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Monster Reformation Alliance


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a new organization

1 to 50 of 134 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Andoran Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Monster Reformation Alliance
Alignment: CN
Headquarters: Kaer Maga
Leader: Cornelius Flynn
Structure: Widespread crusaders for monstrous humanoid rights
Scope: Global
Resources: Individual assets plus access to various monster lairs (ranging from 1,000 to 1,000,000 gp per individual/lair)

When a doppelganger killed and replaced gnome adventurer Cornelius Flynn, it set upon a scheme to convince the world at large that monstrous humanoids deserved inclusion in society. Flynn searched out other doppelgangers and recruited well-meaning, former adventurers grown weary of their lives of slaughter. The Monster Reformation Alliance spread from Flynn’s home in Kaer Maga to other cosmopolitan cities where citizens would be more receptive to their message of coexistence. Monsters have also joined the Alliance to make a show of their worth to society.

Structure and Leadership
Cornelius Flynn heads the Alliance, but he gives his lieutenants plenty of autonomy to handle missions as they see fit. He asks that they set aside 20 percent of any treasure they obtain, which he uses to pay for the services of arcane spellcasters who provide teleportation or divination-baffling spells. In larger cities plagued by monsters, such as Absalom, trusted Alliance veterans have opened small chapters with Flynn's blessing. Even far off Kasai boasts a chapter house operated by a pair of tanuki. Finally, various monsters cooperate with the organization to put on an air of civility.

Goals
Flynn and his inner circle simultaneously seek to gain easy access to hoards of treasure accumulated by their monstrous charges and pull off the most dangerous con game on the population of Golarion. By convincing people that adventurers only have their own agendas in mind when they needlessly slay intelligent creatures, the Alliance hopes to engender sympathy for beings society would normally regard as monsters. At the same time, the organization convinces these creatures to curb their typical activities to gain the public’s trust. Where enough Alliance members gather, they orchestrate events in order to grant one of their monstrous members a heroic reputation.

Public Perception
Most people who have any awareness of the Alliance consider the group a bunch of lunatics who will bring about their own doom through good-intentioned but unwise meddling with deadly creatures. However, some people express sympathy for the organization’s mission. For appearance’s sake, the organization turns away creatures with low intelligence, overly monstrous creatures that cannot alter their appearance, and the utterly insane.

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

Mike, welcome to Round 2!

What you are getting from me in this critique: This round is all about conflict and story. I think the best organizations create interesting and compelling groups that will come into conflict with the PCs. My comments, and my recommendation, will focus on how well you do that. My comments will also focus on writing and use of your allotted content in achieving your goals. What you won't get from me: I don't have the total Golarion-fu that Neil and Sean do, so I will leave to them whether you got the nitty gritty details of some of the setting stuff to them (though apparently I did have enough Golarion-fu to know its Pharasmin not Pharasmian, you know who you are).

So here we go!

Initial Impression: Monstrous humanoid ACLU! Fail!

Concept (name, title, is it an organization?, overall design choices, is the organization and antagonist and does it create direct conflict for the PCs?, playability): C
Monstrous humanoid rights? So it’s the Monstrous Civil Liberties Union? What, is this group going to file lawsuits against the PCs for fighting monsters? Maybe even throw red paint on them when they get awards from the mayor for destroying the harpy den? Do they take out ads naked in the local paper guilting people into not wearing yeti fur-lined cloaks? "Yeti fur is murder!" I’ve been accused of liking gonzo, but this just is not something I want in my fantasy game and I think it is a bad concept. And the name, Cornelius Flynn? That’s not good. Plus, why do I think there is some reference there I am just not getting. Wait, then it’s also a con for treasure? This is just too weird. How come I just think you are trying to mock the real world ACLU with this crazy submission?

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, quality of mandatory content, did you milk your idea for all it was worth? did you use your allotted space well?): C
This just went all kinds of sideways. The writing isn’t particularly good either. What happened here? Don’t tell us now, but after this round (in all likelihood) I really want to know…

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor, are you showing Superstar mojo?): D
Uh, no. Well, let me take that back. It grabbed me, all right, but it was a “bad touch” and I am hiring a lawyer.

Overall: D+
I’m going to take a stab at this. I think you got nervous. I think you felt you couldn’t win this and so you went with a funny submission as an excuse to really trying. Maybe I am wrong, but that is what it feels like to me. I know you have more in you than this. I just don’t get it.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this organization submission for advancement.

