Slithering Horror

Round 2: Create a monster concept

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Slithering Horror
Description: A slithering horror is essentially an over-sized, animated stomach. Its body resembles a cigar-shaped sack of undulating mauve flesh, covered with a slimy sheen. Radiating from its long form are scores of sucker-lined tentacles, most of which are used for locomotion. Its two larger tentacles are used to capture prey. These appendages are nine feet long and are as thick as an ogre’s arm. The creature’s eyeless head is dominated by a toothless maw capable of engulfing a man.
Slithering horrors haunt dark, moist environments, and are drawn to partially flooded ruins, marshes, and sewers. More intelligent than a mere beast, most slithering horrors understand the common tongue even though they cannot speak. They are wicked creatures, and derive cruel pleasure from stalking and dining on sentient beings.
Powers and Abilities: With scores of tentacles dragging it along, a slithering horror moves with surprising speed over most surfaces, including sheer walls and ceilings. They are accomplished swimmers and can even burrow through mud and soft earth. Though devoid of visual organs, a slithering horror is very sensitive to changes in the air around it. This allows it to pinpoint prey and discern its surroundings to a range of 60 feet.
A slithering horror’s skin constantly weeps thick clear slime. This substance is sticky and becomes caustic when in contact with living tissue. A slithering horror can swallow a man-sized or smaller victim whole. Once swallowed, the victim is coated with digestive juices, and then immediately disgorged. After being expelled from the monster’s gullet, most victims are disoriented and nauseous. Worse yet, the acidic goo clings to the victim’s flesh and continues to eat him. When the victim finally expires, the slithering horror moves in and greedily slurps up the soupy remains.


This creature is gross. I like it!

I don't like the name, though--monster names that are just two common words put together can really confuse players when you describe it or another creature, a la:
GM: "CReeping out of the muck is a slithering horror, with--"
Player: "Ooh, those are gross! From RPG Superstar, right? The stomach monster?"
GM: "No, this is actually an anaconda with the aberrant template. Now shut up and let me finish."

I'm not sure if its locomotive tentacles are long like an octopus's, or tiny so it's more like a centipede.

For a stomach monster that lives in crappy places, you could probably let it me mostly-unintelligent--it doesn't need to be a wicked creature who likes to eat intelligent beings.

Minor technical foul on describing the range of its "vision" to 60 feet--not really necessary in this sort of descriptive challenge, but it's not like you said "blindsight 60 ft.!" so I'm not going to worry about it.

I like the swallowed whole bit, and the disoriented & nauseous bit, that it slurps up its externally-digested target. Yuk! Fun!


Aw-aw-awwwww! That's messed up. The thing eats you then, um, reverse spits you out covered in sick.

It's a simple idea, but it's something I don't see a lot of monsters doing - eating you just to spit you out worse for the wear. It might be a bit complicated, as many monsters just have a stink or ranged effect that could reproduce the effect, but I think the visuals on this alone are enough to make it work. The name is a little so-so, but doesn't feel over the top to totally boring. Nice.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Initial Impression: Icky stomach monster. OK, I’m ready to be nauseous. Let’s see what you’ve got...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A
This, kids, is a dungeon monster. Its evil, its sentient. While not a boss or a mastermind kind of monster, this monster would be conflict for the PCs. You could easily drop this creature into any adventure with a sticky ploop! That shows good, conscious design. The biggest ding against this thing is the name–its too much like the classic slithering tracker. I also echo the other judges’ concerns about using two descriptive words as a name. But this creature is a great concept. Very well done. The name makes you lose the plus from an A+ to an A.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): A
I love the swallow whole ability and you never really get to use it properly because it is usually so damaging to PCs you wind up pulling your punches as a DM. But not with this guy. You can swallow the PCs and disgorge them a bit worse for wear. Great idea, great power. Combats with this creature would be fun and memorable. I wish swallow whole had come earlier in the description of the monster. That’s its “zinger” so to speak and you wait until the last paragraph to get that to us. Don’t “bury your lead” as they say in journalism.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): A+
Great gooey, stickey, acidic mojo here.

Overall: A
This would be a solid addition to the classic group of dungeon monsters. Excellent work. I’d love to use this thing in an adventure.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this creature advance.

