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Phasic Ravager


Round 3 - Top 16: Create a CR 7 Golarion monster

1 to 50 of 61 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Andoran Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

9 people marked this as a favorite.

This preternatural humanoid's body parts fade in and out randomly, dripping gore and revealing its bizarre anatomy. A broken blade juts out at an angle in place of the creature’s shinbone. Its demented grin reveals animal fangs, rocks, and glass shards for teeth. The creature’s disturbingly mismatched eyes gleam maliciously.
 
Phasic Ravager CR 7
XP 3,200
NE Medium aberration (incorporeal)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +17
Aura frightful presence (60 ft., DC 19)
 
----- Defense -----
AC 19, touch 19, flat-footed 14 (+4 deflection, +4 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 71 (11d8+22)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +10
Defensive Abilities incorporeal
Weaknesses partial corporeality
 
----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft., fly 40 ft. (average)
Melee incorporeal touch +12 (1d6 plus discorporating touch)
Special Attacks discorporating touch, phasing steal
 
----- Statistics -----
Str —, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Atk +8; CMB +12; CMD 27
Feats Combat Expertise, Dodge, Improved Steal, Mobility, Skill Focus (Stealth), Spring Attack
Skills Fly +15, Intimidate +18, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Perception +17, Sense Motive +13, Sleight of Hand +18, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +24, Use Magic Device +10
Languages Aklo, Common, Undercommon
 
----- Ecology -----
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or congregation (3-12)
Treasure standard (magic items incorporated into the ravager’s body)
 
----- Special Abilities -----
Discorporating Touch (Su) By succeeding at a touch attack, the phasic ravager can draw flesh and blood from its target into itself. The victim takes 4d6 points of damage (Fortitude DC 19 half), and the ravager heals half of the damage it inflicts. The save DC is Charisma-based. Alternately, a ravager can take an unattended item, or execute a steal combat maneuver, and absorb the taken item, healing 2d6 points of damage. If the creature does not use its discorporating touch at least once in a 24-hour period, it takes 2d6 points of damage at the end of that period.
Partial Corporeality (Ex) Due to the phasic ravager’s constantly shifting nature, non-magical attacks targeting it have a 50% miss chance and inflict half damage.
Phasing Steal (Ex) A phasic ravager may use the steal combat maneuver on an opponent’s held or closely worn items. This grants its opponent a +10 bonus to his CMD. A ravager cannot wield any items it steals, but it can otherwise benefit from magic items.
 
A conclave of scholars dedicated to arcane studies developed a ritual that would relocate the entire group to the Ethereal Plane, allowing them to pursue their studies in peace. A crucial mistake in the ritual’s execution set off a catastrophe that warped the scholars’ bodies and forced them to exist in a state of constant flux, birthing a new race: the phasic ravager.
 
Phasic ravagers endure constant, withering pain. Their bodies slough flesh and blood as random parts flicker in and out of existence. After years of observing the ravagers’ search for a cure, Zon-Kuthon's servant Vreet-Hall intervened, teaching them to replace their lost flesh with organic and inorganic material. Seeing no other solution, they gave in to the embrace of their maddening pain. The creatures alleviate their torment by inflicting agony on, and stealing magic items from, their victims. Only death reverts a ravager to its material state, the creature’s body collapsing into a heap of flesh, bones, and stolen items.
 
A phasic ravager’s bizarre condition attracts many unwholesome creatures that wish to study and exploit the ravager’s inherent abilities. A ravager accepts assistance from those offering greater power, but it reacts violently to any creatures proposing to reverse its flickering state.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hey, Mike...welcome to Round 3. This carousel doesn't end until you either fall out of the competition or win the whole thing. Your stuff has taken some pretty strong hits so far--sometimes from the judges and sometimes from the voters. But you've advanced to a round I believe you know a little something about. So, let's see what you've given us.

Wall of Text:

Spoiler:

First off, going into monster design, a freelance designer has to recognize certain basic elements of the game...the give-and-take of all the variables upon which it's mechanically founded. The most important defining characteristic (which has a trickle down effect) in monster design is its Challenge Rating (CR). The rules for Round 3 already told you what that would be...i.e., CR 7. Thus, the "test" for this round isn't just determining if you can cook up a really great idea for a monster. It's also to see how well you can interpret what a CR 7 monster is meant to have, mechanically-speaking, that distinguishes it from a CR 6 or a CR 8 monster.

So, what are the trickle down effects you need to know for a CR 7 creature? In general, its AC should be around 20. Its hit points should be around 85. Its best saving throws should be around +10 and its weaker saving throws should still be around +6. The damage curve potential for a combat-focused CR 7 monster should be around a +13 attack inflicting an average of 22-30 points of damage per round if all its attacks manage to hit an opponent. Even a less combat-focused CR 7 monster should still have around a +10 attack and the DCs for any special abilities or SLAs should be a DC 17 for a primary power and a DC 12 for a lesser power. There's still wiggle room within these numbers, but typically, if you make one of those things higher or lower, you want to offset it with a variation in one of the other statistics above.

