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RPG Superstar 2015

Marrow worm


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

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

Marrow worm
Description: Tiny, red, hairy worms, no larger than a fine quill shaft, yet capable of bringing down much larger prey. Marrow worms are parasitic organisms that enter their hosts and take over their very skeletons. Exuding sticky, grayish slime they creep along ceilings in swarms, dropping on their prey from above. As soon as they land on their target they seek out unprotected flesh, whereupon their mouthparts unfurl and they burrow.

Within minutes their prey begins to spasm as their own bodies are turned against them. Traitorous jaws bite down on chanting tongues, weapons tumble from twitching fingers and legs spasm treacherously with every step. Infected hosts must constantly battle for control of their own bodies, and without the aid of magic there are only two possible outcomes; the worms fall to the natural defenses of their intended prey, or their victims collapse, paralyzed, to be devoured on the spot. Victorious worms devour their victims from within and leave behind a contorted skeleton, the marrow cavities packed with eggs.

Powers and abilities: Only the truly eagle-eyed can spot a slime-encrusted swarm of marrow worms as it lurks on a stone ceiling or cave roof. The well-prepared explorer keeps a heavy sack draped over his head and shoulders in case of worm attack. While dropping from their perches the marrow worms are at their most vulnerable, as once they have landed they are virtually impossible to kill without also harming their target. Picking them off with bare fingers is almost certainly a death sentence. On reaching bare flesh they disappear under the skin and burrow into the bones beneath. Once ensconced in the skeleton of the victim, the awful battle for control begins.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

Piercers meet rot grubs...yuck! Despite the extreme vividness of the results of an attack, these have a kind of cool, real-world appeal, almost like something you could run across in the Amazon if you weren't careful. I especially like the simple precaution that can be taken to make them just another inconvenience for those in the know.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
Piercers meet rot grubs...

Ha! That's almost exactly what I wrote in my notes Greg! Parasite-like monsters are hard to do, they fall into this nasty gray realm between actual monsters and hazards. I'm not completely convinced that these aren't hazards actually, as this doesn't seem like something you can really take a swing at with a sword. Swarms, sure. Individuals, not so much.

That being said, the writing in this really gets the idea across and I'd love to see what Mr. Spencer might come up with in some of the more elaborate rounds to come.

Contributor

My problem with this creature is if you don't have any magic handy, you can't win. You can't pick them off yourself with bare hands. You can't attack them once they're inside somebody. You can't get rid of them without curative magic. And they start messing you up within minutes. If you stumble into this after you've run out of healing (say, after dealing with the last encounter of the dungeon, or while fleeing something dangerous), you're totally screwed, and your friends don't even have time to drag you back to town before you're dead.

Also: "The well-prepared explorer keeps a heavy sack draped over his head and shoulders in case of worm attack." That doesn't scream "adventuring hero" to me... nor would the equally-effective method of spelunking with a fancy parasol.

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

I think this is a hazard or a disease, not a monster. And its funny that piercers and rot grubs are used as references as neither are in the Pathfinder SRD. Green slime and yellow mold are hazards. Oozes, things that can be attacked, are monsters. This stuff can't really be attacked. Its not a monster.

I DO NOT recommend this advance.

But since people in prior years have gotten mad when I dont do a "full review" here you go:

Initial Impression: This is a hazard, not a monster.

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): D
This is a hazard, not a monster.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): D
This is a hazard, not a monster.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): D
Hazard.

Overall: D
Not a monster.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this creature advance.

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

Jeff, I get a worm of Kyuss vibe from your monster entry. Which is a) a monster and b) bad because it is a monster that I know of.

I do NOT agree with Clark that this is not a monster and I hope you make it to round 3.

Off to check the other monsters.


Not entirely disimilar, but the first thing I thought was ...