Mike, I wasn’t the hugest supporter of your gloves, but I saw a spark in you and I really hoped you would show me some more of what I know is inside of you. You are here because we think you belong here. If our comments on your item in any way made you feel you couldn’t do this, I am sincerely sorry. We kept your item because we saw promise in you. I feel like you took the easy out, lost faith in yourself, went with the funny submission, and thus sold yourself short. I hope I am wrong. I hope YOU really thought this was a great submission (because I think you should always think your stuff is your best work) and you just took a creative gamble that didn’t pay off. That’s ok, too. We’ve all done that. I’ve swung and missed more times than I can count. In any event, it is up to the voters now. Hey, they may love this. Good luck to you and I really hope you believe in yourself!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Welcome to RPG Superstar, Mike. I know you've been hammering away for several years now to get your foot in the door. I'm sure you know the contest takes a new spin at this level. As judges we're here to comment on your work, both in the hopes of guiding you in honing your game design skills, and also to help the voting public assess how you measure up. With that in mind, I'm going to talk a bit about what you did well and where I think you still need to demonstrate growth. So, let's see what we've got...

First up, I saw the name to your organization and my eyebrows shot up. Not necessarily in a good way. The Monster Reformation Alliance certainly sounds like a political entity...and, obviously, that's what you're going for here. But it feels a little too campy. So, setting that aside, I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt and see what you did with it. You've reached for a global organization and that seems a bit far-fetched. I mean, I could see a bunch of crusaders advocating for additional rights for monstrous humanoids, but I'd imagine it would have to be a somewhat localized affair, driven by a charismatic firebrand who'd be looking to make something like that happen in a more open society and then trying to build it outward from there. Kaer Maga is definitely the right place to set their headquarters. The influx of trolls, orcs, giantkin, doppelgangers, etc. which flows through that hive makes for an environment where you could see such a movement originating. But where would it go from there? You've got them fanning out to create chapters in lots of cosmopolitan cities. But, you've got to figure almost all of them would turn away such creatures or put them down before they can threaten the city.

I think you have the seed of a decent idea. But you've kind of widened it out too far...mostly in such a way that it clashes rather than meshes with Golarion. I also think you chose a good idea for a leader by using a doppelganger. With its ability to assume the identity of someone and then leverage their reputation to push some kind of agenda is a smart design move. But again, I think it kind of falls flat with where you took it. The setup feels more like a metagame element within the setup of how adventurers are viewed by the general population. Obviously, that approach gives you an opportunity to define lots of conflict by having this organization at odds with PCs everywhere. But the premise kind of breaks my willing suspension of disbelief when I read how you've presented it.

So, as much as I hate to say it, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this organization to advance you to the next round.

I was a Weak Keep on your raptoring gloves, but I eventually chose not to champion it beyond the Keep pile. And I fear the idea of a Monster Reformation Alliance might not catch on with the voters. But, it's in their hands now. If they'd like to see more of your work in the monster round, and they choose to put you through, my advice would be to double-down on your creativity, but make sure it's an idea that will resonate with the majority of the gaming community. Reach beyond what you think is cool and play with the things everyone else universally views as cool. You need to give your audience what they want. And, in light of that, you need to understand what your audience wants. Best of luck in the exit polls.

Contributor

Half-orcs have enough of a problem in most cities, and these guys want major cities to welcome intelligent monsters. Somehow, I don't see that happening.

I also don't see the need for a doppelganger to try to get everyone to like monsters. He's a natural shapeshifter, he can be anyone he wants, he doesn't have to be known as a doppelganger. He probably doesn't have loyalty to any other kinds of monsters, and almost certainly doesn't want them moving in on his territory (living in the lap of luxury among the humans he's tricked).

And I don't get how he think he can convince "these creatures to curb their typical activities to gain the public’s trust." If a group of armed adventurers can't convince a troll, ogre, or naga to calm down and stop eating people, I don't think a talkative doppelganger (or his agents) are going to do any better--most evil monsters in the game are evil because they have different morals than the civilized races, in that they believe "I'm a farmer, I mean you no harm" equates to "I am weak and therefore an easy snack."

I think the only reason this is an antagonist-to-PCs group is because they're trying to spin adventurers as "people who have their own agendas." Well, they do... their agenda is killing monsters that want to eat normal people, and they have a reputation of protecting normal people from monsters.

