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RPG Superstar 2015

Lantern Thrall


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

1 to 50 of 82 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Lantern Thrall
Description At a distance, framed against the midday glare and the shifting dunes, they might seem human. But make no mistake: as they come close, or as night descends, their distinctive features are apparent: their bodies are transparent as smoked glass and incandescent with the powerful magic they share with one another.

Once, each was indeed human: a tribesman, merchant or raider. But each had come upon an oasis and had taken ease along its shore. The janni who made that oasis her home grew wrathful and opened portals from the elemental planes into their bodies. She seated there, amidst bone and sinew, minor spirits called mephits, through whose influence she now commands the creatures’ never-ending service. She named them her Fawan’abd, or Lantern Thralls.

The thralls are found traversing the desert, making their way through the city markets along its rim, or searching the streets of its sand-covered ruins, single-mindedly going about their assigned tasks, always in small packs. They speak no more than necessary, but careful observers might catch a flicker of horror in their shining eyes.

Powers and Abilities Lantern thralls have at their disposal the physical qualities of their host bodies, hearty to endure the desert and handy with tools and weapons. They retain but fragments of their human minds, barely enough to recognize former friends.

In addition, the mephit which shackles each thrall’s will also grants a particular boon: for example, an air mephit drives its thrall to race with the swiftness of a horse, while a salt mephit heals its thrall’s wounds and an ash mephit’s thrall confuses its foes. And each thrall shares its gift with all fellow thralls upon whom its light shines, making a pack of Fawan’abd far more capable than its separate members.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

I like these, possessing mephit spirits. A different take on the usual infernal/demonic/undead sorts of possession. Good Arabian adventures flavor, too. I'm a littl unclear on the last sentence but it sounds like a system whereby they can advance and share their powers amongst each other, creating a multitude of unique types of encounters with different members of this monster race--or even the same member if met at some later time. A good recurring adversary type of set-up. If that is the case, that is way cool.

Contributor

This seems more like a template to me than an actual race of monster. Do all of these originate from one specific janni at one specific oasis, or are there multiple sources? I ask because your typical janni doesn't have the power to do anything like that. And if it's from one specific janni, what is her goals--for what purpose does she command them? Basically, this creature is a lot of background, but I don't know much about its goals and motivation.

Also, this is also multiple kinds of monsters rather than just one. You have the air mephit-infused guy, salt mephit-infused guy, and so on. It would be like submitting a writeup of a "dragon," and mentioning that there are red, white, black, and other colors, each with their own sets of powers.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Maybe it's just my love of some of the quirkier aspects of the Planescape setting, but it's very difficult for me to take anything mephit related seriously. Even these, I don't see them as being a very serious almost half-elemental group of races like I think was intended, but more mephits in control of humanoid bodies, which seems pretty comedic to me.

Also, do these things actually look different than normal humans? I hope so, but don't know.

Regardless, I hope Mr. Mortika will be around for some of the more prose heavy challenges!

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

Initial Impression: Son, you can write. I’ll just say that right now. And your writing hooked me into your monster. Let’s see if you can deliver on the good impression your first few lines created…

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): C-
I’m not sure what your monster is, and that is a problem. It seems like it is either some template or actually some type of mephit. I have to admit, I don’t understand your monster and that is not good for this round, as that was the core of the task—convey to us the concept of a new monster. Pitch it to us. I think you failed to do that. But boy oh boy did you wrap that failure up real good. While you don’t describe your monster properly, I sure feel I have the idea of the monster down and the story behind it. That counts for something. Like a couple others, this feels like a first draft. I get the sense you perhaps didn’t have the time you needed to find this monster all the way.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): B-
I think the way you detail the powers (or fail to do it) actually highlights the problem with your monster—that you don’t really know what it is. It’s a servitor creature/template/mephit. When you detail that the monster’s powers depend on the mephit behind it, that kind of shows there is a problem in my view.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): B+
Despite all its shortcomings (and some may even say fatal shortcomings) I am strangely drawn to your monster and I have to admit that.

Overall: C+
It will be up to the voters to decide if your evocative prose and story ideas overcome the failure, in my view, to find and submit a proper monster. I love your writing, but I just can’t support the advancement of this submission.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this creature advance.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thanks for taking the time for the critique, gentlemen, and for your kind words. I look forward to seeing what questions or comments other folk have, and I look forward to being able to address your concerns as the competition moves on.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Darkjoy

I too get a template vibe from this monster.


