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Liesinger


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

1 to 50 of 64 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Liesinger
Description: Long ago, liesingers were the citizens of a warped and beautiful dream, frolicking through the imagination of a twisted child-god. Eventually their god grew up and abandoned his dream, spilling his bewildered toys into the icy jaws of a rigid and unforgiving reality.
A liesinger appears as a disembodied grinning mouth, lips pitch-black and bleeding and every fang a different color. It may shrink to the size of a human mouth if it wishes, or it may expand to a full twelve feet across. A liesinger’s song is a cloying web of wonder and fantasy, soothing the hardships of the waking world by denying the validity of truth. Those who hearken to this song grow blissfully deranged, thus becoming the liesinger’s slaves.
Trapped on the material plane, rational angles and humorless physics biting and grinding its very flesh, a liesinger cavorts around the underworld in a bitter rapture of madness. Its merry troop of maniacal thralls follows behind, dancing and crying out their rebellion against reality.
Powers and Abilities: A liesinger fights best from behind a group of enthralled creatures. Its innate magical abilities bolster those around it, and its spear-like tongues dart around allies and obstacles. Its song inspires a joyful insanity, portraying with demented eloquence the splendors of a place just beyond our sight and dismissing the horrors of the real world as naught but a nightmare. In this way, it attacks the sanity of its foes while inspiring its minions, whose minds have already fallen.
Liesingers are rarely violent unless provoked, however. Their goals are fickle, intricate and unfathomable, but above all else they strive to add more thralls to their troop: they believe that their fantastical world will become real once more if enough creatures believe in it.

Contributor

I like the origin of this weird monster.

The ability to change from a Tiny to a Large (Huge?) monster is going to make its stat block an orchestra of pain and frustration, as each size is going to have different size mods to its AC, CMB/CMD, ability scores, and so on. Even if you hand-wave most of that stuff ("it's magic, not really bound by physics") you'll still need to take its size into account for AC.

It's basically insane and tries to ensnare other creatures in its madness, but it's "not violent"?

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
It's basically insane and tries to ensnare other creatures in its madness, but it's "not violent"?

This is a common snafu in monsters. An author spends hundreds of words of awesome description and abilities and then is essentially like "it doesn't like fighting." That's not the same as saying it doesn't fight, but at their root, even the most conniving and subtle creature is meant to be a combat challenge to the PCs, and those that aren't, well, aren't.

Also, when creating monsters, make sure you're thinking about not just how you imagine them looking, but how other would - especially artists tasked with depicting them. I feel like an illustration of this thing might be a real gamble, ranging from a scary huge mouth with a speary tongue, to something smaller, smiling with a mouth full of razor-sharp, half-sucked Jolly Rancher teeth. Hummm.

Those concerns aside. This is a weird one, but there's not doubt the story is neat and I'd love to see what the author can do in some of the more prose heavy challenges.

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

Initial Impression: An evil, insane magic mouth. Hmm.

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): C-
I think there is a huge disconnect between the name and what the creature is. That was not what I was picturing. It is unique, and that is a good thing. It is also reasonably playable—strikes me as a good mid range challenge with a small group of minions. The problem, though, is conflict. You should be very careful of monsters that “are rarely violent.” Sure, the mastermind and schemer is great, but insane creatures are a problem. Monsters, by definition, are the conflict of fantasy roleplaying. Thus, designing a monster that is by definition not violent, and perhaps too crazy to actively scheme against the PCs is a bad design choice. This monster seems to only be encountered as an accident or happenstance, and that’s not Superstar.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): B+
Great writing. Too bad it’s in support of a sub-par monster. You are also downgraded for being a bit thin in the mandatory content of powers. That darting tongue, what does it do? I know this is an overview, but tease me more with some actual powers.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): C-
This is unique. I love gibbering mothers and magic mouths. Playing with madness, as an idea, is cool. But I really don't see myself using one. You'd have to go out of your way to stick this thing in an adventure, and even then it wouldn't have much purpose other than random mayhem.

Overall: C+
The hypnotic mouth just didn’t enthrall me, though I would like to see what you could do in a more text-heavy round. Its up to the voters to decide if you get that chance.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this creature advance.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

I have to admit to having the hardest time with this monster. It's wonderfulyl written and has a great back story, but I'm just not sure how I would use it. It's sort of a ghostly version of Rivendell, but that doesn't scare me very much and would mainly be annoying to me as a player. I think you'd have to work very hard to get the players to appreciate the background of these guys which is really where the beauty of their design lies.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Thank you to the judges for pointing out my mistakes here; I see them plain as day now, and (as soon as I'm through kicking myself) can only beg the voters for a chance to possibly correct them in round 3.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Nicolas,

Hang in there. I haven't read all the entries and don't plan on voting right away.. and I can't promise to vote for it.

