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RPG Superstar 2015

Richard A. Hunt's Slithering Horror


Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Shogglagung CR 6
XP 2,400
N Large aberration (aquatic)
Init +1; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +6
Aura frightful presence (60 ft., DC 9)
=====
Defense
=====
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+4 natural, +1 Dex, -1 size)
hp 32 (4d8+16)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +4
Defensive Abilities ferocity; DR 3/slashing or piercing; Immune acid, critical hits, precision damage
Weaknesses gluttony
=====
Offense
=====
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee 2 tentacles +7 (1d6+3 plus grab, pull or trip)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks disgorged digestion, engulf (2d6 acid damage), pull (tentacle, 5 ft.), tenacious grapple, trip (tentacle)
=====
Statistics
=====
Str 17, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 5
Base Atk +3; CMB +6 (+10 grapple); CMD 17 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Snatch, Toughness, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
Skills Acrobatics +5, Perception +6, Stealth +5, Survival +6
Languages Common (cannot speak)
SQ amphibious, caustic slime (1d6+2 acid damage), sucking cling
=====
Ecology
=====
Environment any underground, temperate swamp
Organization solitary
Treasure incidental
=====
Special Abilities
=====
Engulf (Ex) This ability functions as swallow whole, except as follows. A shogglagung can engulf only one foe of Medium size or smaller at a time with no bite damage. A swallowed creature has no opportunity to cut its way free because it's disgorged as a swift action immediately after being swallowed. Interior armor class and hit points also don't apply.

Disgorged Digestion (Ex) A victim disgorged following engulfment is nauseated (DC 14) and confused (DC 14) for 1 round. The victim suffers a coating of flesh-eating digestive slime, taking 2d6 acid damage per round for up to 3 rounds. Strong alcohol or universal solvent dissolves the slime.

Caustic Slime (Ex) A sticky slime constantly weeps from the creature's outer skin causing incidental acid damage to only living tissue coming into contact with it.

Sucking Cling (Ex) A shogglagung can cling to any surface with tiny secondary tentacles on its skin, allowing it to move across even vertical or inverted surfaces with ease. It can establish or release clinging as a swift action, allowing it to drop on prey if necessary. Its CMD score also gets a +10 circumstance bonus to resist bull rush, awesome blows, and other attacks and effects that attempt to physically move it from its location.

Tenacious Grapple (Ex) A shogglagung doesn't gain the grappled condition if it grapples a foe with its primary tentacles.

Gluttony (Ex) The creature must cease attacking and mindlessly feed whenever a victim within sensory range dies from the effects of disgorged digestion. It can suck up the remains of a medium-sized creature or smaller as a standard action.

A shogglagung is the corpulent stomach of an ogre, giant or similar humanoid who, knowingly or not, gorged itself on magical essences. This disgusting gut swallows prey whole, coats it with digestive juices, then immediately disgorges it. The creature thus avoids internal damage in this way. Worse yet, the acidic stomach slime inside the creature sticks to flesh, continuing to digest it unto death. When the victim finally expires, the shogglagung moves in and greedily slurps up the soupy remains.

The creature's body resembles an elongated sack of undulating mauve flesh, glistening with a slimy sheen. Radiating from its skin are scores of short tentacles, formed from the blood vessels once surrounding the stomach. It uses these cloying tentacles for centipede-like locomotion, moving with surprising speed over most surfaces, including sheer walls and ceilings. Its longer, thicker primary tentacles, the former humanoid's intestines, are used to manipulate and capture live prey. The creature’s eyeless "head" is dominated by a toothless maw, formed from the mouth and esophagus of the original humanoid.

Shogglagungs haunt dark, moist environments and are drawn to partially flooded ruins, marshes and sewers. A blubberous ogre gobbling fairy flesh or guzzling enchanted waters over a lifetime is but one example of how a shogglagung can result from magic saturating a gluttonous stomach lining. The eventual animation of this aberrant yet naturalistic creature results only weeks after the original being's death. It continues in a life of gluttony, devoid of memory or meaning, living only to slurp up the sick, goopy mess of digested fleshes.

Contributor

Strange, the provided monster format has the Defense, Offense, and other dividers all in boldface, yet yours has them as plain text (I checked... the bold tags aren't even in your post).

I'd probably list Caustic Slime as an SA, as it's an attack.

The Special Abilities should be alphabetized.

Sucking Cling: I'd just give it spider climb (Ex) like a vampire has, and make the sucking cling ability focus on the resisting bull rushes

I like the gluttony ability. ;)

And the new name. :)

This monster is weird and gross. I liked it before, and I like the execution of it now. I'd probably drop the frightful presence (we don't need a supernatural component to its disgustingness, people will be already grossed out and afraid of it just because of its appearance).

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

Note: In my view, this round is more than just making a stat block in a vacuum. I don’t think just seeing if you crunched out the rules properly is the right way to judge a good entry for this round. Instead, I think it’s about taking a concept from someone else and delivering on it mechanically. If a concept has four stated powers, I want to see you execute those four powers somehow unless you have reconcepted the creature. Of course you need to then execute that stat block properly. Sean, Wes and Jason are way more qualified than I am to talk about the nit picks and issues with the stat block. So what I am going to look at is how you took the concept you chose and how executed that concept with your stat block. Because really, that is what freelancing is all about–getting an assignment from someone else and delivering on it.

