Hecataeus, Master of Constructs


Round 3: Create a villain stat block

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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Garnfellow

Hecataeus, Master of Constructs

Male human wizard 16

Description: In his own mind, at least, the imperious Hecataeus has no peer: he cannot listen without interrupting, speak without insulting, or smile without sneering.

To his credit, Hecataeus is possessed with formidable intellect, talent, and determination, all of which allowed him to rise swiftly in the ranks of wizardry. Unfortunately, these gifts are subverted by his callous nature and a blindness to his own failings. Unable to empathize with anyone, Hecataeus abuses his servants, cheats his allies, and taunts his enemies. He disdains a fair fight, and is prepared to flee the moment any conflict begins to turn against him.

Hecataeus is so insufferable to all around him that he has been forced to create his own companions and followers. His construct creatures are obedient, silent, and ever-reliable servants that cannot contradict or abandon him, unlike those frail, incompetent fools he was forced to employ in the past.

One cannot mock the dead. And while Hecataeus might slay an enemy inadvertently or, more rarely, by design, far better to torment and humiliate these imbeciles. Why merely blast a rival to ash, when one could polymorph them into a titmouse, or transmute them into granite? Render their minds to custard, or disintegrate their most beloved possession? Thus does a master deal with inferiors.

Tall and thin, with a jet-black goatee, Hecataeus dresses in purple and gold robes festooned with pseudo-mystical symbols, and fashions most of his creations in this image.

Motivations/Goals: What Hecataeus wants is very, very simple: he wants respect. After all this time, his superior intelligence and his mastery of wizardry must finally be acknowledged!

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks: Hecataeus dreams of reanimating the wreckage of a Thassilonian colossus and transferring his consciousness into its mammoth frame, effecting an unstoppable fusion of constructed might and arcane power. In the interim, Hecataeus seeks all secrets of construct creation that he can place his grasping hands upon, which may lead to any of these hooks:

  • A clay golem that has long stood guard over a local temple has gone missing, and the priests suspect a garishly dressed figure seen skulking around the temple grounds.

  • Hecataeus has found the perfect subjects for his experiments to substitute construct limbs and organs for living flesh: a tribe of deranged orcs obsessed with body modification. The mortality rates of his procedures, it seems, are not all that much higher than the orcs', and when successful, the shiny metal or massive stone limbs are so much more intimidating than rusty hook-hands or piercings. Unfortunately, these upgraded orcs are running amok trying out their new "gifts."

  • Hecataeus crafted an intelligent magic item but unfortunately, fashioned the item's personality after his own. This disaster forced Hecataeus to imprison the item in a hidden oubliette. The treacherous item, though, has gotten word out that an important prisoner is being held by the villain Hecataeus. The item, of course, once "rescued," might prove every bit as troublesome as its maker.

