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James Martin's Churjiir, Two-Headed Rat King


Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Churjiir CR 3
XP 800
NE Small Magical Beast
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft, low-light vision, scent; Perception +7
=====
Defense
=====
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 39 (6d10+6)
Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +6
Immune disease
=====
Offense
=====
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 2 bites +7 (1d6 plus bleed)
Ranged infestation +10 ranged touch (1d6 plus disease and distraction)
Space 5 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1), disease, distraction (DC 14)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +1)
1/day—summon swarm (rats only)
=====
Statistics
=====
Str 10, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 13
Base Atk +6; CMB +5; CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)
Feats Ability Focus (Rat Control), Iron Will, Improved Natural Attack (bite)
Skills Climb +7, Perception +7, Stealth +12, Swim +7; Racial Modifiers uses Dex to modify Climb and Swim
Languages Common, telepathy (rats only) 100 ft.
SQ Rat Control
=====
Ecology
=====
Environment any urban
Organization solitary, or gang (solitary plus 2d4 dire rats and 1d3 wererats), or royal court (solitary plus 3d6 dire rats, 1d6 rat swarms and 2d4 wererats)
Treasure standard
=====
Special Abilities
=====
Disease (Ex) Filth Fever: Infestation—injury; save Fort DC 14; onset 1d3 days; frequency 1/day; effect 1d3 Dex damage and 1d3 Con damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save is Constitution-based.
Infestation (su) A Churjiir is infested by hordes of biting fleas with which it maintains a symbiotic relationship. In times of stress the churjiir may launch a mass of fleas up to 30 feet away to swarm a victim. The mass then disperses immediately after attacking and makes its way slowly back to the churjiir. A churjiir may launch a number of infestation attacks up to its hit dice before it must wait at least an hour to attract enough vermin to replenish its supply.
Rat Control (sp) Churjiir exert mental control over rats or enhanced rat-like creatures such as wererats. Creatures with intelligence scores over 4 may make a will save (DC 16) to resist this domination; less intelligent creatures are automatically controlled. The domination lasts one day per hit die of the churjiir. This save is constitution based. Dominated creatures with whom the churjiir can see and telepathically communicate gain a +2 morale bonus to attack and damage. Creatures dominated in this fashion abound with fleas, a consequence of proximity to the churjiir.

The churjiir is a two-headed, hairless rat-like beast. Much larger than a normal rat, its body is three feet in length and can weigh up to thirty pounds. It reeks of musty urine, and a haze of servitor fleas seethes over it. Its two heads mutter in low, chittering voices as it sits back on its haunches, its forepaws rubbing together in a decidedly human fashion.

The ashen hide of the churjiir’s bald body stretches tautly from both muzzles to its undersized, malformed ears, giving its faces a skeletal aspect. Lumps and lesions mottle the skin on the creature’s back, and a ropey, ophidian tail twitches behind it. Yellowed fangs jut down from its snouts and both jaws are set with needle-like teeth. Its mouths slaver with fetid spittle while its cavernous crimson eyes glint with a feral light. Churjiir possess cruel and calculating intellects, allowing them to thrive in the sewers, cesspools and murky forgotten corners of civilization. They aspire to reign as rat kings, served by subjugated minions and surrounded by gaudy displays of wealth. They are rarely found alone, but are usually surrounded by dominated minions. Some go so far as to carve out subterranean domains and declare themselves monarchs, often using grandiose titles such as the Lord of Tails or the Underking.

Churjiir prefer to hang back in combat, allowing their dominated subjects to do their fighting while they direct the battle. They launch clouds of biting fleas using infestation, preferring to target spell-casters. They fight fiercely if cornered, using their wicked teeth to terrible effect. If the battle turns against them they do not hesitate to flee, leaving their minions to gloriously sacrifice themselves for their king.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

This is pretty close to how I would have probably stated up this creature, making it a Small magical beast with some pretty basic special abilities. Though I guess on second look this has a number of stealth abilities, sneaking a bleed attack and a spell-like ability in there. Still, pretty basic and clean, which is nice. One big trap of monster designers is to cram every ability ever onto their creatures when really one or two will usually do the trick.

The feat selection is a bit weird, as both Ability Focus and Improved Natural Attack work best as feats used to advance preexisting creatures - a designer has other tricks he can use if he really wants his monster to have higher DCs or damage output without using up feats.

