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Skintaker


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

1 to 50 of 125 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Skintaker

Description:

Bloody tendons and ligaments tightly wrap the body of this skeletal once humanoid monstrosity. Skintakers possess a glistening spinal cord attached to an exposed brain and lidless human eyes held aloft by nerves. Intellect devourers create these still-living slave aberrations from prisoners. Underground they perform manual labor, but are more often dispatched to infiltrate well-populated civilized areas. Cunning and capable of stealing the material necessary to temporarily refashion their original forms, skintakers create secret networks and kidnap attractive new bodies for their alien masters. Some keep captives of their own, to slowly feed off the unfortunates in order to carry out and maintain some semblance of their old lives; something they crave above all other things. Existing in horror of what they have become, confessions from captured skintakers suggest that the intellect devourers maintain their hold on them with a cruel promise that their condition can be reversed or alleviated.

Powers and Abilities:

Skintakers strip away blood and sinew with a touch, to reconstruct their original forms for a time. In this way, a skintaker experiences the physical sensations and pleasures they desperately desire. This false tissue, cosmetic and easily damaged, provides the skintaker with a disguise and surge of vitality. Skintakers feign death with ease, appearing injured when they’re not and duping those unaware of their true nature. Their stolen flesh melts away over time, regardless of healing or necromantic magic. Skintakers may also reconstitute into the form of a humanoid they recently fed upon, limited to their own size. Like their creators, skintakers have telepathy and resist weapons and elemental attacks. Skintakers rip their foes apart with boney claws while in skeletal form, but utilize weapons and light armor when reconstituted.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

So far almost every monster I've read is gross, and I think this one takes the cake (in its gooey, gut-mush of a hand). You see one of these guys and you don't know whether to give it last rites or kill it, either way you definitely do it with gloves on. I love that these are servitors of the intellect devourers who are needing some love now that have come into the limelight in Golarion, plus their whole disguise ability combined with yearning need fto use it it gives them a sympathetic vibe that makes me want to hose them down with a flamethrower slightly less. So that's saying something.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Creepy and pathetic, you want to kill these wretched things... and then you find out they're slaves of the devourers, and you want to help them... sort of.

Evocative description, cool backstory, nice disguise powers, nice way to introduce the devourers into a campaign at a lower level.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

I really like the tie-in with the intellect devourers. Haven't seen much of that before. And it makes sense with the vibe behind those beasties. So cool. Often a cool monster ends up spawning a whole annoying host of hanger-on monsters tangentially related to them, but never as cool. These do a nice job of feeling like something that fits in with the intellect devourers' story without trying to one-up them or just riff off their coolness. So good choice here.

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

Initial Impression: Servitor race for intellect devourers. Interesting. I’m looking forward to this...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A
Very cool big concept. Servitor race for intellect devourers. That is a great design space and niche. Very good choice, very well done. Normally I don’t like the “two words jammed together” name but it works here. Great playability and usability.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): A
Once again, really good stuff. A tad light on the details. I wanted more. But this is a pitch and you got the main points across.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): A+
Two words: Mo - Jo! Loved it.

Overall: A
This is a “hey, we need to have this!” monster. This is a space that really needed to be filled. You did it. Good work.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this creature advance.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thank you to the Judges for their feedback and their kind words!

I humbly request that the voters consider my creature and give me their vote!

Edit: And I do look forward to answering any questions or concerns after the voting has closed.

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

Jim,

Great monster, you made me check the intellect devourer write-up in the bestiary to see how it connects.

This is the second entry I've reviewed, the first being the marrow worm and here too I've got to say that I recognize bits and pieces of the monser: are the skinwalkers your source of inspiration?

Again, a good monster! Don't answer my question until round 3 starts!


This is a well-conceived monster. The description is evocative and satisfactorily gruesome. The tie-in to a personal favorite of mine (the I.D.) is not only credible but adds campaign depth (and the makings of a thousand stories every time one of these skintakers is encountered or created). It's just the sort of thing I love, and Watcher's execution is sharply professional.

This one is definitely worth the vote; I look forward to seeing more creations from this craftsman ;)

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter 2014

Good job, Watcher!


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

Cool monster. I love "offsprings" or "related" monsters from more powerful ones, this gives a chance for backstory and creates a bigger "ecology" for a single critter.

Did I used enough ""?

Osirion Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Good job with this. A little too reminescent perhaps of Hellraiser, at least that was the first thing I thought of with it, but I like it overall. I can see you advancing with this one.