But I'm sure as hell thinking about it strongly.

The Judges have nailed the problems, and as you said, you can see them now too. However your self-rejected items impressed as did your actual Wondrous Item. Your attitude has impressed me.

Frankly, I like this 'thing' despite it's imperfections. This is a crazy interesting idea. We're writing for a fantasy game with all kinds of divine powers, alternate dimensions, and crazy ideas. The core idea of the liesinger is BOLD. That says to me the writer is BOLD.

Raw instinct is telling me, 'I wonder what this guy would do if he had another chance.'

I have to read and evaluate all the entries and vote with my gut. I'm just saying I can't help but keep looking at this and your previous work and I keep coming back to it. Don't give up just yet.

Edit:

Nicolas Quimby wrote:
Trapped on the material plane, rational angles and humorless physics biting and grinding its very flesh, a liesinger cavorts around the underworld in a bitter rapture of madness. Its merry troop of maniacal thralls follows behind, dancing and crying out their rebellion against reality.

I mean good lord! That packs a punch.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I'm not sure if I posted any self-rejected items (you might be thinking of a different Nick?). But you have my deepest thanks; I consider your kindness a personal favor. :)
I made some mistakes, but I'm just going to hope that others feel the same way you do about the critter itself.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I might have you mixed up with Lief Clennon, but I can't seem to locate that thread any more. :/

My comment stands though. This was a bold attempt and that counts for something.


Tejón posted at least one item submission on a thread for self-rejected items on the General Discussion forum, think...


Okay, on to the entry.
I don't know if it's because it's late at night here and I'm tired, or because I've just been looking at the rictus entry, but this creature concept as it stands falls flat somewhere for me. I think it started off really well with dreams of a 'twisted child god' and tried to hold on later with reference to lovecraftian flavoured 'rational angles and humorless physics' but lost out. Possibly the name doesn't help. It looked really good, until I noticed that whether accidentally or not it was also a contraction of lie singer.
I'm not sure either by what you mean by 'underworld' - do you mean underground, that this thing hangs out in the places that criminals do, or the lands of the dead?

One thing which this creature does have to recommend it is that it seems to me it may have bard powers/spells, and if so that advancement by bard class should be logical and easy way to go if a GM needs to scale one up for a higher level challenge.
The goals (although I'm not sure that the Powers and Abilities section was a suitable place to mention them) do allow latitude for one to show up almost anywhere, in various possible roles.

My overall impression is of a frustratingly not-quite-there lovecraftian homage, which does however have the merit of offering interesting possibilities for adaptation to slot into an adventure.

Thank-you for submitting this creature.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
I have to admit to having the hardest time with this monster. It's wonderfulyl written and has a great back story, but I'm just not sure how I would use it. It's sort of a ghostly version of Rivendell, but that doesn't scare me very much and would mainly be annoying to me as a player. I think you'd have to work very hard to get the players to appreciate the background of these guys which is really where the beauty of their design lies.

I'm with Greg so far. The writing is better than most of the others I've read so far. I'll come back to this.


I'm not a huge fan. While written... I don't know that I'd use the adjective "well". It has too much purple prose, IMO. A lot of description, but no steak...

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Sollir

I'm not super familiar with the boards and don't know how to personally contact folks, so this is for Nicolas:

For Nicholas:
Hey, I just wanted to thank you for being the first non-judge to post on my critter. Waiting anxiously for a week to see the last judge's post not recommending your work is tough, and I appreciated what you said-not just for your approval so much as it was obvious you put a lot of thought into your response. I'll try to provide the same constructive criticism for you but I just wanted to give my thanks.

I'm a big fan of Lovecraft and one of the problems I've always had with D&D is that chaotic outsiders (and even lawful ones) are poorly represented, as far as seriousness goes. Instead of awe-inspiring angels or fearsome demons you mostly get Jetsons-esque robots or rainbow-colored frogmen. While you didn't spell out that this is a chaotic outsider per se, it did strike me as an effective one, both visually and conceptually.

