Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Matthew Morris's Caltrop Golem


Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

The caltrops across the floor roll together to make up a humanoid form the size and shape of a stout halfling, but cast from black iron with tiny spikes covering its form.
Caltrop Golem CR 5
XP 1600
N Small Construct
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
=====
Defense
=====
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +6 natural, +1 size)
hp 43 (6d10+10)
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +2
DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning; Immune construct traits, critical hits, magic, precision based damage
=====
Offense
=====
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +9 (1d3+3 plus grab)
=====
Statistics
=====
Str 14, Dex 12, Con --, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 1
Base Atk +6; CMB +6; CMD 19
=====
Ecology
=====
Environment any
Organization solitary or gang (2-4)
Treasure none
=====
Special Abilities
=====
Amorphous Form As a mass of caltrops held together by magic, a caltrop golem may squeeze through any space of diminutive size or larger without penalty. Also the golem’s amorphous nature makes it immune to critical hits, sneak attacks and other precision based damage. A caltrop golem may also spread itself out in a 15 foot by 15 foot square of caltrops and move at its normal movement rate. It may take no actions except to move or reform (a standard action) in this form.
Dangerous Target (Ex) Attacking a caltrop golem with bare hands or natural weapons is as dangerous to the attacker as to the golem. Anyone attacking the golem with bare hands or a natural attack takes 1d3 points of piercing damage per attack
Deadly Dispersal (Ex) When reduced to zero hit points, the golem collapses into its component parts, filling the space it occupies with caltrops
Grab (Ex) A caltrop golem is a surprisingly capable grappler. It may make a grab attempt on a target up to medium size without penalty. In addition to the normal slam damage for maintaining a grab, the caltrop golem inflicts one point of bleed damage every round it maintains a hold.
Hazardous Damage (Ex) Every 5 points of damage taken by the caltrop golem results in a 5’ square of caltrops adjacent to the golem’s current position. If a creature is in the square where the caltrops are placed, that creature may exit the square without penalty on their next action.
Immunity to Magic (Ex) A Caltrop golem is immune to spells or spell-like abilities that allow spell resistance. Certain spells and effects function differently against it, as noted below.

  • Heat metal affects the caltrop golem as a haste spell for the duration of the spell
  • Chill metal removes the golem’s damage reduction for 1 round per caster level.
  • Major creation heals all damage inflicted on the golem.
  • A caltrop golem is affected normally by rust attacks, such as those of a rust monster or a rusting grasp spell.

A mass of caltrops held in a humanoid form by magic, caltrop golems are often created as guardians by wizards. In addition to their abilities to defend or guard an area, the very nature of the construct’s make-up insures that they can continue to hinder intruders even after their destruction.
A caltrop golem cannot speak, and moves with a slight chiming sound as the multitude of caltrops in its body collide and shift.

Construction
A caltrop golem must be constructed from a total of 200 pounds of caltrops. The caltrops must be soaked in a unguent of limestone and magical powders costing 500 gp.

Caltrop Golem
==============
CL 12th; Price 18,000 gp
==============
Construction
Requirements Craft Construct, black tentacles, geas/quest, keen age, summon swarm, creator must be caster level 12; Skill Craft (weapons) DC 16; Cost 9,000 gp

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 didn’t love the execution of the creature last round. I said: “An interesting initial idea that lacked motivation, playability and usability. Just not quite Superstar.” However, I think you found those things and made this a creature I am now firmly behind. In short, you’ve changed my mind on this guy. You turned someone else’s first draft into a final draft. Let’s look closer, shall we…

The Execution
Sean and Wes will give their thoughts on the stat block and are far more qualified than me to address those issues. Your creature is not perfect, but I don’t expect it to be.

That said, and knowing those two will hit the stat block issues (Get ready for Sean’s cut and paste on “any,” for example, and he is right [Edit: haha! See, I called it!]; and please try to end the sentences of abilities with periods. But those are editing issues), here are my thoughts:

First off, congrats on actually finding a proper CR creature. I think you nailed the CR. This small golem was a cool idea and it sits nicely at CR 5. Well done.

I like your Dangerous Target power, but I was really hoping for some bleed damage there. It’s a new Pathfinder mechanic and I think it would fit well. That said, the way you did it works, too. You did go on to work the bleed damage into the grapple, which is probably a better place for it. So good job, even if you did it in a way different than I was expecting.

Good job with the rewrite of the description and text at the end. You gave us something that was lacking in the original—who makes them and their usefulness as hindrances even after their destruction.

