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Sidhe Lord


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

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

3 people marked this as a favorite.

This tiny knight spurs his raven mount to charge, crystal lance in hand, trailing a comet-tail of light.
Sidhe Lord CR 7
XP 3,200
CN Diminutive fey
Init +7; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12

----- Defense -----
AC 26, touch 21, flat-footed 18 (+7 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +4 size)
hp 54 (12d6+12); fast healing 5
Fort +5, Ref +13, Will +7
DR 5/cold iron; SR 18
Weaknesses vulnerability to sonic

----- Offense -----
Speed 20 ft., fly 40 ft. (average)
Melee longsword +7/+2 (1d4-3/19-20) or lance +7/+2 (1d4-3/x3)
Ranged bow +17/+12 (1d3 plus poison)
Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks poison, powerful charge (lance +17, 3d4+21)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +15)
At will—charm person, dancing lights, ghost sound, hideous laughter, reckless infatuation, silent image, unadulterated loathing
1/day—dimension door, glitterdust, shocking image, wandering star motes

----- Statistics -----
Str 4, Dex 24, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 16
Base Atk +6; CMB -1; CMD 23
Feats Defensive Combat Training, Dodge, Mobility, Mounted Combat, Taunt, Wingover
Skills Acrobatics +18, Bluff +18, Fly +28, Knowledge (nature) +11, Perception +12, Perform (any) +18, Stealth +32
Languages Common, Sylvan

----- Ecology -----
Environment any forest
Organization knight errant (1), quest (2-4), or hunt (4-8 plus 2-12 lesser fey)
Treasure standard (gem dust and crystal-shard lances)

----- Special Abilities -----
Conjure mount (Su) As a move action a Sidhe Lord can summon and mount a Tiny phantasmal bird (spectral ravens and glittering swallows are common choices). The bird has fly 100 ft. using the Sidhe Lord’s fly skill, AC 22 (+4 Dex, +4 natural, +4 size), 19 hit points.
Gallant charge (Ex) When mounted and using the charge action, a Sidhe Lord may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge). When charging with a lance, a Sidhe Lord uses its Dexterity modifier on attack and damage rolls.
Glowing beauty (Su) A Sidhe Lord sheds light as a torch. This light is not affected by darkness or deeper darkness.
Intoxicating arrows (Ex) Arrows the size of thorns induce gleeful euphoria. Bow—injury; save Fort DC 19, frequency 1/round for 6 rounds, effect 1d4 Wis, cure 2 consecutive saves.

Primal magic flares constantly from these minute humanoids, and the whispered pulse of their music drives mortals to acts of passionate madness. Courtiers in the First World’s Hanging Bower, Sidhe Lords are otherworldly poet-knights, armored in iridescent dragonfly-scale, skilled with lance and lute and illusion.

Adventurous Sidhe Lords often venture through breaches into the Material Plane, driven by curiosity and the unrequited love they bear for the Green Mother. They guard sacred groves in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, or protect those druids powerful enough to summon them. Sidhe Lords are prideful as oak and impetuous as fire; the slightest perceived insult is swiftly answered by deadly charges on conjured phantasmal steeds. In more playful moods they shoot intoxicating thorns and use spell-like abilities to mock those they see as unworthy of real combat.

When questing in the Material Plane, accompanied by enslaved pixies or other lesser fey, Sidhe Lords seek diversion from their immortal life. Beings of primal emotion, lust and anger burn hot in their mercurial hearts. Toying effortlessly with mortal minds, they drive simple folk to dramatic arguments and ardent trysts. They orchestrate cruel betrayals acted out by charmed victims, with no regard for the mortal lives they ruin. Violent passions rule where a Sidhe Lord walks, bright and beautiful and deadly in their careless power.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hey, Will...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 and making your way through the competition as best you can so far. 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:
A miniature fey lord with cavalier-like abilities involving the summoning of a magical mount and a potent powerful charge. Hmmm. Is this a Superstar idea? It's certainly off the wall. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of fey creatures done well. But does this stand up as a Superstar monster idea? Maybe.

The intoxicating arrows sound like a fun time. The conjure mount ability is new, different, and somewhat innovative. The inclusion of new spells from the APG and UM as fey-inspired SLAs are cool and make thematic sense.

You've also got a very evocative writing style. I really enjoyed the imagery. I will say, however, that when I think of a sidhe lord, I typically don't imagine them as diminutive in stature. There are certainly plenty of dangerous miniature fey creatures. Those pixies and sprites have always packed more punch than their size would indicate. But, when I think of a lord among the fey, I'm typically trying to imagine someone that's the same size as a dryad or a nymph...i.e., the male counterpart to the queens and princesses of the fey world. So, I prefer a sidhe lord that's at least Medium in creature size. But, maybe that's just me?

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 had some concerns on a few things. You might want to go back and check the following:

First, the power level of this creature is kind of out of whack for what a CR 7 monster should average in terms of AC, hp, saves, and attacks. You probably could have scaled back the Dex score a bit to get it more in line with a +13 attack, AC 20, and a slightly normalized Reflex save. I'd have liked to see Weapon Finesse thrown in there, too, to widen out the melee options for a sidhe lord. Otherwise, he's always incented to use his bow over his blade. Speaking of which, I don't know what kind of bow he uses. Judging by the damage code for his creature size, it's a longbow...but you need to call that out.

