Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Huri, treacherous ex-familiar


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

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Huri, treacherous ex-familiar

The deformed, disembodied head of a raven hovers before you, pointed claws protruding straight from the neck. It regards you with empty eye-sockets and begins to whisper advice that holds the promise of power, at the price of your sanity.

Huri CR 7
XP 3,200
NE Tiny aberration
Init +9; Senses blindsight 60 ft; Perception +18
----- Defense -----
AC 23, touch 17, flat-footed 18 (+5 Dex, +6 natural, +2 size)
hp 75 (10d8+30)
Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +10
Defensive Abilities improved evasion; Immune gaze attacks, vision-based effects; SR 18
----- Offense -----
Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (perfect)
Melee bite +14/+9 (1d3-4)
Space 1-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
At will — detect thoughts (DC 17), ear-piercing scream (DC 16), invisibility, mage hand, share language, speak with animals
3/day — chill touch (DC 16), minor image (DC 17)
----- Statistics -----
Str 3, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 20, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +7/+2; CMB +10; CMD 16 (can't be tripped)
Feats Alertness(B), Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +12, Diplomacy +7, Fly +22, Knowledge (Arcana) +18, Knowledge (History) +15, Knowledge (Planes) +15, Perception +18, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +18, Stealth +26; Racial Modifiers +8 Fly, +8 Stealth
Languages Aklo, Auran, Common, Draconic, Undercommon
SQ corrupt familiar, unsettling advice
----- Ecology -----
Environment any
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard
----- Special Abilities -----
Unsettling Advice (Su) As a full-round action, a huri may whisper disturbing but useful advice to an adjacent intelligent creature. The advice causes 1d3 wisdom damage and makes the target friendly towards the huri as per charm monster (CL10). A DC 18 Will save negates both damage and charm effect, and makes the target immune to both effects for 24 hours. Whether the save is successful or not, the target gains a +4 competence bonus to Intelligence-based skills and intelligence-based spellcasters treat their caster level as being two higher for all level-variable spell effects, for 10 minuts. A creature may only gain the benefits from one instance of this ability at a time. This is a mind affecting, language dependent ability. The DC is Intelligence based.

Corrupt Familiar (ex) If a spellcaster's familiar takes Wisdom damage equal to or exceeding it’s Wisdom score from a huri’s Unsettling Advice ability, the huri can attempt to break the bond between familiar and master. The huri performs a 1 hour long ritual over the unconscious familiar, at the end of which it makes an opposed caster level check vs the familiar’s master. If the check succeeds, the familiar transforms into a new huri, and the master suffers 1d6 Wisdom drain. If the ritual is interrupted at any time, it fails.

Once the faithful companions of spellcasters, hurin (HEW-rin) are manipulative and cunning beings that covert power and secret knowledge as fiercely as their former masters. They gain a perverse pleasure from corrupting other familiars into more of their kind, relishing in the agony it causes the familiar's master.

Throughout Golarion, hurin enter alliances with ambitious individuals who are easily tempted by the power they provide. Thanks to their keen intellects and deceptive abilities, hurin make immensely valuable allies and advisors. Such partnerships are always perilous, however, as only the most strong-willed can avoid falling victim to the huri's devious manipulations. A huri is always looking for a way to gain the upper hand in the relationship and turn their partners into pawns in their own intricate schemes, which often involve the pursuit of forgotten lore or ancient artifacts.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hey, Jacob...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:
This is an interesting design niche to reach for. It's basically an anti-familiar predator with the ability to do Wisdom damage and a charm monster effect every round with a full round action courtesy of its unsettling advice. And, if it can inflict enough Wis damage with that same ability, it can try to break the bond between a familiar and its master. Is that creative? Yeah. Is it needed? I'm not so sure.

Is that attack form this creature's sole reason for existing? To inflict Wisdom damage with unsettling advice? As soon as someone makes their save against it, they can't be affected for another 24 hours. It then falls back to ineffective bites (unless it powers them up with chill touch) and at-will ear-piercing screams for 5d6 sonic damage every round. It's a totally different type of combat and not something you'd face everyday. I guess I'm half-pleased by that, and half-disappointed.

Mostly, I don't really care for the "useful, but disturbing" unsettling advice ability. It seems a little weird in that whether the harmful effects are successful or not (i.e., Wisdom damage plus charm monster), the target gains a +4 competence bonus on Intelligence skills and caster level? That's...odd.

Additionally, I think the corrupt familiar ability goes too far in targeting and screwing with wizards and witches...especially the latter, who's a lot more dependent on her familiar to store her spells. Familiars are already pretty weak "allies" in the game. Most players just hide them and never bring them out except as spies or to deliver messages somewhere. Even if the huri encountered an entire party and inflicted enough Wisdom damage to cause a familiar to drop, does it scoop the thing up to carry it away and corrupt it with an hour-long ritual? What PC is going to stand by for that? This feels more like a plot device ability than something that would see frequent use in encounters that feature the hurin.

