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Thunderthief


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

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka FaxCelestis

2 people marked this as a favorite.

A ring of eyes surrounds this creature's gaping, triangular maw, and three translucent, bat-like wings jut out at regular intervals around its reptilian torso. A long, barbed tail trails behind it, whipping back and forth capriciously.

Thunderthief CR 7
XP 3,200
Usually CN Small Aberration
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16
Aura shocking (10 ft., DC 17)

----- Defense -----
AC 22, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+6 Dex, +5 natural, +1 size)
hp 65 (10d8+20)
Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +10
DR 5/silver; Immune dimensional anchor, electricity, stunning; SR 19
Weaknesses poison, slow

----- Offense -----
Speed 10 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee bite +14 (1d3-1 plus 2d6 electricity)
Special Attacks thunderdash

----- Statistics -----
Str 8, Dex 22, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 15
Base Atk +7; CMB +12 (+4 steal); CMD 21 (25 vs. steal)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise, Greater Steal, Improved Steal, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +19, Escape Artist +19, Fly +29, Perception +16, Stealth +23
Languages Auran
SQ hoard gullet, windrider

----- Ecology -----
Environment Eye of Abendego
Organization solitary, pair, clutch (3-6), or swarm (6-10)
Treasure self and stomach contents; see text

----- Special Abilities -----
Flight (Su) A thunderthief flies via manipulating electrical impulses with arcane energy. In an antimagic field or similar, a thunderthief cannot fly.
Hoard Gullet (Su) A thunderthief's stomach is larger on the inside than the outside. As such, a thunderthief treats its stomach as a bag of holding type I. Whenever a thunderthief steals an item, it immediately swallows it as a free action.
Shocking Aura (Su) A thunderthief is constantly surrounded by a statically charged field. Creatures that start their turns within 10 feet of a thunderthief must make a Reflex save (DC 17; the save DC is Charisma-based) or take 3d6 points of electrical damage. Creatures damaged in this way must make an additional Fortitude save against the same DC or be stunned for one round.
Thunderdash (Su) As a standard action, a thunderthief may teleport to any location it can see within 60 feet. If it does so, draw a line between its starting and ending locations: if the line passes through the space of an unattended object or creature, that object or creature takes 3d6 electrical damage and 3d6 sonic damage (Reflex DC 17 for half; the save DC is Charisma-based). A thunderthief that damages a creature in this way may initiate a steal attempt as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Windrider (Ex) A thunderthief is immune to being checked or blown away and does not suffer a penalty to its Fly check from high winds, including magically created winds.

Thunderthieves appeared in the Eye of Abendego almost at its inception: scholars theorize that thunderthieves are actually created by the storm itself. Others wonder if they are related to ethereal marauders, given their similar mouths and tactics. In either case, no one has ever seen a young thunderthief: they seem to spring into existence fully formed.

Driven by a voracious hunger, a thunderthief eats nearly anything it can swallow, preferring small items made of metal. A thunderthief digests these items over a matter of weeks (or even months, in the case of magical items), so an item eaten by a thunderthief may be retrieved shortly after being eaten with little to no lasting damage.

A thunderthief is about two feet long and weights about twenty pounds.

A slain thunderthief can be used as a typical, albeit grisly, bag of holding type I after being cleaned and dried.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hey, James...welcome to Round 3. This carousel doesn't end until you either fall out of the competition or win the whole thing. You've been chugging along with some major mojo/gonzo on your wondrous item and organization designs. Let's see what you've given us this time around.

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:
Nice read-aloud descriptive text. It should really help set the scene when encountering this thing.

I like the immunity to dimensional anchor and the thunderdash ability to damage any creature between its starting location and ending location.

The Eye of Abendego connection feels like an overreach to me. That location in Golarion is nearly as mysterious as the Starstone. Best to steer away from crafting a design that leans too strongly on that kind of cornerstone element in the campaign setting.

The thunderdash ability combined with Greater Steal is pretty harsh. This combination would become especially annoying in the war between GMs and players. As worded, the thunderdash ability indicates any creature who takes damage as it teleports across their space becomes subject to a free steal attempt without provoking an AoO. It's a save for half Reflex save. So, unless you've got evasion (or you're completely immune to both electricity and sonic damage), you're always going to take damage and generate a steal opportunity for these creatures. And, with Greater Steal, just a handful of them would wreak havoc on most parties. I'm not a fan of this notion.

The bag of holding (type I) stomach just doesn't work for me. I get the creativity intended behind that design decision. I just think you could have made it a normal gullet via a swallow whole type of mechanic and been done with it. No need to bring a wondrous item into the equation and have people harvesting these gullets for easy magic items.

The whole premise of these voracious creatures hurtling around the massive hurricane comprised by the Eye of Abendego and somehow having a fertile enough hunting ground to keep targeting metal objects to swallow and digest feels way too ill-defined. About the only way they're going to encounter anyone out there to steal such items is if ships come passing by their territory. How often do you imagine ships venturing through a hurricane...on purpose? Exceedingly rare? I'd say so. Thus, how do these thunderthieves actually survive?

Lastly, the name? Thunderthief? It just doesn't work for me. Just because they're associated with thunder-and-lighting and can steal things from you with their thunderdash ability isn't a reason to go soft with a literal interpretation of the creature's name. They're intelligent. I assume they call themselves something. And it wouldn't be "thunderthief." I don't find that inspiring at all.

I also didn't care for the lack of an origin explanation. As the reader, I don't want to be told that scholars theorize the Eye of Abendego spontaneously gives birth to these creatures. Tell me where they actually come from. Are they extraplanar? They certainly seem like they might be. Yet, they aren't. You've classified them as Small aberrations (which needs to be lowercase, by the way), but gave them the ability to speak Auran which means maybe they've got a connection to the Plane of Air? Yet, you were prohibited from giving us an outsider this go-around. To me, this smacks more of a creature idea you may have had in mind before the Round 3 "twist" prohibited you from submitting outsiders and you tried to shoe-horn it into this round anyway.

I also think the alignment designation of "Usually CN" isn't necessary. The mere fact that you list them as CN implies that's their usual alignment.

The creature's weaknesses also seem weakly defined (pardon the pun). I'm not certain what kind of weakness or vulnerability they have to poison and slow. From the wording of the flight special ability, it appears they have a weakness to antimagic field since it would drop all of them into the sea where they'd presumably drown in the waves kicked up by the hurricane.