As for the abilities, the infestation ability write-up should give you all the ability's details without having to track up to the stat block. Also, the +2 damage and attack for dominated creatures gets pretty nasty and is probably too good, especially when we're talking about these things having dozens of minions.

The description is decent and I like the little bit suggesting some names they come up with. This really gets across the idea of a craven, filthy, rat master and sets up a cool adventure I can't say I've ever seen before.

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
Ah, the rat daddy! I had a feeling we’d see this guy. And sure enough we have four, count ‘em, four of them! Not sure that was the best design choice—it was a no brainer to do this one. Plus, you will inevitably be compared to several (in this case three) others. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Now, on to your version of our rat boss…

My initial impression is that this is a solid if unspectacular version of the Churjiir. Its got what it has to have. My gut says you could have done more.

The Execution
This guy isn’t really about the stat block, per se. I’d be surprised to see you leave anything out. And you don’t. You did what I would do—CR 3 is about right, Medium magical beast. All the powers you need are there. The question on this one is how do you handle and stat up the cool powers this thing has.

The Churjiir, as designed, has:

• Churjiirs can mentally control and communicate at a distance with rodents of any size. This includes intelligent or enhanced rat-like creatures, such as wererats
• It has the magical power to scavenge through a nearby creature’s mind, feeding on and devouring thoughts, tainting the creature’s recollection, and often excreting diseased and foul memories in their place
• Its corrupted bite can unnaturally diminish a victim’s spellcasting ability
• while putrescent saliva causes painful necrosis of the wound
• Churjiirs can send forth hordes of fleas to torment enemies

So what did you do with those?

Your best move was the “infestation” power. Great name. Unfortunately, as great of a name as infestation is, “rat control” is just as equally poor. I think our rat deserved a better named power. Rat control sounds like an exterminator. Then your disease is just filth fever? No “diminishing spellcasting” or necrotic bites? And, worst of all, you don’t do anything about the weird suggested power of memory devouring and excreting diseased memories in their place. I think you failed to deliver a stat block that captures the coolness of this creature.

Final Thoughts
James, I loved the runcible spoon, but I thought you needed to bring it up a notch with your Wyrmhiri. I said “when you are working with such ‘been there, done that’ material as the lesser dragon you really needed to bring something more interesting to the table.” I feel the same way with your version of the Churjiir. I think you missed a few cool powers and you failed to deliver on some of the really special things about this guy hinted at in the monster pitch.

Sadly, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this for Top 8.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Long live the Rat King! (does this guy get into power struggles with the rat emperor? Questions to ponder).

Interesting take on the concept. I think this might be a bit more appropriate for the original concept than the others, but I will leave that for the other judges. Stastically, I cannot find much to complain about here with one exception. He is a bit too tough for his CR. Ideally he should probably have 1 fewer HD. As it currently stands, he is closer to CR 4 than 3.

As a note, Improved Natural Attack is usually reserved for creature advancement, not base construction.

Of the four, I think you handled the flea swarm in the simplest manner. The ranged attack is a bit odd for the ability, but it is at least clean and simple to use.

There is not much else to this monster. I am kinda surprised there is no spell penalty or manipulation here as there is with the others, but I am not convinced this is a bad thing. None of the others seemed to get it quite right.

I guess the biggest issue here is the power level. I would need to either reduce its HD or bump up its CR. Fortunately, not by too much, but it is still a fair amount of work either way.

I give this monster a B.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Contributor

Creature has no Reach listed.

Infestation is a little odd for me; the default version lets the creature do this six times (once per each of its 6 HD) before the ability has to "recharge," but I think most battles aren't going to last six rounds, so the limitation isn't really significant--it may as well be "at will." Even in a big battle where you're dealing with one of these, and rat swarms, and potentially other creatures, it's a CR 6+ encounter which means the PCs probably have access to fireball and can easily eliminate most of the secondary monsters, then beat down the churjir in a few rounds.

Languages: I probably would change the telepathy reference to speak with animals.

Improved Natural Attack is mainly used for advancing an existing monster; if you want your new monster to have a better natural attack, just give it the better damage.

Rat Control: Given that its control over wererats and such is more of a plot excuse to get a wererat ally for the monster (i.e., you're not going to have to run a no-players-present encounter where a wandering wererat has to save vs. the churjir's control and become a minion), so the save DC isn't really relevant, and the feat is better spent on something else.