Initial Impression
I was really hoping to see someone do this. I’m surprised we only got one. Hmm. I see you gave it a name other than “slithering horror.” I get that, you are responding to the feedback. But the name feels clunky. It’s trying to be all HP Lovecraft and doesn’t seem to work somehow. I don’t know, maybe it’s me. Wes probably won't like it either. [Edit: oh man, I'm like Nostradamus or something!] That said, I love this thing and I like your powers for it. Let’s dig in…

The Execution
CR 6 makes this fun and nasty and I think it fits just right.

Large aberration works, though I guess I pictured it as Medium. No worries. And adding the “aquatic” sub-type is both hilarious and genius.

Again, Sean and Wes can dig into the mechanics of the powers themselves as they are far more qualified than me to do so. But here are my thoughts:

I’ll admit, I didn’t need frightful presence from this thing. That’s more from scary undead. Not just from stuff that’s icky. I think that was a swing and a miss.

Great work on engulf. You found what was fun and what we liked and you implemented it. Disgorged digestion and caustic slime are great, and are also great power names. That’s stuff people read and want to use. They don’t want “stomach acid” they want “caustic slime.” Real good stuff.

Sucking cling could just have been spider climb, but I like the bonus to CMD. Frankly, I think spider climb should have that. That was well done.

Final Thoughts
Richard, I loved the needles and the Splorudra. I think you have a huge hit on your hands with this thing. This is real good work. I think you are really starting to flex your design muscles. Hopefully the voters will agree.

I RECOMMEND this for Top 8.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

This guy needs a name makeover, both on the main name and in abilities.

As for the main name, "shogglagung" is just a made up word and without any description to support it, just feels like a gibberish word. I went on this tear a bit in the last round, but it bears repeating, the two most logical sources for creature names are what they call themselves and what others call them. As these things don't seem like they're doing a lot if deep thinking and collectively naming their race, and since there's no reason to think that Farmer Jeb would see one of these and call it anything more than a hungry pile of mess, there's not a good, obvious reason for the name. That's not to say that there couldn't be, but the description doesn't support it.

And on a secondary count: "sucking cling"? How about just "cling." Think of the children.

All that being said, these are nitpicks. This creature does something clever that I've never seen be for, and though Mr. Hunt doesn't get the credit for that, the stats look solid and convey an interesting idea quite well. It has more abilities than I like monsters to have, and something like gluttony probably doesn't even need to be an ability - I'd just but it in the thing's tactics or description - but overall quite good.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

A giant hungry, disgorged stomach of an orge eh? Alright.. I like that, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. Mind you, the abilities are appropriate to the theme, but there are a host of mechanical issues here that are not resolved or are incorrect.

- Hit points are incorrect. It should be at 34. Mind you, this is way low for a CR 6 creature.
- Saves are a bit low for a CR 6 as well.
- Attack bonuses are a bit too low as well. All three of these issues are derived from the fact that the creature is short a few HD. This would generally be a real pain to fix, as it adjusts most of the creatures other statistics.
- Damage is a bit low, even taking the disgorged digestion ability into account. Generally, I do not count this bonus damage in the average because it is quite conditional.
- The creature has one too many feats.
- The engulf ability is not particularly clear. I am assuming it does not need to be grappling a creature with its bite to use the ability, but that is not entirely clear. Technically, a creature could still attack its insides with a readied action, but the AC and hit points of its interior are not provided. This entire ability would have been handled quite a bit simpler by giving the creature the ability to vomit forth stomach acid. No grapple needed.

Well, there are some original things here but this monster would need quite a bit of work before it could see print. It might be worth it...

I give this monster a C-.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Thanks for your judicious comments, gentlemen. The feedback from judges and viewers is definitely one of the things I've enjoyed most about this contest.

For those following along I hope you'll vote for the monster with guts! ;)

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

The slithering horror was one of my borderline monsters last round; the vote it didn't get went to this author's splorudra. I'm kind of sad to see nobody tackle that monstrosity, but the slithering horror does fit the author's off-kilter sensibilities. Let's see how it was executed.

I'll echo Jason's comments about the game balance of this critter first and foremost. This slithering horror is really weak for a CR 6. Its hp, saves and especially Armor Class turn it into a glass cannon without much cannon behind it. It would get creamed by the average 6th level party before it could show off its grotesqueness.

The engulf and vomit technique was the primary hook for the original slithering tracker, as weird as it was, and this doesn't really capture that. Why would it bother swallowing them whole if it vomited them up immediately? It seems unsatisfying--I'd want the PC to remain in the guts for at least a round while the digestive enzymes were secreted. Otherwise, why couldn't it just spit them at foes?

Giving the tentacles three possible combat maneuvers seems like wanting to make this a monster for all seasons. A pull-and-swallow mechanic, like a giant frog's tongue, would have been better than pull, grab and trip. Also, why do they have Snatch as a feat? For multiple reasons--not only do they only get two feats, but Snatch effectively gives a creature the grab special attack, which this already has, and the feat requires Huge or larger size!

I like sucking cling and tenacious grappler as qualities, but why the use of "primary" tentacles? Is this a legacy of a previous draft? Caustic slime should probably be listed with the defensive qualities.

I like the description and flavor text a lot--they're the highlight of this entry. But considering that these are the detached guts of gluttonous giants, wouldn't undead make more sense than aberration?

In short, I'm sort of disappointed. I've been impressed by your writing in previous rounds, but I'm afraid the stats don't stand up. I will not be voting for this entry.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Richard,

Nice work Top 16 bro, the gluttony ability is awesome! I also think you pulled of the Disgorged Digestion fairly well.