That's not to say it doesn't have room to grow, as others have pointed out. Changing a few sentences (such as that it is 'rarely violent') would help for D&D purposes. It's silly to be taken points off for a phrase like that as changing the personality doesn't take anything away from the core idea of the monster.

I still need to read most of the other monster entries, but I'll say that I really liked your Liesinger, bias or not. Good luck!

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

My brain was missing for a few hours last week, Nicholas, and now I know where it went to.

I pretty much love this, and don't think you need to beg the voters indulgences. But then, the reasons I love this are, I guess, fairly obvious, so... yeah. Maybe I don't count. :-)

I don't think I can say much about why I love the physical aspects of this without treading on dangerous ground, so I'll confine myself to the other things-

-the backstory is brilliant. I don't know if you intend these to be aberrations or outsiders, but I'll make a pitch here that these could even be cool fey. First World ties, maybe?

- I like that they're bardic/mindwarping types. Aside from riffs on bardic music, i can see all kinds of funky vocal effects- mass hideous laughter, confusion, etc. I don't know so much about the tongue-spear, but I'm getting cool visions of these inflating to their maximum size and inflicting a REALLY WEIRD swallow whole attack where instead of taking acid damage, people are driven crazy inside a surreal extradimensional space...

-okay, they're not prone to violence. I think the phrasing on that could use some adjustment, but the concept is still valid. After all, even insane otherworldly entities have to react in some fashion when those pesky adventurers come to the village it has under its thrall and try and break up the joyful maypole dance it has the whole town doing, just because it's the middle of winter and the villagers are dropping dead of hypothermia one by one. If those adventurers won't accept the liesingers happier reality, well, clearly they need to be forcibly edited out of the song it's singing...

I like crazy. I like weird. I like monsters with a wonderland mentality. I am almost definitely giving you a vote.

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

A weird, mad Pied Piper. I like this a lot. I'm considering this one for a vote.

It's funny that there are two "disembodied mouth" entries, even though they are radically different. I guess a kind of hivemind just forms in these competitions. :)

Silver Crusade

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

I really like the idea, but I liked others even better (or found them executed in a better way); you almost got my vote, though, so I hope you make it to the next round.

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

The prose is the first thing that leaps out at me with this entry. It's exceedingly well written. I wish I could elaborate further on that front, but I can't, because it is late and this is the 30th entry I've commented on. The writing sets this one ahead of the pack.

Unfortunately, the abilities don't quite grip me by the DM hairs and command me to run this guy. I mean, the singing and the mind control and the whipping tongues are nice, but they're not really standing out at this point. Maybe because a third of the monsters this year are psychic mastermind-types (maybe everyone really misses mind flayers that much?). Plus, they're the second floating mouth monster in this round, and I like the other one more.

I like these guys, but I'm not sure I like them enough to throw a vote your way. If you do advance, though, I'm eager to see what you've got for Round 3.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Oh, man...

Let me put it this way. If we were pitching concepts to Hayao Miyazaki, you'd have this contest in the bag. We're not, and my votes are precious, but I do hope you advance. Avoiding the pitfalls is something you can learn, and both rounds so far you've shown a rare sort of creativity that makes me cross my fingers for you to get another chance this year rather than next.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Another sincere thank you to everyone for your praise and criticism. You hear this a lot, but it's still true- hearing what people like and what people don't REALLY helps me as a writer and designer, even when it's probably just a divergence of taste or playstyle. Presuming that I'm allowed to make campaign promises, I will say that (whether I advance or not) that I will never be this careless again concerning presentation and genre-relevance.

"I'm not voting but I hope you advance" is a sentiment I fully understand (and appreciate). Four votes isn't very many, and this contest had a wealth of killer ideas with killer executions. Nevertheless, I ask humbly for any votes left uncast- I feel I can deliver material that's bold AND usable, and I want the chance to prove it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Disembodied mouth? I can't but think of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. However, this entry is nothing along these lines - rather, it's giving me the impression of being more of a 'horror/madness' kind of monster. As I read the description, I'm filled with a sense of ... ... well, what am I supposed to do with THAT!? It's a little too weird for my taste. The concept just isn't strong enough that your excellent prose/description will lift it up out of the jumble of average submissions, IMO. Also, the name sounds weird to my (admittedly, European) ears.

Still - good luck for the round!


Dance of Ruin wrote:

Disembodied mouth? I can't but think of the cat from Alice in Wonderland. However, this entry is nothing along these lines - rather, it's giving me the impression of being more of a 'horror/madness' kind of monster. As I read the description, I'm filled with a sense of ... ... well, what am I supposed to do with THAT!? It's a little too weird for my taste. The concept just isn't strong enough that your excellent prose/description will lift it up out of the jumble of average submissions, IMO.