If this group were just trying to build a haven in Kaer Maga for other monsters willing to "behave themselves," that would be fine, but that wouldn't be an antagonist organization. I don't see how this really meets that goal in a way that GMs can use them in a campaign.

I do not recommend this to advance.

EDIT FROM SEAN: Competitors, remember this item from the Round 2 FAQ, which reminds competitors about the rule against commenting about their own submissions. We're pasting this reminder into the last judge comment for every organization just to make sure all competitors see it and remember.

CEO, Goblinworks

I literally didn't make it out of the first paragraph. This idea is not SuperStar.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

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

Thank you judges, for your feedback! It will be very valuable should I progress in the contest.

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

I hope the Monster Reformation Alliance resonates with voters, and I plan to discuss my reasoning next week.

Thanks in advance for your votes! :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

As someone who got knocked out of the first round last year by unanimous agreement on the part of the judges, I feel your pain. I actually read your organization first because the name caught my eye, though not in a good way.

It's a civil rights organization for monsters. While this may be interesting in a high-minded political game or a parody game, it comes off like bad Supernatural/Golarion fanfic.

I will definitely not be voting for this submission on its merits. I will definitely not be voting for you based on your previous work.

(I apologize if this seems harsh. I've been on the receiving end.)

Qadira

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like it Mike, you have my vote. I like the duplicitous nature of this group, something that seems to have escaped notice in previous comments. A society of monsters trying to besmirtch adventurer's reps? A great curveball to toss at a cocky party. I can imagine the gnashing when the Alliance targets a party and attempts to turn the cityfolk against them. Kudos!


As a player I would enjoy clashing with a group like this. The insidious nature of the organization would be a refreshing change to the more obvious BBEG's we face.
I will Definitely be voting for this submission based on its merits. I will Definitely be voting for this based on some of your previous work, as I have had the pleasure of playing your previous PUBLISHED work.

Qadira

So I waited to read yours until last. To get an impression of what not only the other people presented but also to get a feel for what the critiques were from the judges.

I will use Clark’s format, mainly for simplicities sake. :)

Initial Impression: Monsters scheming for more loot with less risk.
Concept (name, title, is it an organization? overall design choices, is the organization and antagonist and does it create direct conflict for the PCs? playability): C

While the name does sound cheesy, it is a name that a gnome would use. My only issue is in the group being global. I can see it taking hold in Kaer Maga and maybe even thrive for a time there. I find it harder to grasp as a global franchise.
Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, did you milk your idea for all it was worth?): C
Well since most of what I try to write comes out like a text book, and therefore dry and fairly boring, I should be the last person lambasting someone for their writing style, or quality. It does hook me because this is the sort of group I would and could use against an uppity party making it hard or nigh impossible to directly confront this group. I am not sure if you milked it for all it was worth, but since I did not take the time to check the rules on length of the article or the required information I have little advice to offer. Of course unlike Clark and crew I am not the published expert so what do I know.
Tilt (did it grab me? is it unique and cool? do I like it? flavor, are you showing Superstar mojo?): B
Why yes it did grab me. Maybe I am seeing something the judges are not. Or maybe I have a weird sense of what can make an interesting game. I see lots of possibility of intrigue and role-playing with a group like this.
Overall: C+
I have seen you produce better stuff, but as I said I can see a lot of play with a group like this.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this organization submission for advancement, for whatever that is worth.
As an aside I liked the Raptor gloves but as I mentioned to you before I think the original name and scope of the item would have worked better for you.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Welcome to Round 2 Mike!

Whoa! Monster Reformation Alliance, that’s trippy. The name certainly caught my eye and attention and immediately made me want to read more, to find out what it was all about. To my mind that is definitely a promising start, but a Superstar entry needs more than a promising name.

Reading further it became obvious that this would be the type of entry to divide opinions. I can certainly see this type of organisation not gelling with everyone’s style of game, or everyone’s vision of Golarion (and unfortunately for you it seems the judges have that style of game), but I can completely see many GMs and players being able to milk this organisation for all it’s worth.