I'm just not sure this one was thought through all that well. There are elements here which could have made for a nice, thunder-and-lightning-themed monster. But this one just stretches credibility a bit too far for me and comes off feeling too unfocused. In other ways, it's far too limited to the Eye of Abendego. It's not a very reusable creature. It's a one-time encounter.

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. I ran into a few things that seemed off to me. You might want to go back and double-check the following:

- Your AC is a little high for a CR 7 creature, but you offset that with below-average hit points. I think that works out okay. This is something that might need playtesting, though, given this creature's attack methods. If a party can protect itself against electricity damage, they'll win fairly easily. Otherwise? Who knows?

- Spell resistance of 19 is a bit higher than the norm. A CR 7 creature would normally have SR 18, which means spells fail against it about 50% of the time. You've skewed it to 45% of the time which could tip the balance a bit further on this thing.

- Shocking aura is vicious if it can stun victims for a round in addition to damaging them. That pretty much makes them drop the items they're carrying (making it even easier for thunderthieves to steal them).

- Your ability scores don't appear to have used the 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10 non-standard array. I'm guessing you got crossed up by something and missed an 11 vs. 10. Ability scores are always based off scores of 11 or 10. This goes back to the days of 3.5 rules and Pathfinder honors that by incorporating the same restrictions into its monster designs. Essentially, you should always have three odd-numbered ability scores and three even-numbered ones. After that, racial adjustments are provided in even-numbered increments (i.e., +2, +4, +6, etc.).

Presentation:
Pretty solid here for the most part. You don't need the "Usually" designator on the creature's alignment. The weaknesses to poison and slow need to be better defined under a special ability or something. The thunderdash ability needs to list its DC under Special Attacks. Other than that, you properly reference a lot of different game terminologies and you used the template pretty well.

Bottom Line:
The core concept of this design hinges on a premise that just isn't going to be inspiring to most GMs unless they intend to run a seafaring campaign that takes the PCs past the Eye of Abendego over and over. You've pretty much got to venture there to meet these things. And, after that first time, you're probably sailing away, never to return. Beyond that limitation, I do like some of the ideas woven into the creature with the thunderdash ability that strikes across parties in a "ride the lightning" kind of way. I get what you were going for with that...but I didn't like the focus on stealing everything away from PCs during that thunderdash. Additionally, I really felt like you got too wrapped up in all the creature's abilities and didn't save enough words for banging out some compelling body text giving us more credible reasons for this creature's existence, goals, motivations, etc. I needed something to give it more staying power as a reusable creature concept.

Given all that, I'm going to say I DO NOT RECOMMEND this monster to carry you through to the next round. The voters (and other judges) may feel otherwise, however. Some designs I didn't recommend last round still made it through. So, that's entirely possible here, as well. If you do make it through, I'll want to see you crank it up a notch for the encounter round. Apply as many of the lessons you've learned here as possible and make sure you give us stuff that can stand the test of time within the game, both mechanically and from a flavor standpoint.

Looking back across your earlier work, your spellbreaker gauntlets were a big hit with folks. I thought you went a little too gonzo, however, with your organization in Besmara's Chosen. In some ways, I think you're reaching for way more wahoo/gonzo concepts and using that to prop up your designs. Personally, I'd like to see you rein some of that in and focus more on giving us something tightly innovative that really fits the game and the campaign setting. You've come a long way already in the competition. Best of luck in the voting.

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

James, 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: Lots of flash and bang here (and I’m a fan of flash and bang), but once the smoke clears I'm not seeing a Superstar-quality submission.

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): C+
I don’t think you thought your concept through. Let me explain. You don’t want to make a monster that is so special and local that it is essentially never encountered. Now, that doesn’t mean every monster entry has to be the next orc that sees play every night. But you really shouldn’t make it so specific and limited that it will almost never see play. Yours runs afoul of this. Granted, there is an Adventure Path coming up set in the Shackles, but to encounter these monsters you have to go into the eye itself—not little storms around it (which actually are big storms), but the actual eye. That means your monster isn’t really a good monster, it is a specific monster created for one specific adventure—the one that takes the PCs into the eye. That is a monster concept problem from a playability standpoint. Then you move into another monster concept problem—logic. Sure, we are talking FRPG monsters so there is a huge level of disbelief. But the fans still expect some things to make sense. For instance, what exactly are these things feeding off of? It has “voracious hunger” yet lives somewhere where nothing goes. It apparently likes small metal objects, but where does it get them? And I hate to pile on, but I am not a fan of the name. Maybe this is what the pirates call them, though you’d think these nasty things would get a better name than that. So with all these negatives, why a C+? Because you took a big swing and I respect that. “Go hard or go home,” as they say. Well, you went hard. Kudos to you.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): B-
You write well. The formatting is good. I see your stat block-fu and rules-fu within acceptable parameters. My one problem is the bag of holding thing. Here's why I don't like the stomach thing: it answers the big question—if I kill one and cut out its stomach will it work FOR ME like a bag of holding? The answer is yes. But that is just bad design. You can’t kill a monster for a magic item. It just shouldn’t work that way. If it did, then when you killed a dragon you’d get a magic spear or sword from its fang, or a magic shield from its scale, or you’d get a cloak of displacement from killing and skinning a displace…uh, I mean a monster that isn’t in the SRD  but you get the point. That said, I thought you put some pretty fun powers on this thing. The Thunderdash plus steal mechanic is really cool. I have to admit, I would have loved if you would have put that on a different storm related creature not so tied to the Eye because that would be fun at the game table. But I can’t judge the creature you should have submitted (or that I think you should have submitted), I can only judge the one you did.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): B-
I like that you pulled out the stops, it just has too many core concept problems and the bag of holding mistake is too much for me.

Overall: B-
I don’t think you took our advice to heart about your gonzo organization. This is more of the same.

Recommendation: I DO NOT RECOMMEND voters consider this monster to advance to the Top 8.

Your gauntlets were interesting but Besmara’s Chosen was way too gonzo. I recall my comments to you were “If Boomer was good gonzo, this is bad gonzo.” I wish you would have listened to us. Plus, though I can’t say you “whiffed” on the Eye the way you did with your prior reference to the Starstone, but this creature sure suggests you don’t have a good feel of what to stay away from as a freelancer.

