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Tom Phillips's Ossuary

Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block

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

An ossuary is a combination of necromancy and artifice, created by imprisoning an undead creature within a stone construct. Those who defeat an ossuary often find victory short-lived, as the construct’s destruction merely releases the trapped creature. Ossuaries usually contain wights or wraiths, but in rare cases adventurers have encountered ossuaries containing more powerful undead. Scholars theorize it is even possible to trap evil outsiders inside a specially prepared ossuary. An ossuary has the strength and resistances possessed by most constructs, plus potent necromantic abilities fueled by the imprisoned undead.

An ossuary’s appearance varies, but it is usually sculpted as a 7-foot-tall stone humanoid. The imprisoned creature has no control over the ossuary’s actions, which makes ossuaries particularly attractive to evil individuals who dislike the willfulness of intelligent undead minions. Even good-aligned spellcasters occasionally create an ossuary to seal away dangerous creatures that are difficult to destroy permanently.

Crackling with negative energy, this demon-headed stone automaton lumbers forward. Its heavy tread echoes as stone scrapes upon stone.

Ossuary Wight CR 5
XP 1,600
N Medium construct
Init -1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +1
AC 23, touch 8, flat-footed 23 (-1 Dex, +14 natural)
hp 26 (4d8+8)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +5
DR 5/adamantine; Immune construct traits
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 1 slam +8 (1d6+5 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks energy drain (1 level, DC 14)
Str 20, Dex 8, Con -, Int -, Wis 13, Cha 15
Base Atk +3; CMB +8; CMD 17
SQ necromantic backlash (2d6, DC 17), necromantic shell
Environment Any
Organization Solitary or gang (2-4)
Treasure None

First created in Ustalav during the reign of the Whispering Tyrant, ossuary wights are now common tomb guardians in Cheliax and parts of shadowy Nidal.

Ossuary Construction
An ossuary is similar in construction to a stone golem. It is carved from a block of stone, then soaked in a mixture of human blood, powdered bone, and exotic oils worth 500 gp. It weighs 1,500 pounds.
CL 11th; Price 3,000 gp per HD of base creature (minus 500 gp)
Requirements Craft Construct, animate objects, enervation, halt undead, stone shape, creator must be caster level 11th; Skill Craft (sculptures) or Craft (stonemasonry) DC 15; Cost 1,500 gp per HD of base creature

Creating an Ossuary
“Ossuary” is an acquired template that can be added to any undead creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An ossuary does not retain the base creature’s statistics and special abilities.

Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +2.
Alignment: Always neutral.
Type: Creature’s type changes to construct. It does not gain the augmented subtype. Do not recalculate HD, BAB, or saves.
Armor Class: Natural armor becomes +14.
Defensive Abilities: An ossuary gains DR 5/adamantine.
Speed: 20 ft. land speed.
Melee: An ossuary gains a slam attack for 1d6 damage. Its slam causes energy drain (see below) and is treated as a magic weapon for the purposes of overcoming DR.
Special Abilities: An ossuary gains an energy drain attack.
Energy Drain (Su): A creature hit by an ossuary’s slam attack gains a negative level.
Special Qualities: An ossuary gains the following.
Necromantic Backlash (Su): When an ossuary takes damage, it releases a burst of negative energy. This is identical to an evil cleric’s ability to channel negative energy, except it damages living creatures and heals undead. Use the base creature’s HD to determine the cleric level for the damage dealt/healed and the DC to halve the damage.
Necromantic Shell (Su): An ossuary absorbs all damage, up to a maximum of 50 points. When these points are reduced to 0, the ossuary shatters and releases the imprisoned creature at full strength. Upon its destruction, it emits a final necromantic backlash. The ossuary's necromantic shell heals at a rate of one point per hour, and heals 5 points for each level drained by the ossuary’s energy drain attack. The shell is considered an inch of metal for thwarting the penetration of detection spells.
Ability Scores: Str +8, Dex -4. As a construct, an ossuary has no Constitution score. It is mindless and has no Intelligence score.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I *really* don't like new monsters with names that are existing words--it's all but guaranteed to cause confusion down the line when the GM says "the tomb has a small doorway leading to an ossuary," and the players are going to want to attack the ossuary, not realizing the GM means "place to hold bones" and not "construct monster containing an undead." I was fine with this creature's original name of "ossuary golem" because that name was clear that it wasn't referring to the object-noun, but this one lacks that clarity.

