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Lahamu


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

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

Lahamu
Description: A lahamu is a quadruped beast the size of a small pony. Its canine head sports two large fangs coming down from the upper jaw, making it hard to dislodge once it sinks them into its prey. Mottled fur on dark skin stretches across a vaguely feline body, and a short hairless tail ending in a tuft of mangy fur flicks back and forth. Eyes of a thousand various colors and constantly changing shade betray a malign intelligence within. Lahamu often hunt in packs, roaming the plains looking for prey. When a potential meal is spotted, a lahamu will call out to its pack, the cries sounding like the wail of a mother who has lost her child. Lahamu hunt by scent, unaffected by the stench of their rancid breath. They are led by the strongest female, who chooses her mates from her pack.

Powers and Abilities: Capable of sudden bursts of speed, the lahamu will suddenly sprint forward to take out the strongest of presence. While it can feed on the psyche of any living being, it prefers sentient beings for their taste. Its bite not only damages the body, but the very personality, the charisma of its prey. It feeds on charisma, leaving the target dazed, making for an easy meal that is still aware of what is happening. It doesn’t need to feed on the flesh of its prey. It just enjoys the taste.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

This guy is thick with atmosphere, from its howl like a forlorn mother to its eyes of a thousand shades. I also like that its a Charisma eater--not too many of those out there. There's also its cool locking fangs, speed bursts, and hints of some sort of rancid breath (a special attack?). I'd say pick a couple of those asepcts and build on thoem. This critter may be trying to do too much. All-in-all, though, an interesting and original creature with a nice bit of prose in its description.

Contributor

The impression I get of this thing is a variant leucrotta/cocrotta that is a psychic (Charisma) vampire.

I'm not sure what "to take out the strongest of presence" means.

I like the stench-breath, charge, daze, and evil feel of these.

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

Initial Impression: Weird necrotic leucrotta variant. Feels like a first draft. But let’s look a bit closer, shall we...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): B+
Good name (though it is a bit too close to lamasu for me). I think, perhaps, you went with a much too comfortable monster niche—the evil creature that is not a mastermind or a dungeon dweller. It’s just an evil animal. Is that a Superstar monster pitch? Not sure. Unless this was a bad guy’s mount, this is most likely no better than a random wilderness encounter. I wanted better. It takes work to get this creature to be in opposition to the PCs. Conflict is the core of what a monster is—they are the roadblocks for the PCs in fantasy gaming. A DM shouldn’t have to work hard to come up with a way to throw a Superstar monster at the PCs. This one might need that. But that said, it also harkens back to some of my favorite old school monsters. The same criticism I just made could be leveled against the leucrotta or the peryton or the griffon, which are all creatures I love. So while I will dock you a bit I’m not docking too much. But it keeps you from an A.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): B+
I think you can do better. It’s well written, but like a few others it smells of being a first draft not a final draft. But the powers and suggested abilities of this creature set it apart. The Charisma draining attack and the rancid breath and the wail attack all really hit home with me. I would love to see this thing statted up.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): A
I would go out of my way to make an encounter with this creature. Its attack sounds so interesting and cool. Big mojo here.

Overall: A-
Strong entry. Feels right at home with some of the classic evil animal monsters of D&D fame like the leucrotta and peryton. I do feel this was a bit rushed and not a polished final draft. I hope the voters let you through.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this creature advance.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

So do these guys have thousands of eyes or just two that change color often?

This kind of reminds me of the coeurl from A. E. Van Vogt's Black Destroyer, in how it's this deadly cat-like thing that drains the "id" of other beings (even if the definition of that id here and that story prove quite different).


I felt a bit of the Coeurl in this too..but even so...this is a very evocative monster. It sounds like something for adventurers to dread. I get a more hyena-like than cat-like vibe...which just reinforces the worry I would have over having one of those things bite a character.

Not to mention...how much fun is it to have a monster that will go after the Bard or Sorcerer first! And not because they are lightly armored or spellcasters...but because they are the best meal!