Frog God Games

I've got your new name!--the regurgiomeister...the disgorger. Aw heck, I don't know what to call it. Anyhow it is really cool gross (as has been mentioned) and makes use of an awesome swallow whole attack that doesn't rely ill-defined "muscular action" to prevent escapes. I like it in all its sloppy, goopiness. Otyughs have a new nemesis, and it's called the...reverse swallower...I still got nothin'.

Shadow Lodge

Yum A+

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

This is the first entry I've read. I had a few thoughts earlier about what would make a worthy description.

Does it avoid presenting a stat block in words, or a Golarion reference with the names filed off - in other words, how did the author respond to the challenge? A good third of this describes obvious game mechanics rather than pitching cool ideas. It's thoroughly world-neutral.

How does it stack up

  • as an opponent? It has nasty lingering effects against a single enemy, though once disgorged the victim has a further chance to attack it. However, PCs don't attack alone. I don't see a lot to help it deal with a typical adventuring party. I suppose it could slime all of them.
  • as something other than an opponent? It's just a predatory beast. Though the party can talk to it, the author gives no real reason why they would.
  • in relation to other monsters? Does it fill a unique or poorly-served niche? There are plenty of oozes that have rather similar effects, though its level of intelligence makes it a bit different. If, as other posters have suggested, its attack responds to criticisms of "swallow whole" mechanics, to me the way it's handled detracts rather than adds to its interest.
  • in relation to the author's item? I see little conceptual range or variation of complexity so far from the troll fingers.
  • in itself? It's impressively slimy and sadistic, though not greatly original in that.

Not looking like a winner so far. I'll see how others fare.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Hi Tom,

This is the first one I read. I like it. I expected we'd see some tentacles and here we are. You've already busted our tentacle quota for the round.

I agree the name is rather unoriginal. Hasn't it been used before. The description works.

I'll come back to this one.

Aha! Mr. Fishy tapped Cthulhu and this is the result of the unholy offspring. What I want to know ... who gestated this thing into existence? Explains Mr. Fishy's absence the past several days. He was one tired fishy and needed to build his sustenance by eating pie for 48 hours. ;P

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

The name is pretty unremarkable, but the description is more than enough to make up for it. This thing is pretty vividly, and awfully, sketched out. The abilities are pretty good, if expected. Secretes acid, blindsight... wait, it swallows people and spits them back out? Why? Why would it do that? And I don't know if I mean that in a good or a bad way. If it's got them in its stomach, why wouldn't it just keep them there? Less fighting back that way.

Although it is apparently intelligent, cruel and sadistic. Hm. That might be a pass. Maybe.

This is one of the more evocative monsters I've run into so far, and the first one where I thought "yeah, I'm probably going to vote for you". But the regurgitating? That just seems gross for the sake of gross, rather than for the sake of the monster's survival and concept.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Thanks for your comments, everyone! I'll be sure to post responses after the voting period is over. Until then, I'm just going to lurk around here all quiet and creepy-like. ;-)

Tom Phillips wrote:

Slithering Horror

Description: A slithering horror is essentially an over-sized, animated stomach.


Tom Phillips wrote:
Its body resembles a cigar-shaped sack of undulating mauve flesh, covered with a slimy sheen.


Tom Phillips wrote:
Once swallowed, the victim is coated with digestive juices, and then immediately disgorged. After being expelled from the monster’s gullet, most victims are disoriented and nauseous. Worse yet, the acidic goo clings to the victim’s flesh and continues to eat him. When the victim finally expires, the slithering horror moves in and greedily slurps up the soupy remains.


Saving throw against throwing up in my mouth a little bit - failed!

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

Icky and cool—like freaky strange geometries cool.

Needs a better name.

Trevor Gulliver wrote:
I agree the name is rather unoriginal. Hasn't it been used before.

I had the same exact thought. Reminiscent of the Slithering Tracker, maybe?

Tom Phillips wrote:
... greedily slurps up the soupy remains.

Wow! Now that is some powerful imagery... I like.

This seems like a really cool monster. I agree that the name could use some work, but the concept is solid...unlike the unfortunate adventurer who falls prey to it.