I've been reading these in the order they're appearing on the blog page and I got to admit while I've liked some of the others prior to this entry, I have to say this was the first one that grabbed me. If were from Beantown, I'd say Wicked Cool!

Mix these with a bunch of zombies and the PCs are going to have trouble determine who is really the threat here when they find out afterwards that it isn't the undead, but these skintakers that were originally attempting to fight them off ... only to turn on the PCs after the zombies are eliminated. They take the wounded PCs and toss them down in a well. The skintaker capo of the collective would be Jame Gumb. "PUT THE LOTION ON THE SKIN!" as the skin is cultivated and moisturized just right before the next scene when they're going to be pulled up one by one ... to be flayed.

Ooooh, gruesome.


Wicht wrote:
Good job with this. A little too reminescent perhaps of Hellraiser, at least that was the first thing I thought of with it, but I like it overall. I can see you advancing with this one.

Even more of a plus than my reference. :D

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hugo Solis wrote:
Did I used enough ""?

With those kind comments Hugo, you can use all the quotation marks you want. They're on me! Thank you very much! :D

And also thank you to Darkjoy, Daigle, and Azigoth! Much appreciated gentlemen!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thank you Wicht and Urizen!

I'll be sure to comment on all of this stuff (good and bad as it may come), once it is legal and safe for me to do so!

In the meantime, thank you very much! Please consider the skintakers when placing your votes!

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

I am liking this entry more and more, you spoiled me! And ruined it for the others ;>


Nice one Watcher! To be honest...I've been looking for a monster idea like this one for a while. Granted...the concept is miles away (and I absolutely love the Intellect Devourer tie-in, btw) but I immediately thought of the nasty little Skindancer guy from BGII when I read the name.

After looking at the monster concept you put forth, its definitely not the same thing, not even close....but its the feel of your monster that I love! As some others mentioned already, that these 'things' are still trying to return to their previous state...and that you might actually pity them is an awesome thing to have going on in a game.

A monster that the party kills just because its evil is kinda bland (unless thats exactly what you are going for)...but the monster that makes the party try and think of another way...like trying to save the poor guy/girl is miles beyond. This is the sort of monster that can launch an entire campaign.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The only thing I don't like about this entry is the word "skintaker." Maybe it's just me, but there seem to be lots of "skinwalkers" and "skinchangers" and whatnot everywhere.

But the concept is very very solid.

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

One reason I love this is because intellect devourers are always on my list of monsters that I want to use in a campaign and never really find a good way to work them in (I usually make a monster list grouped by level before I map out a campaign and devourers always make the initial list but get cut 'cause I can't work them in). This new servitor race is the perfect answer.


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

I'm halfway through reading all the entries for this round, but I just have to say this is almost certainly getting one of my votes.
I actually want to use this in a game RIGHT NOW.

Watcher, if you advance, and the next round is a stat block, I'm definitely going to want to see the crunch on these guys.

Great job!


Hah, more madness reminiscent of old-school Planescape from the chatroom posse, and this time we have something that reminds me of mercurials.

Hmm. It's not clear to me if these things have genders or are sexless, for what that matters. If they do have gender, does it vary from day to day, or can they only strip skins off/imitate things of the same gender?
Except for the hinted at 'feeding' power, there doesn't seem much to excite me in the Powers and Abilities section.
With regard to encounters I'm seeing it as difficult to use these things unless it's part of some Intellect Devourer plot going on in the background. Even if the PCs bump into one on its own errands for now during 'downtime', if they find out what it is they may want to go after the master(s) making it difficult to use outside of a campaign centred around the things.

My overall impression is of a creature that may cause players to shudder, best suited to serve as foot-soldiers in an Intellect Devourer campaign.

Thanks for submitting this, Watcher. ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I really like the tie in to Intellect Devourers, and think the monster itself is pretty nifty too... great job Watcher!


At first I thought it would be another undead rip off (chuckle) from Hellraiser. I was mistaken. Not only will I be using this in my future games you sir have my vote.

Good luck in upcoming rounds.

Star Voter 2013

Very solid work: it's got flavor, it generates plot, and it's scaleable.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Yasha, delabarre, Charles Evans 25, cwslyclgh, Hexcaliber, and roguerogue.. thank you one and all for your words of praise, they are sincerely appreciated!

Charles, I promise to get back to you and all the other comments as soon as the voting is done and Paizo has given the all clear! I'm taking notes.... :D

And today was another awesome day Paizo, thanks for this opportunity!