Other than that, this is a satisfactory execution of the monster concept.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I'd like to thank the judges for their insights and er, judgments. I look forward to competing in the lingerie competition.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another two headed rat? ;-)

James, I think you’ve done some fairly good, solid design work here (and by the way, I’m glad to see the guy who gave us the runcible spoon here in round 3), and I think you’ve taken the fairly safe choice in developing the concept as a magical beast – probably a more ‘true’ king of rats than the other two concepts I’ve read on this guy so far. Still, playing safe can come across as uninspired, so I hope it doesn’t work against you here.

One note on the formatting, you don’t have the brief creature description in italics before the stat block. Not sure if its required. I think you did a great job with your description and language in the write up.

Good luck moving forward.


Oy! Four people did the same creature, so unfortunately for you (and the other 3 contestants), all of you will be compared and contrasted more closely than the other submissions. Fair? Who knows, but it is what it is. That said, I immediately skipped other entries to read the four Churjiirs first.

COMPARED TO THE ORIGINAL CONCEPT:

Creature type: I initially saw this as a magical beast, like you did, but after seeing it statted as an abberation, I think it fits better in that category. Still, Magical Beast COULD work.

Creature size: I'm not sure why you chose to make this a small creature. The original concept stated "its body is two yards in length", but you changed it to "its body is three feet in length".

Abilities:you seemed to have changed a lot here from the original concept.
1) you gave it no claw attacks. The concept stated "If confronted, it rears up and uses its third, frontal set of limbs."
2) You gave it an intelligence of 8. The concept stated "Churjiirs possess cruel and calculating intellects."
3) You seem to have left out it's ability to scavenge thoughts. The concept stated "It has the magical power to scavenge through a nearby creature’s mind, feeding on and devouring thoughts, tainting the creature’s recollection, and often excreting diseased and foul memories in their place."
4) You seem to have left out it's anti-spell caster bite. The concept stated "Its corrupted bite can unnaturally diminish a victim’s spellcasting ability."
5) You declined to give it a burrow ability. The concept stated ", it gnaws through wood and other barriers with ease. It can gouge a hole in a solid brick wall in minutes."
6) In addition, you added a swim and climb speed, which the concept did not mention.

Conclusion: Of the four churjiir, you appear to have deviated the farthest from the original concept. In addition, why did you choose an intelligence of higher than 4 for Rat Control? Higher than 2 (animal intelligence) makes more sense.

COMPARED TO OTHER MONSTERS OF THE SAME CR:

For this section, I'll try and choose a variety of same CR creatures.

Senses: you gave it darkvision 60, low light vision, scent, percep +7
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): low light vision, scent, percep +8
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): darkvision 60, scent, percep +7
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): darkvision 60, low light vision,
tremorsense 60, percep +8
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): darkvision 60, low light vision,
percep +9
Conparison: your 4 senses are appropriate

Hit Points: you gave it 39.
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): 26
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): 30
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): 28
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): 30
Conparison: you have a higher than average HP total

AC: you gave it 16
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): 15
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): 16
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): 16
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): 15
Conparison: your AC is appropriate

Damage reduction/immunities: you gave it none
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): none
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): immune- fire (but vulnerable- cold)
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): none
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): none
Conparison: your choice here was appropriate

Speed: you gave it 40 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): 50ft
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): 40 ft.
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): 30 ft., burrow 20 ft.
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Conparison: the 3 movement modes are slightly more advantageous than the average

Attack Bonus: you gave it +7, +7
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): +6
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): +5
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): +5
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): +5, +5, +5
Conparison: Two attacks at +7 are better than the average

Max possible Damage/Round: 13 (with bleed 1)
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): 18
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): 15
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): 20
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): 20
Conparison: your max damage is under the average

Spell like abilities: you gave it 1 at CL 6th
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): none
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): none
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): none
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): none
Conparison: slightly better than the average

Special Abilities/attacks: you gave it bleed, disease, distraction, infestation, and rat control
.....Dire Hyena (large animal): none
.....Hell Hound (medium outsider): breath weapon- reflex DC 14
.....Ankheg (large magical beast): spit acid- reflex DC 14
.....Ettercap (medium aberration): poison- Fort DC 15, Spider Empathy,
traps
Conparison: your creature is better than the average

Conclusion: Compared to other monsters of the same CR, your churjiir is better in 5 categories, comparible in 3 categories, and only under average power in 1 category. I feel that your Churjiir is slightly too powerful for it's CR. This should perhaps be reworked as a CR 4.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that this was all bad. You included the high stealth from the concept, and I'm Ok with the use of the bleed mechanic for the necrosis bite. I like the bleed mechanic. I also like some of the descriptive elements you added, particularly the "Lord of Tails" part.