Vulnerability to sonic damage seemed a bit odd to me. I haven't seen other fey particularly susceptible to that. Why would a lord among the fey suddenly have that kind of vulnerability?

I was kind of disappointed with the creature's main attack. To be much of a menace at all, it pretty much has to rely on the conjured mount and powerful charge with a lance. That just clashes with the mischievous rogue-like duelist my mind conjures up when I imagine what a sidhe lord would be like. Granted, he could also be good at mounted combat and have the ability to conjure a mount and use a powerful lance attack. But I think you need more than that to elevate this creature concept. And a ranged bow attack with poison arrows doesn't do it either.

Let's talk about survivability. You've layered DR 5/cold iron on top of fast healing 5 on top of SR 18. That's a potent mix of defenses. To some degree, it's warranted because of the below-average hit points. Typically, a CR 7 creature would have around 85 hit points. You're 31 points below that. So, he needs fast healing just to try and stay on his feet. Unfortunately, most magic weapons suffice as cold iron to bypass his DR and at this CR, it's likely that most of his opponents would have it. So, I'm not sure you've structured this guy very well. It depends on how much he keeps his distance. And, I guess that's kind of off-putting, considering I'd want a sidhe lord to have a different set of tactics than most of the lesser fey. He should be bolder and less hit-and-run.

Lastly, the DC for the intoxicating arrows is too high for a CR 7 creature. Your baseline should be DC 17 for a primary power or DC 12 for a lesser power. If you envisioned a sidhe lord as a consummate archer, I guess it's a primary power. If you view him as someone who can stand toe-to-toe with PCs, maybe it's not? Either way, DC 19 goes further than it probably should.

I didn't crunch all the numbers, but the CMB/CMD seem off. The size complicates things and so does the Defensive Combat Training feat. You might want to go back and double-check that.

I also think the +17 attacks are a lot higher than you'd want in a CR 7 creature. The primary attack for a CR 7 monster should typically be around +13. This guy is significantly better than that, both with the powerful charge/lance and with his longbow.

Presentation:
You're missing all the DCs for the SLAs that allow saves. You need to spell that out in your monster designs or you pretty much leave the GM hanging and he has to pause to look up each spell level and compute it himself.

Perform (any) skill seems a bit odd. You should specify something here to give the sidhe lord something in line with his position among the fey culture. Perform (sing), Perform (dance), or something with any of the traditional music instruments would make more sense.

You need to capitalize all the words in the header tags for the special abilities.

Everything else is generally in its place. Your stat-block is more complete than some others I reviewed.

Bottom Line:
I'm kind of torn on this one. I don't think the theme matches the form of this monster. And though some of the abilities are somewhat innovative, they too kind of clash with what I'd expect a sidhe lord to have in terms of his abilities and threat range. If I set aside my expectations and just look at what we've got, there are some mechanical concerns here, as well. I think the creature is overpowered in some ways...and vulnerable in some others. Is it fully balanced as a result? I didn't really come off feeling that way about it.

Given all that, I'm going to say I DO NOT RECOMMEND this monster to carry you through to the next round. But don't despair. It's really up to the voters. You've had some strong entries in the competition so far and several submissions advanced last round without my recommendation. It'll be interesting to see how everyone else views what you given us here. My worry is that you're up against a couple of other fey creatures...one of which also involves the sidhe...and so it's unavoidable that your entry is likely to get directly compared to those. The voters may well separate according to which one they liked the best and withhold voting for the others. It just depends.

Looking back across your earlier work, your ghostvision gloves were a big hit, both with the judges and the voting public. Your organization with the Stormsworn Company had some really inspiring, creative bits to it, as well. This latest entry with your sidhe lord does, too. But the competition is really tightening at this point. You've got to bring your best work to keep standing out in the later rounds. I'm not entirely sure that's what we got here. Regardless, if you make it through to the next round, I really want to see what you've got in the way of storytelling with dynamic, memorable encounter. Best of luck in the voting.

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

Will, 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: Really, your superstar monster is a mini fey knight? OK, let’s take a closer look…

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): B-
I can't stop envisioning the knights on birds from the ancient video game Joust. That's not helping. Plus, intoxicating arrows right before Valentine’s Day just seems silly.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): B-
Intro text is weak. But that isn't the problem. So what is? This: OK, come on…3d4+21? Look, I like dealing death to PCs as much as the next killer DM but you do that to PCs and they will throw their dice at you. “That pixie just did HOW MUCH damage to me?” they would scream. And with good reason: a remorhaz, one of my favorite CR 7 monsters, that also happens to be Huge, only does 3d6+9 (sure, they get extra and totally sick fire damage, but this pixie is no remorhaz). That’s almost the equivalent of a hill giant’s rock throwing damage (a hill giant throwing a rock does double base slam plus 1.5x Str bonus or approx 33 points; this ability does, on average, 27 points and could do up to 35).

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): B-
Nope, sorry.

Overall: B-
The mini knight just doesn’t cut it for me. Will, I hope for your sake the voters feel differently.