KHAAAAAAAAAANNN!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I could see this being executed as an awesome swarm creature, or as more of a generic 'hazard' without real monster stats. We don't know, because the author CAN'T give us monster stats, but I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Same goes for the "PCs are screwed" criticism- without stats (or a more detailed exposition on how to fight them) we really don't know that.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
That doesn't scream "adventuring hero" to me... nor would the equally-effective method of spelunking with a fancy parasol.

This made me laugh. Call me crazy but I actually LOVE that image- it's just the sort of thing that a crazy wilderness guide would suggest to some confused explorers. "Just do it. Trust me."

Sovereign Court

I kind of like them. They're classic D&D monsters, rot grubs, ear seekers, and of course the worms of kyuss. Sean says "if you don't have any magic handy you can't win" though I'm not entirely sure. The question is what sort of natural defenses could defeat them? You say that "Picking them off with bare fingers is almost certainly a death sentence", which I feel isn't winning any favors, as it does add to that hazard comparison that Clark is making. there's a lot of talk about how to prepare or defend yourself but there's not a lot of talk about the creature's defenses. I do like the critter and I hope you get the chance to stat this up sp we can see how we can defeat it.


I love the description of consequences, these would be a fun hazard to supplement another combat encounter like a big bad.

From a anatomy perspective wouldn't a muscle worm be more able to control the movements of the prey, though something getting into one's marrow has a great creeptacular angle.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I removed a post.

DO NOT insult the contestants, the judges, or other members of the community. Criticism is fine: it's kind of what the contest is all about. But do it constructively.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like this. A lot. Some problems that have been pointed out but dang its got a lot of potential and it feels like it belongs in the environment. If the 'if you don't have magic issue you're screwed' can be solved than I think that takes care of the its a hazard not a monster argument. Granted the writing indicates thats an impossibility. My only thought is to make them less abundant in numbers and give infected PCs an opportunity to cut these critters out of their own flesh or maybe burn themselves (maybe the critters don't like heat?) That or the critters deal ability damage (say Dex) until the opponent succumbs?

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

This is a great hazard, IMO. It's unfortunate that 3e created a hazy demarcation between monsters and hazards, and it's easy to fall into a trap with something like this.

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

Wow. I agree with Clark completely. That's an odd experience.

As a monster, these guys would be different. If they attacked in mad swarms, implanting some of their number into victims, who begin fighting with themselves while the rest of the party struggles to save them. But they don't. They drop from cave ceilings in little clumps to attack one person, and can't be fought. Only deflected by burlap sacks or fancy parasols.

Although, of course, the "if you don't have magic, you're screwed" argument isn't the best for determining the monster/hazard bar. A swarm of diminutive creatures can't be killed by any means aside from area of effect spells or alchemicals. A bat swarm also can't be taken out with bare hands. Maybe an antitoxin takes marrow worms out?

If these were monsters, I'd dig them. But they're not monsters. I like hazards. But this was a monster contest, not a "new miscellaneous rules element" challenge.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The Pros: Your description had me hooked from the start. The name is great. I could totally see this as a swarm creature ...

The Cons: ... until I read Clark's post. Yeah, he's probably right, in that this could also be built as a PFRPG hazard. However, there are steps that could be taken to remedy this: give the PCs a chance to remove them before they burrow in [flick them away with weapons?], or a reflex save to avoid the dropping worms. Adding things like that would have made the distinction between creature and hazard clearer, I think.

Still, it would probably a creature of medium to high CR, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. All that really stands in the way of the marrow worm is potential fairness issues.

I think your entry shows potential, but you're not quite there yet. Still, I would love to see what you can do with this in the next round. So, the best of luck to you!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

On rereading, I am better seeing the complaints raised by other posters- the fact that a sack over your head can protect you strongly implies that these guys are useless once they hit the ground. By the time you roll initiative the fight is already over.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Darkjoy wrote:

Jeff, I get a worm of Kyuss vibe from your monster entry.

So did I. But you could argue that both the worm of Kyuss and these buggers were inspired by similar sources.