HECATAEUS CR 16 [+16 PC class levels]
CN Medium humanoid
Init +7 [+3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative]; Senses arcane sight, see invisibility; Perception +0
===== Defense =====
AC 25, touch 16, flat-footed 22 (+5 armor, +3 deflection, +3 Dex, +4 shield)
hp 119 (16d6+61 [58 + 32 Con + 19 Toughness + 10 false life])
Fort +11 [Wizard +5, Con +2, +4 cloak], Ref +12 [Wizard +5, Dex +3, +4 cloak], Will +16 [Wizard +10, Wis +0, +2 Iron Will, +4 cloak]
Immune detect thoughts, discern lies, attempts to determine alignment, fire; DR 10/adamantine
===== Offense =====
Spd 60 ft. [30 base + 30 expeditious retreat]
Melee mwk cold iron longsword +10/+5 (1d8+1/19-20) [+8 BAB, +1 Str, +1 mwk]
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th)
At will--arcane mark, detect magic, light, read magic
Spells Prepared (CL 16th; +11 ranged touch [+8 BAB, +3 Dex])
8th--quickened enervation, maze, polymorph any object (DC 25)
7th--prismatic spray (DC 24), forcecage, project image, quickened slow (DC 20)
6th--chain lightning (DC 23), disintegrate (DC 23), flesh to stone (DC 23), quickened ray of enfeeblement
5th--baleful polymorph (DC 22), cone of cold (DC 22), feeblemind (DC 22), quickened magic missile, teleport
4th--black tentacles, confusion (DC 21), crushing despair (DC 21), shout (DC 21), wall of ice (DC 21), stoneskin (already cast)
3rd--cat's grace (already cast), dispel magic, fly, lightning bolt (DC 20), nondetection (already cast), protection from energy (already cast)
2nd--darkness, false life (already cast), invisibility, mirror image, protection from arrows, web (DC 19)
1st--expeditious retreat (already cast), magic missile (2), obscuring mist, ray of enfeeblement, shield (already cast)
[Spells cast = 4/4/4/4/4/4/3/3/2, wizard levels plus -/2/2/2/2/1/1/1/1, Int; spell DCs = 10 + spell level +7 Int]
===== Tactics =====
Before Combat Hecataeus starts every day by casting false life and nondetection. When alerted to intruders, he casts cat's grace, expeditious retreat, shield, stoneskin, and protection from energy (fire) before investigating. These effects are included in his stats above.
During Combat Hecataeus does not engage foes without the advantages of surprise, numbers, or sheer firepower, and ideally using project image. Hecataeus normally sends his constructs or his figurine of wondrous power into melee while he hangs far back to goad and cast spells, being terrified of being grappled or otherwise brought to ground. Hecataeus typically opens any battle by activating his robe of scintillating colors and casting a quickened enervation. On subsequent rounds he follows with a combination of his best offensive spells and quickened lower level ones. Hecataeus keeps his metamagic mastery ability in reserve should he need an emergency silent, stilled, or quickened spell.
Morale His arrogance being surpassed only by his cowardice, Hecataeus immediately flees if caught off guard, when no minions stand between himself and his foes, or if he is reduced below 70 hp. He has established many prearranged spider-holes for just such situations, and is perfectly content to return later to confront the PCs on more advantageous terms.
Base Statistics Init +5 [+1 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative]; AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 18 [+5 armor, +3 deflection, +1 Dex]; Ref +10 [Wizard +5, Dex +1, +4 cloak]; hp 109; Spd 30 ft.; Dex 13; Fly +20
===== Statistics =====
Str 12, Dex 17 [13, +4 cat's grace], Con 14, Int 25 [15, +2 Human, +1 4th, +1 8th, +1 12th, +1 16th, +4 headband], Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +8 [+8 Wizard]; CMB +9 [+8 BAB, +1 Str]
Feats Combat Casting [5th level], Command Construct* [15th level], Craft Construct [11th level], Craft Magic Arms and Armor [Wizard 5], Craft Wondrous Items [7th level], Forge Rings [Wizard 15], Improved Counterspell [13th level], Improved Initiative [1st level], Iron Will [3rd level], Quicken Spell [Wizard 10], Scribe Scroll [Wizard 1], Still Spell [9th level], Toughness [Human]
Skills Appraise +26 [+16 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Craft (alchemy) +17 [+7 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Craft (sculpting) +17 [+7 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Craft (armormaking) +26 [+16 headband ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Craft (stonemasonry) +17 [+7 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Craft (weaponmaking) +17 [+16 headband ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Fly +22 [+16 ranks, +3 Dex, +3 class], Heal +9 [+9 ranks, +0 Wis], Knowledge (arcana) +26 [+16 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Knowledge (engineering) +24 [+14 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Knowledge (history) +26 [+16 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Knowledge (the planes) +26 [+16 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Linguistics +14 [+4 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class], Spellcraft +26 (+30 casting defensively) [+16 ranks, +7 Int, +3 class]
[Total skill points: +2 class, +1 human, +1 favored class, +5 Int = 9 x 16 = 144 points, plus 32 points from headband = 176 points]
Languages Auran, Aquan, Chelaxian, Common, Draconic, Ignan, Terran, Thassilonian [1 + 3 bonus + 4 Linguistics]
SQ arcane bond (gold amulet), cantrips, contingency, favored class (wizard), hand of the apprentice, metamagic mastery, permanent spells, weapon training (longsword)
Combat Gear figurine of wondrous power, marble elephant [17k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 8k gp]; Other Gear masterwork cold iron longsword [330 gp], bracers of armor +5 [25k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 12.5k gp], cloak of resistance +4 [16k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 8k gp], headband of vast intelligence +4 [16k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 8k gp], ring of mind shielding [8k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 4k gp], ring of protection +3 [18k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 9k gp], robe of scintillating colors [27k gp/2 (Item Creation feat) = 13.5k gp], arcane bonded gold amulet, ivory statuette of Hecataeus (worth 1,500 gp), spell component pouch, red spellbook (contains all cantrips and all 1st- through 4th-level spells prepared, plus 3 additional 1st-level spells), black spellbook (contains all 5th- through 8th-level spells prepared, plus 1 additional 6th- and 7th-level spells)
[Red Spellbook: 20 0-level spells (20 free), 20 pgs, 0 gp cost, 1000 gp value; 8 1-level spells (8 free), 8 pgs, 0 gp cost, 400 gp value; 7 2-level spells (4 free), 14 pgs, 600 gp cost, 700 gp value; 7 3-level spells (4 free), 21 pgs, 900 gp cost, 1050 gp value; 7 4-level spells (4 free), 28 pgs, 1200 gp cost, 1400 gp value = 2,700 gp cost, 4,550 gp market value]
[Black Spellbook: 4 5-level spells (4 free), 20 pgs, 0 gp cost, 1000 gp value; 4 6-level spells (4 free), 24 pgs, 0 gp cost, 1200 gp value; 4 7-level spells (4 free), 28 pgs, 0 gp cost, 1400 gp value; 2 8-level spells (2 free), 16 pgs, 0 gp cost, 800 gp value = 0 cost, 4,400 gp market value]
[total gear = 63,830 gp plus 1,500 spell focus item plus 2,700 gp spellbook cost = 68,030 gp; 68,000 gp budget]
===== Special Abilities =====
Arcane Bond (Su) Hecataeus has forged a powerful bond with a gold amulet stamped in his likeness. If he attempts to cast a spell without wearing this amulet, Hecataeus must make a Spellcraft check or lose the spell. The DC for this check is equal to 20 + the spell’s level. The amulet can be used once per day to cast any one spell that Hecataeus knows and can cast, just as if he had cast it. This spell cannot be modified by metamagic feats or other abilities. The amulet has the following statistics: AC 21 [10 + 8 size + 3 Hec's Dex], hardness 5, hp 10.
Cantrips (Sp) Hecataeus can prepare four cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day. He can cast these spells at will as a spell-like ability.
Contingency When Hecataeus cries "Succor!" (a free action), teleport activates, transporting him to a secret spider-hole several miles distant.
Hand of the Apprentice (Su) As a standard action, Hecataeus can summon a ghostly hand to do his bidding. This functions like mage hand, with the following changes. When summoned, the hand can draw his longsword as a free action. The hand can be directed to make a single attack against a foe within 30 feet (+16 melee [+8 BAB, +7 Int, +1 mwk], 1d8+7/19-20). The hand does not threaten foes and does not make attacks of opportunity. Hecataeus must concentrate on the hand each round or it winks out, returning any item held to him before it disappears.
Metamagic Mastery (Su) Eight times per day Hecataeus can apply any one metamagic feat that he knows to a spell he is about to cast. This does not alter the level of the spell or the casting time. Any time he uses this ability to apply a metamagic feat that increases the spell level by more than 1, he must use an additional daily usage for each level above 1 that the feat adds to the spell.
Permanent Spells Hecataeus has made the following spells permanent on himself: arcane sight and see invisibility.