The Vote: Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be voting for this. Your stat block deviated too far from the concept, and your power level appears to me to be too high for it's CR.

Contributor

Jason Rice wrote:
The Vote: Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be voting for this. Your stat block deviated too far from the concept, and your power level appears to me to be too high for it's CR.

Keep in mind that competitors are allowed to make revisions to the R2 version of the monster. In fact, a popular monster in R2 may *require* significant revision to work in R3.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

James,

This is a weird little dude. I can't say much because I'm not sure if it will be considered reflecting on my entry. In general I like what I see though!

Good luck in this round and welcome to the brotherhood of the rat!


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Keep in mind that competitors are allowed to make revisions to the R2 version of the monster. In fact, a popular monster in R2 may *require* significant revision to work in R3.

I agree it needs to be stressed that altering the creature concept is in no way against the rules. The wording of the rules, and some judges bringing up the topic that the rules mention "some voters may dislike it if you change a creature they liked previously" is not really a guideline to vote by, but a realistic recognition of reality, and one that can swing both ways: voters who DIDN'T like, or vote for, a concept in previous rounds can just as easily be swayed to vote for somebody else's "revision" of the concept BECAUSE of such changes.


Sorry if there was some misunderstanding.

In no way whatsoever am I trying to say that he violated the rules. What I'm trying to say is that I'm in the column of people that didn't like a revision of the concept (as the rules suggested some people wouldn't like). I'm ok with a few minor changes, but this felt like a major revision to me. I would have prefered something closer to the original.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. If everyone had the same one, we wouldn't need to vote.

James: I forgot to mention, congrats on advancing, and good luck with the rest of the contest.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Standback

I think it's kind of fun that one monster has so many variations; it may not be great for the contestants, but I think it's wonderful for the contest. Seeing different versions of the monster, different ways people can build it up, really brings home what this contest is all about - how it can be done better, or worse, or wonderfully-but-different.

James, I really feel you've captured the original concept of the two-headed, low-level rat boss, and brought the best out of it. Your Churjiir has exactly the right feel of dirty, scheming power - which is dangerous, but will never rise far above the sewers. That's a very colorful monster, and I really enjoyed your entry :)

Star Voter 2013

I was there for you last round, but I'm afraid there's been no growth here and some backsliding. I hope you get a second chance and take advantage of it.

This entry's solid but boring, and you especially can't do that with 3 other contestants on your turf. And it's not really the boss monster it should be if you'd be more afraid of the wererats. And I don't really associate "calculating" with INT 8. And Sean's spot on with the fireball comment. I hope to see more of that kind of analysis taking into account the creature in its likely use patterns and the parties that will thus likely face them.

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

Except for a few minor points here and there, this stat block seems technically correct.

However, I think you stepped on a big landmine by creating a mastermind monster that is destined to be outshone by its minions. It was a mistake to give the churjiir an Intelligence of 8 and a Charisma of 13 when it's supposed to be controlling an army of wererats.

Granted, it has rat control to make up for these shortcomings, but telepathic control over rats seems out-of-place now that the monster's been stripped of all its other mental powers from Round 2.

So I'm going to have to pass on the two-headed rat king. He should be ruling a kingdom of rats, but ends up looking more like a cute, little mascot for a den of wererats.

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

Eric Morton wrote:
So I'm going to have to pass on the two-headed rat king. He should be ruling a kingdom of rats, but ends up looking more like a cute, little mascot for a den of wererats.

I think this part sums up my feelings.

I think you can have a small boss monster, esp. if he is supposed to be bossing other rats, but since he is supposed to be able to boss around wererats as well (who are CR2 in the baseline Bestiary entry), I don't know if I'm really feeling it.

I do like the use of summon swarm as a supplement to just controlling existing rats. The powers that you have here are okay (the ranged infestation idea is interesting, though I don't know if it's ideal), and it doesn't matter that you reconcepted the monster to simplify and dump a lot of the aspects of it from the original concept, EXCEPT for the fact that a lot of those abilities were the things that MADE the churjir interesting and not just a two-headed rat that controls other rats. Add to that the fact that you're thrown in a mix with three other churjir stat blocks, and this one ends up feeling competent but uninspired.

