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RPG Superstar 2015

Jim Groves' Ardorwesp


Round 3 - Top 16: Create a Monster Stat Block

1 to 50 of 74 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Ardorwesp CR 3
XP 800
CN Small magical beast
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +9
=====================
Defense
=====================
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +5 natural, +1 size)
hp 22 (4d10)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +1
Defensive Abilities DR 5/bludgeoning
Weaknesses smoke vulnerability
=====================
Offense
=====================
Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee bite +7 (1d3 plus paralysis), 2 claws +7 (1d6)
Special Attacks armorbane, implant, paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 14, DC is Charisma based.)
=====================
Statistics
=====================
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD +15
Feats Flyby Attack, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +5, Fly +12, Intimidate +5, Perception +9, Stealth +6; Racial Modifiers Perception +5
Languages Common, Elven (cannot speak); telepathy 100 ft.
SQ adamantine laced
====================
Ecology
===================
Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, nest (3-6), hive (7-12)
Treasure incidental
====================
Special Abilities
====================
Adamantine Laced (Ex) An ardorwesp’s bite and claw attacks are treated as adamantine for the purposes of overcoming damage resistance and penetrating hardness.

Implant (Su) Once per day an ardorwesp can sting a paralyzed foe with a touch attack, which painfully injects an egg inside the target. Victims must make an immediate DC 14 Fortitude save. The most suitable hosts, magical beasts or fey suffer a -3 penalty to this save. Failure indicates the egg matures rapidly, hatching into a juvenile ardorwesp after 24 hours. This violent, traumatic birth inflicts 3d8 points of damage. The egg may be removed prior to hatching with a remove disease spell or surgically with a DC 20 Heal check (healing kit requirements and action as per treating a deadly wound). Any other magical healing prior to removing the egg causes it to quicken and immediately hatch with a juvenile ardorwesp bursting out, inflicting 3d8 points of damage as usual.

Armorbane (Ex) An ardorwesp’s primary claw attacks shred armor. On a successful roll to hit that also exceeds the target’s CMD, the attack also deals damage to the target’s armor. This attack does not provoke attacks of opportunity as if the ardorwesp had the Improved Sunder feat. Creatures not wearing armor are unaffected by this special attack.

Smoke Vulnerability (Ex) Ardorwesps in the effect of a smokestick or pyrotechnics spell act as per the confusion spell.

A peculiar amalgam of hornet and dragonfly, an ardorwesp is approximately the size of a dog. Its sleek, segmented body is flecked with copper, iron, gold, and—especially along its mandibles and six saw-toothed legs—adamantine. Fierce in battle, they rake their razor sharp serrated limbs across their foes as they fly past, shredding cloth and leather, and even sundering steel armor.

Surprisingly intelligent, ardorwesps sometimes make alliances with humanoids. These collaborations are usually in exchange for assistance capturing hosts suitable for their young and preventing the flora they feed upon from being molested. Nevertheless they are temperamental and territorial creatures who put their own concerns above any agreement. Ardorwesps understand speech but reply telepathically.

Found primarily in temperate forests and plains, ardorwesps nest by burrowing into trees or hillsides. The nectar of giant and exotic flowers, treants, and other fantastic flora provide the nourishment they need to survive, and the scarcity of it keeps their population under control. They prey upon magical beasts and fey, particularly stirges, pixies, and wizards' familiars as their supernatural nature makes them ideal hosts for their young. Such creatures (including a familiar tucked in a robe or backpack) have a strong odor to the ardorwesp, as per the scent ability. Nevertheless, any living sentient creature will suffice to incubate their eggs.

Sacred to the goddess Calistria, ardorwesps share her propensity towards passion, craftiness, and vengeance. They have been known to reside at her temples as guardian creatures, or become companions to those who earn the goddess’s special favor. Similarly, clerics of Calistria may summon one with summon monster IV. Those faithful to the goddess are forbidden to harm ardorwesps, lest they face divine reprisal.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

This takes a fine shot at some tricky rules. I've seen several attempts at the ol' "chestburster" routine - typically being the star of any monster's show - and not only does this handle it pretty well, but it has a shtick beyond just implantation, which is nice. There's a few turns in there I don't like - an odd numbered penalty/bonus is a bit unusual, and making the reader go to rules for another ability to understand the Heal check is awkward.