This is a monster I could see with a Bestiary entry, certainly.

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

Thank you for the commentary. I look forward to adding my own. To paraphrase Sally Field...

"You tolerate me! You really really tolerate me!"

Vote for the lahamu, they'll love you for it!

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

It's well written, but it doesn't grab me.

This is review #4, so there is still a chance you'll make top 5.


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

This sounds interesting... I think I'd rather make a "be3autiful" version of this cat-like critter than a undead-like one. The thousand shades of color on the eyes gives me more that idea and the fetid breath and Cha drain is a nasty surprise on a beautiful creature.

Cool critter!


The name doesn't grab me for the same reason Clark indicated. I have the adventure pitch now. Sebastian comes out victorious; having found the Starstone and has ascended to godhood. Meanwhile, myself & Tarren Dei squabble over the use of his unique avatar because two years have past and Sebastian has ascended to a better gaming forum board. The winner of the deadly combat will assume the unique Bella Sara avatar template and become ... The Spawn of Sebastian. It heads out east to tell what Rogavug can do with his bad self.

I kid, I kid...

I like it, Matt. You got the chops. Kinda like Lief ... it's just the name that isn't doing me in, but I can see dropping these things in a random encounter somewhere or as part of a plot hook on the way to the actual locale where the crap is going to hit the fan.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

I haven't been keen on the name of a single monster so far and this isn't an exception but I could get used to it.

I'd like to see a lahamu and wonder where they can be found. My first thought was Vudra but I could also see these in temperate plains.

I'm liking this one so far.


I'm sorry. There are a lot of great monsters in the top 32, and the lahamu does nothing to stand out from the crowd. It certainly didn't help you that monsters that feed on their victims' psyches was something of a theme this year (along with gross and collective intelligence).

After I read all of the entries, I went back to the main RPG Superstar page and looked at the whole list of them again. I could remember the gist of just about every monster on the list, but I couldn't remember a thing about the lahamu. It didn't help that the name made me think it was going to be a cross between a lamia and a lammasu.

Your entry also could have benefited from another editing pass. "...the strongest of presence." What?

Although I panned your entry, don't get discouraged. You made it into the top 32 of a few thousand entrants, that proves you've got some serious talent. Keep honing your skills. Try again the next chance you get.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Hmmm...I thought Lamashtu when I read the name. When I got to the second sentence, the slurk briefly popped into my head (I used a Lady Gaga song to dislodge it, but now I can't get rid of that).

This needs a little bit of editing, but I knew what you were going for with "strongest of presence". Charisma-feeding monsters are somewhat rare, so that makes it stand out for me.

I'm thinking about this one.


Hmm. I'm not sure if creatures with ability drain/damage hunting in packs is a good idea as a challenge. PCs in danger from the natural attacks end up having to either drop the creatures from range or to run/hide, because taking multiple dice of hits to your Charisma in one round (and the Lahamu are indicated to prefer mobbing one or two characters) is likely to put most characters down fast. Especially if the 'latch on' attack represents that once they really get their teeth into you, they have a good chance to automatically inflict damage next round too.
Although well written, the creature doesn't really feel like it's had much thought put into its powers and abilities. If a revision is produced at any point, I would strongly recommend that the Charisma sapping attack be replaced with something else, restricted to only one or two individuals in the pack (maybe it's something to do with 'Alpha' status???), or otherwise restrained.
I also have concerns about the possible abuse of these creatures as animal companions to Druids/Rangers if the rules and a future stat-block allow.

I really don't think this creature works well as an encounter as written. A dozen or more charisma sapping monsters all at the same time are going to roll over most low-level parties, whilst being unable to retaliate against mid to high level parties able to fly above them bombarding them with missile weapons and area-effect spells. The best use I can think of for this monster might be as a small encounter with only one or two as 'guard-dogs', or perhaps with a small pack as a billed fight in a gladiatoral contest where the combatants know what's coming up and have a chance to accordingly prepare.

My overall impression is of a creature that is a wolf/leaucrotta variant with a highly problematic Charisma attack tacked on that really drags down some strong description.