Good luck!

Dark Archive

Richard, great work there!

I have some questions about this:

1) Why did you give it DR 3/slashing or piercing? Why not DR 5/slashing or piercing? It would not be an overkill, and I like elegance (5/10/15 or +2/+4/+6/+8 etc.).

2) Why is it immune to critical hits? I can't see anything in the stat block that would justify this.

3) Why is Trip mentioned in Special Attacks? It's already listed in attacks, and it not an actual special attack per se.

Having said all that, I think this is my favorite monster stat block! :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Asgetrion wrote:
Having said all that, I think this is my favorite monster stat block! :)

Yes! Thanks for your support! I've fired up my note pad and I'll be sure to answer your questions when the round is over. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Thank you for granting the Slithering Horror life! I feel like a proud parent.

I liked your take on the engulf/disgorged digestion ability. You also enhanced the monster a hundredfold with your origin story. The magically animated stomach of an ogre that gorged on fairy blood? That's gold!

In all, it was very close to my own twisted vision -- just better. How could I not vote for you? ;-)

Good luck!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Tom Phillips wrote:

Thank you for granting the Slithering Horror life! I feel like a proud parent.

I liked your take on the engulf/disgorged digestion ability. You also enhanced the monster a hundredfold with your origin story. The magically animated stomach of an ogre that gorged on fairy blood? That's gold!

In all, it was very close to my own twisted vision -- just better. How could I not vote for you? ;-)

Good luck!

Hey Tom, it was my pleasure! You gave me some great material to work with too. I just couldn't let this nasty thing slide by (gross!) without some classic monster love. :)

You've got talent! Good luck to you too!

Star Voter 2014

Hmmm. My big concern here is the numbers seem way low for a CR 6 creature. This being a stat block round, and the fact that the idea was actually proposed by another Superstar is coloring me towards the fact that this is a fairly big issue.

Not helping the cause is the monster's complexity. Does it really need to do all of this? I think boiling this monster down a bit would help a lot.

Good luck!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Dennis Baker wrote:

Richard,

Nice work Top 16 bro, the gluttony ability is awesome! I also think you pulled of the Disgorged Digestion fairly well.

Good luck!

Thanks! Good luck to you as well, sir!

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Hated the Knitting Needles,
Loved the ninja frog(i'm really surprized nobody statted it up),
Really love your take on the Slithering Horror(the name still sucks, but otherwise this is good stuff - creepy, disgusting good stuff).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

james knowles wrote:

Hated the Knitting Needles,

Loved the ninja frog(i'm really surprized nobody statted it up),
Really love your take on the Slithering Horror(the name still sucks, but otherwise this is good stuff - creepy, disgusting good stuff).

Thanks, James! I hope that means I can count on your vote. :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

Weird stomach ooze go.

There's some tortured prose here. "It uses these cloying tentacles for centipede-like locomotion", "A blubberous ogre gobbling fairy flesh or guzzling enchanted waters over a lifetime is but one example of how a shogglagung can result from magic saturating a gluttonous stomach lining", and "the sick, goopy mess of digested fleshes" all feel like you're trying to hard and need to either pick up or put down the thesaurus, I'm not sure which.

It's an internal organ, but it's immune to crits and sneak attack? You mean that you can't rip open a stomach with a well-placed blow? Speaking of which, AC 14 and 32 HP won't cut it at CR 6. This is at serious risk of being one-shot by a level 6 melee class. And what's with the DC 9 frightful presence? That's not a threat to even low-will classes.

Grappling, swallowing, spitting up, and holding is unnecessarily complex, especially since this gets two special exceptions on top of the the clunkiest combat rules around. Does Caustic Slime do damage to grappled foes? No idea.

Why is an ogre's stomach as large as an ogre? That doesn't make any sense at all.

I'm just not feeling this. The cool parts of this monster were in the pitch, and everything that you added to it dilutes or distracts from that coolness. I don't intend to vote for this, and if this were a preview for an upcoming monster book, I'd suspect that the book goes for shock value to distract from the writing flaws.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Jared Goodwin wrote:
Weird stomach ooze go.

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


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

While I won't claim to be as knowledgable as others on the mechanics of the creature, I have to give props for translating what seemed like just a conceptual, Lovecraftian, slime monster into something more concrete and interesting!

In R2, I was not overly impressed with this monster - it seemed to be too much on the "weird and gross" element with no purpose besides it supposed to EVIL. Both in terms of mechanics and background, you've managed to ground it enough in a fantasy world to make it workable. Instead of just otherwordly bizarre, I can see it being something that's part of the weird Underdark ecology, for example.

Your ideas have been fairly offbeat throughout. I daresay that you might be this year's Clinton Boomer in term of unsual, creative ideas - and I mean that with the highest compliment. Good luck!

I'll be voting on this one for sure.

Star Voter 2013

I'm afraid the already much-mentioned mechanical difficulties are going to trip you up with me this round, especially on top of the mechanical issues I had with your needles. Very good flavor, but the AC, HP, and feat issues sunk you here. Best of luck.

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

I'm not 100% sold on the odd background story for your slithering horror, but it's a definite improvement over the 'generic slimy monster' vibe I got from the slithering horror in Round 2.

That being said, I think you stepped on a big landmine when implementing this monster. For me, the best part of the slithering horror was the way it used the swallow whole mechanic in new and interesting ways. But I think you've lost a lot of that mojo in designing the engulf mechanic. Engulf essentially says, "I'm just like swallow whole, except I don't use any of the swallow whole mechanics."