You don’t have to go far on these boards (or in the wider Pathfinder playing community) to find people who champion the idea of the noble, misunderstood orc, or the mischievous and crazy but not really evil goblin (I mean, everyone likes to burn things sometimes right?). There are many, many players who want to play tieflings or tengu or catfolk or half-ogres ... the list goes on. Paizo has obviously picked up on this – despite a very ‘human-centric’ (on the surface of things) setting in Golarion, they have brought us books such as Orcs of Golarion, Goblins of Golarion and the upcoming Races book – generally player-centric books that cater to people who want to play these monstrous races. So how does playing these monstrous races work if the GM is running a ‘human-centric’ Golarion game?

Well, dig a little deeper into Golarion and you’ll see a lot of ‘monsters’ lurking about amongst human society. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that about every second or third individual Pathfinder AP book has one or more NPCs of a non-Core – ‘monstrous’ race living amongst a ‘civilised’ population – true, often in disguise, or keeping a low profile, but they are there. Only the stat block of the most isolated or xenophobic towns or cities in Golarion products tend not to have a half dozen ‘Others’ at the end of the population section, after humans, elves, dwarves etc.

To my mind, an organisation like this serves three useful purposes. One, it gives those players who want to play a ‘monstrous’ race in a Golarion game a believable way to do so, as members of the Alliance. Player really, really wants to play an orc in a game set in Molthune? They are a member of the local Alliance branch, and though they may still face prejudice, it gives the GM a reason to say, ‘people are used enough to seeing ‘monstrous’ humanoids that your character won’t be lynched on sight.’

Two, it gives GMs a way to believably integrate these ‘monstrous’ NPCs that keep popping up in Golarion products into the society that they supposedly belong to.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, it gives players and GMs alike a chance to turn things on their heads, or at least throw open some moral quandaries – if the adventurer’s attack the gnoll that’s walking through the city are they the good guys or the bad guys? Want to play a ‘monstrous campaign’ or an ‘evil game’? This gives a good way to do that. In a game where the Alliance plays a role, perhaps things are not so black and white ... or are they? With an organisation like the Alliance, players may never know if they are up to good or ill (and it might be either on any particular occasion). Is it all wheels within wheels ... is the whole ‘integrating monsters into society’ thing a front for something much more dangerous and insidious?

Now I can’t say whether what I have read into this entry is what Mike had in mind, but having seen some of his work in other places I suspect there are some pretty solid and thoughtful ideas going on behind this one.

The one thing that doesn’t really gel with me here is the global scope of this organisation – I think I would prefer to see it as something so far unique to Kaer Maga that is just beginning to spread. To me that would integrate better with Golarion as written, although it would not serve the first two purposes I have identified above as well.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Good luck Mike!


Alright -- I like it, if for no other reason than the thread I participated in about reforming monsters. The unfortunate part is that's about the only reason I like it. Ultimately it just seems much too underdeveloped.

That said congratulations on simply getting here -- that's hard enough!


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I could totally see a doppelganger trying to pull this off, just to see if he could do it.

All the umpteen threads about the plight of the female/young/elderly goblins under the merciless boot of the HUMON adventurer,......
yeah. I could see totally see a doppelganger trying to pull this.

"HEY! WE DON'T HAVE TO KILL THE BABY KOBOLDS......LET'S GIVE THEM TO THESE GUYS! THEY'LL SEND THEM TO PLUMBING SKEWL AND WE CAN SLEEP EASY! WE CAN LIVE WITH OURSELVES!!!" HAH!

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

I do like the idea Mike, but I agree that I think you overstretched in regards to the MRA being a global organization. I will be voting for you, as the body of your previous work most certainly speaks of your Superstar status. :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

Clark Peterson wrote:
Initial Impression: Monstrous humanoid ACLU! Fail!

Clark, you almost killed me with that comment. I was eating dinner and was choking until my wife hit me on the back. Would have been manslaughter at least!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

So close to being a gnome organization... But you screwed it up! I like how the monsters are trying to con everyone.

1,000,000 gold pieces in a lair? Where? Lets go loot it now!

They are about acceptance, but not allowing the real ugly bruisers? Discrimination! Clark might sue you.

I seem to recall seeing a doppelganger org from somewhere else with the same goals in mind. From a horror game, but can't for the life of me recall.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Interesting idea, Mike. Definitely original.


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Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I took the whole "monster rights" angle as just the front, and the org is entirely about the long con -- both on the civilized races and the monsters earnestly seeking respectability. Reading this organization reminded me of some of my (clumsy) attempts in the past to work in themes from some of my favorite movies: The Maltese Falcon, The Grifters, The Usual Suspects, etc. only set in a fantasy medieval/Renaissance period.