This monster doesn't follow the proper format--almost all of the description text is above the stat block when it should be below the stat block (as listed in the sample stat block format and demonstrated in every Bestiary monster).

Technically, as a construct it should gain bonus hit points based on its size.

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.

Necromantic Backlash: So this happens EVERY time the creature is hit? If you hit it 5x in one round, it's going to release 5 2d6 bursts of negative energy? You just killed the party. Also, channel energy either heals undead OR harms the living, not both--it was too powerful in the Beta doing both, and bringing it back for this monster is either (1) unintentional, which means you should reread the channel energy rules, or (2) intentional, which means this creature is deliberately supposed to be very powerful. With this creature in a room, you don't need an evil cleric (the cleric's channel has limited uses per day, the ossuary's channel doesn't).

Constructs don't normally heal over time, so this thing's shell healing every hour is a little weird. The healing from the energy drain is fine, though.

Because this template adds to an undead creature (no Con score), technically you don't have to call out that the construct shouldn't have a Con score.

It bothers me a little that the Construction of the creature doesn't mention anything about cramming an actual undead into it while it's being built and/or sealed.

The language of the introductory section uses plurals that may lead some readers to believe a single ossuary can contain more than one undead creature ("Ossuaries usually contain wights or wraiths...").

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Ooofda, this is kind of a monster explosion, with a description, example, creation, and template. I understand the desire to want to stand out by doing something a bit different, but templates by their very nature waste a lot of room and I can't say I think that was a great choice for a competition like this. Or, for this specific creature.

Templates are kind of a 3E fad. They appeared, where really neat and innovative, and for a while every thing everywhere was a template. Now they're kind of played out. Not every undead needs to be a template, every plane doesn't need a resident template, every terrain doesn't need a hot/cold/moist/dry/tepid/sticky template. Overall, they often just end up being more work than they're worth.These days, something has to really feel like a perfect fit for me to be interested in seeing a template of it. This doesn't feel like a perfect fit. While I appreciate that a lich ossuary golem and a skeleton ossuary can and probably should be different, I don't think the distinction is worth the effort it would take to apply this template to those creatures. You could have probably gotten a similar effect basing some elements of the creature off the Hit Dice of the undead entombed, accounting for a wide variety of undead and making the ossuary ready to use regardless of the thing within.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

I am kinda confused here.

This monster is part construct and part undead... The real problem here is that by throwing in a template, the line blurs an everything becomes a bit of a mess.

For example, it has undead Hit Dice, but construct traits and DR. This makes it really hard to nail down whether or not it is on target for its CR. Not to mention the fact that it has 50 ablative hit points in its shell. When those are gone, the creature emerges, but does it lose the template? This is kinda unclear. It would have made more sense as two separate stat blocks, but I doubt you had the room. To top it off, this is just a level of complexity that I am not sure this monster needs.

Beyond such sticky issues, we get into some questionable design choices. Sean hit on this, but I want to touch on it again. Dealing 2d6 every time the creature is hit, in a burst, that affects both living and undead is a bad idea. This would kill the party pretty quick and is not the way energy bursts like this work.

I just have too many questions on this one... and not enough answers.

I give this monster a D.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

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
Uh oh. This one seems like a trap monster. I’m surprised to see someone try to do this at CR 6. I don’t see it. I think you got sucked in. When we decided on the CR 6 cap I said to myself: “Oh well, there goes the Ossuary Golem.” Yet here you have done it.

I think it was a mistake. But let’s see. Maybe I’m wrong…

The Execution
Sean and Wes have given their thoughts and are far more qualified than me to address those issues. That said, here are my thoughts:

I think you made some design choices to squeeze this into CR 5 that just don’t work. This monster is really a construct, powered by an undead. As Jason mentions this is really better done as two stat blocks but you didn’t have the room to do that so we got what we got, and it just doesn’t cut it. It should have been readily apparent that you just can’t do this monster this round with the restrictions given. Boldness I appreciate, but you just shouldn’t even have tried this one. You should have said, like I did, “oh well, I guess we can’t do the Ossuary Golem this round. Bummer.” Instead, you tried and it might just be your undoing.

That said, I don’t have a problem with the “it will kill the party” issue. I’m fine with killing the party. But that’s just me. That’s why I’m Orcus.

