I want to really like this. It's like a bond movie scene in PF. I'm pretty sure that at CR 9 a smart PC group is going to prefer to shoot it down rather than face all those hazards, which kills the excitement. I would probably want to scale it down to a much lower CR.
But I want to do something with it, so that's a good thing. Looking at your other entries, you've definitely got a talent for putting sizzle and fun into your ideas. That's valuable in a designer and harder to learn than technical skills, in my opinion.
The sphere of annihilation is odd and powerful, but that isn't really the point. It's a race to save the villagers of the doomed island. It would be better if that made more sense, but it isn't a deal breaker for me.
I like the fact that this is very creative and the opposite of hack 'n' slash. I do worry that it would be a huge nightmare to run. I guess there's only one way to find out...
I found the encounter solid and well thought out. I liked the hazards, and the setting was fun. I didn't mind the ogre in the bathtub, it's pretty funny and it's nice to be surprised. If I play test it, I expect it will go well.
But I was disappointed, because it was oversold and under delivered. What I mean is you described an adventure with cultists as the bad guys who have infiltrated the merchants with the magic items (and PCs would absolutely walk into a trap for the chance at prototype magic items, who are we kidding there?).
Is an encounter with mischievous goblins and an ogre who just wants to get clean the coolest encounter in that adventure? Based on what you showed in round 2 and round 3 I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say 'hell no'. But why oh why is that what you showed me?
I loved your entry last round a lot based on the visuals. Didn't like this one nearly so much, mainly because I played on willow trees a lot as a kid and I just can't picture one with toxic thorns. So I guess my advice is: for creative types like me imagery can make or break a concept. :-) I bet you came up with something fantastic for the upcoming round and I can't wait to see it.
Andrew Marlowe wrote:
My guess is that in Swahili 'beetles' and 'bugs' are the same word. So you took 'hungry bugs' E->S and got 'njaa mende'. I took 'njaa mende' S->E and got 'hungry beetles'.
I liked your entries quite a bit and was hoping to see what you'd do next. Of course I also like many of the entries that did advance quite a bit. ;-) Best of luck!
The name made me first think 'fake Indian' and then put it to the tune of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Hmm Hmm Hmm THUN DER THIEF! But that's probably my issue. :-)
I like the electrical monster in the electrical storm, and its got cool visuals. I hate monsters whose ecology is mostly stealing the PCs stuff. I might have liked an origin story or something else to make them more multifaceted.
I was really excited by the name... but gotta agree, I was wishing for something that's more like a necrotic coral reef and less like a coral golem. I like its nurturing undead feature, since coral reefs are a nurturing environment and a necrotic one should... yeah. But I'd sort of like it to be stationary with some evil evil powers. Like a haunted house in the sea. With scary undead lurking in its shadows.
It's not a bad critter, I just pictured all that from the awesome name. And then was a little disappointed with the actual monster. And I'm not loving the anti-magic. How do we get undead things? Magic. So why anti-magic? Why are the undead things hungry for magic and not hungry for the blood of the living, with that creepy horror movie intensity?
This is a bundle of fiery fun! I love the association with goblins, and the reproduction by explosion... Given that reproductive strategy, I'm not a fan of the fire immunity, agree it should be resistance. I imagine these guys would self-immolate upon reaching a certain age.
That's a quibble though, I like this monster a lot.
I like these guys. The sonic shroud is a really fun power. The vertigo pulse is fun as well.
The numbing bite doesn't quite make sense to me. It seems odd, anesthetics aren't going to make you fail to notice a scary critter biting you. I think I'd rather see a slowing poison with an anesthetic flavor, or something similar that seems more plausible and still goes with their tactics.
I liked the intro text, I like them 'creeping silently' it adds something to the place where you find out just HOW silently. I might have liked something like spider climb for 'em and not just climb ability, based on those visuals.
They definitely got a spot in my imagination.
Hmm. I'd probably paint it a different color than purple, but I don't mind anything else about the form. It reminds me of other mythical beasties like a sphinx or a chimera.
But the players aren't going to meet it that way, because it's going to shift in order to chat with them and mess with their minds. I think. Maybe not. It seems like it would. But then it's specials are based on its natural form.
So... I'm picturing an encounter where it goes in to mess with the PCs shape shifted, they figure out something's up eventually. They attack the critter and it pops into its full double headed frightening glory, and then they are hit with Whispers of False Promise before getting howled at and bitten. I wasn't liking it initially, but I might have talked myself around. That would be fun.
I won't pile onto what others have said about the mechanics, I'm more about style and story.