Chris Mortika wrote:
...And each thrall shares its gift with all fellow thralls upon whom its light shines, making a pack of Fawan’abd far more capable than its separate members.

[ccg humour] Arrrgh! Sliver deck! Die, die, die! [/ccg humour]

Apologies for the inappropriate humour there, but I hate Sliver decks in Magic: the Gathering. Sliver decks feature crazy creatures which share their abilities with all other creatures of the same type, and whilst one sliver isn't that scary, a dozen of the things which are all flying, fire-breathing, trample with +x/+x where x is the number of other slivers in play are a problem.

Anyway, to come back to your creature, I'm not sure you've thought about what could happen if you're not careful in statting these things and stack the abilities of half a dozen different Lantern Thralls together. It could get quite messy, I'm not sure how you'd accurately rate the CR of mixed groups, and the book-keeping involved... <shudder>

I'm not clear what type of creatures lantern thralls are supposed to be. They resemble humanoids but are transparent and shine. Do they need to eat and drink any more? Or breathe?

The possibilities for use of lantern thralls in encounters seem a bit limited to me. I get the impression that PCs aren't likely to bump into them except in or around a desert that these creatures' mistress dwells in.
Nice writing and back-story though.

My overall impression is of good use of language, but a bit thin on some detail, and the distinguishing feature of this creature whilst novel to RPGs (in my experience) is potentially highly problematic.

Thanks for submitting this creature.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As stated, this feels more like an (Arabian-style) adventure seed than a creature. That being said, it's a good adventure seed...I'm already trying to think of how to steal^H^H^H^H^Hintegrate this into my Katapesh Nights campaign...but it's not a complete creature description.

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

The descriptive prose is a cut above what I've read so far, but I don't see a full creature here. Like others have said, this seems to be a template. I'll have to think on this one some more.


I will add that these seem very useful creatures if you have a group which enjoys tactical battles and questions of 'should we go for the orange one which gives them all SR, the green one which gives them all fast-healing, or the violet one which makes them all poisonous?'

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I like this, but it definitely strikes me as a template rather than an actual monster.

IMO symbiotes, regardless of origins, are templates by definition.


Humanoids made of glowing glass. I love it.

I like the idea of a pack creature which forces the party to think tactically. How can we drive them apart so they no longer share abilities? Can we magically dim their light to limit their range of influence on one another? Which Thrall should we gang up on first because his attribute is the most dangerous?

I suspect the fact that the description doesn't outline all the variations is partially a result of the word limit and partially been meant to be left as an exercise for the student, as it were.

I also loved the "...but careful observers might catch a flicker of horror in their shining eyes." Anyone can create a monster with a "yuck" factor, but to create dangerous creature that can still invoke a sense of pathos? That's wonderful.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thank you for the kind words, delabarre, taig, Charles, and LadyL. (And LL, welcome to the message boards. Lillith is perhaps swamped these days with all the new folks, but she'll be by with a plate of cookies shortly.)

Scarab Sages

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Also, do these things actually look different than normal humans? I hope so, but don't know.

Not to be argumentative, but the first two sentences are make clear they don't look like normal humans. Just sayin'.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
This seems more like a template to me than an actual race of monster.

Maybe, but a template that can only be applied to a specific creature type (humanoid) that yields a specific result (lantern thrall). To me it feels more like the result of an elemental version of animate dead, and I think we can all agree that zombies and skeletons aren't classically (in the contemporary sense) identified as templates.

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
I hope Mr. Mortika will be around for some of the more prose heavy challenges!

Me too!

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

I'm going to peel away from the pack of judges and say that I like these guys. Unlike a lot of descriptive names, this one makes sense--they wouldn't have names for themselves, and it flows well. No compounds. The glassy skin, helpless horror in the eyes and the lights of their lanterns giving the rest of them buffs are pretty good details. Although adjudicating the effects of multiple overlapping lanterns might end up being tricky for the DM.

I could see this going either way on the template/monster scale. They very well could be multiple monsters the way there are multiple mephits, only the special abilities changing. Or they could be a template given to a humanoid who retains his class levels. Considering that only fragments of the mind remain, I'm leaning to them being an actual monster.

The one thing I dislike about them is that they're all the creation of a specific individual. They should be more pervasive than that. After all, if their mistress dies, there will be no more ever, and they'd be written out of the campaign. Which might be good for one game in which they're a plot-relevant threat, but for a monster with wide application, that's not so good. If the original mistress was long dead but the knowledge of their creation had spread, or the knowledge of their creation has been sold to the highest bidders through the centuries, that'd make them more usable.