If the target isn't actually held inside the slithering horror for at least one round, then it really isn't swallow whole at all. The defining mechanics of swallow whole all involve what happens to creature's trapped in a monster's stomach. Any ability that doesn't involve being trapped in a stomach for at least one round may as well skip any reference to swallow whole and just state that the monster can chew you up and spit you out by performing a successful grapple maneuver.

So I'm afraid that I'll be passing on your slithering horror this round. I wanted to see some interesting twists on swallow whole, not a new monster ability that completely circumvents the swallow whole mechanics in the first place.

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

I enjoyed the backstory here, even if it is a little heavy on the adjectives. It gave a reason for this gross-out monster to exist other than just to be gross.

The mechanics are iffy - I get the idea of grab/swallow/barf/slime as its schtick, but if the end result is "you're not grappled but you're covered with slime," it does seem like you could've made the ability work to the same end result by cutting out the middleman of the grappling rules and just had them barf the slime directly on a target, or trip them and barf on them. Since you're not actually USING any of the grappling/swallow whole rules, it seems an odd choice to invoke them; I understand you want the flavor text of it literally swallowing them, but if that's all it is then go ahead and make it a flavor text power.

BTW, I do like the squiggly tentacles as well, and I kinda liked the new name (though Wes does have a point about who would call it that).

Overall... it's a mixed bag for me here, which is probably not quite enough for a vote.


Looking carefully over this monster's stats, three words come to mind: mechanical train wreck.

It has the aquatic subtype but no swim speed. Aquatic creatures always have swim speeds.

It's inexplicably immune to critical hits and precision damage.

Its stats are way too low for a CR 6 monster: not enough hit dice, AC way too low, hit points way too low, saves too low, attacks too low, damage too low.

In addition, several of those too low stats are miscalculated. Hit points should be 34. [4 x (HD 1d8 + Con mod 3 + Toughness 1)= 4d8 + 12 + 4 = 4d8 + 16. Mean of a d8 is 4.5, therefore 4 x 4.5 + 16 = 18 + 16 = 34.]

Fort save is calculated as though it was a good save, but aberrations only have good will saves. Fort save should be +4. [Base 1 + Con mod 3 = 4.]

You forgot the -1 size penalty to attack rolls. Tentacle attacks should be at +6. [Base Atk 3 + Str mod 3 + Weapon Focus 1 - size penalty 1 = 6]

You forgot the +1 size bonus to CMB and CMD, should be +7 and 18, respectively. [Base Atk 3 + Str mod 3 + size bonus 1 = 7] [10 + Base Atk 3 + Str mod 3 + Dex mod 1 + size bonus 1 = 18]

It has too many feats, it doesn't qualify for Snatch, and Snatch is mostly redundant with grab. Why Richard, why?

You forgot the -4 size penalty to Stealth.

I think the save DC versus a monster's special attacks is supposed to be 1/2 HD + Ability mod. Assuming the DCs for Disgorged Digestion are supposed to be Str- or Con-based, they should be 15.

Sucking Cling suggests that this creature really ought to have a climb speed, but it does not have a climb speed.

Overall, this creature has way too many special attacks and special abilities. Worse, this creature will probably be killed in the first round before it gets to use any of those special attacks or abilites. With +1 Stealth, it can't effectively sneak up on a party (except perhaps from below using its burrow speed). With +1 initiative, it's not going to get the first attack. With low AC, easily overcome DR, and few hit points, it dies in a hurry. I don't see this creature ever surviving to take its turn in the second round of combat, even against an underleveled party.

The slithering horror could have been an interesting monster encounter. Your mechanical execution was very poor. No vote.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

catmandrake wrote:
Why Richard, why?

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


Richard A. Hunt wrote:
catmandrake wrote:
Why Richard, why?
Thank you for your support and please vote for my entry! If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them once voting for this round is closed.

That's all right. You don't need to answer rhetorical questions.

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

This got one of my votes.

One of the squicky monsters from round 2, of which I wasn't a great fan, you did an excellent job of making it work for me. I like the name change from the previously generic name, and I thought your mechanical interpretation of the creature's abilities was clever.

Best of luck in this round!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

taig wrote:
This got one of my votes... Best of luck in this round!

Bravo! Thanks, taig! Keep 'em squicky! :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

To me at least, this monster was a trap. It does not make sense. If it's got the musculature to regurgitate an entire Medium-sized creature, it's got the musculature to just spray bile which is far safer and expends less energy. Yeah, neat idea, funky spin on Swallow Whole; but there's a reason it's never been done before. It's utter nonsense!

Now, that's not entirely your problem. You picked a challenge and ran with it. So where did you run? Well, heh, straight into a nest of clunky rough-draft sentences. And... a pixie-gorged ogre's stomach? Really? How do more than four or five of these exist, throughout history? Or do most of them grow from miniature shogglagungs, spawned from all those potion-chugging adventurers? I would have preferred "they crawl up from unknown depths." At least that implies that there's a sensible ecology somewhere behind the curtain.

You have a history of this. I was not the only person utterly confused that the splorudra would lie there with its tongue out, covered in treasure, when it had to use that same tongue to fire off its opening salvo... especially considering that it was a badass ninja frog and could probably just sneak up and pounce with no need for a lure.