Thus, unfortunately, I'm just not a fan of the premise behind this creature's reason for being. And there's not enough descriptive text in the body of the creature's entry to win me over. I think that was a real misstep here. You spent too much of your wordcount on an exhaustive list of spell-like abilities, skills, languages, and complicated abilities that it left you shorthanded in trying to describe the creature's purpose in a way that inspires the reader. I just didn't take anything away from the familiar corrupting ability.

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. There are a few things that seemed off to me. I'll list them here just for reflection, not because they're deal-breakers or anything:

- You gave the creature iterative attacks, but bite attacks don't receive that.

- You don't appear to have used the 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10 non-standard array as the basis for your ability scores. The Paizo spreadsheet would alert you to this, but it's important that you understand monsters should always have a baseline of three even-numbered ability scores and three odd-numbered ability scores. Then, you layer on racial adjustments in even-numbered increments (i.e., -2, +0, +2, +4, +6, etc.) on top of that. This is a core, fundamental underpinning to the game balance of monster design.

- I couldn't get the skill ranks to add up. As a 12 HD aberration with a 20 Int, it should have 90 points to spend. I think you probably got crossed up with the racial modifiers and forgot to include adjustments for the creature's size and/or the fact that it has a fly speed.

- You're one language short. It should get one racial language for free, then five additional for its high Intelligence.

- The DC for your unsettling advice says it's based on Intelligence. As such, I think you miscalculated. Should be 10 + 1/2 the creature's Hit Dice + Int mod...so, 10 + 5 + 5 = 20. You're at a DC 18. If you had calculated it correctly, you'd way overshoot what a CR 7 creature's DC's should be (i.e., they should top out at DC 17). A DC 20 ability wouldn't normally be seen until a CR 10 creature.

Presentation:
I thought the lead-off, descriptive text shouldn't reference "you"...that's kind of a no-no in game design for read-aloud text. The monster's title also doesn't need to begin the body text. It just needs to be in the title bar of the stat-block.

The DCs in the SLA listing don't need to be italicized. The sub-skills for the Knowledge skills need to be lowercase. You don't need iterative attacks for its bite or BAB. And the unsettling advice ability should be listed as a Special Attack, not a Special Quality.

Additionally, you've got some typos in your text...e.g., "10 minuts"..."it's" vs. "its"..."Intelligence-based" vs. "Intelligence based"...etc. You need to proofread/spellcheck better. I believe your entry was one of the last to be submitted, so you were obviously working on it right up until the end. These are the kinds of errors that slip through when you do that.

Bottom Line:
I wanted to like this entry. There are some elements I found interesting...like the unusual reliance on a Wisdom-draining attack combined with at-will ear-piercing screams. Both of those abilities can only target one adversary at a time, though. It has no "area" attacks to threaten multiple PCs. The rest of the creative idea behind the creature also kind of fell flat for me. I'm just not interested in the "target the familiar" weakness wizards and witches have. It would have been much better if you'd found a different focus as its prey.

Given all that, I'm going to have to say I DO NOT RECOMMEND this monster to carry you through to the next round. But don't despair. The other judges and voters may feel otherwise. A few folks advanced last round without winning my recommendation. So, there's still a chance we could see you in Round 4. If so, I'd recommend you turn things up a notch. Find a legitimate focus for your idea that appeals on multiple levels. Don't go too niche with it. Think things through. Make sure they work within the balance of the game. And work on your professional polish. You got rushed and sloppy here. I know you can do better than this...

Looking back across your earlier work, I thought your sunrise shawl was really cool. It was a very innovative idea that helped you stand out among literally hundreds of entries to convince us to give you a shot. And then, you gave us your organization for the Maidens of Veiled Vengeance where I think you tapped into an iconic staple of fantasy gaming to win over the voters. Now, we get the huri, which didn't come across as sharp and tightly defined as I'd have liked. You've got some good ideas, though. It'll be interesting to see what comes next. Best of luck in the voting.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Jacob, 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: This thing is like a rust monster for wizards, except instead of messing with arms and armor (like the rust monster does to tanks) this thing corrodes familiars. Love it!

