Round 3: Who has your vote?


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

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I've gone through them all, and while I'm not voting for a few days, I feel pretty sure these won't change. The gap just feels that large this time around.

The Fab Four (not in order yet):

Hetty--smart, low-level fit for an RP-based urban or town based game

Avinash--da-da-dum it's (inside the house)the horse! And well realized

Arthelia--smart story and a great foe for the levels I prefer to play

Whirling Cackling Cackler of whirlwind--I could just reread this entry so many times.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

propeliea wrote:

I've gone through them all, and while I'm not voting for a few days, I feel pretty sure these won't change. The gap just feels that large this time around.

The Fab Four (not in order yet):

Hetty--smart, low-level fit for an RP-based urban or town based game

Avinash--da-da-dum it's (inside the house)the horse! And well realized

Arthelia--smart story and a great foe for the levels I prefer to play

Whirling Cackling Cackler of whirlwind--I could just reread this entry so many times.

So far I'm only set on Arthelia and Abzirael, for exactly the same reasons.

Hetty is a possible, but I'm not sold on her villainosity.

Beyond that, I'm pretty undecided.

I'm going to come back to it in a day or two.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Core

O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain—
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.

Abzirael Ul-Shadai
Fleshstripping
Avinash
Arthelia

Sovereign Court

Honestly? I love you guys dearly, but... man, I'm not sure I can, in good conscience, vote for anyone. How long do we have to let entries grow on us, because not a single entry jumped up and said, "LOVE ME" this round?

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Wow cap you are tough. Not a one? Come on...

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Well,I nearly agree with Cappadocious, although I do have a clear top three. I guess as recurring, clever, meanyheaded villains go, I am most impressed with Avinash.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

I'm thinking the horse, the fiend-nymph, and either the two old women or the two elan. It's hard to decide, and the countries and magic item entries might sway my vote a bit. I don't really dig psionics, but it was used pretty cool here.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

It was tough this time around - for entirely different reasons than before. In round 2, i had trouble sticking to my five, and not taking Stained Peaks or this or that in, in replacement to the currently least favored one.

This time i had trouble finding a villain compelling enough to shortlist. In the end my shortlist contained just four entries, which made the decision quite easy.

Please note that i don't give votes based on previous performance - you need to impress me each round anew.

So whithout further ado, here are my votes:

* Kalyani Yaffa - mediocre villain with some mechanical problems, but the princess hook sold me.

* Arthelia - somewhat overcomplex concept, but competently pulled off, vibes with me for the simple reason that for every legend, there should be someone trying to tear it down.

* Avinash - The Blink Dog of this round, but honestly my favorite. I could see this villain recurring through several adventures, dogging the characters until they finally figure out what's really going on.

* Kotalya - I just love dark Fey... what more is there to say?


I'm in with cappadocious, there's not much that really jumps out at me, and a bunch that I just don't like. The consequence of this is that of those who are lukewarm, their previous work will loom very large in my decision.

I DO like the horse. The writing, meh!

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

1--Onuyaka.
Hands down for me. Only one I saw as a classic villain.
2--Voeren
Love the veiled evil cult.
3--Arthelia
Character assassination and relatively low-levl
4--Seskadrin, Hetty, or Abzirael Ul-Shadai
That last vote is going to be tough.


Might as well get it started, eh?

In the interests of keeping things brief and orderly I'm not planning to list any entries this time that currently have zero votes. I also added a little extra info at the bottom to hopefully keep myself closer to the correct totals this time (spoilered to reduce reader distraction).

EXIT POLLS wrote:


06 Total Respondents
05 Floaters
##########
05 Arthelia
04 Avinash
03 Abzirael
02 Kotalya
01 Fleshstripping
01 Hetty
01 Kalyani
01 Onuyaka
01 Voeren
~~~~~~~~~~
(others)

Spoiler:

05 Total Floating Votes:
~~~~~~~~~~
02 Clouds Without Water
02 SmiloDan
01 Mactaka


I disliked the elemental quiver immensely. I saw nothing original in it.
I couldn't stand the names and clumsy writing in The Prison Colony of Saran Wrap.
Now Voeren van Premie is excellent. A real villain. Visually distinctive. Tragically deluded. Alien but easy to overlook.
Easily my favourite of this round.
Nothing could surprise me more.

Onayuka, the All-Seeing Eye. A credible, smart and perfectly implemented mastermind. Beautifully written and crisply formatted with a flash of colour.

Abzirael Ul Shadai The Cackling Whirling. A bombastic and forceful image that beams competence and craftsmanship in all directions. I admit that his style is really growing on me.

My last vote goes to the thouroughly badass fourarmed Asmodean sahuagin expansionist, Seskadrin, Satrap Of The Ahestian Sea. Such nice work, and beautifully foreshadowed in Eluraelon itself.