=====

Command Construct

And so, the rabbi rubbed away the first letter of the word "EMET" from the golem's forehead, leaving "MET," the Hebrew word for death.

Prerequisites: Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item.

Benefit: You can attempt to issue a single new command to a construct creature, even one you did not create or one that has gone berserk. As a standard action that draws an attack of opportunity, you touch the construct and make a Knowledge (arcana) check. The base DC is equal to 15 + the construct's HD. If you created the construct, you have a +8 bonus to this check. Typical commands, and any additional modifiers to the check, are detailed below:

  • Attack: The construct attacks enemies you identify within line of sight (-5 modifier).

  • Defend: The construct defends you (or is ready to defend you if no threat is present), even without any command being given (-5 modifier).

  • Guard: The construct stays in place and prevents others from approaching (-5 modifier).

  • Move: The construct moves at its best speed wherever you direct.

  • Stop: The construct immediately ceases activity and takes no further actions, though any damage done to the construct immediately reactivates it. This is the only command that can be issued to a berserk construct.

  • Work: The construct pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.

A successful check indicates that the construct obeys your command for 1d6 rounds. If you beat the check by 5 or more, the construct obeys your command for 1d6 minutes. If you beat the check by 10 or more, the construct obeys for 1d6 hours. Once the duration ends the construct resumes any previous instructions, though berserk constructs are no longer berserk.

Contributor

Description:
I like this iteration of the villain much better than the original version!

Stat Block:
As a developer, I like how he called out the "show your math" in a different color. If this were a Word doc, that would mean I could do a find/replace to replace the colored text with nothing, and the doc would be ready to go to editing.

Rule Element:
I like the new feat, it's novel. I might want to adjust the CR higher, but it's pretty close as it stands.

Rec: advance

The Exchange Kobold Press

Wizards can be difficult to design well, and especially at higher levels, there's a tendency to go down a couple well-worn paths. I'm happy to say that my faith in your Round 2 concept is entirely supported by the excellent work you do on the stats and (especially) the tactics here.

Excellent spell selection, excellent use of quickened spells, excellent "Before combat" section (and very neatly rolled into the base stats, such as the expeditious retreat in Speed and arcane sight and see invisible in Senses).

It's also good to see his cowardice reflected in the stats; tying character to mechanics shows a superior design sense.

This is Superstar work. Keep it up!

Recommendation: Highly recommended.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

The backstory on this villain is really quite good, and like my other esteemed judges, I like how it plays out in Hacataeus' stat block. The hooks are also quite solid and they really build off his motivations and story.

Moving on to the stat block itself, I am only finding a few errors here and there. He should have more hit points form false life (1d10 plus 10 should net at least 11). He appears to have one too many 4th level spells prepared(4 base, +1 for an Int of 25), nor does he have any of his bonus spells prepared for being a universalist wizard (nor is this listed, but it can be derived from his other abilities). Feats and skills look correct (Kudos on listing the skills granted by the Headband by the way, most folks do not catch that change). Overall, these are not huge issues.

As for the bonus rules material.. I love it. LOVE IT. This is a great and flavorful feat that fits the villain perfectly. Although it would not fit into the Pathfinder Core rules, I reserve the right to steal this later for another book.

If I were developing this villain for an adventure, I would have very little work to do.

My Grade (on a 1-10 scale) is an 9.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Good job, Randy. You know I really capped on Hecataeus as a Seth Green-style buffoon. I really didnt like that incarnation. You took that to heart and reconcepted him. Now he is an annoying, insufferable ego-maniac who must be shown the respect he so clearly deserves! In otherwords, you created me! So good work! How can I not like a villain that is essentially me?

Seriously, a part of this round is to see growth. And we cant really see as much growth when each round is something new. This was genius by Paizo to let people modify or change or even scrap their old villain for a new one. And you took that chance to heart. You didnt do that much with the editorial pen, but you definately cut out the parts that made this villain less that great in my view. You kept some of the ridicule part, but you removed the things that made him suck. Sure, he is still a little bit Morcubus but the Seth Greene part is gone. Much the better!