Additionally, monsters should be built around the non-standard array for their ability scores (i.e., 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10) before applying racial adjustments. These adjustments should always come in even-numbered increments (i.e., +2, +4, +6, etc.). That means for a basic monster design, you should end up with three odd-numbered ability score values and three even-numbered ability score values.

Okay. With all that serving as your baseline, let's see where you've taken us...

Creativity Factor:
I'm not entirely sure why, but the vibe I got off this design idea is that it's kind of like an incorporeal fantasy-version of a reaver from Firefly, but with enough variation and uniqueness to stand on its own. I like the ability to phase in and out of a semi-corporeal state to steal things and make attacks. It's got a phase spider element to it along those lines. Or, as you cited, an ethereal filcher/marauder to some degree. I like how you avoided making it an outsider, though. Because of the background, it's clear how these things became aberrations.

Nice (if a bit lengthy) read-aloud description. Try not to fall in love too much with your own voice. Write just enough to satisfy the requirement of any given section in your designs, while (obviously) still bringing the awesome mojo.

Interesing backstory to explain what gave rise to this creature. But, how do they reproduce? Do they pass on their condition to their offspring?

The frightful presence ability is nicely applied here. You can imagine the visual of that in a given encounter as these things phase in around you.

I enjoy the notion of creatures that steal things in order to merge them with their bodies and heal themselves. I'm not as keen on the notion they have to do that at least once every 24 hours. I think you could have scaled it back so that they can use that ability to heal damage they've taken in battle. Otherwise, let them go into torpor or something similar to a vampire if they haven't maintained their wasting bodies. That would help give these guys lasting credibility as a sustainable (if warped) species.

I like the idea of a discorporating (or disruptive) touch attack that relies on phasic principles. I'm not, however, a fan of imagining these things as purely incorporeal beings. I'd rather see them have more solidity than that, but the phasic aspects keep playing havoc with their bodies. In fact, my first thought was to compare them to phase spiders. And, I think there might have been an opportunity to connect them to those creatures in some way (as allies/enemies/whatever).

I think it might have been worthwhile to explore a blink-like ability for these guys to ground their phasic aspects in something the GM can immediately relate it to...

Why give these guys Undercommon as a language? Do they frequently hang out in the Darklands? Far better to give them an extraplanar language...Abyssal, Infernal, or something straight from the Ethereal plane or their ancient existence on Golarion prior to their catastrophe.

Mechanical Considerations:
Just because I'm OCD, I did a very quick number crunching of your design using the spreadsheet Paizo provides us as freelancers. I thought it was important to do that just to give some kind of assessment on your technical skills. You were actually really solid here. I ran into just a couple of things that seemed off to me. You might want to go back and double-check the following:

- The CMD score should include a +2 bonus vs. steal with its Improved Steal feat.

- The skill points seemed slightly off to me. Looks like you gave it Sleight of Hand as a class skill, but there's no basis for that as an aberration. Everything else was really tight, including the additional bonus for having more than 10 ranks in Stealth combined with the Skill Focus feat. And, you remembered to define Knowledge (arcana) as the one free class skill an aberration gets. Nicely done.

- The only other thing that gave me pause is the DC 19 you set for the discorporating touch. That's a bit higher than the DC 17 baseline for CR 7 creatures. You normally wouldn't see a DC 19 ability until CR 10. And, given that the creature already gets an incorporeal touch attack which is usually easier to pull off, I thought it was a little too good to then give it a high DC on resisting the damage. Still, there are some pretty nasty touch attack incorporeal creatures already out there. Your baseline would be what a ghost or greater shadow could do in this area. Your phasic ravager isn't too far off from that. So, perhaps the balance is mostly intact here.

Presentation:
Pretty good job here. You followed the template pretty accurately. There was a small misstep here with the BBCode on your Initiative listing, but nothing too egregious. You're using game terminology very well. It's clear you've got experience in this kind of design. And I appreciate the attention-to-detail in trying to make it look as close as possible to an actual monster entry from the Bestiary. Good job.

Bottom Line:
I like the design space you selected. Phasic ravagers could make for an interesting species to introduce into the game. Aberrations with a painful/shameful history. An association with Zon-Kuthon for bringing the pain. Stealing objects to fuse them into their failing bodies. It's a nice creature you can wrap encounters and adventures around. And that's ultimately what you really want to shoot for when creating a new monster concept. That said, I'd have liked to see you focus this idea more strongly. I think a full incorporeal state was the wrong direction to go. I like the partial corporeality effect you're trying to introduce. I think something more along the lines of a phase spider ability with overtones of an uncontrollable blink or blur aspect or other hindrance to these sometimes out-of-phase beings would have made your design concept stronger. But, it was a bold choice to go with an incorporeal creature. They carry a lot of unusual design considerations from other monsters that ramps up the design difficulty a bit.