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

Your gloves were good and the Stormsworn Company had some mojo even if I didn’t recommend it. I needed to see you step up this round and instead you went miniature and swung and missed. That said, you have worked real hard here and you took a good swing at it, and I respect that.

Whether I recommended your monster or not you have done a great job and I wish you the best of 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.

Sidhe lord and a sidhe noble in the same competition? What are the odds?

Most creatures at this CR don't have DR and SR.

I don't know what kind of bow he uses. Longbow? Shortbow? Crossbow?

I was hoping that Conjure Mount would be a clever way for it to have a mount that's not a separate creature with a separate stat block... but it actually conjures a pseudo-creature with a partial stat block. What if he's forcibly dismounted? I guess it can be targeted separately? You could have given it a virtual mount--when the sidhe lord flies, it appears to automatically create a spectral mount, which disappears if the lord dismounts. That would be neat, and would mean you don't need to list stats for the creature (as it is, the mount doesn't have saving throws or CMD, so I can't blast it with most spells or try to grab it). This ability should capitalize Fly.

The Intoxicating Arrows isn't referred to by that name in the stat block (the bow refers to poison, so this ability could just be called "poison").

It seems a little silly that a cat-sized creature that normally deals 1d4–3 points of damage with a lance can use the powerful charge ability to deal 3d4+21 points of damage. A creature of this size and CR shouldn't rely on physical attacks to deal damage, it needs to have magical attacks to plausibly be a threat to its opponent. The players are going to have a reasonable expectation that a Diminutive monster isn't going to be a melee threat, and breaking that impression is going to be very weird for everyone involved.

I think this would be a fine creature if it were a lower CR (adjusting the SLAs, and math, of course), but it doesn't really fit the role fey are supposed to have in the game at this CR. Compare to the CR 7 nymph, whose melee attack is a dagger for 1d4 but has many magical powers. Or compare to the CR 6 redcap, which is a physical combatant, but is Small size so the PCs aren't going to laugh when it brandishes a weapon.

CEO, Goblinworks

It's a tiny knight.

This is a fantastic submission. You've got an entire campaign in one monster. This thing may even work better as a supplement than a monster - I could see a bunch of PC Sidhe Lords as an adventuring company.

The stats all seem to be well within the bounds of rationality. The four special abilities are mechanically good - not super complicated but also not so mind-twisting that a GM would have trouble using them on the fly. (No pun intended).

The only thing I'd feel bad about would be killing one - it would feel like an evil act to me unless the thing was legitimately likely to kill a party member and refused to cease attacking even if an apology was offered. I can just see a normal PC Paladin and a Sidhe Lord getting into a matter of honor - roleplaying awesomesauce.

When SuperStar looks for talent, it looks for folks who can handle the math and the mechanics but then bring a higher level of design imagination to the table giving the people who buy the products Paizo publishes stuff they haven't seen before or were likely to imagine on their own. This submission showcases those values.

I give this submission an A.

I recommend that you vote for this designer.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Neil, Clark, Sean and Ryan: thank you all for the extensive, substantive, and helpful feedback. Everyone else, I'd love to know what you think, and please consider voting for the Sidhe.

Cheers!


I like the general idea of minute fey knight, but for the sake of Danu, Sidhe are much larger than diminutive. They should be no smaller than tiny at the very least, better small and medium being actually the best size for them. I personally envision sidhe as elf-sized*.

*

Spoiler:
elves are bit smaller than humans, not taller**, godsdammit!!! D&D got that one right but Pathfinder absolutely had to spoil that one *continues incoherent rant*

**

Spoiler:
Unless we are speaking about high elf lords and ladies but those are creatures of higher order than PC elves.

If it weren't named Sidhe I would be much better predisposed toward this. Gotta go read others. Sidhe noble sounds interesting...

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

Sidhe Lord and Sidhe Noble? Will and Jacob are probably slamming their heads against their keyboards right now (but don't worry, last year another contest and I both submitted derro and we both made the next round). Anyway, I've enjoyed your last two entries and I enjoy this one as much. I'm currently running Kingmaker and this guy would be perfect to go up against the mounted halfling duelist in the party (in fact, I'm thinking next time we play, he'll get challenged by one of these guys). Great work!


Having just read all the entries, this is the one I like the best. Great concept.

I haven't crunched all the stats yet, but the Redcap (which has been around for a long time) certainly sets a precedent for little fey dudes that cause massive damage on their melee attacks. Besides, part of the fey humour of the monster is mocking those who underestimate their martial prowess so I'm OK with it being a melee brawler rather than a spellcaster as SKR suggests.

Star Voter 2013

You're on the borderline with me. I really loved your Stormsworn and I'm keeping it in mind for further uses and I liked the idea of the Ghostvision Goggles. But the Sidhe Lord just doesn't sit well with me. I think it's defensive abilities are way too high for his CR. Granted, I see you tried to offset his great defensive abilities with a low hp, but it didn't work. You tried to tack on a vulnerability, but considering only a handful of methods of dealing sonic damage exist, off the top of my head only Sound Burst is avaialable to 7th level PCs, that's not very helpful. If you had, instead, given him a vulnerability to fire, it would have helped great as it could also suppress his fast healing. Acid too.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow Will, who would have thought, two such similarly themed monsters (at least by name – I haven’t read the other one yet)? Hopefully that doesn’t count against you.