I would like to see how combat with a swarm of these would pan out. In other words, give me some stats.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka carborundum

Thank you for your support and please vote for my monster! If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them once voting for this round is closed.


Okay, I like this entry, which seems innovative and well written, but I have a problem or two.
It is not covered in the description whether or not the creatures in question are thwarted by full plate armour with closed face helm - nor if creatures with a high natural armour (or a powerful amulet of natural armour) or stoneskin/barksin spells can keep them out. I assume that highly armoured natural predators such as dragons are immune to these by reason of thick hide or strong constitution, otherwise I can imagine adventurers' guilds keeping supply tanks of marrow worms carefully contained whilst characters carry fragile 'worm bombs' to toss onto the heads of enemies.

Why do these hang around only on cave roofs or stone ceilings? Why don't they drop off the underside of tree branches in forests, or is sunlight dangerous to them? Do they need a damp atmosphere, protected from sunlight or heat surces, to keep their slime from drying out?

Given the variety of situations underground and differences in colourings of rocks or natural mineral formations, I have problems with the assumption that only the most eagle-eyed will always be able to spot these. Whether the impression given is of their own red colouration, or of the greyish slime they cover themselves in (which may well glisten and reflect back light sources unless it has unusual optical properties), there will be situations where it is obvious that there's something strange and out of place on the roof up ahead, even if it might require an appropriate Knowledge check to determine precisely what it is.

These creatures seem possible to fit into a game reasonably easily as encounters in some situations (determined by environment).

My overall impression is of a simple, elegant, fairly well written entry, but which gives me reservations on several points. There have been some odd things in the past which have appeared in Monster Manuals (including half a dozen viruses in one of the 2nd edition AD&D Ravenloft products) so for me the jury is currently out on the question of 'Is This A Monster'?

Thank-you for submitting this Jeff; I was curious what you would produce this Round after seeing the amulet of sparkling deceit in Round 1.

Star Voter 2013

This space in the monster ecosystem's already been taken by rot grubs and Kyuss worms. And I hate the rot grub vibe, because that was part of the bad side of old school gaming: a "gotcha!" which you could only rarely forsee and which punished exploration and player curiosity.

And if a disgusting swarm is going to drop on my player's character from the ceiling, it will be a swarm of cockroaches.

Good luck, though.


They feel like more of a hazard to me.

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

I'm a sports official. And I often make bad calls (or so I am told by coaches and fans of the teams who the calls go against, the other coach and fans seem to think I do fine until call goes against them, funny how that happens). But part of the problem is that sometimes the players put themselves in a position to have a judgment call go against them. For instance, a player dribbles into a double team and the coach wants a hand check. Well, the real problem is they dribbled into the double team. Maybe there was a hand check and I missed it. Or maybe there wasnt. But the player put themselves in the position to make things difficult. The player can avoid that.

This submission does just that.

Maybe its not a hazard. Maybe it is a monster. I think its a hazard. That's my judgment call.

But the author put himself in the position for us to make that judgment call by intentionally designing a creature that was on the borderline of hazard and monster.

These are things to think about as a designer. I'm not saying play it safe. I dont believe in that at all. I'm just saying as a designer you need to think through your choices and make sure they dont put you in a bad position.

Don't dribble into the double team :)

So in the end what we learn from this is that finally answering the question of whether or not, definitively, this is a hazard or a monster isn't the point. What we learn is from a design standpoint the smarter move is to stay away from the whole trap in the first place.


Praise:
n/a
Concerns:
n/a
Overall:
Sorry, this is hard for me, but this is really not a monster. Too small to battle, with no stats to speak of, or abilities. This is a trap or a disease, or a disease trap. I think you missed the mark this round. Even just looking at the writing itself, I do not see much here. A great trap, or a deadly disease, but not a monster.


Sean's parasol comment and Clark's "full review" gave me back to back laughs. Thanks guys.