Liberty's Edge Contributor , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

What a wicked creature! Not my cuppa, but I'm certain it's a strong contender.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Tom Phillips wrote:

A slithering horror is essentially an over-sized, animated stomach.

Ka-BLAM! Way to floor me with the first line. This one's strength is definitely the lovecraftian imagery; existing on the same plane of existence as these things would seriously suck. Yet you also promise some interesting and fun mechanics with the whole regurgitation-game.

I think this would benefit greatly from an obvious reason to spit them back out; otherwise it just seems like it's playing with its food. If it were smaller I would assume that it is spitting one meal out so it has time to catch and eat another while the first digests, but really, a stomach of the dimensions you describe should have no trouble scarfing the whole party.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Really good monster. Almost got my vote. Hope you advance!

I'll go against the majority of posters here and say: this one does nothing for me. It's just gross. There's already enough gross monsters in the game to last a lifetime, if not more.

Props for the spit-out mechanic, however - it's both innovative and an elegant solution for the old 'help, I'm swallowed, but don't have a light weapon handy, so I'll just take 20d800 acid damage every round and sit here' problem.

Star Voter Season 6

Awesome monster! I like the swallow whole design, as many others have mentioned, because it doesnt get the PCs stuck down there forever.
I would like to see some kind of acid spray attack. Just a typical cone spray from the tentacles, or a retributive spray when sliced by weapons (It is a crawling stomach after all:P).

But hey, you get my vote:)

I keep coming back to this and also remember the Troll Fingers and I tell myself ... I wonder what kind of gross chaotic adventue plot Tom could sell us. Still debating, but it's on my short list for voting consideration.

You went all out for the gross. Some people love that, and props to you for committing. The description lets you know that this is a disgusting vile creature that you would rather run away from than face. It also seems hard, really hard, and that lends it a bit more adventure potential than some of the other entries.

I don't do gross, so this is a personal bias. I like to make players cringe, but I have my limits. As far as originality goes, this sounds like a gross squid with burrow. It describes very much like a squid, and the terms "land-squid" and "cave-squid" come to mind. It also seems extremely powerful, with a(fast) burrow speed, land speed(on ceilings! and walls!), swim speed, scent, grab, swallow whole, acid damage(inside and out), intelligence, possible weapon damage, and, one would assume, a nasty CMB check(plus acid!). This is a very powerful creature, but that could definitely go either way.

I like the difficulty, but it seems like it would have a slippery CR. All of the abilities on their own wouldn't seem that bad, but the ability to move(fast), attack, grab(plus acid!), and then constrict with acid damage seems really nasty. It doesn't seem like it would have secondary attacks, so that's a plus. I know some people who would really like this, and I could see it as a lair guardian, a local menace, a rare ingredient, or even a villain in itself. The potential is there, but I was not grabbed.

I'm not clear on just how large this creature actually is, although given that the tentacles it uses to grab food are nine feet long, it seems likely to be a pretty big creature. I suppose the tentacles are handy for grabbing food from crevices it can't fit itself into...
The 'swallow to acidic slime coat, then regurgitate to wait whilst you dissolve' is interesting, and raises this above being just yet one more run-of-the-mill-weird-dungeon-creature.
The writing comes across to me as strong.

It seems to me that this is useful as a planned dungeon/subterranean encounter or random dungeon/subterranean encounter at mid to high levels.

My overall impression is of a well written mid to high level dungeon encounter, with a novel approach to 'swallow whole'.

My thanks for submitting this entry.

Slithering Horror, eh?
I'm expecting some gross mass of flesh with tentacles and all.
And I'm not let down. not in the least bit.
Everything as expected, with the nice little extra of the spit out attack.

This is the swamp dwelling tentaclous monster of doom at its fullest.

But aside from one special attack there is nothing new.
Good, basic stuff in a well described, gross form.

While this grossed out horror is very vividly described and really comes to life, luring just under the surface I fail to see innovation here. The new take on swallow whole is the only innovation i see here. Everything else is pretty worn out for me.

This didn't inspire me to do anything. it's gross, it's slimy, it's acidic. Meh. The only use for this I see is that I have another option hen searching for a tentacled horror to throw at my Pcs. This might become one of my favorites of the bunch, but thats not what I was hoping for.