Now, I'm being exceptionally harsh here; far harsher than I've been with any other review. The reason is, I think you're one of the most popular folks in this contest. You've got something. Your ideas, and how you've developed them, have been popular with many. You don't need my vote... at least, not yet. But, y'know what? It'd be nice if you could capture it, and others like it. So: these are things that bug me. Can they be avoided, without losing the spark of off-the-wall funky/awesome that's carried you this far? I dare you to try. :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Lief Clennon wrote:
I think you're one of the most popular folks in this contest. You've got something. Your ideas, and how you've developed them, have been popular with many.

Thank you for your advice. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them once voting for this round is closed.

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

While I'm almost done with R3 now, I'm still going to be brief. I'm gald to see that you tackled the slithering horror, since I think it was my favorite of R2 (Lief, I disagree with you on it making sense it seems). I also think it was a good choice for the CR limit this round. However, the execution seems to have some holes in it.

- DR/slashing or piercing is pretty weak, so make it 5, not only to fit the generally pattern of DR amounts, but also to make it actually count for more when it comes up.
- I don't like the name engulf - that implies the creature just moves around you like a gelatanous cube, not actually swallows you using the grapple rules. I also don't like that you're in and out in a swift action. The part I thought was really great about the swallow and release tactic is that it used the swallow whole rules, but then swapped people in and out of it's stomach, so the whole party can share the fun, instead of the stomach being fully after one vicitm. I think using the swallow whole rules, and leting it disgorge as a swift action the following round would have been better - so in addition to the acid for 3 more rounds, the victim is stuck mostly helpless in the stomach for a round.
- Caustic slime - while I like the power and the name, it's not very clear on when it activates. I think the implication is that when you hit it with a natural attack or unarmed (or grapple it if you're dumb enough to), you take the acid damage, but coming into contact with it isn't as specific language as this power should have (see the caltrop golem entry for a better example).
- you should have included a power like amorphous to justify the immune to crits and sneak attacks
- I liked the reach/pull combo for grappling with the tentacles, but tentacles are secondary attacks, and should be at +2 only, not +7 (but since the monster needs a better attack, you would need to work around this (maybe making it touch attacks for no damage, or some other solution)
- Frightful presence should have been dropped, not because it doesn't fit, but a DC 9 ability might as well not be there in the first place.
- I really liked the gluttony ability - not only because I like appropriate weaknesses for monsters, but if this monster kills someone in the party, making it take a round to not attack gives the rest of the party a better chance (though it sucks for the guy who's body is eaten and can't be raised).
- I see and like what you were doing with sucking cling, similar to the black pudding, but you need to let the slithering horror be able to climb first, and it has no climb speed, or even skill ranks in climb.
- Finally, kudos on trying to give it a better name, but the one you picked didn't resonate with me - it's an obvious nod to the shoggoth, but without the actual Lovecraft connection it falls flat.

Overall, while I loved your choice, and some of the direction you went in, I think in total there's more not done well here than executed well.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like this one. The descriptive text feels a bit clunky, but the execution generally seems good – a suitably gross and creepy monster.

Good luck moving forward.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Mothman wrote:

I like this one. The descriptive text feels a bit clunky, but the execution generally seems good – a suitably gross and creepy monster.

Good luck moving forward.

Thank you for your support and please vote for my entry! :)


Sadly there are a lot of things to comment on here, many already covered by other posters, but I’m going to go over them again, to get them clear in my own mind:

As others have commented this version of the slithering horror has the aquatic subtype so it should (unless otherwise stated) have a swim speed. It does have a burrow speed, I note. Is it a ‘bottom feeder’ in aquatic environments maybe?
I assume that 'weird otherworldly aberration-y stuff/anatomy' is the reasoning for the various immunities and Damage Reduction. Some of it (a former stomach immune to acid) does make sense, but other aspects could have done with support in the description section.
It has already been noted by other posters that the hit points are 2 points short.
I cannot explain the Fortitude save that you’ve given this creature unless I assume that you have deviated from the norm for aberrations and given it a good base save for Fortitude.
The value you list for Stealth apparently does not take into account the -4 penalty for being a large creature.
Given the size (-1 penalty), strength (+3 bonus), BAB (+3) and weapon focus (+1 bonus) of the creature the attacks listed for the tentacles appear to be 1 point too high. Given the Stealth in the skills section, I suspect that you have omitted to factor in the size modifier again.
The CMB is 1 point too low (missed the size modifier again?) and I am unclear where the apparent +4 bonus you list for grapples comes from? (If this is a racial bonus you should have indicated that somewhere.)
The CMD is 1 point too low (at least if you missed the size modifier again you’re showing consistency by this point in doing so).
At least one of the feats should be indicated to be a bonus feat or removed. If you want to retain the Snatch, given that the creature is otherwise too small to qualify for this feat, you could maybe award that as a bonus feat. (Although you would still probably need to modify the feat under one of the abilities to indicate that the creature could be regarded as at least one size larger in terms of what it could snatch.)
You do not list which ability score the DC of the Disgorged Digestion ability is related to. If it is to Con, at the standard ½ HD + ability modifier, the DC for the related saves should be 15, not 14. You do not say what the types of the required saves are (Fort/Ref/Will) to avoid being nauseated or confused.
You do not indicate if the Caustic Slime applies to the creature’s tentacle attacks. (I assume it applies to attacks made with natural weapons or unarmed attacks against it.)
You do not indicate the actual increased situational value of the CMD due to the sucking cling in the statistics section.
You do not give indication that a favoured tactic may (besides dropping from above) be to bury itself in soft wet mud and wait for prey to come along to ambush. Then again it doesn’t have tremorsense, so possibly this tactic might not be viable.