Final Thoughts
Tom, I loved the troll fingers and I was a HUGE fan of the Slithering Horror. Man, I think you know you tried to cram this cool monster into the CR range required and I think you just missed the mark. By a wide margin. I will say this, if there is anyone in this round that might deserve to advance on strength of prior rounds (other than McGee) it is you. But on the merits of this round alone, I can’t give you a pass. And that pains me. You do have this going for you—I am not recommending you, and sometimes the community rallies against me and supports you. So maybe your golem will be this year’s blink dog. That’s up to the voters to decide.

Sadly, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this for Top 8.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Tom, this was my candidate for fartherest "swing for the fences" long shot. You did a super job realizing this critter under the restrictions, and you definitely win the "most ambitious" medal! Good luck.

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

Ouch! That left a mark! ;-)

Thanks judges, for your comments. I look forward to responding in about a week.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Tom, you're a braver man than I for attempting to tackling this one. I salute you, sir!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor


Wow, this is probably the toughest of the tough for this round. As Chris said, you get the medal for picking the toughest challenge.

Good luck Top 16 Bro!

Star Voter 2014

I really like this idea, and I think it is best served as a template.

However, I too have some concerns:

1) Perhaps, Necromantic Backlash and the shell would have been better served if they were linked. So that when the shell is smashed the backlash is unleashed; otherwise Necromantic Backlash seems too strong.. I also have questions about the wording on Necromantic Shell -- would it be better to state "The Ossuary template offers 50 temporary HP (or 10 Temp HP/HD?). When these Temp HP are brought to 0, the creature explodes (insert backlash). After the explosion the inside undead creature is unleashed . . .

2)Maybe ditch the energy drain. For example, the wight already has that power, perhaps, the Ossuary just augments an undead's preexisting powers . . . +2 DC?

So overall, I like this idea, but I am not sure it would work as published . . .

Good luck in this round!


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I still think this is a really interesting concept, but no one seems to have been able to make it easily playable.

I suggest simplifying it. You shouldn't be able to use just any old undead either. I just can't see a vampire in this thing...

For coolness, I could see making it into a template, but a far less powerful and complicated one.

Anyway, I still like the concept, just not the execution.

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

OK, so it's got 26 hit points, but it actually has 76 hit points, because the construct part has 50. And whenever it's hit, it does 2d6 damage to every living thing in a 20 foot radius and heals all undead the same amount? Yeah, that's broken. And not just a little broken. Ridiculously broken. I see what you were going for. I like the idea of making the ossuary golem a template, so it can do different things for different component undead. But I cannot stand behind the monster that, in a contest full of broken CRs, stands out as the most broken. I will not be voting for this creature.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

"A for Effort" Tom!

It was a tough creature. Maybe too tough to be written up for Round Two. I have mixed feelings about that aspect of Round Two, because the rules did not forbid describing a high level CR creature, but nevertheless they strongly hinted to use caution in doing it. It worked for Mr. McGee.. but...

This was a gamble, and had you or anyone pulled this off it would have been an instant home run.

And I admire the bold.

I think you need to be uplifted and encouraged. This is more of a testament to the difficulty of statting up this creature, under CR 6, than your specific ability. Yeah, maybe a less ambitious choice was out there.. but you wanted to pull ahead. Nothing wrong with that desire.

Hang in there and good luck!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I *really* don't like new monsters with names that are existing words--it's all but guaranteed to cause confusion down the line when the GM says "the tomb has a small doorway leading to an ossuary," and the players are going to want to attack the ossuary, not realizing the GM means "place to hold bones" and not "construct monster containing an undead." I was fine with this creature's original name of "ossuary golem" because that name was clear that it wasn't referring to the object-noun, but this one lacks that clarity.

It's also worth pointing out that in the Pathfinder cosmology, "The Ossuary" is a location in the Maelstrom.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I really disliked this creature in R2 and don't like what you've done with it any better, but i LOVED your R1 and R2 entries, so you get my vote based on the strenght of those entries.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

I don't know if making this a template was the best idea. I think it would have been better served up as and undead prison in the form of an Iron Man suit, making the undead just a battery (like in the Matrix). I hope your round one and two entries can put in you the Top 8, I would like like to see more of your work.

I like this, and think that this is an interesting way that a necromancer could bind and control higher-level undead. It reminds me of the Genie-binding rules in the old Sah'ir's Handbook. The only downside I see, is I don't understand why the alignment must always be neutral. If I were an evil undead, being bound into this thing would just make me a pissed-off evil undead.