I liked it and I could certainly see using it or something like it in my homegame, because it doesn't involve Realms Shattering Events, apocalyptic cults, or world domination as it's goal.

Edit: Hopefully for improved clarity.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I liked it and I could certainly see using it or something like it in my homegame, because it doesn't involve Realms Shattering Events, apocalyptic cults, or world domination as it's goal.

Agreed


It kind of pains me to say this, but I think the only things really keeping me from liking this enough to give it the vote are the name being a bit too silly (I don't mind silly, but it's got the name I'd expect someone to use for a parody website) and the goal doesn't reach quite far enough, or at least doesn't spell the intentions strong enough.

This organization comes across as either a group looking to find a place in society rather than end up dead (a perfectly reasonable thing to do) or a group trying to get revenge on the adventurers who slaughter their kind by twisting public perception of the (usually) crude adventuring sort who are already a bit fringe in civilized settings. I think if the name were stronger, I'd be more apt to lean toward the latter and find it more genuinely interesting.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Biggest misfire of the round. I can't tell if it's serious or not. I mean, it reads like it's not, but that would be a strange thing for someone to do on purpose. If you didn't want in, give that last alternate a shot.

So I'm going to assume it's serious and just missed the target. The name is the biggest issue. I scanned the names before reading any posts, and this one jumped out as being notably bad. It sets the wrong tone and brings me into the post already extremely skeptical.

I think there are seeds of a workable idea here, but I think this misses them by a long distance.


My only problem with this is the monster orphanages thread that ran it's course before.

I mean that was in some cases almost a list of organizations in and of itself (and reminds me I need to work on the wyverns still).

However it's great to see the idea spread out and go into a contest like this.

Star Voter 2013

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I actually really like the idea of this organisation as it poses a SERIOUS moral quandry for adventurers. I know several players, who's character see a monstrous looking creature and attack on sight. I personally love the idea of making a society of hideous looking creatures with great strength and the power to destroy.. but being incredibly peaceful and civilised.

I think, sometimes the best conflicts are made in combat, they're made on a personal level for the PC's. In my campaign, my player's were in a scenario that really conflicted them, both in game and out, on a personal level. Minions of the BBEG were doing bad things to civilians, and many of them were dieing because of it. However, when they broke into the evil fortress, their actions directly lead to the deaths of several civilians. While they probably would have died anyway, the PC's know that if they hadn't acted, then those innocents wouldn't have died at that moment.

I see similar situations occuring here. I could easily see a peaceful Hobgoblin spreading the word of the MRA only to be bullied by the 'civilized' races in a back alley, and he defend himself, only for the PC's to come upon the Hobgoblin and slay or grieviously wound him. Later on, they face charges by the local authorites for attacking and injuring/killing one of the legal citizens of their city.

I could easily see a sort of racist movement going on. The adventurers are used to 'monstrous' races being evil, and as they constantly fight them all the time, they may be unwilling to change. It could cause a lot of infighting in a group and it offers a LOT of role playing potential.

I can't lie, I really enjoy the mental picture of a group of gnolls sitting in a high society English mansion, sipping tea and gossiping about Lord Ruttledge's most recent scandalous endeavor.

However, I've got a tough choice between a few competitors right now and haven't made any votes at the moment, but yours is a contender.


>>Monstrous humanoid rights? So it’s the Monstrous Civil Liberties Union? What, is this group going to file lawsuits against the PCs for fighting monsters? Maybe even throw red paint on them when they get awards from the mayor for destroying the harpy den? Do they take out ads naked in the local paper guilting people into not wearing yeti fur-lined cloaks? "Yeti fur is murder!"

I'm tempted to include this organization in the first game setting in which that concept will make sense. Clark's summary of it is hilarious and great for a game!

Borrowing from reality is a great idea and this organization can be put to very sinister use. :) I could also see some players becoming pawns of the organization, or working to undermine it and to discover its 'dire truth'. There is a lot to play with regarding the agendas of individual members of the organization.

I think this organization has a lot of potential plot hooks!

Still, my support for this concept may be related to the fact that my planned organization was very similar... :D I like your line of design, taig.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

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Its a little meta, but very original.


This got one of my votes this year.