Thank-you for entering this submission.

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

The lahamu name isn't the most inspired choice, as it sounds like lammasu, Lamashtu and even lamia. It's good to draw inspiration from the myths of the real world, but perhaps not when such myths have already inspired monsters that do different things than yours.

The idea that they're sadistic critters that feed on Charisma is kind of a cool one, but they really do seem like a leucrotta variant to me. They've got the hybrid animal aesthetic, the mimicry of human voices, the foul odor and habits and the malign intelligence. They're solid creatures, and well written, but the creative spark isn't quite there. These are not yet Superstars.

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

Yasha0006 wrote:

I felt a bit of the Coeurl in this too..but even so...this is a very evocative monster. It sounds like something for adventurers to dread. I get a more hyena-like than cat-like vibe...which just reinforces the worry I would have over having one of those things bite a character.

Not to mention...how much fun is it to have a monster that will go after the Bard or Sorcerer first! And not because they are lightly armored or spellcasters...but because they are the best meal!

This is a monster I could see with a Bestiary entry, certainly.

No, no, they save the bard and sorcerer for LAST, cuz they are the tasty ones. They take down the low-CHA fuglies first to stop them from protecting the pretty yum-yums.

I actually think this monster would have been absolute dynamite if you HAD made it have thousands of eyes (rather than eyes of a thousand colors). Maybe it leeches out CHA by literally "drinking you in with its eyes."

As originality goes, this feels like a vampiric leucrotta, especially if the stink-breath is not an actual ability but just flavor text. Similar habitat, similar hunting style, similar abilities, and even the appearance seemed not too far off for me.

Overall: Name is decent, writing pretty good, the abilities seem all right and all work together... but the fact that this feels to me like a leucrotta knockoff with some optional accessories holds me back from an enthusiastic endorsement.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Really don't want to diss anyone here, but this is the first monster (going down the list alphabetically, so there may be more) where I *really* don't get why Clark recommends advancement to the next round – the monster just didn't do anything for me, neither visually nor backstory-/power-wise... That said, I wish you that the rest of the audience vehemently disagrees with my opinion. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

This idea, while somewhat original, suffers from the fact that it hits the 'common theme' of this year's monster round. In comparison to the other monsters that were designed to fill this niche, your entry has a strong description, but beyond that, it isn't fleshed out too much. I agree with the comments above that this would probably need a good editor's hand.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

First of all, I love that these feels mythological rather than an extension of our "new mythology" that comes with genre. You know what I mean? D&D always made some of it's own mythologies, but this has an old real world feel.

I love the Charisma drain. Almost as if they're eating the very essence of what makes a hero stand out from the crowd.

(I also abhor Charisma Dump Stats, but its wrongbad to want to see those players punished. That's adversarial GMing and a no-no in my book. However, you can put me down as guilty of thinking about it.)

I wish you the best of luck!

PS: Names are hard.


Matthew Morris wrote:
Lahamu

A magical beast that hunts in packs and drains Charisma. Good, evocative description. It's not so weird looking as to be stupid, and I can think of several ecological niches for such a creature - perhaps they were bred to hunt down sorcerers in a forgotten war?

Vote-worthy. So far, you're the only designer to grab my attention in both rounds. We will study your career with great interest. <evil Palpatine grin>

Star Voter 2013

Pony-sized hyenas whose bites drain personality... why? I'm not sure. If it's not poison, it needs an explanation to avoid feeling tacked on. I'm not enthralled with this one, but Clark's "Aye!" does tend to carry some weight, so good luck with this round!


Praise:
Good description, small pony, dog head, cat body. Simple and to the point, if not a little muddled. Mean and nasty, with pack behavior and a possible 'Bad Breath'(a la the Malboro) weapon. I am not a huge fan of ability drain, but it is inevitable. With all the Sorceror and charisma based stuff going on, this could be a definite challenge.