Even being generous counting the ferocity as ‘extra hit points’, and assuming the Caustic Slime applies to the tentacle attacks this creature has a hard time of it measuring up to a Shambling Mound (CR 6) – a ‘grapple themed’ creature in the bestiary.

I didn’t find this creature particularly inspiring in Round 2, and the only real query I had about it then was the size of it not being indicated. To an extent you do address this by indicating in mechanical terms that it occupies a 10 ft space, and has an effective reach of 10 ft, although you don’t give a precise description of the size of the creature.

My overall impression is of a creature which, mechanically, isn’t upto what it’s supposed to be doing. It should be grabbing, engulfing, and tossing out PCs at a terrifying rate. They should be grateful if it stops to digest something else it’s killed, for the opportunity that affords them to run away and wipe the slime off. Instead as currently statted it looks to be a mere speed-bump to most level appropriate PC groups. This entry is problematic, even before the various errors in the stat block are taken into account. It seems that after adapting and improving on the basic concept of the Round 2 slithering horror, there simply wasn’t enough time left for you to do the stat block properly.

Thank-you for entering this, Richard. I’m going to be sad to see you go at this stage, if you do, and it’s a question now of how much do the voters like what you’ve done thematically in this and previous rounds versus how much are they concerned by what you’ve done with this stat block?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Time's Up! Question & Answer Time!

Asgetrion wrote:
1) Why did you give it DR 3/slashing or piercing? Why not DR 5/slashing or piercing? It would not be an overkill, and I like elegance (5/10/15 or +2/+4/+6/+8 etc.).

When I started, one of the general questions I asked myself was, "okay, so how tough could a squishy animated stomach be anyway?" I didn't figure it deserved a lot of heavy protection, since it's essentially an organ, which is why it's also relatively easy to hit. You're right though – DR 5 wouldn't have been a deal breaker. I prefer that sort of even-handed mathematical elegance too. Anyway my real crime was selecting CR 6. Except for now-made-obvious errors, the stats for this beastie are for the most part intentional. I mean, c'mon...it's a dang disembodied stomach. I should have just dropped it to CR 4-5 once I was done with the stat block. Live and learn. :)

Asgetrion wrote:
2) Why is it immune to critical hits? I can't see anything in the stat block that would justify this.

I followed the same sort of logic. It's a dang stomach. :) It has no vital organs to aim vital blows at. I went with the same logic on critical hits. I don't like thinking of a critical hit as just an abstracted, "gosh, really good hit there, Fred." A rogue isn't going to sneak up on a blind creature and stab it in the kidney either, you know? This nasty just doesn't have vital areas to me and a hit anywhere on it is pretty much the same as any other hit. It's almost an ooze in this regard. :)

Asgetrion wrote:
3) Why is Trip mentioned in Special Attacks? It's already listed in attacks, and it not an actual special attack per se.

Several monsters listed trip under Special Attacks in the Bestiary and, as I was working toward the deadline, this did cause me some confusion – but I'm feeling muuuuch better now. You're right; it doesn't need to be there. :)

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Why would it bother swallowing them whole if it vomited them up immediately?

The original author's design called for this style of attack. I'm not a "Colonel Mustard did it in the library with the revolver" sort of guy. Splorping acid is dull. I liked the unique attack form. I'd also changed enough by adding an oddball, generalized back story. I didn't want to veer too far from Mr. Phillip's vision, lest I reinvent the wheel and incur the Wrath of Khan. :)

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Otherwise, why couldn't it just spit them ["digestive enzymes"] at foes?

I chose to stick with the original design. There are also plenty of acid-spitting monsters and no reason to make a high-calorie ankheg. :)

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Also, why do they have Snatch as a feat?

I chalk this up to old D&D habits. Monster construction was incredibly difficult in D&D and everything had to be algebraically proven and justified. One of the things I like about the Pathfinder system is that its less constraining. It's a guide, not a straight jacket. I don't see the monster building process as picking numbers off of tables and picking standardized attacks. That would be quite dull. I also don't think every aberration or magical beast should have the exact same stats either. Anyway I thought I was going to have to justify the grab ability, which of course I didn't. I should've dropped the feat and missed doing so. Live and learn. :)

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
I like sucking cling and tenacious grappler as qualities, but why the use of "primary" tentacles? Is this a legacy of a previous draft?

No, I needed a way of differentiating between the two types of tentacles. You'll see the word "secondary" under the sucking clink ability. I also changed the size of the smaller tentacles, making them purely for locomotion. Sean Reynolds asked Mr. Phillips if they were centipede-like in his R2 review. I liked the visualization, reduced the size of the "secondary" tentacles and stole the idea, a fine, fine RPG tradition. Good ideas are where you find them. :)

Jared Goodwin wrote:
It's an internal organ, but it's immune to crits and sneak attack? You mean that you can't rip open a stomach with a well-placed blow?

Please see my earlier responses. It has no vital organs at which to aim precision damage or critical hits. It is a vital organ. :)

Jared Goodwin wrote:
Does Caustic Slime do damage to grappled foes?

Listed under Special Qualities: caustic slime (1d6+2 acid damage). A would-be grappler would have to touch it and takes damage from doing so, in retro, I'd move this to Special Attacks though. I suppose if a grappler were entirely insulated with armor, that would be another story because skin contact is necessary. Mr. Phillips said in his design that the slime only damages flesh, and so I stuck with that in my design. :)

Jared Goodwin wrote:
Why is an ogre's stomach as large as an ogre? That doesn't make any sense at all.