The smoke vulnerability is also a cool, flavorful little turn that I quite like. It's also nice to see the Calistria angle implied from the original come to light.

Overall, pretty good stuff.

Contributor

The first thing I noticed here is you took the sample monster format (which has five equals signs to divide the sections of the stat block, because this text format doesn't allow the overline/underline style we'd normally use in a print product) and changed it by adding more equals signs. That sort of change is well-intended, but not necessary, and often adds more work for the developer and editor. As a related example, we don't put a blank line between paragraphs in our printed books, but some freelancers include them in their turnovers, either as a bad habit or because they think it increases readability. If you're provided a format, use that format, don't alter it.

You should alphabetize any special abilities in the Special Abilities section at the bottom.

Adamantine Laced ability refers to "damage resistance," which should be "damage reduction."

The implant ability doesn't say what happens if you make the save (presumably the attack fails, or the implanted egg dies?). I still don't like the "magical healing makes this mature immediately." For one, it's a "gotcha" ability for the monster. Two, it's an easy way to create a ton of these things--implant, cure, have the new hatchling implant, then cast a cure, repeat forever. I also don't know what a "juvenile" ardorwesp is; is it one with the young creature simple template? Is it capable of attacking immediately? Can it implant, just like its parent? If so, this could quickly spiral out of control as the party keeps trying to heal the injured guy before he dies and he keeps birthing more ardorwesps.

I like the Armor Bane ability, though I don't like the name (it implies it's like the bane weapon ability, which doesn't do anything like this, and may confuse some people about why they can't buy an armor bane weapon.

Buried in the creature's description is the bit about familiars and such being easily detected as if the ardorwesp had scent; that sort of thing should be in the stat block somewhere.

Given its metal components (especially adamantine), as a player I'd want to know why I couldn't retrieve some metal bits from this thing as treasure.

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
Nice choice of monster to stat. I’m surprised this is our only one.

The Execution
Sean and Wes have given 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. I do want to echo one of Sean’s points—don’t monkey with the provided format. I hate it when freelancers do that. All it means is that my guys now have to waste their time editing out all the “helpful” changes you made. If you are given a format, use it. I expect you to learn from this and not have it happen again.

Now here are my thoughts:

Here is what this thing is supposed to do:
• In battle, an ardorwesp can fly with amazing speed and agility.
• It lashes about with serrated legs hard and powerful enough to shred cloth and leather, and even sunder steel armor.
• The creature’s touch, whether claw or bite, magically paralyzes living creatures.
• Once a foe is rendered helpless in this manner, the ardorwesp can implant a pupa within the host. The pupa grows quickly, hatching into a fully formed ardorwesp in 24 hours. This birth deals a great amount of physical trauma, more than likely killing a smaller host. A creature implanted with a young ardorwesp is best aided by mundane surgery, as almost any magical healing kills the pupa, but causes it to burst into a swarm of flesh-eating wasps.

So let’s see how you stated those up:

Not sure “good” for flight is amazing agility.

The Adamantine Laced and the Armorbane powers are terrific. Nice implementation of the concept from the initial creature description. I guess I echo Sean’s concern about the use of “bane” but you mashed the words together and that helps make it different enough. Though watch it.

I almost missed the paralysis power, but there it is. Oops. Silly me.

Ah, the implant power. Ever since the original Alien we evil DMs have been longing for a good chest burst ability. We’ve all designed one. Yours is simple. The heal trick is nasty. I don’t mind the spawn exploit Sean mentions. Frankly, it lends to evil clerics breeding these things like crazy. Now that would be nasty. Implanting people with their “pet” adorwesps and then forcing healing potions down their throats. Ick. I think it is nicely done.

Great job, also, on the monster text. Very good stuff.

Final Thoughts
Jim, you are really rounding into form. I kept the seducer’s bane around because I saw something in you and wanted to see what you could do in later rounds. Thanks for repaying my trust in you with your excellent Skintaker which I thought were perhaps the best of the second round (right there with the Ossuary Golem). And now you do a great job with the Ardorwesp. Keep it up. I hope the voters agree.

I happily RECOMMEND this for Top 8.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

17 days... We're not going to last 17 hours!

Sorry.. had to get that out of my system. On to the monster.

I like this monster and could see putting a hive of them (say under a wizard's magic cooling tower) into just about any adventure. I think the theme is played out well with most of the abilities, but there are a few odd decisions.