I think the concept of this one is definitely superstar. The descriptive text is very evocative. Crunch-wise it is not right on the numbers for a CR 7 monster, but I do think that things like the higher than typical AC and the fast healing compensate for the low hit points and make it fairly balanced for its CR.

Like some of the others here I was initially somewhat taken aback by a creature called a ‘sidhe lord’ being so small – I too tend to associate sidhe with a more human-sized creature, but if you go back to the source material – the Irish aes sidhe; ‘the people of the mound’ I don’t think they are necessarily human sized, at least not in all stories – you seem to have a range of different sized faerie creatures that share a common name. I think having this tiny CR 7 creature is definitely going to mess with player expectations, but I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing. Some of the most memorable encounters come from those sort of unexpected qualities; ‘hey, remember that game where that tiny little fairy completely skewered the fighter with its lance?’

Anyway, good luck in the voting Will.


I found this to be a bit boring. This monster won't be getting my vote.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I get a kick out of these little guys.
I could get a ton of roleplaying mileage outta them easy.

I'm kinda hearkening back to the snarky little pixies or whatever in that Willow movie; little bombastic, cocky, inch tall guys talking horrendous amounts of smack......


I did this research paper in Nuclear Medicine Technology school, and it was about a radiotracer that was being developed to do a particular form of brain imaging; the instructors got their panties in a wad because.....lo and behold, two other people were doing other papers that had something to do with the brain, like.....the human brain is just so damn boring that three people doing a research paper on the subject is going to overlap and overkill it......
they of course had nothing to worry about because *pfft* it's me, and I was going to be presenting a paper, so.....naturally everybody there was going to be utterly fascinated and entertained by it.
That's how I kinda feel about the whole "multiple people doing something with sidhe" thing; I've looked at the two monsters and I can easily differentiate between them. They're dissimilar enough that they don't exactly wad my panties up at all.

Moreover, I remember back in the day Gygax used to make up monsters out of real world mythically named stuff, and he didn't seem to necessarily be shackled by preconceived notions of how things were supposed to be. His trolls didn't 100% follow the way the legends described trolls, and they worked out. I could name more examples, but this post is getting long for my typical offerings. So I don't think the Earth Goddess is screaming "HERESY! YERR DOINGING IT WONG!!" or nothing like that.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Hey everyone - I am reading all the comments and very much appreciate the time and thought put into our feedback.

@JohnBennett: Awesome! I would love to hear how that encounter goes!
@Tels: Likewise, if you do use the Stormsworn, I'd love to hear how it works out for your group.

Cheers!

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

Will Cooper wrote:

Hey everyone - I am reading all the comments and very much appreciate the time and thought put into our feedback.

@JohnBennett: Awesome! I would love to hear how that encounter goes!
@Tels: Likewise, if you do use the Stormsworn, I'd love to hear how it works out for your group.

Cheers!

Will do. Next time we play is in two weeks and it's the perfect level. I'm spoilering the rest since it involves Kingmaker.

Spoiler:
The PCs are currently lvl 6 and half-way through book 2 of Kingmaker. They've just cleaned out the troll lair and found a locket with green hair (Nyrissa's). The Sidhe Lord will be on of Nyrissa's little minions. Incensed at the trolls' defeat and eager to prove his worth to his mistress, he strikes out on his own to challenge the PCs kingdom's champion, which happens to be a halfling fighter. I'm thinking the Sidhe Lord will challenge him to mounted combat first and then they'll have a duel on foot.

Anyway, this and the thunderthief are my two top favorites for the round.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

This isn't a monster, it's an NPC.
Sorry, but no vote from me.


When I saw the name I thought "Darth Maul", but then, I can't pronounce Sidhe.

"I don't know what kind of bow he uses. Longbow? Shortbow? Crossbow?"

I'm guessing it's a very shortbow.

I like the idea, but there's nothing that really shines for me in this one.


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. There are definitely areas of my campaign world where humans should fear to tread because of fey influence. This guy would do the trick.

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Absolutely. I really like this concept - it calls to mind a much more dignified version of Toot Toot from "The Dresden Files" (FOR THE PIZZA LORD!).

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? They'll probably laugh at first - but that will change very quickly once they get hit by one of those lance attacks!

Star Voter 2013

A lot of ups and downs with this monster.

Up; it's got some neat flavor. I like the fey knight flavor and the conjured bird and a lot of other bits of it.

Down; most of the flavor implies it needs to be tied to a bigger adventure/campaign. That's not always good.

Up; it turns some expectations about tiny fey and melee combat on it's head in a fun way

Down; the number balancing is way off. Neil covers this in a lot of detail, and I totally understand the appeal of "well, if I give this monster one clear weakness I can then buff it's X and keep it balanced", but I think you went a little off there. On which side, I can't tell - but there are too many strengths and weaknesses, and I really predict this will be a monster that bounces from "nearly wipes the party" to "swat and forget" really fast - rather than over a course of three or four levels. Which is ultimately bad.

All in all, I'm on the fence - I have to see what the other submissions being to the table.