Given all that, I DO RECOMMEND this monster to carry you through to Round 4. I'd be interested in seeing what kind of encounter you can cook up for us by applying all the lessons you've learned so far.

Now, your raptoring gloves and organization for the Monster Reformation Alliance left some things to be desired. I told you to turn the dial up on the awesome factor. And, in many ways, I think you succeeded in that goal. Couldn't have come at a better time for you. Just don't take your foot off the gas...and keep your eye on the prize. Best of luck in the voting.

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

Mike, good job advancing to Round 3!

What I am looking for:I’m a big picture guy more than a minute details guy. 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. Of course you need to execute the stat block properly. Luckily, Sean, Neil and others are way more qualified than I am to talk about the nit picks and issues with the stat block so I will leave that to them. My comments to you will be more “big picture.” For me, I want to see a monster that is fun and playable—a monster that leaps of the page and makes me find a way to incorporate it at the game table. That, to me, is a superstar monster. So here we go…

Initial Impression: Phase scholars? Weird…but strangely I am drawn to them.

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): B+
I don’t know if these are as much new monsters as they are specific encounter from a specific adventure relating to the lost conclave of scholars. I don’t like the “group all gets mutated and voila it’s a new monster!” I just don't like the background of these things. You have a good, tight theme here with the discorporation and the theft. (Personally I would have used “flux” in the name somehow, but that is just an aside.) Bottom line: these things would be fun on the game table.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): A
I love phase/flux stuff. Phase spiders may be one of my favorite monsters. So you got me with the idea. I like the stealing and the discorporating. And you got your Golarion on with this, too. Great description, good use of the stat block.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A-
Even though I am not a fan of the background, I will leave that to the voters to weigh. The monster itself is a fun one and could make for some cool encounters.

Overall: A-
Maybe you didn’t intend a mad scientist vibe, but I just can’t shake that with these critters. But this is a solid entry with some fun play potential.

Recommendation: I DO RECOMMEND voters consider this monster to advance to the Top 8.

Your raptoring gloves showed promise and you know my feeling about your ACLU-style Monster Reformation Alliance and it wasn’t good. But this contest has a history of allowing even a winner to have a round with a misstep. Maybe that was you last round, because this is a big, big winner. When you get hit by a pitch, you gotta dust it off, step up and hit a home run on your next at bat. You did that. I think you put yourself back on track with this entry. Really good work.

Good luck!

Contributor

Welcome to Round 3! I'm posting this little blurb at the top of my reply for everyone. FYI, I'm not going to crunch all the math in your stat block, for several reasons. One, I don't have an hour for each monster. :) Two, I'm sure you've been very diligent about this and if anything is wrong, it's probably only off by a little bit. Three, if you were writing this for publication in a Paizo book, you'd be using our stat block spreadsheet, which takes care of the math for you--your job is to understand the rules and bring the mojo. Four, Neil's going to scrutinize that stuff because he is a machine. :) My focus in this review is on the overall coolness and balance of your monster, with an eye on how efficiently you put it together and a spot-check of stat block elements that catch my eye.

I like the creepy, weird vibe of this creature.

Discorporating touch is a weird ability. It's dealing physical damage, sure. But the monster is also healing from it, about 14 if the target fails its save and 7 if it makes the save. Because it's a +12 incorporeal touch attack, it's basically guaranteed to heal at least 7 hp per round, which means it basically has fast healing 7 or more. That's pretty powerful (trolls only have regeneration 5 at CR 5). Likewise, it can grab any unattended item--a rock, a broken arrow, stray artifact, whatever, and heal ~7 points. The "if it ever doesn't use this ability" rule is irrelevant because it can use it on any discarded object. Overall, I'd compare this to a spectre's touch attack (2 negative levels, gives the spectre 10 temp hit points each time it's used... but you can block it with death ward).

Given their multidimensional state, it would be nice if the writeup explained what happens if you cast dimensional anchor on them.

I think the partial corporeality ability is mixing up some 3.5/Pathfinder rules.
In 3.5, incorporeal meant you ignored all nonmagical attacks, and had a 50% chance to ignore most magical attacks.
In PF, it has a 50% chance to ignore nonmagical attacks (but they deal full damage), magical attacks have no ignore chance and deal half damage.
This creature is a 50% miss/affect chance from nonmagical attacks, and those attacks deal half damage... which means it's better than normal incorporeality... which means this isn't a weakness, it's an advantage.

Phasing steal lets you use the steal maneuver on the target's closely worn items (which you can already do with the steal maneuver) and steal the target's held items (which the steal maneuver doesn't allow, it says you have to use disarm). So I'm not sure what this ability is supposed to do other that give the target a CMD bonus when the monster tries to steal stuff it already could steal or tries to disarm stuff it already could disarm.

I agree with Neil that incorporeal wasn't the way to go on this, and that something based on blink is probably a better idea. I like the idea of this monster, and the background for it, but there are some problems with the execution of its rules.

CEO, Goblinworks

It's a man-shape comprised of garbage and body parts that seems to phase in and out in pieces and splatters gore around while doing so.