So you passed the first part of the test. Now lets kick the tires and take this guy out for a spin...

Oh man, that is a great, great feat. Its already been said. Gotta watch the real world link when designing for a fantasy setting, but that thing is so strong (and the golem link is so inalterably linked to Hebrew myth) that I'm giving you a pass.

The orc hook is also an improvement. I can really see that starting an adventure--PCs fight orcs with crazy mods. Huh? What the heck is going on? We gotta get to the bottom of this! I cant imagine a party that wouldnt want to dig into that mystery.

The stat block is very well done. I wont go into details as the others are much more capable in that area.

I recommend the Master of Constructs to advance. And, I might add, this is a great example of growth. I didnt even do a full review on your villain last round, I thought it was so lacking. Very well done.


Disclaimer: I know nothing about the Pathfinder game, and would not have any way of judging whether the stat block is any good or not, so I confess to not having read it.

Having said which, I voted for Hecataeus last round, and see no reason to change that this round.

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

I really liked this guy the first time around, and I like him even better with the full stats. He's a nicely developed high-level wizard, designed intelligently but without being completely twinked out. The feat is great, and is like the Hurricane Gloves in Round 1 - the sort of rules piece that makes you slap your forehead and say, "Why hasn't this ALWAYS been in the rules?"

This is the first one I read because I was curious to see what you would do, but you are already a front-runner for one of my votes.


Congrats on taking the judges critiques from last round and seriously addressing them. The changes you've made to the background story and the adventure hooks have really improved this villian.

I have to admit that I'm not an ace with regard to stat blocking, but I like how you incorporated the items and explained things where needed.

Grand Lodge

I have to say that I find this villain to be one of the most impressive entries this round. And that's because he's such a simple concept. With lichs galore, satyrs, half-fiendish otyughs and the like all over the place, you managed to make me appreciate and enjoy a human wizard. Well done, sir!

Scarab Sages

Hecataeus will likely get one of my votes for this round, due primarily to the growth you've shown.

You did an excellent job of responding to criticism and improving Hec's high concept. He no longer feels like quite so much of a cartoon. His stat block is solid if not remarkable, although you did a good job of keeping a high-level wizard to a reasonably sized stat block once we cut out all the math bits. The new feat is excellent and I have to agree - it's one of those "why hasn't this been done before?!" things. Good job overall.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

Ok, after some consideration, you have stolen my last vote. From Gulga, no less... You really developed Hecataeus for this round. Add in a killer new rule, the fact that your round 1 entry was pretty solid (even if it didn't jump out at me,) and the nice theme you've had running so far with the Golem/Construct stuff, you get one vote from me.

Please consider jumping off the Golem theme for the next round, to show your versatility.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Nice job. I think by deleting the buffoonish parts, I'm starting to miss the feeling of why exactly he became the way he is, but I guess it brought your critics around so that's great.

The stat block is very good. The tactics are excellent. I very much like that he's a coward -- its a great way to keep him as a recurring villain. And its a realistic personality trait for someone who is self-obsessed and super-intelligent.

I called you out last round as the one I'd be watching the closest and you did not disappoint. Your item in round 1 was one of my favorites, and you got my vote in round 2.

You will also be getting my vote in round 3.


I'll be honest, I thought Hecataeus may as well have been a joke villain last round and I was surprised he made it to Round 3... Having said that, while his motivation--"respect"--still seems a poor choice, I really like what you've done otherwise. This seems like a tight villain. You may have stolen my vote, but I'll reserve judgement till I finish with the rest of the entries. Good job!


I have the initial impression that this is a much snappier, tighter written background than the Round 2 version of Hecataeus. I also like the feat; it seems something which belongs in the game.
I am still assessing entries, but it looks to me like there are more entries which 'stand out from the pack' than in the previous round, and this version of Hecateus is one of them.


A wizard and construct creator who is basically a big arrogant cock-knocker. The concept doesn't drive me but his stat block is very solid and optimized as a high level wizard would be. Maybe he can kill Bracht and take his backplot. 5/10

Liberty's Edge

Much improved. Bravo!

Now he's become an interesting amoral arrogant loose cannon of a misanthrope. It's good to finally have stats for CoL... ;)

This may get my vote this time around. There's a lot of stat blocks though and I'm not going to decide until I've digested all sixteen of them(a seventeenth has already been eliminated for sucking really bad). I'll come back here once I've decided.

Good luck.

As an aside, I still don't get the Seth Green reference. I don't watch much TV, so I'm only familiar with his work on Buffy and Robot Chicken. Could somebody fill me in on this one.

Sam


Constructs in his own image? I'm still pondering where to cast my votes, but anyone who builds Doombots has my attention. :)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138

Do want. What I got from Hecataeus in Round 2 has been sharpened and pulled into focus, and the rules are ship-shape. This will probably get my vote!

Shadow Lodge

You know, last round i really liked the flash gordon evil villn thing, but he just didn't measure up. Now, i still get the feel of the evil meglamaniac, but more controled. Definately a vilan i would want to face. I am leaning heavy on voting for you, and am almost positive you are gonna make it to the next round.


Third entry read.
Last round I was not too impressed by Hecataeus, it was kind of one-note cliche villain. This round...nasty! And the new feat is great too!

Pulling quotes from real world is a bit questionable but then again, last year Christine got away with quoting Mary Shelley...but in future, watch it.