Jeff: This is a GREAT concept. I mean that. I just happen to agree that it's the wrong concept. I'm in the camp that agrees that this is a hazard.

You didn't do yourself any favors by saying that a heavy sack draped over your head will save you. What about my Wizard's hood? Is that enough, or do I get a reflex save to see if one landed on my face? Does every character wearing clothes get a reflex save against the marrow worms? That doesn't feel very much like a monster attack, but just having a PC make a save isn't enough to sink you.

The part about "natural defenses" implies to me a Fort check. If that's the case, a "save or die" roll isn't a wise design choice. Also, now you've got two saving throws, and the PC's haven't ACTIVELY done anything against the marrow worms. Uh oh.

Strike three was saying "picking them off with bare fingers is almost certainly a death sentence."

What you seem to be giving us is one or more saving throws, and no chance to pluck the things off via grapple checks or other combat options. Although, in your defense, you did say they were VIRTUALLY impossible to kill without also harming the target. Virtually. That one word MAY save you. Is that your way of saying they have a high AC and if you miss, you hit the victim? I don't know. It's not clear to me.

The bottom line is if you don't have even a remote chance for combat against the threat, and saving throws or curative spells are your only defense, it's not a monster.

Sorry. I want to say again that I liked it. I just don't think it delivered on the goal of a new creature.

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

Alas, but count me into the chorus of "hazard, not monster." This is much more similar to green slime than a spider swarm. Maybe it was intended by be more swarmy, but the way it's written it's a "clings to the ceiling, drops on you, and infects you with killification - fix it quick or you die" kind of thing just like green slime.

Overall: Sorry, dude.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka carborundum

Thank you all for the advice, and for taking the time to study, cogitate and give me feedback. I'm stoked and my players will suffer, I mean benefit, greatly from all I'm learning.

Here's hoping I can continue to walk this path!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Man, Jeff, I'm really rooting for you. I enjoyed the amulet of the deciever immensely and love the visuals of the marrow worms. I would love to see what else you've got for us.

Vote Carborundum!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The thing that bothers me here is this:

With a very small adjustments this could be a decent monster. Just give the PCs a means of digging out the worm and you're done. It's suddenly using the same mechanics as the kyuss worm.

Now if people didn't like this entry because it's badly written, or the concept is rotten, I could live with that. But this in my mind is just a minor snafu. I really don't see why people are dismissing this entry because of it.


This just didn't create a sense of surprise or wonder for me. They seem to have very little power, and are really no different than a disease or poison. I've never liked tiny things that come in swarms. They are a niche monster to me and I very rarely use them. Yeah, they could certainly be a pain to the PCs, but they just aren't "RPGSuperStar" quality to me.

Sorry,
Ken


Am I the only one that's never heard of a kyuss worm before this thread?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Jason Rice wrote:
Am I the only one that's never heard of a kyuss worm before this thread?

It's a creature from the Age of Worms AP. Basically it's a fat green maggot that burries into a creature's skin and works it's way up to it's brain. A creature killed in this manner transforms into a spawn of Kyuss, an zombie infested with Kyuss worms.

Check out Ross Beyer's avatar for a picture of a bunch of Kyuss worms.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

"Tiny, red, hairy worms" Its a creature! But tiny and quill shaft arent synonymous to me, especially when discussing worms.

"... dropping on their prey from above." how do they know to drop onto thier victims

"Infected hosts (have) only two possible outcomes; the worms fall to the natural defenses of their intended prey, or their victims (are)devoured " is a ; the right thing to use? What natural defenses of the infected? I got confused with that bit and had to reread it a couple times before it dug in (haha pun)

"once they have landed they are virtually impossible to kill" Why are they impossible to kill?

"Picking them off with bare fingers is almost certainly a death sentence" Why is this?