I’m not sure I am following all of your construction requirements, but OK. Whatever. Sean, Wes, help me out with those. Black tentacles? I guess that’s for the grappling. I think he means keen edge, not keen age. Iron body might be a little much (and he doesn’t use it) but I think we need something else here. Something to keep it all together, like gaseous form. I don’t know. I just think he’s missing something here.

Final Thoughts
Matt, nice job. I liked the tankard quite a bit and I really liked the Lahamu. I think you breathed life into a monster that was a neat idea. The community selected it to advance even though I didn’t like it and you really showed that they were right to advance it. I am a big fan of the caltrop golem.

I RECOMMEND this for Top 8.

Contributor

It's Melee damage is a little low, partially mitigated by it harming those who attack it, but it could probably do a little more damage just to fit in at its CR.

It's saves are pretty weak for its CR, though its immunities mean it's usually not worrying about saving throws.

The problem with saying its environment is "any" is that "any" includes a lot of environment types you may not have intended: ocean, planar, underground, and urban. It reminds me of the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual, which had "Environment: any" for both the iron golem and the death knight, leading designer Bill Connors to say, "so you could be flying a mile in the air, heading to a cloud giant's castle, and pass Lord Soth flying by with an iron golem under each arm." So... don't say "any" unless you really want this creature to hang out with aboleths, marids, and morlocks.

Amorphous Form: All size categories such as Diminutive should be capitalized.

I like the mobile caltrop carpet, but I would have liked a line describing what happens if it moves into a creature's space in that form (similar to the Hazardous Damage ability that says you can move out of that square safely). This ability should be listed in its SQ entry.

Dangerous Target needs a period at the end.

Deadly Dispersal needs a period at the end.

Grab: The Medium size category should be capitalized.

Immunity to Magic: You capitalized "Caltrop" in the first sentence.

Construction section should be keen edge rather than keen age.

Overall, the above are just nitpicks--there's nothing really wrong with this monster. It fits a good mechanical niche, and I like that it's a Small construct. You hit all the points of the original monster concept. If anything, I would have liked to seen this monster at a lower CR... a Small golem is a neat thing and it would be cool if low-level parties got a taste of "there's a special way to hinder this monster while we beat it down" tactics, but it's a good presentation just like it is.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for golems. This one, I think, fills an interesting niche, as dealing with caltrops is a decidedly low level challenge.

That said, there are some issue here.

- First off, few of the special abilities are mentioned in the stat block itself. Most should be listed in an SA line for ease of reference during use.
- The AC and hit points are about right for a creature with the listed DR. I do have some concerns about DR/adamantine with low level monsters, but since it is only 5, it helps to balance out its slightly lower than normal hit points.
- As Sean mentioned, the damage is a bit too low. As it currently stands, the creature is dealing only about 10 per round, where it should be dealing 20. It should not get 1.5 its Str on damage rolls, since it has two attacks (the 1.5 rule only applies to creatures with precisely one attack).
- CMB and CMD are both incorrect. They should be CMB +7 and CMD 18.
- I like hazardous damage, but I think you could have just put in a bit where this creature is constantly surrounded by squares filled with caltrops. It would have been easier to adjudicate.

There are some issues here, but I still like the monster. It is appropriate for the CR in both theme and mechanics.

I give this monster a B.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

What to say that hasn't already been said? Overall, neat. To quibble, I'm not sure that I would make this an honest to god golem, mainly due to the precedent of golems being made out of specific materials, not lesser items. That's really more a nitpick on the original description, though. Freed from the baggage of golemdom, I think this could go a lot of different and interesting directions.

Aside from that, the whole reshaping monster bit is a tricky proposition and this handles it repetitively well. It's got a lot of abilities and not much flavor - which is probably my most serious quibble and quite a shame in my book - but aside from that, good stuff.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I just can't help myself. I like what you've done with Spikey. I have some differences of opinion on a few details, but I'll save that for when the round is over.

Questions. Why the limestone? The CL for creation seems high compared to other golems. Is that a spell level thing? I haven't looked up the level of all your required spells. Most of the golems I looked at had a CL of 2 or three levels higher then their CR.

By the way, I totally would have missed the bullet points formatting idea. For me it makes that part of the entry a lot easier to read. Since the judges have already done the editor thing so I won't comment on that. Thanks for getting Clark to like critter BTW. Good luck. I think you might have just won a vote.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Thank you for the comments. (flogs self over errors) I look forward to answering questions in a week.

Drive the point home, vote for the caltrop golem!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:
Drive the point home, vote for the caltrop golem!

I know I did, sir. Thank you for throwing the caltrop golem some love; I got a thing for goofy constructs, and I was happy to see it doted upon.

Keep up the good work! :D

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Matthew, just like Watcher did you took a monster that I didn't particularly like last round and turned it into something incredibly cool... you get one of my votes.