- Adamantine Laced should probably be up in the SA area, just to make it easier to note.
- Paralysis is usually Con based, no Cha based. I am not sure why this change was necessary.
- Smoke Vulnerability should probably have a different name. Vulnerability is reserved for a specific effect that deals with damage or conferring a save penalty. Since this is an entirely different affect, it should have a different name to avoid confusion.

Other than that, I think my fellow judges have caught most of the other odd bits.

Overall, I think this is a good monster that would not take too much work to get up to speed.

I give it a B+

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thank you to all the Judges!

I will take your sage advice learn from it for the next round, should I be so fortunate!

Please vote for me!

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

I almost did this one myself. I like what you did with its abilities. I look forward to inflicting them on my players in the future. The smoke vulnerability think got to me too. I get what you were going for, and it makes sense for the critter, but mechanically it doesn't exactly do what other vulnerabilities do, so it seems more like a Special Quality or maybe it just needs a different name. The burst is totally mean, especially with the healing bit on top of that. Good Luck in this round and beyond!


Jim Groves wrote:
Armorbane (Ex) An ardorwesp’s primary claw attacks shred armor. On a successful roll to hit that

Potential nit. Is "roll to hit" still used, or is it a 1e/2e term replaced by "attack roll"?

This is the first stat block I've looked at, but I really like it.


Watcher, I feel like you are the contestant to beat. Your creative writing is there, and your knowledge of the mechanics too... total package. I'd be surprised if you didn't make it to the next round... and beyond.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8, Contributor

GAME OVER MAN! GAME OVER!
Sorry...had to say it.
Watcher, I really like what you did with these guys. I think that it's streamlined and very playable. I think that even at 3d8 points of damage the IDEA of the implantation is scary to any PC because...really, who wants a dragonwasp the size of a schnauzer bursting from them?
Answer: NO ONE!
Good luck and I hope we both make it to next round.
-QGJ

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

There's some weird little design elements here. The use of the phrases "to hit" and "damage resistance". The odd-number racial bonuses to skill checks and penalties to saves. The immediate save and juvenile instead of young. And there are some areas where a dab more punctuation would help make things clearer, like "The most suitable hosts, magical beasts or fey, suffer a -3 penalty to this save".

But that's stuff that could be cleared up in an editing pass. As far as the actual mechanics and flavor of the monster go, you've gone a long way towards redeeming a monster I didn't much like the first time around. The gotcha effect on the healing is still there, but at least it's logical, and the telepathy makes their interactions with humanoids much more believable. I'd actually use this monster, which is not something I could say for it originally as written.

I suspect, at this rate, that you've gotten one of my votes. Between this and your rationale for the skintaker, you've done a lot to impress me lately.

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

Ok, forget what I said elsewhere about wanting the lahamu in a future bestiary.

I want this thing.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

I am very impressed Watcher... I wasn't really keen on this monster in the last round, and you really brought it around for me and made it interesting... you have certainly earned my vote.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well done Watcher, I think you’ve done a fairly solid job here. You’ve chosen an interesting creature and implemented it well. I got the impression from the original that if you tried to remove the egg by magic it burst out as a wasp swarm not another Anderwasp, which I think would have been sort of cool.

Good work and good luck moving forward.

Dark Archive

Very cool, and well done! I love the Implant and Smoke Vulnerability.

Good luck on making it to the next round!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words!
Mul!
Mothman!
cwslygh!
Matthew Morris! Very much appreciated!
Demiurge 1138! Glad I could do better by you this round!
Jesse! I have no doubt this is not the last I'll see of you!
Le Femme Nikita! Thank you!

RedShiftNo5! Thanks and I'm taking you off the roster so you don't get shot!

JasonSchimmel! Thank you too Sir!

And of course all the Judges (especially Clark, thanks for the vote of confidence!)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Jim,

Excellent job all around. I have to say my favorite bit is the smoke causing confusion, I guess because the rest seems pretty predictable. Solid writing, solid stat block.