Still - good luck for the round!

Wow. While I was thinking what to say about this Dance pretty much nailed it.

A disembodied, grinning mouth with songs of madness, which is not from this world and wants to unravel it's very fundamental laws is not going to scare ME!

--
Ok, at least not my character. it's a friggin' floating mouth ( Wait. It does float doesn't it? Oh gawds I really hope it floats.)
Your writing is great and colorful, but I have the distinct feeling that the tone you gave your prose is better suited for starting a creepy horror story, than to present a monster.
Again I will take a look at my two main criteria:

1. Innovation/ creativity :
I think I have seen something like this before. While it is described colorfully and imagery nowhere I think: "Wow that is new. Never heard of this."

2. Tilt:
Nothing really grabbed me about this entry. I have no use for the origin story ( which is the best part about your entry), and can't imagine a (hopefully) floating mouth as a villain in my game. ( and it's even less suited as a minion).

I think the only floating mouth I would like is something like a creatureized version of the bag of devouring. On the minion / cannon fodder level of encounter design.
I think I'll give it a pass.
And thats sad, because I really think you have great promise and potential, maybe your entry was just ill chosen ( for me at least).
I would like to see more of you, but my votes are precious.
I honestly hope you will make it without my support.
Good work.
You should write a novel. i would totally dig something from you thats just fiction.


It's a shame to see so many "I like this, but I'm using my votes elsewhere" comments. I think this writing is top-quality, even if there are some (acknowledged) weaknesses. You definitely have my vote! Very vivid, and I can see a number of ways a GM could incorporate this. Can't wait to see what you come up for R3.

Spoiler:
I freely admit my bias, though!


Praise:
Weird, rather than gross. Something different. I like weird, but only if it is well done. This is not bad for weird, but falls a little short. I like that it's not totally evil and bent on destruction, but just a damaged creation with little else to do but hurt.

Concerns:
I can see it, but it seems two-dimensional, visually speaking. You have a very big vocabulary and clearly understand the importance of having a dictionary and thesaurus handy. That said, this entry is overly wordy. It is almost overwhelming, and this coming from a lover of words. I think a lot of people would get lost in the loquacity(=P). I am reminded of a game called "Shadow Hearts". All of the monsters were super weird, but none of them stood out - I just killed them, got their XP, and moved on. Perhaps I am desensitized to the strange and absurd, but I don't really feel this is memorable. The name sounds like a German surname to me, but similarly does not stand out.

Overall:
Interesting, but limited. I like weird, and perhaps that is clouding my judgement; I am somewhat desensitized to weird from the movies, anime, and video games that I am generally drawn to. I also don't really like non-villain monsters that use minions. Something about a random encounter with minions doesn't sit with me.

*edit* After reading some other feedback, I realized I forgot about the size change. The size change + minions would make this an utter nightmare to execute, as a DM. I think you have a lot going on in that head of yours, and if you move on to the next round, I would consider simplifying. That said, do not give up if you don't move on, you have a good writing style that could polish into something I would like to read.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

How did the author respond to the challenge? Very nice description. I definitely get the impression that its abilities develop from its concept, rather than the other way around.

How does it stack up


  • as an opponent? It seems to have some decent ways to back up its throng of crazed minions.
  • as something other than an opponent? Powerful backstory might suggest other manifestations of its reality-bending god. I'd like to see the sort of area it might appear - and there's an excellent chance that later rounds will request exactly that. I appreciate that they're motivated to mess with PCs by something other than eating their faces.
  • in relation to other monsters? Truly bizarre with little to compare to even their plane of existence.
  • in relation to the author's item? I liked the Goblin Skull Bomb and find this equally bold and promising, in a very different way.
  • in itself? Cracked black lips, multi-coloured teeth and stabby tongues leave its appearance just this side of a divide between "mad and otherworldly" and "I don't get it". Its nature presents a difficult concept, sustained well.

A big risk, which I think pays off. A likely vote here.

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

It's very weird, but it's dancing along the edge of weird for weird's sake. The backstory is terrific, but will PCs ever have an occasion to learn any of it? Good or bad, the pitch here is for a bestiary-type monster, not a 4000-word write-up a la Dungeon Denizens Revisited and its brethren. This would be a fun monster to read about as a DM, but I'm less convinced of how fun and useful it is at the table. Maybe if the entry had a little more on the powers it would be easier to see it.