That aside, the lantern thrall is evocative and intriguing. Welcome to my short list.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

This is another monster that I could see being good- even great- based on the mechanical execution. It depends on how elegantly the writer can pull of the various "mephit powers" (with only one statblock), and on how much bookeeping it takes once mixed groups start sharing them with eachother. If each kind of 'mephit-light' is complex, with multiple powers or qualities, this would be a nightmare. If they're elegant and easy to handle then you've got a really fun encounter on your hands ("Quick, kill the blue one so they stop flying!").

Silver Crusade

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

I like the concept, but I found other monsters which were more well-designed (this probably should be a template, I'd say). If I had more than four votes, you probably would have got one, nonetheless.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

This was so close... I wanted to love it. The writing is just great. But my first and final thought on the mechanics has already been succinctly stated:

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Arrrgh! Sliver deck! Die, die, die!

While not so blatant and open-ended as the Corpse Stitcher, these guys suffer the same malady.

You'd better advance without my vote, though. I'd miss you in Round 3. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The prose, while nice in itself, feels strangely out of place in a monster description. At the very least, it diverges from the established format - always a risky endeavour.

Your description leaves me puzzled. You are trying to describe the Lantern Thrall itself, but then mix that up with mephits. So, I don't really know if a Lantern Thrall ist just a mephit in another body, or if it's a creature 'merged' from the mephit and its host.

Also, the glassy skin. Are they completely translucent? If so, wouldn't people notice SOMETHING is wrong with them?

One last problem I see is that you provided little in the way of how these creatures interact with the PCs, besides the fact that they could be met in a city and have a helpless, beseeching look in their eyes. More could have been done in this department.

All in all, I hope you make it to the next round, because you've got the necessary creativity. It's just the execution that falls flat for me this time. Best of luck!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thanks Tom, Demiurge, Nicolas, I appreciate the words of support, and I where your concerns are coming from, Likas, and Dance. (And Lief, all I've got for your first thought is a raised eyebrow and a little smile.) Seriously, I appreciate all your comments, and I thank you for your time and consideration.

I'm looking forward to the follow-through.

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

I like the description; the prose is nicely evocative. I think my biggest issue with them is not so much their maybe-template status but the fact that they seem specifically and uniquely bound to one creator. There's no implied or stated method of reproduction, so all Lantern Thralls must come from this person; if they don't all come from her, then the fluff about her becomes superfluous.

I actually rather like the idea of overlapping buffs from the lantern light of different thralls; while it could be a pain to adjudicate at the table, it's no more so than if you had a bunch of low-level spellcasters using various buff spells.

The creature does raise the question of whether this is a single monster or a bundle of different ones; this feels a little more varied than just slapping different breath weapons on a chimera, but maybe it's not really. I can see this critique, but it doesn't bother me much.

Here's the thing, though: What this feels like is a very cool scenario (about the scale of a PFS adventure) where the janni (with whatever extra mojo lets her create these monsters) is the villain and these are her unique minions, like the fellnight spriggans in Neil's winning adventure from last year, who are the "ooh cool" mooks that serve Rhoswen the Fellnight Queen. The problem is that they are cool for THAT adventure; they don't seem like monsters that should exist outside the confines of that adventure, because no one else is creating them.

Overall: Neat idea, great prose that dances along the edge of purple but only slips over a coupla times, an interesting mechanic for overlapping buffs... but overall I'm not sure it finds its heart and its focus as a monster, and the text makes them seem too specialized and uniquely tied to specific origin to have broad appeal as monsters.

Close, but not quite there.

Scarab Sages

Cool idea, but I'm not convinced the text follows through.

Mephits does detract from the seriousness based on prior history of the game - any other original name would have been better, especially an Arabic sounding one.

On the other hand, I know EXACTLY where these fit in my home game. And man, will they freak out my players...

Star Voter 2013

Respectfully, give me a break! Whatever the mechanics say, zombies and vampires and ghosts are monsters, even though they're technically templates. The idea that this entry should be marked down for indicating its potential for expansion seems to be a bit perverse. Most monster have multiple examples, from elf to giant to construct to golem. By this rationale, the recent AP tieflings would not be a monster because of the variety of effects.