Good luck Jim, hope to join you in the next round.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DankeSean

I opened this with mixed feelings. I like your work, and you were definitely on the short list of people whose entries I was dying to see. On the other hand, when I saw what you'd picked, I was a tad disappointed because I didn't love the ardorwesp last round. While wondering who would pick what all week, I felt that this would be of the 'safer' critters to stat up because it's (and this is no offense intended to Alexander) just a variant giant wasp to me. That said, I still think you knocked this one out of the park. It's still not a sexy monster, by any means, but it was actually interesting to read. The armor rending is smartly done (and could make people hate fighting these as much as they do rust monsters!) and the smoke weakness is just plain fun. (And makes smokesticks suddenly worth carrying.) So while I don't think you stretched yourself as much on this one as you could have, you know what? You didn't have to. This round has a bunch of entries that tried to reach for the stars and fell a bit short. Simple isn't a bad thing. Even if I were grading on a curve and giving more credit to people who tackled the more wild, out-there concepts, I still think this earns one of the two top entries for me this round.
You got my vote. :-)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks Dennis and Sean!

After the voting is closed I'll have some comments and design notes.

And I'm kicking myself over a few things, but hey.. it's a learning process. :D

Edit: Heck, this time I actually have questions I'd like to ask the judges.. but that obviously has to wait. Plus I don't want to seem like I am in any way challenging their evaluations.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

It's a metal wasp. How does it make alliances with humanoids if it can't speak?

Mechanically, it's a CR 3 supertough ghoul. I don't like ghouls. I see what you're going for with the chest-bursting effect but this is another low-CR save-or-lose monster and those suck. They're no fun to play and no fun to fight. I really would have liked to see some sort of set-up for the paralysis or some alternate ability chosen; it's a lot scarier and a lot less obnoxious.

Speaking of the paralysis, how does it work? Is it poison, do they bite your spine, what? I don't know what to tell the players other than "It bites you and you're paralyzed."

Level 3 PCs don't have Remove Disease, but I think that's somewhat offset by the fact that this clearly isn't intended to be fought one-by-one.

The whole metal thing seems a bit incoherent. I get that it's a metal wasp that preys on fey, and that's cool, but that doesn't explain why it can tear up armor. I really would have liked to see more on the ecological niche.

I wouldn't vote for this. Monsters need to be built with an eye for what's fun at the table and shredding gear and paralyzing people are not. I would be actively pushed away from a monster book that had this as a preview.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Jared Goodwin wrote:

It's a metal wasp. How does it make alliances with humanoids if it can't speak?

Did you see the part where it understands language but doesn't speak, and then has telepathy? Generally, that would mean that it replies telepathically, but that's just a hunch. ;)

Jared Goodwin wrote:


Mechanically, it's a CR 3 supertough ghoul. I don't like ghouls. I see what you're going for with the chest-bursting effect but this is another low-CR save-or-lose monster and those suck. They're no fun to play and no fun to fight. I really would have liked to see some sort of set-up for the paralysis or some alternate ability chosen; it's a lot scarier and a lot less obnoxious.

In which case you wouldn't have an ardorwesp. I much prefer this chest bursting to the suggested "wasp swarm" from the original. The damage is inline for the high end of CR3, too.

Jared Goodwin wrote:


Speaking of the paralysis, how does it work? Is it poison, do they bite your spine, what? I don't know what to tell the players other than "It bites you and you're paralyzed."

Level 3 PCs don't have Remove Disease, but I think that's somewhat offset by the fact that this clearly isn't intended to be fought one-by-one.

I'd guess it works...how you need it to work. Not every paralyzing monster gets into gritty detail on how the paralysis happens--the ghoul you mentioned before is a good example. Sometimes you have to leave it to the DM to do the description. And only one of these is supposed to be a CR3 threat...so you've got one guy possibly being beat to hell by the implanted egg--as long as it's not the cleric, I don't think it's a party killer. Everything here feels about right to me.

Jared Goodwin wrote:


The whole metal thing seems a bit incoherent. I get that it's a metal wasp that preys on fey, and that's cool, but that doesn't explain why it can tear up armor. I really would have liked to see more on the ecological niche.

It's metal, and in fact, partially adamantine, so that's why it tears up armor when it attacks? He put the link in there to Calistra and the fact that it's a more magically-aligned creature...what sort of niche were you looking for? I can totally see these things guarding shrines to Calistra, infesting magic springs, or even serving unseelie fae as mounts for the promise of being permitted to implant defeated foes.

Jared Goodwin wrote:


I wouldn't vote for this. Monsters need to be built with an eye for what's fun at the table and shredding gear and paralyzing people are not. I would be actively pushed away from a monster book that had this as a preview.