Cheliax

Nice work, I like the special abilities, they are simple to understand and work very well to make this a challenging encounter for a party.

I look forward to seeing more from you in the next round, good luck!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

This is the first one I've read so far. I hope all of them are this good.

wanders off to read other entries

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Mr "He makes nice magic items but what else can he do",

Very nice. Solid creature. I liked this critter in the last round and now I might steal him for my home game :)

Good luck fellow chatter and Top 16 Bro!

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

It's amazing to me that my two favorite entries this round came from two concepts I wasn't gaga over last week. That says a lot. You turned this from something that had me saying 'well, it's kinda neat idea, but doesn't grab me' (I'm just not a huge golem fan; no offense to Jason's concept) to being something I actually want to fight in a game, and have the battlefield become more and more hazardous with every single bit of dmage I do to this thing. That would be just plain fun. Good job. My vote, she is yours.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

The various dispersal abilities, especially becoming a carpet of caltrops and moving in that form, are very nicely handled.

edit: The chill metal effect is great.

DR adamantine AND bludgeoning at this CR? It might be OK at only 5 points, but that seems dodgy.

Cheliax

Starglim wrote:

The various dispersal abilities, especially becoming a carpet of caltrops and moving in that form, are very nicely handled.

edit: The chill metal effect is great.

DR adamantine AND bludgeoning at this CR? It might be OK at only 5 points, but that seems dodgy.

Vampire spawn is DR 5/silver at CR 4. And to be honest, at level 3-5, as players will be when fighting this creature, the difference between DR adamantine and DR adamantine and bludgeoning is pretty much nil. You're unlikely to have an adamantine weapon regardless.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

After voting is closed, I'll be putting a 'how we got here' post up explaining and answering questions as I have the previous rounds.

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

The caster level and spell requirements for the caltrop golem seem rather high. Why would a 12th level caster bother making one of these, especially if he has to go get a scroll of iron body to do so? I also find it weird that heat metal and chill metal do completely different things, rather than opposite--I would rather chill metal acted like a slow spell, you know?

I agree with F. Wesley Schneider that this monster was hurt by the large amount of abilities and word count not devoted to flavor text, but the abilities work for the most part. This is a competent monster, not a stellar one. I don't know if that means I'll be voting for it, but consider it on the table.


I like this.At first, the Hazardouys Damage hung me up, because it collapses into the same amount of caltrops it loses whenever it's dealt five damage. Now, though, I realize that it gets worn down, so when it's killed, it only has enough caltrops to fill one square. There's a few issues (I think it would be better if it had 45 hp, just so that it would fit perfectly), but I kind of like the idea of somebody killing it in one blow and caltrops flying all over. You handled it well, making it so that there would be just enough caltrops to cover every area nearby. Good work. :)


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
- CMB and CMD are both incorrect. They should be CMB +7 and CMD 18.

Also, if you follow the Bestiary format it should say something like:

CMB +7 (+11 grapple)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Good Job Matthew!

I think you're going to be unable to compete next year. ;) You've broken your own self-proclaimed curse.

Of course I hope to join you!

This was a good pick and you did great job with it. Congrats.

Star Voter 2014

Really enjoy this one. My only immediate quibble deals with the creation cost and choices . . . but I may need to brush up a bit in that area before I offer a full critique.

I am only 3 in but this is a monster I want to use. That is my big key.

Good luck!

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

This was my favorite monster from R2, and i love what you've done with it. personally, i would drop the DR (thus enabling the Hazardous Damage ability more often) and drop the CR to 4, otherwise great job.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Matthew, very nice work with this one, I thought the original concept was ok but didn’t particularly jump out at me, but I think you’ve done a good job in developing it. Good luck moving forward.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

This was one of my favourites from last round and I'm very happy with how you've handled it Matthew.

I still have a few entries to read through, but I'm pretty confident you'll be earning a spot in my Top 6.
Good Luck! :)


Amorphous Form As a mass of caltrops held together by magic, a caltrop golem may squeeze through any space of diminutive size or larger without penalty. Also the golem’s amorphous nature makes it immune to critical hits, sneak attacks and other precision based damage. A caltrop golem may also spread itself out in a 15 foot by 15 foot square of caltrops and move at its normal movement rate. It may take no actions except to move or reform (a standard action) in this form.

Pretty much won my vote right there. I think this is well done. And the fact it can just appear as a bed of caltrops the party is trying to get around then WHAM! Golem time. But after that is is one of the few critters i thought that could be done well with such a low ceiling on the CR and you passed with flying colors.


The Scotch Assassin wrote:
And the fact it can just appear as a bed of caltrops the party is trying to get around then WHAM! Golem time.

