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Brown Urus


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

1 to 50 of 77 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Brown Urus
Description: A herd of large grazing animals thunders past. Ice crystals salt their shaggy dark brown pelts and icicles hang from their horns. A chill fills the air and frost covers the ground where they pass. Long ago these large bison-like animals formed a symbiotic relationship with a strain of brown mold to create a hybrid creature, the brown urus. Singly, they are much as they appear, but when they gather together they gain a sly intelligence, even as they graze over a large area.

Urus are driven by an urge to breed and spread their kind. As the urus spread, they leave a wasteland of frozen, lifeless tundra behind. Whether they are intentionally destructive or not, their very existence threatens everything around them.

Powers and Abilities: An urus herd possesses a powerful collective intelligence and innate magic powers used to influence creatures around them. Weaker willed creatures can be charmed or dominated. Creatures they cannot control are destroyed. The urus manipulate frost giants, yeti, and other cold tolerant species into acting as guardians and servants.

The urus leach warmth from the world around them. Approaching a herd of urus is deadly and even nearing a single urus can lead to frostbite and severe pain. The brown mold in the urus' fur thrives on fire, strengthening the creature. Their thick coats protect them from the cold.

Passive by nature, the brown urus generally avoid confrontation. If attacked the herd will stampede, trampling, goring, and freezing anything in their path. The urus are able to use their magical abilities as they attack singly or the herd stampedes. During combat the herd can use its mental abilities to confuse or stun threats allowing the herd to escape.

Contributor

I like the concept of a shaggy buffalo with symbiotic brown mold in its fur, consuming vegetation and leaving frost-blasted land behind them, like overgrazing with a supernatural winter added.

I think adding the herd intelligence wasn't necessary, ditto for the mind-influencing magic. The basic concept of herd + brown mold is strong, though not "sexy," and the added elements sort of come out of nowhere. If you had restricted that to the oldest, largest specimens (perhaps the lead bull), it wouldn't seem to odd to me as it does for the entire herd having it.

They use their powers to manipulate giants and other creatures, and they "avoid confrontation," yet they *destroy* creatures they cannot control...?

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

"Urus are driven by an urge to breed and spread their kind." Sounds like half the guys I knew in high school. We can only hope they were unsuccessful. I really like the shaggy bison encrusted with brown mold. Its a nice surprise "Gotcha" kind of monster and could become major problems when encountered in a herd. They have the ability to sort of passively annihilate their foes by merely surrounding them and letting all those overlapping freeze zones get them, and even a dead urus doesn't stop the freezing. I don't like the use of the word brown, though. I get that it's mundane and gives a very "real-world" vibe, but brown is not very snappy. Maybe using steppe or northern or tundra or something--not very snappy themselves but perhaps a bit more evocative.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

This is a really weird one, and I'm not convinced all the pieces go together - it kind of feels like the bits came out of a big monster mad-lib. The brown mold angle is cool, but building all this on the chassis of a bison... well, it's not winning any Bestiary beauty contests. And then the mind control collective intellect angles came right out of left field for me.

There's a weird line in monster design: something can be as weird as you like, as long as it remains logical within its own theme. To many seemingly unassociated ideas and something just feels like a chimera - the bad kind. Frosty fungi brain bison: that's doing too much. Lose some of those elements or divide them into two creatures and we'll talk.

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

Initial Impression: Moldy frost cows that can work a jedi mind trick. Hmm. This better get better fast…

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): C+
Some big design mistakes, in my view. First, hybrid monsters are just that—two things you didn’t make up that you are just mixing together. Second, Superstar monsters need to create conflict. These passive frost cows are an accidental threat. I think that is a poor design choice. I’m not saying every creature has to be a threat to the very existence of all life or be demonic evil, but it should at least cause the PCs to have an epic, heroic need to encounter it. “Passive by nature” and “avoids confrontation” are not really what I want to see in a Superstar monster submission.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): C
Wait, what? They dominate frost giants and yetis? OK, sorry, but I just don’t want passive moldy chill cows to be the controllers of my frost giants. We have had a ton of mind control creatures this round, but this mind control just seems to go too far to me. Come on, cows controlling frost giants? Not on my watch.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): C
Sorry, no jedi mind tricks from mangy frost cattle for me. Sure, it’s a twist and a surprise, but that’s not good enough.