After examining my main voting criteria, I might simply put this aside noting that this simply didn't grab me.
But wait!
There is more. Maybe there is a sparkling gem under this fetid, slimy mass of organs, easily disregarded as just another batch of slime or other vile excretion.
Because even if the creeping horror has nothing new to offer for me, it still has a strange , alien appeal.
The source for this appeal is - simply put - design talent.
You had a concept, a theme for your monster. and you presented in a straightforward, simple, understandable way, that expands upon, but stays true to the theme.
This monster is a good example of solid, fitting design. I think that this is the very reason why the monster does everything you expect of it and nothing seems to be out of place. Every tiny bit fits in its place and one whole, coherent image is created.
While I'm looking more for creativity and inspiration in this contest (I want to be inspired and Wowed by the final Adventure, not just some well designed and balanced encounters that are rather bland)
this clarity, sticking to concept and delivering the image of the monster directly from the mind of the author into the text, without loosing anything and without rough edges is very important to get the great ideas working. So anybody should check your entry out to learn something about good design.
i will give my votes to the monsters with the ideas I like most, but I think your gross beast already has enough fans to get you into round 3. And maybe then You'll wow me with great ideas coupled with good design.
Then you'll have a new fan.
Keep up the good work!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

Pretty damn creepy. This seems like something that would work well in a subterranian abberrant filled campaign. I'm sure by now you get the point about the name.

All in all, pretty solid and well written visual description.

I don't like the name, but the creature more than makes up for it. This is a creature that causes players to panic.

DM: Player 1 take 4d6 acid damage.
Player1: How do I get this stuff off of me?
DM: You can't. <grins evilly>

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

This is the first entry I've read, but I really like it. Yeah, the name isn't great, but that's relatively easy to fix. What I really like about this critter is that it gets around one of the big problems I've always had with the swallow whole mechanic. Normally, once a monster swallows someone whole, their main schtic is done for the encounter. It can't swallow anyone else, so the party that's outside the monster has relatively little to feat. Instead, this beast can swallow someone once per round, spit them out, and look for a new target the following round. And it doesn't really release the previous victims, since they're still taking acid damage each round and are potentially nauseated, which makes them just as out of the fight as if they were still swallowed.

Great job - hope to see you in R3!

This thing oozes Lovecraft!

I especially like the swallow-disgorge-retreat tactic. A nice twist.

I can already picture the chaos a couple of these things would cause, and smell the fear from my players.

Using this beast in a murder-mystery type plot in a city with a sewer system would be interesting too.

As for the name, perhaps take a page from Cthulhu mythos and use some slurpy-sounding syllables combined with internal organs: Shoggophagus, Shubbach, Gastrogoth or The Sythestine Fluke.

Thanks Tom!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón


Dedicated Voter Season 7

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Lief Clennon wrote:

God bless you. hands Mr Clennon a hanky

Star Voter Season 6

Sewer encounters are a staple of urban adventuring, but all too often, they're very predictable. This sets the Toxic Avenger theme of this Superstar round. This one's METAL. Very possibly top four for me.

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

DP Smith wrote:
Tom Phillips wrote:
... greedily slurps up the soupy remains.

Wow! Now that is some powerful imagery... I like.

This seems like a really cool monster. I agree that the name could use some work, but the concept is solid...unlike the unfortunate adventurer who falls prey to it.

This is the phrase that pays. It's STILL digesting you... on the OUTSIDE.

There is a stomach monster in the 3.0 Oriental Adventures book, a subspecies of oni, but this monster is much heavier on the squick and retch and lower on the "too many spell-like abilities" side.

I was prepared to not like this monster cuz the name was kinda cliched and the beginning of the description was kind of a generic "look how icky I am, FEAR ME," but you won me over by the end. Your language is vivid and fun, and the monster seems like one you could certainly put into any monster with a horror theme to it.

Overall: Nice job, well described, took a gross-out concept and played it straight, building your creature's powers together to fit that gross theme. If you're gonna go, go big, and you did. I'm not sure if it quite catches a vote, but it's close.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka carborundum

Evil haggis! I love it! Nice job, man!