Concerns:
The name is interesting, but kind of playful. Perhaps that's what you're going for, but this thing sounds evil. There are already some competitors in the feline arena(displacer beasts, coeurls), but this offers something different. Even though I know this is a solid entry, with believable and manageable mechanics, I am not grabbed. The description, though solid, is not A+.

Overall:
This seems like a neat random encounter, but overall doesn't do much for me. I could use it as a hunting partner for a woodlands villain, or just an invasive species. I see potential, your Tankard was flavorful, and filled a need no one really thought they had.


I think I like it just because it does charisma damage. That may not be the best criteria to use to judge a monster, but I like it.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

How did the author respond to the challenge? I get some sense that this would mostly fit in the "flavour text" section with the minimum obligatory naming of powers, rather than really justifying them, but as a description/tactics entry it reads well, even that the author had some fun creating it. I didn't much like how the description of its Charisma attack was handled.

How does it stack up


  • as an opponent? It's essentially still a pack carnivore, so will struggle above low levels. Charisma damage should scare players who dump low scores there.
  • as something other than an opponent? Roams the plains, eats what it can catch, not much more to it. It has something of a mediaeval-bestiary quality.
  • in relation to other monsters? Low-level wilderness monsters aren't all that diverse, so this is a valuable addition.
  • in relation to the author's item? The tankard is also low level and not very complex. I'd like to see something more ambitious if this goes through.
  • in itself? A well-described creature with a hint of vicious personality.

It's an attractive entry, maybe a bit light on ideas to show me that the author has a Superstar adventure in him.


Matthew Morris wrote:

Lahamu

cut for space

This is the ninth 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.

Pack beasts, vaguely catlike. Huh. There’s some good, evocative imagery toward the end of the paragraph. I like it’s cry. We can glean that it’s “malignantly intelligent”.

Powers:
*It sprints forward. (Aha! Well, it’s not lurking in the ground.)
*It seeks the strongest presence. (Huh?)
*It can feed on the psyche of any living being. (Wis drain? Cha drain? Int drain? All three? Something else?)
*bite damages body and charisma (Ah, there we go. Okay cool.)
*leaves the target dazed (an underutilized option actually, so good choice)
*it doesn’t need to feed on sentients, it just likes to (mm-kay, I think that belongs up under the description)

Summary: This fits well into being “a monster”. It’s evil, it likes to just devour and torment sentient creatures, and it hunts in packs. Okay. It’s simple. It’s solid. From a technical perspective, this really hit all the important marks of the rules, and it doesn't toss a lot of stuff out there without tying it all together. I think I would have liked more about its wail, or something a bit more distinctive to it. Oddly, I think if this entry had been expanded it would have more to it that I could find interesting. I’ll put this aside and come back to it later to see how I feel after I review the other 23.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Matthew Morris wrote:

Lahamu

Description: They are led by the strongest female, who chooses her mates from her pack.

As opposed to what other option exactly? (I know you can't comment yet, but I was interested in hearing your thoughts on this more when you can comment.)

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

My thoughts on the lahamu...

The Name: The name is similar to "lamia" and "lammasu," but "daemon" is similar to "demon," too. In fact, I rather like that "lahamu" is similar to "lamia," because my first thought upon reading its description was that a lahamu would make a great pet for a lamia.

The Description: A bit straightforward, but there isn't much room when describing something that is suppose to look similar to a mundane animal. Like others, I originally misread the line about thousand-colored eyes, leading me to believe that the lahamu has thousands of colorful eyes. I only noticed my mistake upon my second read through the submission.

The Powers: Like its appearance, the lahamu's powers are very straightforward, but that's part of its charm. Too many monsters have made the error I made when designing my villain last year and stuck in one too many disparate powers. The lahamu avoids that pitfall by picking one niche that isn't very well covered (Charisma damage) and sticking to it. Of course, it might have been a slight bit cooler if it did have a thousand eyes that gave it all-round sight, but that would just have been icing on the plain but quite tasty chocolate cake.