I've been a fan of economy and simplicity of monster design, maybe because I know how hard it is, but that's the real goal of it, to make a creature that is interesting and wants to get used but that doesn't need a two-page stat block or cause the game to grind to a halt when it shows up. On that magic spectrum between "simple" and "gonzo," simple can come off seeming boring by comparison to all the fireworks of gonzo, but simple has to make up for that by being elegant where gonzo is clunky. I think yours just isn't quite elegant enough.

Still, congrats and best of luck to ya!

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

Another churjiir, this one has an interesting use of the infestation ability, by limiting it to the creature's hit dice, and the passing of fleas to creatures controlled by the churjiir was a nice touch ("Rat control" sounds too similar to "Rat Patrol" to me, so I want to add "IN COLOR" when I read it. Sorry).

I wish you luck in this round of the contest!

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

I'm behind on R3, so I'm keeping my comments brief. I've liked the other 2 Churjiirs a lot better than this one so far. This is the trap that Clark mentions - your's isn't bad per se, but it doesn't hold up against the others, which not only are more interesting monsters, but stick closer to the set of abilities in the original R2 description, which is in large part what sets this guy apart from other monsters.

The problem with it being CR3 is that it's just too close to it's likely minions - IMO, boss monsters should be 2 CR higher than their minions, to make them seem appropriately tough compared to their fodder. If the minions are too close to the boss in toughness, then it takes the spotlight away from the boss monster, which is supposed to be the main attraction of the encounter. Also, this allows you to throw some encounters in with only minions before encountering the boss with his followers, without wearing the PCs down TOO much first.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

I'm going to echo the comments above: between being only 1 CR above wererats and just not bright enough to lead them to greater glory, I don't think this guy works in the niche he was advertised for.

However, ignore the reference to wererats so he's just a normal rat king, and you've got a pretty nice alternative to otyughs for spicing up the sewers. Now, this is far less powerful than the original description and won't make it as a mini-BBEG for low-level parties, but it does work as a strong niche for your version.


The maths seemed otherwise tight, so for the purposes of assessing CR, I compared this version of the churjiir to the ettercap (CR 3). Whilst the churjiir's damage lags slightly behind that of the ettercap, its chance to hit is slightly better, as is the AC and the hit points are noticably better. The Fort and Will saves are as good as an ettercap's, and the Reflex save is 4 points batter. Whilst an ettercap can use its spider empathy to handle minions, the churjiir can dominate rats, and inspires a +2 morale bonus to attacks and damage in its controlled rodent subjects. The CR on this creature might, therefore, it seems to me be a point too low as other posters have suggested.
The use of fleas as ranged touch attacks is interesting, simple, and makes sense to me. You give some thought to the combat tactics and morale of this creature.

My principle concern of the Round 2 version of this creature was something to the effect of 'why aren't these things running the world?' You do appear to have dealt with this by removing the powers to mess with minds and memories of the initial concept, and by indicating that their ambitions are restricted to subterranean empires and fiefdoms.

My overall impression is of a stat block and slight re-concept which smooths out some of the problems I had with the original Round 2 submission which tells me most of what I would want to know about this creature. The CR likely being a point out is the only significant problem I can currently see with an otherwise solid entry.

Thank-you for submitting this.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Thanks to everyone who has commented! Your comments and suggestions have been extremely valuable and I look forward to putting the lessons I've learned to work as I move forward with writing. Thanks!


Good Stuff

Few calculation mistakes.

Bad Stuff

Stats deviate too wildly from CR 3 for my taste. Hit points are high, AC is slightly high, and saves are way high. Attacks are high or very high, but damage is very low, and DCs are spot on.

Miscalculated skills. A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. Likewise, a creature with a swim speed has a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks. These should be Climb +15 and Swim +15.

Rat boss deserves better than filth fever.

Launching a swarm of fleas as a 30 ft. ranged touch attack? Launch how? How does anything throw fleas thirty feet? This is just wrecking my suspension of disbelief. That's saying something considering we're talking about a two-headed, psychic rat monster. Maybe if it was telekinetic in addition to being telepathic

Overall: This one's not doing it for me. No vote.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Not much to say (Churjiir was not a favorite of mine from R2), but I will say I was pleased to find no math errors (unlike all the ones I've reviewed this morning). Well, one exception - Concentration should be +7, not +1.

Nice job, good luck James!


catmandrake wrote:
...Launching a swarm of fleas as a 30 ft. ranged touch attack? Launch how? How does anything throw fleas thirty feet?...