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A+
That is inspired genius. Not to get all "edition wars," but this kind of monster got cut from D&D in 4E because it wasn’t a clear game table encounter kind of monster. This monster has a ton of "out of combat value," which I think is a key part of great monster design. One tiny comment on the name that I didn't ding you for--the "treacherous ex-familiar" at first made me think you had, in error, designed a single unique monster rather than a new monster entry. It quickly became clear that was not what you had done. I wonder if others will read it the same way.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): B-
My nit-picking starts out matching Neil’s in that the intro text needs to be re-written. You never tell PCs how they feel or react. "You" is a dangerous word. There is only a marginal Golarion connection, but not clearly non-Golarion. The real problem is some of the execution missteps. I can excuse numbers not matching because you don’t have a superstar designer helping you or the famed Paizo spreadsheet to help track down some of the mistakes. I am talking about something larger—typos and other inexcusable mistakes. Neil pointed out some of the other mistakes. These aren’t just fixes for later, they show this wasn’t properly proofread. I have to really mark you down for that.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A
Still, I love this thing. This is the kind of monster that makes me create an NPC villain and some encounters. Right away the brain is churning, and when a monster inspires that kind of reaction it is a good one.

Overall: B+
Great concept with some real execution missteps.

Recommendation: I DO RECOMMEND voters consider this monster to advance to the Top 8, but with some reservations. If you make the next round you can’t have those kind of proof reading failures again.

Your shawl was great and while I thought your Maidens were cool, they were limited by their social “Mean Girl” vibe. I needed to see something like this from you this round and you delivered. Problem is, what you delivered has some serious proofing errors. The voters are going to have to decide how much to hold that against you.

I wish you the best of luck!

CEO, Goblinworks

It's a bird head that talks to you and tries to drive you mad.

Why is this an aberration and not an undead or a construct or something else? At least it should be a magical beast since they're all ex-familiars.

Why is the description of a floating head? The process by which a huri is created doesn't sever the head or even require that the target familiar is dead or dismembered.

The name is weird as it implies a unique individual but the body text explains that huri is a type, not a specific entity. That's confusing as hell.

It has an Int of 20. Holy smoke! Why is this thing not trying to run its own villain organization, or take Wizard class levels?

The featured ability is Unsettling Advice, which works on "intelligent creatures". So that's anything with an INT score above 0? I guess it has to be to affect Familiars. I know PCs who would be tempted to keep one of these things around just for the +2 Caster Level bonus (and who would laugh at the triviality of an 18 Will save). At higher levels the benefit far outweighs the risk. It's almost a magic item rather than a monster.

The next question is how often will this thing be able to use Corrupt Familiar? It has a huge number of hp and if it manages to hit the familiar's master with Unsettling Advice and gain the charm monster effect I guess it might be able to get in close. Does reducing your familiar's WIS score break that enchantment? If I was the wizard in question I'd be raging about the fact that it was threatening my "ally"!

My inclination is to say this is a plot device, not a monster. It would be an interesting bit of flavor for a villain. It could provide the kicker needed to get a story moving. But I have a hard time seeing this as a legit encounter for a party of adventurers.

I'm going to say this is a C+ level submission.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

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.

Your italicized intro text uses "you," but it shouldn't.

It's strange that this is an aberration rather than an undead.

Your Melee and Base Atk entries list iterative attacks, but natural weapons don't get iterative attacks, and the Base Atk entry in a stat block just lists the total BAB without iteratives.

Parenthetical names for subskills are not capitalized.

Unsettling advice says the creature whispers to an adjacent creature. As this thing's Space is less than 5 feet, and because it probably rests on its "master" like a true familiar, this ability should say it can whisper to a creature in the same space. "Wisdom" and "Intelligence" are always capitalized when referring to the ability scores. You spelled "minutes" wrong.

Corrupt familiar triggers on the normal familiar taking Wisdom damage, but the Unsettling Advice ability reads as the master being the subject of that ability. In other words, the huri uses UA on the master (it says "an adjacent creature," not "all adjacent creatures"), the master takes Wis damage, the master gains a caster level bonus. Corrupt Familiar has the huri attacking the normal familiar, with the master gaining no benefit and somehow not noticing that the familiar is now unconscious. Is it using Stealth and invisibility to accomplish this? Is it waiting for the master to sleep before attacking the familiar?

Given that this creature can deplete your Wisdom with just a few failed saves, I'm not sure why any Int-caster would keep them around for long--it's a big risk.

I don't know why it has immunity to gaze attacks and vision-based attacks. It probably doesn't need a racial bonus to Fly or Stealth, either, those scores are already going to be good from its size.

Does a familiar that transforms into a huri look like a raven's head, or does the creature keep its original head, shed its old body, and grow claws from its neck? How does it have a Treasure entry?

You're running really close to the word count on this monster, and you spend a lot of words describing its special abilities, leaving very little for flavor text to explain its motivations and origin. Given the close bond between a mage and familiar, I really think we need a plausible explanation as to how these creatures came about and why they do what they do.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Thank you for your support and feedback and please vote for my item! If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them once voting for this round is closed


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hi Jacob,
Really an odd monster you have come up with. looking past the execution errors SKR has pointed out, I still really love this thing.