It should be undead, not an aberration. Thematically undead are horrific, aberrations are scary. That's a meaningful difference. Also, aberrations should have some rational basis for their biology - that is, they're descendants of something that was altered or transformed by magic but they continue to exist because they function as a biological entity. Undead don't need any rationale at all - they can be as freaky as you like; they're animated by the power of negative energy and have no biological requirements.

It has a STR of nil. That's not good. "A character with a Strength score of 0 is too weak to move in any way and is unconscious." Now you've got an argument at the table about this thing - the folks who want to play the RAW will be tormented.

You can design a critter without a STR but that's a special case scenario - like a spirit that has no corporeal existence or substance, or a construct that just sits in one place and doesn't move. You've created an entity that is supposed to roam around and make melee attacks. So that's a big negative: Bad Design.

Why can it fly? Are you trying to suggest (from the backstory) that it has a bunch of random spell-like abilities due to being some kind of amalgam of a bunch of arcane spell casters? You'd have been better off making these spell-like abilities then (they could be dispelled, etc.) As it is, it apparently flies because you think that's cool. I think it doesn't make sense within the context of the creature's backstory.

The key ability of this creature is Discorporating Touch. It can "take an unattended item" - like a rock? An empty potion bottle? An arrow? It seems likely that this thing has zero problems getting to use this ability whenever it wishes. It should have required a magic item. More Bad Design.

It can use Phasing Steal to grab the wizard's staff. But then it can't wield it? Why not? It's got an Int of 17 and Use Magic Device skills. Bad Design.

Final points: This critter is the result of an accident, yet it apparently has been able to reproduce. That makes no sense. What penalties does the critter take from constantly sloughing off bits of itself? Why doesn't each one present some random abilities related to the stuff its absorbed over the time of its existence making each encounter unique?

Overall, I didn't like the theme or the content of this entry. I think that it needed much more polish and some critique from a 3rd party to help you see the flaws. You clearly have the ability to make this work mechanically; your problem is in concept and cohesion not imagination or ability.

I give this submission a C-.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

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

Neil, Clark, Sean, and Ryan, thank you for your comments about the phasic ravager. I hope to apply the lessons learned to future rounds.

To everyone else, I hope you like the ravager and choose to vote for it.

Star Voter 2013

Wow, you don't disappoint do you? I liked your Raptoring Gloves, Loved your MRA, and I just *Adore* the Phasic Ravager. I definitely see myself using them, probably next in two week when I GM again.

This is a Grand Slam, Thank You Ma'am Home-run here. Outstanding job, very well done.


Lack of strength is standard for permanently incorporeal creatures. Being incorporeal is not standard to aberrations.

However the first impression I had when I noticed improved steal was "that damned imps from Dungeon Master!" Aaargh, how I hated their laughter!

Discorporating touch as written is problematic because with current reading it can be capable of destroying *any* item. Players will hate this. And not in the good way.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Nice one, Badger!

I'm not a numbers guy, so I have to take Neil's word for it here. But as you know, I am a lover of all things creepy and I do like this monster's flavor. Count on a vote from your friendly neighborhood Wolfthulhu.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Drejk wrote:
Discorporating touch as written is problematic because with current reading it can be capable of destroying *any* item. Players will hate this. And not in the good way.

It could be clearer, but the way I read it the magic items are salvageable when it is slain. If you look at the treasure entry, it mentions that the magic items in its possession are part of its body, but should be considered treasure when it is slain, and later on the flavor text reinforces it.

In other words - if it takes your stuff, kill it and take it back.

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Another of my instant 'yes' votes.

This creature vaguely reminds me of a Star Trek Voyager race called Videans or something, that suffered a 'phage' that ate up all their organs and tissues, and resulted in them running around kidnapping other species and grafting their tissues and organs into themselves to stay ahead of the disease.

This critter goes a step further and integrates material junk into itself dimensionally unstable form, which is kinda cool and takes the notion a step further than just 'perpetually rotting mongrel-man organ-napper' or 'the monster from Jeepers Creepers.' Having bits of leather or metal replacing flesh and skin definitely fits the Zon-Kuthon tie-in that you seem to be evoking here.

The flavor and the mechanics could benefit from being tied together a little more in the description. Ryan points out that the creature seems to fly for no reason other than it looks cool doing so, and if the flavor text tied this flight to it being partially in another plane (like the astral, where everyone can 'fly' just by thinking about it), or even used the Kitty Pryde excuse of being able to 'walk on air' because 'gravity can't fully affect its corporeally unstable form,' that might make the ability to fly feel a little less arbitrary.


I remember those phage dudes.

They were one of my fave things about Voyager.

Andoran

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

Great work, Mike. I have a pretty good sense of how much work you put into this monster and it obviously paid off.

I love the feel of these creatures. While I can see the connection to the Star Trek race (didn't they feature in one of the movies?), I get a total "OMGWTF CENOBITE!" image of them. The frightful presence is definitely appropriate.