Silver Crusade Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I like this one a lot.
I know it's been said already but I particularly like the swallow whole and then up-chuck mechanic. I think that swallowing whole is cool but can be a little cumbersome in game play and can slow things down. This keeps that momentary terror of "oh holy $%$% I just got ET!" but then doesn't slow play down and still has repercussions.
I also think that there are a lot of ways that this can be a creep out monster.
The fact the tentacles are so agile and long means that it can attack PCs from the water and the body can remain unseen (and therefore UBER creepy) as well as from the dirt or a network of caves in the ceiling.
Fighting something that you can't see the full extent of always leaves some dread in the pit of the stomach as you wait for the other shoe to drop.
Nice job, Tom. This is one of my favorite ones and one of my favorite gross-out ones too.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Once again, thanks for all of your comments everyone! I appreciate each and every word.

Tom Phillips wrote:

Slithering Horror

cut for space

This is my nineteenth creature reviewed. I do not read comments below the thread before posting my evaluation, so there may be some duplication.

An animated stomach. With tentacles. Sounds like one of the other monsters gone in a different direction. It likes sewers and marshes. It likes to stalk sentient beings. Okay.


• scores of tentacles = high speed (weird and slithering move rate, check)
• good swimmer and burrower too (okay)
• sensitive to changes in the air (translation tremorsense 60’)
• weeps sticky, caustic slime that hurts you when you touch it (like any good tentacular stomach should)
• Can swallow a man-sized creature or smaller whole. (Burp. Okay.)
• Slather, spit, repeat, until soupy and disgested (gross, and probably involves acid damage)

Summary: High, high, high on the gross factor. This one definitely gets the Organ Meat Prize for use of unusual body parts. With tentacles. With that said, I think its focused heavily on gross and less so on being a monster. This is pure shock value in a critter. Mind you, I think that could kinda work when done well. I am not sure if this pulls it off well enough for me. Mad props for creativity at least!

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Gross is not my forte so I can't say I'm in love with this creature. I did quite enjoy the swallow/ regurgitate idea though, it's a nice twist on the classic swallow whole special ability.

Sovereign Court

Lukas Klausner wrote:
Really good monster. Almost got my vote. Hope you advance!

Actually I thought there was a really obvious reason why it spits up its food: that way they won't cut their way out of you!

Also, too many 'swallow whole' monsters are deadly. There's a desert starfish thing in a Paizo product that I loved until I realised that the thing it ought to do is swallow a PC and then burrow back into the ground 30 feet and digest them. Bye bye sorceror! So I had to pull my punches, still, scared the crap out of the PCs when they realised what it was about to do...

Nice monster, anyway.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

My thoughts on the slithering horror...

The Name: Very bland.

The Description: It's a great description of a slimy tentacle monster. Of course, the problem with a great description of a slimy tentacle monster is that, with a few minor tweaks, I could take this perfectly awesome description and attach it to any number of other slimy tentacle monsters. The prose hasn't sold me on this specific monster; it's just sold me on the generic slimy tentacle monster trope.

The Powers: Until this point, this monster was about as bland and generic as possible. Luckily, the monster does something new with the swallow whole mechanic. The regurgitation mechanic is a very clever twist on an overdone monster power. Unfortunately, there's another monster in this competition that does the whole "delayed digestion" thing (the splorudra). Granted, that one doesn't play with the swallow whole mechanics, but it does accomplish essentially the same thing, having its own version of the "eat you while I run and hide" shtick.

The Buzz: I think the many posts of praise for the regurgitation mechanic here may be overselling it a bit. Sure, it avoids the whole "cut a hole in the monster's belly to escape" routine, but its says in the monster's description that regurgitated characters are often disoriented. That implies that anyone who gets swallowed is still taken out of the fight, whether they get regurgitated or not. Also, a simpler version of the regurgitation mechanic could just sidestep the swallow whole mechanics in the first place. State that anyone the slithering horror would pin using the grapple maneuver instead gets chewed up and spit out as part of that grapple maneuver. That would skip the rather complex swallow whole middleman without losing any of the regurgitation attack's flavor.