Andoran Star Voter 2013

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I took the whole "monster rights" angle as just the front, and the org is entirely about the long con -- both on the civilized races and the monsters earnestly seeking respectability. Reading this organization reminded me of some of my (clumsy) attempts in the past to work in themes from some of my favorite movies: The Maltese Falcon, The Grifters, The Usual Suspects, etc. only set in a fantasy medieval/Renaissance period.

I liked it and I could certainly see using it or something like it in my homegame, because it doesn't involve Realms Shattering Events, apocalyptic cults, or world domination as it's goal.

Edit: Hopefully for improved clarity.

I completely agree. This is an original organization with plenty of role-playing potential with the 'con'. I could tie the PCs in knots with this organization; great antagonist.

The “Goals” section really caught my eye. Got my vote.
Keep! :)


I like the idea, but not the execution. I will put it in as a possible.
In the end I think you will be getting my vote. :)

Cheliax

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

I seem to recall seeing a doppelganger org from somewhere else with the same goals in mind. From a horror game, but can't for the life of me recall.

Well, there's 'The Unseen' that operates in Waterdeep (Forgotten Realms) and it is/was lead by a Greater Doppleganger with dreams of grandeur. Maybe you're recalling that?

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow! I too really disliked the name upon first seeing it. A little too 20th Century for me. I read it and thought it was a seriously written parody mixed with a long con. And didn't the judges go to town on you! Seems the voters see beyond the clumsy name, or even like the name AND the concept. Big ups to you - this is a seriously risky concept, rife with potential to split voters. I think you have carried it off grandly. Well done!

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

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sigh

Oh, Mike. This is Pathfinder, not Discworld. If you can't tell the difference... if you can't tell when winking at the audience becomes simply gauche... then I'm much afraid that you're far, far from ready.

"OMG adventurers are killing monsters O NOES" is a metagame consideration. It's an intriguing one, but you can't toss it in-game willy-nilly - it just doesn't fit. What you've presented isn't an organization or an alliance or a faction - it's an awareness campaign. How does that even work in a fantasy game? A straight-faced one, that is.

How do you see this working in game? Do activists complain to the authorities when PCs kill monsters? But that can't work - if authorities oppose the PCs killing monsters, you've got no game. If these guys get any credance whatsoever, if they're seen to have any kind of point that covers the general issue of PCs vs. monsters, then the game goes phbbbttt. That's because the metagame point being made here is that the central conceit is ridiculous and borderline immoral - if you put that in-game as-is, you're pretty much finished, and that's what your entry seems to suggest. (If they're not given any credance, then I have no idea what they might be good for.)

There are a lot of ways you could have touched on the issue without breaking the game. You could have a particular area where monsters are being mistreated; you might have a particular organization who are brutalizing innocent nonhumans. You could have a misguided organization opposing fighting particular creatures ("But these gremlins are so cute! Humans can eat after midnight, so why can't they?"). You could have taken this issue, which is an interesting one to explore, and found a way to do that within the confines of the game.

Because remember, the rest of the game has to go on. In the PCs lives, monsters attack innocent bystanders every 15 minutes - that's not a society that's going to be swayed easily to this cause; "monsters are KEWL" badges don't cheer people up after their town's been razed by the latest mooks. The moment you try to place this organization alongside everything else going on in Golarion (or in-game in general), it just looks ridiculous.

I'm thinking you were trying to be edgy, self-aware, meta. That works great in comedy. Anything else? Instant death. Sorry :-/

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

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Standback wrote:

sigh

How do you see this working in game? Do activists complain to the authorities when PCs kill monsters? But that can't work - if authorities oppose the PCs killing monsters, you've got no game.

Only if you have a lawful adventuring party. Getting the PC's to be GOOD is usually enough of a challenge...

Adventure hooks don't have to be the mayor. They can be the barmaid looking for revenge for her love, a farmer angry over his cattle being stolen, a druid getting tired of putting out forest fires...

Quote:
Because remember, the rest of the game has to go on. In the PCs lives, monsters attack innocent bystanders every 15 minutes - that's not a society that's going to be swayed easily to this cause; "monsters are KEWL" badges...

No, but it can be swayed by proximity and example. If people see monsters on a daily basis NOT being monsters can change their way of thinking. Normally getting 3 goblins that aren't gleeful pyromaniacs in the same village would be absolutely impossible.. but if you're a doppleganger you can BE 3 non pyromaniac goblins, as well as the nice minotaur herbalist who comes to town once in a while to sell healing herbs, and the kobold copper dealer.