Is there a strong thematic component that unites them as a monster is the real question: a vampire is a vampire, no matter whether it's a vampire cleric or one of Sean's vampire dragons. I say yes: a common source, a common effect (possession), a common appearance and even a common environment, which some of the above examples don't have.

I don't find this template objection remotely convincing and I hope the voters would disregard it. I would vote on the merits of the submission. Ambition shouldn't be punished.

Star Voter 2013

Dance of Ruin wrote:


Also, the glassy skin. Are they completely translucent? If so, wouldn't people notice SOMETHING is wrong with them?

In a desert setting, most people wear clothes that cover most of their body in public, due to the perils of sun exposure. That would solve that problem nicely. Once you notice their beseeching eyes and glassy skin, it's too late.


A beautifully written concept that does in-fact come off more like a template; however, I don't think template is what you intended. You really meant for the mephit to completely take over the host, probably even driving out the spirit.

This is a monster, but I'm afraid you spent so much time in the description that you left out some important details.

In fact, I felt like it ended rather abruptly; almost as if there were more sentences that were supposed to follow that would wrap up the questions we were left with.

Great job. I'd like to see more. I'm not sure where I stand on my vote on it yet.

Ken


roguerouge wrote:

Whatever the mechanics say, zombies and vampires and ghosts are monsters, even though they're technically templates.

I echo Roguerouge here. While I also get a template vibe, I don't have a problem with it.

Nor do I have a problem with the use of mephits. Since I've never used them in a game, I don't have the preconceived notion of what a mephit should act like. Regardless, if Pathfinder re-invented goblins, why not mephits?

Additionally, limiting the scope of this creature isn't a deal-breaker to me either. Not every monster is found in a forest, and as long as it's more common than the terrasque, I don't see what the problem is.

Someone mentioned slivers. Yes, slivers do this, but I like slivers.

However, I can't help thinking that nailing down a CR will be tough. One of these might be about as tough as an orc. Ten DIFFERENT Lantern Thralls will be MUCH tougher than ten orcs.

You are in contention for my vote, but my concerns about the CR are still an issue in my mind.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Also, do these things actually look different than normal humans? I hope so, but don't know.

Sounds like.... sort of?

Chris Mortika wrote:
they might seem human. But make no mistake: as they come close, or as night descends, their distinctive features are apparent: their bodies are transparent as smoked glass and incandescent..
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
.... stack the abilities of half a dozen different Lantern Thralls together. It could get quite messy, I'm not sure how you'd accurately rate the CR of mixed groups, and the book-keeping involved... <shudder>

A scary thought indeed!

Chris Mortika wrote:
but careful observers might catch a flicker of horror in their shining eyes....They retain but fragments of their human minds....

To calm my fears, I like to imagine they are slightly crazy, and, if they are kept in packs too long, they might just decide to try and set the fragments of each other's mind free. The mephits might try to keep them in smaller, easier to control groups, where it might be easier to make sure JoeShmoeMephit doesn't lose control of his glass lantern thrall thing and let it go berserk on everyone else there.

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Regardless, I hope Mr. Mortika will be around for some of the more prose heavy challenges!

Me too!


Praise:
Wow, where to start? There's a lot going on here, Chris, and none of it bad. I like the back story, but it's a huge risk. I love your descriptive style. It's fantastic, and I would love to see some short fiction(which I assume you write). I think you ended it just in time, any more would have been excessive. The attention to detail very much sets this apart from other entries, without being overly detail-oriented. The idea of variable powers is both a boon and a curse...

Concerns:
Because at it's heart, this is a mephit-based template. It's a neat mephit-based template, but it's a template. This is not exactly cause for immediate DQ in my book, but it's bordering that. The complication in determining and statting out each mephit-type would make this a nightmare to run more than one type. It also seems to indicate that it uses the statistics of it's base creature. You are essentially creating a new monster from scratch every time you want to run this, and that's bad. In addition, these are pack creatures, so an additional layer of complexity exists. This is a bookkeeping nightmare.

Overall:
As I assume has been said, this is, in essence, a template. It's a really cool template, but not without it's flaws. Like your Sublime Phial, this entry shows a high level of creativity and writing ability. Like your Sublime Phial, this just missed the mark of "amazing", but is still sitting at "pretty great".

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I too hope that Chris makes it to the next round.

There's not much I can say without beating a dead horse. Template. Seems like an excellent singular adventure idea.