The competition is tight and whether I recommended your monster or not you have done a great job and I wish you the best of luck!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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 really like your italicized description--evocative and to the point!

We don't say "usually [alignment]" for Pathfinder monster stat blocks.

Save or 3d6 damage and stun per round is way too good, especially if you have multiple creatures in an encounter.

We generally don't do "this monster's body becomes treasure X" creatures.

I'm not sure what it means that this creature has "Weakness poison, slow." Perhaps you meant vulnerability?

Minor nitpick, but its description refers to ethereal marauders, but those are SRD monsters and aren't officially converted to the Pathfinder RPG yet (not worth a DQ, it's just something we'd cut in development).

I think it was a mistake to limit this creature to just the Eye of Abendego instead of any stormy area. You could have said they originated there but have spread to other areas.

This creature feels like it should be a kind of air elemental outsider, and instead it's an aberration because the contest rules don't allow it.

CEO, Goblinworks

It's a bizarre little critter that is effectively a living bag of holding.

Good stats. It's designed to be limited to a very very specific place on Golarion and I think that's a mistake.

Great use of special abilities to reinforce the theme. I really liked the Thunderdash ability in particular (delivers the noise that the electrical effects foreshadow).

Shocking Aura is overpowered. Taking that save every single round and risk being stunned is too much for a CR7 encounter. The DC of 17 is pretty high too; it's going to be tough for armored fighters to overcome.

This puts a lot of bags of holding into a campaign pretty early in its development. Some GMs won't care but others will think that's a travesty.

Overall I like this critter. Good theme, and great use of mechanics to reinforce that theme. It has power problems but they could be fixed by just fixing one special ability in relatively easy ways.

I think this is at least a B, maybe a B+.

I recommend that you vote for this designer.

Star Voter 2013

I liked the imagery and function of the Spellbreaker Gauntlets, and I voted for your organization, however, that was mostly an, "I had an extra vote" situation. This creature fell very flat with me and drew a lot of mental images of the Fox Illusion attacked used by Fox in the Super Smash Bros. games. However, you're dealing 6d6 points of damage, and stealing an item. The way this monster would end up being played, is lining up as many people as it can, and thunderdashing through them all. This monster would seriously piss off any player it went up against, and would make for an unenjoyable battle.

I don't see myself supporting the Thunderthief.


Ugh, another thief!

I think it might be a bit too powerful with unlimited Thunderdash and shocking aura which may render whole party with moderate to low Fortitude incapable of taking actions.

Overall idea intersting but when I saw the name I thought about some sort of Native American inspiration.


I liked the concept, but I think it went over the CR 7 threshold with it's special qualities. I liked the use of the newer feats, but that was probably the main purpose behind the design.

This is something a DM looking to punish the party might use.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

I think shocking aura and thunderdash as written are currently a little powerful for a CR 7 creature. But I do like the idea behind the abilities. Maybe tone shocking aura down a notch, say maybe something it can do every 1d4 rounds (similiar to a wood golem's splinter ability). Maybe incorporate the free steal attempt into the shocking aura ability against a stunned foe. I love the idea of the thunderdash but I would drop the steal ability.

Overall, I actually like the flavor and theme of this monster. I don't think that the "flaws", in regards to some of the abilities, aren't a dealbreaker for me. I think it's a rather easy fix. I haven't read all the entries yet, but this is a definitely a possible vote for me. Good work.


A bit on the strong side, but you have my vote.

Silver Crusade

It has immunity to dimensional anchor but no innate abilities to shift dimensions. At first glance I thought that the immunity was overpowered but now it just seems like a useless ability unless some wizard tries to teleport it. I look forward to when the voting is over so you can explain what you were thinking with that.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Apostle of Gygax wrote:
It has immunity to dimensional anchor but no innate abilities to shift dimensions. At first glance I thought that the immunity was overpowered but now it just seems like a useless ability unless some wizard tries to teleport it. I look forward to when the voting is over so you can explain what you were thinking with that.

Actually, dimensional anchor prevents teleportation effects, and thunderdash is a teleportation effect.

Silver Crusade

Somehow I missed that in my readings of the stat block. Thanks for the clarification Sean.


I like the introductory description. Something that let's me and the players clearly imagine what this beast looks like is always good.
The Shocking Aura every round seems a bit strong.
I think I'd have liked this more if you had called them something like "Thunderchaser" and had them spawned in the Eye but migrating across the world chasing thunderstorms, otherwise they are a bit limited.


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? Sure. The tie-in with the Eye of Abendego is cool on its own, but all that's really needed is a nice big hurricane to justify these things stirring up.

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Yes! I suddenly want to throw my players onto a boat at sea and have them run through a large storm just so I can justify throwing these guys at them. The combination of dealing electricity/sonic damage AND getting a steal attempt off really jives with my style of GMing - it adds insult to injury, and I am always in favor of that! =]

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? The physical description calls to mind something out of Metroid. My players would go gaga over this creature's appearance.

Additional Thoughts: I loved your round 2 submission and I like the thunderthief a lot, too. You definitely have my vote.

Star Voter 2013

I'm starting to see a theme with your submissions, and unfortunately it's "gonzo". You have very much the opposite problem of a lot of other entries this round in my mind, with a fairly solid stat block and a really uninspired flavor surrounding it. Sure the read-aloud description is kinda cool, but everything else is really lame compared to the rest of the round's flavor.

As to the stat-block thing, I mean the bag of holding stomach. But, I see that as a minor fix - the magic stops working when it dies, which might mean when you stab it, it explodes with all the stuff it had inside of itself which would have been a plus rather than a minus.

Sadly, I'm not voting for you this round, even though i really wanted to. You really need to go and brush up on your Golarion-fu, because if you did I think you would have been a shoe-in for the winner of this competition. You've got "it", but that same "it" is getting in the way of giving us what this competition is actually asking for.

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

I rather liked the Eye of Abednego connection, but I wouldn't have made it the only place they're encountered. As the judges have pointed out, there's not much going on there in terms of people with shiny treasures for them to steal, so they'd be more usable if they spread out from there into the rest of the world.