I liked the concepts, writing and style of some of the others, but only had four votes.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Mine.

Arthelia "Lady of Legends Undone" An incredible concept. Not only destroying their bodies, but their minds, souls and memories.

Durgal Maldar "the martyr eater" I love the corruption and for doing little more than dinner. This guy screams Darklord material to me. Plus in non SRD he screams Ur Priest.

Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife Proof of concept that not all villians have to be all high level and cackling. Plus she can be ported anywhere, from D&D to d20 Modern heck to Stargate for that matter.

Seskadrin, Satrap of the Ahestian Sea I don't go much for undersea monsters, but this one, the concept and execution caught me.


Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

I disliked the elemental quiver immensely. I saw nothing original in it.

I couldn't stand the names and clumsy writing in The Prison Colony of Saran Wrap.
Now Voeren van Premie is excellent. A real villain. Visually distinctive. Tragically deluded. Alien but easy to overlook.
Easily my favourite of this round.
Nothing could surprise me more.

Agreed. The writing was still exceptionally weak, but as far as concepts? Home run.

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
Onayuka, the All-Seeing Eye. A credible, smart and perfectly implemented mastermind. Beautifully written and crisply formatted with a flash of colour.

Again, 110% with you on that one.

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
Abzirael Ul Shadai The Cackling Whirling. A bombastic and forceful image that beams competence and craftsmanship in all directions. I admit that his style is really growing on me.

I respectfully disagree, but I think I'll let the voting show who my personal choice was in place of this.

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
My last vote goes to the thouroughly badass fourarmed Asmodean sahuagin expansionist, Seskadrin, Satrap Of The Ahestian Sea. Such nice work, and beautifully foreshadowed in Eluraelon itself.

Again, we are of a like mind, and for similar reasons.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

My votes and why:

Arthelia - Normally, I'm really (REALLY) turned off by psionics. But, in a field of incredibly weak entries, I had to overlook some stuff in order to find enough components of properly executed villain design to send someone on to the next round. I think Christine deserves to go forward. Not only has she worked exceptionally hard at mastering the English language, but the seeds of the ideas that she uses for each submission have been very interesting and inspiring (dead god's head, anyone?). Arthelia is also a fine example of that. This (unlike many of the other entries) is a villain. Someone who will attack the PCs on more levels than just mere physical violence. Arthelia will go after your reputation, your legend, and then your life. She exists to tear down others and does so with a methodical, malevolent spirit that can't be easily countered because she's body-surfing to sustain herself. So, for me, Christine is a "lady" whose legend isn't quite "undone" just yet in this competition.

Avinash - This is probably my top vote-getter...in that, if I had only one vote to cast, Jason's Avinash would probably get it. Why? Again, unlike most of the submissions for this round, Avinash is more than a monster, more than a BBEG NPC...he's an outright villain. The twist of having the "horse" be the villain is a great design point. It leaves room for the PCs to think they've countered the threat of Avinash "the rider" when in fact, that darn warhorse will keep coming back to haunt them again and again. In addition, I think Jason's kind of a darkhorse (pardon the pun) in this competition. He's had solid stuff in the prior rounds...not always knock-your-socks-off stuff...but solid enough to advance. And so, I'm inclined to keep him around...especially since I feel he's designed the best and most-eyecatching unique villain for this round.

Kotalya - The half-fiend nymph is an intriguing mix...and I like the way Joe executed the backstory and villainous personality for Kotalya. I think there was a major error made in failing to make Kotalya more aggressive, though. This half-fiend spawn has an opportunity to get out from under the thumbs of the true fiends, jump over to a new plane, carve out her own kingdom, and eventually dominate the world. That would have made for the best villain of the round, I think. However, I think Kotalya fell flat in that area. Everything else is solid design work, though. She's clearly more than a monster or an evil NPC. So Joe gets my vote this round. And I'd like to see more of his design choices in the future rounds.

Onuyaka - Another well-executed villain, and perhaps the second-best of all the entries (in my mind). This is a mastermind, a string-puller, and Onuyaka has all the tools (physical and arcane) to last as a long-running, recurring villain. He's well-written. There's good design choices made for him. Strong NPC background and motivations. Plenty of minions at his disposal. And decent plot hooks. Unlike a lot of the competitors, Rob incorporated everything he was asked to do this round. As a result, I think Rob's one of the few who's got the chops to go to the end to become an RPG Superstar. He won Round Two for Iskandria (in my opinion) and he's got one of the clear winners of Round Three. So he's brought good stuff and done so consistently. As such, he gets one of my four votes without any hesitation. I think he'll go on to produce even better stuff down the road.