Nasty, nasty little worms, and an almost certain death trap. This entry has created a very effective creature, it could have used a tad bit more description all the way around but its nothing serious. Unfortunately this entry does it killing so well that I wouldn't use it as written. I have to get nit pickey on this entry:

round 2 rules wrote:
Describe a new fantasy monster for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This includes its description (physical shape, mental outlook, and so on) and a summary of its powers and abilities.

physical shape= "Tiny, red, hairy worms"

mental outlook = 'consume and reproduce'
powers = 'bite and burrow'

is the above susperstar material? Im afraid not. Is the entry superstar material? Yes. Is the creature a superstar? No, it needs tweaking.


Jason Rice wrote:
Am I the only one that's never heard of a kyuss worm before this thread?

Make that two that have never heard of it...i have heard of Kyuss the band though which rocks.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

How did the author respond to the challenge? If anything, the concept might not have needed so many words to explain. It has a distracting level of grammatical/presentational problems.

How does it stack up


  • as an opponent? This really sounds like an unpleasant occurrence and might be significantly hard to avoid or cure.
  • as something other than an opponent? It's just a dungeon lurker. No wider significance was mentioned.
  • in relation to other monsters? This is the first tiny (or Fine) creature I've seen this round. Other posters have mentioned a few of the parallels already in the game.
  • in relation to the author's item? Both are rather limited effects. I'd want to see something more ambitious to follow.
  • in itself? It's a skin-crawling thought, certainly. The execution doesn't show me anything stellar.

Maybe too simple in this field of competition.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

  • Writing: Your writing is fine, you have very effectively painted a picture of what your creature is. Nice sight picture.
  • Originality: see below
  • Mojo/ spirit: see below

    Death from above has never been a favored gaming style of mine so I wouldn't use it. This makes me a poor judge of how it compares to the alternatives.

    Guide:
    Writing: My impression of your writing style.
    Originality: Is this creature a unique creation? Does it fill a unique niche in the game?
    Mojo/ spirit: Do I want to see your creature in my game?


  • Jeff Spencer wrote:

    Marrow worm

    I really wanted to look at this as a monster and try to critique this from this point of view. But there are several problems that don't let me see it as a monster, bar trying to evaluate this as one. I will tell you why:

    1. They are easily avoided by a simple spot check or easy preparation. Much like a trap, very much unlike a normal monster.

    2. There is no real way to battle them: Much like a hazard , very much unlike a monster.

    3. Their real power/ the real danger comes into play some time after encountering them. Much like a disease, very much unlike a monster.

    4. The real danger can only be fought with saving throws or curative magic. Much like a disease, very much unlike a monster.

    An encounter with Marrow worms would pretty much look like this:
    1. everyone makes a spot check DC X
    2. Whoever noticed the marrow worms gets a reflex saving throw to dodge the dropping Worms ( or is not flatfooted against a touch attack)
    3. everyone covered in worms has 1 round to get dealt Y points of Area of effect damage to kill the worms before they burrow themselfs into their flesh.
    4. some time passes
    5. Everyone affected must make one or more fortitude saves, to avoid paralyzation or attribute damage.
    6. Victim is healed or dies.

    This clearly is the outline of a hazard encounter. not a combat encounter ( it doesn't even involve initiative).

    I'm not considering this for a vote.

    Paizo Employee Developer

    This is a great concept—for a hazard. I just don't see how a monster statblock would adequately cover these if developed. The whole thing would be in abilities section. It's just really weird to think of fighting these things before you get infected. Either you avoid them, or they getcha and then you cure them away. I hope the voters keep you in the contestant pool into the next round so that we can see more of your creative ideas, but I hope you can direct the inspiration to something more in line with the challenge for future rounds. Best of luck!


    I see two ways to interpret this entry mechanically.

    The first way is as a swarm monster which causes an affliction. The affliction models the worms burrowing into a victim's bones, eating him from within, etc.

    The second way is as a hazard like brown mold. It would require a Perception or Knowledge (dungeoneering) check to notice, a Reflex save to avoid all the worms, and then probably Fortitude saves against the affliction as above.