The mechanics on the other hand... I didn't like so much. As written, this thing can make an attack in a 60 foot line every round, drop 6d6 damage on all in that line and steal from all of them? That's pretty powerful, and pretty annoying. The shocking aura is likewise rough, although it appears to be a save negates, so if you pass the Reflex, you don't need to worry about the stunning. Makes me feel sorry for the poor wizards who can't pass either, though. The "free bag of holding with every purchase" seems like a bit much. That's a good magic item; I wonder why they haven't been hunted into extinction by adventurers yet.

What pushed this entry for me from a weak pass to a weak fail was the weaknesses. How do slow and poison impact it negatively? Does it take damage faster? Does it lose its thunderdash if it's slowed? It just comes up a big blank spot, and for that reason I won't be voting for this entry. Best of luck with the voters.

Oh, and I see the name as "thunderchief". Every time. It's weirding me out.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

I haven't shared my opinion much in the Superstar contest, but I want to this round.

Short of the long, I really wanted to like this one. Its fun and evocative. I'd love to torture my players with it. But honestly, I feel it would be better as is as a CR 9-11 monster, at least that is my gut instinct. There are a number of minor errors that could easily be fixed by editing. But all in all they are minor. Then there are unanswered questions like what happens to its stomach contents if it is an antimagic field or if it ends up in a bag of holding?

The downside on it is this monster doesn't really have a true vulnerability. Dragons have a low touch AC, devils hate silver and good aligned weapons, etc. This one ... doesn't have one. Its got a higher than usual AC, a balanced touch/ff AC, difficult to engage in melee combat, flight, no incentive for it to not to teleport every round, cannot be stopped with dimensional anchor, SR, impossible to set up a sneak attack. You've reduced the non-casters-with-ranged-damage-spells to silver arrows and bolts and almost no other options.

If this was on my desk, I'd keep it, but I would either heavily edit it up it to a CR 9.

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

James, Your whole concept here is really entertaining. I can't help but think of this creature as a rogue Modron whose inner machinery is malfunctioning very badly.

Here's what I like:
- this monster forces a thoughtful and tactical approach to combat. Battlefield mobility is not something all groups do well, and a fight with this creature can broaden that experience.
- makes use of the steal maneuver in a clever way.
- thunderdash ability would be so much fun to run. I really like this.

Here's what I don't like:
- defensive abilities seem out of place. Not sure what's up with the DR/silver or the poison/slow weakness. Odd stuff that needs to be explained better or cleaned up.
- bag of holding gullet... interesting but unnecessary. This thing's gullet is bound to have fun treasures inside without making the gullet BE the treasure. Word count is better served elsewhere.

Other Thoughts:
- damaging abilities seem a bit high. I think the aura and the thunderdash damage are probably both a bit much and could be toned down. However, I'd probably change my mind if the PCs were all affected by a communal resist energy spell, which at level 7, would neuter this entire encounter.


Hello again, welcome in round 3 and congratulations on making it this far. I'm sorry if I didn't get by your organization last round, I can't seem to remember that I did; I walked into my winter disease period.

Now, round 3 is for monsters, so let’s have a look at the beastie:
I'll be trying for thorough this round, as those who make it on will have an increasing chance of writing a supplement, which I'll likely have an interest in buying. Therefore both to help me and help you, I'll do my best and fiercest to give constructive critique here.
1) Rules (I want to be reassured that you have your attention to detail and sharpness for rules along here, especially since the organization round tested little on this spot): Hmm, there's some concerns. The Thunderclash ability is neat, but a lot of the other things have small issues. The worst thing is probably the "living bag of holding" issue, but I'm tempted to let it slide as my PCs will tend to use a handy haversack no matter how many bags of holding i throw at them. It's however fairly decent treasure to have flying about (that one was intentional). The Greater Steal thing might be over the top, but well, my players would be sure to kill the thing as soon as they could then. They would probably be swift to get a great bit of electricity resistance and exterminate every one of these. The DR 5/silver makes no sense to me.
Rating: 4/5 - I like most of it. I may be partial to it, I always liked weather/storm themed things, and I usually run campaigns for 6 high-power players, so being a little in the high end of the CR doesn't bother me enormously. Watch out for the details in the future. They matter.

2) Innovation (I want to (again) see promises of an adventure I couldn’t just think up myself, I want to see great and new thoughts, thoughts that seize my attention and holds it): A flying bag of holding is novel, allright. I don't know that I like it. A flying stealer, that's really just a crow, isn't it? Give me less bag of holding and more stormcrow or some such. I know, storm bird is a done theme, but the stealing would be the novelty, and a pelican kind of gullet could have handled storage.
Rating: 2/5 - All in all, it's neat enough, but it's just not there for me.

3) Creativity (Alike innovation, I want something that isn’t just new, it’s the good kind of new, and awesome at that): So, is this creative enough to make it shine. I don't know. I want to like it, but somewhere it just doesn't quite get me up and amazed. The name's a bother for me. Gosh but do I want it to be something else with that name. The aberration type doesn't work for me, I know, it isn't, but I want a magical beast here. There's just no real reason why this is an aberration. End of the day, it's neat, but sadly, I just don't get excited. I'm worried your last submission went too far, and this one just went not quite far enough, for me.
Rating: 2/5 - It's not that there's anything particular wrong, but I'm not excited, and the hour's late here, so I want to get excited.

4) Writing (I’m a nitpicker for good writing, and I want to see it. This isn’t the most writing intensive round, but that just means I’ll be looking for wasted words, that I really get nothing from, and checking the bits that are ever more carefully): Strangely, I don't much like the introduction text. It's just hard for me to image, the yes around the mouth don't make sense to me (why are they there, and why are they important - this thing is not about seeing stuff. I don't know your writing is generally good, and I don't see any flaws, but it doesn't really grab me.
Rating: 3/5 - For good, well done and all, but totally unable to amaze me more than so.

5) Golarion (Most monsters can be fitted into my campaigns, but as I mostly run Golarion, I have a keen interest in monster fitting seamlessly with the rest of the world, without expansive details for why they do so): I don't really like the Eye of Abendego thing. Even if they originate there, what stops the malicious things from spreading. Trust me if any group of mine gets near the Eye of Abendego, they better be high enough level not to be concerned by these things and even if these monsters became a concern, it would be the least of their concerns in no time, or I would have to bring out numerous dragons of ancient and lightning spewing variety. Preferably really mean dragons. It's not that they can't work in Golarion, as I run it, but it IS that they can't go away from one specific, and really rather high-level inviting, area-
Rating: 2/5 - Basically, if you'd just let them spread, travel with other storms, etc. they would have been useful. As they are, they're just another pest in an area where staying alive is the only real concern. Future advice: Remember that it must be useful, it must be realistic and there's really no reason why it shouldn't.