This totally brought to my mind the scene from Terminator 2 where the T1000 rises up from the floor... Now I'm picturing a T1000 caltrop golem... [shivers]

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

La Femme Nikita wrote:

This totally brought to my mind the scene from Terminator 2 where the T1000 rises up from the floor... Now I'm picturing a T1000 caltrop golem... [shivers]

That occured to me too.

This was a quality entry, you did good Matthew!

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

The Scotch Assassin wrote:

Amorphous Form As a mass of caltrops held together by magic, a caltrop golem may squeeze through any space of diminutive size or larger without penalty. Also the golem’s amorphous nature makes it immune to critical hits, sneak attacks and other precision based damage. A caltrop golem may also spread itself out in a 15 foot by 15 foot square of caltrops and move at its normal movement rate. It may take no actions except to move or reform (a standard action) in this form.

Pretty much won my vote right there. I think this is well done. And the fact it can just appear as a bed of caltrops the party is trying to get around then WHAM! Golem time. But after that is is one of the few critters i thought that could be done well with such a low ceiling on the CR and you passed with flying colors.

+1 for liking the alternate form power. I liked the caltrop golem okay last round but didn't love it, but I think you've done a very solid job of putting this guy together. Neat visual, powers that make sense and fit within its CR.

Good job! This goes on my list to consider.

Star Voter 2013

You know, I found this bland in the last round. Now, I find it moderately interesting and certainly useful; that's entirely because of you, not the source material. You get my vote, although I hope that you'll be more METAL next round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

While I won't claim to be as knowledgable as others on the mechanics of the creature, I liked how you developed this monster's powers.
I thought this was a creative entry in R2 - a pure construct that isn't necessarily evil or guided by an individual agenda.

I think you reinforced that idea with your special ability ideas. This is a creature that operates as a guardian and trap, and you added to that idea with your description. Plus, the notion of it chiming as it moves is a nice way to tease a party with a WTF moment.

Despite it's special abilities, I could see it being nastier in terms of damage output than you made it. Overall, great job!

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

Special abilities should be listed as special attacks and special qualities in the offense and defense sections of the stat block. The action required for the caltrop golem to spread itself into a 15'-by-15' sqaure of caltrops needs to be specified. Also, I'm not quite sure why the golem's slam attack doesn't also deal piercing damage, since slamming into the golem with one's own fist does result in piercing damage.

That being said, the stat block is fairly well done. The numbers seem to be about right. The abilities are both CR-appropriate and conducive to lots of interesting tactical situations. And the T-1000 chill metal effect was a nice touch; kind of, sort of an easter egg, but nothing too blantant or egregious.

The competition for my votes was tight this round, but yours is one of the top tier stat blocks this round. Add that to your repeat Superstar mojo, which counts for something in my book, and you've earned my vote.


Jason Schimmel wrote:

I just can't help myself. I like what you've done with Spikey. I have some differences of opinion on a few details, but I'll save that for when the round is over.

Questions. Why the limestone? The CL for creation seems high compared to other golems. Is that a spell level thing? I haven't looked up the level of all your required spells. Most of the golems I looked at had a CL of 2 or three levels higher then their CR.

By the way, I totally would have missed the bullet points formatting idea. For me it makes that part of the entry a lot easier to read. Since the judges have already done the editor thing so I won't comment on that. Thanks for getting Clark to like critter BTW. Good luck. I think you might have just won a vote.

I assume the limestone is something to do with the bleed ability. Maybe greater magic weapon was originally on the construction requirements list (which spell has material components of lime & carbon, although granted lime may not usually mean 'limestone').


Okay, lime/limestone quibble aside, down to business. Others have alread commented on some things ('what effect does interacting with it as a 'carpet of caltrops' have?', CMB/CMD maths errors, etc) so I'll try to stick to things which haven't already been covered.

I'm not clear on why the force with which the golem is struck doesn't factor into the Dangerous Target ability? If a Strength 6 gnome punches a Caltrops Golem with his bare hand, surely it's going to hurt the gnome a lot less than if the great big raging, magic-belt wearing Strength 24 Ulfen barbarian forcefully slams his meaty fist into it?
Do creatures with a high natural AC need to worry about unarmed/natural attacks taking damage back from the Dangerous Target ability?

As a minor nitpick, I'm not sure that 'chiming' is an appropriate noise for a lot of caltrops piled together to make when the golem moves, and I think that you meant that the very nature of the construct's make-up 'ensures' that they can continue to hinder after destruction, not 'insures'.

It doesn't seem to me to be very damaging for a CR 5 creature. Persistent, and annoying in terms of the hit and run tactics which it can potentially employ, but without successful grapples to get bleed damage going not very CR 5 on the damage front. It might actually play more dangerously than it looks to me on screen as a stat block, however.