And I find that pushing a group to their limit by going after the things they value and placing them in harrowing situations tends to draw out the memorable character moments.

I like this monster. It's got style, and it's got a lot to work with in the communication, the weakness, the desire to implant. This doesn't have to a be an aliens-esque foe, but it can be, and that's pretty cool in my opinion.

-Ben.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks to Jared for your frank critique. I hope I can do better for you in a future round.

Thank you to Terraleon! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Please vote for me!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Great work Watcher. I was hoping to see someone attempt the Ardorwesp this round as it was one of my favourites form Round 2.

There rare a few issues I have with it, but on the whole I think that you've done a wonderful job both mechanically and flavourfully.

This is definately right up the top of my list and although I haven't read through all of the entries yet I feel that since we get six Votes this time you're pretty much guarnateed to get mine with this Monster.
Good Luck! :)


Like other posters I'm not clear on why the paralysis is Charisma based in this case? The best I can guess is that it's because ardorwesps are supposed to be something to do with Calistria.

The implant ability does not state which ability score it is based off.

I cannot make head nor tail of the skills. It seems to me that (if the skills listed as being class skills for all magical beasts in the bestiary under Magical Beast in Appendix 3 are assumed to apply here) the ardorwesp has 3 ranks in Bluff, 3 Ranks in Fly, 3 ranks in Intimidate, 1 rank in Perception, and 0 ranks in Stealth. A magical beast of 4 HD should have 8+(4*int) skills ranks total - in this version of the ardorwesp's case, 8.

I'm not clear from the PFRPG rules if Weapon Finesse applies to CMB calculations. If not, then the CMB is two points too high.

Even though it was written for 3.5 rules, based on the way that the Rovagug article in the fifth installment of the Legacy of Fire adventure path expanded the summon monster lists for clerics of Rovagug's faith, my guess is that any ardorwesps summoned by means of summon monster IV by Calistrian clerics should be described as gaining the extraplanar subtype.

With regard to questions I asked regarding the Round 2 ardorwesp:
You retain the mineral coating of the original concept ardorwesp (particularly the adamantine) but do not attempt to explain where these minerals come from. (This is a problem, particularly if it can be extracted from ardorwesps in any quantity, as it implies ardorwesps could be 'farmed' for adamantine by unscrupulous individuals).
You do consider the interaction of ardorwesps with characters, recommending them as possible 'companions' for those favoured by Calistria.

My overall impression is of a modest revision of the original concept which reins in some of the things which took flak, and which strives for excellence but with some minor problems here and there.

My thanks for entering this Watcher; I get the impression that whilst you have some creativity, you're a bit wobbly on the honing & polishing mechanics side of things at the moment. I hope you're swatting up on the core rules right now, in case you make the next round. ;)

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Charles Evans 25 wrote:


The implant ability does not state which ability score it is based off.

I like this monster, so I'll take a look at it...I'd surmise Charisma, as well, as it's the only other stat--save Dex, that would give you DC 14 (10+1/2HD+StatBonus).

Charles Evans 25 wrote:


I cannot make head nor tail of the skills. It seems to me that (if the skills listed as being class skills for all magical beasts in the bestiary under Magical Beast in Appendix 3 are assumed to apply here) the ardorwesp has 3 ranks in Bluff, 3 Ranks in Fly, 3 ranks in Intimidate, 1 rank in Perception, and 0 ranks in Stealth. A magical beast of 4 HD should have 8+(4*int) skills ranks total - in this version of the ardorwesp's case, 8.

No, these look right, too... 3 in Bluff and Intimidate, 1 in Fly, 1 in Perception-- I think you're forgetting the size modifiers to Fly and Stealth? And the maneuverability bonus to Fly? These seem to check out, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. ;)

Charles Evans 25 wrote:


I'm not clear from the PFRPG rules if Weapon Finesse applies to CMB calculations. If not, then the CMB is two points too high.

I think you're right here. Probably the place for a bonus feat, really.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:


With regard to questions I asked regarding the Round 2 ardorwesp:
You retain the mineral coating of the original concept ardorwesp (particularly the adamantine) but do not attempt to explain where these minerals come from. (This is a problem, particularly if it can be extracted from ardorwesps in any quantity, as it implies ardorwesps could be 'farmed' for adamantine by unscrupulous individuals).