Overall: C+
Sorry.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this creature advance.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Ogre's Brown Urus
Now available in plushie
I hope you enjoy!


Hmm. Collective intelligence reminds me of the cranium rats in the old Planescape setting...
At present the being driven by urges to breed and spread their kind seems to me to be a little bit conflicted with the collective intelligence, although as Greg pointed out supposedly intelligent creatures can be governed by urges.
This is the first entry I've read, and something about what you've done here does grab me, although I'm not sure how you fit an encounter in with these into a regular game... 'Natural disaster threatens kingdom - artifact needed to stop it'?

My overall impression is the entry invokes good imagery, but I'm not sure at present how you would use a herd in-game except as a plot device.
Thanks for submitting this though. :)


One of things I really like about this creature is that it adds a level of depth to the food chain/hierarchy of monsters in the colder lands.
It seems like all too often that monsters in arctic climates are presented as living alone (or just one clan, etc), this monster gives a way for a creative GM/DM to explain why the goblins and giants are working together...not just the old 'Big giants bully goblins to help...' shtick.

Besides...who would ever expect it to be the bison-like herd animals that are urging the other monsters on?

Spoiler:

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

I'm a big fan of symbiotes and cranium rats, so I generally dig this entry. It's the sort of monster that suggests an adventure and not just an encounter - and in a climate type that tends to be short on good adventure ideas. Plus, I love how it takes an element that is oft-ignored background (what a humanoid uses for a food source) and pushes it to the forefront.

One thing I like about this type of monster is that it provides multiple ways of overcoming it. The party can directly attack the creatures, the caretakers, or split up the bison themselves to (theoretically) lower their intelligence and eliminate some of their spell-like abilities.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:
My overall impression is the entry invokes good imagery, but I'm not sure at present how you would use a herd in-game except as a plot device.

Read my mind, Charles. That's exactly how I viewed this. It would definitely make a great plot device. I just don't know if it's something I could continue to reuse after said plot device has been resolved.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Yak (I just can't see them as bison) infested with brown mold is such a fun idea that I want to use it tonight. Shame I'm in a castle in the desert right now. I love weird ecological mixes, and that tickles my fancy in the right way. RPGs need more interlocked, symbiotic creatures like this.

With that said, I do agree the lily got gilded a bit with the addition of the group mind and mental powers. I'd likely dial that back a notch. But the core concept is really fun, and adds a level of menace (mobility) to an iconic hazard.


Seems almost like two monsters rolled into one,

An interesting brown mold, symbiote creature which may be more appropriate as a template, with an Urus as the sample monster.

An ice mastermind controlling cold subtype creatures.

I don't feel these two things mesh well, I can see my players giving me a hard time from a verismilitude angle if we came across these.

However taken individually each concept is strong and worthy of it's own critter.


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

I like the symbiotic relation the most, thou their freezing ability makes them too much of a threat to be ignored on any civiliced place not to hunt them down to extintion to avoid total ruin.

Great "save the kingdom!" monster

Spoiler:
don't forget your tinfoil helmet!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Oh man, you took brown mold and gave it feet. THAT is evil.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I was excited at what I initially thought was an unintentionally destructive herd animal, but then I got to the mind-control stuff, and I had trouble reconciling the two themes. The combination didn't work for me, but I can imagine it will for others.

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Too much of a four-legged vegepygmy vibe for me, despite being fairly well written and interesting.

Neat critter to use, but it doesn't slurp me up and spit me out all acid-covered and icky.

I'd use this one as a wandering encounter, but not much more.

Osirion

Now I like this alot, but I do agree the group mind thing was out of left field with it. Now I could see kinda an alpha male type controlling the heard, and maybe him having some odd mid effecting powers but over all this is in the top of "I need to use that" list

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

See, I would have trouble using this as a random encounter, because my impression is that they travel in huge herds which would freeze the living crap out of any adventurers that came anywhere near them. I see it more as a terrifying force of nature to be unleashed on a game world, and possibly as an excuse for a surreal moment where the PCs step out of a sweltering savanna and into a vast swathe of frost-bitten tundra.