The Buzz: A few posters have mentioned that lahamus bear a close physical resemblance to leucrottas, and I have to agree with them. On the other hand, there are also real-world animals which bear a physical resmblance to the leucrotta, so I'm not holding it against you. Just be careful in the future to avoid sounding too close to something that's already been done.

The Vote: It's not powerful or shiny, but it quietly and dutifully fills a niche. Plus, it would make a nice pet for a lamia. This is one of eight monsters that I will be considering when it comes time for me to vote.


I just wanted to tell you that I understood the strongest presence line. I took it as descriptive flavor, not a game mechanic.

I also like the charisma damage. This creature feels like a CR 3 to me. It's basically a 1 trick (small) pony, but low CR monsters won't have a dozen powers.

Well, that's not really fair. It has a weasel-like attach power too. OK, it's a 2 trick small pony-like creature.

This is a decent creature, and I could certainly see it in a bestiary. I'm just not certain it's "superstar". I think I might have liked it better if it was smaller. Still more to read before I know who I'm voting for.


Matthew Morris wrote:

Lahamu

I like the Lamahu because it's tightly designed and well described.

Everything fits in it's place and the description nearly makes it come alive. This has a very real feeling to it.
So it's no problem to see the lamahu in any campaign.
I also like it's charisma draining power, because it's not only something new, but it makes the creature behave in a new, interesting way ( a predator that's targeting charismatic targets first)

Creativity/Innovation

The Lamahu belongs in a well populated niche, but it easily finds its place among its peers ( like the worg, leucrotta, and other intelligent predators) because it does something new and doesn't simply imitate whats come before. I like both the interesting visuals and the nifty powers of this creature and how well they fit together.

Tilt:
The Lamahu is a fairly mundane critter, having its place at the lower end of the Cr spectrum. I was looking for great, unusual ideas in this contest. This is hared to do in these categories, but all the greater if one manages to do it. You really got me interested in the lamahu, but failed to get me exited enough to get up and start tossing around ideas.

I'm considering you for a vote and if I had more then 4 I would vote for you for sure.
Anyway I wish you good luck in this contest and hope you'll advance.

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

I liked the name - it fits in well with lots of other weird magical beast monster names like the leucrotta, manticore, etc. The fact that it reminds me of Lamshtu as well being hyenalike sounding in description made me want a connection to the goddess from Golarion and gnolls. Since no world specific content was allowed in R2, I was dissapointed that it wasn't mentioned as allying with gnolls.

Overall, it's a well written entry, that gives a strong description of the creature, and a good view into where it fits in the world. While the charisma draining bite (and possible grab ability based on it's teeth) is a potentially deadly combo and a change from the standard monster attack types, overall I get the sense that the stat block for this monster wouldn't be all that interesting (it's a leopard or wolf with a supernatural Cha drain bite - done!)

I'm torn about voting for the Lamahu. I like your writing from both rounds, and think you might have one of the best described monsters in R2, but the monster itself isn't as innovative as I would like to have seen.

Star Voter 2013

with a little editing the description could have been tightened up, and at the same time possibly freeing up the word count.

"Eyes of a thousand various colors" needs some editing, not totally sure on the amount of eyes this thing has

"malign intelligence" To me this seems like a predator, does it need to be evilly intelligent?

"Lahamu often hunt in packs..." Probably should have been the start of a new paragraph

"When a potential meal is spotted" Meal or Victim remember this creature has a malign intelligence

"Lahamu hunt by scent, unaffected by the stench of their rancid breath." the description of the breath seems out of place, and why is the breath rancid? Theres no mention of it being a carrion eater or having a saliva/poision attack

"Capable of sudden bursts of speed... to take out the strongest of presence." is presence the right word? maybe I'm reading it wrong

"While it can feed on the psyche of any living being, it prefers sentient beings for their taste." Would kill while and edit this a bit

"It feeds on charisma, leaving the target dazed, making for an easy meal that is still aware of what is happening." this is little clumsy to me a little editing would make this much tighter

"It doesn’t need to feed on the flesh of its prey. It just enjoys the taste." You just got finished talking about the prey, should have used 'the Lahamu' instead of 'it'. I think the period after 'prey' should have been a comma, But I aint no expert

While this is a well worded submission, I think it has failings. The description sounds like a saber tooth lion that can eat psyche if it really wanted to. While it could easily be put into play, Im not sure of its use, or a niche for it to occupy.