I don't think he does-- we don't worry about where the gorgon gets its metal plates, why should we here? It's trivial to say that there's not enough material, or that it crumbles away when the creature dies, or that it seems as hard, but it's really organic material. The ability only says they're "treated" as adamantine, not that they *are* adamantine.

-Ben.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

terraleon wrote:
In which case you wouldn't have an ardorwesp.

Dex poisons paralyze. An effect that sickens, then staggers, then paralyzes paralyzes. And, ultimately, he had his choice of monsters to stat up, and he chose one with an antifun ability and didn't do enough to offset that.

Quote:
And I find that pushing a group to their limit by going after the things they value and placing them in harrowing situations tends to draw out the memorable character moments.

What memorable character moments? Of all the abilities in the game, paralysis is one of the very few that keeps you from roleplaying at all.

terraleon wrote:
I don't think he does-- we don't worry about where the gorgon gets its metal plates, why should we here?

I totally do, and the gorgon entry would be much-improved by giving me ideas on how metal- or ore-eating gorgons can be incorporated into a story.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Jared Goodwin wrote:


And, ultimately, he had his choice of monsters to stat up, and he chose one with an antifun ability and didn't do enough to offset that.

Ah! The Tyranny of Fun. I'd note that for some of us, the tension created when characters are paralyzed is fun.

Jared Goodwin wrote:


What memorable character moments? Of all the abilities in the game, paralysis is one of the very few that keeps you from roleplaying at all.

When your character is paralyzed, you create the dramatic moment-- will they rescue him in time? Will they stop the creature? What will happen?

How the rest of the party responds to the situation generates the memorable moment. Did they kill the creature in time? Did someone attempt to grapple it? Did someone bull rush your character out of the way? Were you left to the mercies of the creature as they completed the mission? What measures did they take when their friend needed them most?

In that case, the character's paralysis is the pivotal moment, drawing out the natures of his companions. That's pretty memorable at our table.

-Ben.

Scarab Sages

Far and away the best entry I've seen thus far. Keep up the excellent work Jim.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka A Man In Black

terraleon wrote:
Ah! The Tyranny of Fun. I'd note that for some of us, the tension created when characters are paralyzed is fun.

Tastes do differ. I don't think a combination of two of many players' least favorite monsters, the ghoul and the rust monster, is going to make for a popular choice at most tables, though.

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

I hate paralysis. It's one of those things that takes a PC out of the fun. It's what makes ghouls nasty and should be relatively rare, in order to keep them nasty.

Plus, I really didn't care much for the metal wasp idea. It just never caught my imagination. But, that being said, I think Jim did an excellent job of creating it and making it interesting. I might actually see myself using it. Not so much as an ally, as I really can't see how they'd make alliances, but they'd make decent guardians for a forgotten temple.

Of all the contestants, myself included, I think Jim is my bet for the winner of this whole thing. Keep up the great, dude.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Jared Goodwin wrote:


Tastes do differ. I don't think a combination of two of many players' least favorite monsters, the ghoul and the rust monster, is going to make for a popular choice at most tables, though.

But it's not a rust monster... it damages the items and doesn't outright destroy them-- leading to stories about getting armor fixed, finding materials to repair armor, or finding an armorer who can complete the repairs and then securing his services. It allows for you to consider the social implications of a knight unable to wear the mark of his station or order, (or if he does, his inability to pay for repairs) and how he handles that implication.

Is the armor a relic? An heirloom? Is the damage carried as a badge of courage? Anytime I find so many options in a monster, I feel like I'm getting a lot more from them.

Or it's resolved with a make whole the next morning and we move on...

-Ben.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks James!

Its always nice to hear such gracious words from one of my extremely worthy competitors.

However, I don't think me winning the contest is any sort of foregone conclusion. Heh. I take it one Round at a time.

Like everbody, it just kills me not to reply.. but that's the rules. Come back after the voting and I'll talk about stuff, specifically for some remarks about mechanics and the choices I made.

*************
@ Death_Jester: Much appreciated! You guys keep me going!

@ Charles Evans 25: I appreciate your thoughtful analysis as always. Thanks for taking the time to go over it.

@ Craig Johnston: Sorry it wasn't spot on, but I am delighted and grateful for your continued support. Please come back after the voting is done!

@Jared Goodwin and Terraleon!! Fascinating discussion gentlemen! I am pleased to be the source of such thoughtful exchange.