With regard to a couple of questions I raised over the Round 2 entry:
You do indicate a means of repairing the golem.
You do not go into detail about whether or not these golems can be made of materials other than the apparently default iron caltrops. (Granted you were asked to only stat up one monster though for this round, not one monster and potentially half a dozen or more possible variants.)

My overall impression however is of a reasonably efficiently executed application of a stat block to a concept, with a few minor maths errors. You got on with a workmanlike job of statting up the caltrop golem pretty much as it was described, which certainly merits a 'well done :)'.
(Although I'm still going over entries and don't know about a vote yet).

Thank-you for submitting this entry.


Very nice. Your only mechanical miscalculation appears to be the CMB and CMD, which have already been pointed out.

I'm not as worried about the low damage as other posters have been. This creature has CR-appropriate AC and hard to bypass DR and lots of immunities. A fight with a caltrop golem will probably last longer than fights with many other CR5 monsters. It can get away with lower-than-average damage by having a greater-than-average number of rounds to attack. Still, it is more of a nuisance monster than a threat to any party member's life.

You created some interesting mechanics with its various special abilities, and pulled them off with mechanical rigor. This would be an interesting encounter. You'll be getting one of my votes.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

I immediately notice that this is a CR 5 that is immune to half the party. I can't run this on its own, as a result, and that's a major problem.

The bleed damage isn't in the stat block anywhere. You've incorporated into Grab, which is usually a standard templated ability.

What's keen age?

Bare hands aren't okay...so if I have oven mitts I'm good? I assume you mean unarmed attacks.

I'm not sure how I feel about this one overall. Setting aside the minor writing/mechanical glitches, it's an interesting brute, but an interesting brute that can't be run as a solo guardian. I'm not feeling any inspiration on where or how to use it, and the flavor text is "It's a golem, it does golem stuff." I'm not sure if I'll vote for this, and I'd be indifferent to any book that had this as a preview.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I'm surprised more contestants didn't pick the caltrop golem this round, but you did a great job of interpreting this creature. The grab ability, especially the bleed damage, is very interesting.

Best of luck to you in this round!

Edit: You're getting my 6th vote.


With all due respect to Mr. Schneider, I for one am glad to see any golem that does not default to the standard materials and the catch-all "immunity to everything BUT" that golems have become. In fact, I'd say take it a step farther and get rid of DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning and replace it with DR 5/bludgeoning and magic to match its low CR. I mean do all golems HAVE to be resistant to all but adamantine weapons? Is that actually a rule, or just something we've become accustomed to from previous monster blocks? Not being facetious or sarcastic; it's an honest question (and please don't answer with "It's RAW" unless you can actually give me a source, thank you). I have half a dozen golems of my own I made as low-level encounters and dropped the DR and resistances down for that purpose. Who knows? Maybe I'll get the chance to present them somewhere myself some day :-)

ANYHOW, I digress hugely, and I apologize profusely (scatterbrained, what can I say?). I absolutely LOVE what Matthew did here and look forward to using this little guy in a future encounter (maybe even using several at once). I do agree with Sean that the saves and damage are a slight bit weak for the CR (I think you toned it down one step due to size Small) and see this more as a CR4 than 5, but the bleed damage from grappling is nice. I think unarmed strikes against it should deal damage to the attacker equal to 1d3 piercing plus their own Str modifier, though; as someone said, the harder one hits the golem, the more it's going to hurt. What if the attacker has DR? Do attacks made against the golem negate the attacker's own DR?

A moving carpet of caltrops is very nice, but what exactly does it do? Is it treated as a swarm for purposes of distraction and damage? Or does is require Acrobatics (balance) checks/Reflex saves to avoid stepping on the caltrops? Needs some clarity here.

Despite these little oddities, this creature has defintely got my vote. I thought the concept was pretty cool, and overall, you did a great job statting this guy out.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I was surprised to see this was a small creature, but after reading it I started thinking about ways to use it in a game, and even to use its size as an advantage. I definitely want to boost its damage, but otherwise it's a solid creature, and I'll be voting for it (especially once I take your previous work into account).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Not much I can add here. This is a solid write-up, true to the original description, and it looks pretty fun. It's a golem, it does golem stuff... but considering that, it's really pretty unique.