Cheliax

I hate to say this, but you lost me on this one. I really love your item and your organization, but unfortunately your monster doesn't strike me as a solid CR 7; also this would require unnecessary work for me as a GM to use in a game just by going off of the given stat block.

I'll have to see how many votes are allowed for this round and the quality of the other monsters, but based on this monster I can't guarantee that you will be getting a vote from me this time around. Sorry, Will.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hi Will

I'm with Ryan Dancey on this one. You're my first very good surprise for this round. I'll be honest : I didn't vote for your Stormsworn organization in the previous round. But this is magnificently written, and I'm looking forward putting this little guy in the face of my players. You just gave me a new adventure idea !

Never mind the three negative judges but listen to their critiques. Your Sidhe Lord is far from perfect, but he has Superstar mojo. I really hope to see you in the next rounds.

Bran

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You were one of 3 that I instantly added to my vote category. These guys have mojo.


I have to say, I LOVE this! You have my vote!


Hello again, welcome in round 3 and congratulations on making it this far. I'm sorry I didn't get by your organization last round; 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): I'm not the best at this, so I'm relying a bit on Neil especially here. His look at your mechanics indicate something seriously off with the power level. Now I'm the type of person who gets curious and goes back to check your item, and check if power level was a concern there too, or if this is simply a lone incidence. It looks like the item was totally in order, and as monster balance is a whole-lot-of-complex, I'll assume that it was a one-time thing.
Rating 1 to 5 (5 is awesome, 1 needs serious attention!): 3 - I assume that you simply didn't have enough to check against and wanted something just a little more awesome, and most of the numbers can be explained, to me.

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 fey knight? Sure can't recall seeing that before, and I should know most fey lore, as fey tend to be among my favourite monsters. I don't now how well knight adds to fey for me, but I'll get to that.
Rating: 4 - very neat, the game needs more male fey, so you've found a good spot here.

3) Creativity (Alike innovation, I want something that isn’t just new, it’s the good kind of new, and awesome at that): So why is the fey lord a knight themed monster? I would have, I guess, had they been larger. As it is, I think they'd be a slight joke in my group - (look, the cat-size man wants to play at knights!) They're just too small to effectively work as what I want them to. There's definitely creative stuff, but I thin you should have focused away from the lance, or upwards in size. This guy is literally pricing people with a needle. And even if the needle hurts bad (too much for my taste), it's still kind of silly.
Rating: 2 - a too small monster, that doesn't really fulfill on being a capable knight and isn't really all that lordly. Doesn't work for me, sorry.

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): First, expectation! I wanted a lord of fey, not a diminutive knight of fey. Also change Sidhe to Fey (which, in Golarion, I think you can do smoothly, even more credibly) and the name is Fey Lord. Don't bore me, please? I appreciate that you chose Sidhe over Fey, but it still comes down to the same.
Your descriptive text and imagery is truly fine, but. I have issues. I get told that these things work illusion. I get a few illusion spells it can cast, though hardly powerful ones that'll justify theming this around illusion. Primal magic flares from them, though I don't really see how. They fascinate people with their music, but the best thing they get for it is Perform skill. I just feel like the description is telling me about one monster, and you stat block about another one. other than incongruence between text and stats though, I mostly like you writing and I don't have issue comprehending it. And, the grammar monster is pleased at finding mostly fine grammar (though it may be placated by the fact that virtually everything can be done gramatically in Ancient Greek).
Rating: 3 - I'm really disturbed by incongruence, but so long as it's not grammatical incongruence I'll keep it at upset and not go on to yelling. Good writing. Just make sure you're actually doing what you tell me you're doing, because I hate feeling that I'm told one thing and getting another.

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): First World tie in, check. References look in order.
Rating: 4 - It's fine. It's not prime enough for me to go to 5 points, but then, I'm a critical kind of person.

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): Uh-oh. Fast healing all right. DR to cold iron, of course. Why the SR? It's flimsy. It's down before it's fast healing gets significant. Yet it does superior damage. Is this a glass cannon, I wonder. It seems so. It could be CR 7, but I don't know, it really depends on the group composition how well this works out.
Rating: 2 - It's just too much damage, yet no chance of getting to deal it more than once or twice. Not what I need, most of the time. Except maybe as distractions for a greater fey boss.

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): Your item was great, not a favourite, but I liked the idea and your design really worked. Your organization was, honestly thin, not much but mercenaries, who acted like mercenaries. I think you've went far more unexpected both here, and with your item, and the fact that your item was fairly solid design helps settle some of my concerns for the power level of this thing. Yet, that said, on an overall view, a strong item, but a weak organization doesn't really give you that much of an advantage when the votes are falling.
Rating: 2 - 1 fairly strong gives you 2 points, one fairly weak fails to make it more than that.

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): I wouldn't mind seeing an adventure written by you as you seem to be capable of many different things - you've shown me an item that deals with undeads, an organization of mercenaries and now a fey knight. It seems diverse, and I like that.
Rating: 3 - I think you could get a good idea for an adventure, and I believe you could write it fairly well. That said, you have issues, and I just don't think your creative level is quite high enough to make you the one contestant I would pay the most to see an adventure by.

