The Darkblight


Round 4: Design thematically linked monsters

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The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

As we draw closer to the end of round 5, I'd like to thank everyone once again for your comments and feedback. Rest assured I read every comment, and that I appreciate you taking the time to read my entry and post your thoughts.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Great use of your theme. You had me at corrupted dryads.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

This one was my favorite of this round, hands down.

Scarab Sages

I dig this.
My only problem is freedom of movement. For a CR 5 i feel it's too powerful. It's a minor thing really. I love FoM and it's SO useful for a PC, so, why not a monster.


Aha! Evil fey. Interesting concept. Not overdone. Nice little story of a murderous beginning to the whole thing got my interest. (Especially the fey on fey murder, instead of stereotypical fey on fey action.) You hit the sweet spot of naming here too. Thematic, interesting, not seen before, but also cool.

Interestingly, the blightspawned fey are the second well done humanoid I’ve read today. They also happen to be CR 5. Hmm. Are CRs 1-4 played out? Anyway, I love their viny attacks and wooden nature. The weakness is the first weakness of the contest that seems to fit without being overdone or just odd. That they can create weapons from their own body, and steal another tree really just add to the flavor. Add to the siphon healing ability, and this is a winner of a critter.

Arbor Mortis – Now the world is full of undead treant variants. (I even had one published in Into the Green, along with three other variants. Heh.) You avoided my yawning by making this very interesting. The tree dies. Nice. Now it has a motive. It has cool abilities that let it shunt off damage to minions? Yeahhhh. Mechanically, I would like to have seen you benchmark this against the treant. I think this is tougher and nastier, but it has a lower CR by one.

Moldering shambler – love that name! – another critter with more than a hint of 4E’s slip showing. (Not a bad thing by the way.) These guys also have excellent, flavorful and useful combat abilities.

Overall, I was impressed. I think that there are a hair too many abilities for these creatures, but I also couldn’t figure out what to cut. Used as a group (all three monsters for an encounter), I could see myself forgetting that stuff. But that aside, the creatures screamed out to be used! I can envision an entire scenario around these things. Like the winter-themed entry I just read, this one really nails it. You’ve got a vote.

Sovereign Court

I see a logic flaw in here I can ride a brontosaurus through. Darkblight appears in forest. Druids or rangers or scouts take notice. Local forces organize. More force is brought to bear if necessary. Darkblight is destroyed. Darkblight is never seen again.

It can make a good adventure, but as a darkblight is tied to a forest, and the forest is not infinite, and most likely does not span the continent, it can’t spread. The three creatures have a finite span they can affect, and once removed, are gone.

This is a No. The idea is good, but the limited potential doesn’t do it for me.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

Douglas Smith 33 wrote:
It can make a good adventure, but as a darkblight is tied to a forest, and the forest is not infinite, and most likely does not span the continent, it can’t spread. The three creatures have a finite span they can affect, and once removed, are gone.

The survival of the darkblight depends on the continent's terrain. A land like Iron Age Europe had forests that spanned the continent: In such a place, the darkblight could spread unchecked, a legend of the woodland's dark heart.

As civilization's spread fells the ancient forests, the darkblight would gradually emerge, brought into conflict with humanity. As the other creatures of faerie retreat, folktale horrors come to light.

Like many other detailed monsters, they aren't "generic" creatures designed to fit in everywhere. I pictured them as part of a very primitive, hostile world, where the omnipresent forest surrounded the villages of civilization.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Douglas Smith 33 wrote:
I see a logic flaw in here I can ride a brontosaurus through. Darkblight appears in forest. Druids or rangers or scouts take notice. Local forces organize. More force is brought to bear if necessary. Darkblight is destroyed. Darkblight is never seen again.

Also, local EVIL druids can mobilize and help transport darkblight throughout the world, from forest to forest, using either gates/portals, or using Transport via Plants.

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

JoelF847 wrote:
Douglas Smith 33 wrote:
I see a logic flaw in here I can ride a brontosaurus through. Darkblight appears in forest. Druids or rangers or scouts take notice. Local forces organize. More force is brought to bear if necessary. Darkblight is destroyed. Darkblight is never seen again.
Also, local EVIL druids can mobilize and help transport darkblight throughout the world, from forest to forest, using either gates/portals, or using Transport via Plants.

Tru dat! Go evil druids! Get those tree-hugging ninnies outta your mind! Evil druids are where it's at!

(I remember this same line of argument with my Bereket entry, and the sort of logical gap between the idea of evil druids and how we've traditionally looked at druids in D&D (generally nice environmentalist types).)