I don't know why I'm not remotely excited over it. Maybe I'm just not a golem person... in particular, "mindless" puts me off. But that's not your fault. :)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

This is an excellent handling of what was already a good creature. Bravo.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Won a three-way tie for my final vote based on there being nothing wrong with it. You're lucky I'm disqualified, or that would have been mine! ;)

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

I'm behind on R3, so I'll be brief with my comments. I liked the R2 caltrop golem, and I'm glad to see you picked it for R3, since you did a great job with it! My big concern with it in R2 was as a size small grappler, but with the grab ability, the CMB for grapple is +11 (after fixing your math error), and with 2 attacks per round to try with, I think that's going to be a reasonable chance to get some caltrop spikes in. I also agree that the damage is low - linking it to actual caltrop damage of 1d3 was great for it's dangerous target ability, but for it's actual attack, I think a 1d4 or even 1d6 would be more appropriate (because if this thing slams you, you're getting hit with a LOT of caltrip spikes, not just stepping on one or two on your tiny sole of your foot.)

I think you could have saved some space by combining deadly dispersal and hazardous damage into one ability that spread caltrops around in either condition. Also, amorphous form should have a power type (Ex) I would guess. Finally, while it was good that you included the construction rules for the golem (and necessary), you messed up a bit on the cost and price, by not including the material cost in there. It should be price 18,500, cost 9,500 when you include the 500 cost for materials.

Great job, and you've got my vote!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

My little quibbles have been mentioned above, except specifically including material costs are usually included separately in creation costs.

Caltrop Golem was one of my favorites from last round - thank you for bringing it forward. I was shocked by, but liked, the DR.

Good luck Matthew!


Despite a few small errors this seems to be one of the best 'executions of the original concept' this round.
Therefore you get the second of my top 3 votes this round.


Congratulations on making it through to Round 4. (And I seem to remember saying something to the effect on your Round 2 thread that I was fairly confident you would breeze through this round into the last eight. ;) )

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

My 'How we got here' document is trapped at work, and I'm busy researching, but I wanted to explain the limestone.

The modern process to make high grade steel is the Bessimer process. It normally uses Dolomite, but can use limestone. Since Dolomite always makes me think of Futurama, "It's Dolomite, baby!" I decided to make my alchemical treatment of the golem limestone instead.

Thank you for all your votes. I hope to earn them again this round.


Hmm. Dolomitic limestone is high magnesium limestone.

Edit:
Skimming wikipedia it seems to make out that Dolomite, specifically, is an independent mineral, CaMg(CO3)2, as compared to other 'calcium' limestone minerals Calcite, Aragonite, and Vaterite (all CaCO3); unfortunately my DHZ is upstairs somewhere buried in a cupboard, so I cannot verify this easily.

But anyway, your idea makes a sort of sense and I look forward to seeing the rest of your explanations for this round.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

How we got here… Caltrop Golem.

Picking the monster: I liked the caltrop golem, the concept of a ‘delay monster’ was novel to me and with lay offs of late, I’d been saying “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.” So here’s a monster that can delay in combat, but also can have lasting resource draining effects. Also, the tankard was light, the lahamu was heavy, so something more 'dungeony' made sense to try to display diversity.

CR: I looked to the Ice Golem here, I didn’t want to make it a CR 6 automatically, so I decided on a CR 5.

Defense
AC: 18 seemed like a good number. I looked at a fighter 5, figured 18 strength (+4 to hit) Weapon of masterwork or +1 enchantment (+1) Weapon training (+1) and weapon focus (+1). Add all that to a BAB of +5 and you get a + 12 to hit. Subtract 2 for power attacking, and it’s a net +10. This allows the fighter to connect roughly 60% of the time, 70% if he doesn’t power attack. Because of other assumptions (see below) I figured it made for a good number.
DR was 5 adamantine and bludgeoning since it was a golem and to capture the flavor of the original text. Our hypothetical fighter above is likely going to be doing weapon + 9-12 points of damage, so it made sense to have it stick around awhile. The durability also contributes to the CR.

Melee: Again with our theoretical fighter, we’re looking at an AC of 22+ most likely (full plate, heavy shield, armour training) so the monster hits roughly 30-40% of the time. The damage is small, because the money is on the grab.

Environment: Yeah yeah ‘any’ Just like every other golem Paizo’s published :P Don’t hate the writer, hate the precedent.

Special abilities:

Amorphous Form. Looking at golems in pathfinder, I can see the logic behind sneak attack working. They do have knees, joints, etc. This one however isn’t a big hunk of ice/stone/wood/metal it’s a bunch of small parts, so the critical immunity made sense. Does it suck to be the rogue? Yes, this time it does. The square of caltrops is a way to make it look innocent (Watch it guys, hallway blocked by caltrops) and after the first encounter scare the PCs. (Another batch of caltrops! Quick acid fog them!) To make them a caltrop swarm would have required more text than allowed. I should have expanded this to give them the distraction ability.

