a tendency to get wrapped up in my images of creatures (ask Hydro, I was slightly nauseous during an encounter with an invisible, flying, bloodsucking thing I don't remember the name of) I really like how gripping the rotling is.

I can't do horror visually (I respond too strongly), so rpgs offer an arena that I can actually engage with horrifying elements. I can certainly see myself being utterly fascinated and engrossed in an encounter with a rotling ... and maybe also slightly ill.

Well done!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Jason Nelson wrote:


I like the disease theme, the hit-and-run tactics, the pustulent death explosion, the mercy killing, the doesn't kill people who are already diseased.

I'm also a particular fan of the behavioral notes here. "Doesn't hurt you if you're already sick" and "will mercy-kill if you're on the edge" give it an eerie sense of purpose, which I think will make it stand vividly in player minds as more than just a 'gross thing'.

David Roberts wrote:
With a cyst for a body and rib bones for tusks and claws it's so clearly an undead.

Undead don't starve to death.

You seem familiar with the imagery of Nurgle; Warhammer's disease god is all about the oozing cysts, rotting flesh, dragging guts and vestigial organs, yet you should know that his creations don't have anything to do with undeath.

Lief's concept is of a bundle of LIVING flesh, woven together into a disease-ridden abomination, and I think that's a perfectly valid (and awesome) approach.
(Incidentally, I think there's a difference between iconic and unoriginal and that this is the former. Not that anyone else has implied otherwise, just being clear for my own part).

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

How did the author respond to the challenge? Strong concept (despite some questions I have) and well-balanced development of it.

How does it stack up


  • as an opponent? Difficult to deal with in melee and some potentially vicious attacks. It's focused on a particular role that I think it would serve well.
  • as something other than an opponent? Clear description of the conditions where they arise and progress of an infestation over time - to the extent that it might potentially limit the scenarios where they could be useful.
  • in relation to other monsters? Differentiated well from the physical nature and motives common to undead. It raises questions, as other posters seem to have discovered, about exactly what monster type it would fit, which suggests to me a healthy originality.
  • in relation to the author's item? I could have expected well-written description from the blossoms and this almost shows me the opposite extreme. Good range there.
  • in itself? Tightly and effectively written. A few passages left me wondering a little about its logic and I'd keep an eye on this in future rounds to see if the author can plan as well as write.

Memorable and gruesome! This is a strong prospect for me.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

For reasons I've brought up elsewhere, I don't want to pimp myself too much... makes me feel like a nag. Let me take this moment, though, to thank those who have posted so far, and especially those who have gone out of their way to respond to others! Votes are spread thinner this round than in any other so I appreciate them immensely, whether in direct support of the rotling on its own merits, or as a vote of confidence based on the sum of my work so far.

I'd like to take a moment to particularly thank Charles Evans, Demiurge, Caith, Dennis Baker and Starglim; Azmahel, Firehawk and Varianor when they get here (did I miss anyone?); and of course the judges, for plowing through the daunting task of systematically critiquing every single monster. Even if I weren't a contestant, I'm not sure I'd be up to making those rounds. Kudos, guys: you do a service to the whole contest!

To Starglim in particular - I really like your rubric, and not just because I scored well. ;) When I first saw one of your reviews on another entry, I couldn't wait for you to get to mine. Those are some killer bullet points, man.

And to everyone else, let me repeat the mantra: questions will be answered when voting is closed. :)

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Lief Clennon wrote:


To Starglim in particular - I really like your rubric, and not just because I scored well. ;) When I first saw one of your reviews on another entry, I couldn't wait for you to get to mine. Those are some killer bullet points, man.

Thanks! I hope it's of some interest to others, though I do like the sight of my own words. I'm finding the exercise very helpful to organise my thoughts and divide one entry from another. If it comes across as a little dull, as Freud might have said, analysis destroys pleasure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
So far, "gross, I like it!" seems to be a theme this year. :)

Tell me about it. I REALLY got to stop reading the Round 2 entries during lunch time.


Rotling is a keeper if you ask me. I am already getting an idea of how to throw it into a future game...


This was a very good visual description, and easy for me to imagine. I'm just not sure I'm buying into the creature enough to vote for it.

A couple of issues:

Useless bones? How does it propel itself? It would seem to me that if this was a sack of bones and puss, it would be hard to get around. Creatures have bones for a reason. They need them. Even if this could move (which I don't buy), it wouldn't be that fast. Why wouldn't the PC's just step back and pepper this with ranged attacks?

Creature type: you said they were fey-aberration living flesh, but they formed from corpses. Reanimating a corpse, even in an altered form, is clearly undead. However, they starve to death. That's clearly not undead. Fey, aberration, undead... you seem to be playing with too many creature types and your description is self-contradictory. I would have liked it better if you had said they self-spawned by causing more rotlings with their attack.

They cause wounds that don't heal: Permanent wounds are not cool. I'm going to have a bunch of annoyed PC's at my table if they acquire permanent wounds.