The Vote: I will not be voting for the slithering horror.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

"Slithering Horror" its descriptive but unimaginative

"Its two larger tentacles..." Probably should have said 'It has'

"More intelligent than a mere beast" Why does an eyeless tentacled stomach need to be intelligent?

"most slithering horrors understand the common tongue even though they cannot speak." why do they need to understand language, and if they are intelligent and have a mouth why cant they speak

"They are wicked creatures, and derive cruel pleasure from stalking and dining on sentient beings." Im going to sound like a skipping record. Why are they wicked? Why are they cruel? Why do they sense pleasure? Why are they stalking sentient beings? Remember this is an over-sized, animated stomach

"With scores of tentacles dragging it along" So I guess these arent stubby tentacles?

"a slithering horror moves with surprising speed over most surfaces, including sheer walls and ceilings." A creature that is drug by it's tentacles is fast, and on walls and ceilings? Does it climb on the ceilings upside down or can the tentacles just reach up?

"Though devoid of visual organs" in a contest with limited word count, you cant repeat information

"a slithering horror is very sensitive to changes in the air around it. This allows it to pinpoint prey and discern its surroundings to a range of 60 feet." Im not sure a slug should be barometrically sensitive. I also dont think BS works in a fashion that allows it to act as blind-vision. Vibration sensitivity paired with rudimentary eye spots would have given it better sensory acuity.

"A slithering horror can swallow a man-sized or smaller victim whole." could have said '... can swallow up to a medium-sized creature whole.' This information is repeated again as well

I like the digestive process. Since it has a digestive acid attack it could have had an acid spit. The concept also needs some editing before being placed into action. But theres always use for carrion crawler stand in

Continuing on the theme of alternate names...

The Vominator
Hurling Horror

I kid, I kid.

Seriously, I don't see why this should be intelligent either. There is no reason it can't serve the same purpose and be of animal intelligence.

Other than that, I like the new take on the swallow hole. I'm not 100% certain who will get my vote, but this is a possibility.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

I really like this one. The name doesn't evoke it's giant stomach nature, though, and I think that's a shame. I guess digester is taken, but something more than slithering horror is probably out there. As for the vomiting and then slurping up later bit, I don't understand why it needs to be a giant stomach to do that. Stomachs are specifically designed to digest food through chemical reactions and muscular churning. If it's only digesting with the acid, why not make it a breath weapon or spray? It seems to me that if it's a giant stomach, it shouldn't have such a complicated digestive process. I guess this sounds critical, but this is one of my favorite monsters in the round. It screams "classic" to me. If we can't use the giant eye, why not the giant stomach instead? I visualize it as having intestines as its tentacles, just to keep the theme going. I hope this wins the voters over and you progress to the next round. I can't wait to see the giant gall bladder that spits stones at PCs!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

Does it grab me visually: It creepy, it’s gross and your imagery is fantastic. I’m loving it. The swallow-whole-but-not-really-thing stands out as something that I can’t really explain for something that is a walking stomach. I would think it would swallow its prey and move on, instead of letting that prey continue to fight it.

Would I use it in game: Absolutely. This is what I imagine creeps along in the darkness where only adventures dare to go.

Would my players enjoy an encounter with it: They would be horrified. They would like not being stuck inside the creature after it vomited them back up, and I’m sure they would crack jokes about PCs tasting so nasty that even a walking stomach couldn’t keep them down. This one would stick with them.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Not a bad monster. I'm not sure I like that it regurgitates it's prey. If they aren't disoriented or nauseous then they can just continue the fight against it...

It is however the last Monster to fall to the almost there syndrome. It almost made it to my Keep pile, but not quite.
Sorry and Good Luck. :)

Heh..I like this one, a lot. I am a little shocked I didn't come up with this idea actually. The fact that it swallows you whole, coats you in acid, and spits you out kinds of messed up is actually a great allows it to be impressive to the PCs, without being always overkill.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Thanks, everyone, for your comments! This has been a fantastic experience. Believe me, I read everyone’s comments and took lots of notes. I want this to be a learning experience.