I can imagine all the mayhem it can cause around its charmed manster and the punishment having ones familiar corrupted by a Huri is brutal.

I don't know if you have a design for combining this with your organization, but your submissions promis an adventure full of intrigue and deception - very strong on role-play oppertunities. That alone gives you my vote.


Interesting idea but "unsettling" mechanically. Needs more polishing :(

Cheliax

Neil Spicer wrote:
- I couldn't get the skill ranks to add up. As a 12 HD aberration with a 20 Int, it should have 90 points to spend. I think you probably got crossed up with the racial modifiers and forgot to include adjustments for the creature's size and/or the fact that it has a fly speed.

I might be misreading something, but isn't it just a HD 10 aberration?

Anyways, my thoughts on this monster:

- I love the concept of this thing. An evil ex-familiar thing that corrupts its former masters.

- I think it requires a bit of work to use (i.e. I would never use it as a random monster), but as part of a plot, the rewards would be great.

- I would have loved some text on possible variations on the huri. E.g. does ex-rat familiars have different powers and/or appearances. I realize word count was a factor, so not a complaint really.

Good luck Jacob, I hope you will go on to the next round and show us more great ideas.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Bruno Kristensen wrote:
I might be misreading something, but isn't it just a HD 10 aberration?

Yep. That was a typo on my part. Meant to say 10 HD aberration. Still comes out to 90 skill points to spend and I couldn't duplicate what was in the submission.

Dedicated Voter 2014

The details need some work, but I have never seen a monster like this in 30 years of role playing, so it gets my vote. Its a very creative idea.

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

Well, that's a different niche than a lot of monsters. Being different is good. Unfortunately, that niche is "hose the wizard/witch", which is less good. The connection between hurin and familiars is sort of odd and tenuous; do all hurin become eyeless raven-things? Or do they grow wings and their bodies fall off regardless of type? A bit more flavor-text would have done well to clarify that.

Their special attacks are kind of weird. They give really good bonuses even if the save is passed, which makes them less of a threat. "Thanks for trying to take over my mind! In repayment, let me destroy you even more quickly!" And as Sean pointed out, it's not terribly clear if they should be targeting familiars or their masters with unsettling advice.

Mechanically speaking, you've given them iterative attacks on a natural weapon, which is a huge no-no. Their primary source of damage is one SLA, which is somewhat novel; I think I like it, but I'm not too sure. From a presentation standpoint, the spelling and proofreading errors come off like a slap in the face--jarring and offensive. As an RPG Superstar contestant, you're writing a job application. Treat it like one!

I agree with the assessments that this feels more like a cursed magic item or a plot device than a proper creature, and the holes in both conception and execution leave it with a lot to be desired. Not every swing for the fences connects, and I'm afraid I will not be voting for this creature. It looks like you have fans, though, so you might not need my vote. Best of luck!

Andoran

This is really tough. I think the idea here is super-cool, but as a proofreader I'm going berserk. I get that you're from Denmark, and I am absolutely willing to cut you some slack for English as a second language (or maybe third or fourth, possibly). But...yeesh. You're burning through that slack really quickly in this entry.

I've worked on projects where I thought the core idea was great but the writing needed work, and I've worked on projects that were really well written but didn't move me in any way. I distinctly prefer the former over the latter. I'm giving you a vote, and I hope you make it to the next round.

Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Kyl, my 7th level wizard: "You sick, sick, evil, demented, twisted, evil, bastard. You stay the hell away from me and my familiar!!"

However, my GM side says, "Mwahahaha!" and looks forward to using this beasty.


Schatzie, you have my vote as per usual!

To the rest of you; thank you for the criticism and votes so far, and keep 'em coming, please.


I like the idea, but I don't see it as a "monster".
I can't see how it would get the opportunity to spend an hour with an unconscious familiar, unless the caster went to sleep without putting his familiar away.
I understand English isn't your first language, but it might have helped to get someone to proof read it. Sorry to point out another error but it should be "covet" rather than "covert".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This certainly has some mechanical issues and I don't particularly like the idea of hosing the witch/wizard by killing off their familiar. The way the ability works also makes the Huri seem more like a plot device than a real creature to encounter. I also think it might be fun if rather than corrupt a familiar they instead possessed one, thus making the loss of the familiar a temporary issue rather than a permanent thing.

That said I really like the way this creature would operate in combat apart from the special abilities. The idea that ear-piercing scream is the main attack (backed up by the occasional use of chill touch) seems fun, and makes for a pretty different kind of feel.

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

Jacob, interesting core idea here. I'm on the fence about it because I question the overall execution. Good luck in the final voting!

Here's what I like:
- monster that targets the bond between PC and its companion. This concept feels new to me; not sure I can think of any other specific monster that would target your familiar to turn it against you.
- incorporates "familiar" abilities (alertness, evasion, SR) into its core structure; I like this twist.