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

I agree with what some of the other people are saying. Brown mold on feet is good. Icy manipulator is good. Combining the two seems a little schizophrenic, especially if they supposedly avoid confrontation, even though they destroy what they cannot control.

The writing is decent enough, but these two tastes do not especially go great together.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

As a resident of Buffalo, NY, I have to say this monster is pretty scary! A shaggy, moldy, cold bison?!?!?!?!? We don't need more bad press!!!

At least get rid of the mind control powers and give them flaming hot wings!


SmiloDan wrote:

As a resident of Buffalo, NY, I have to say this monster is pretty scary! A shaggy, moldy, cold bison?!?!?!?!? We don't need more bad press!!!

At least get rid of the mind control powers and give them flaming hot wings!

nomnomnom...

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Sollir

What can I say, I really like brown mold and wish it were used more, and I like a good symbiotic/psionic-ish critter. Combined with the bison idea, it is kind of far out-but seriously, D&D is where Owlbears and Gray Renders and Elder Black Pudding make their homes!

I have to sit and think on this one, but I do like the crazy concept. If you had the opportunity to stat the monster, I'd focus more on one of the two ideas/power sets and see where that takes you before adding on the other. The Brown Urus are like a force of nature, as an above poster mentioned, and would be really interesting to use in a game. I'd like to see a non-combat solution to them though, but maybe I just have a soft spot for bison =)

Good luck Dennis!


To all the comments saying they don't see where this would fit in a game, I say: Irrissen (and Land of the Mammoth Lords)

If anybody wasn't familiar with the source of the name Urus, check here.
For whatever intangible reason, I think it goes GREAT with the above setting/flavor/described abilities, fitting into a creepy, frozen north-gone-bad corrupted Fey realm. This isn't just a 'wandering encounter' that is 'too much of a threat to be ignored on any civilized place not to hunt them down to extinction', but Dennis is giving ecology details (allying with other Frost-type creatures) that give depth to the 'created environment' the Uruses (?) bring with them. Which of course goes along with the terrain-altering effects of other epic-sized herds of giant grazers, the American Buffalo, just with supernatural effects added on.

I don't really see the conflict others are seeing between "not seeking out confrontation" and stampeding/goring/freezing when their psychic abilities do not suffice to deal with a threat. The 'violent' behavior described is in fact the NORMAL behavior of large herd animals, so one would expect that when the supernatural abilities are ineffectual, the Urus' base animal survival instincts would come to dominate as a last ditch defense. What isn't cool about that?

The herd, like any other natural creature, is really an extension of it's environment. It's 'allies' (or dominated residents who don't freeze solid entirely) would otherwise go about their business, probably not consciously aware of the herd's importance (though protective of it, thru psychic manipulation), so you would have predatory frost giant barbarians, or even human barbarian tribes "living off" the herd-created frozen tundra (to the extent they are adapted to only cold climates), whom would probably provide the initial 'opposition' for PCs and friendly NPCs in the area (raiding frost giants and other frost monsters emerging from expanding tundra, only eventually are the clues revealed as to WHY the tundra is expanding, implicating the seemingly innocent urus). Realizing the Urus' secret would in fact give the PCs a "back door" way to attack strong Frost-dependant opponents whom would otherwise be too strong for a frontal assault, by influencing the herd to disperse, dissolving the Tundra and forcing the strong Frost monsters/ Evil NPCs to flee to REAL colder climes. The Uruses could have even frozen a sea, which melts (revealing secrets underneath) if the Uruses are dealt with.

People say "it's only a Template", but I think it actually provides a really unique, interesting challenge for PCs on many levels. Changing the setting, abilities, and form, of Brown Mold in this case drastically changes the type of encounter it would be. "it's only a Template" can describe a huge number of Monsters after all (Undead, for a start). In this case, the combo of Urus (Giant Size, or Large Size w/ Heavy Build, I would guess... Dennis?) and a Climate-altering Psionic Mold practically sets the scene for a whole adventure arc... I guess I like this enough that I'd like to see what Dennis actually can pull off in the larger scope of an encounter or adventure setting.