It's motivation: It exists to punish the mortal world for irreverence to death, yet it wriggles around spreading gangrene and wounds that don't heal. That can be deadly, just in a much slower way. It even kills those on the brink of death, out of compassion... but it doesn't perform any funeral rites. Speech will be hard if it's jawbone is floating around somewhere near it's femur. Isn't it causing the very thing it's supposed to be punishing?

Things I liked:

Killing it pops the blister: The "last laugh" gimmick has been done before, but I can't think of an example in Pathfinder. That's a niche that deserves to be filled.

It's appearance: creepy. nuff said.

It's attack: Not many monsters have an attack that can also cause disease, and I can't think of any that cause gangrene.

You were close with this monster, just not close enough for my vote. If you advance, I hope this helps with any future design.

Scarab Sages

The "fey-inspired aberration" made me almost overlook this one, particularly after the spitfire revenant (undead, but fey?).

If you make it to the next round, and the challenge is to stat this up, I'd consider making this undead. messing with fey and aberrations just 'cause they are weird doesn't make sense with this.

I like that you gave it enough powers, but not too many.

Why is it resistant to weapon damage? Most things like that are elementals or incorporeal. Perhaps DR/silver or something, but I wouldn't make them immune to weapon damage.

Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

My thoughts on the rotling...

The Name: The name has already been used for a monster in the Libris Mortis. Not that I think the name was lifted from that source. Rather, I think the name has been done before because it's a bit too obvious.

The Description: The best parts of the rotling description were the behavioral notes. This is a monster with personality. It has motivations that are unique to its own circumstances, and has interesting combat priorities. Unfortunately, the physical description is almost identical to that of the skulking cyst in the Libris Mortis, so isn't as original as it might seem at first glance. But I like that it doesn't create more of its kind when it kills a creature. That's a nice twist.

The Powers: The rotling has some fairly straightforward powers, but they all fit nicely into its theme. None feel tacked on or unnecessary. My concern is that the rotling's interest in infecting instead of killing would suggest a preference for hit-and-run tactics, yet it has nothing in the way of mobility to get it out of harm's way. I see one shambling in to infect the PCs, but then dying when it attempts to escape after doing so. The combat is no less fun, I suppose, but some of the rotling's interesting behavioral characteristics won't ever come up if it can't get away after infecting a few party members.

The Buzz: There are several mentions of your odd choice of "fey-spawned aberration" as the rotling's creature type, and I have to agree with the critics. This monster feels very much like an undead. I can maybe see the aberration angle, but I definitely cannot see the fey angle. Neither can I really wrap my head around aberrations and fey having anything but an antagonistic relationship towards one another. In fact, I can see undead and fey being more closely related than aberrations and fey.

The Vote: Both the name and the physical description have been done before. If everything else were flawless, I would have overlooked this, but the odd "fey-spawned aberration" thing put me off a bit. I will not be voting for the rotling.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Lief, good show; in the hands of a good GM, one who gives the players opportunities to learn about the pestilent little cyst-ball before blasting it away, this would make a very memorable opponent. Clearly, you'll need to wear a button at PaizoCon declaring yourself a "fey-spawned aberration".

Semicolon or colon, either is fine.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

grr this forum software frustrates me on its post eating capability

Ratling cool let see what it's got... What ... Wait .... Ohh rotling ;)

"Vaguely humanoid, slimy and dull-black, a rotling is a walking cyst: ..." I'm not an expert in the English language but I'm not sure if I'ld have used a colon in the first sentence, unless its an organ haha

"Its ... long claws ... resemble grimy rib bones" hmm where do the claws come from, and are they really rib bones

"featureless head bears a similar rack of tusks. my dyslexia twists that and it becomes a 'bear head', I wonder if other people are encountering that

"When alert, it produces a low sound reminiscent of dripping water." is this creature ever not alert? Why is it dripping water? Wouldnt this soggy creature make a sloshing sound? Maybe 'alert' should be 'mobile'

"Fey-spawned aberrations, rotlings emerge spontaneously from bloated carcasses to punish the mortal world for irreverence toward death." fey-spawned hmmm ... They emerge spontaneously? poof heere's rottie. Why are the fey punishing the world and not individuals?

dictionary.com wrote:


1. the quality of being irreverent; lack of reverence or respect.
2. an irreverent act or statement.
3. the condition of not being reverenced, venerated, respected, etc.

I quoted the definition of irreverence because I think 'death' is incorrect and should be 'life'. Especially since this is spawn of the fey of whom I beleive celebrate life much more than death and would be more incensed about such a casual disrespect for a life.

"Rotlings .. arise amid plagues and blight" wouldnt natural plagues and blight be just a part of the circle of life to the fey?

"They ... starve after one month" so much for punishing the irreverent

"A rotling exists only to spread agony. It seeks healthy creatures to attack, then flees without killing" Design flaw, The creature as presented seems more like a brawler then hit and run commando. Why is it attacking any healthy creature, when earlier its about punishing

"It will not initiate aggression toward a severely wounded, a rotling shows compulsive mercy" If this an agony causing aberration, why is it being so merciful, and benevolent?

"A creature killed by a rotling never spawns another" ahh design decissions. Totally understand the benevolent rotling not spawning another rotling. But Im not sure why vengeance seeking, agony causing spawn of the fey wouldnt spawn another? The mortal must be punished!