The writing is superb however. I don't know. I've talked to a friend and I have to agree.. this is definitely one I'm struggling with (in the sense I want to support it based on author's obvious potential).

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thanks, rougerogue, ken, Jason, Sara Marie, caith, and Jim.

I seem to have written a contentious entry. Honestly, that makes me happy, because it invites smart people to have a serious discussion about different aspects of the game.

caith wrote:
I love your descriptive style. It's fantastic, and I would love to see some short fiction(which I assume you write).

You are very kind! Not in many a year. Mostly, I've spent my time on Earth teaching math and English composition. These days, I develop math items for ACT and help people with their taxes. For creative outlets, I play music --hamered dulcimer and Baroque guitar-- and paint miniatures. And play D&D, of course.

Jason Rice wrote:


However, I can't help thinking that nailing down a CR will be tough. One of these might be about as tough as an orc. Ten DIFFERENT Lantern Thralls will be MUCH tougher than ten orcs.

You are in contention for my vote, but my concerns about the CR are still an issue in my mind.

Thanks for the nice words, Jason. If you're curious to see how I address the topic of Challenge Rating, you know what you have to do.

(I admit, this "vote for me" vibe feels very odd for someone with a Midwestern reticence to draw attention to oneself. Really, folks, cast your votes as you like; I'd be honored if that were to include my work. Considering the calibre of the entries this year, I'd be very honored.)

And Jim, thanks very much for your good wishes. Returned emphatically.

Scarab Sages

This turned out to be my fifth most favorite, which is one short of getting a vote.

I think the best route to avoiding "it's a template" would have been to give them all the same powers, rather than tying them to the motivating mephit.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thanks for your consideration in any case, Patrick. I'll be happy to discuss the rest of your post next week.


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

I think people are putting too much weight on the idea that you have to stat out each mephit. You don't. At all.

Looks to me like the only difference between thralls is one power based on the type of mephit animating it. That's... let me see... what, eight possible varieties at max, each probably no more than one or two lines? (I can't recall just how many different elemental, paraelemental, and quasielemental planes had attached mephits at the moment, so I may be off here.)

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

Jason Rice wrote:


However, I can't help thinking that nailing down a CR will be tough. One of these might be about as tough as an orc. Ten DIFFERENT Lantern Thralls will be MUCH tougher than ten orcs.

You are in contention for my vote, but my concerns about the CR are still an issue in my mind.

Hehe... this got me thinking... (always dangerous!) So suppose that certain lantern thralls don't get along with other types. Example: For some reason the ones controlled by Salt Mephits get into fights with the ones controlled by Air Mephits. So you'll never have groups with ten different types, because the thralls from each type of mephit would just fight each other.

I love how this monster invite a lot of room for playing with different factors. Prevents the monster from becoming stale or too static.


This is definitely getting my vote, and not just because I think Chris is a great DM. :-)

I had written up a long post earlier, just to have it 'eaten' and disappear :-(

This entry really takes top spot in writing quality, to the extent that I think some people are reacting to it not taking the approach of a 'generic Bestiary monster', but instead having a more story-enmeshed approach appropriate for an AP-specific monster. Given Paizo's main business is publishing AP's, I really don't see a problem with that, and in fact this approach/demonstrated facility makes me expect even greater things from Chris at further stages of the context, where more scope is given for interactions of PCs, monsters, setting & story.

To anybody complaining about it 'being a Template', THAT IS NOT AGAINST THE RULES even if it were a Template.
Complaints that it doesn't detail the agenda or motivation of their mistress/creator seem off-base: those don't really seem like things that need to be in the description of a minion monster.
Why can they "blend in" (or pass thru) cities while being translucent like smoked glass? Well, people in middle eastern cultures from which this monster obviously draws upon often wear extensive head and face coverings which would probably make concealing their inhuman nature much easier. And if somebody notices, the most common result would be "mommy, that man is wierd..." and the Thrall would move on.