First of all, let me try to share my original vision with you. I was shooting for an aberration of course, and my baby was definitely influenced by Lovecraft. I was trying to capture the image of an unspeakably bizarre alien entity, with an emphasis on alien and bizarre. To be honest I think I missed the mark a bit. What I ended up with was a disgusting stomach monster with a twist on the swallow whole mechanic. Still, a lot of you seem to like this vision, so I really appreciate your kind words.

Now, let’s see if I can address some of the more popular concerns...

The Name – Ah, yes, what's in a name? I struggled with this one. My gut (no pun intended!) was telling me to give it an original Lovecraftian-sounding name, but instead I went with a descriptive one. I think I lost quite a few votes because of this decision. I like the sibilant, creepy sound of ‘Slithering Horror’, but my critics are absolutely right. Sean hit the nail on the head when he said it could potentially confuse a player. So, obviously, this is something I’ll fix if we get the chance to update our critters in the next round. (Assuming I actually make it to the next round!) And yes, I do have a name in mind, but I'll keep it on the down-low for right now. ;-)

Size – I goofed here too. The monster in my head is really not that large. I imagined the body was about 10 feet long -- just a big cigar-shaped sack of slimy mauve flesh. I really should have given the exact dimensions instead of just saying it was “over-sized”. This will be another area I’ll clarify if I get the chance.

The Tentacles – The tentacles radiate in all directions from the monster’s body, and are of varying lengths and widths. I imagined the monster had about 40-60 tentacles that it used to drag itself around. Some are supposed to be up to 5-6 feet long, while others are barely a foot long. I'll need to clarify this as well.

Intelligence – I still prefer the idea of the monster being sentient, but I guess it doesn't have to be evil. Maybe an INT of 4 and Neutrally aligned. Hmmm. I'll have to think on this some more.

Why swallow-and-disgorge? - I figured the monster was soft and fleshy, and its insides overly sensitive and vulnerable. Also, I figured it could only digest mostly dissolved food. On top of that, like I mentioned previously, it's only large enough to swallow one foe at a time. So, I imagined it evolved the swallow-and-disgorge attack to protect itself and "soften up" its meals. Also, for the truly dastardly DM, the creature is able to swallow-and-disgorge an entire adventuring party one at a time! Talk about a memorable encounter!

Ok, I think I covered all the major issues. I'm sure I'll circle back and post again in the near future.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Congratulations Tom! Welcome to the Top 16!

Congratulations on making the top 16.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 aka Fatespinner

Apropos of nothing, I just noticed that Tom is from Orange Park, FL! I grew up there! Until I was 10 years old, I lived on Foxridge Ln. just off of Blanding Blvd! REPRESENT, TOM! *throws gang signs*

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

First of all, congratulations on making it to the Top 16. I thought I would wait until after the voting for Round Two ended before offering any commentary or advice. And I'm going to come at it a little differently, in that I'm not going to focus primarily on your design this round. Rather, I'm going to have a go at examining your entire portfolio to this point to sort of assess what you've done well, where you could shore up a few things in your overall design and writing, and then give you some more pointed advice on stuff you could showcase in future rounds to maybe improve your chances of going all the way to the end. So, with that in mind, here goes:


So, the man who gave us troll fingers has now introduced a Slithering Horror. And what a horror it is! Well done on both these submissions. I think you're building a portfolio of work that could stand out very well for you. I believe the troll fingers made at least a few people's Top 5 favorite items from Round One. And the Slithering Horror hit fifth place in the exit polls, so it's probably reliably up towards the top. It's good to keep reinforcing your excellent showings from round-to-round. So, you'll need to keep doing it into Round Three as well. Just make sure you pick a monster concept that works well for you...and that has something unique about it that you're confident you can highlight it and make it interesting enough to stand out so people will keep voting you on.

If I have any specific advice for you, it might be to step away from the "gross" stuff to show you have a wider range of design acumen. The troll fingers have a significant gross factor to them. And the Slithering Horror dials that up to 10. But how might you handle something less gross? What kind of descriptive nuance would you apply to it? Don't get me wrong. I think "gross" elements certainly play well with a lot of gamers (and hence, voters). But some might be getting tired of it. And, you might want to demonstrate you're not a one-trick pony by tackling something a bit different for you that distinguishes you once again.

Best of luck,

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