Two thumbs up! Vote Urus! :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The Pros: You took something mundane, like the bison, and tried to make it cool by giving it unexpected powers.

The Cons: I have several problems with this entry.

First, as several others have said before me, there is 'too much' in your submission. I think the whole creature could have been stronger if you had emphasized either the hybrid OR the controller aspect. Both in one package is a little much to wrap your head around.

Second, I'm having trouble envisioning this in my campaign. There is only one type of adventure that I can think of right now that would benefit from including urus, and that would be 'frontier towns are being razed, and no one knows what's happened, the PCs must go and investigate'. Either it's my lame imagination, or the use of urus is kind of limited ;-). They don't work very well as a random encounter, or even as a minion monster, IMHO.

(Third,) while it's a nice touch to work around expectations and make supposedly harmless herd animals the source of the problem, I just can't see a climactic encounter that involves a herd of bison. Even if they have some kind of enchantment / mind control powers going, it's still bisons. Something here just doesn't scream 'wow!' at me. Once the PCs have protected themself from the initial danger, it's basically slaughtering a herd of animals. I don't know if that is what I would want for my campaign.

Still, despite all that criticism - the best of luck to you for this round :).


I like the idea behind this creature. As previously stated, it adds to an ecology, it's got good potential for a lot of other hooks plus,

It scales well.

What do I mean by this?

The single creature is kind of 'generic' and I could see it being easily included in almost any random monster table of the appropriate climate.

Also, the Dm can tailor an encounter so that a low level party meets just one lone individual, up to a higher level party that meets a whole herd.

A nice, outdoors, meet almost any where critter.

+1 Vote

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I could've used this around the mid-point in my RotR game. Too bad I didn't have them then.

+1 vote

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

If votes per round went 8-4-2-1 instead of 4-3-2-1, this would have gotten a vote from me. Echoing a common theme: what killed it for me was the hive mind and mind control. Not because it was "too much" or "over the top," but because they just don't need it. If they didn't have hive intelligence, they'd still be a threat to any human civilization. If they didn't control the minds of other icy creatures, they'd still create a habitat that such creatures would love to inhabit.

Brown mold on the hoof is really awesome, though, and I still hope you advance. :)

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I can not say much
Contest rules have me shackled
Haiku must suffice

Thanks for the comments
Comments are welcome from all
Two thumbs up! Vote Urus! :-)


This was the first monster I read, because i really was exited what you would come up with.
I'm sad that I have to say that I was disappointed with this one.
first off, Its a brown mold on bison legs. While being a quite cool idea, it's neither very innovative ( and I love innovation) nor does the idea really get me off the seat, musing ways to bring these beasties to my game.
I must admit that it was 4am when i first read your entry, so being quite tried and sleepy might not have worked in your favor.
But after a ( relative short) night of sleep my feelings haven't changed much. even your base premise doesn't really grab me.
And like many others I don#t get the mind control / mob intelligence angle.
Seemingly this monster has 2 faces: Herd of near-mindless destruction and evil mastermind cows which actively try to destroy and control what they can't destroy ( or the other way round).
I would have been fine with one of both ( preferably the first) but both images don't fit well together.

If you wanted the herd to have guardians to give it an ability to fight off extinction ( every farmer in the world would want to see them dead. Just like the leucrotta)
i would have preferred to give them some based on the symbiotic link with the brown mold ( that was the reason why they even bonded in this relationship. wasn't it?)
Perhaps the ability to freeze predators in place, and then trample them to tiny, shiny shards of frozen flesh.
Or the ability to expel a cloud of freezing sweat and smoke, to conceal their presence.
or...

Your tilt didn't grab me, so I#m not inclined to give you my vote.
But i see your good writing, and again I glimpse the spark your item had. I know you can do better than a mold on hooves.
We will see. there 31 monsters left to read. maybe I don't even like 4 of them and I'll come back to you with my vote.
Anyway bests of Luck. Even if I'm not exited of your beasties I think it deserves every vote it gets.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I like the idea behind this creature. Big, frosty cranium rats. Good imagery. I could probably work this into a mini adventure path.