Andoran

Clark Peterson wrote:


Overall: A
This is a “hey, we need to have this!” monster. This is a space that really needed to be filled. You did it. Good work.

+3 vorpal. Far out.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

With regard to encounters I'm seeing it as difficult to use these things unless it's part of some Intellect Devourer plot going on in the background. Even if the PCs bump into one on its own errands for now during 'downtime', if they find out what it is they may want to go after the master(s) making it difficult to use outside of a campaign centred around the things.

My overall impression is of a creature that may cause players to shudder, best suited to serve as foot-soldiers in an Intellect Devourer campaign.

See, and these things get my wheels within wheels turning. One of these things could not only be your rival, but also second in a street gang hired to kill the party, and then participate in the raid as one of the thugs. If he were "killed" in the course of the battle ("Bang! Oh no! The fireball GOT me!") he could just wander off afterwards and dump the real body in the river when necessary. All the while, he's gathering firsthand intelligence on the characters' spells, items, names, religions. ("Waitaminute. That guy again? But we *killed* that guy.") And if they look correct, how exactly do you know until the true seeing rolls out?

The fact that there's a (possibly reversible-- oooh! C'mere captives and hostages...I promise to make you better if only you...) process for creating them tells me that wizards or evil priests being manipulated by IDs might put these at their disposal.

kick in the possible emotional investment of an unwillingly created and blackmailed individual ("You're who? but...but she ran off with that bard!") and you've got monster and adventure gold in my opinion, not some minion foot soldier.

-Ben.


terraleon wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

With regard to encounters I'm seeing it as difficult to use these things unless it's part of some Intellect Devourer plot going on in the background. Even if the PCs bump into one on its own errands for now during 'downtime', if they find out what it is they may want to go after the master(s) making it difficult to use outside of a campaign centred around the things.

My overall impression is of a creature that may cause players to shudder, best suited to serve as foot-soldiers in an Intellect Devourer campaign.

See, and these things get my wheels within wheels turning. One of these things could not only be your rival, but also second in a street gang hired to kill the party, and then participate in the raid as one of the thugs. If he were "killed" in the course of the battle ("Bang! Oh no! The fireball GOT me!") he could just wander off afterwards and dump the real body in the river when necessary. All the while, he's gathering firsthand intelligence on the characters' spells, items, names, religions. ("Waitaminute. That guy again? But we *killed* that guy.") And if they look correct, how exactly do you know until the true seeing rolls out?

The fact that there's a (possibly reversible-- oooh! C'mere captives and hostages...I promise to make you better if only you...) process for creating them tells me that wizards or evil priests being manipulated by IDs might put these at their disposal.

kick in the possible emotional investment of an unwillingly created and blackmailed individual ("You're who? but...but she ran off with that bard!") and you've got monster and adventure gold in my opinion, not some minion foot soldier.

-Ben.

And you can do most of that with a regular doppleganger with appropriate gear and spells. It's not new. What is is the role these fill as spies, emissaries, and saboteurs for intellect devourers (which before this entry lacked a race specifically designed to act as spies, emissaries, and saboteurs).

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

Let's start with the name. Unlike some of the other descriptive names this year, this one instantly lets you know what's what. What does this monster do? It takes your skin. End of line.

The powers of the critter are pretty good. Takes skin to construct itself a semi-permanent disguise which inevitably rots off is the core of it, and I like that you specify that it switches to weapons when it's fully skinned.

Unfortunately, there's already a monster that has a temporary disguise based on doing something nasty to its victims. It's an intellect devourer. The skintaker minions don't really do anything that their masters can't. Also, there's another monster in Pathfinder that takes skin and desires for the sensations of their original lives: the totenmaske, from Pathfinder 3 and the first RPG Superstar module, Clash of the Kingslayers.

Watcher, I like you, but unfortunately your critter doesn't bring anything new to the table. You've got a lot of judges in your corner and if that helps you get farther, I'll be fine with it. But I'm afraid I won't be voting for you.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Terraleon and Heathy! Thanks for your positive feedback. I hope I can count on your votes.

Demiurge 1138, I did appreciate hearing what you did like about it as well as your concerns. Thank you.


Hugo Solis wrote:

Cool monster. I love "offsprings" or "related" monsters from more powerful ones, this gives a chance for backstory and creates a bigger "ecology" for a single critter.

Did I used enough ""?

"Not" "as many" "as I" "would" "ha" "ve" "l" "i" "k" "e" "d," "Hugo."