It does to me. :) It also didn't make sense to take the largest major internal organ of a Large size creature and reduce it to Medium. What is the bulk of an ogre or giant if not its stomach? Add in its entire lower gastrointestinal tract for tentacles. Add in the vascular system surrounding the stomach for locomotion. How much ogre is left? Okay, now add in that a disemboweled stomach lining would probably bloat ("corpulent") after the death of the ogre from the expansion of gases and fluids as well as the seepage of magic into the stomach lining (some imagination is required here). Finally, for the piece of resistance, consider that it's a gluttonous stomach. What happens when a stomach eats and eats and eats? A real stomach stretches to conform to eating habits and that's all this thing does – eat. How much goop, could a goop, goop, goop if a goop, goop, goop could goop, goop? :)

catmandrake wrote:
It has the aquatic subtype but no swim speed. Aquatic creatures always have swim speeds.

A shogglagung is an atypical aquatic creature. I has no gills, fins or scales. It's not a fish. It's not going to be an Olympic swimmer either. It's a dang stomach. :) The Swim skill allows it to move at half its movement and that takes care of the need to state a Swim speed. I didn't want to clutter the speed entry with four different modes of movement when those are covered by the rules and I was sticking to Mr. Phillips's design too.

catmandrake wrote:
It's inexplicably immune to critical hits and precision damage.

Please refer to my prior responses. :)

catmandrake wrote:
It has too many feats, it doesn't qualify for Snatch, and Snatch is mostly redundant with grab. Why Richard, why?

I answered this one above too. :)

catmandrake wrote:
Sucking Cling suggests that this creature really ought to have a climb speed, but it does not have a climb speed.

Sure it does, half its regular movement. This thing isn't going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and place a flag at the top anymore than it's going to win Olympic gold for skinny dipping. Please refer to my prior response regarding Swim. I just didn't think a shogglagung would be a particularly good climber. It's a dang stomach. :)

Rhetorical Questions & Comments

Lief Clennon wrote:
It's utter nonsense!

While this isn't a question, I would like to refer you to page 138 of the Pathfinder Bestiary. Another? See page 272. I'm just glad the Senmerv didn't make the cut. There's plenty o' nonsense in the game to go around. Also, read any mythology for any published game world and there's a wealth of nonsense. Moradin forged the dwarves on an anvil? Oh reeeeally...genetics by whack-a-mole? :)

Lief Clennon wrote:
To me at least, this monster was a trap. It does not make sense. If it's got the musculature to regurgitate an entire Medium-sized creature, it's got the musculature to just spray bile which is far safer and expends less energy.

To others, it did. We all have different tastes. Please refer to my prior responses. I couldn't see making a blubbery ankheg. :)

Lief Clennon wrote:
And... a pixie-gorged ogre's stomach? [SNIP] Really? How do more than four or five of these exist, throughout history? Or do most of them grow from miniature shogglagungs, spawned from all those potion-chugging adventurers?

The back story mentions this as just one example of how a shogglagung might form. I also mentioned enchanted waters. Imagine an enchanted ruin in the middle of a swamp, magic seeping into the water. Imagine a hill giant drinks 72 shot glasses of spider climb potion just cause it tastes great! (Less filling?) Imagine...well that's just it...imagine. I left plenty of leeway for alternative back stories. I didn't have the word count to enumerate them all. :)

Lief Clennon wrote:
Now, I'm being exceptionally harsh here; far harsher than I've been with any other review. The reason is, I think you're one of the most popular folks in this contest. You've got something. Your ideas, and how you've developed them, have been popular with many. You don't need my vote... at least, not yet. But, y'know what? It'd be nice if you could capture it, and others like it. So: these are things that bug me. Can they be avoided, without losing the spark of off-the-wall funky/awesome that's carried you this far? I dare you to try. :)

I gotta be me. You gotta be you. I'm not here to please Lief Clennon. I'm here to please me, the judges and anyone else that wants to ride along on the imagination train. This is supposed to be fun. RPGs are a form of entertainment not a laugh in the face of death, razor's edge blood sport or the talent portion of a beauty pageant (tips hat to Mr. Martin). Folks could stand to calm down a bit too. Some of the critical comments, and not just those directed at me, sound downright angry, as do some of the side conversations. C'aint we all just get along? :)

Anyway it's impossible to please all the people, all the time and quite silly to try. Original ideas are my strong suit and if I win, that's how I'll do it. I already KNOW I have what it takes. Besides, I'm certainly not going to switch horses in midstream. Thanks for the advice though. I'll keep going with whatever strategy keeps me in the game. :)

Mikhaila Burnett wrote:
*smiles* You're quite very welcome. Just remember to punch up the fiddly bits and I'm sure you have a great chance to go all the way.

You've got a deal. Keep those votes coming. :)

Dark Archive

Thanks for your answers, Richard! Voted!

But it was a close call with another well-written, thematic monsters -- Matthew's Astrumal (if I could, I would have voted for it, too). Anyway, great work there! :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Asgetrion wrote:

Thanks for your answers, Richard! Voted!

But it was a close call with another well-written, thematic monsters -- Matthew's Astrumal (if I could, I would have voted for it, too). Anyway, great work there! :)

Thanks very much! The next round should be fun. :)


Congratulations on making it through to Round 4. (And, if you will excuse the awful pun, after flirting with danger with the stat block, you came through in the end and are still very much in the hunt... :) )

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Thanks! What can I say? I do rather laugh in the face of fear, tweak the nose of terror. ;)

The Exchange

WOOT! WOOT! GO COLLABORATOR GO!!!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Here's a lightly edited version for your games my friends, gratis. Enjoy!