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

Indeed, Jim, but I got faith in you, man. And if you don't make it, there's 15 other ravenous wolves nipping at your heels. So either way, the fans win!

But in all seriousness, good job and keep up the pace. The end is within sight!

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

James Martin wrote:

Indeed, Jim, but I got faith in you, man. And if you don't make it, there's 15 other ravenous wolves nipping at your heels. So either way, the fans win!

But in all seriousness, good job and keep up the pace. The end is within sight!

I thought this was a bug, not a wolf?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Matthew Morris wrote:
I thought this was a bug, not a wolf?

I don't know about the ardorwesp but my mother always complained I ate like a starving wolf!

Star Voter 2013

Let's see... Paralysis should be a FORT save, although that's not listed. I'm not sure I like DR/Bludgeoning for a flying creature, as it takes the archer's chance to shine and pulls the rug out from under them. Basically, combats will be casters blasting and everyone else readying a single attack. That means rogues aren't going to be very helpful here, as they won't be getting sneak attacks. At least this explains how it's a challenge given their crap HP.

Hives generally mean more than a dozen creatures to me. Dozens is more the association. I'd adjust that frequency block. Also, a hornet creature generally has a queen, which you could have given a shout out to.

Their 10s in Wisdom and Intelligence don't scream craftiness to me, and their passion is not connected to their reproductive cycle at all. Other than the weird bee theme of that goddess, I'm not seeing it.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

roguerouge wrote:
Intelligent insights

Thank you sir! You brought up a few new points for me to consider I'd not heard before. Much obliged.

If at all possible, if you find yourself with an additional vote remaining I'd like to ask for it. Just so I can put everything I'm learning in this round into practice.

I'm quite honest in saying I am a work in progress, but I pledge to improve in every round I'm so fortunate enough to make it to.


terraleon wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:


...I cannot make head nor tail of the skills. It seems to me that (if the skills listed as being class skills for all magical beasts in the bestiary under Magical Beast in Appendix 3 are assumed to apply here) the ardorwesp has 3 ranks in Bluff, 3 Ranks in Fly, 3 ranks in Intimidate, 1 rank in Perception, and 0 ranks in Stealth. A magical beast of 4 HD should have 8+(4*int) skills ranks total - in this version of the ardorwesp's case, 8....
No, these look right, too... 3 in Bluff and Intimidate, 1 in Fly, 1 in Perception-- I think you're forgetting the size modifiers to Fly and Stealth? And the maneuverability bonus to Fly? These seem to check out, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. ;)...

Hmm. I factored in the maneuverability bonus to Fly checks, but missed the size one.

Which being the case, the skills maths is correct but leaves the question of 'why does this creature which relies on flying to get around only have one rank in Fly?' instead.
Bumping the Intelligence (they are 'surprisingly intelligent' according to the text) up by two points would have allowed Fly to be maxed out and with a skill point spare for spending on something else.


roguerouge wrote:
Let's see... Paralysis should be a FORT save, although that's not listed...

Paralysis these days is a specific rule and a quick look in the back of the Bestiary under that ability (page 302) gives the format for monster entries which Watcher has used and states that the save is Fortitude (and also that it is usually Con dependent, hence some of the other comments on that).

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

roguerouge wrote:


Hives generally mean more than a dozen creatures to me. Dozens is more the association. I'd adjust that frequency block. Also, a hornet creature generally has a queen, which you could have given a shout out to.

Not always. Paper wasps have a "queen" based on behavioral dominance, not actual reproductive capability. I'm sick of all intelligent insects having eusocial caste systems, so it's nice to see one that doesn't.

Although a hive of a dozen reproductive females, all scheming against each other for the chance to breed and acting against other breeding females, does sound pretty Calistrian to me.

Star Voter 2013

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
Let's see... Paralysis should be a FORT save, although that's not listed...

Paralysis these days is a specific rule and a quick look in the back of the Bestiary under that ability (page 302) gives the format for monster entries which Watcher has used and states that the save is Fortitude (and also that it is usually Con dependent, hence some of the other comments on that).

Good to know, as I'm going of the PSRD on this one. I saw enough entries do it that I started to suspect is was a feature, not a bug. It's not a feature I endorse, mind you, as now I have to memorize what each condition requires for saves on top of what each condition imposes....

And, mind you, I now know something new about wasps.