As for the issue of flight, I have to respectfully disagree with Ryan's assessment. I did a quick search of the d20PFSRG.com "Monster DB" spreadsheet. Filtering for creatures with just the "(Incorporeal)" subtype yields 17 results. Sixteen of those 17 have a fly speed without having any justification for why. My thinking is that most incorporeal things aren't really walking on the ground, even when it looks like they are. They need to be able to fly because the ground doesn't actually hold them up.

Overall, I really loved this monster, Mike. This is definitely an example of why a person's reputation outside the contest should count for something. I look forward to seeing what you have cooked up for the next round.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
...Phasing steal lets you use the steal maneuver on the target's closely worn items (which you can already do with the steal maneuver) and steal the target's held items (which the steal maneuver doesn't allow, it says you have to use disarm). So I'm not sure what this ability is supposed to do other that give the target a CMD bonus when the monster tries to steal stuff it already could steal or tries to disarm stuff it already could disarm....

Wait, you can already use the Steal maneuver to steal closely held/worn items? Was this in a FAQ or errata? (I'm not finding it with a search.)

d20pfsrd.com wrote:
You can attempt to take an item from a foe as a standard action. This maneuver can be used in melee to take any item that is neither held nor hidden in a bag or pack. You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to attempt this maneuver. You must select the item to be taken before the check is made. Items that are simply tucked into a belt or loosely attached (such as brooches or necklaces) are the easiest to take. Items fastened to a foe (such as cloaks, sheathed weapons, or pouches) are more difficult to take, and give the opponent a +5 bonus (or greater) to his CMD. Items that are closely worn (such as armor, backpacks, boots, clothing, or rings) cannot be taken with this maneuver. Items held in the hands (such as wielded weapons or wands) also cannot be taken with the steal maneuver—you must use the disarm combat maneuver instead. The GM is the final arbiter of what items can be taken. If you do not have the Improved Steal feat or a similar ability, attempting to steal an object provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

Edit: Yep, it's the same in the PRD too.

Edit 2: Rats, I can't mark this as a possible FAQ candidate. Is Sean working from an errata/FAQ for a reprint of the APG?

And to +1 Paris above, you don't need to be incorporeal undead to magically fly.


So, RAW interpretation aside... I'm liking this monster too.

Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but I interpret the "phasing" as more flickering between existence and non-existence, not between two planes (Prime Material and Ethereal) like classic incorporeality. If that is what he's going for, I don't think blink would have the same feel. I'd wonder what effect some spells like dimensional anchor and similar might do, but I'm not sure how to cover that within the word count. Edit: But then again, I'd like to see the look on the caster's face when they try to stop it like a blink dog or phase spider... and it doesn't work. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

Yeah, the more I think about it, the discorporating touch "healing" rate is probably a bit much. Using any old item to prevent the daily hp loss would be too easy for a critter this smart to get around. And I'd have given it some kind of STR score for those moments when it is corporeal.

The ability to thieve NPCs/PCs items is a nice adventure hook or in-combat surprise, plus you recover the loot once the critter is dead. I'd also like to see an advanced variant that can maybe channel/tap the magic abilities of items it's assimilated, either as identical effects or maybe a bolt/ray of "raw" magic.

But minor quibbles aside, I really like this. It's evocatively described and should be wonderfully horrific (with surprising abilities) against unsuspecting PCs.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter 2014

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, hell yes.

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

Although the mechanics are creative, they sort of don't make sense. They are incorporeal, but they can manipulate items in order to put them into their bodies and heal. They can heal a lot of damage in a round, even just by picking up rocks. It's not clear whether they destroy an item they take or if it just becomes part of them. The partial corporeality combines features of 3.5 and Pathfinder incorporeality, and I'm not sure if that's intentional. I agree with Neil's assessment that basing the phasing ability off of blink might have been the way to go in order to clarify what, exactly, these things are and what they do.

The flavor-text also rubs me the wrong way. First, the "humans doing stuff in the Ethereal and it goes hideously wrong" schtick is already the backstory for the adherers. Secondly, who's Vreet-Hall? Why could he influence the entire path of a race? I want to know about him more than I do about the phasic ravagers, and that's not a good sign. Also, do these things breed true?

I like the idea here, but there's just too many stumbling blocks and questions for me to get behind this entry. It ends up annoying me, and that's not something I want to vote for. You clearly have your fans (considering that you've made it this far when all of the judges disliked your organization), so you may well make it to Round 4. But I'm afraid it will be without my vote.


This kind of freaks me out, and it's really solid. I'm a fan. I have some questions about their ecology and motivations... but you've got a word count limit and I'm a big enough fan I'll answer those questions for myself or disregard since I want 'em.

Dedicated Voter 2014

Its weird and creepy and has some cool, unique abilities. I like it.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

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Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Secondly, who's Vreet-Hall? Why could he influence the entire path of a race?

Ask and ye shall receive.