Here's what I don't like:
- complicated path to its goal. It wants to transform your familiar into a twisted, aberrant mockery of itself. But it's got to drain away the familiar's wisdom, render it unconscious, perform a 1-hour ritual... it's starting to become just a plot device and not a monster.
- Throwaway feats. Feats are one aspect of a DM's toolbox where you can craft a monster to fulfill its function(s) well. The feats you have chosen do not feel like they serve to define this creature. They feel like feats chosen to fill up space.
- questionable rules savvy. Some basic things are tripping you up. a single natural attack doesn't get iterative attack bonuses. Concentration check is caster level (10) plus casting stat bonus (2).

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Its no more a plot device or a "kill the favorite thing of the class" than a rust monster is to a fighter.

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

Clark Peterson wrote:
Its no more a plot device or a "kill the favorite thing of the class" than a rust monster is to a fighter.

The issue I have with it isn't that it takes away a wizard's pet. It's the long and windy road it has to take to get there. If it dealt this particular fate by way of toxin, curse, disease, or insanity I wouldn't give it a second thought. But this whole ability damage, then drag the unconscious familiar elsewhere, perform uninterrupted ritual, etc. That's in plot device territory and feels too overly complicated for a monster tactic.


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? Potentially, but I can't imagine any non-evil-aligned PC wanting to treat with this thing. The roleplaying opportunities this entry hints at are non-existent for most good and neutral characters.

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Perhaps, but I just can't see myself using this monster more than once. As a long-time player of a witch, I don't like the idea of my familiar being in constant jeopardy - it makes for an interesting situation once in awhile, but it gets tiresome when done frequently and just makes you feel like you're being picked on for your class abilities.

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? It's got some gonzo mojo. I do wonder about the familiars it converts, though - what would my witch's spider look like, for example? Eight legs dangling from a severed multi-eyed head? Or does the magical process make all familiars look like ravens for some unknown reason? Maybe this would be better done as a template.

Star Voter 2013

Hmm. interesting idea, but you're a few hours of polish low on this entry. Typos and errors make me not very excited about this one.

Also, there's a few logic problems in it too. How often would you leave your familiar somewhere off alone to get affected by the Huri? Never, is when. unless it targets your familiar and then flies off to un-bind it from you, that may as well be removed entirely.

And really, so long as it can conceal it's purpose it eats lower level casters for breakfast. Charm them and do some wisdom damage, then their familliar, then convert their familliar and finally eat the character.

Which, I suppose is good, but I just don't like it terribly, I think it needed a lot more work.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This guy shows a lot of creativity, but I can't see myself ever using it or how I would. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Dedicated Voter 2014

Looks like the skill ranks come out to 80 points:
bluff 10, k-arcana 10, k-planes 10, k-history 10, perception 10, spell craft 10, stealth 5, diplomacy 5, fly 10.

I might add knowledge dungeoneering as a skill for 10 ranks, since it is both an aberration and an ex-familiar.

As for DC 20 being too high for a CR 7 monster, there are lots of CR 7 monsters with even more dangerous abilities-- an aboleth has DC 22 dominate monster 3x/day, a sceaduinar has a DC 19 harm 1/day, and a succubus has DC 20 energy drain and DC 21 at will suggestion, for example. So I don't think DC 20 is too bad, especially since its just a little wisdom damage, and it requires a full round action from the huri.

In an encounter, the huri would start invisible and stealthy, and whisper unsettling advice to a familiar. It would then become visible, but you would need to make a perception check to pin point where the voice was coming from. A cunning wizard or witch might glitterdust the area at this point, but if not, the huri turns invisible, moves, and then 1 round later whispers more advice to the familiar. If the familiar is charmed, it will tell its master that a helpful spirit is telling it some secrets.

This could be a cool encounter indeed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Clark Peterson wrote:
Its no more a plot device or a "kill the favorite thing of the class" than a rust monster is to a fighter.

Like Eric I think it feels like a plot device due to how the ability works, not the ability itself. I just don't really see the Corrupt Familiar power working without the plot hammer, since the Huri needs an hour with the familiar.

That said I actually find myself liking this more over time. I'm not that excited over what it does and I think it has a few mechanical issues. But it does feel like something pretty unique and that's in a good way. Even though I'm not a big fan of this monster, I think there's a pretty interesting creative spark there.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
moon glum wrote:
The details need some work, but I have never seen a monster like this in 30 years of role playing, so it gets my vote. Its a very creative idea.

That's a major endorsement.

I think it would be really cool to have a Huri as a recurring campaign foe, even more so if it was a PC's ex-familiar. Gah!

I could see the minor image, invisibility and detect thoughts abilities, working in combination for some long-range strategies. Used right, I think it could be an even bigger pain in the butt.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I like this creature more and more as I revisit this entry.