Far be it from me to be any judge of the technical merits of some of these challenges. I am a pure lightweight when it comes to the rules of the game. I play for strict enjoyment and if my DM says, “Nope, you can’t do that,” I move on without question…usually.

That being said, I can see where some of what Tom did fell short. However, if my understanding of this challenge is correct, part of what is expected is that the contestants demonstrate creativity and independent thinking.

While Tom could have played it safe, he took on the daunting challenge to stat up a creature no one else touched! That proves to me that Tom is not only is up for a challenge, but that he also does not shy away from a difficult task.

Kudos, Tom, you have my vote.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Tom, I like that you made this a Template, as I feel that given the ability to place almost any undead creature inside it means that a regular Sat Block could become a nighmare depending upon the creature inside. That said I wasn't fussed on a few of your choices.
I really dislike the fact that you dropped the "Golem" from the name as I think that it is an integral part of this creature's game state.
The Burst is just too powerful.
I am confused about the Shell reforming? Say it is destroyed and the undead emerges, how does it then reform? If the undead runs away, does the shell simply reform around it wherever it is, or is there some kind of radius it has to be within? It's just too unclear (although I could just be reading it wrong).

The Ossuary Golem was my standout pick from last round and while I admire your effort, for me you just didn't hit it on the head enough. Sorry.
Good Luck though. :)

Mr. Fishy felt that beating...CR cap? what the hell? If you had to write that monster under a CR 6 then you did as good as any one could that is a "golem" and an "Undead with a negitive drain attack" two of the nastier monsters in the game.

Mr. Fishy thinks that a template is about the only way to go on this one (any undead? template or 12 stat blocks). The necro blast should maybe be a once per round effect or a willed weapon(as per channel energy). And the Necro shield heals BECAUSE of the undead "inside" feeding it negitive energy, if the golem is destoryed then the shell should break. Mr. Fishy liked the idea it make undead more powerful, with a flaw.

Mr. Fishy sees a lot of chewing and very few constuctive suggests. Your monster does work is not helpful.

Good Luck Tom...

I may be in the minority, but I like an encounter the party should shy away from every once in a while. To tough? BAH. This thing feeds the legends told in taverns by the one pack-mule servant who got away.

Kill em all Tom!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

It's a mindless, energy-draining golem that causes everyone to die if you attack it in melee. Basically, it's a horrible deathtrap. Any character who encounters this is best served by closing the door and running away very fast. As a GM, if I were to see this in a monster book, my response would be quite similar.

I do not intend to vote for this creature. If this were the preview creature for a monster book, I would not purchase that book.

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

I kinda like the monster as a template for the sake of versatility, but it does become terribly complicated and doesn't necessarily serve your well if the golem always does energy drain when the trapped undead (say, a shadow or wraith) does not.

The negative burst on EVERY hit is over the top, esp. when it gets 50 free hp AND has DR/adamantine (yes, I know, it's a golem, it's supposed to, but the burst is too much gravy on top). It's a TPK in a box for mid-level characters.

Still, I really enjoyed the troll fingers. Best of luck to you.

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

Well, you've certainly earned a lot of praise for trying something ambitious.

Unfortunately, it's all down hill after that. To start with, I didn't think that "ossuary golem" was a template that applied to undead in Round 2, and I still don't think it is in Round 3. At best, the Hit Dice of the ossuary golem should determine the Hit Dice of the undead it contains.

And you're not helping your case for the "ossuary creature" template by including the line about the ossuary not using any of the base creature's statistics. If it doesn't use any of the base creature's statistics at all, how is it a template and not a new monster? You're template essentially says, "Take the base creature; drop everything; then replace it with this other, entirely different creature that has the same Hit Dice."

Then there's the fact that there are no template entries in any Paizo products I've ever seen that use your large-fluff-text-intro format. There are plenty of places in Superstar to express your ideas in outside-the-box ways. The stat block round is not one of them.

I'll be passing on the ossuary golem this round.

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

I just wanted to poke my skull in here and thank you for your comments. I'm taking more notes, and I look forward to responding once the voting period is over.

In the meantime, if you're a fan of my portfolio so far, I would be honored to have your vote!