My four-cents,
--Neil

Sovereign Court

Clark Peterson wrote:
Wow cap you are tough. Not a one? Come on...

There are a few I really, really want to love, but I'm trying to be as picky and curmudgeonly as I was in previous rounds. Not to denigrate the efforts of our 16 contestants, who turned in entirely credible work, but I'm just not feelin' the love this round.

I dunno. Maybe it's the lack of Gelatinous Cube villain.


I am with Capadocious this round. I wasn't wowed by any of the entries and most of them just came across as cool monsters or encounters. One or two had the potential to be real villains but they just didn't get fleshed out enough. I think this might be the toughest round of the competition due to the emphasis on both the abstract (villain personality/idea) and the concrete (stat block). In the end I voted not so much on the strength of the individual entries but on what I thought their potential as writers for the industry.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I decided on Seskadrin. He seemed more of a villain to me with overreaching plots and goals instead of a BBEG or a one-off at the end of an adventure.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

To add to your poll, my votes are for:

Avinash - a clear top 'seed' for this round.

Abzirael - would end up being an epic stat rewrite by the end of his campaign

Arthelia - the best chance to add big drama to a campaign, as the PCs try to defend their reputation.

Onuyaka - the tie breaker goes to the only entrant wise enough to separate his math from the rest of his entry. Still a good villain if a bit cliche.


Kotalya, Avinash, and Arthelia here. Still not sure who the 4th will be.

Dark Archive

I picked;

Limro the Constructor - only one class, good solid motivation, easy enough to find ways in which his obsession pits him against the party (who may not *want* to be dissected...).

Mwana, Queen of the Slithering - again, one class, solid motivation (the old 'bwah ha, we were here first, die mammals!' cliche). I also ahve a soft spot for Druids and the Awaken spell. The crodilothropes or whatever sounded lame, so I covered my ears and sang 'la la la' and ignored it.

Kotalya, Despoiler of Nature - number one with a gun. Awesome. I love the idea of her trying to transform the world to suit what she thinks is 'natural.'

Arthelia, Lady of Legends Undone - I'm not at all a fan of Psionics, but her story of conflict is amazing, her motivations make her the perfect antagonist, who will be more likely to come after the PCs (or at least mess up their legacies!) the more they succeed. I'd tweak her around to be less psionically based and more possession-based (ghost, fiend, whatever), or even just a standard MPD case, but in any event, it was a great 'hook.'

Abzirael Ul-Shadai, Voeren van Premie, Seskadrin and Onuyaka were my backups.


Abzirael Ul-Shadai, the Cackling Whirling My assumption coming into round 3 was that everyone would have a larger than life, epic villian and that the real gems would be the skillfully done, low CR villians. Imagine my surprise when one of my favorites is the most over-the-top high level villian in the contest. I could see this guy as the villian for a whole campaign. I can't really say that about anyone else.

Avinash, Master of the Catspaw Marauders Although I didn't enter the contest, I've been roughly sketching out ideas of what I'd do each round if I were in it. The twist of the real villian being the BBEG behind the BBEG comes pretty close to my idea, but this one is much scarier.

Kotalya, Mistress of Demonlake I'm a sucker for fey -- especially dark and twisted demonic fey -- so this one was probably going to get my vote no matter what. That said, I think this one is as evocative as any other villian, even if the language is a bit florid at times.

Seskadrin, Satrap of the Ahestian Sea It came down to Seskadrin or Hetty for my last vote. Seskadrin got the vote mostly because I didn't like Hetty's name. This is a solid entry, but it's not as fleshed out as I would have liked.

In general I agree with the posters who felt a bit underwhelmed with this round. Some of the entries were good, but I didn't feel my socks were knocked off like in previous rounds. Maybe my expectations were a tid bit too high, but I also think the word count was too low. I understand that the limitations are there to force the contestants to work under typical rpg publishing guidelines, but what rpg villian has only a 500 word description? I think a better challenge would have been a 1,000 word description of a villian in a specific CR range.

Congrats to all who made it this far, and a BIG thank you to Paizo and the judges. This thing is a ton of fun to read.

El Skootro

Scarab Sages

Alphabetically:

Abzirael Ul-Shadai, the Cackling Whirling
Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife
Onuyaka, the All-Seeing Eye
Voeren van Premie, Herald of Than Aivel

The horse and the demon-nymph were kicked to the curb for lack of ambition. As a DM, I need villains with ambition and neither of these had it. Of the two old women (both of which I liked), Hetty had the least problems with her backstory. see my comments there for easy fixes and how I'd run her.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

I had a hard time deciding, and I may revise my votes between now and Monday as I think about it some more, but I think Seskadrin and Kolyata and the All-Seeing Eye end up just missing the cut. I also really liked the Haunter of the Hills just for sheer flavor, whether it met what the judges were looking for or not--it is a perfect menace for the setting.