Both as core villain at low levels and as an evil servitor at higher levels, it has incredible potential.

I can't wait to see this critter in action!

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Caineach wrote:
This guy shows a lot of creativity, but I can't see myself ever using it or how I would. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

In the end, you got my vote because I find this one of the most creative and unique monsters this round.

Silver Crusade

i like it and I will vote for you.
so happy i don't have a wizard.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Disclaimer: In the Top 32 Guildhall, Jacob Trier 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 huri.

Frankly, this isn't really a monster; it's just a plot device masquerading as a monster.

Name I don't like how you added a description of the monster (treacherous ex-familiar) to the monster name. Bestiary monsters don't do that.

Appearance In a similar vein, I'm not sure I like the phrase "at the cost of your own sanity" in the appearance section. That is not a description of the monster's physical appearance.

Senses Why does this creature have blindsense instead of the standard darkvision possessed by all aberrations. (I get that it has no eyes in its empty eye sockets, but note that skeletons have darkvision, not blindsense.)

Speed I'm assuming that the fly speed here is a supernatural effect, since the creature has no wings. If so, flight should probably been listed as a special quality.

CMD Can't be tripped? Why not? It has a land speed, and presumably walks about on its claws.

Special Abilities These should be in alphabetical order (and there's no excuse for misspelled words at this point in the competition). Also, a lot of the wording here is somewhat strange. Instead of imitating the way existing monster abilities are worded, you throw around things like "bonus on Intelligence-based skills" and references to instances of an ability, neither of which are phrases used in existing monster stat blocks. (It should be "bonus on Intelligence-based skill checks" and "The bonus granted by this ability doesn't stack.")

Also, the corrupt familiar ability is very narrow in scope, yet vague at the same time. Presumably, the intent here is that a familiar turned into a huri no longer counts as familiar, but that isn't explicitly stated. Also, what happens to a witch's spells known if her familiar is turned into a huri? What happens to an improved familiar like a mephit? Is it still turned into an ordinary hurin by this ability, or does it retain its mephit-like appearance and abilities? There are some consequences here that aren't fully explored.

Also, the entire monster's niche seems much too specific. I would even go so far as to say this is just a plot device masquerading as a monster. There are only two possible ways a character will interact with this thing: either the huri is messing with the character's familiar or the huri is serving as the character's familiar. So the huri comes off as a thinly-veiled excuse to codify rules for the "I'm messing with your familiar" and "this character gets spooky advice from an alternate familiar" plot devices. The huri needs a purpose in the game (and in the story) that is something more than this. (Edit: And I see several of the judges are getting the same feeling here.)

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I don't know how to use this thing.

The ability to charm a familiar then drain its wisdom then perform a hour long ritual is either impossible (during combat) or downright screwing a player (out of combat). If the character fails a save in the middle of the night when noone is near we have a dead familiar or so I guess!?

Add to this that you did several things that are a No-NO:

You never use "you" in read aloud text - this has been discussed in the previous iterations of RPGSS.

You used a descriptive add on in the monster name which is reserved for unique monsters. Indeed I thought this to be a unique monster.

Your stats are off at several obvious places (iteratives for natural attacks is a glaring mistake).

Sorry to sound so harsh, it's just that I think you wasted your obvious talent here by aiming very high in creating something really unusual and then failling at it.

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

The name on first impression sounded like a character. A former familiar named Huri. That put me off a little but I do like things that bring familiars out of hiding (you know what I'm talking about). As I read, I so much wanted to like this monster. I think it was a great idea being a former familiar that wants to pull other familiars away from their masters. But I think he missed the mark on the creature's origins and abilities. I think it would have been better as an undead who stalks and captures live familiars or a shapeshifter who replaces a familiar like a doppelganger. Killing a familiar in secret away from its master is not a cool thing to do but temporarily breaking the connection as a plot device is pretty cool. All in all, this missed the mark for me and I had to decline a vote for it.


The concept excites me, but the details confuse me. And it does read as a plot device more than a monster, because I think a campaign would hate to see this more than once. It's very innovative and creative. I very much want to like it.


As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest most..so lets see..
I read it..hated it..reread it, and liked it..rereread it and and got a headache...
I concept is sharp..and area that is grossly under used, but the entire thing needs a solid repolish. As have said before, you were taking a good idea and stuffing it into a CR 7 box, and I take that into account. This would be better as a weaker CR creature, I think. There are also huge questions (How does it isolate the familiar from its master, do they all become ravens, and if so why? Why aberration?) This may have benefited from NOT being a contest entry, so you could go into more detail about how it goes about its evil work. It may have been better off as a template as well.
In the end..I think this is a cool seed of an idea, that would be hard as hell to get to work properly. I have not decided on my votes yet..we shall see. Kudos for thinking out of the box!