RE: the skintaker- I. LOVE. This thing. Yes, it disgusts me, but it disgusts me in the "can't wait to throw it at PCs from the other side of the GM screen, assuming I used a GM screen" sort of way. Also, as someone who's never even THOUGHT of using an intellect devourer in a game before, well, I'm seriously considering it now.

Imagine: PCs walk into town, knowing there's some shadowy organization in dire need of a beat-down. They infiltrate the criminal underworld only to find out every one of them is terrified, and they're all caught up in fractious infighting, calling each other "imposters" and "monsters." Then, one of the guys the PCs has befriended disappears, only to come back... different. That's when things turn ugly.

Ooh, I'm using this next game. I'll set a game in a city full of disgusting, evil subterfuge any day. I think I'm about to make some poor city in Golarion very, very terrible very, very soon. :D

As for Demiurge's concerns that "it's been done": sure, I guess. Body-snatching and evil imposters are old as dirt. But this is a tasty spin on that old dirt. It's not some new devil (again, Wes? SRSLY? You know I plan to make a devil set sometime, and now there's, like, thirty different devils? :P ), it's not another "take two normal animals and mash 'em together" beastie. Sure, it has similar abilities to its creators. But it's probably not gonna be CR 8 like the intellect devourer, either, so PCs could actually face one at low levels and get drug into the plot line.

Sometimes reinventing the wheel gets you the mag-lev train. And I'm buying a ticket on this new wheel to Funtown, which I should be arriving at in half the time expected had I taken that old "four legs on a brain" wheel there.

Hope you guys hop along with me on this one; it may not be pretty, but it certainly won't be boring. :D

Sorry to interrupt the conversation. I'm-a let you finish. :P

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I like this one.

The "skintaking" is something we've seen before, but this ties in, and well, with an existing critter.

Wasn't sure that a minion monster would do it for me, but this one does.

Andoran Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I could swear I've seen this monster before. Not as well-written, mind you, but the powers were very similar. Where you deviate from my recollection is the tie to intellect devourers, which makes this a nice minion-type monster.

I'm definitely considering this one.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

N'wah wrote:
Sorry to interrupt the conversation. I'm-a let you finish.

Pray continue master illustrator! I'm the one that must remain mute. But thank you very much.

And I'm glad I could please you with my creature, Wolfboy.

taig wrote:
I'm definitely considering this one.

Glad to hear and with my thanks!


I still have others to consider while I'm weighing round one and round two entries overall and independent of themselves, but I will say that you've definitely sealed my first vote for sure to advance to round three. To be quite honest, the tie-in as a servitor race to the ID will help the ID have a stronger case built for it to replace the love that a lot of people have for WotC's IP - the mind flayer. Regardless of whether you win SuperStar and with the right Paizo polish, this creature should definitely make it's way for Bestiary III in 2011. I'd hate to see this disappear into obscurity.

Good job, Watcher!

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:


taig wrote:
I'm definitely considering this one.
Glad to hear and with my thanks!

Sorry, Watcher, but this came 5th.... I had made a list of 100 things that I liked in creatures, in order of preference, and one strike you're out.... after 10 questions I was down to 5 creatures, it took 65 more questions for this one to be eliminated... Most WotC monsters after MM2 can't get past question 5. I definitely really, really like it though and I hope you do get in.

Spoiler:
it prolly would have made it a few more questions if I could get the first episode of the Dresden Files TV show with the skinwalker villain out of my head.


Wicht wrote:
A little too reminescent perhaps of Hellraiser, at least that was the first thing I thought of with it, but I like it overall.

Funny, my first thought was that this was pure Clive Barker-y goodness. Definitely reminiscent,but nobody has ever quite captured Hellraiser flavor like this....

Pure mojo....

Silver Crusade

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

I love it. Intellect Devourers really need some "additional cast" in lieu of Mind Flayers (who had Urophions, Brain Golems etc). This monster fills a niche, it is creepy, cool and usable. Go Watcher go !

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I came into this prejudiced ("skin-takers" have been done and I'm tired of them) but I can't help but love this. The image of the brain with eyeballs perched at the top of a spine stuck in my head and stayed there, peering at me, while I read the rest of the description.

Making a stock-minion this awesome isn't easy, nor is taking something that's been done so often before and giving it this kind of traction and appeal. I don't know how the hell you did it, but major kudos for doing it.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Okay, to start with, I'd like to say that you're getting one of my votes. The odd thing is, unlike the other two not-me votes, I wasn't entirely sure why... yet, it's the only one I never doubted.