9) Personal View (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): Uuuuh, fey, sidhe, illusion, enchantment, First World. Gosh, but you've got a whole lot of things I want to like. Sadly, you totally miss-sized them (how am I to charm the heart out of a female PC and then break it viciously with a guy the size of her foot? Nah, right?
Rating: 3 - for trying, and going a lot of the way, but just not getting there.

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): You need to think just a little more. Oh come on, the image of a knight at this size is just kind of ridiculous. I'd be forced to let wwhatever mean fighter, monk or anything else with a good CMB literally squeaze this thing in his fist. That's not amusing to me.
Rating: 3 - You are probably in the middle segment for a vote. Sadly, that likely means that there'll be 8 other monsters that just do more for me. Your rating at this one is the average of all the above, which is a fairly neat 3/5

Now you have my viciously evil (still ill, forgive me if I get mean because I'm growing tired of it) opinion, use it as best you may, and remember that there's loads of people with different opinions!

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

Silver Crusade

I like it i will vote for you

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

I actually laughed when I read this entry, when I got to the powerful charge ability. That charge certainly is powerful! It's like a sparkly little bullet! On the basis of that ability, which is over-the-top in a good way while simultaneously being about in line for a CR 7 creature, you'd have my vote.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of little problems that conspire to drag this thing down. I'm not entirely sure how the gallant charge ability is supposed to work. Is it supposed to keep going, like Spirited Charge? Or does it get a full move action worth of movement? The conjured mount, likewise, suffers from ambiguous rulesmanship. Is it a creature? Is it a spell effect? If it has hit points and an AC, what about saves? Perhaps you'd have been better suited by tweaking the phantom steed spell to give it a fly speed.

And you cut so many corners in the stat-block that it almost feels like you're gaming the word count. No DCs for SLAs means that DMs are going to have to look up each spell before they use the sidhe lord. The poison has a DC based on Charisma, which is unusual, but it doesn't call that out.

Although the flavor-text gives me a strong idea of how to use a sidhe lord in a game, the amount of mechanical questions and problems drag it down to where I wouldn't want to use it. I will not be voting for this entry. Best of luck!

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

Voted for this due to the interesting idea and interesting mechanics. I like the idea of little knights riding birds and this was well done. I'm not sure how mechanically solid it is. It can be compared to other CR7 monsters but only testing in a real play encounter can determine for sure and even that can be swung with good or bad rolls. I kind of resent the implication that every Sidhe Lord has this same set of abilities as if they don't have the free will to not ride a bird or use a lance. Maybe that works for the Sidhe race, but I think simply a better name would fix this.


As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest most..so lets see..
Funny how gamers think alike. There are a lot of neat ideas in this one, and the writing is great.
I think the powerful charge ability needs to be scaled way back (Did that fairy just fly THROUGH me??), and while I love the ability to conjure a mount, it needs to be fleshed out a little more.
In the end..I like the little guy, all the more because I am using a lot of fey in my home game right now. I have not decided on my votes yet, but this may be one..the writing made it very alive.

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

Will, your miniature flying cavalier can actually pack some serious damage. Good luck in final voting!

Here's what I like:
- solid feat choices that help the monster do what it's supposed to do. Taunt is a fun choice.
- you've found a way to get a diminutive creature to put out respectable CR-appropriate damage. Pretty clever.

Here's what I don't like:
- doesn't Gallant Charge basically duplicate Ride-by Attack? And don't you need Spirited Charge to get x3 with a lance? I think you should have just loaded this guy up with bonus Mounted Combat feats as a special ability.
- I think AC needs to come back down and HP go up a bit. Fighting defensively this creature is packing a 29 AC.
- that +32 stealth is pretty useless if he can't turn off his "glowing beauty"
- some of those at-will enchantments, coupled with a WIS-damaging poison are pretty potent. Probably want to make some of these per-day.


Badass little guy. I like, but don't love it. From a style point of view it's a pretty classic fairy, with little in the way of a twist or something really exciting and new.

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

Some mechanical choices seem incongruous. A diminutive fey with +4 natural armor? That's more than a bugbear, imp quasit or centaur, and the same as a medium cave fisher. AC is pretty high for CR 7. Tough, too, with 12 HD, fh 5 AND dr 5/cold iron. SLAs not according to template, missing DCs or other info. Conjure mount ability is also not presented well, with the stats for the bird simply being separated by commas.

Not only is the lance's powerful charge a bit much for a tough creature with high AC, who can fly by himself or mounted as a move action at will, but the facts that the lance is a x3 crit on the charge and tpk-happy (not that there's anything wrong with that) DMs will doubtlessly switch out Dodge or Taunt for Spirited Charge and make his lance keen. Your boy, at CR 7, would be tough to hit and keep down, and potentially cause 12d4+84 damage. Maybe that's limited by the way you've multiplied the powerful charge dmaage, but I don't think so. I think you're gonna be marked for assassination by players. Also, the poison ability (also not to template) is a bit much for the CR.