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

I get that Clark digs its first-edition feel, but I don't like this creature. First, I think it's poorly written and doesn't use language that designers have to conform to. Secondly, there are typose, misspellings and missing hyphens that immediately mark the entry as non-superstar. Third, I think there are huge mechanical flaws and assumptions in the entry.

For example, the beast progenates by dealing Wisdom damage to the familiar, and the ability skips straight to conducting a (extraordinary instead of supernatural) ritual for an hour over the unconscious body. So it corrupts the released familiars of dead spellcasters? Or it imprisons spellcasters so it can torture their familiars in order to pass Wisdom drain on to the spellcaster and then take over as new familiar? This seems like an unfinished idea that is based on a dynamic most games will just want to completely abandon.

Also, how is the dismebodied head AND once-faithful familiar (implying it's undead) score a second life as an aberration? Does the familiar lose its head and have its claws rearanged as a part of the ritual? What if the old familiar was a monkey or snake?

A lot of unanswered questions and bizarre decisions that I can't support. I applaud you for trying to be very different from any other entry, but I don't tink the huri enhances the game in any way.

And then the name, as presented, is misleading.

Dedicated Voter 2014

It has mechanical problems, but the question is, is it in the top half of the monsters presented? I think that the originality of the idea (corrupting familiars) makes up for its short comings. A person can change the mechanics, name etc. (make them undead, have them appear as various other familiar types, I like a disembodied cat head + front paws).


Yes, it has formatting issues, but those can be fixed far more easily than a flaw with the creative side of things.

Also, once in a while, wizards and witches should be hosed a little. Same as a fighter with no means of flight fighting a flying skirmisher.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Thank you for your comments and support, everyone. I enjoyed reading all the feedback, both the good and the bad.

I guess you can sum up this round as "Great idea, horrible execution". I'm proud to have made something that a lot of people obviously found very creative and innovating, and sorry that I made such a poor job of presenting it.

There is really no excuse for some of the errors I made. I kept making changes right up to the point of submission, and that was a serious mistake.

If anyone have further questions and comments, please post them - I will see if I can find time to jot down some more of my thoughts on the design before we move on to the next round.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Jacob Trier wrote:
If anyone have further questions and comments, please post them - I will see if I can find time to jot down some more of my thoughts on the design before we move on to the next round.

I have one other comment. This is actually one of those times when I wish I could put my designer's hat on and tinker with what you created in an effort to improve on it. For instance, I really like the idea of corrupted familiars. I think if you'd based your core concept just on that and wove in a disease-like magical curse or something similar to a spellblight (with a reasonable save DC), you could have developed this into a much better idea.

Diseases, curses, and afflictions usually have a means to reverse them. But they also take awhile to have their ultimate effect. So, you have more time to deal with it. And someone who has their familiar affected by it wouldn't be severely hamstrung right away. If there were a way to have a monster that can inflict this type of curse...i.e., to unravel the arcane bond between a spellcaster and his familiar...and then make it so the ultimate outcome of failed saves eventually slays the familiar or morphs it into another one of these creatures, I think you'd get more mileage out of it. Almost like how a creature slain by a wight or a wraith will return as one...only, make sure your ability for this monster doesn't have that happen as quickly.

Because the familiar is such an important ally to wizards and witches, I think slowing it down by making that ability a slow-acting curse (which can continue even after this monster retreats) would alleviate some of my concerns about nerfing those classes so strongly with such a targeted attack. You'd also have room to play around with some other detrimental effect on the arcane bond as a familiar (or even wizard or witch) who's been afflicted with this monster's curse is suffering its ongoing effect. By having it slowly erode the connection, you can inflict some penalties on the master and the familiar as they start growing apart. Almost like Alzheimer's disease or the insanity rules or something? And, eventually, when the bond is completely broken, that's when the familiar could respawn as one of these creatures and start attacking others of its kind.

To me, that would have sold it better. Sometimes placing limits on abilities like that helps strengthen your design. And, I think maybe that would helped here. I agree with Ryan, though. Regardless of the basis for this ability, I'd have preferred to see you keep the ex-familiar a magical beast. Or, if it's an improved familiar, keep its base creature type. I don't think you have to venture into template territory in order to pull off the transformed creature. Just have the curse transform it into an entirely new creature with a set CR like you have here.

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

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

That is some highly useful and educational advice, Neil. Thank you.

Once the contest is over for me, I'll probably come back and try to implement all the suggested fixes into a new and improved version of the creature. So keep the feedback coming.