Star Voter 2013

Tom, once you chose this creature, which I hated last round, there was virtually nothing you could have done to pick up my vote. It makes little sense to spend 6K to cage a wight. And, if the wight survives after the Ossuary's beaten, you've got a seriously upset undead thing near your corpse. If you care enough about your corpse to guard it with 6K, do you really want it to be guarded by a thing with a serious grudge against you for trapping it immobile for years within a mecha suit? I mean, clearly the other voters loved this thing, so I can see why it would appeal to you, but...

And then there's the fact that this is a construct, not a golem, which means it has none of the spell immunities that you'd expect from the label. That means that the +0 Reflex is going to get it killed really quickly... especially with 26 HP, which I see it doesn't have because buried in the stat block is the shell that has 50 hp.

If you get a vote, it's going to have to be because of the troll fingers and the slithering horror.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

This was another creature that had inherent risk for this round. I like that you took a gamble with this one, and the template choice was the right one in my opinion. I wish you luck in this round of the contest.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

See you next year? :)

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

I'm still going to try to be brief, just to be fair to everyone else. Tom, I loved your previous work, and I really liked the Ossuary Golem from R2, so I'm pretty shocked that you made (IMO at least) such a big misstep here. I actually think you could have done the ossuray golem as CR6, but as a creature, not a template. As a stand alone creature, you could have just said, the HD of the golem must equal the HD of the captive undead, to make sure the part 1 of the battle matches the part 2 when the undead is released. As a template, this just doesn't work.

First of all, no size is given in the template, but it also states that a creature loses all of its statistics, so you can't just default to it's original size. For that matter, can you make the medium size version you have here contain say a huge giant zombie? Also, using the template on an incorporeal undead (the most common use according to the R2 write up) breaks your template. The incorporeal undead has Str -, but your template gives it +8 to Str - which doesn't work since '-' isn't zero. Also, I don't like that the melee slam attack is a fixed 1d6 damage. It should do slam damage based on size, since you could make a huge version if you wanted to. Finally, the template makes it an odd mix of undead and construct abilities and statistics. As a straight up construct (golem), you can just have the undead appear the round after being killed, and each creature has stats that match its type better. Also, by not having it be a golem, you don't get the fun magic immunities and exceptions.

The necromantic backlash could have been fixed by limiting it to once per round, and still been nasty (and also removed the healing undead part.)

The cost of construction doesn't handle the material costs correctly. It should be price 3000/HD plus 500, and the cost should be 1500/HD plus 500.

So, in summary, I can't endorse your R3 entry. However, having now finished reading R3, I find that I have extra votes unassigned, so I think I'll be giving you one based on previous round's work.

Oh dear.
Where to begin?

Tom Philips wrote:
...Armor Class: Natural armor becomes +14...

So, if you apply this to a wraith (as written) (wraith=natural AC 0) the end result has an AC a full 12 points higher than a wraith (the Dex has gone down by 4 points, too, remember). If, on the other hand, you apply this to a devourer (as written) (devourer=natural AC 13) the end result has an AC 1 point lower than that of a devourer due to the accompanying Dex fall.

Tom Philips wrote:
...An ossuary is similar in construction to a stone golem. It is carved from a block of stone, then soaked in a mixture of human blood, powdered bone, and exotic oils worth 500 gp. It weighs 1,500 pounds....

I get the impression from this and the example that you stat up that an ossuary is always the same size- that of a medium stone golem. So how, given that there are no dimensional space or reduction imprisonment effects involved in the construction, do you fit a size Large corporeal undead inside it?

You do not remind the reader either that in changing the base creature's size (if that occurs), Dexterity, Strength, and size bonus/penalty to attack rolls will all need adjusting too.

The judges have already commented on the lethality of the Necromantic Backlash. Throw in the fact that you gave this creature DR 5/adamantine which means that a low-level party is going to need more hits to kill it anyway; that it has all of a golem's regular immunities to magic without any of the specific vulnerabilities/weaknesses that vary by type that golems also usually have, and about the only safe place to be around this golem for a low level party is at least 50 feet away, and hoping that they don't run out of ammunition before they can chip it down to nothing with ranged missile attacks.