Dangerous target: Again, the fluff text says ‘no touch!’ this is annoying damage, not crippling.

Deadly dispersal: shades of 4e! I didn’t want to use ‘5-foot square’ over and over, since it seemed to spoil the flavour. By using the ‘space it occupies’ it also allows a guide for advanced golems of larger than medium.

Grab: Here’s where the golem gets nasty in a subtle way. It’s doing 1d3+3 points of damage a round plus bleed. I like the bleed mechanic (and after the kudos the frog helm got for using a new mechanic so I wanted to toss it in) 1 HP a round may not seem like much, but it takes time and resources to stop. Since stabilize doesn’t stop bleed damage, it’s a heal check or a CLW at least. Hindsight says I should have made it 1d3 bleed damage, I had a brain fart and thought bleed stacked with itself. Picture this thing punching a target, then swarming up over and around them like Agent Smith in Reloaded and you get the image I wanted.

Hazardous damage: Again, part of the fluff text. With the caltrop minefields it lays, I figured making it per 5 points of damage would ‘allow’ it to drop 8 squares of caltrops, plus the one it is standing in. This just happens to fill the volume taken by the Amorphous Form ability. It also allowed me to truly make it “Matthew’s caltrop golem” and the image of the little ball bearings from Ultraviolet came to mind. The ‘can leave safely’ comes from my years of Battletech and FASCAM arrow IV rounds. I love minefields, and it’s always been safe to leave the hex you’re in.

Magic Immunity: Pretty much golem standard. A boon spell, a bane spell and a heal spell. I didn’t want to give it the complete ‘fire is good’ effect of the iron golem. I also thought that by mixing up the effects of heat/chill metal would be good to keep players off balance.

Creation: I’d forgotten about spike stones but I was trying to stick to arcane spells anyway. Geas/quest seems to be a standard, also the cause for the high level. keen edge made sense for the bleed damage and black tentacles was for the improved grappling abilities. And why limestone? Well limestone is sometimes used in the Bessemer process, which makes higher grade steel.

I'd also asked if this was required. I was told it wasn't, but figured the risk of errors was less than the risk of not including it.

How it interacts with the classes.

Barbarian: HULK SMASH PUNY SPIKEY THING!

Bard: Time to buff the party and give that 'aid another' bonus.

Druid: Buff, melee, entangle, other no SR spells. Your pet is going to hurt itself.

Fighter: This is why I've bonus feats.

Monk: This is why I can flurry with monk weapons

Paladin: Wade in there, lay on hands to heal.

Ranger: Flanking maybe skirmishing

Rogue: Flank and hope for good die rolls (rapier +1 with 12 strength does 1d6+2, so on a 5 or 6 you're doing damage)

Sorcerer: Acid splash, summons, SLAs.

Wizard: See Sorcerer.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hey voters! Matthew invited me to go over his caltrop golem Q & A! Please don’t hate me! When this was posted it was between Rounds when we had nothing to vote on. Please vote for both of us!

Matthew Morris wrote:

How we got here… Caltrop Golem.

Picking the monster: I liked the caltrop golem, the concept of a ‘delay monster’ was novel to me and with lay offs of late, I’d been saying “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.” So here’s a monster that can delay in combat, but also can have lasting resource draining effects. Also, the tankard was light, the lahamu was heavy, so something more 'dungeony' made sense to try to display diversity.

I approve of going for diversity. I've been doing much the same. I also felt that the caltrop golem was a sensible choice.

Matthew Morris wrote:
CR: I looked to the Ice Golem here, I didn’t want to make it a CR 6 automatically, so I decided on a CR 5.

Again, without just rubber stamping everything you say, I think this was a great call. I've had a lot of thoughts about Round Three pertaining to monster selection and target CR, but I'm going to hold off until the contest is done, or I'm no longer in it.

CR 5 lets you match the original write-up fairly well, but doesn't use every bit of slack you’re allowed by going straight for CR 6.

Matthew Morris wrote:

Defense

AC: 18 seemed like a good number. I looked at a fighter 5, figured 18 strength (+4 to hit) Weapon of masterwork or +1 enchantment (+1) Weapon training (+1) and weapon focus (+1). Add all that to a BAB of +5 and you get a + 12 to hit. Subtract 2 for power attacking, and it’s a net +10. This allows the fighter to connect roughly 60% of the time, 70% if he doesn’t power attack. Because of other assumptions (see below) I figured it made for a good number.

This was pretty interesting for me to read, because I go about it in a very similar to sometimes identical fashion. That is, taking a baseline of what the PCs are capable of by modeling some fairly expected and predictable variables, like you did here in this example of the fighter.