Great entry and a definite contender for a vote.


Awesome, I'm so glad you were given the opportunity to tighten up this character as he was one of my favorites in Round 2 and is certainly my favorite of Round 3. I'm not a stat block expert but the fact that the game designer found few flaws and believes the character is about ready to go right out of the box is good enough for me. This certainly gets my vote and I so look forward to exploring his lair. The response seems to be great so far and your doubters from round 2 seem to be coming around in droves....WELL DONE.

Star Voter Season 6

This guy really needed magic mouth as a second level spell. If his friends are constructs, he's going to want to program them to praise him sometimes. For when he's, you know, lonely. He also needs unseen servant for flavor reasons.

Why is quickened ray of enfeeblement a sixth level spell for him? If it only fits in that level, make it a still spell as well.

He doesn't seem to have the material components or cash to cast stoneskin: 250 gp worth of diamond dust.

Why no homunculous familiar? Or a familiar at all? This is one guy where arcane bond sunders some flavor.

The equipment list notes which items he crafted for himself, and the discounts he receives due to his feats as a result. But there's no actual golems or shield guardians listed with the other created magic items. His tactics list no golems or shield guardians to aid him, only wondrous figurines and such. Either he's getting free constructs or he's not created any.

That's a fairly severe design omission for a guy who calls himself the Master of Constructs.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

roguerouge wrote:

The equipment list notes which items he crafted for himself, and the discounts he receives due to his feats as a result. But there's no actual golems or shield guardians listed with the other created magic items. His tactics list no golems or shield guardians to aid him, only wondrous figurines and such. Either he's getting free constructs or he's not created any.

That's a fairly severe design omission for a guy who calls himself the Master of Constructs.

I think its a fair design choice to assume that any given villain will have monsters or other NPCs who work for him, without counting the cost of the monsters in the character's gold piece budget.

For instance, I sometimes put NPCs on mounts -- I either count the mounts in the encounter level of the encounter, or I take the cost of the mount from the NPCs' budgets. Either way, theoretically, you should get a balanced encounter.

With that in mind, I disagree with the assertion that there's been a severe design omission.


This round I focused on the new rules as I'm not all that great with a stat block.

I really love this new feat. It is very creative and I'm always excited to see something out there for construct makers. The fact that you can get a berserk construct to STOP! is icing on the cake!

I always wanted to play a crafter of constructs and this feat is quite inspiring!

Hecataeus gets my vote this round!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Randy good job on the reworking of Hecataeus, Master of Constructs. I liked him somewhat from round 2, but not enough to vote for him. But...
boy howdy... you really stepped up to the plate here in round 3. I've been reading through several others today to see who would get my fourth and final vote... and it is you my friend! (And Hecataeus of course. I hope that's enough respect for now... Oh Master of Constructs.) ;)
I'm anxious to see what sort of lair you'll provide in round 4.
Good Luck!

Dean; the Minstrel_Wyrm

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138

I actually had the same argument as roguerouge and Eric Anderson had in my head whilst reading Hecataeus, and I came to the conclusion that yeah, other NPC villains have all sorts of hidden costs in terms of lairs and minions, so Hecataeus' golems shouldn't come out of his gold.

Although I do think that a homonculus would be thematically appropriate, in this case, I really like arcane bond. Why? Hecataeus' arcane object is a portrait of himself--which feeds the "venomous egotist" theme quite nicely.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

Just ... wow :)

Last round, Hecataeus made me think of the nerds' nerd from high school, the poor schmuck that even the other nerds couldn't stand. And rather than go all nasty, he just whined.

NOW he's got his nasty on. He might have been a nerd, but this nerd will kick butts and make you pay for laughing at him. I especially like the fact that he'd rather leave his victims alive, like the cat playing with his food :) That's just a nicely evil touch.

I like that he chose arcane bond, because the bond is him. This guy is so twisted into his own image ... dang, his lair is going to be a nasty feeling of OMG there's that face again!!

His CR is off, should be the -2, but that seems to be something that is throwing a lot of us, so no points down from me.

His numbers are good, love the spell choices, REALLY love how he'll book sooooo fast if things go south. Great tactics.

And as to that feat ... my jaw dropped, it is so cool.

Awesome, awesome turn around. Kudos!!

Liberty's Edge

man you really really outdid yourself an many around here... from a ridiculous villain you come to a great one... and I do really love the new feats, works wonderful... and all the praize from the judge... je that is good to...

now you have forced my hand, I already took my last vote from the earlier round... now I must chose betweeen these and my already 4 votes :P I damn you to hell for that :P

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Lord Fyre

I certainly do not think I could do better!

Liberty's Edge

I still haven't decided, but Hecataeusususus, whatever, is well withing my top seven and may get my vote.

Sam

Liberty's Edge

Ok, I've decided. I want to see this character advance, but there are other villains I like better. Sorry about that. No vote.

Sam


Ninjaiguana wrote:
I have to say that I find this villain to be one of the most impressive entries this round. And that's because he's such a simple concept. With lichs galore, satyrs, half-fiendish otyughs and the like all over the place, you managed to make me appreciate and enjoy a human wizard. Well done, sir!