    The fact that your entry could be considered a hazard rather than a monster does not bode well for you. A monster has to be pretty passive and uninteresting for me to wonder if it should be a hazard. I can only see an encounter with marrow worms going one of two ways.

    1. The point man spots the worms on the ceiling. The blaster hits them with area-effect energy damage.

    2. The point man does not spot the worms on the ceiling. The worms infect the point man. The healer tries desperately to cure the point man. The blaster hits the rest of the swarm with area-effect energy damage.

    This just doesn't do it for me. Nearly all the Round 2 entries give me visions of at least an interesting encounter, if not a whole side quest or even an entire adventure. I can only see marrow worms causing a single "Oh crap!" moment and then just being tedious. Sorry, I'm not going to give you any of my votes and I don't expect you'll be in the next round.

    EDIT = Damnit! I'm trying to be fair and review the monster before reading anyone else's comments, but I just end up sounding like I'm parroting other people's comments.

    The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

    catmandrake wrote:
    The first way is as a swarm monster which causes an affliction. The affliction models the worms burrowing into a victim's bones, eating him from within, etc.

    Thinking about this last night the idea that it might be a swarm rather than a green mold like creature occurred to me as well. I tried re-reading it with that in mind and the entry does talk about them moving in a swarm. In some ways I think the judges observations are affecting people's perception of the entry (not a complaint, that is the nature of the contest).


    Dennis Baker wrote:
    catmandrake wrote:
    The first way is as a swarm monster which causes an affliction. The affliction models the worms burrowing into a victim's bones, eating him from within, etc.
    Thinking about this last night the idea that it might be a swarm rather than a green mold like creature occurred to me as well. I tried re-reading it with that in mind and the entry does talk about them moving in a swarm. In some ways I think the judges observations are affecting people's perception of the entry (not a complaint, that is the nature of the contest).

    I tried the same, seeing them as a swarm of monsters. But it didn't work out for me.

    Liberty's Edge

    Jeff Spencer wrote:

    Marrow worm

    Description: Tiny, red, hairy worms, no larger than a fine quill shaft, yet capable of bringing down much larger prey. Marrow worms are parasitic organisms that enter their hosts and take over their very skeletons. Exuding sticky, grayish slime they creep along ceilings in swarms, dropping on their prey from above. As soon as they land on their target they seek out unprotected flesh, whereupon their mouthparts unfurl and they burrow.

    Within minutes their prey begins to spasm as their own bodies are turned against them. Traitorous jaws bite down on chanting tongues, weapons tumble from twitching fingers and legs spasm treacherously with every step. Infected hosts must constantly battle for control of their own bodies, and without the aid of magic there are only two possible outcomes; the worms fall to the natural defenses of their intended prey, or their victims collapse, paralyzed, to be devoured on the spot. Victorious worms devour their victims from within and leave behind a contorted skeleton, the marrow cavities packed with eggs.

    Powers and abilities: Only the truly eagle-eyed can spot a slime-encrusted swarm of marrow worms as it lurks on a stone ceiling or cave roof. The well-prepared explorer keeps a heavy sack draped over his head and shoulders in case of worm attack. While dropping from their perches the marrow worms are at their most vulnerable, as once they have landed they are virtually impossible to kill without also harming their target. Picking them off with bare fingers is almost certainly a death sentence. On reaching bare flesh they disappear under the skin and burrow into the bones beneath. Once ensconced in the skeleton of the victim, the awful battle for control begins.

    Yuck these make me crawly!!! I like that you added in the fact that people who may know these are around would carry an "umbrella" of sorts. I know I would--hah! Anyhow, the thing I was curious about was the fact that as a player I almost always play the fighter-type characters. It's hard to imagine a battle with this...but perhaps that is what makes them so icky and warned against?

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

    My thoughts on the marrow worms...

    The Name: A good descriptive name. I can immediately guess what the monster does.