As others have mentioned, the bit about Mephits was the only thing that felt slightly off (though connecting it with standard, known creatures/ecology seems like a good thing in my eyes). The problem for me wasn't so much the "silliness" of Mephits per se, but I wasn't sure how to visualize it: were the Mephits 'impregnated' inside the bodies, 'pulling the levers' as it were? Or is it a non-local effect, with the Mephits 'remote-controlling' the bodies from their Elemental plane? Either of those options have the Mephit continuing to separately exist in some way, which brings up the possibility of interacting with (or killing) the Mephit directly. I personally would have preferred the creation process described as something more like "transplanting the soul of a Mephit into the body", or "merging the essence of a conscious, intelligent elemental with the living body's form, stripped of it's former soul", which would not leave any separately existing Mephit to worry about (and makes clear the underlying person is completely gone and cannot be saved). I actually feel that was the intention here, but the way it was conveyed wasn't as crystal clear as it could have been.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

I think the metaphoric use of lantern does dis-service to your concept as part of the common name.

"each had come upon an oasis and ... the janni ... opened portals ... into their bodies." Surprise your a thrall now. Im lost in the reasoning for this. Is it just because she was wrathful? If shes so wrathful why is she creating servents?

Theres a design/presentation flaw :
"The thralls are found traversing ... city markets ... but careful observers (see the truth)" opposes "their distinctive features are apparent: their bodies are transparent as smoked glass and incandescent with the powerful magic they share with one another."

Powers and Abilities is weaker side of this concept and is the reason it feels more like a template. The human has been converted into a mephit possessed thrall by a wrathful janni and gains only one extra ability. But if if it wasnt for the power sharing hidden on the last line this would have been cleverly hidden zombie. Instead this can be a quite vicious encounter. It would have probably been more appropriate to place the Merphit's boon as the first ability listed as to increase its importance.and place the common human stuff at the end.

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

Well, I can understand the counter argument to dismissing this as a template. Just by style alone, I'd like to see you advance Chris, but, unfortunately, it wasn't one of my top 4. Still, I think you've got a decent groundswell behind this one, and I'm sure I'll get to see what you're going to cook up for Round 3. Good luck!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thanks Quandary.
FireHawk, I really appreciate the time you took to critique this. Thanks.
And taig, I appreciate the kind words, even if I can't have one of your votes. If I progress, though, I'll take pains to earn your vote next round.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

"They speak no more than necessary, but careful observers might catch a flicker of horror in their shining eyes."

The terror of being trapped in your body while some alien creature controls it is just really creepy... and to me brings up a much bigger sense of horror than the most disgusting corpse/ puss thing. As a GM I can see using this to scare my players silly.

There is definitely some merit to the above criticisms but overall this is a great creature.

Star Voter 2013

Quote:

Concerns:

Because at it's heart, this is a mephit-based template. It's a neat mephit-based template, but it's a template. This is not exactly cause for immediate DQ in my book, but it's bordering that. The complication in determining and statting out each mephit-type would make this a nightmare to run more than one type. It also seems to indicate that it uses the statistics of it's base creature. You are essentially creating a new monster from scratch every time you want to run this, and that's bad. In addition, these are pack creatures, so an additional layer of complexity exists. This is a bookkeeping nightmare.

First, templates are explicitly allowed in the rules.

Second, I think you're over-reacting on the complexity issue. Your criticisms apply to the most iconic monsters of the game: liches and vampires and skeletons and zombies. I've never had that much trouble running a horde of zombie humans with 3 zombie ogres and a skeletal bear boosted by the vampire cleric lieutenant of the lich lord.

Star Voter 2013

You got my vote.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thanks for the encouragement, Dennis. And thanks, roguerouge, for both the support and the vote.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

The man loves using those colons, that's for sure.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Winterwalker wrote:
The man loves using those colons, that's for sure.

Actually, Winterwalker, I lucked out and found a bunch of them on remainder. Things had gotten pretty bad a couple of months ago. Times were tight, and I still had two-and-a-half buckets of colons, so I started using them for lower-case is and exclamation points. But my fortunes turned around this past November, and you're right, I'm still using them mostly out of Depression-era habit nowadays.


I am huge semicolon fan; a lost art, and a difficult one to master at that. Does that make us enemies?

Scarab Sages

caith wrote:
I am huge semicolon fan; a lost art, and a difficult one to master at that. Does that make us enemies?

I don't think so; it may, however, make you rivals. Would you consider any of the following creatures to be enemies: goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears?

Also:
It's been a few years since I was all grammar nazi, but I'm pretty sure you used your semicolon wrong! Shouldn't it be a colon?

And just so this post isn't completely off-topic: Does anyone think this entry would be less template-y if instead of mephits it was some un-nameable elemental force?


My first thought reading this was "template". Myself, I like templates, when they are well-presented, but this seems too vague for me. I don't think I'd used this in my campaigns, sorry.

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