While i agree the fourth wall is being leaned on a bit, I'm not sure who the wink is for. Is it the PC's way of life of killing things and taking their loot... or the Players who want to treat roaving piles of XP like they would people?

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

Asgetrion wrote:
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

I seem to recall seeing a doppelganger org from somewhere else with the same goals in mind. From a horror game, but can't for the life of me recall.

Well, there's 'The Unseen' that operates in Waterdeep (Forgotten Realms) and it is/was lead by a Greater Doppleganger with dreams of grandeur. Maybe you're recalling that?

Thats it, Waterdeep. 90% of my D&D games were based in the Realms until I switched to Golarion in early 2009. This group may have the same basic foundation, but that is it. Different history, structure, and goals. A near complete rework.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I want to like it, I really do. But despite Golarion being an "everything plus the kitchen sink" setting, I think you managed to find an idea that clashes.

Maybe it's the execution, or as some have said the Tongue-in-cheek name, but I don't think it takes itself seriously enough for Golarion. I think it should have either gone darker, or been written for another setting, in which case you could go whole-hog Terry Pratchett style and had an awesome result.

I think you had a great idea, but as presented it just doesn't fit Pathfinder/Golarion.


I like the idea, but I think the scope is too broad. I can see a doppelganger pushing for inclusiveness for doppelgangers. I can't see him caring about kobolds or orcs. I think that level of altruism is what makes this feel like a 'modern' idea.

Scale this thing back, and I think you'll really have something.

I want to vote for this, I do. But I've several more to read and I don't know if it will make it.

Good luck!


Hate the name. Felt too modern, could maybe see it in a bizarro modern game though.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka shiverscar

Abraham spalding wrote:
My only problem with this is the monster orphanages thread that ran it's course before.

Thanks for the link, that was exactly what this reminded me of!

I think the idea has potential, and it's definitely a concept that comes up frequently on the forums, but I also definitely got the tongue-in-cheek vibe from this entry. That kind of killed it for me, but to each his own; it might not work for my games, but it could easily work for someone else's.

Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Darkjoy

I am sorry, Mike.

Can't really support this.


My first thought was that this is a joke.

My second thought was that this has lots of possibilities, really. It only seems like a joke because it is anti-Tolkienesque.

But my third thought was that my troll shaman has his metahuman rights activist on speed dial. And I've played this theme to death in Shadowrun, where it was central and very appropriate. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. It just doesn't seem very swords and sorcery.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I don't see this as a comedy entry. Humor sometimes arises from absurd contrast, and I think that's where people are getting the comedy vibe. From its modern-sounding name to its focus on a universal concept of "rights" to its activist MO, this organization is utterly at odds with the feel of Golarion.

Like many of this year's entries, this one fails to fill in a lot of blanks. Most importantly, how does this con function? The organization supposedly gets access to dues from adventurers and to monster hoards. I just don't believe that many adventurers are repentant about killing monsters, and those who are probably aren't adventuring anymore, which means minimal dues. As for monsters... either a monster in this organization is sincere or it's not. If it's not, why would it agree to go to work in a tie everyday and stop eating children in exchange for... giving money away to strangers? If it is sincere, then the MRA is getting paid to protect a reformed monster from universal enmity, which seems neither villainous nor highly profitable. And if these monsters are being hoodwinked and then forcibly robbed, how does the group's supposed backbone of penitent adventurers feel about that? I just can't make sense of this operation.

Finally, with this organization you've raised a thorny issue in a way that won't lead to mature exploration. An organization standing up for intelligent non-humanoids could definitely be interesting, and could even be villainous with some work, but it would have to be sincere to create the satisfying conflict that this quandary deserves. To raise this perennial moral conflict of fantasy roleplaying and then to make it a mere ruse by an EEEVIL doppelganger to embezzle money from a monstrous PAC... it's silly and it's dismissive of the very question you bring to the forefront.

My advice for the future, based on both your item and your organization, is to expand beyond your gimmick rather than piling word count on it; both of your entries hit one idea really hard while leaving essential details blank or poorly-polished. If you take anything from the criticism you've suffered this year (and, man, it looks rough even from the outside), it should be the ability to criticize yourself just as harshly. Once you've sketched your idea, come up with every reason you can think of for an editor or a GM to object to your design. Then fix those flaws. That probably would have helped you smooth the roughest edges of your gloves (like the duration of the roc-summoning) and would have alerted you to the logical issues with how the MRA operates.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

6 people marked this as a favorite.