Star Voter 2013

Mold cows with spell-casting?! I'm not feeling it, although admittedly most of my campaigns don't occur on the great plains.


Masters Reynolds and Peterson hit all the same thoughts I had, so I won't reiterate.

A very interesting concept, with some revisiting it could be really good. Herd mentality is hard to roleplay, IMHO, so I'd have trouble running them as they are.

Votes are still up in the air for me, though.

Ken

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Hmm,

Well from an editing pov. Well (at least from mine) it would seem to be good to have to pair stuff down, rather than add stuff.

I like it. For symbiosis it seems the brown mold can feed on the critter's heat, waiting for them to get to ambient heat to grow.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Dennis,

I would have just struck the brain powers out and you have a damn fine creature. Let Frost Giants or the Yeti be the bosses, who drive their herds before them and extend their territory to the warmer southern lands mile by frozen mile.

If presented right you have a nice little mystery on how the villains are warping the weather and bringing about a new ice age without use of a control weather spell.

This is a fine and strange wilderness creature, it just needs some to be cut back a little.

Good luck! I hope to see you next Round!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

So this is a hivemind mold yak with mind control powers? Creative, different. Maybe a little too different. Intelligent livestock....cool intelligent vegetation...cool, a hybrid of both...just plain wierd.


It's been mentioned in it's own thread, but repeats mentioning here:

Templates are NOT against the rules of the contest, so whether you think an idea is a Template or not, shouldn't effect your vote.


Perhaps it's just me, but I think you should have focused on the Brown Mold, not the Urus. Sure, Brown Mold isn't flashy, but neither is Green Slime, Black Pudding, Grey Ooze, or Ochre Jelly. Yet all of those are well accepted creatures (Hey! Who ran off with the Green Slime?).

Making the mold (not the Urus) a semi-intelligent symbiotic colony would have been a twist that the jelly, pudding, ooze, and slime didn't use. The game already has intelligent plant life (see: Shambling Mound), so it wouldn't be too far of a stretch.

I don't think you are going to get my vote, but I haven't decided yet where my votes are going.

Quandary: I agree. There are 2 arguments FOR templates 1)the rules specifically mention the use of a template, although in a slightly different context, and 2) the rules simply state that the submission should appear as a monster from the Bestiary...which has templates mixed in with the "regular" monsters (see: skeleton).

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

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

This is a really weird one, and I'm not convinced all the pieces go together - it kind of feels like the bits came out of a big monster mad-lib. The brown mold angle is cool, but building all this on the chassis of a bison... well, it's not winning any Bestiary beauty contests. And then the mind control collective intellect angles came right out of left field for me.

There's a weird line in monster design: something can be as weird as you like, as long as it remains logical within its own theme. To many seemingly unassociated ideas and something just feels like a chimera - the bad kind. Frosty fungi brain bison: that's doing too much. Lose some of those elements or divide them into two creatures and we'll talk.

The big monster mad-lib - that's it, the perfect analogy.

I actually think a lot of the other critters I've looked at in the contest have been a lot MORE mad-libby than this one, but there are traces of it here. I think the bison + brown mold turning everything into frozen tundra is a GREAT idea. I don't mind some flavor of hive-mind, but I'm less convinced about the idea of them having charm and dominate powers and being masterminds. Maybe I'm just a cow-ist, but they aren't thrilling me as clever boss-monsters. The mind control thing kind of pulls away from the tightness of the theme and ends up feeling tacked onto what is an inherently just fine (if not super-sexy) concept.

Overall: I like these guys as bruisers and as surprising environmental terrors and even as cooperative stampeders and tramplers. If we reined in their intellect and controller-ness I'd be a much bigger fan. There is some truth to the idea that melding two existing game monsters is less creative than coming up with an entirely new monster, but clever combos are a staple of good DMing and shouldn't be dismissed just because they're combos. This *is* a clever combo and it makes sense and fits within a D&D world ecology. I think the idea is good and that it just overreaches and tries to do too much. With only four votes I don't think they're quite there, but hope you move on!