Shogglagung CR 5
XP 1,600
N Large aberration (aquatic)
Init +1; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +6
=====
Defense
=====
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+4 natural, +1 Dex, -1 size)
hp 34 (4d8+16)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +4
Defensive Abilities ferocity; DR 5/slashing or piercing; Immune acid, critical hits, precision damage
Weaknesses gluttony
=====
Offense
=====
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee 2 tentacles +7 (1d6+3 plus grab, pull or trip)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks caustic slime (1d6+2 acid damage), disgorged digestion, engulf (2d6 acid damage, AC 12, 3 hp), grab, pull (tentacle, 5 ft.), tenacious grapple
=====
Statistics
=====
Str 17, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 5
Base Atk +3; CMB +6 (+10 grapple); CMD 17 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Toughness, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
Skills Acrobatics +5, Perception +6, Stealth +5, Survival +6
Languages Common (cannot speak)
SQ amphibious, sucking cling
=====
Ecology
=====
Environment any underground, temperate swamp
Organization solitary
Treasure incidental
=====
Special Abilities
=====
Caustic Slime (Ex) A sticky slime constantly weeps from the creature's outer skin causing incidental acid damage to only living tissue coming into contact with it.

Disgorged Digestion (Ex) A victim disgorged following engulfment is nauseated (DC 14) and confused (DC 14) for 1 round. The victim suffers a coating of flesh-eating digestive slime, taking 2d6 acid damage per round for up to 3 rounds. Strong alcohol or universal solvent dissolves the slime.

Engulf (Ex) This ability functions as swallow whole, except as follows. A shogglagung can engulf only one foe of Medium size or smaller at a time with no bite damage. A swallowed creature has no opportunity to cut its way free because it's disgorged as a swift action immediately after being swallowed. Interior armor class and hit points also don't apply.

Gluttony (Ex) The creature must cease attacking and mindlessly feed whenever a victim within sensory range dies from the effects of disgorged digestion. It can suck up the remains of a medium-sized creature or smaller as a standard action.

Sucking Cling (Ex) A shogglagung can cling to any surface with tiny secondary tentacles on its skin, allowing it to move across even vertical or inverted surfaces with ease. It can establish or release clinging as a swift action, allowing it to drop on prey if necessary. Its CMD score also gets a +10 circumstance bonus to resist bull rush, awesome blows, and other attacks and effects that attempt to physically move it from its location.

Tenacious Grapple (Ex) A shogglagung doesn't gain the grappled condition if it grapples a foe with its primary tentacles.

A shogglagung is the corpulent stomach of an ogre, giant or similar humanoid who, knowingly or not, gorged itself on magical essences. This disgusting gut swallows prey whole, coats it with digestive juices, then immediately disgorges it. The creature thus avoids internal damage in this way. Worse yet, the acidic stomach slime inside the creature sticks to flesh, continuing to digest it unto death. When the victim finally expires, the shogglagung moves in and greedily slurps up the soupy remains.

The creature's body resembles an elongated sack of undulating mauve flesh, glistening with a slimy sheen. Radiating from its skin are scores of short tentacles, formed from the blood vessels once surrounding the stomach. It uses these cloying tentacles for centipede-like locomotion, moving with surprising speed over most surfaces, including sheer walls and ceilings. Its longer, thicker primary tentacles, the former humanoid's intestines, are used to manipulate and capture live prey. The creature’s eyeless "head" is dominated by a toothless maw, formed from the mouth and esophagus of the original humanoid.

Shogglagungs haunt dark, moist environments and are drawn to partially flooded ruins, marshes and sewers. A blubberous ogre gobbling fairy flesh or guzzling enchanted waters over a lifetime is but one example of how a shogglagung can result from magic saturating a gluttonous stomach lining. The eventual animation of this aberrant yet naturalistic creature results only weeks after the original being's death. It continues in a life of gluttony, devoid of memory or meaning, living only to slurp up the sick, goopy mess of digested fleshes.

The Exchange

Richard A. Hunt wrote:
Here's a lightly edited version for your games my friends, gratis. Enjoy!

I haven't checked but does anyone know if RPG Superstar entries are OGC?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

According to the official contest rules: "All entries become the property of Paizo Publishing, LLC." so I would think that means the entries aren't OGC.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

d20pfsrd.com wrote:
I haven't checked but does anyone know if RPG Superstar entries are OGC?

We have not declared them as such.

The Exchange

Very clear and speedy responses thanks!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

I'd be interested to see how this thing play tests, so if anyone uses it drop us all a note, okay? :)


edit : nevermind, I'm blind

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Azmahel wrote:
edit : nevermind, I'm blind

:)

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Jared Goodwin wrote:
Why is an ogre's stomach as large as an ogre? That doesn't make any sense at all.
Richard A. Hunt wrote:
... what happens when a stomach eats and eats and eats? A real stomach stretches to conform to eating habits and that's all this thing does – eat. How much goop, could a goop, goop, goop if a goop, goop, goop could goop, goop? :)

Watch that episode of Mythbusters #81 where they channel Mikey with the Coke and Pop Rocks and you'll find out :)

I swear, that pig stomach was bigger than a pig.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Okay now I gotta go look for that. :)

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