6) CR appropriate (I don’t want a monster pretending to be CR 7, when it’s just not fitting for what my players can reasonably handle at any level near 7, or opposite, won’t represent a challenge even to a level 5 group): They're not off CR per se, but they are very specialized and that makes them either a huge threat, or an neglible walk-over. Honestly, I'm bent towards the last, as few people would go to the Eye of Abendego (or anywhere near it, say) without protection against typical storm hazards such as lightning. Ergo: likely encountered when players are prepared for it, and likely at a level where it's not significant. I think this monster wants to be higher CR, possibly outsider and different looking.
Rating: 2/5 - I can scrap the location restriction, and make them more viable. You should have thought of that, though. I think you need to apply more logic to your work. I know, it's a fantasy world. You know what? My players still scream whenever something defies logic, even if it's fantasy logic.

7) Previous work (I’m not just looking for monsters, I’m also looking back at the former rounds, especially since they may well be tie-breakers for my votes, but also because one single round doesn’t show all anyone has to bring): Honestly, your item was a neat idea, which didn't like, and your organization was over the top much. They are, sadly, party to me wondering if you're really quite ready to go further here.
Rating: 2/5 - You have some neat ideas here and there. They just need a lot more to be more than just neat enough and no more, to me at least.

8) Promise for Adventure (I want to, as a potential buyer, contemplate how likely I am to buy an adventure written by you – based on your previous RPG Superstar work, your monster and my impression on how well you’ll do with an adventure): Honestly, I'm not aure. I don't have consistent feeling for your ability to write a great adventure. I think it depends a lot on the limits you're given, and the idea you get. Sadly, that maes my wish to see an adventure you've written somewhat conditional.
Rating: 2/5 - I'm just not sure.

9) Personal Rating (Sometimes, at the end of it all, there’s things I just like, even if there’s other things that might be better for multiple reasons – now I don’t want to tell you I don’t like something, but I do want to, positively, say that I like a particular piece of work a lot): What's with this. I wanted to love this, it's storm, it's Golarion, it's even a scent Lovecrafty if I choose to read it like that. But it doesn't catch me. I'm maybe tired, and it's just my opinion, no matter what, but this is not catchy.
Rating: 1/5 - Not caught.

10) Overall (This is where I try to give my opinion on what to improve on, how I feel about your submission in general, and finally, the thing you really want to hear, if you’re getting a vote or not): I think you need to focus heavily on realism and on going far out creative, without going too far. No I can't tell you were the border goes.
Rating: 2/5 - You're very unlikely to catch a vote. I hope others feel differently, but this lacks something for me.

Congratulations on top 16, good luck on your road to top 8!


I really liked your idea for a monster! I know that stealing items is something that drives players crazy. Cruel DMs abuse that, for sure, but cruel DMs can abuse a lot of things.

I think the stomach as a bag of holding is great, and players would jump at the chance to have something like that (at least my players would).

However, I see a lot of challenges with the concept. If you're a nice GM, you'll keep the thunderthief around until the PCs slay it. Hopefully they do so while it's over the boat, not the water! Otherwise, goodbye items! If they do so, unless they make a knowledge check regrading its abilities, they'll probably cut it open, ruining the bag of holding and losing their items forever!

I think you have a fun concept and I don't feel it's gonzo like your organization was, but it still might be too 'out there' for publication.

Good luck in the voting!

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

I like the idea of the monster, execution could be better but you'll get a developer for that ;>

I am going to vote for the idea, if you reach the next round I want to see better execution.

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

Disclaimer: In the Top 32 Guildhall, James Raine 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 thunderthief.

Overall, the thundershief has better execution than many monsters this round, but it has some conceptual flaws: specifically, it's inaccurate name and overly-specific environment are holding it back.

Name Thunderthief doesn't really work for this monster, because it isn't stealing thunder. (If, on the other hand, it fed on thunder, and had sound damping special attacks... But that's an entirely different story.)

Alignment "Usually" is a 3.5 convention that isn't used in Pathfinder.

Weaknesses You need to explain what this entry actually means, because, as written, it means nothing.

Environment The environment needs to be the terrain (or plane) in which the creature is encountered, not the region.

SQ I'm fairly sure flight should be listed here.

Treasure I'm not too fond of this treasure entry. There has to be a better way to explain what you're going for than the clunky "self plus..." construction you use here. Maybe something like "gullet plus incidental (see below)". (Edit: Apparently, the judges are much more put off by the bag of holding stomach than I was, because I didn't think it was that unreasonable a feature for a monster to have.)

Special Abilities Hoard gullet should have some sort of limit on the size of item that the thunderthief could swallow. Thunderdash needs to specify when during the dash the thunderthief gets to perform the steal combat maneuver; as written, it would probably happen only after the dash is over, since you can't normally take a free action as part of another, ongoing action.

Description These guys would have benefited if they'd been originally spawned by the Eye of Abendego, yet had since ventured out into other thunderstorms the world over, allowing the GM to use them in any stormy situation, not just ones tied to a specific region. Tying them to the Eye of Abendego only hangstings them a bit. (Edit: And I see the judges have similar opinions on this matter.)


Alright, let's see what this Thunderthief thing is about...
Right off the bat, we have the name. Thunderthief isn't an amazingly accurate description of what it does, but that's okay. We don't refer to everything with a perfect description, and Thunderthief does sound like a reasonable name someone would come up with for these creatures.

The type is Aberration, I noticed a few people saying they think that this was an attempt to dodge the "No Outsiders" restriction, but according to the Pathfinder SRD, "An aberration has a bizarre anatomy, strange abilities, an alien mindset, or any combination of the three." Let's see, their gullets are larger on the inside than the outside. I'm fairly certain that a stomach which bends the laws of the universe counts as bizarre anatomy. Likewise, thunderdash is a strange ability (at least in my eyes), so I think Aberration is a fitting type.