Now, I think the writing is pretty strong (the main text, not the intro), and I think the concept of the CN mini-knight is fun. I can see PCs underestimating the little feller and getting filled full of holes in a courtly challenge. But I think he's a poor submission for a CR 7 creature. Not only is he higher level in power, but PCs who want to take a couple of effective levels off on their way to 20 would gain a real advantage on their fellow players, making the Medium cavalier look like a chump.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

When I read the name I was exited, until I read what it was. This won't get my vote based on the name alone. The stats look a bit off but thats not the biggest problem for me. Now I don't expect a 4th generation fantasy world to hold very true to the real world mythology that inspired FRPGs. But if you are going to use Sidhe from the ancient Irish beliefs then don't give me Victorian fairies.
Now I don't get why Sidhe are not outsiders in PF as the very name defines them as. Sidhe means "under hill" in referance to the gates to the Otherworld that are found in hills. Calling them the "Folk from under the hill" is a poetic and polite way of saying beings from the Otherworld.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I like the visuals of this little guy flying in on his raven and giving PCs hell. It reminds me of the movie Labyrinth (for better and worse). I especially like the "intoxicating arrows." Not sure I'd call this guy a Sidhe Lord, but all in all good fun. I liked the Stormsworn Company, so I hope you advance. Good luck!

Cheliax

Will, I've changed my mind, after reading every Round Three entry a few times each and voting here and commenting there... I am voting for your submission this round although I still don't like this monster as much as I was expecting to, probably due to a difference of opinion; personally I think something that is called (or calls itself) a Sidhe Lord would have, at minimum, at least a size of medium... but that may just be me being stuck in my ways and tied up by tropes.

Hopefully your next round's submission will be more like your first and second round's, and I am still rooting for you; not everyone can "throw a no-hitter" every game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Hey everyone, I've just got back from a couple of days vacation with no internet. In about 5 minutes I'll know whether I got through to round 4. Either way, I'll be back as soon as I can to post some design notes and responses to the great commentary that my Sidhe Lords have received.

Cheers!

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

Will, sorry to see you didn't advance. On the bright side, you get to compete next year unlike those of us in Top 8 purgatory :). My Kingmaker group will be meeting on Sunday, so I'll make sure to give you a playtest report. I'm probably going to tweak a couple of things but am going to try and play him as you wrote him.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

So round 4 is announced and my Sidhe Lord didn't make the cut. That's disappointing, but against a really strong field I find that I am (mostly) OK with it. The ride has been exciting and a great learning experience. I'm sorry it's over but that doesn't detract from the fun I've already had.

So, some reflections on the Sidhe Lord. Overview first, then I'll look through the thread and see what specific comments or question I want to answer.

What was I trying to do?
I had three main design goals: take a swing at a monster that would be new and interesting; push myself mechanically with a real challenge; create something fun for the GM and PCs and that had flexibility for use in a number of different encounter styles.

Given the feedback, how did I do?
The words 'boring', 'safe', 'predictable', 'thin' did not appear in the judges reviews. They are very rare in the voters comments. That's a win!

I read the bestiary advice that Diminutive creatures should not be over CR 4 and thought, that sounds like a challenge. Most of the development time went into thinking about how to take a teeny creature, that an optimised barbarian could probably kill in 1 to 2 hits, and make it a credible threat. So maneuverability, so fly-by charges with weapon finesse and spirited charge, so SR so that the first fireball doesn't just end the fight. But size modifiers get everywhere, and throw everything off, and in the considered opinion of Sean and Neil I missed the mark. Hard to disagree without a boat-load of play test. Maybe the bestiary advice is more like a rule than a guideline, or maybe I'm just not good enough. Yet.

I think this is fun, and some definitely agree with me. It supports a social, roleplay heavy, encounter. It supports a mystery scenario - why has this village just erupted in chaotic passions? It supports distinctive combat encounters across a range of levels. Reading through all 16 threads however, it seems clear to me now that people are very focused on the combat angle, and broadening the focus may not have been the best use of limited words.

What would I do differently?
I would absolutely go with this core concept again. I still love the visual, and the idea, better than the Nightspinner, the Giant Mwangi Flying Frog, or the Lavavore. But here's the thing: you only get so much credit from the reader. You can challenge expectations - Diminutive combat monster at CR7, really? You can push the boundaries mechanically - special ability that combines Weapon Finesse, Dervish Dance and Spirited Charge all in one to do 3d4+21 damage, really? You can re-imagine a classic from real mythology - the Sidhe as tiny knights, really?

All at once? That's trouble - I would have been smarter to pick one or two of those aspects to push, and make sure the rest is comfortable and familiar for the reader.

Any regrets?
No, none. It's been amazing. Shame it's over but no regrets. OK, one regret: I wish one or other of my entries had resonated with Clark - the man's a legend :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry to see that you haven't made the Top 8 Will, I've really enjoyed your work in this contest. Best of luck for getting back in and going further next year! I've always been a sucker for Fey, so I'll probably be squeezing this little lord into an adventure when I get the chance.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry that you didn't make it Will, I thought this little guy had some mojo, but like you said you were up against a tough field.


I'm disappointed that you didn't make it through. I thought your Sidhe Lord was the best of your three submissions, and one of the best (if not the best) monster of the round.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

It's the last hours before all our eyes and all our attention turns, rightly, to round four and the final eight.

I'm going to dodge the self-indulgent impulse to go through and discuss some of the feedback in depth, and instead just say a big thank you... no, a big thank you ... to everyone who supported me in RPGSS 2012 and helped me get better for next year.