I imagine it as a sort of rat equivalent of an aircraft carrier for fleas and the 'launch' is this version of the churjiir waves a paw in a direction and sends the fleas forth to strike - although that being the case perhaps the rat control should be extended to flea control or something similar too.


You just missed out on one of my 'honourable mention' votes here.
Thank-you for your contributions to the contest thus far, however.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

First off, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments and well wishes. This contest has been a valuable experience for me and has taught me a great deal about RPG writing and design. If I do not progress any farther I am confident that I have gained experience and insight.

Second, I'd like to comment on my monster now.

Spoiler:

In choosing the churjirr I selected it mostly because it was not one of my favorites. Choosing it was a challenge to myself to create a viable low CR boss. In retrospect, I think I succeeded in creating a solid stat block with minimal mistakes, but failed at going gonzo enough for this contest. One of my problems in the previous rounds was going too far, and in attempting to fix that issue, I dialed it down too much. Lessons learned.

I did playtest this monster, pitting it against a party of four level 1 and level 3 adventurers without using minions. It was a challenging encounter at level 1, but too simple at level 3, which lead me to add two extra HD. While it seems too high, playtesting showed me differently. Second level spells make this a much less challenging monster.

That being said, when I was creating my version of the churrjirr, I attempted to pare it back to its basic idea: a rat king. I left out the spell killing bite and the medium size and the six legs and the memory perversion because they didn't fit in that idea and were, in my design, overkill. (I definitely think it was cool to see three other versions because they show that a single description can spawn four very different critters. And I like those versions. I think they're kin, but definitely not the same beasts.) My niche was a low level rat boss, focusing less on wererats and more on rats, which are common low level foes. (I added in the DC for the rat control for wererats because I could foresee a game where a PC was playing a wererat and suddenly had his character taken away because the rules said it automatic. Plus, it's more interesting to me to have a wererat NPC come to the party because his pack had suddenly gone zombie and disappeared. And rat control was a placeholder name that I never got back around to improving. Doh!) I think a boss can be slightly above the CR of its minions without being overshadowed, especially at low levels, such as 3-4. It seems some reviewers disagree. C'est la vie.


All in all, I think this round has taught me to create a good stat block, but add in just enough cool to keep the monster distinct and interesting. And always look at a stat block from both the player and DM perspective.

Thanks again for the opportunity to learn and grow in front of you!

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Also, I want to say one last thing regarding cunning and clever creatures. I got dinged by a couple reviewers for making the wee beastie Intelligence 8 instead of higher. I did this for a very simple reason: I see this guy as being smart for a RAT not smart for a human. See the humble worg: Int 6, but smart for a wolf, intelligent enough to set a trap for the PCs. I don't believe that a creature has to be a human genius to hatch plans, especially not rats which are by nature smart little rodents. In fact making every baddie a genius makes you wonder why the monsters didn't win years ago.

Also, normal rats do not have a burrow speed, despite the fact that they can chew through just about anything given time. Giving something a burrow speed implies some supernatural burrowing ability, like a purple worm or a bullette. The churjirr doesn't really need a burrow speed. Is its evil schemes going to involve rapidly chewing through foundations throughout town, causing half the warehouses to suddenly sink beneath the ground?

On second thought, that's a really cool adventure.... Nevermind, then.


Thanks for your explanations, James!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter 2014 aka MillerHero

James Martin wrote:
Unfortunately, I moved to Fargo, North Dakota a few months back, so I'll have to decline. However, I do have a former group there who is, I believe, still looking for a DM/game. Mind if I forward your contact information along to them?

Go for it.


Commiserations.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Commiserations.

I have no regrets, sir. I have come this far, I have been fairly beaten and I am a happy man. But I thank you for your comment, it is an admirable thing!


I was actually hoping to see someone do the wyrmhiri this round, as it seemed to me that there was a lot of scope for development there for contestants to play with, but alas it was not to be.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

I was actually hoping to see someone do the wyrmhiri this round, as it seemed to me that there was a lot of scope for development there for contestants to play with, but alas it was not to be.

Indeed, I might have to stat the little bugger up myself to keep my stat-fu in order.

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

Hey James,

Thanks for doing the Churjiir, it was nice (from my point of view) to see so many of them in this round. I think you suffered from the 'there can be only one' concept, in that only one Churjiir stat block got through. I liked how you kept it simple on the stat block, but that also hurt you in comparison with the other Churjiirs. I'm sure that you will be back for RPG Super Star next year.

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