This seems to keep getting missed, and I doubt this post will help, but the name actually makes sense. It is a gnomish name.

Maybe it needed a few more words to make the point (the Extrabulous Miracle Monster Reformation Alliance). This may also be where the comedy vibe is coming from. However, the name is consistent with gnomes and their naming conventions and should be read in that context.

Apologies for the bold, but sheesh people. If all you did was read the title and come here to b#$%%, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to obtain an informed opinion.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, having a slightly awkward and cumbersome name is entirely consistent with a political/social activist group.


Sebastian -- I see someone needs a new pony friend -- I read the name and the organization.

Just because it is 'gnomish' doesn't mean it isn't a bad name all the same.

Sorry for the bold but sheesh, jumping other people for having an informed opinion is inane at best.


I like the idea, just not the execution. You might get a vote from me, if there's enough left once I've read the rest. Good luck :).


Sebastian wrote:

This seems to keep getting missed, and I doubt this post will help, but the name actually makes sense. It is a gnomish name.

Maybe it needed a few more words to make the point (the Extrabulous Miracle Monster Reformation Alliance). This may also be where the comedy vibe is coming from. However, the name is consistent with gnomes and their naming conventions and should be read in that context.

Apologies for the bold, but sheesh people. If all you did was read the title and come here to b~!#@, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to obtain an informed opinion.

Add to that a doppelganger who is trying to act like a gnome and pulls off really uncomfortably. Kinda like Bill Shatner covering Iron Man or Pat Boone covering......Smoke on the Water. He's not doing it right like Johnny Cash covering hurt. He's not doing it right like killswitch engage covering Holy Diver. This isn't even as good as Joan Jett covering Crimson and Clover, man. This is Wing doing AC/DC!

He's totally off base with the name. He's bungled it. It makes perfect sense.

"Mr Doppelganger,......you're doing it wrong!!!"

Perfect.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I like this organization.

I think you reached too far in making this a group with global reach. Something restricted to Kaer Maga, with dreams of global reach would have felt more believable.

I love the con aspect, playing the PCs as the 'bad guys' while the 'victims' are exactly what you would think they were at first glance. I love it, politics and intrigue. We have plenty of straight up bash the monster, black and white generic stuff. This was thinking outside the box, but as has been said, you just reached a bit too far.

You have my vote. Can't wait to see your round 3 submission.

Star Voter 2013

Wow, I think there are a lot of short-sighted people on this board that take things too literal. Maybe the use of the word 'con' threw them all off, but I don't think they're seeing the nature of this organisation.

The monsters are trying to politically fight for their rights, as part of that political fighting (and hence the 'con') is portraying the adventurers as villains and the monsters as the innocent party.

I'm playing in a Kingmaker campaign right now and my Half-Elf wizard would love to report the party to this organisation. The other players are firmly of the opinion, that if it isn't a player race.. kill it. Greyhawk the body. Get exp. Level up. That's their M.O. and I've been trying to break them of their habit, to the point where I refuse to cast a spell until they listen to me.

The previous example I mentioned is a perfect scenario that would cause conflict for the PCs. Innocent "monster" is being bullied by the player races. When they start to physically harass the "monster", he/she defends itself, and the PCs come in and see a "monster" attacking innocent civilians. They respond with force, and the "monster" flees and reports them to the authorities. Now the PCs are facing charges for assault and/or attempted murder.

In fact, I'm going to suggest to my Kingmaker DM that he incorporates the MRA into his game, I'd LOVE to see my party members get in trouble for being gung-ho.

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

OwlbearRepublic wrote:
Finally, with this organization you've raised a thorny issue in a way that won't lead to mature exploration.

This. Thanks, Owlbear :)

Also, I see that Jacob Michael's "Unfettered" takes a similar twist. He takes a specific group of "disenfranchised monsters" - eidolons. That one works where this one doesn't, because (a) it's focused on a particular group, where it's much easier to define reasonable alliance, leadership, goals, etc., and (b) it's much more consistent with Pathfinder's straight fantasy tone. Compare. Contrast.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Tels wrote:
The other players are firmly of the opinion, that if it isn't a player race.. kill it. Greyhawk the body. Get exp. Level up. That's their M.O.

They call that... playing D&D :)

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