Paizo Employee Developer

I like the idea of this and think it's a nice twist on a classic concept. You mix the psychic vampire elements with the more bestial aspects, like its locking bite, creepy howl, and charging attack. As cool as the concept is, I don't feel like it's fully fleshed out, though, as if this is just the framework on which the monster will be based. There are some really cool sounding abilities that are merely mentioned but never really explained, like the breath and bite. Expansion there and in the ecology would really improve the piece. Best of luck and congrats on making the top 32 two years in a row. I can't wait to see what you can do in later rounds.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

Does it grab me visually: The creature’s cry is a striking mental image, especially as the pack closes in and the players realize that the “mother” they were going to help isn’t a damsel in distress at all. My brain has trouble putting together the image of a canine head on a feline body.

Would I use it in game: Yes. Attacking charisma makes me happy. And the rest of the creature’s abilities put this all into a nice tight package that I would love to run.

Would my players enjoy an encounter with it: Yes. There would be a very tense table as soon as the first character lost some Charisma. Half of the players would realize that they will lose their abilities and the other half would realize that Charisma shouldn’t have been their dump stat.

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

Well since Dennis has cornered the market on haikyu...

Today is now officially Monday
At five the voting ends today
Thanks for your votes
I’ve taken lots of notes
Elaboration is well on its way.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Parts of it's appearance I like and parts seem bland.

I like it's Charisma Drain and other abilities seem to be in synch.

I'm going to put it into my Keep pile for the moment.
Good Luck! :)

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

Just to let everyone know, I'll post my notes after 5:00 tonight, sicne I'll know then one way or the other if I can post stats as well, but I want to say this...

I got a psionic critter past Clark :-)

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

How we got here, the lahamu.

Concept: “It doesn’t need to feed on the flesh of its prey. It just enjoys the taste.” That lovely poetic phrase came to me in the shower (most of my ideas involve hot water beating down on me). So I wanted to build a monster around it.

Appearance: Pliny the Elder is your friend. Basic image: charisma eating psionic saber-toothed hyena. Well I wanted to avoid hyena. So I went to Pliny and thought about how to best use the descriptions. His description of the eyes caught me, so I paraphrased it and applied it to the entire species. (so as to it having 2 eyes or 1000, it’s all Latin to me) I decided that mixing aspects of cat and dog would be the best way to describe it, and to make it more striking. One writing tip I did remember was to appeal to all the senses, thus remembering to include its cry and the smell of its breath. It doesn’t have any special abilities with either, I figure since it enjoys the taste of meat, it doesn’t have to stop chewing for a while, thus the breath. Since the Hyena laughs, I thought despair would be a good diversion from the “Funky magic hyena vibe.” Also I’ll admit, the wailing and lamentations of the survivors in the recent Haitian quake were still in my ears. Pliny talks about the hyena imitating voices, so I wanted to avoid that trope entirely.

Abilities: Yes Virginia, there are psionics. Give me a moment to savour that I got a psionic monster past Clark… *sigh* such moments pass quickly. I tried to dance around saying ‘Charisma’ since too many people get hung up on Charisma = Beauty. Eventually I gave up frustrated. It doesn’t eat the beauty; it eats the individuality, the strength of presense. It would ignore a dozen generic supermodels to munch on Billy Mayes. To feed I looked at the Ego Whip power.
That seemed to be a good ‘healthy’ feed rate. I ‘nerfed’ the ego whip aspect by adding a bite attack being required. If it wasn’t evil, it likely would leave the victim laying there, to slowly recover the damage while it found fresh prey. (Though I’d assume that scavengers follow packs of lahamu from a distance, looking for left-overs).