Overall: A neat idea, with a strange visual that might or might not be be cool (multicolored teeth - could be cool or could be lame). The controlling other people by pulling them into its land of insanity is cool - it reminds me of the supervillain Proteus from Marvel/X-Men comics. It's intriguing in its possibilities, but it's not quite coming together for me.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Dance of Ruin wrote:
Also, the name sounds weird to my (admittedly, European) ears.

That's an excellent point. It's not really singing lies, is it? For a while, I thought it was some sort of German reference.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

You guys are clearly giving my creating some thought, which is the most I can ask. :)

You're also giving me plenty to think about as I work on my notes about how I might theoretically rewrite it. Obviously I can't answer questions or share my thoughts now, but certainly will once voting closes. Thanks again for you time and consideration.

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

Starglim wrote:
Dance of Ruin wrote:
Also, the name sounds weird to my (admittedly, European) ears.
That's an excellent point. It's not really singing lies, is it?

No, it is though.

Quote:
A liesinger’s song is a cloying web of wonder and fantasy, soothing the hardships of the waking world by denying the validity of truth.

I don't think that's just metaphor in action, there; I think it's actually singing songs from the lost reality it hails from. Songs that delude people into believing that the dream they're hearing about is more valid than the real world concerns that they have. And as long as they follow the liesinger it will keep them afloat in that dream.

Star Voter 2013

Jason Nelson wrote:

It's very weird, but it's dancing along the edge of weird for weird's sake. The backstory is terrific, but will PCs ever have an occasion to learn any of it? Good or bad, the pitch here is for a bestiary-type monster, not a 4000-word write-up a la Dungeon Denizens Revisited and its brethren. This would be a fun monster to read about as a DM, but I'm less convinced of how fun and useful it is at the table. Maybe if the entry had a little more on the powers it would be easier to see it.

Overall: A neat idea, with a strange visual that might or might not be be cool (multicolored teeth - could be cool or could be lame). The controlling other people by pulling them into its land of insanity is cool - it reminds me of the supervillain Proteus from Marvel/X-Men comics. It's intriguing in its possibilities, but it's not quite coming together for me.

I've got to agree with this. I'll also add that you're writing is very good and I sincerely hope you make it to the next round just so I can read it. On the other hand I'm really worried about the visual here - the first thing I thought when I read it was the disembodied mouth from the Burger King commercials, and that's not good.

However, like I said I may just have to vote for this to see what you do.

Dark Archive

Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Liesinger

Description: Long ago, liesingers were the citizens of a warped and beautiful dream, frolicking through the imagination of a twisted child-god. Eventually their god grew up and abandoned his dream, spilling his bewildered toys into the icy jaws of a rigid and unforgiving reality.
A liesinger appears as a disembodied grinning mouth, lips pitch-black and bleeding and every fang a different color. It may shrink to the size of a human mouth if it wishes, or it may expand to a full twelve feet across. A liesinger’s song is a cloying web of wonder and fantasy, soothing the hardships of the waking world by denying the validity of truth. Those who hearken to this song grow blissfully deranged, thus becoming the liesinger’s slaves.
Trapped on the material plane, rational angles and humorless physics biting and grinding its very flesh, a liesinger cavorts around the underworld in a bitter rapture of madness. Its merry troop of maniacal thralls follows behind, dancing and crying out their rebellion against reality.
Powers and Abilities: A liesinger fights best from behind a group of enthralled creatures. Its innate magical abilities bolster those around it, and its spear-like tongues dart around allies and obstacles. Its song inspires a joyful insanity, portraying with demented eloquence the splendors of a place just beyond our sight and dismissing the horrors of the real world as naught but a nightmare. In this way, it attacks the sanity of its foes while inspiring its minions, whose minds have already fallen.
Liesingers are rarely violent unless provoked, however. Their goals are fickle, intricate and unfathomable, but above all else they strive to add more thralls to their troop: they believe that their fantastical world will become real once more if enough creatures believe in it.

This is AWESOME!!! This totally gets my vote and I'll be watching you Nicolas. I expect more awesomeness!

Dark Archive

David Roberts wrote:

On the other hand I'm really worried about the visual here - the first thing I thought when I read it was the disembodied mouth from the Burger King commercials, and that's not good.

However, like I said I may just have to vote for this to see what you do.