He is about halfway down under the heading "Appearance and Emissaries" as a servant of Zon-Kuthon. His mention is in the Zon-Kuthon article by Sean Reynolds in AP 11.

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really, really like the concept and imagery on this one. There are probably a few missteps mechanically, but I don’t think they are deal breakers. I tend to agree that perhaps phasing / blinking would have been a good way to go here rather than incorporeal, but then there are already several monsters that fill this design space (phase spiders for example), so a creature that is incorporeal with a connection to the ethereal plane but is NOT undead is a good niche.

I think Sean and Ryan are a little off the mark with some of the crunch based criticism with this one. To be honest, when I first read ‘partial corporeality’ I at first had a similar interpretation to Sean’s one, but a quick re-read of the PF rules on incorporeal creatures revealed that they take NO damage from non-magical attacks: “It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms” ; and take only half damage from a magical, corporeal source (no 50% miss chance). Sorry to say it Sean, but you are getting your 3.5 mixed in with your PF! So what the partial corporeality ability does it let them have a 50% chance of taking half damage from a non-magical corporeal source, making them not (quite) as tough as a proper incorporeal being.

Ryan noted that only special case creatures don’t have a strength score, when in fact under the ‘Incorporeal’ heading in the Universal Monster Rules it says that ‘It does not have a Strength score’, so in making the creature incorporeal, Mike has gone the by-the-book way here. While I think that these creatures could also have worked as an undead creature, I think they fill that design space between undead, aberration and outsider, and any of these could have worked. Incorporeal undead are a dime a dozen, so I think aberration was a good design choice.

Anyway, good luck Mike!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Real creepy, Mike, but I like it. Although, much like Neil, I was wondering how/if they reproduce. Good luck in the voting!


I, too, wondered immediately how they reproduced.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Aberzombie & Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
I wondered immediately how they reproduced.

Very, very carefully...

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Awesome work Mike. :)

Seriously creepy monster with some seriously creepy abilities.

I agree that he probably should have had a (low) Strength score due to his being partially corporeal, but that's only a minor concern.

Some clarification on the Discorporating Touch regarding any old random item could have been included too, but I see it as "what happens if the Ravager gets dropped in the middle of the ocean and can't get to anything to touch in time? Or gets lost in space (Danger Will Ravager!)? Or the middle of a desert, since I can't see sand being very useful for holding its body together?"

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

"How do they reproduce?" is one of the most dangerous topics in monster-crafting, in my humble opinion.

If you put it in, everybody goes "Eeeew, I didn't need to know about that! Gross! Perv!" and if you leave it out, people go "How the heck do they reproduce?"

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

Aberzombie wrote:
Real creepy, Mike, but I like it. Although, much like Neil, I was wondering how/if they reproduce. Good luck in the voting!

I'm sure you can find a video of it on the internet.


Celestial Healer wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Real creepy, Mike, but I like it. Although, much like Neil, I was wondering how/if they reproduce. Good luck in the voting!
I'm sure you can find a video of it on the internet.

Or maybe a pop-up book for kids: The Bulettes and the Bees (And No, a Wizard Didn't Do It)?

Silver Crusade

Ewwwwwwwwwwww, definately voting for this one.

Qadira

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

Another excellent submission Mike! I think some of the hardest things in a monster creation is A: Coming up with a unique concept and B: Finding a combination of abilities that will challenge the party.

I think your concept is unique, certainly. A non-undead (and you could have just gone undead and taken the easy route) that is sufficiently horrifying to be abberant. I like the imagery, and that is important when describing a monster. As for reproduction, looking at your description, I would assume the original group turned into phasic ravagers was relatively small. This isn't a common creature, but it doesn't need to be. I would just gloss over the 'reproduction', since I doubt that these things really do. This isn't a monster that will be lurking in every dungeon, and doesn't really need to have a wife and kids.

As for challenging the party, I really like the Phasing steal ability. If the Phasic ravager pulls it off, it will grab an important item from the party, forcing them to adapt and overcome. Hopefully they will be sweating at the same time, and focusing on getting their gear back.

You have my vote, and I am once again impressed by your imagination and rules-fu proficiency with coming up with a challenging foe.


Are they really a race, or just the remnants of the conclave from the original experiment? If I endured "constant, withering pain" I wouldn't be too keen on passing it on to my children. I felt a couple of organisations had this problem also. I think you'd have gotten away with it if you hadn't used the word "race".

Osirion Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Intresting concept, creepy mood, yep, I like them, despite some wonkiness in the mechanics. I voted for you.


This Mike is why I hold you to be Lord of Monsters, glad to see you brought out the big guns and blew everything the freak away!

I'm the LPM and I endorse this beast... now can I get about a dozen of these nasty <redacted> to put some uppity do gooders in their place by the end of the week?

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

I'm very glad to have been proven wrong from Rounds 1 and 2. This received one of my first votes, and I look forward to the next round's submission.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Very cool monster, Mike. Good luck in the voting!