I don't get why people are thinking these are 'masterminds'.
I mean, they COULD be, but I don't see anything in the description that they have any motivation beyond survival. Psionic abilities to charm creatures could simply be used for limited scope, i.e. to make sure they aren't attacked, and to motivate all creatures in the area to defend the herd, thus minimizing the need for the herd to even use it's psychic abilties on immediate threats. I just didn't see any wording suggesting motivation beyond survival, so I wouldn't assume there is any 'mastermind' intent here (other creatures like normal molds can have psionic abilities, yet are not 'masterminds' because their interests remain focused around survival).

Like I said, a scenario with Uruses could easily include many more powerful threats (cold monsters taking advantage of the Urus' climate) who though perhaps subtley influenced by the Urus' to be protective of them, would otherwise go about their business (like what Frost Giants or White Dragons normally do), and these would normally attract the PCs' initial attention. The setup of the Urus' own abilities just sets up a more interesting relationship, instead of 'more powerful creatures control EVERYTHING', the Urus' themselves though not super-powerful bosses, exist independently, and don't particularly CARE about the other creatures.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Quandary wrote:

I don't get why people are thinking these are 'masterminds'.

I mean, they COULD be, but I don't see anything in the description that they have any motivation beyond survival. Psionic abilities to charm creatures could simply be used for limited scope, i.e. to make sure they aren't attacked, and to motivate all creatures in the area to defend the herd, thus minimizing the need for the herd to even use it's psychic abilties on immediate threats. I just didn't see any wording suggesting motivation beyond survival, so I wouldn't assume there is any 'mastermind' intent here (other creatures like normal molds can have psionic abilities, yet are not 'masterminds' because their interests remain focused around survival).

Like I said, a scenario with Uruses could easily include many more powerful threats (cold monsters taking advantage of the Urus' climate) who though perhaps subtley influenced by the Urus' to be protective of them, would otherwise go about their business (like what Frost Giants or White Dragons normally do), and these would normally attract the PCs' initial attention. The setup of the Urus' own abilities just sets up a more interesting relationship, instead of 'more powerful creatures control EVERYTHING', the Urus' themselves though not super-powerful bosses, exist independently, and don't particularly CARE about the other creatures.

This line did it for me: "The urus manipulate frost giants, yeti, and other cold tolerant species into acting as guardians and servants." I think the word "servants" carries connotations that can lead one to believe they are masterminds. That is just me, though.


I like the idea. The concept of an individual being easy to overcome while the herd is deadly. However I don't think the herd should have mind control abilities. I think the brown mold should be what keeps these animals together. I don't think they should go out of their way to attack things either.

If the mold itself released a chemical or something similar that altered the brain of whatever animal it grew on, that would be a good idea. It could be the urus are the perfect carrier and other animals aren't as good. But if other animals get too close the mold can infect them and grow and make them part of the herd. Granting them protection from the urus freezing abilities while making them fight for the herd.

The mold wouldn't grow as well on other creatures, and as such not have as great a hold on their mind. So when you approach the herd, you will need to fight the stronger animals that tried to feed off of them and failed, getting infected. When their hit points drop to a certain point, they "wake up" and the mold loses it's hold on their mind and the creature runs away. It would also add the danger of player's becoming infected and causing the same thing to happen to them.

Then the urus would be a passive threat in the world. The story line could be trying to rescue a person who got infected, or trying to capture a rare animal that has become part of the herd, or trying to herd the animals away from a settlement, etc.

Would be interesting if you could find a way to put them in Rise of the Runelords. Might be fun to play against a creature no one knows anything about.

Star Voter 2013

"A herd of large grazing animals thunders past" this seems like a lost line that could have been left out or utilized elsewhere

"shaggy ... pelts" Do Urus have shaggy pelts? Bison, and yaks do who knows

"frost covers the ground where they pass" 'pass' should be 'are found'. I like the frost but does harm the bison's food supply?