That said, if there's a tiebreaker I like psionics and I apparently like gonzo more than I thought, because I think my votes will end up going to:

Voeren

Abzirael

Arthelia

... and Avinash - viva la horsie!


Jason Nelson 20 wrote:
I had a hard time deciding, and I may revise my votes between now and Monday as I think about it some more

Yeah, me too... as many have commented in other threads, I am particularly underwhelmed by most of the villan submisions with the exception of two: Mwana and Onuyaka.

-----
Mwana: Some have said that the underlying concept ("Lizard Queen bent on bringing down civilization in favour of swampy wilderness"), isn't a terribly original idea. I do agree a little but it was excellently executed nonetheless. While I was reading through Erik's submission I could immediately envision how to fit her into just about any campaign I might want to run (I mean, every campaign world has large tracts of swamp land somewhere) and that's a real strength. Her goals will naturally produce both small and large scale conflict in the regions surrounding her swamp and the PCs can easily become embroiled in the results of her machinations.

I also felt Erik's formatting, especially his description, was one of the best. And unlike several others I really dug the aliterative nature of his headings - it created an interesting cadence in my head as I read it that appealed to me and enhanced the whole entry.

Onuyaka: It's interesting, but the majority of others who have commented seem to have marked this guy as one of the few "real villians" in this round, yet the "Spy Master" is certainly just as "unoriginal" a concept as Mwana. But, Bob definitely pulled it off with aplomb, flair and an excelent presentation.

What else can I say? Onutaka would make a wonderful campaign spanning villian - not only can he be dropped into almost any campaign, he can be used as a foil for both low and high level characters, with the lower level PC's running afoul of some of his minor plans, becoming more an more involved/entwined in them as their levels rise.

As a finalcomment I was so glad to see he wasn't a beholder, which was what I was expecting based on his (very clichéd) title.

-----

Other than those two, instead of more superstars the rest were, at best, "second string" options - either because:

  • they were tied to a specific area and not especally portable to other campaigns without a lot of effort
  • their major goals were either too narrow or practically non-existant
  • they fell into that category of being a "good bad guy, bad villian"
  • the formatting/grammar/etc. of the submission was notably flawed

The "short list" for my last two votes came down to a choice between Arhelia, Avanish, Kotalya and [n]Torquil[/b]

As my votes currently stald I have decided NOT to vote for Onuyaka because it is fairly clear to me that this entry is easily one of the top three, if not the number one choice with or without my help. By letting him go, I could give a litte push to one more of the others with at least a small germ of superstardom. Mwana stayed in my top four because, while Erik hit it out of the park to score a three out of three for me, it is just as obvious that she isn't a shoe in like Onuyaka.

My current votes have gone to:

  • Mwana
  • Torquil
  • Arthelia
  • Kotalya

It was a tough call between Kotalya and Avanish though. While I loved the dark malevolence of Kotalya, limiting her to the woodland she has already corrupted was a poor design decision, IMO. And, as many others note, the "twist" behind Avanish is great, but he also has that notable lack of ambition and I would have liked more information about his recruitment and interactions with his cohort.

(I'll repost if I do change my vote so we can keep the stats on this thread in sync.)

:-j(enni)


You know, an interesting thing about the voting process for me was that I realized I started looking at how the contestants carry themselves on the messageboards as a criterion for votes. Are they humble? Do they avoid the EXPLANATIONS? I feel that an RPG ssuperstar should let their ideas stand alone and not have to go into the intracacies of the why and how to make their ideas seem better.

But in the end, here is my main voting criterion question:

Do I want to play an adventure by this person?

Because that is exactly what is going to happen. Paizo is going to publish the winner, and we may see more work from them in the future. I want to know that I'm not voting for someone just because their idea was weird but because I know they'd produce a kick ass adventure.

In my opinion, so far only three people have made me want to sit down and play an entire adventure by them:

Sam Klisko
Clinton Boomer
Christine Schneider

There are other standouts but these are the three that I feel have the juices to, eachin their own way, pull together a "Far Cry Instincts Predator Awesomeness Explosion" Module.