Meanwhile, I had in my mind's eye "the lips" from the opening credits of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Which is awesome!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Mikhaila Burnett wrote:


Meanwhile, I had in my mind's eye "the lips" from the opening credits of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Which is awesome!

Ha!

That made me laugh. And I'm glad you're digging it!

David Roberts wrote:


However, like I said I may just have to vote for this to see what you do.

If I get that far- and competition is looking fierce- than I'll try not to disappoint. I honestly can't think of a challenge which I wouldn't love to take on- even working with other contestants' monsters would be a blast.

Star Voter 2013

Best origin story of the round.

Fighting disembodied lips and unbrushed teeth, however imaginative, is going to have a very narrow niche at the table. I'd have rather had you EMBRACE the narrow niche and make it feature: a monster encountered in dreams and nightmares. DnD does not have enough of those Nightmare on Elm Street creatures and it could really use them.

Your writing's a major plus. It seems to be what's getting you into the next round, not the monster itself. This might be the last round where writing alone can save you.

Star Voter 2013

Jason Nelson wrote:
The backstory is terrific, but will PCs ever have an occasion to learn any of it?

This. That bit of advice is going to be HUGE for the narrative rounds. If you learn nothing else from the feedback, take this piece of criticism to heart.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps Subscriber
Mikhaila Burnett wrote:
Meanwhile, I had in my mind's eye "the lips" from the opening credits of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Which is awesome!

I had a similar thought, the cheshire cat's smile in the Disney Alice in Wonderland. But even with a dark twist, sharp teeth and tongue action, I wasn't super thrilled with it. I had trouble seeing my players go up again a big floaty mouth with a wall of minions in front of it. :/

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Madgael

This is a really cool critter, Hydro. Sort of like a Magic Mouth gone insane and glam at the same time. Which is cool, cause it makes me respect that spell again in a way I haven't for a while.

It's already been said, but your backstory is really inventive, and while totally alien, I think maybe all of us as players can relate on some level to being cast aside by a twisted child-god. Or maybe that's just me and I'm projecting.

Lips simultaneously pitch-black and bleeding is a damn powerful image and one that I want to stop thinking about now. Cos it's good. And creepy. And I want to get to sleep tonight. Nice job w/ this one though...

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Madgael

Nicolas Quimby wrote:


rational angles and humorless physics biting and grinding its very flesh, a liesinger cavorts around the underworld in a bitter rapture of madness.

Reminds me of my prom.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

roguerouge wrote:


Your writing's a major plus. It seems to be what's getting you into the next round, not the monster itself. This might be the last round where writing alone can save you.

I'm not sure about that. Many of the other 'cusp' monsters also have powerful 'saving graces' of their own, in terms of creativity, imagery, mechanical concept, or what have you. Competition is fierce, which is the way it should be.

roguerouge wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
The backstory is terrific, but will PCs ever have an occasion to learn any of it?
This. That bit of advice is going to be HUGE for the narrative rounds. If you learn nothing else from the feedback, take this piece of criticism to heart.

Absolutely, yea.

Brian Hoffman wrote:


It's already been said, but your backstory is really inventive, and while totally alien, I think maybe all of us as players can relate on some level to being cast aside by a twisted child-god. Or maybe that's just me and I'm projecting.

If it resonated with you in any way then I'm proud of my work. And thanks!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Garnfellow

As a few others have pointed out, mechanically this seems like it would be hard to execute. But after finally reading all of the entries, I think this is likely the best written monster concept.

While I can see some of the flaws, the writing really makes me want to see what Nicholas could do deeper into the contest. This one gets my vote.

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

My thoughts on the liesinger...

The Name: Liesinger is a cleverly descriptive name, though I wonder if it sounds a bit too much like a surname.

The Description: This is what would happen to the Cheshire Cat if it was exiled from Wonderland. I totally dig it. Best back story in Round 2, hands down. The description is a bit odd, but that fits with the monster's origin, and plays up the Cheshire Cat vibe that works so well for this monster.

The Powers: I like that this is a bardic, pied-piper-type monster. I like that it doesn't try to do too much beyond that. The liesinger has an obvious role, and does just enough to make sure it fills that role. Everything stays on theme without throwing a bunch of unnecessary extra stuff into the mix.