Gorbacz nailed it. Despite having limited free will of its own, despite treading the same ground as a doppelganger, this is a pretty awesome monster. What makes it Superstar despite all those nitpicks is that with its introduction, you have successfully replaced illithids as a side-effect. Even if it was accidental, I'm in love!

Silver Crusade

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

Really good monster. Almost got my vote. Hope you advance!


I'm starting off with the number one reason I love skintakers: I actually want to run or play in an adventure involving intellect devourers now.

I didn't like the intellect devourer from the first time I saw its monster manual entry. "A brain on legs?! WTF?!" After reading its entry more carefully I was baffled by how much natural armor this exposed brain creature has. I still don't like that they're called intellect devourers, but that's not what they do at all. They don't eat your intellect; they kill you and replace your brain so they can ride around in your body. Why are they called intellect devourers? But enough of that...

Skintakers make intellect devourers so much cooler in my mind. This is one of only two entries that connects to another, already published monster and makes that monster cooler by association (the other one being lantern thralls and their connection to jannis).

But this entry does more than that. While lantern thralls give me a great idea for a desert random encounter (or maybe a side quest), skintakers come with an whole adventure built right in, and that adventure practically writes itself. There's only one other entry that really inspired an entire adventure in my head as soon as I read it: the tremagguan. Well, the liesinger and the churjiir also inspire adventures, but the skintaker and tremagguan really got my juices flowing. Moreover the skintaker inspires an adventure I would not have considered running or playing in before, because of my former dislike of intellect devourers.

Also, how did you manage to make one of the most visually horrifying monsters in the contest also one of the most sympathetic. The poor bastard just wants his old life back, but can't have it because the intellect devourer twisted him and stripped away his humanity. It's tragic.

Damnit! I want that adventure NOW! I want to play in that adventure, and then I want to run that adventure for a different group of players.

For my vote, it's probably going to come down to either this or the tremagguan, and I think I'm already leaning towards the skintaker.

Also, one last thing: You've cleaned up your writing style beautifully. I don't think there's a word out of place in this entry. That's a lot of improvement in a week. You really took all that feedback to heart.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

This is good, tight design work. It is slightly lacking in originality, however. You make up for some of that with your excellent intellect devourer tie-in, but still, the creature doesn't grab me and doesn't make me want to run it immediately. I can see the usefulness of having a minion creature in your I.D. campaign, but what if you're not using Intellect devourers? There really isn't much of a hook to use them otherwise.

Watcher, this is really strange. I had all but reserved my vote for you, but after reading this, I feel some of your competitors just created stronger submissions in this round. I still wish you the best of luck and hope you will advance to the next round in order to take the cake there :). You've got the creative mojo.


Too late to edit my previous post.

Anyway, since we get four votes instead of just one, I won't have to choose between the skintaker and the tremagguan. Hooray!

Star Voter 2013

Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:


taig wrote:
I'm definitely considering this one.
Glad to hear and with my thanks!

Sorry, Watcher, but this came 5th.... I had made a list of 100 things that I liked in creatures, in order of preference, and one strike you're out.... after 10 questions I was down to 5 creatures, it took 65 more questions for this one to be eliminated... Most WotC monsters after MM2 can't get past question 5. I definitely really, really like it though and I hope you do get in.

** spoiler omitted **

How about posting the questions in the general thread? Might be informative. I'd read it during office hours today.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Oooooooh. I really like this one. The intelect devourer link is great and I *love* the disguise trait. I wonder how this would work together with spells like true seeing.

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

Darkjoy wrote:
I am liking this entry more and more, you spoiled me! And ruined it for the others ;>

1 vote for you.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

See? Intellect devourer monster :)

However, this is a VERY well-conceived monster, and I can ignore the name. I like the creepiness of the creatures not entirely forgetting who they are - imagine running into someone you know who's turned into one of these. Blech!

All it needs is a rename, I think, there was some skin something-or-other in the Dragon that I picture whenever I see this name. Skinwalker, maybe? Some dude with a living cape.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a player these things would creep me out (as do the intellect devourers which these are nicely tied to). What I like especially about this entry is the depth of the concept. Normally with aberrations, my gut instinct as a player would be to slay on sight. However, these would raise that inkling of pity that just may slow that sword stroke or spell.... of course, that would probably be the end of that character, but at least he would "live" a little longer as a nice suit.

Well done Jim!

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