Here's what I like:
- creepy Zon-kuthon take on an ethereal filcher. Neat!
- incorporeal aberration. While I'm not sure I'm on-board with your specific incorporeal/blink mechanic, I like that it's not undead.
- feat choices build to the monster's strength. Nice job in building a monster that does its core thing well.
- I'd use this creature with only minor alterations.

Here's what I don't like:
- menacing teeth, blades never come into play. Its incorporeal touch is scary, sure, but there is a visual mismatch between this guy's appearance and his actual attacks.
- discorporating touch shouldn't be a separate pool of damage from its standard incorporeal touch. Would have preferred the 4d6 damage to be listed right in the monster's attack.
- phasing steal is confusing, even after a couple of passes. At first I didn't understand why you were granting a +10 to defend against this maneuver. You have to look at the steal combat maneuver and understand that this is allowing the monster to do something it would not normally be able to. I recognize there's a certain amount of modular reading necessary here but I would have liked to see this ability written more clearly.
- the ravager can absorb items to heal? this needs to be clarified quite a bit. As written it seems tacked-on and there are many simple gameplay questions that open up. How do you retrieve the item? Is the item destroyed if used to heal the creature? How many items can it store at a time?


I can tell that you went out of your comfort zone on this, but I also think it's a demonstration that you're not a one trick honey badger who sticks to a preferred niche so that it can be demonstrated that you have a couple tricks up your sleeve.

And this was definitely one of them. There's a couple contestants in this round who I'd more apt see this creature appear under, so it was a nice surprise that you were the author. I agree with Kradlum that the ravager doesn't necessary have to be classified as a 'new race', but more of the opinion that it was an aberration of a ritual gone awry. Also, as several others mentioned, I would also be curious about how it manages to propagate itself. I suspect there'd be some diffusion involved.

Aside from that, these would be a definite challenge to combat. I also think that making it an aberration was a nice touch to throw off those who assume the typical undead archetype only to be rudely surprised when the stereotypical tried-and-true method to dispatch these fail.

Good job!


uh.....

....

hell yes.

Very nice. I love the feel of it - by nature this monster lends itself to be altered slightly - Want to introduce a new magic item? have it be IN the ravager. It has ranks in UMD for a reason - I'd almost like to see the UMD a little higher.

Seriously, one of the most scalable things I've ever seen because of magic item integreationg.

Badass work.


My criteria for deeming a monster voteworthy:

1. Can I drop this into my home campaign and still do something interesting with it outside of Golarion? Probably. Ethereal accidents are a common enough theme with mages that these guys could pop up anywhere.

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Not offhand, but I could certainly work it in easily.

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? Most definitely. Strong mojo here.

Additional Thoughts: I like the tie-in with Zon-Kuthon and I really like the discorporating touch. I agree with a lot of the criticisms leveled against this entry by Ryan, however. I'm on the fence at the moment, but this one is a strong contender for leftover votes.

Star Voter 2013

a few things rub me the wrong way about this - the broken blade in the read-aloud description, for instance, and my seeing "Ph" in the name and immediately thinking psionics... But I think I like it.

I do agree that choosing pure incorporeality was the wrong thing for this creature though. I mean, you did incorporeal creature fine, but I think it should have had some ability more akin to blink, where it was sometimes in one phase and sometimes in the other.

So, tentatively, you get my vote. Good luck!


As a player I don't look at the numbers or the nitty gritty details. In a monster I want something both exciting and a bit scary. I can imagine myself running my PC's against this, heart pounding and worried for the lives of my fave character!

Great work Mike! You have my vote!


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Lord President Moorluck wrote:

This Mike is why I hold you to be Lord of Monsters, glad to see you brought out the big guns and blew everything the freak away!

I'm the LPM and I endorse this beast... now can I get about a dozen of these nasty <redacted> to put some uppity do gooders in their place by the end of the week?

Oh boy.....


I really would like to see this one salvaged and appear in a later Bestiary -- the descriptive fluff and basic concept are way too cool to go to waste. That said, there are enough mechanical issues (as enumerated in the others' posts above) that it would require a lot of tinkering, or maybe a big overhaul.

This is a personal gripe, but I don't dig the name; it makes me want to set something to "Stun."


Fun beastie! I like the use of the Steal combat maneuver.

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

Good monster, something I know you could deliver.

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

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Disclaimer: In the Top 32 Guildhall, Mike Welham gave me express written permission to tear into his monster, even after I promised that my criticism would be as harsh as I felt necessary. Accordingly, I'm not going to hold any criticism back in this review of his phasic ravager.

Overall, the concept of the phasic ravager is fun and evocative, but problematic game mechanics would prevent me from ever using this monster at my table.

Here's an itemized critique:

Appearance I'm not sure I'm digging that line about a single blade replacing a shinbone, because that suggests that every phasic ravager has that particular deformity.

Weaknesses The manner in which you define partial corporeality as a highly-specific exception to the rules of the incorporeal subtype is a bit too gamist for my tastes. The simulationist in me is left wondering: if the monster can be hurt by corporeal weapons some of the time, how can it still walk through walls? What you really wanted here was some sort of blink effect, not the incorporeal subtype. (Edit: I see the judges also think a blink effect would have been better here.)