The statblock itself doesn't cause much alarm, with the exception of the DC for the aura. The Aura seems a bit harsh, but I'd want to see it in action before I passed a final judgment on it.

I admit to not knowing much about Golarion, but I don't understand the fuss concerning the Environment being a specific place. I mean, I do understand part of it, you want a monster to be accessible and some DMs might look at that and say, "Well, I guess I won't use this monster after all." But, honestly, if most DMs want to use the Thunderthief it will be because they think the monster will make a good fit for their game and not because they read the setting book and said, "Oh my goodness! I need to run a game in the Eye of Abendego right now!" And if a DM likes a monster and puts it somewhere contrary to its Environment listed in the statblock, that's fine. And the first player who says, "The book says they're only encountered in X spot!" should be smacked upside the head.

I recommend that you vote for this entry because it's an interesting monster, just don't get caught up in the wrong minor details and let those ruin it for you.

Lantern Lodge Star Voter 2013

I voted for this entry because I liked where I saw you going with it. That being said, it was in the bottom two of the four I voted for.

The pros for me were imagery (though, to be honest, I pictured this monster completely differently than the way you described it) and the entire concept surrounding the creature. Those are big with my group. Not to mention the grisly Bag of Holding which I thoroughly enjoy. The biggest pro for me (besides the Stomach of Holding I was its Thunderdash ability. I like the picture I get (again with the way the creature appeared in my imagination) when the creatures charges one of the PCs, trailing a line of electrical energy behind it. Big plus!

The few cons for me are something that can be fixed by a GM at their table. The name I didn't like. It could use a change and I stand by what Sean said in regards to expanding its environment beyond the Eye to the possibility of it appearing from any thunderstorm. If you had done those things, it would have pushed your entry straight to the top with me as I see my PCs snuggling up for a nice long rest in a safe place away from any potential danger when all of a sudden a thundering downpour accompanied by this creature!

Yeah, imagery means a lot to my group as I've said a thousand times.

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

Not bad. Another strange aberration like the ethereal whatevers. Wasn't totally impressed but it was in my top eight so made it to a vote from me. I think the bag of holding stomach is humorous, but not distractingly so. The idea was better than the execution, but I'm an idea guy. If I don't like the mechanics I'll change them for my game. Vote!


As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest most..so lets see..
Huh. I love/hate this monster. I like the "look" of it for sure.
You have some great ideas here, thunderdash being the tops. The shock aura works with it, but is a touch overpowered. I would keep the bag of holding concept, with a fairly high chance of it being ruined in combat.
In the end..My homebrew has no real setting, so I can easily dismiss the area-specific parts in my home game. With a few tweaks it would be a fun thing to inflict on my players. I have not decided on my votes yet, so we shall see.


The name made me first think 'fake Indian' and then put it to the tune of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Hmm Hmm Hmm THUN DER THIEF! But that's probably my issue. :-)

I like the electrical monster in the electrical storm, and its got cool visuals. I hate monsters whose ecology is mostly stealing the PCs stuff. I might have liked an origin story or something else to make them more multifaceted.

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

Pathfinder doesn't have "usually" or "always" alignments anymore. Be aware of the difference between Pathfinder and 3.5e, three years in.

An aberration with a fly speed of perfect? And yet, it's slow. And teleports every round during combat.

Calling the save DC for shocking aura Charisma-based is weird. If its body generates an electric field, it should be COn based. As is, it should be mentioned like all other references to the ability score base for DCs: in its own sentence, near or at the end of the ability description.The creature should then have the air or electricity subtypes. Heck, they even speak auran.

Thunderdash creates brand new rules when a combat maneuver or other existing rules should suffice. Dont' make more work for GMs, or force player to deal with a situation where the encounter is playing a different game system than they are (like drawing the line and impacting every character along it). Design a creature that fits the rules of the game you're writing for. Also, this is terrible design. As a standard action, the creature gets to move 60 feet, deal damage, take your weapon, and swallow it. Even worse, it looks like you want it to do that to multiple PCs in the same action. AND, it will just do this every round, relocating the combat so nothing charges it, doubtlessly drawing diagonal lines just to 'charge' PCs along a line, take their sutff, and materialize 30 feet up with perfect maneuverability. And then fly up another 30 as a move action. At CR 7. Yeesh.

I do sort of like the idea that desperate hunters might go to the Eye to find these things and sell their stomachs, turning a small profit if a miserable crew can bag several of them per excursion.

Descriptive text is a little boring. Maybe my least favorite entry thus far.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka FaxCelestis

Neil Spicer wrote:
The thunderdash ability combined with Greater Steal is pretty harsh. This combination would become especially annoying in the war between GMs and players. As worded, the thunderdash ability indicates any creature who takes damage as it teleports across their space becomes subject to a free steal attempt without provoking an AoO. It's a save for half Reflex save. So, unless you've got evasion (or you're completely immune to both electricity and sonic damage), you're always going to take damage and generate a steal opportunity for these creatures. And, with Greater Steal, just a handful of them would wreak havoc on most parties. I'm not a fan of this notion.

"This maneuver can be used in melee to take any item that is neither held nor hidden in a bag or pack." So it can't steal weapons, hidden items, armor, clothes, or other closely-worn equipment. Mostly what it can do is take your sheathed weaponry, potions on your belt, arrows from your quiver, stuff like that.

Neil Spicer wrote:
The whole premise of these voracious creatures hurtling around the massive hurricane comprised by the Eye of Abendego and somehow having a fertile enough hunting ground to keep targeting metal objects to swallow and digest feels way too ill-defined. About the only way they're going to encounter anyone out there to steal such items is if ships come passing by their territory. How often do you imagine ships venturing through a hurricane...on purpose? Exceedingly rare? I'd say so. Thus, how do these thunderthieves actually survive?

They eat anything. It says it "prefers items made of metal", not that it eats them to exclusivity. I prefer chocolate cake, but I don't eat it to exclusivity.

Neil Spicer wrote:
You've classified them as Small aberrations (which needs to be lowercase, by the way), but gave them the ability to speak Auran which means maybe they've got a connection to the Plane of Air? Yet, you were prohibited from giving us an outsider this go-around. To me, this smacks more of a creature idea you may have had in mind before the Round 3 "twist" prohibited you from submitting outsiders and you tried to shoe-horn it into this round anyway.