EXIT POLLS wrote:


17 Total Respondents
08 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~~
11 Arthelia
09 Avinash
08 Abzirael
07 Onuyaka
06 Kotalya
05 Voeren
05 Seskadrin
03 Hetty
-----------
02 Mwana
01 Fleshstripping
01 Kalyani
01 Durgal
01 Limro

08 Total Floating Votes:

Spoiler:

~~~~~~~~~~
02 Clouds Without Water
02 SmiloDan
01 Hideously Deformed
01 Lathiirra
02 Mastrissa


With the votes thus far being rather spread out, I just went ahead and put everyone on the list right now.

I also wanted to correct a minor problem with Avianna's poll numbers before it got lost in the shuffle. Matrissa's votes were not counted accurately, which is an easily understandable mistake if you don't read her post closely.

EXIT POLLS wrote:


18 Total Respondents
07 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~~
13 Arthelia
09 Abzirael
09 Avinash
07 Kotalya
06 Onuyaka
05 Seskadrin
05 Voeren
03 Hetty
~~~~~~~~~~~
02 Mwana
02 Fleshstripping
01 Durgal
01 Kalyani
01 Limro
01 Torquil
00 Elsie
00 Haunter

Spoiler:

07 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~
02 Clouds Without Water
02 SmiloDan
01 Hideously Deformed
01 Lathiirra
01 Hellacious Huni

Contributor

Seskadrin, Kotalya, Onuyaka, Henrietta


Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:
It was a tough call between Kotalya and Avanish though. While I loved the dark malevolence of Kotalya, limiting her to the woodland she has already corrupted was a poor design decision, IMO. And, as many others note, the "twist" behind Avanish is great, but he also has that notable lack of ambition and I would have liked more information about his recruitment and interactions with his cohort.

Well, it's been a little over five hours since I voted and posted the above and I have to admit that Avanish has been popping into my head the whole time. Also, regarding his cohorts, there was a bit more information there burried in the stat block, as pointed out by Rob McCreary on the thread for the submission (emphasis added):

"Jason Nelson wrote:
Feats Cleave, Empower Spell-like Ability (poison), Improved Sunder, Leadership (cohort: Barzel Yuguan (aka “Avinash”), 10th level half-orc ranger; followers: the Catspaw Marauders (low-level orc, human, and half-orc warriors)), Power Attack

So, I've officially swapped my last vote:

  • Mwana
  • Torquil
  • Arthelia
  • Avanish

As it's always a woman's perogative to change her mind, there's a chance I could flip flop on this again, but I don't really think I will.

:-j(enni)


Once again, and it keeps happening this way for me in this contest, my four votes were obvious choices. It's not like I made a short list and had to painstakingly kill myself agonizing over who to drop. The ones I came to really truly love were these four. There were a couple I had my eye on, but once I'd looked over them all, the four I wanted stood out crystal clear above the rest.

Clinton Boomer—Abzirael Ul-Shadai, the Cackling Whirling
Samuel Kisko—Fleshstripping in Zopotishto
Hal Maclean—Durgal Maldar the Martyr Eater
Rob McCreary—Onuyaka, the All-Seeing Eye

Really each of these just blew me away as being "the one".

The strange thing about this round, unlike last round, was how often I just ended up flabbergasted by the judges. Last time we were pretty eye to eye on most things, or at least I could really see why they sometimes would go one way and I'd go another. This round I was just amazed how often I'd read a beautiful entry and be wiping away tears and I'd start reading how much the judges just thought it was crap. Then there were others, where I was just appauled by them, and could barely read them all the way through (though I did read them all, all the way through) and was just ready to see the judges lay into them--when lo and behold everyone thought it was great. I just don't know. Weird round.

[EDIT- Here's my votes tabulated into the exit poll]