Special Abilities The whole process of incorporating items into a phasic ravager's body is painfully vague. What, exactly, happens to the incorporated item? Can a phasic ravager incorporate a suit of full plate armor into its body? Can it incorporate two suits of full plate armor? A dozen? If so, are the previous suits of armor digested and destroyed? Shunted into an extradimensional space? Physically melded into the previous set of armor? Also, I'm not even sure what this sentence means: "A phasic ravager cannot wield any items it steals, but it can otherwise benefit from magic items."

Basically, the phasing steal ability is a big mess of corner cases and GM fiat waiting to happen. I'm not convinced you thought through the consequences of an ability that allows a monster to absorb an unlimited number of items of arbitrary size and then spew them out again when killed. Which is unfortunate, because that seems to be the monster's main schtick.

Description This is where the phasic ravager is strongest. A really cool description like this one makes me want to use a monster in my home game. Had the mechanics of the phasic ravager lived up to the description, it could have been one of my favorites this round. As is, I would have to rebuild the phasic ravager from scratch before I could use it at my table without large amounts of GM arbitration.

Lantern Lodge Star Voter 2013

I won't lie to you. This is at my bottom two of the four I voted for. Neither was I a fan of your Monster Reformation Alliance. Your raptoring gloves, however, were among my favorites of Round 1. Imagery, as I've stated with the other competitors I voted for, means a lot to both myself and my group.

With that out of that way, your monster brings to me exactly the image I think you were trying to portray and that's saying a lot coming from me. Honestly, I think yours was the one that presented the most [b]original[/i] imagery for me. I can see the dripping gore every time this thing phases in and out. I imagine it doing so as it moves towards the PCs. I also imagine when the PCs defeat it that the gore of everything simply drops to the floor and splatters everyone nearby - maybe with causing the PCs to be nauseated for a number of rounds if they don't succeed on a Fortitude save.

I like that about your entry.

Of course, the magical item aspect of the creature is what gets me. I understand where you were trying to go with it, but I don't think you quite got there. The game mechanics here I find lacking (though I will admit that if I'd made it this far, I'm sure I'd be judged the same).

I hope you don't take this as harsh as it sounds. Out of the Top 16 entries, you were one of only four that I chose to vote for. Congratulations for that because it means with a few modifications I would gladly use your monster in any of my home games. With your permission, I very well might.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Phloid

This has some sparks of cool, but in the end I just didn't care for it. I like the phasing in and out stealing items thing, but I don't think it was done well. I agree with others that something based on "blink" would have been a better way to go than partial corporeality. I got confused reading the line "A ravager cannot wield any items it steals, but it can otherwise benefit from magic items." So it can't use weapons or anything it might hold in hand but other items work normally? Do the items it absorbs from Discorporating Touch still function or only the ones stolen with Phasing Steal? Do items he steals or absorbs become part of its body and if so does ignore item slots? There are just a lot of questions here. Maybe they are answered somewhere in the description, but the mechanics are ambiguous. Couldn't vote for it.


As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest most..so lets see..
I like the idea, and the description is perfectly creepy.
I have used partially incorporeal creatures in the past, so it was good to see one tossed out there. Its easy to trip up on PF vs 3.5 rules..perhaps a 25% miss chance? I wouldn't have given them the extra d6 of damage on their touch, personally, and would have dropped the amount of healing they gain when stealing, if any at all, and would have simply allowed them to use what they have stolen.
In the end..I like the concept behind this critter, and would use a tweaked version in my home game! I have not decided on my votes yet, and the basic concept behind this one is pretty amazing..we shall see.


As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest most..so lets see..
I like the idea, and the description is perfectly creepy.
I have used partially incorporeal creatures in the past, so it was good to see one tossed out there. Its easy to trip up on PF vs 3.5 rules..perhaps a 25% miss chance? I wouldn't have given them the extra d6 of damage on their touch, personally, and would have dropped the amount of healing they gain when stealing, if any at all, and would have simply allowed them to use what they have stolen.
In the end..I like the concept behind this critter, and would use a tweaked version in my home game! I have not decided on my votes yet, and the basic concept behind this one is pretty amazing..we shall see. Good luck to the badger

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

I don't think it's my least favorite entry of the round, but it might be close.

The thing is a crushing together of abilities and items. I think there are good ideas here - a creature that feeds of corporeality. But I think type and incorporeality were poorly chosen. If you gave us an undead creature that steals corporeality from PCs, so it can feel alive again, that'd be better. In fact, now I like the idea of an undead that robs the living of their corporeality, traps their victims on the ethereal (maybe even turning them into ghosts after a certai amount of time), and lives normally so long as it can feed on the 'realness' of other creatures.

So, there's a good idea here somewhere, but if I can make a more exciting concept out of a flawed one while doing my first review of it, I have to judge it as not superstar.

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