They are aberrations. They have a bizarre anatomy and strange abilities, which are two aberration qualifiers from the PRD. If I wanted it to be an outsider, I wouldn't've shaped it so strangely, would have given it an elemental descriptor, and would've set its environment in a different place.

Neil Spicer wrote:
- Spell resistance of 19 is a bit higher than the norm. A CR 7 creature would normally have SR 18, which means spells fail against it about 50% of the time. You've skewed it to 45% of the time which could tip the balance a bit further on this thing.

Spell Penetration or a single CL boost from somewhere will compensate. By level 7, I would assume that any spellcaster dedicated to SR-Yes spells would have one or the other, if not both.

Neil Spicer wrote:
Shocking aura is vicious if it can stun victims for a round in addition to damaging them. That pretty much makes them drop the items they're carrying (making it even easier for thunderthieves to steal them).

Getting stunned requires failing two saves: first you have to fail the Reflex save (since it's Ref neg), then the Fortitude save. Plus, you have to start your turn in the area: entering the area doesn't trigger it.

Clark Peterson wrote:
You can’t kill a monster for a magic item. It just shouldn’t work that way. If it did, then when you killed a dragon you’d get a magic spear or sword from its fang, or a magic shield from its scale, or you’d get a cloak of displacement from killing and skinning a displace--uh, I mean a monster that isn’t in the SRD -- but you get the point.

When you kill a dragon, you can skin it and make dragonhide armor. This is not very different: all it really does is cut out the middleman between "I skin the dragon, carry its hide around, and give it to the armorer next time we're in a large city".

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Save or 3d6 damage and stun per round is way too good, especially if you have multiple creatures in an encounter.

It's save or 3d6, and if you fail, save or stun. I agree that if it was all a single save it'd be too good, but it's a double save. Phantasmal killer is available at level 7 which follows a similar save pattern.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Shocking Aura is overpowered. Taking that save every single round and risk being stunned is too much for a CR7 encounter. The DC of 17 is pretty high too; it's going to be tough for armored fighters to overcome.

I disagree on that. Sure, they'll fail the Ref save, but they will probably make the Fort save. On top of that, protection from energy or resist energy will shield you from even having to make a Fortitude save most of the time.

Tels wrote:
However, you're dealing 6d6 points of damage, and stealing an item. The way this monster would end up being played, is lining up as many people as it can, and thunderdashing through them all.

And how is this different from a dragon or spellcaster trying to catch as many people as possible in its breath or spell? Steal is pretty limited in what it can and can't take, in addition. Further, 6d6 averages to 21 damage, which the monster creation rules say is one point under average for a weak hit at CR 7. Getting hit with both the aura and the dash is 9d6, averaging to 31 damage, which is one point over the average for a CR 7 strong hit, and it still allows for a Ref to negate 3d6 of that and another Ref to halve 6d6 of that. Making both means you essentially take 3d6, or averaging 10 points: incidentally, the amount negated by resist energy.

Luthia wrote:
There's just no real reason why this is an aberration.

Yes there is: "An aberration has a bizarre anatomy, strange abilities, an alien mindset, or any combination of the three." Three steering-only wings, no limbs, triangular mouth, ring of eyes, flies supernaturally, has a stomach bigger on the inside than the outside...sounds like a bizarre anatomy to me.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
The creature should then have the air or electricity subtypes.

Why? A behir breathes lightning and doesn't have the electricity subtype. Neither do shocker lizards.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
Dont' make more work for GMs, or force player to deal with a situation where the encounter is playing a different game system than they are (like drawing the line and impacting every character along it).

It is exactly the same as a lightning bolt but for half the damage being sonic and an added steal attempt.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
As a standard action, the creature gets to move 60 feet, deal damage, take your weapon, and swallow it.

No it doesn't. It can steal, not disarm, when thunderdashing. Steal (as I quoted above) is very limited in what it can and can't take. It could steal your amulet, maybe a sheathed dagger on your belt, but it can't take anything in your hands, on your body, or in your pack.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hi, James. Since you singled out a lot of my commentary, specifically, I'll at least respond to some of what you've declared here. I won't have time for a long drawn-out discussion, but I at least wanted to give you some additional feedback and food for thought in the hopes it might help you. If so, great. If not, that's okay, too.

Re: The thunderdash ability...

James Raine wrote:
"This maneuver can be used in melee to take any item that is neither held nor hidden in a bag or pack." So it can't steal weapons, hidden items, armor, clothes, or other closely-worn equipment. Mostly what it can do is take your sheathed weaponry, potions on your belt, arrows from your quiver, stuff like that.

I still think a handful of these creatures would really inhibit parties with the thunderdash quick movement, electricity and sonic damage, and a free steal opportunity that provokes no AoO. Wizards could have wands stolen from their belts. Warriors could have healing potions taken away. Backup weapons could be lost. It's enough mayhem that I thought combining all those things into a single, powerful attack form was just doing too much.

Re: Their feeding preferences...

James Raine wrote:
They eat anything. It says it "prefers items made of metal", not that it eats them to exclusivity. I prefer chocolate cake, but I don't eat it to exclusivity.

Regardless, what else do they have to eat in the maelstrom of the hurricane? My concern wasn't so much that they just eat metal (or prefer it). My concern was that there's little to nothing in an actual hurricane they'd be able to locate and feed upon. Ships aren't going to pass that way very often. Birds aren't going to be able to fly in a hurricane. Even the waters below the Eye of Abendego aren't going to be teeming with fish for the thunderthief to dive upon from the sky. So, my original question still remains. This is a very unusual habitat within which to restrict the thunderthief. There's practically nothing there to eat. Your description here (or lack thereof) broke the willing suspension of disbelief as I read along. That's all.

Re: Aberrations vs. outsiders...

James Raine wrote:
They are aberrations. They have a bizarre anatomy and strange abilities, which are two aberration qualifiers from the PRD. If I wanted it to be an outsider, I wouldn't've shaped it so strangely, would have given it an elemental descriptor, and would've set its environment in a different place.