By the way, Watcher, sort of off-topic and as a humorous observation (hence the ooc colouration of this) you missed an '=' sign out of your little row beneath your Ecology heading. ;)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

By the way, Watcher, sort of off-topic and as a humorous observation (hence the ooc colouration of this) you missed an '=' sign out of your little row beneath your Ecology heading. ;)

slams head on desk

Thanks for your support Charles! ;) I hope to earn your vote, and if not, hopefully next round!

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

I wasn't a big fan of the ardorwesp last round, but I like what you've done with it. You got rid of some of the more objectionable points and simplified and streamlined the parts you wanted to keep to give the monster a focus. I was also happy to see something with a CR in the LOWER half of the allowed range - almost everything I've read has been CR 5-6 (or really beyond that) - so you get thumbs up for taking the challenge of "low CR does not mean boring."

I enjoyed the smoke confusion and the bit about Calistria priests summoning them. A bit about whether they could be harvested for adamantine after they're dead would have been a nice touch.

Will some players hate them? Yes, yes they will. That's not entirely a bad thing, but maybe I'm just weird that way.

All in all, a solid job. On my will consider list for a vote.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks Jason, I've been waiting for your review. :)

Much appreciated!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

While I won't claim to be as knowledgable as others on the mechanics of the creature, I think you did a great job fleshing out this creature.

Like several others, I wasn't overly impressed with this creature in R2. Your details in terms of background and ability details helped quite a bit. Before it seemed "gimmicky", now it makes much more sense in terms of powers and flavor.

Nice work Watcher! It's definetly high in my vote consideration.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I was looking forward to reading your entry, and man, you delivered. Good job. As I said earlier, I think you're definitly a candidate for the top spot. I'm looking forward to what you're going to do in the next round(s).

edit: I just wanted to add: you get props for statting up a monster on the low end of th CR scale. Most of the entries I've read so far are CR 5-6. Doing a low CR monster is, I think, more challening.

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

The implant ability could have been slightly improved, since a -3 penalty seems somewhat random, and the meaning of "juvenile ardorwesp" needs to be clarified. Presumably, it is an ardorwesp with the young template, but it would have helped your entry if it also specified that juvenile ardorwesps cannot use the implant attack, thus preventing 'ardorwesp farming.'

That being said, I like how your flavor text explains how limited availability of food limits the ardorwesp population, and your stat block was largely spotless. The numbers all work, the once per day limit on implant is nice, and the reconcept of the goofy wasp swarm made sense. Plus, smoke vulnerability was a nice touch. It added something new and fun to the monster without stepping so far from the original concept that it didn't make sense.

Well done. You have earned my vote.


I've only just gotten started looking closely at the stat blocks of every entry, but so far this one is the most mechanically rigorous. For example, he included size modifiers for attacks, CMB, CMD, and Fly and Stealth skills that several other contestants forgot in their entries.

I'm guessing the save DC for paralysis is Charisma-based because the ability is entirely magical in nature, not something biological like a venom.

The +5 racial bonus to Perception and the -3 save penalty against implant that fey and magical beasts take are unusual values. However, I can't think of a reason those unusual values would cause a problem.

To the judges, is there a particular reason why racial modifiers, for instance, always come in multiples of 2?

I'd like to see this monster have some treasure, namely a few ounces of the various precious metals in its exoskeleton.

Regarding armorbane, this may just be personal preference, but I don't like interacting with the sunder rules at all. I don't know how much hardness and how many hit points my armor has off the top of my head, and I'm guessing a lot of people don't even know where to look for that information. (It's not in the Equipment chapter or the Combat chapter. It's at the tail end of the Additional Rules chapter.)

The smoke vulnerability seems a little tacked on, but I like that it could lead to players using new and atypical tactics in an ardorwesp encounter.

This entry needs a bit more editing, but much less than many of the other entries do. This is certainly getting one of my six votes.

Regarding certain complaints about the implant ability, do we really need to know that much about a juvenile ardorwesp. If it was mechanically important, there would be mechanics for it. I think we can all safely assume it just flies away after hatching and bursting out of its host. Furthermore, the idea that a newborn ardorwesp could immediately implant an new egg into a new host is so ludicrously stupid that I can see why the author didn't think he needed to explicitly exclude that possibility.

Also, no monster that uses wings to fly has perfect manuverability, so you can't fault the ardorwesp for only having good manuverability.

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