It looks like a willow tree. But it has a toxic thornburst. Willows don't have thorns. Where do the thorns come from? And how do we reconcile the toxic thorn aspect of the monster with the more necromantic feeling with the elf bones and effigy? I'd like it much better as either a toxic thorn tree, or a necro flavored creepy willow tree, which is what you're selling with the name. They don't play well together in my mind.
Also, the monster is _extremely_ tied into the campaign setting. Enough so I am told how the treasure has to work. Explaining where the critter fits into Golarion is good up to a point, but what if I want to drop it into a totally different world? I'll have problems to solve and decisions to make, and I'm not sure I'm excited enough to want to.
I like the way this combines the tactics and feel of different types of bugs. They are beetle-like. They swarm like army ants. They build traps like trap door spiders, complete with illusions to make them better. They have a poison stinger on an arm, like scorpions. And they are smart and evil.
I agree with the previous poster who said the poison would create a better synergy if it was nauseating instead of boiling, since they swarm on nauseated targets.
The name thing got me curious. The Mende are an African tribe (the guys in Amistad), so I wondered if maybe the thing had a real African root. Turns out it's Swahili for hungry beetles.
Anyhow these guys are laying eggs in my brain. Perfect for Valentine's Day.
I like the feel of this creature and I loved the choir from last round. The one thing I really question here is the charisma drain. I understand the thought, that we are sucking away the sparkle and joy of life but it strikes me that it might work out pretty oddly in play.
Also, this makes me think 'uber-goth'. Which isn't bad, but it makes me smile.
From a stylistic point of view, this seems a whole lot like a hell hound. The scary scary bite doesn't really excite me, but the spell distortion power does. It is bad ass and will put a hurting on. Add in the dimension door, teleport, invisibility, and arcane sight and this is a really effective hunter-killer for mages. That's the idea, but like others, I worry that this is too nasty and overpowered for the challenge.
Yeah, it was a prolitical commentary projected into space, but I still feel the story itself was awesome, and only a little of that is the space-bit. ;)
I hear you. Like I said I read them all. So they couldn't have been that bad. :-) But the one dimensional political commentary was more than a bit annoying.
Incarnations was awesome sauce up until the last one. But Bio of a Space Tyrant? Really? Okay, I admit I read them all. And was left vaguely sad that he couldn't have done something better with all his creative juice than project a distorted version of the real world on outer space.
I hadn't thought of that angle but it is awesome. Send the PCs from their "good" home to be dogooders with the evil slaving neighbors, and the big bad guy actually lived next door from the start.
Sly Boots wrote:
I could buy that.
It does seem like it'd be a bit of work to get PCs to understand. You'd want to show, not tell, of course. And then it could go a lot of different places. Which is good. Hmm. In a really intelligent, sophisticated game they could be like a distorted mirror. "We like killing things, they like killing things. Are we them?"
It might be growing on me.
The real world doesn't have monsters of human intelligence, or definitely defined alignments. The real world provides great inspiration, but the parallel breaks down pretty quickly.
From an ecological standpoint there are way too many intelligent top shelf predators in close proximity. That's called D&D. So how they react to each other is sort of up to logic and flavor.
Which is part of the trouble with this organization. Join 'em, fight 'em, they just don't seem that antagonistic unless you're a monster.
My first thought was that this is a joke.
My second thought was that this has lots of possibilities, really. It only seems like a joke because it is anti-Tolkienesque.
But my third thought was that my troll shaman has his metahuman rights activist on speed dial. And I've played this theme to death in Shadowrun, where it was central and very appropriate. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. It just doesn't seem very swords and sorcery.
Carl Cascone wrote:
I probably wasn't clear enough. I've got no problem with a designer using an organisation that practices eugenics. I just think this one is pretty boring. I'd also have a problem with a villain who murdered people just because he was a violent murdery murderer.
Hmm. Kinda like Nazis. But with less going on. The real Nazis had a charismatic leader, scary secret police, mind control, and shadowy occult connections. As well as world domination goals, but I'm not recommending more of that.
These guys do eugenics by force. That's bad. I'm not seeing the end game to this, or how I'd build a campaign around it.
As Lady Ophelia said, historically this is something that existed in the antebellum United States with a slave and free society existing near one another. It's not too much of a leap to think that greedy merchants might put profit over principle even in a principled society, and PCs would love to hate such a group.
Blowing the lid on slaving operations might well NOT put an end to the organization, as the organization could hang the merchant out to dry with a shocked denial from the mentioned 'complicated bureaucracy'.
I'd like to have seen something a little more interesting about the leadership of the group and what PCs might face though, because greedy merchants as such seem like maybe a pretty weak antagonist? But I like the concept a lot and it's original and surprising.