19 Total Respondents
07 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~~
13 Arthelia
10 Abzirael
09 Avinash
07 Kotalya
07 Onuyaka
05 Seskadrin
05 Voeren
03 Hetty OR 03 Fleshstripping
~~~~~~~~~~~
02 Mwana
02 Durgal
01 Kalyani
01 Limro
01 Torquil
00 Elsie
00 Haunter


Grimcleaver wrote:
The strange thing about this round, unlike last round, was how often I just ended up flabbergasted by the judges. Last time we were pretty eye to eye on most things, or at least I could really see why they sometimes would go one way and I'd go another. This round I was just amazed how often I'd read a beautiful entry and be wiping away tears and I'd start reading how much the judges just thought it was crap. Then there were others, where I was just appauled by them, and could barely read them all the way through (though I did read them all, all the way through) and was just ready to see the judges lay into them--when lo and behold everyone thought it was great. I just don't know. Weird round.

Agreed. I noticed that happening on earlier rounds as well. I think it shows how subjective the judging is. (Not saying that's wrong, just that it's a fact.) The visceral reaction that impacts a reader positively seems to always lead to a better read of the entry.

That said I've gone through once and I'm going to read over ten again a second time tomorrow before making final decisions.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm new to the voting, having not logged on to Paizo much lately. But today I had a chance to run through all the entries from the top 16. I confess that my choices for voting are based on the combined strength of all of the rounds combined.

Arthelia - Christine Schneider. I've always had a thing for psionics even though I don't use them in my campaign as yet since my players weren't interested. She's probably my favorite villain from this round, and Carnamach was good too. The Arcane Anvil is something to torture PCs with so that's good too.

Onuyaka - Rob McCreary. I love intrigue based villains, and this one can be ported anywhere. Iskandria was one of my favorites of the top 16 countries, though the coin belt of beguiling wasn't my favorite (I want to see magic items that do fun things rather than spitting out spell effects).

Avinash - Jason Nelson. Fun concept with a nightmare as a villain, though the part about him not having any plans was flat. Bereket and the Phial were good entries which passes this one on in my book.

Haunter of the Hills - James McKenzie. Vampire villains are always fun, and though this isn't a totally original vampire it works for me. What really sent this one through for me was the combination with Stained Peaks which was among my favorite countries. The Leash wasn't bad either, but I certainly wouldn't want my PCs to get hold of it.

I would have liked to have had more votes. Neal McLean's Hetty Miller was an interesting low level villain, and I liked her more than the other old woman villain (I swear, I thought Elsie was going to be a low level villain until I saw the CR15). Vramaire would put him at #5 for me if I had a 5th vote. Clinton Boomer had a very interesting concept with Abzirael, but I don't know if I'd ever be able to run that villain, and I wasn't jazzed by his other stuff. Samuel Kisko's Fleshstripper was an 'ehh' villain, though Yithnai was good. Hal McClean's Durgal Maldar was another interesting concept, but I just don't think I'd ever run that type of villain and his country didn't do it for me. The rest of the top 16 all have good entries in one or more of the rounds, just not enough to move up to the top 4 in my book.

Congrats to the top 16.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Here is my current voting history:

Torquil Wiesel, Ghost of the Stoneburg: not enough villain to make the cut
Freeholds of Karistynia: loved it, voted for it.

Kalyani Yafa, High Priestess of the Scaled One: the princess would make a better villain, Kalyani reads like an encounter
Spine Peaks: Didn't vote for it

Arthelia "Lady of Legends Undone": did not get it.
Theocracy of Carnamach: A gods bleeding head.....didn't vote for it.

Abzirael Ul-Shadai, the Cackling Whirling: Felt more like a big bad than a villain.
Cyrehllan, The Isle of Cold Tears: Nope, no vote from me

Mwana, Queen of the Slithering: Not very original, too safe.
Ghost Hound Kinships of the Rolling Plains: No

Durgal Maldar "the martyr eater": A true villain, has my vote.
Beria "Under New Management": were-elephants. Voted for it.

The Haunter of the Hills: A great encounter, not a villain.
Land of the Stained Peaks: This was super! Voted for it.

Avinash, Master of the Catspaw Marauders: Good twist, still unsure if this is a villain.
Bereket: This was on my maybe list.

Kotalya, Mistress of Demonlake: A villain without ambition is no villain.
Moros Akalein: The Wandering Nation. Didn't vote for it

Voeren van Premie, Herald of Than Aivel: A true villain, shame about the name though. Not voting for it.
The Prison Colony of Saran: Didn't vote for it, but it was good.

Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife: unsure.
The Enlightened Kingdom of Vramaire: Voted for it

Onuyaka, the All-Seeing Eye. Didn't caught my eye
Iskandria: Didn't vote for it.

Seskadrin, Satrap of the Ahestian Sea: Fighter-villain, loved it.
Eluraelon: Didn't vote for it.

Fleshstripping in Zopotishto: This is more an encounter with a bad guy than a villain.
Yithnai: Didn't care for it.

Elsie, The Hand Collector: Nope
Olanra: undersea enchantment: Nope

Limro the Constructor: Nope
Akram Zafir: Nope

So I've got two votes left and am pretty sure that I am not going to give them away based on prior performance. You are either a superstar or you are not.

Sovereign Court Contributor

My main criteria for voting is a villain with a believeable agenda that also translates into interesting and intrigueing adventure. Because this is a long-term villain, I'm specifically looking for gradually developing plot opportunities.

My choices:
1) Voeren van Premie. I also voted for Saran, even though I hated the names. Names here are better, although I'm not keen on van Premie. The rest though was wonderful, and I particularly loved your implementation of psionics.

2) Durgal Maldar Another villain ready to go with a consistent and believable agenda. Shame about the formatting, but the villain is awesome. I know some people are put off by the modern feel, but I found it no more jarring than most of Eberron or Ptolus. In fact, in many regards, less so.

3) Hetty Miller This one needs the most work of my four picks, in terms of fixing some minor details (like putting some of the older kids in charge of the younger), but I love the agenda and the concept. Bonus points for notes on developing her motivations and goals if the PCs thwart her without killing her.

4)Arthelia Arthelia meets my criteria very well, and is a brilliantly designed villain. 'She' ranks fourth for me for two reasons; she is not really my personal style of villain, and just didn't speak to me in the same way as the top three, and I could not help comparing her to the other Elan, who I thought was better. Both had excellent implementation of the race, but Voeren made the coolness of that implementation more global. Nice for an alternate system. I do like that Arthelia is a morally ambiguous villain in some regards.

5) Torquil Wiesel Obviously I don't get five votes, but if I did, this would be it. Torquil was in fact barely edged out. I love his goals and methods. Well done. I also like the hooks. The downside for me is to make Torquil work well, you need to build the whole campaign around him. I am specifically citing the hook suggesting that one of the PCs be a descendant of his. I guess his villainy requires the PCs to be written into it or to be hired by the baron. My top four are all villains, who's actions I could implement into a campaign and the PCs couls simply decide to get involved (or not). This one, not so much.

I enjoyed all of the villains this round, but for me none of the rest had real plans that the PCs can sink their teeth into right out of the box. There were some who had a general agenda of 'gaining power' and general strategies. There were some awesome 'Critical threats' and some good encounters. There were some neat evil npcs with no real ambitions. But in general all of them fell into one of two categories; bad guys that attack the PCs pretty much at random, or bad guys that the heroes are hired to deal with but otherwise wouldn't be on their radar.


While generally I was wowed more by the country entries last round, I ended up having more trouble picking the votes this round.

Now, if I had five votes it would have been easier.

Four votes:
Torquil (hey, I earmarked that NG half-dragon hivemind bard vote, and since I saw none of those, that vote goes for funny ghost bard)

Arthelia

Voeren van Premie (the two psionic elans which force me to consider using psionics in future)

Kotalya (for being generally great, and a fey!)

Sorry-you-didn't-get-my-vote:
Hetty Miller (best luck, I do hope you make it to the next round)

Bubbling under:
Avinash
Elsie
Kaltia
Abzirael


Hetty
Kotalya
Seskadrin
Abzirael

For me I didn't belabour the votes much, I tried to go with writing style, mechanics and finally creative spark.

With the countries I think there was plenty there to decide if it was something you would or wouldn't use in your campaign. With this I don't think we got enough of a look at something that would form as the primary antagonist for a series of adventures. Perhaps one adventure, but certainly not anything more, at least not with 500 words.


Just an update, but interesting. 7 new voters and the top 8 didn't so much as trade spots!

I actually still haven't cast my own votes, but have narrowed it down to 6.

EXIT POLLS wrote:


25 Total Respondents
09 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~~
16 Arthelia
11 Abzirael
11 Avinash
09 Kotalya
09 Onuyaka
08 Seskadrin
07 Voeren
06 Hetty
~~~~~~~~~~~
04 Durgal
03 Fleshstripping
02 Mwana
02 Torquil
01 Haunter
01 Kalyani
01 Limro
00 Elsie