I read back through the comments and I think Ninjaiguana makes a really significant point here and it is one of the reasons I like this character so much. He is not a level 4 satyr/level 12 lich; he is just a human wizard, and he is awesome. No gimmicks necessary, Mr. Dorman took the most ordinary concept in this round and made it one ,if not the most interesting.


For some reason, I was not really into this one the initial round, and did not vote for him. However, I do quite like it now.

I also quite appreciate the simplicity of just a human wizard compared to all the this-that-theotherthing combinations of most of the others.
May get my vote this time.


CR listed is two levels too high (See Beta, Page 291 for CR of NPCs) and the casting component has been omitted for the stoneskin.
The spells prepared error is more serious, since not only is there one extra 4th level spell prepared, but there is also one extra 8th level spell prepared, too. It seems to me that either an extra '2' crept into the calculation of bonus spells from intelligence, or that the 26-27 line was read instead.
BUT given that none of the generalist bonus spells have apparently been prepared, this could be looked upon as only two of the generalist spells having been accounted for.
It was nice to see spell-books listed in such detail.

The new feat is good enough for me to more than make up for these errors (plus the ones which the judges found) in the stat block. This is the first villain to make it into my pile of villains for priority consideration for my votes, and I would like to recommend Hecataeus. :)


I'm a sucker for classes that can make constructs. I'm forever fascinated with robots that do their masters bidding (replay Hellboy 2 scene: Hellboy and company against an army of robots...AWESOME!).
My 3rd pick which is again one of those that got reworked and turned out beautifully (albeit with some errors). Again, I'm going by the judges and voters since I am a newb when it comes down to statistics. Great work and hope to see you next round.

Vote: 3 of 4

TL

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 6 aka raidou

I've got this image in my head of Hecataeus creating construct versions of the PCs after meeting them on several occasions and failing to impress any of them. His drive/villainy feeds on itself, because gaining real human respect is a goal where he'll keep falling short.

He almost reminds me of how the Will Smith character from "I Am Legend" poses a whole host of mannequins to do "human" things and then proceeds to treat them like they are real. There are layers of real creepy psychology a DM can add to this guy, if so inclined.

This is a fantastic concept, with a great rule as the capstone. I am really looking forward to what you have cooking up for his lair.

-eric

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Aotrscommander

Okay, once more Hecataeus gets my vote.

Aotrs Commander's Villain critieria:

Initial Impressions
Pretty much what I expected from his appearance last round; solid spellcaster opponent.

Concept: Good, like last round; mostly the same comments apply. You dropped some of the buffoonery which most people seemed to like; personally, I don't think that every single thing in the entire universe needs to be played for deadly seriousness, but there you go.

Optimisation: (Or: how much would I have to modify this to deal with the PC in my own games to provide a threat?)

Good.

Plenty of hit points, fair mix of spells. Most importantly, Dispel Magic. I'd say he has a touch too many quickened spells loaded that might have been of better use of higher level spells, personally.

He has enough crafting feats and access via wizard spell list to liberally slather hs constructs with all manner of special abilities while retaining credibility.

Iron Will seems both a bit out of character and a bit redundant. It would have been better to spend it on one of the other save boosters of something else entirely.

I'd have pegged for a slightly higher AC myself (slightly better ring perhaps), but otherwise pretty good.

The feat is good. While perhaps not of use against most PCs, it does have a good few plot-related perks for NPCs (and could really ruin the DM's day if you're a PC!)

Tactics: Fair. Nothing particularly special, no glaring errors and entirely in-character.

Good, solid job.


Just to confirm, before I head for bed, that Hecataeus has scored the first of my Round 3 votes to be awarded; whether or not I will make some late minute additions to the 'priority' pile, Hecataeus is a certainty I feel by now.

Well done (despite those minor glitches) on the stat block.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Garnfellow

I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read through my entry for this round. I certainly hope you will think of Hecataeus when you're in the voting booth, even though he almost certainly wouldn't give you the same courtesy!

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

Reckless wrote:
Please consider jumping off the Golem theme for the next round, to show your versatility.

No way. This round he jumped off the golem theme, by making it much of the adventure hook stuff, but focusing on his own capabilities and personality as a wizard during combat.

I would be very disappointed not to find the missing clay golem standing guard of Hecataeus' lair.

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

Congratulations on Superstar '09 Top 16!

Growth
I feel more inside Hecataeus' head than I did before. Kudos for making that change. The real gem, though, is the hooks. To be honest, I'm not going back and rereading the second round entries, and an entry I thought was flawed or got bored with might look better this round with only a few changes. But I don't remember being as excited about your adventure hooks as I am this time round. Well done. I really like the way the construct focus was given a motivation and tightened in those hooks.

Mechanics
-We've all learned a lot about subtle changes in the game. Hecataeus' CR is 14.
-If it's gonna be 6th level instead of 5th, might as well make it a still, quickened ray of enfeeblement.
-I calculate 120 available skill points ([2wiz+3 Int+1human]*16 levels, +15 from Int bump to 18 at 4, +5 for Int bump to 20 at 12). I count you've spent 144, not counting ranks from the headband.
-Hecataeus' spell selection is great. He's a formidable encounter, with evasive maneuvers. Having this spell list in addition to metmagic Mastery is fun, and makes Hecataeus flexible, with two more Quickened Spells, or a several Still Spells in the event he is grappled or caught off guard.