Name: What to name our psionic saber-toothed hyena? Well naming it after an ex-wife would be fun, but no one would vote for the “Holly-monster” would they? So I went older. Looking at some translations of Babylonian texts, I decided that the spawn of Tiamat, Lahamu and Lahmu would work. I chose the Lahamu name, it part because I liked the sound and in part because of the closeness to Lamashtu. Lamia/Lammasu never occurred to me. (Then again neither did the lecroutta.) I was worried that someone would point out that Tiamat’s Lahamu looks nothing like mine. *shrug*

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Congratulations!

Whoohoo! Welcome to Top 16!


Hmm. Congratulations on making it to the top 16 this time, but please try not to be too clever. You may have intended this to be a psionic related monster, but it didn't come over that way (possibly fortunately for your vote... ;) )
I am interested to see what you will do with someone else's entry, and think you perhaps have a good chance here to make the top 8. (Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It means you won't be able to make the contest three years running unless they change the rules, hmm...)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Matthew:
First of all, congratulations on making it to the Top 16. I thought I would wait until after the voting for Round Two ended before offering any commentary or advice. And I'm going to come at it a little differently, in that I'm not going to focus primarily on your design this round. Rather, I'm going to have a go at examining your entire portfolio to this point to sort of assess what you've done well, where you could shore up a few things in your overall design and writing, and then give you some more pointed advice on stuff you could showcase in future rounds to maybe improve your chances of going all the way to the end. So, with that in mind, here goes:

Spoiler:

I really liked your tankard of the cheerful duelist and thought it was easily one of the Top 5 of Round One. That said, I also liked the Lahamu, but not nearly as much. The name "Lahamu" didn't do much to get me salivating. And the description of its ecological niche and powers/abilities were well put together. There just wasn't enough in there to jazz it up to a level that screamed RPG Superstar...and I suspect that's why a fair number of voters didn't look at it as strongly as many of the other monster concepts drew them.

So, when I look at your mastery of language and descriptive prose, I think you're good. And, when I look at your rules-fu mastery, I think you're good. When I look at the tankard of the cheerful duelist, I think you have a good core concept and execution of your idea. But, when I look at the Lahamu, I just don't see the same strength in your core idea...and so that hearkens back to your design decisions around what you believe will appeal to the voting public. In that sense, I think you need to rediscover your mojo...but not just what inspires you...as I think you also need to assess what inspires the people who are voting. Pay particular attention to what they liked and didn't like about certain aspects of each design (and not just your own). Also assess what people like and dislike about Paizo's various products, as they're the same people who are voting in this contest. If you can more fully identify with them, I think you'll be able to match your ideas with a higher level of perceived innovation...and then rely on your strengths in game mechanics and writing talent to bring it home for you.

Now, looking forward at the remaining rounds of the competition, I think you need to assess how you can best distinguish yourself from here on out. Round Three is certainly going to need you to display your rules-fu in the stat-block execution. But, you've also got an opportunity to choose a monster that really inspires you to take it in a direction with some interpretation of its special abilities and powers that will catch everyone's eye. That's what will help you stand out and regain your footing.

Best of luck,
--Neil

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congratulations! I do not have notes on the Lahamu, so I must have missed it originally, but here goes..

Visual: 12 Charisma
Creativity: 15 Intelligence
Would I use it: 12 Dex
Overall: 12 Strength

I cool pony that drains charisma. OK but I do not see a lot of use for it. Ability drains are difficult to overcome at low levels and nonconsequential at higher levels. If you really meant for this to be psionics, then you have broken the rules as it would not fit in a generic campaign. For future writing focus on what you did here though, create something we have not seen a lot of--charisma draining pony herds fall into the nearly unique category.

Good luck and congratulations.

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

<removed post>


(edited)
Curaigh:
They're only the size of small ponies. They have feline bodies and canine heads.


Curaigh wrote:
If you really meant for this to be psionics, then you have broken the rules as it would not fit in a generic campaign.