The Golarion related content, at only a single sentence, lost somewhere in the middle of the entry, doesn't really lend much to the entry. The created by the Whispering Tyrant in Ustalav has a sort of logic to it, but the reference to Cheliax and Nidal make about as much sense to me as the Round 1 reference by the Snapleaf to the Red Mantis and the guerillas in Nirmathas. My point there was that nothing about the Snapleaf specifically screamed Red Mantis or guerillas, and nothing about this specifically invokes Cheliax or Nidal. The Church of Sarenrae might have benevolent spirits powering this monster like space-marines in Dreadnaught suits in WH40K. (Indeed I think another poster drew a dreadnaught comparison for possible use on the original Round 2 thread). The Church of Abadar in Korvosa could use them to imprison dangerous chaotic undead. The witches of Irrisen might use them as guardians or servants. Heck, even the defenders of Last Wall whose forerunners put away the Whispering Tyrant in the first place might use these to beat off the hordes of Belkzen. Having invoked Cheliax and Nidal you needed to really explain why in particular these places were currently associated with the creatures.

On the Round 2 thread for the Ossuary Golem I asked two questions with specific regard to any attempt to stat the Ossuary Golem up, and I don't think that you've changed the concept sufficiently from the original for them to become invalid. To summarise the questions, briefly, I asked:
What effect do area effects have on the contained undead?
Is there any way to release an undead without destroying the golem outright?

You don't give any consideration to either how area effects may interact with a contained undead or if there's any way to get the undead out of the shell without destroying the golem? At the very least, since these creatures are so negative energy orientated, I would have expected positive energy channeling to have some effect on them; maybe even have a chance to shut them down for a round as a possible golem weakness.

My overall impression is that this monster is a brave but foolhardy attempt to stat up one of the trickier Round 2 entries. The way that it has been treated as a template has not created a template which can obtain consistent results when applied to undead, nor is it likely to produce a result consistent with a fixed CR increase of +2. Internal logic of the creature, such as how creatures larger than medium can 'fit inside', or if premature release of an imprisoned undead can be obtained has been ignored.

Sorry about that. I really liked the Troll Fingers, and the Slithering Horror at least had an interesting twist to it, even if I had problems with it which meant it missed out on my Round 2 votes. I think that the big trap you fell into here was in trying to do it as a template. You should have either done a scaled back and down version along the lines of the lich phylactery guardian statuette I mentioned as a joke on one of the general discussion threads or presented a basic Ossuary Golem which could contain undead of upto a certain size/CR/power (pick as a designer whichever was most appropriate), and included notes for how it interacted specifically beyond the norm with something like the advanced creature template. The mathematical implications of what you've attempted here tie the end results of this entry in knots to your considerable disservice. I think that if you're lucky, given all the votes around, if enough voters liked your previous entries then you might have a small chance of getting through - at least you're not fighting three other similar entries for votes, as the four churjiir contestants are, for example - but otherwise I think this is your last entry for this year.
On the bright side, getting knocked out in the top 16 stage means that you can always follow Matthew Morris' example, reapply, and (hopefully) get in again in a subsequent year. I think you have a lot of creativity here, but you just need to be able to apply it more efficiently (or at least more wisely).

My thanks for submitting this entry, and in the event that you do not make Round 4 this year, my very best wishes for future years should you choose to try again.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Every time this thing is hit it gives off negative energy, and every time it hits with its slam it deals a negative level!?! And it's only CR 5!?!

I wanted to like this, as I liked the original concept. As it is, it would be an awesome higher-level monster, but making it CR 5 makes it way overpowered.

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

Hi Gang!

Whew, this has been a rough week. Thank you, judges and reviewers, for your critiques -- the good and the bad. It has been an incredible experience to have my work reviewed and commented on by the best and brightest minds in the RPG industry. I'm humbled to have made it this far.

To my supporters: THANK YOU for your votes, as well as your words of encouragement and praise. It has been an honor!

To my fellow contestants: You are an amazing, creative group. I'm looking forward to your future creations. Best of luck!

Hey, Tom!

Just wanted to let you know that your concept here is going into play, but with a much, much higher CR. I think it's scary and mean and insidious, and it fits my horror game to a T.


Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Hey Tom,

Thanks for making the Ossuary golem, as you know I used it in round 4. I liked that you went for it, both as one of the harder monsters and as a template even though that was the harder option (in my opinion). I suspect that a simple creature could have worked better, that way you can add the CRs of the golem to the CR of the undead. Your crunchy numbers were all correct (as far as I could see). I hope to see you in RPG Superstar 2011!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2010 / Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block / Tom Phillips's Ossuary All Messageboards

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