    The Description: Well, they're certainly creepy. But you missed an opportunity to describe a swarm of icky worms that the PCs must escape in a running battle through a cavern. Instead, you merely describe a few worms dropping on characters from above, which is really just an environmental effect, since no battle is involved.

    The Powers: The description of the worms' effects do nothing to dispel the appearance of a mere hazard. You don't battle these creatures, you block them with hoods and cure them with magic. That's not really a monster.

    The Buzz: "Not a monster" seems to be the most common complaint in this thread, and I happen to agree with it. Marrow worms could have been written in a way that made it obvious that having their stat block would be necessary to run an encounter with them, but they weren't. As written, an entire encounter with marrow worms can be run knowing only a few skill check DCs, a few save DCs, and the condition they inflict upon their victims. That's pretty much the definition of a hazard.

    The Vote: Not a monster. I will not be voting for marrow worms.

    Scarab Sages

    Congrats on getting this far!

    SO,

    If these are hazards, then what are "Executioner Hoods" in the Tome of Horrors? I believe that says they are monsters, specifically aberrations. They just hang and wait for an adventurer to drop on top of. The difference would be that the EH don't "disappear." These are swarms that drop, and you have to get rid of them in the split second of initiative between when they drop and when they burrow. burning hands (or an appropriate leveled spell) your party member to get rid of the swarm.

    Rot grubs have to be cut out if they get in too far, and there are swarms of rot grubs. Hanging off the ceiling is just an ambush tactic.

    That said, I think that with a little revision (which is why this would not be entirely Superstar material) this would be an awesome monster.


    Jeff Spencer wrote:

    Marrow worm

    cut for space

    This is the nineteenth monster that I am looking at. I do not read the comments below the entry before posting my opinion. An apology if this duplicates someone else’s entry, in part or whole.

    A swarm critter! A cousin in spirit to the rot grub, updated to the 21st Century – suspense is limited so let’s have red worms devour you entirely - while your friends watch! I felt like I was in an X-files episode watching this. Uh, I mean reading this. Clearly, the introduction writing was good. I can imagine this critter and see it doing it’s work. Absent system mechanics.

    Powers:
    *lurks on ceilings (awesome description of how though)
    *explorer keeps a sack on their head (Now this is imaginative! I would not know how to describe this. Compulsion? ;) )
    *vulnerable while falling (must be the square cube law)
    *virtually impossible to kill without harming their target (mm-kay)
    *disappear under the skin and burrow beneath (rot grubs?)
    *once ensconced in the skeleton…(uh huh, do they get in-flight movies?)

    Summary: So, the writing is amazing in terms of how it makes me feel about the horror of these things. I have to give you serious credit for that. However, the massive segue out of describing powers to use it for creepier flavor text? I found myself wondering about that. In fact, I am torn between going “no! bad writer, you didn’t follow the rules” and “Hey lookithat, I really like this critter.” I think you wrote very well and put some new spin on an old idea. I am concerned though that there really is nothing special here other than well-formulated prose. What sort of mechanics will you use for what is essentially a rot grub swarm with a different appearance? A lot is left to the description, which may be perfect for a rules-light system or fire-time stories, but D&D and Pathfinder depend upon definition and consistency and rules knowledge. It's a tough call.


    The Scotch Assassin wrote:
    Jason Rice wrote:
    Am I the only one that's never heard of a kyuss worm before this thread?
    Make that two that have never heard of it...i have heard of Kyuss the band though which rocks.

    Ah! Try getting ahold of a first edition Fiend Folio.


    Creepy! The hairy part and losing control over your own limbs that gave me the shivers. I would not like to fall prey to this MONSTER! And love the word ensconced being used!

    Good luck, you've got my vote Mr. Spencer - old skool rules!


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    The Scotch Assassin wrote:
    Make that two that have never heard of it...i have heard of Kyuss the band though which rocks.

    ... and who, incidentally, took their name from the D&D god/elder horror thingy called Kyuss. :)

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