Spoiler:

09 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~
02 Clouds Without Water
02 SmiloDan
02 Darkjoy
01 Hideously Deformed
01 Lathiirra
01 Hellacious Huni


Decision made and voted upon. See the One Liners thread for some details. I went for:

Abzirael
Arthelia
Durgal
Hetty Miller

I didn't mean to end up in the beginning of the alphabet.

Contributor

I always seem to come in late to these things, just like American Idol. I'm never interested until it gets down to the final 16.

Anyway, out of the entries in this batch of villains, gotta say that Onuyaka (sp?) the ogre mage was my favorite hands down. I mean, he was really put together well, the mechanics were solid, he's instantly playable in just about any campaign, and ogre magi are just friggin' cool.

The rest of my votes go to the the nightmare (kinda wierd and didn't need all of the class levels, but lots of possibilities), the demonic nature defiling nymph, and the snap, crackle, pop breakfast cereal guy... I mean djinni ;)

Good luck all of you!


Vote 1: Arthelia
Easy choice. Awesome concept and plot hooks. PCs show up to see a performance of their great deeds--and get wasted by a twiggy little kid--who's devoted, big picture, to destroying legends by attack or slander. That's creative motivation.

Vote 2: Voeren
I paired Voeren against Seskadrin in the category of "great leader with plans for world domination and minions with which to do the job"; I think Voeren is slightly better. I think his plans for world dominance are better detailed, and his means of attracting followers (including a possible PC!) are creative. I don't mind that he is working for someone else. And I really like the way religion ends up driving conflict with and among the PCs; it just seems more integral to the plot here than in other settings I have worked with.

Vote 3: Abzirael
I put Abzirael against Onuyaka in the category of "well-designed creature with a finger in every pie." Onuyaka misses out because he seems like just a cool BBEG; Abzirael has more personality. His plans would probably be more subject to his whims, but I don't think that's a strike against a villain.