Pathfinder game ref wrote:


Brown Mold (CR 2): Brown mold feeds on warmth, drawing heat from anything around it. It normally comes in patches 5 feet in diameter, and the temperature is always cold in a 30-foot radius around it. Living creatures within 5 feet of it take 3d6 points of nonlethal cold damage. Fire brought within 5 feet of brown mold causes the mold to instantly double in size. Cold damage, such as from a cone of cold, instantly destroys it.

"... these .. bison ... formed a symbiotic relationship ... brown mold" I'm at odds with why these 2 creatures would form such a relationship. What benefit does the urus receive from the mold, and how does the mold not hurt the bison?

"when they gather ... they gain a sly intelligence .. as they graze ... a large area" now we have something more powerful than what brown mold is known for

"Urus are driven by an urge to breed and spread their kind" you could have removed 'by an urge'. You also forgot to mention they are driven to eat

"As the urus spread, they leave a wasteland of frozen, lifeless tundra behind. Whether they are intentionally destructive or not, their very existence threatens everything around them." Beautiful malevolent destruction at natures finest well done! I beleive migrate or travel would have been better suited then spread. The problem this generates is what impact does this have on the food source for the bison. If they keep decimating the food source the symbiotic relationship would be a failure

"An urus herd possesses a ... collective intelligence and innate magic powers" we definitely have something more powerful than what brown mold and urus is known for.

"Weaker willed creatures can be ... dominated" Cows that dominate something stupider than a cow

"Creatures they cannot control are destroyed" cows arent really known as destroyers, and no real destroyer talent/power is illustrated

"The urus manipulate frost giants, yeti, ... into acting as guardians and servants." frost giants and yetis are weaker willed than cows?

"Their thick coats protect them from the (mold's) cold." This probably should have been part of the symbiotic description. What this also means is that there is a marketable value to urus' coat as it provides protection from sub freezing temperatures

"Passive by nature" yet they manipulate, dominate, and destroy?

"During combat the herd can .. confuse or stun" yet they manipulate, dominate, and destroy?

When I first read this I liked it A LOT. This malevolent migratory swarm of destruction is something that can be used as a great plot device. But I dont know how reusable the creature is, and the evaluation of the concept reveals some weakness.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Boxhead

Dennis Baker wrote:

I can not say much

Contest rules have me shackled
Haiku must suffice

Thanks for the comments
Comments are welcome from all
Two thumbs up! Vote Urus! :-)

Wait, Urus is only one syllable? Hmmm, I don't like that...;)

I actually really like this concept, even if it makes you violate the rules of Haiku. I think the hive mind is too much, but cold-mold bison might find a way into my games (sometime after the Legacy of Fire...)

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Eric Hindley wrote:
Dennis Baker wrote:

I can not say much

Contest rules have me shackled
Haiku must suffice

Thanks for the comments
Comments are welcome from all
Two thumbs up! Vote Urus! :-)

Wait, Urus is only one syllable? Hmmm, I don't like that...;)

I actually really like this concept, even if it makes you violate the rules of Haiku. I think the hive mind is too much, but cold-mold bison might find a way into my games (sometime after the Legacy of Fire...)

Yeah, I cheated there

Urus should be a two count
Took quote from above

Thanks for the comments
I can say more next Tuesday
Vote for team Urus

Grand Lodge

I look forward to killing a Urus on the plains of Gollarion. I'll have to wear the skin of course! I'll add it to my Gnoll skin, Troll skin, and dragon skin suits.


Praise:
Frosty ice bison? Yes please. I am big fan of dangerous creatures that get labeled as monsters. I think it is an under appreciated facet of the game, and creatures like the bulette, ankheg, and cockatrice are some of the coolest enemies out there. The brown mold is an interesting sidenote, but I don't know if I buy that fire bolsters the whole creature. They also have another edge - psychic prowess.

Concerns:
I am not sure I would want to mess with PCs this much, giving a creature ER vs fire and cold. Pack mechanics can sometimes turn into a nuisance, depending on their complexity.