The Buzz: I've noticed a few complaints about the liesinger not being violent and not having some big scheme that brings it into conflict with the PCs, but I'm not buying that argument. Monsters are just the inhabitants of the world, not the vehicle that drives the plot. It's the villain's job to thrust the PCs into situations where they are forced to combat monsters, and not every monstrous inhabitant of the world is a villain. I'm okay with the liesinger filling another role, especially since I can see easy way to fit it into an adventure. Sometimes, it's nice to rescue a kidnapped NPC from a monster that isn't actively capturing your allies just to get at you. That sort of thing adds a bit of verisimilitude to the world.

The Vote: I like that the liesinger is a bit odd, and I like that it's a monster that might pose a danger without using the tired "I'm specifically out to ruin everything the PCs hold dear" or "I'm a wilderness predator" cliches. The liesinger is one of eight monsters that I will be considering when it comes time to vote.


I like this one.

First of all, disembodied grinning mouths are creepy; plenty of people are creeped out when the Cheshire Cat appears as nothing but a mouth. The opening sequence of The Rocky Horror Picture Show also has a creepy edge to it because it's just a mouth rather than a whole face singing to you. The liesinger's bleeding, black lips and multicolored teeth add on another layer of disturbing weirdness.

Second, the liesinger is also an insane cult leader. Seeing the effect this thing has on its followers--making them as deranged as it is--just makes it more disturbing. It also makes encounters with liesingers more interesting. Each one will have a different collection of thralls which could be drawn from just about any intelligent species. Those thralls might also employ unusual new tactics under the insane control of the liesinger.

Liesingers also present an interesting sort-of paradox on a metagaming and metafantasy level. They hate the "reality" into which they have been discarded. But we, the players and GMs, know that "reality" is actually a fantasy, and only exists in our imaginations. Moreover, we engage in this collective fantasy for a bit of escapist fun. That impulse, taken to it's extreme, is the liesingers' motivation. It makes you wonder if the "twisted child-god" that created them was named Nickquimby. Shoot, if you really wanted to riff on the meta angle, this thing's insane in-character babble could be out-of-character chatter from a different game.

The only potential problem I can see with the liesinger is its potential to cause OOC disruption. I don't know if the liesinger could be used in one of my gaming groups without someone (possibly myself) asking "Is it singing "Science Fiction Double-Feature"?" or shouting "Oh no! We're being attacked by a Rolling Stones logo!" However, I don't think the OOC joking in my groups could be stopped by anything, nor do I particularly want it too stop, so I can't really count this one against the liesinger.

I definitely like this creature. I like that it's colorful, weird, thought-provoking and/or chuckle-provoking depending on how you take the metafantasy angle. I like that it makes for interesting encounters that are never the same twice. This is a monster one could get a lot of mileage out of. The liesinger is probably going to get one of my votes.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I took a major gamble here and I'm glad to see that, at least for some, it's paying off.

Thanks for posting, guys, and bigger thanks for consideration in your votes. :)

Edit: also, thanks again to those who are taking the time and effort to do a formal breakdown of all 32 creatures. I saw someone else saying this in another thread and almost replied with "Me too!"; then realized I could probably just say it here. ^_^()


Amazing background. Great writing. Reminds me of the Cheshire Cat but I don't like the different color teeth. I think I would have made it a child with crazy features to match the "child god" thing. Very cool though.

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

I really like this creature. With the great and creative background it sounds like it would be a perfect fit for Planescape, and it's strange origin reminded me a bit of Christine's Complexity Golem from 2008, both of which are high praise! You not only have great writing, but present a cohesive monster that has an origin and powers that support each other, and don't copy anything that comes to mind off the top of my head fromt he existing monster base out there.

I have to disagree with the judges that "rarely violent unless provoked" is bad for monster design. That's true for most animals and magical beasts, and those make fine adversaries. In addition, most of the good aligned monsters are rarely violent unless provoked (or unless you're evil), and don't make good PC adversaries, and they still have their place in the game. The Liesinger is clearly more of a threat and obsticle for most PCs than a deva or gold dragon. It's very existence is a threat to all around it, and either as a random encounter or as a plot hook (it's captured a friend or ally), it would make a strong antagonist for PCs.

Of the entries I've reviewed so far, your combined R1 and R2 entries are the strongest. You have my vote.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Joel Flank wrote:

I really like this creature. With the great and creative background it sounds like it would be a perfect fit for Planescape, and it's strange origin reminded me a bit of Christine's Complexity Golem from 2008, both of which are high praise! You not only have great writing, but present a cohesive monster that has an origin and powers that support each other, and don't copy anything that comes to mind off the top of my head fromt he existing monster base out there.