New Hotness
-I like literary references and all, but I think it would have been more appropriate if you'd nodded to the Hebrew, using a Golarion reference. We'd have gotten it. Myself, I am always tempted to include a song lyric, a passage of Scripture or a scrambled name in a submisison somewhere, but I usually decline. Sometimes the names sneak in. Anyway....Hebrew is not a Golarion language, and some folks might object to the reference for a variety of reasons.
-Other than that, I really like the feat. The DC for the commands changes likely need to be a little higher. Removing a construct as an obstace in an encounter should require at least an average roll, comparing likely skill bonus to the construct's HD+15, and I think the rolls looks to be between 6 and 11 most of the time. The exception seems to be when you advance constructs several hit dice, where the HD vs CR shows a lot of disparity. Looking at it, I really like a DC of 20+HD, making special constructs beyond the effects, and requiring an appreciable roll and bonuses to change the contructs' mind with regularity.

Overall
I have to accept that not all wizards live to demonstrate their superiority and hate to back down from a fight. Hecataeus presents a great recurring villain, and one with potential for maddening roleplay and infuriating rhetoric. Any villain your PCs want a piece of is a good villain. That make Hecataeus a great entry, and one of my four votes at this point. Someone is getting bumped to an honoroble mention, with a couple of entries to go.

I think that given his redefinition and flexible use of powerful magic, Hecataeus might be my favorite of the round.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Last round, I thought... meh, just another human wizard. Yay. And he likes constructs... that's good, it gives him a shtick, but it hardly makes him unique.

But this round, reading through this entry, something clicked. I'm not completely sure what. Maybe it's because the plot hooks are much tighter and more interesting (I love the construct grafted orc one.) Maybe it's because this is a very crisply written, well defined stat-block that presents a solidly useable, dangerous wizard without getting messy, confusing, or leaving me puzzled over what to do with what he's got. Most likely, it's a combo of the two.

His background/personality section is concise, I'll say that. There's not much there, but it's focused. Frankly, there's a side of me that wonders why he's using the Rodney Dangerfield line "I don't get no respect." when he's clearly a powerful wizard and in the D20iverse, that earns a lot of it. But it's obvious he's a jerk who wishes everyone would just get used to the fact they're inadequate and worship him or be mindless constructs who keep their mouths shut. He goes through arrogant and comes out the other side on egomaniac.

It's a little flat, a bit 4-color comic book villain, but it reads clearly and quickly, and it'll rather nicely get you through a 32 page issue... er... module where the PCs won't have time to find out more about his background/motivations. And as much as I like character development, I'm also very fond of characters who read well at a glance.

So... Good luck to you, and you've got my vote for sheer improvement over last round!


CLEARLY I'm in the minority on the new rule. I don't like it, for several reasons:

1) To me, a feat should be more universal than this. It should be usable by multiple characters, not just the NPC here. A PC that takes this feat runs a risk of never using it.

2) When it is useful, it's too powerful. Knowledge (arcana) is the most used Knowledge skill, hands down. Most Wizards are going to have it maxed out. By simply choosing the "Move" command, and pointing at a distant object like a mountain, you can effectively remove a powerful monster from a fight with a single die roll (max duration of 6 hours). You'll have a decent chance to do that because "move" (and "stop", and "work") is not at a -5, and if you fail, you can try again.

3) My strongest objection is that it can be used against intelligent constructs, like Homunculi and Warforged. I'm sure there are other examples. This makes it unbelievably powerful against certain opponents and NPC's.

4) While it clearly applies to your villain, the effect fits a spell more than a feat, especially considering the intelligent constructs issue above.

Again, it's clear I'm in the minority on this, but perhaps others haven't thought of these issues.

As for the rest of the submission, this is an improvement over last round. I won't repeat issues that have been mentioned several times by other people. Except to say that while I still don't like the respect angle, you have toned it down and introduced better adventure hooks than last round. I would be willing to use this villan (minus the feat) now, with your changes.

You are a "possible" for my vote. I still have a couple more to read.

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

It needs fixing, but it is a feat that deserves to be in the game. There are feats that affect animals, undead, and plants. Why not constructs?

Yeah, a save for intelligent constructs is warranted. It needs other fixes. But some feats should be available for certain characters and campaigns. And certainly, this is better design than a few (most) other new rules introduced this round.

Star Voter Season 6

Jason Rice wrote:

2) When it is useful, it's too powerful. Knowledge (arcana) is the most used Knowledge skill, hands down. Most Wizards are going to have it maxed out. By simply choosing the "Move" command, and pointing at a distant object like a mountain, you can effectively remove a powerful monster from a fight with a single die roll (max duration of 6 hours). You'll have a decent chance to do that because "move" (and "stop", and "work") is not at a -5, and if you fail, you can try again.

3) My strongest objection is that it can be used against intelligent constructs, like Homunculi and Warforged. I'm sure there are other examples. This makes it unbelievably powerful against certain opponents and NPC's.

Seconded. But it's more than that: It's a feat that quickly makes itself worthless at the gaming table. As soon as you take it and use it ONCE to order off a construct, the DM inevitably will either remove constructs from the game or have HIS Hecataeus build in new features that nerf the ability for adventure-important constructs. And, after all, that's what a smart construct guy would do.


roguerouge wrote:
Seconded. But it's more than that: It's a feat that quickly makes itself worthless at the gaming table. As soon as you take it and use it ONCE to order off a construct, the DM inevitably will either remove constructs from the game or have HIS Hecataeus build in new features that nerf the ability for adventure-important constructs. And, after all, that's what a smart construct guy would do.