Also, I thought people might like to see what a huri looks like. This picture is what gave me the original idea for the creature. It is a photo of an inuit amulet. Since I have lived on Greenland as a child, I looked to inuit mythology for inspiration. Unfortunately, Paizo have already done both a Tupilaq and a Qallupilluk, so I had to abandon those ideas. But the image stuck with me, and I ended up with the huri.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Locke1520

Wow. Jacob that picture is creepy-cool. I can see why you were inspired to make the huri look the way you did. That's a neat insight thanks for sharing.


Neil, I really like this idea.
It's actually a mix of the first idea for this monster (a creature that sat on the shoulder of its victim and whispered good advise, but also slowly turned the victim insane) and the final result (targeting familiars).

Why didn't you think of that, Jacob? Oh, I remember - the time and last minut revisions... Don't worry schatzie, you can always give it another go next year!

Anyways - thank you all for your input. Jacob has really learned a lot from this and I've become quite addicted to visiting the forum during work hours.
In case he doesn't advance to the next round we'll need to start talking about something else. I wonder how that'll be.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Ida TT wrote:

Neil, I really like this idea.

It's actually a mix of the first idea for this monster (a creature that sat on the shoulder of its victim and whispered good advise, but also slowly turned the victim insane) and the final result (targeting familiars).

Why didn't you think of that, Jacob? Oh, I remember - the time and last minut revisions... Don't worry schatzie, you can always give it another go next year!

Anyways - thank you all for your input. Jacob has really learned a lot from this and I've become quite addicted to visiting the forum during work hours.
In case he doesn't advance to the next round we'll need to start talking about something else. I wonder how that'll be.

Yeah...what my loving and supportive wife said. :-)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka motteditor

Jacob Trier wrote:
I looked to inuit mythology for inspiration. Unfortunately, Paizo have already done both a Tupilaq and a Qallupilluk, so I had to abandon those ideas.

Creepy photo. I wonder how many of us ran into a problem similar to yours with Tupilaq and Qallupillak. I know I considered making a dybbuk at one point, only to find it in the Bestiary 3. Such a shanda.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Eric Morton wrote:
Name I don't like how you added a description of the monster (treacherous ex-familiar) to the monster name. Bestiary monsters don't do that.

It's not part of the Bestiary writeup, but the R3 rules allow it:

R3 Rules wrote:
The subject field should include only the monster's name and, optionally, a *brief* descriptive tag. (Example: "Zurbolax, Eater of Eyes").

Jacob is the only competitor who did it, though, which is why it stands out as "unusual" for this round.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Yup, I remembered several of the monsters from past year doing so, and thought it was a good way to quickly set the scene in regards to what the monster was all about. But I can see how being the only one to use that made me stand out and look like I didn't understand the rules.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Andrew Marlowe wrote:
Wow. Jacob that picture is creepy-cool. I can see why you were inspired to make the huri look the way you did. That's a neat insight thanks for sharing.

Yeah, I get the feeling that the photo was both a blessing and a curse. It got my creative juices flowing, and really helped me focus my thought process. But on the other hand, having such a clear visual that i was unable to share with the audience may have worked against m a bit too, judging from the "what's up with the floating raven head and claws"-comments I got.

I think the important lesson here is to use the image for inspiration, but to realize when you have to break away, because your design choices only really make sense once you see the picture.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Alot of the concerns have already been adressed by the other posters so i'll just stop by and say i really enjoyed this entry. It's a really neat idea and it got my vote.

I hope to see you in round 4!


Jacob Trier wrote:

Huri, treacherous ex-familiar

The deformed, disembodied head of a raven hovers before you, pointed claws protruding straight from the neck. It regards you with empty eye-sockets and begins to whisper advice that holds the promise of power, at the price of your sanity.

Huri 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?
The name only scores seven points, but I'm feeling generous and I'll give it a double word score. That still only gets it a total of 14 points however.

Would a specimen of this creature look good on the cream and scarlet paisley pattern sofa I have in my Druman villa?
Umm, probably not. What it looks like would clash with the pattern.

What place does this have at a dinner party?
Oh this is easy. You keep it under a silenced cloche on a salver, and whip the cloche off for comic entertainment. If guests start to excessively wibble, you put the cloche back on.

Other comments?
As others have already observed, the description given implies that the only possible form for a huri is the hovering raven head, which is odd. Ah well; the last time I otherwise saw a relatively novel undead familiar was in Ravenloft when I was a young and relatively innocent succubus. It would be going absolutely shamelessly off topic, though, to start reminiscing about a rather fascinating (and not at all bad for a yugoloth) arcanaloth I also encountered there named Inajira...

Rating:
If this creature were a crime, what sort of crime would it be (expressed in the time honoured culprit/implement/location format)?
One of those cute flayers from Allansia, with the toasting fork, in the kitchen.

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.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2012 / Round 3 - Top 16: Create a CR 7 Golarion monster / Huri, treacherous ex-familiar All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 3 - Top 16: Create a CR 7 Golarion monster

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.