I have to disagree with the judges that "rarely violent unless provoked" is bad for monster design. That's true for most animals and magical beasts, and those make fine adversaries. In addition, most of the good aligned monsters are rarely violent unless provoked (or unless you're evil), and don't make good PC adversaries, and they still have their place in the game. The Liesinger is clearly more of a threat and obsticle for most PCs than a deva or gold dragon. It's very existence is a threat to all around it, and either as a random encounter or as a plot hook (it's captured a friend or ally), it would make a strong antagonist for PCs.

Of the entries I've reviewed so far, your combined R1 and R2 entries are the strongest. You have my vote.

At the risk of cluttering my own thread, I really need to thank you for this. :)


Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Liesinger

cut for space

This is the twentieth 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.

Frolicking through the imagination of a twisted child-god? What are you, Monte Cook after he has kids and becomes a parent? ;) I get this monster’s origin. I really do. (Or at least I hope I do.) Oh wait. It’s a giant expandable/contractable mouth? Hm. We hear about its actions. Okay, pitch black lips and rainbow teeth. Yeah, there’s something grimly strange about this. Oh and hey, it has a troupe of mechanical thralls.

Powers:
*fights from behind (boss monster? Mm-kay)
*abilities bolster (ahh, a clerical boss monster)
*spear-like tongue darts around enemies (kewl – that’s neat)
*song inspires joyful insanity (what, like my children do for me?)
*attacks sanity of foes while inspiring minions (umm, if they’re mechanical?)
*goals (?? I thought this was powers?)

Summary: This starts off really well. The writing then, well, also seems to go slightly afield. This seems like a boss monster with a huge screen of innocents around it. Now that has some potential I’ll admit. The opposite number, which I did read first, was a swarm of red mouths. Two different approaches. Very interesting to see both in one. I think that I shall reread both before final decisions. I must admit, I really was surprised to see monster "goals" in the Powers section. It may yet work for you.


Eric Morton wrote:


The Buzz: I've noticed a few complaints about the liesinger not being violent and not having some big scheme that brings it into conflict with the PCs, but I'm not buying that argument. Monsters are just the inhabitants of the world, not the vehicle that drives the plot. It's the villain's job to thrust the PCs into situations where they are forced to combat monsters, and not every monstrous inhabitant of the world is a villain.

I agree with this 100%.

The Bestiary, every edition of the Monster Manual, and the Monstrous Compendium ALL had monsters that were not direct opponents to the PC's.

I don't ever recall hearing complaints about the Metallic Dragons, Archons, Angels, Aasimars, Couatls, Djinni, Pegasi, and host of other creatures that inhabit these books. So I don't get the sudden concern now that this creature MIGHT not come into conflict with PC's.

Nicholas:

Great writing, but I am finding it hard to get past the image of a floating mouth. I love the motivation and backstory, I just dont like the way this looks. I have a few more to read, but you may get my vote.

Paizo Employee Developer

I love the idea of these creatures' origins, but what I envisioned from the opening about the god's dream world and what they ended up looking like (the lovechild of the Cheshire Cat and the Rocky Horror lips) were vastly different. If you are setting something up with such an evocative and inspiring hook, you have to pay it off. I think there's a ton of potential with these, but they need to be rethought and should be reshaped to better fit your awesome lead-line. I hope to see what you can do in future rounds and wish you the best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

Eric Morton wrote:
I've noticed a few complaints about the liesinger not being violent and not having some big scheme that brings it into conflict with the PCs, but I'm not buying that argument. Monsters are just the inhabitants of the world, not the vehicle that drives the plot. It's the villain's job to thrust the PCs into situations where they are forced to combat monsters, and not every monstrous inhabitant of the world is a villain. I'm okay with the liesinger filling another role, especially since I can see easy way to fit it into an adventure. Sometimes, it's nice to rescue a kidnapped NPC from a monster that isn't actively capturing your allies just to get at you. That sort of thing adds a bit of verisimilitude to the world.

Agreed. And more importantly, a creature doesn't have to be big on violence to come in conflict with the PCs. The mere fact that it steals people is enough. And just because it avoids violence doesn't mean it won't put up a fight if the PCs bring violence to solve this conflict.

When I look at these monsters, one of the first things I'm looking for is what they want and how that intersects with - and potentially conflicts with - what the PCs want. This guy delivers with its enthralled masses whose very lives may depend on the PCs.

Great background with some great potential as an unusual encounter. Especially if its enthralled minions also try to defend it.

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