Scarab Sages

I am running a beefed up version of D0 Hollow's Last Hope currently.

The Darkblight just replaced the tatzylwyrm encounter.

Awesome stuff.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Douglas Smith 33 wrote:

I see a logic flaw in here I can ride a brontosaurus through. Darkblight appears in forest. Druids or rangers or scouts take notice. Local forces organize. More force is brought to bear if necessary. Darkblight is destroyed. Darkblight is never seen again.

It can make a good adventure, but as a darkblight is tied to a forest, and the forest is not infinite, and most likely does not span the continent, it can’t spread. The three creatures have a finite span they can affect, and once removed, are gone.

This is a No. The idea is good, but the limited potential doesn’t do it for me.

...

The words "brontosaurus" and "logic" must not have the same meanings in your language as they do in English. By your "logic", all monsters are illogical because someone would notice the problem and deal with it.

"Shucks, Rog, a dragon just attacked us."

"Naw. That cain't be. if der were a dragon attackin' us, some adventurers would've gone after it and dun killed it."

Reminds me of an old economics joke. An economist and a student are walking down the street when the economist sees a $20 bill. The student says "Aren't you going to pick that up? It's a $20 bill!" The economist replies "If there were a $20 bill on the ground, somebody would already have picked it up."

Even in the Forgotten Realms, where chaotic good drow rangers outnumber trees, there are forests that are not protected where something like this could occur.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Douglas Smith 33 wrote:

I see a logic flaw in here I can ride a brontosaurus through. Darkblight appears in forest. Druids or rangers or scouts take notice. Local forces organize. More force is brought to bear if necessary. Darkblight is destroyed. Darkblight is never seen again.

It can make a good adventure, but as a darkblight is tied to a forest, and the forest is not infinite, and most likely does not span the continent, it can’t spread. The three creatures have a finite span they can affect, and once removed, are gone.

This is a No. The idea is good, but the limited potential doesn’t do it for me.

That's somewhat covered in the tactics for the blightspawned fey, but the entry could have used a reiteration of that in the monster text. The fey flee from concentrated attack using tree stride, starting over again in a new location in the same forest. Tree stride also gives them potential for spreading to other forests, with a maximum range of 3,000 feet per stride, allowing hops over long distances as long as there are occasional trees. They'd have to cross longer distances without trees either by foot before they expiring (a desperate measure to be sure) or by animating a remote tree and traveling with it (a slow process at best). Containing an outbreak within a given forest is certainly among the best ways to combat the darkblight, but forests can be quite large, and wiping out a blight within a forest will likely prove as difficult as fighting real-world blights.

I do feel that I covered the issues of druids fighting the blight pretty well - it's mentioned three times in the entry.


Congratulations Russ on making Round 5.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Congratulations Russ on making Round 5.

Happy to be here! The judges asked me to try to hit one over the fence this round, and I hope I obliged.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Erik Mona wrote:


And while I praised your use of language up at the top of my evaluation, I've got to take you to task on some language bits in the monster write-ups. I think the whole submission could have used one more proofreading pass before you posted it, because there are a fair number of missing or duplicated words in the text. I don't think these are deal-breakers, even at this level of the competition, but I do wish you'd taken care of the problem before I noticed it.

As usual, your comments are very perceptive. I'm afraid I underestimated the amount of work involved in the descriptive portion of the entry, and wound up strapped for time. I got the entry to where I wanted it in terms of presenting my ideas, but I didn't have as much time for proofreading and rewriting as I would have liked.

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

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Congratulations Russ on making Round 5.

QFT!


These are excellent! I'll definitely be using these in my games.

I'm not sure how much it matters but "blightspawned" is an existing template from Unapproachable East (FR sourcebook).

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Eremite wrote:

These are excellent! I'll definitely be using these in my games.

I'm not sure how much it matters but "blightspawned" is an existing template from Unapproachable East (FR sourcebook).

Not too surprised I ran across someone else's noun choice. I hope it's not too similar to what I put into the contest - it's not a book I own.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Exercising a little thread necromancy here :)

A pleasant surprise while reading the Pathfinder Campaign Setting tonight: nestled at the end of page 113, in the Nirmathas entry, was a brief but improved version of the Darkblight as an adventure seed for that region. Many thanks to the responsible party or parties, I am flattered and humbled to see one of my ideas make it into Golarion.


Did you ever flush out arlantia?

Would love to see it if you did.

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