At higher levels it gets harder of course, but like you, this strikes me as a smart approach towards setting ACs, and sometimes other target numbers. Of course sometimes a particular creature might have a higher or lower defense regardless, but usually when they're fulfilling a particular role and the other abilities are balanced to match.

Matthew Morris wrote:
DR was 5 adamantine and bludgeoning since it was a golem and to capture the flavor of the original text. Our hypothetical fighter above is likely going to be doing weapon + 9-12 points of damage, so it made sense to have it stick around awhile. The durability also contributes to the CR.

Seems spot on to me. Your average damage is only 10 points, which is really really low. You should be able to justify some better than average defensive abilities to compensate.

Matthew Morris wrote:

Melee: Again with our theoretical fighter, we’re looking at an AC of 22+ most likely (full plate, heavy shield, armour training) so the monster hits roughly 30-40% of the time. The damage is small, because the money is on the grab.

Exactly.. I might have even increased the bleed damage by a point while maintaining the grab. 4-6 is not a lot of damage for a single attack, and one channel energy will quickly stop the ongoing bleed of anybody not in a grab.

Matthew Morris wrote:
Amorphous Form. Looking at golems in pathfinder, I can see the logic behind sneak attack working. They do have knees, joints, etc. This one however isn’t a big hunk of ice/stone/wood/metal it’s a bunch of small parts, so the critical immunity made sense. Does it suck to be the rogue? Yes, this time it does.

Actually, I just took a quick skim of the thread again. Unless I'm overlooking it, I don't see anyone who disagrees with you. ;-D

Matthew Morris wrote:
Grab: Here’s where the golem gets nasty in a subtle way. It’s doing 1d3+3 points of damage a round plus bleed. I like the bleed mechanic (and after the kudos the frog helm got for using a new mechanic so I wanted to toss it in) 1 HP a round may not seem like much, but it takes time and resources to stop. Since stabilize doesn’t stop bleed damage, it’s a heal check or a CLW at least. Hindsight says I should have made it 1d3 bleed damage, I had a brain fart and thought bleed stacked with itself. Picture this thing punching a target, then swarming up over and around them like Agent Smith in Reloaded and you get the image I wanted.

Reasonable, but rather than write a whole post where I do nothing but praise you.. ;-)

You don't need me to tell you this, but I agree with you. Might as well increase the bleed to 1d3.

Let me point out that channel energy is going to clean up all the bleed damage fast. Especially if you get a cleric that specializes in channeling. One of my players runs one of those, and it's a very valid cleric build (I got no complaints, the player dutifully spends those precious feats). However I read this and just shook my head. You won't be able to count on the bleed to be as much of a hassle as you might think once they get outside of that grab. Sorry to say. I'm also starting to think of channel energy as being the quiet death of the heal check too. I don’t say this because you need to fix something about your creature build; there’s nothing you can do about this. I’m just putting this in perspective.

On the bright side, between the bleed damage and caltrops robbing them of movement (without a Heal check), you will be flushing those channel energy's out and consuming resources.. which is one of this creature's goals.

Another little tweak? I agree with Jason that your damage is too low, but I don't feel it's my place to needle another very worthy contestant. That's just vulgar, IMO. That being said, if you kept the damage where it is right now.. tweak it to 1d4+2 per slam attack. The +2 matches your strength bonus cleanly and you're still in the same range. Technically though your damage output would be 9 instead of 10.. so maybe consider 1d4+3! Which would give you a damage average of 11. What you're doing is sparing GMs from doing the whole "1d3" thing. The damage is still really really low, but the GM can grab dice and roll that much faster.

Matthew Morris wrote:
Hazardous damage: Again, part of the fluff text. With the caltrop minefields it lays, I figured making it per 5 points of damage would ‘allow’ it to drop 8 squares of caltrops, plus the one it is standing in. This just happens to fill the volume taken by the Amorphous Form ability. It also allowed me to truly make it “Matthew’s caltrop golem” and the image of the little ball bearings from Ultraviolet came to mind. The ‘can leave safely’ comes from my years of Battletech and FASCAM arrow IV rounds. I love minefields, and it’s always been safe to leave the hex you’re in.

Brilliant stuff. I do think Jason has a point though, about being constantly surrounded by caltrops. You're going to be rolling a lot of additional attacks to represent the caltrops themselves. By not having to keep track of whether the golems have been damaged enough to warrant caltrop dispersal, you could reduce the number of things you have to keep up in your head while running the encounter.

On the other hand, I see what you're doing. Your technique justifies leaving caltrops around after the golem has left that immediate spot.

Great job Matthew! I hope I didn’t come down too hard on any one specific point. This creature doesn’t need much refinement at all!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2010 / Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block / Matthew Morris's Caltrop Golem All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.