Thanks Penne, Mothman, Berik, John Benbo, Ian Eastmond, Chad, Steven, Saint Trickery, Eric Bailey, Blackerose, Phloid, Demiurge, McDrax, Luthia, Solnes, Caineach, Bran 637, RonarsCorruption, PWU, Kradlum, Spanky, Tels, and Drejk. Also thanks to everyone from the ghostvision gloves thread and the Stormsworn company thread. If I missed calling you out for thanks it's because I'm a doofus not because I'm not thankful.

Cheers everyone, hope to be back next year.


Will Cooper wrote:

This tiny knight spurs his raven mount to charge, crystal lance in hand, trailing a comet-tail of light.

Sidhe Lord 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?
Only 14 points normally, but I'll give you a double word score for a total of 28 points.

Would a specimen of this creature look good on the cream and scarlet paisley pattern sofa I have in my Druman villa?
Well, the colours are pretty, but it's a fey, and I'm really not fond of fey house-guests right now. You should have seen the mess the dwarven man-servants had to clean up in the bath-house the last time I had a nymph visitor.

What place does this have at a dinner party?
In a nice glass display case. Either killed and stuffed by a taxidermist, or in stasis.

Other comments?
These aren't genuine aristocrats by the way. I mean some of them could be, but the vast majority of them are probably about as common (by fey standards) as one of those dreadful charlatans from last year. The name 'sidhe lord' is probably something some bored or overworked mortal chronicler made up for them.

Rating:
If this creature were a crime, what sort of crime would it be (expressed in the time honoured culprit/implement/location format)?
Jenkins the Butterfly, with the paint pot, in the trophy room.

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 by the way. Obviously at this point it's now all over bar the tearful speeches and the 'but I will be back, ha-ha, if I feel like it, another year!' comments, but you had a reasonably successful run in the context there were hundreds who didn't make the top cut in Round 1, let alone get to Round 3.

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

I ran the Sidhe Lord tonight in my Kingmaker group and I was pretty happy with the results. It was a one on one fight and wasn't exactly optimal conditions for the Sidhe Lord but he held his own and pulled off a narrow win against a 6th level halfing fighter. The fighter was played by an experienced person who happened to have a fey bane weapon. It was a tournament style fight starting with a joust and then melee combat. The gallant charge was awesome. Rolled a nat 20 and thankfully for the player, didn't confirm it as that would have killed him instantly.

As a melee combatant, the Sidhe Lord needs a little work. I gave him weapon finesse for his sword and allowed him to apply his intoxicating arrow attack to melee attacks (as an ability that effects his weapons). Still, he has no real damage output and the fighter came back strong and had him on the ropes. Luckily, the Sidhe Lord has the shocking image spell-like ability. That really saved him and is what granted him victory. The fighter got in 3 more hits and 2 were against images. If the fight had gone on another round and the fighter hit, the Sidhe Lord would probably have been done for.

Overall thoughts- I definitely think these guys need to stay mounted. A group of these guys with their mounted attacks and shocking image cast is an awesome and deadly effect. Their melee combat still needs some work to give them some variety. The fact that the Sidhe Lord narrowly won against a 6th level fighter felt to me like they were about the right CR level. I'm definitely keeping these guys around for the rest of Kingmaker as they fit in nice (and the Sidhe Lord also declared war on the PCs kingdom after beating their champion).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Thanks John, I'm very pleased that the encounter worked out and was fun for your group. The concept of a tourney joust is perfect for the Sidhe Lord, and I can totally buy that they would declare war after beating the players. The tweaks you made sound pretty spot on; I might even go so far as to give him a dervish dancer ability with melee weapons, which would give him multiple attacks at 1d4+7 damage, or a little more with magic weapons. Still low, but better, and makes for less of a one trick pony.

Glad that the spell list was useful for him. It was largely targeted at messing with people's heads, but there are a couple of combat things. Intoxicating arrows followed by hideous laughter in particular I thought might be cruel...

In an open battle against the whole party, and when the players have leveled a bit, it would be interesting to try 2-3 Lords making repeated fly-by charges (and accepting the AOOs), and using wandering star motes. Possibly supported by indentured pixies or redcaps if the CR of the encounter allows.

Overall your feedback confirms my eventual self-analysis. This was a good starting point for a confident GM to run with, and with some specific encounter in mind. It wasn't a publishable creature that could be used as written in, for example, a PFS scenario.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to tell me how it went :)


I realize it's water under the bridge at this point, but I wanted to just comment that you lost me personally at "Sidhe Lord" being a tiny knight on a bird. I'm coming in late to the game, obviously, but when I went to this section, I went straight to your entry (I love fey and the seelie/unseelie courts, etc). To me the name along evoked a medium-sized, fatherly elf-like creature with cloak and pants made of leafy plants and perhaps even antlers atop his gray/white shock of hair. A fey who stalked quietly through the forests, protecting the animals and other fey folk under his dominion.

I completely missed the tiny entry all together because of this preconceived notion...and heard the record player scratch to a halt when I saw the mount was a tiny bird. What the...?

Anyway, for my part I thought the entry was well written and powerful. The math may be off (and the damage output is certainly very high), but I like the concept. Hate the name as it applies to this critter.

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