Can't agree with that. I think a good DM should provide challenges that offer opportunities for the PCs to actually use their abilities creatively. Keeping certain elements entirely out of the game specifically because the PCs took certain abilities to counter is - well, that's just bad DM-ship in my opinion. Not least because the PCs are in fact paying an opportunity cost for having those particular abilities.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Lanfranc wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
Seconded. But it's more than that: It's a feat that quickly makes itself worthless at the gaming table. As soon as you take it and use it ONCE to order off a construct, the DM inevitably will either remove constructs from the game or have HIS Hecataeus build in new features that nerf the ability for adventure-important constructs. And, after all, that's what a smart construct guy would do.
Can't agree with that. I think a good DM should provide challenges that offer opportunities for the PCs to actually use their abilities creatively. Keeping certain elements entirely out of the game specifically because the PCs took certain abilities to counter is - well, that's just bad DM-ship in my opinion. Not least because the PCs are in fact paying an opportunity cost for having those particular abilities.

In a way, this feat is like 'favored enemy'. You might want to consult with your DM before taking it to see whether it will be completely useless. Alternatively, your character could do a little research to find out whether the Ancient Mishmash race that built the Lost City of MishMashAh were known for making golems. It has limitations but in the right adventure it could rock.

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

I had read hints in other entries that you kicked it up a notch for round 3, and I wasn't dissapointed. I was at best lukewarm last round to Hecataeus, and you did an awesome job to turn thing around for R3. You made him a much more active villain, with good hooks that will engage the PCs, and you gave him much more clear goals of how he shows his superiority. I can only imagine how frustrated the PCs will be after they deal with some plan of his, and confront him while way out of their league, and he just laughs and mocks them, polymorphing and mazing a few and then just teleporting away. I also really like the new long term end game goal of merging is consciousness with a Thassilonian colossius.

The stat block was great. Very few mechanical issues. The only one I saw that wasn't mentioned was with the headband skill points. Good job including them, but you technically should have indicated in the equipment that the headband applied it's skill points to 2 particular knowledge skills. I was also confused by the quickened ray of enfeeblement instead of a 2nd level spell, or at least making it stilled (I'd have picked mirror image). Also, he should have protection from arrows pre-cast. It lasts an hour/level just like mage armor and false life. I'd also have worded his protection from energy tactics to default to fire, but if he knows the PCs use another energy type more, to that, but that's a minor quibble. Finally, kudos for including the scribing costs and page count for his spellbooks. This is often ignored, even in published products.

The new feat is just brilliant. After checking an iron golem as an example, it's CR 13, with 18 HD. This means for an average encounter, the DC for the check to have it move or stop would be 33, and an average 13th level wizard with the feat would likely have a +21-22 depending on Int if they maxed out knowledge (arcana), which means they'd need a 11-12 on the d20. That will only buy them 1d6 rounds, which could backfire on them if the golem comes back or reactivates while they're dealing with another threat. I think the math is pretty balanced there. If a wizard has skill focus, it gets easier, but it should. There probably should be a save for intelligent constructs, as others have mentioned though.

Hecataeus has vaulted into the group that I want to vote for. I have 2 more entries to read before I figure out my exact votes, but since I really want to see Hecataeus' lair, he's a likely vote getter for me.

Star Voter Season 6

Lanfranc wrote:


Can't agree with that. I think a good DM should provide challenges that offer opportunities for the PCs to actually use their abilities creatively. Keeping certain elements entirely out of the game specifically because the PCs took certain abilities to counter is - well, that's just bad DM-ship in my opinion. Not least because the PCs are in fact paying an opportunity cost for having those particular abilities.

While I agree in the abstract, I disagree in the specific instance.

But no DM is going to let the player make an important construct BBEG or construct lieutenant go away with a trivial ability check (c.f. the number of villains with diplomacy-immunity). It's just too anticlimactic. That makes it a self-defeating feat.

There are few scenarios where this feat would get used.

First it would be useful against stupid or uninformed construct makers. They are stupid or uninformed because they would hear of this feat that directly relates to their specialty. As a result the smart ones would build in fail safes and counters, which is what I referenced earlier.

Second, this feat would get used in non-important encounters, when you're facing hordes of constructs. Since those are relatively rare in normal games, this feat gets used in the one adventure the DM specifically themes with constructs then is useless elsewhere.

Third, your campaign has tons of constructs in it, which means that there's a nice mix of constructs with plot immunity and without plot immunity. Unfortunately, that makes this feat WAY over-powered. The 9th level wizard with this feat has a K (arcana) of +16 (if Int 18). It becomes a spell-like ability with no use/day limit.

Track is another example of a self-defeating feat, I've ranted at some length on the uselessness of Track because DMs will inevitably give parties without witnesses a Search check, a Gather Info check, or a guide to make Track superfluous. After all, a good DM or adventure designer will never say, "I guess the bad guy gets away. Guess the module's finished, then. See you next session." But being a good DM makes the Track feat never plot-critical. Which stinks if you're the player that took that feat.

Star Voter Season 6

What happens when two people with this feat use it on the same construct successfully?

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