"The disgusting stench ... causes violent gagging" Behold the aura of puke

"In addition to carrying infectious gangrene, its attacks leave cursed wounds which will not heal." might have used a transition other than 'in addition'. Gangrene is not contagious, 'bile' and/or 'puss' would probably have been better. Might have reworded the attack to read 'attacks leave disease cursed wounds which always leak puss.'

"Its slick flesh is difficult to grab" Why is it slick?

"Though blind" Why is it blind?

"a rotling ... can navigate by echolocation." I wouldnt have expected a creature like this to use EL. wouldnt EL tend to disfavor hit and run attacks?

"A terminally wounded rotling bursts" Hey bubba I bet you wont stick that there critter with your knife ... 'pop' ... 'ewww' This sentence was needed but it felt out of place. It might have needed to a new paragraph.

the description is very evocative, the only thing that is missing is its size. We can only assume that it humanoid size, but it could be smaller. Being that is spawn of the fey its missing some nature based attacks like a bite, a puss attack, or a worm/rot grub disease infected bile vomit/swarm attack.
I think with some minor tweaking this would be a very fun creature to harass players with. So what just puked all over the camp site?!

I have become quit tired while retyping this so forgive any odd mistakes zzzzz

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

FireHawk wrote:
Why is it dripping water? Wouldnt this soggy creature make a sloshing sound? [/ooc]
tejón wrote:
Though blind, a rotling hears with its entire body and can navigate by echolocation.

You're hearing its sonar. That's the 'bloop, bloop, bloop' sound.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

Nicolas Quimby wrote:
FireHawk wrote:
Why is it dripping water? Wouldnt this soggy creature make a sloshing sound? [/ooc]
tejón wrote:
Though blind, a rotling hears with its entire body and can navigate by echolocation.
You're hearing its sonar. That's the 'bloop, bloop, bloop' sound.

:) I know but does everybody know? how does it make a bloop sound?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

FireHawk wrote:
Nicolas Quimby wrote:
FireHawk wrote:
Why is it dripping water? Wouldnt this soggy creature make a sloshing sound? [/ooc]
tejón wrote:
Though blind, a rotling hears with its entire body and can navigate by echolocation.
You're hearing its sonar. That's the 'bloop, bloop, bloop' sound.
:) I know but does everybody know? how does it make a bloop sound?

Okay, fair enough. :)

I enjoy it when writing engages the reader by leaving them to make those connections themselves, but yea, it does sometimes invite confusion.


Lief Clennon wrote:

Rotling

The rotling is the last creature I review for a reason. I find it really hard to come to terms with this.

I really love the basic premise of this monster. A fewspawned that exists to punish the living for disregarding their dead.
I love the tactical conclusions you draw from this premise. A creature that attacks not to kill, but to spread misery, that withdraws once it's enemies are seriously wounded, but disregards everything else in favor of killing a dying creature.
This seemingly erratic behavior will give players a pause, make them curious to the motivation of the rotling and to know more about them. If a monster manages to get the players thinking it's a great sign.

What keeps kicking me off with the rotling is it's physical appearance. I don't get why it has to be a walking cyst and can't be a vicious, feylike creature ( for visuals take the redcap) that is whisked into existence insted of spontaneosly raising from a corpse. This semms to be gross for grossness' sake. And I really don't like that. I don't want to be grossed out for a vote and I fear that it's horror-full appearance will stop players from thinking before slaying, therby negating the greatest boon of this creature.
Most of the powers of the rotling build upon it's gross nature however, so I partially dislike those too.

I would consider this for a vote if I had more of them, but without the grossness it would have been a definite keeper for me.
I wish you good luck in the contest.


And I'm back here again. Besides the lack of certain information pertinent to creation, which I had touched upon in my former post, I see other posters have since highlighted a possible problem of permanent damage dealt by a rotling. The word 'cursed' is used in the sentence associated with that ability, so it seems to me that conceivably that break enchantment, remove curse, and their ilk might allow the lost hit points to be regained, but with a few extra words (possibly even just one, 'naturally', for '...will not heal naturally.') the need for benefit of doubt could have been avoided.
Still, without the excessive depth of description which in this case I unfortunately find a turn-off, I think this one would have been my third vote. Instead it is currently having to contend with half a dozen other entries.
Sorry about that. :(

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

This is a well developed and described monster, but I'm not a fan of it's tactics. It attacks, gives a creature gangrene, then runs off, never to be seen again, just content in knowing its victim will suffer from the dissease. To me, this isn't a monster so much as a trap. One round, roll your fort save if it hits you, and then the encounter is over since it runs away. Sure, it might stick around to attack each PC once, but when it really only exists to infect the PCs, it still feels like a trap to me.


Lief Clennon (on the guildhall thread) wrote:
Who else is finding one week to be woefully insignificant to absorb the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting? I swear I'm going cross-eyed...

Uh, don't forget the Campaign Setting reference thread on the Chronicles forum too if you want to make a thorough job of things... ;)

(Replying here since my not being top 32 material, it feels wrong to post over there.)

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