Vote 4: Kotalya
I paired Kotalya agains Hetty in the category of "interesting idea with some weaknesses in design and writing." This was a tough choice. Hetty has better and more creative motivations, but the writing for her entry, particularly the tactics, is much weaker. I'll go with Kotalya.

Avinash misses out; it's cute to have him keep coming back with a different rider, but why does he keep coming back? I liked Kalyani, but people point out that her stats seem underpowered for a villain; Durgal is very cool, but didn't make the stat block hurdle (thanks to those who vetted stat blocks).

Good luck to all!


Updated to include my picks (leaving off my 3 absolute favorites who are already at the top of the chart):
Durgal
Kotalya
Seskadrin
Voeren
...and that's the extent of my attempts at 'gaming the system' this time. I've been very underwhelmed this round and don't feel particularly motivated to try and save many of the underdogs.

EXIT POLLS wrote:


29 Total Respondents
09 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~~
18 Arthelia
14 Abzirael
12 Avinash
12 Kotalya
10 Onuyaka
09 Seskadrin
09 Voeren
07 Hetty
~~~~~~~~~~~
06 Durgal
03 Fleshstripping
02 Mwana
02 Torquil
01 Haunter
01 Kalyani
01 Limro
00 Elsie

Spoiler:

09 Floaters
~~~~~~~~~~
02 Clouds Without Water
02 SmiloDan
02 Darkjoy
01 Hideously Deformed
01 Lathiirra
01 Hellacious Huni


The technique of voting for submissions you don't think are the best - if commonly used by voters - will affect the validity of the results.

Since I intend to buy products created by the winner, I recommend that people vote for their favorite entries, period.


Laserray wrote:

The technique of voting for submissions you don't think are the best - if commonly used by voters - will affect the validity of the results.

Since I intend to buy products created by the winner, I recommend that people vote for their favorite entries, period.

Yeah, I'm well aware of that. I also don't expect many people to follow my strategy so I'm comfortable sticking to it anyway, especially since we have reports that last round's winners and losers were only separated by a thin margin.

And, well... to be perfectly honest I likely won't be buying what the winner creates anyway since I never use prearranged adventures. I like designing new content and tinkering with rules too much to 'outsource' that part of my gaming experience.


Even though I don't use psionics, ever, two psionic villians stood out this round-

1.) Arthelia by Christine Schneider, probably the round's best all-around villain.
2.) Voeren by Joseph Yerger. Very interesting concept... and I'm all for more use of Aboleths!

and two others were pretty interesting:

3.) Torquil- an evil ghost bard. I see a lot more potential here for mass mayhem than the judges did apparently, and bards are charismatic- they can easily manipulate themselves into the player's "most hated" list.

4.) Kotalya - A deranged nymph with the backing of insane druids- playing against her should be eerily exciting.

Beyond that, there isn't any other villian I remotely considered as a favorite- sorry, they just weren't "epic" or "interesting" to me... Personal taste.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Seskadrin

The sahuagin paladin of tyranny has gotten some love on this thread, but not enough. He is by far the best "villain" when you consider the elements of what constitutes the ideal villain: a smart leader, ambitious with long-term goals, manipulative, a brutal combatant combining melee prowess with magic powers (his own and his cohort's), and devoted to an evil idealogy. Seskadrin is the Darth Vader of the ocean.

Plus, the author did a great job describing Seskadrin, statting him out, fitting him into his country, and providing a couple cool plot hooks, which tells me Russell Taylor can write a fantastic adventure.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Short listed:
Kalyani Yafa, High Priestess of the Scaled One
Arthelia “Lady of Legends Undone”
The Haunter of the Hills
Avinash, Master of the Catspaw Marauders
Kotalya, Mistress of Demonlake
Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife
Seskadrin, Satrap of the Ahestian Sea
Fleshstripping in Zopotishto

Votes: All female, as it happens.
Kalyani Yafa, High Priestess of the Scaled One
Arthelia “Lady of Legends Undone”
Kotalya, Mistress of Demonlake
Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife

Of these, Kalyani, Arthelia and Hetty were probable picks, but it wasn't an easy choice from the remaining possibles.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Core

Starglim wrote:

Short listed:

I enjoyed your comments on the various entries, interesting take. A location as a villain, hmm. Note that the SRD is not our only source of material, we were encouraged to use round 1-2 as well.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Core wrote:
Starglim wrote:

Short listed:

I enjoyed your comments on the various entries, interesting take. A location as a villain, hmm. Note that the SRD is not our only source of material, we were encouraged to use round 1-2 as well.

True and a possible way out, but a fungus garden that grows zombies wasn't in the Stained Peaks, I checked. I really liked the way that the entry used Zavaten Gura, too.

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