I wasn't disputing that everything is mechanically there for them to be aberrations (in terms of qualifiers from the PRD). What I was trying to convey to you is that because of their habitat, lack of any true understanding of their origin, and unusual feeding habits (or, again, lack thereof), the creatures actually made more sense to me if they were outsiders. Conceptually, it felt more like you had a great idea for a creature from the Plane of Air (and hence, an extraplanar outsider) than casting it as an aberration. That's how it came across to me as I read your work. And it's your writing that took me to that place. It wasn't a personal bias or inclination on my part.

You'd be surprised how often that happens to freelance designers. We write something the way we perceive it or want it to be and then our work gets released "into the wild" and the consumers and gamers out there interpret it completely differently than we meant. But, no matter how much we might want to shake them and say, "No...you're reading it wrong!"...the truth of the matter is that our writing led them to that interpretation. So, what's more important is that we realize how we write and how we present things in our next design so we don't lead people to a conclusion we never intended.

Re: The spell resistance...

James Raine wrote:
Spell Penetration or a single CL boost from somewhere will compensate. By level 7, I would assume that any spellcaster dedicated to SR-Yes spells would have one or the other, if not both.

Yes, you'd pretty much need for a spellcaster to pursue one of those things...which means you've painted this design into a corner. And it's not simply the elevated SR that I was talking about. You have to consider all of a monster's abilities together when you introduce SR. The thunderthief has a lot of movement options and can mete out some serious damage with the thunderdash ability and collateral "damage" by stealing things from its victims. To effectively combat it, you're probably going to need a spellcaster to help target it and slow it down. Yet, any spellcaster who hasn't devoted themselves to Spell Penetration or a CL boost will only have a 45% chance of anything getting through to affect the beast. Even those who have done that will still only get anything through about 50% of the time.

Thus, it's not simply the elevated SR "level" you assigned it. Its all the other variables that are in play for the thunderthief that cause some concerns about the design. Personally, I think you could give it SR, but if anything, I'd lower it below the norm...so spells fizzle out less than 50% of the time. Or, I'd have dropped the SR altogether and given the creature some other defense or nothing further at all. It's got enough going for it already that an elevated SR wasn't making the design better. And that's just my opinion...which is exactly what we as judges are here to give.

Re: The shocking aura...

James Raine wrote:
Getting stunned requires failing two saves: first you have to fail the Reflex save (since it's Ref neg), then the Fortitude save. Plus, you have to start your turn in the area: entering the area doesn't trigger it.

Because of the thunderthief's unique movement abilities, it can pretty much go and target whomever it wants whenever it wants. This thing is as "battlefield mobile" as anything out there. So, it can make sure it brings that shocking aura to bear on anyone it wishes. Certain classes (like wizards, sorcerers, etc.) would still have a hard time making both of those saves. They're just not as good at Reflex and Fortitude saves as the front-line guys. And, these spellcasters are going to be pretty vital (and necessary) in opposing and putting down a thunderthief. Yet, if their spells are failing half the time and they can be pretty easily stunned by this shocking aura so they drop their wands, staves, etc., it's going to be a greater problem. It's another element that increases the threat level of the thunderthief beyond its CR 7. But again, that's just my opinion based on everything I'm looking at in terms of the creature's abilities.

All in all, I didn't think the thunderthief was a complete bust of an idea. I thought you had the seeds there to make something cool out of it. I agree with many of the other posters who suggested making it so the creatures spawned within the Eye of Abendego and then rode various storms out of the region and towards the various shorelines of western Avistan. And, I think if you'd toned down certain aspects of its abilities...and maybe playtested it against a handful of level-appropriate iconics...you could have found a winning design here.

But that's just my two-cents,
--Neil

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka FaxCelestis

Neil Spicer wrote:
Hi, James. Since you singled out a lot of my commentary, specifically, I'll at least respond to some of what you've declared here. I won't have time for a long drawn-out discussion, but I at least wanted to give you some additional feedback and food for thought in the hopes it might help you. If so, great. If not, that's okay, too.

Well, I only singled out a lot of what you had to say because you had the most to say out of anyone. :P

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

James Raine wrote:
Well, I only singled out a lot of what you had to say because you had the most to say out of anyone. :P

That is often the case. :-D

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Neil Spicer wrote:
James Raine wrote:
Well, I only singled out a lot of what you had to say because you had the most to say out of anyone. :P
That is often the case. :-D

Agreed. The ability to write a lot of relevant commentary with value is one of Neil's superpowers. :-)


James Raine wrote:

A ring of eyes surrounds this creature's gaping, triangular maw, and three translucent, bat-like wings jut out at regular intervals around its reptilian torso. A long, barbed tail trails behind it, whipping back and forth capriciously.

Thunderthief CR 7

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you (somehow) missed it so far, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness means both the mortals falling off the plank into the lava at the same time, balance is an essential feature in a good diet (let’s not look too closely at the use of the word ‘good’ in that context), and logic means that it’s never the succubus at fault – always the incompetent idiot of a second-rate hairdresser who is incapable of living up to a succubus’ expectations. Oh: And always remember it’s a succubus’ privilege to change her mind without any warning…
;)

Maths is Important. How many points is the name worth, and does it successfully ‘Scrabble’ around for extra points?
Ordinarily it ought to get 22 points, but I'll give it a double-word score for a total of 44 points.

Would a specimen of this creature look good on the cream and scarlet paisley pattern sofa I have in my Druman villa?
The colouration of the creature is not indicated, so it's difficult to judge aesthetically, but the static field could be a problem for the furniture and ornaments in the room.

What place does this have at a dinner party?
You 'bottle' it in a very large bell jar with a pile of metal for it to eat in the pagoda (best not to keep it too close to the house) to collect electricity from the static field to do all manner of amusing things...

Other comments?
It's described as if it's a flying fish, with wings instead of two side fins and a dorsal fin. Quite how, without any indicated limbs, it manages to 'snatch' items is unclear however.

Rating:
If this creature were a crime, what sort of crime would it be (expressed in the time honoured culprit/implement/location format)?
Mapply Menthlone the gnome cleric of Nethys, with the lightning bolt, in the conservatory.

Ask A RPGSupersuccubus – turning hope to ruin, victory to despair, and asking the important questions which really matter since whenever.

Congratulations on making the top sixteen. Obviously at this point your run in the contest is now over bar the tearful speeches and the 'but I will be back, ha-ha, if I feel like it, another year!' comments, but you did make it through to Round 3.

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