Overall:
Not much bad to say, truth be told. I like this creature, but the brown mold keeps gnawing at me. I like the story potential as one of these wanders south and blights a farm, or a herd of these moves in and starves a whole nation. I can also see these as part of a wizard's menagerie, which is always nice to mix up. I like that it has something more than just gore attacks, and if the mind-affecting abilities were limited to simple affects, this could be a great combat.

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

My thoughts on the brown urus...

The Name: I like that this name has a real-world feel to it. If the brown urus existed on Earth, it would likely be called just that.

The Description: I really dig the symbiosis angle, and its done in a very subtle, down-to-earth way... Until the unnecessary hive-mind got thrown into the mix. You took a realistic monster with some clever internal logic and tacked on an unnecessary extra ability. If there's one thing I learned from my mistakes in last years competition, its that there's a point beyond which adding a little something extra will only detract from what you already have in place.

The Powers: The mind-control over frost giants and yetis just doesn't do it for me. The brown urus should be the cattle that frost giants are using to expand their domain into warmer climes, and should be protected by the frost giants on those merits. They don't make much sense as masterminds using frost giants as mere guardians.

The Buzz: My own thoughts seem to match those of many previous posters. The hive-mind business was a bit too tacked on to fit with the rest of an otherwise interesting package. The brown urus tries to do more than its underlying concept warrants.

The Vote: It's a good monster, but its too cluttered with extraneous powers to win my vote.

Paizo Employee Developer

Creating a symbiotic relationship is really cool, and I like that the two, generally unassociated creatures are combined here. One doesn't expect bison and brown mold to go together, which is why I think they work so well with one another in this instance. I'm curious, though, how the brown mold didn't kill all the bison before the symbiosis first came about. Some more background on how this strange ecology works would really solidify the strengths here.

I think the mind control/hive mind aspects here are cool—but not combined with the moldy buffalo. Either one developed fully, independently would be a surefire creature to appear in one of my campaigns, but together, these abilities seem to cover opposing campaign roles, which would make them difficult to use in an adventure. Don't be afraid to take something cool and delve deep with it instead of only going half as far on twice as many things. I hope you progress to the next round so that we can see your revision of this (assuming that's the next round) and what other cool ideas you've got.


Eric Morton wrote:

The brown urus should be the cattle that frost giants are using to expand their domain into warmer climes, and should be protected by the frost giants on those merits.

They don't make much sense as masterminds using frost giants as mere guardians.

Well, who's to say that isn't exactly how the frost giants and yeti's rationalize their compulsion to protect the bison herds? Seriously, assuming normal game mechanics apply here, not every member of a frost giant clan or yeti tribe is going to fail their Save vs. the Mind Effecting powers. But any intelligent & social grouping will THEMSELVES invent a rationale to explain their induced feelings to protect the Urus herd, meaning even those who PASS the Save will probably end up going along with the social consensus ("Why can't we kill the Urus? They're Holy? OK... I guess...") Certainly if the Urus Hive-Mind isn't especially intelligent (or just uninterested in other species), it would tend to leave the details like this up to it's "servant species" to invent, since as long as the compulsion effect is doing it's job, it doesn't care what they THINK.

The Urus aren't described as masterminds, nor is there even an indication as to the intelligence level of the hivemind. Seriously, just from TV nature shows I've seen examples of plants or insects establish symbiotic relationships where other species act as it's "guardians". In some cases thru manipulation of hormonal signals to manipulate these "servant" species' behavior. So I don't necessarily see any "Mastermind Intelligence" required here, especially given the only motives given are survival and reproduction of the species. It seems like a seriously cool take on a mobile, distributed entity, PSYCHICALLY as well as physically altering it's environment.

(Got my vote)


I really like that it is a herbivore, too many times we see monster books full of nothing but predators. I Vehemently disagree with Clark in that it will take an RpgSuperstar to make a herbivore and interesting monster I think this is one of those monsters that would have dealt better with a very detailed ecological vein of development.

I don't think the collective wisdom of a herd of creatures is out of left field, I just don't think its as intuitive as the symbiotic relationship with the brown mold is. It is something that could have been refined over time as SKR's suggestion shows but I doubt you had time for play-testing and Alpha and Beta version of the monster

This gets my vote.

Steve Russell
Rite Publishing

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