False. The rules say it must be "world-neutral". That means it cannot be Golarion-specific (ie, it can't be a monster that crawled out of the Worldwound, etc). There's nothing in the rules against psionic monsters. That'd be rather silly of Paizo since they have psionic monsters in the Bestiary.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Zurai wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
If you really meant for this to be psionics, then you have broken the rules as it would not fit in a generic campaign.
False. The rules say it must be "world-neutral". That means it cannot be Golarion-specific (ie, it can't be a monster that crawled out of the Worldwound, etc). There's nothing in the rules against psionic monsters. That'd be rather silly of Paizo since they have psionic monsters in the Bestiary.

My apologies for that. I was going off the line:

Submission is a science fiction, steampunk, or some other genre creature that could not reasonably be a part of a standard fantasy roleplaying game, and for me psionics are a genre and not standard fantasy. Throwback to my 1E days I suppose.

Yes I see the canine head/feline body, but pony+herd+quadruped translated to pony for me. I could have been more specific, but was trying to keep it short. :) Though this did not get my vote I found it an original concept and it was in my top half. So I will reiterate the first and last lines:

CONGRATULATIONS!


Curaigh wrote:
for me psionics are a genre and not standard fantasy.

Like I said, there's psionic critters in the Bestiary. The Neothelid in particular is rather blatant about it, having "Mind Thrust" and "Psychic Crush" as special abilities, plus a bunch of psionic-style spell-like abilities. I just wanted to point out for posterity that the Lahamu did not break any rules. Nothing against you not liking Psionics (or not considering them Fantasy, whichever) :)

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Zurai wrote:
... I just wanted to point out for posterity that the Lahamu did not break any rules. :)

agreed, for the reasons you listed. Sorry if it sounded like I was coming down harsh :)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'm not sure what "to take out the strongest of presence" means.

I think it's the "fluff" side. The "crunch" side of this sentence (which I would fully expect to see in a full stat block for this creature) might read "In the first round of combat, the Lahamu attacks the character with the highest Charisma score."

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

Here are the stats I made for the lahamu. They're not math checked, and I didn't post them prior to the end of round 3 as I didn't want to bias people towards or against Jesse's entry.

Mechanics: When designing the lahamu, I looked to the level that I felt comfortable with, the 4-9 range. By making it a 7 HD monster, I put one right in the CR 5-6 range. It’s a bit small for its hit dice (the hyaenodon is 4 HD) but larger than a hyena. The bite damage would be comparable due to the saber-tooth part, and the implications of multiple ego whip attacks in the same round would be moderated by them now being physical attacks (so a pack of lahamu is still a threat to a party, but they can’t just surround the target at 30’ and ego whip spam him)

So, what we have for monster stats…

Lahamu CR 6

NE Medium magical beast (psionic)
Init: +2; Senses: darkvision 60 ft., low light vision, scent;
Defense
AC: 16, touch 12, flat footed 14 (+2 dex, +4 natural)
hp 60 (7d10+21)
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +4
Offense:
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite + 10 (1d8+5 plus special)
Special attacks: Ego whip, improved grab
Statistics:
Str 16, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 12
Base atk +6; CMB +10 (+14 with grab); CMD 22
Feats: Ability Focus (Ego whip), Skill Focus (Perception, Stealth), Toughness
Skills: Perception + 10, Stealth + 6 (+10 in tall grass or heavy undergrowth); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth in tall grass

Ecology
Environment warm plains

Organization solitary, pair or pack (2-6)

Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
Ego Whip (Su) On a successful bite attack, the lahamu drains charisma from the target, doing 2d4 points of charisma damage and dazing the target for 1 round. A successful save (DC 15) does only half damage and negates the daze. The save is charisma based and includes the +2 modifier for the lahamu’s ability focus feat. This is a mind affecting ability.
Grab (Ex) The lahamu may start a grapple as a free action on a successful bite attack. Every round the lahamu maintains the grapple it may use its ego whip on its turn. The lahamu may attempt a grab on creatures up to large size.
Hustle (Su) As a swift action, the lahamu may make an additional move action on its turn. It may use this ability 3 times a day.

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