The Foulgrip Rangers

Round 2: Create a new organization

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

3 people marked this as a favorite.

The Foulgrip Rangers
Alignment: CE
Headquarters: Ndele Gap, Nex
Leader: Bebtu Gig
Structure Frontier Outlaw Band
Scope: National
Resources: Small keep in nortwest hills and livestock

The Foulgrip Rangers wander the western wastes of Nex, hunting the strange creatures that roam the area and the occasional caravan as well. The Foulgrip Rangers, now composed of around fifty gnoll rangers and gunslingers, are led by Bebtu Gig and her pack of leucrotta. Nothing survives once the Foulgrip Rangers track it down. A fusillade of bullets, the yipping charge of a score of gnolls and the powerful bites of the pack of leucrotta make short work of their prey.

Structure and Leadership
The Foulgrip Gnoll Tribe was slowly dying away, eaten piece by piece from starvation and the strange and horrible abominations that wander the wasted land. At the behest of their last dying shaman, the tribe sacrificed the last of their captured food to Lamashtu and awaited death. Two days later Bebtu Gig and her three consorts arrived at their small border keep. Bebtu taught the remaining warriors how to lure and track monsters for food. Under her iron grip the tribe has flourished, hunting prey for gold and charging a protection fee to any travelers through the Ndele Gap.

Although unknown to the gnolls in the tribe, Bebtu was not sent by Lamashtu to save them. Bebtu is convinced that the secret of the power behind the fleshforges of Nex is the missing fourth Hide of Lawm, an ancient and terrible rite that harnesses the power and fertility of Lamashtu. Her plan is to plumb the secrets at the Well of Lies, a powerful scrying pool. At the moment she and her Rangers are too weak to assault the powerful guardians of the well. But one day the rangers will make their move.

Public Perception
All that travel through the wastelands of Nex are warned of the Foulgrip Rangers. Many who had thought to purchase their protection have never been heard from again. Although the council in Quantium is concerned, they do have to acknowledge that the Rangers help keep the population of the wasteland monsters down.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Russell, welcome to Round 2!

What you are getting from me in this critique: This round is all about conflict and story. I think the best organizations create interesting and compelling groups that will come into conflict with the PCs. My comments, and my recommendation, will focus on how well you do that. My comments will also focus on writing and use of your allotted content in achieving your goals. What you won't get from me: I don't have the total Golarion-fu that Neil and Sean do, so I will leave to them whether you got the nitty gritty details of some of the setting stuff to them (though apparently I did have enough Golarion-fu to know its Pharasmin not Pharasmian, you know who you are).

So here we go!

Initial Impression: Gnolls and leucrotta? That is how it’s done! A gnoll biker gang! You got your hooks in me, let’s see how it plays out. The question is, is this really an organization or is it a monster band that is at location "G" on the overland map and nothing more? Not sure, but I like it :)

Concept (name, title, is it an organization?, overall design choices, is the organization and antagonist and does it create direct conflict for the PCs?, playability): A
Fun locations, a new ritual, a new location, an NPC. Simple concept well executed. Original and fresh, using the gunslinger class in an interesting way. Conflict galore! Great use of non-human races.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, quality of mandatory content, did you milk your idea for all it was worth? did you use your allotted space well?): B-
I’m dinging you big for leaving 40+ extra words on the table unused. In a task where word count is severely limited, you need to milk your submission for all you can and you just pushed back from the table with 40+ words you could have used. That said, it is a credit to you that you could do what you did without those 40 extra words when many entries this round failed to do what you did with all their 400. That said, being 10% under wordcount is an issue. Why would you NOT use that if you had it?

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor, are you showing Superstar mojo?): A
Loved it. This is a great, really self-contained and limited group. Not every organization has to be a global conspiracy. Sometimes a biker gang is good enough. Though my initial concern is that this is just an encounter on the wilderness map, after full consideration I don’t think it is. I think this is well done. I like fun in my game and stuff like this makes me want to play D&D/Pathfinder. Tell Bebtu from me that he can brand “mojo” into his leather jacket.

Overall: A-
Hide your women and lock up your back door, the gnoll bikers are thundering into a campaign near you!

Recommendation: I DO recommend this organization submission for advancement.

I’m a big fan of your chimaeric mantle, Russell, and I think you showed some good design instincts here. Sometimes less is more, bigger isn’t always better. But that said you went fun and strange without going gonzo. Nice balance. I hope the voters agree. Good luck!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Welcome to RPG Superstar, Russell. Things are about to take an entirely new spin at this level. As judges we're here to comment on your work, both in the hopes of guiding you in honing your game design skills, and also to help the voting public assess how you measure up. With that in mind, I'm going to address some of things I think you did well and then I'll touch on where I think you still have room to grow. So, let's see what we've got...

The Foulgrip Rangers, huh? They sound nasty and antagonistic already. I'm usually not a fan of including words that are class names in an actual organization's name, as it often gets the reader assuming that only "rangers" are part of your group. And, while they almost certainly will have them...and maybe even a majority of their membership might be a ranger...I just prefer leaving things more open-ended. So, it's an okay name. I just think it could have been jazzed up a bit more. That's all.

I agree with Clark that they feel a little more like an encounter setup than an organization with a lot of reach or staying power in a campaign setting. You've given them just enough to qualify, though. They range throughout the badlands of Nex and they pretty much threaten anything venturing into their territory (including wasteland monsters and PCs)...and they've got enough of a long-term goal that they're starting to encroach into other areas. That sets up conflict in my book. And that's what you want to be giving us in this assignment. I do think you could have done more here, though. You left 42 words on the table. So, a sentence or two to widen their reach a bit with just one example that demonstrates how they can strike out from their home turf on occasion would have helped sell it better. And, as a former RPG Superstar competitor, I can tell you it's important to wring every last bit of usefulness out of your word count as you can. No, I'm not saying you should overwrite anything. Sometimes less is more. But sometimes more is more, too. As a Superstar designer, you need to recognize which situation you're facing and act accordingly.

So, other stuff that I like. The leucrotta angle is interesting. It's essentially a monstrous creature overtaking a tribe of monstrous gnolls who don't mind taking down other monstrous creatures in the wastelands. The Lamashtu angle is cool. And the deception foisted on the gnolls by Bebtu Gig is good villainous grist for the GM-mill. One thing I'll caution you against, however, is that when you're presented with a structured template with different sections, make sure you're sticking to the theme of that section as you write. For instance, it felt like you spent more time detailing the organization's origin and backstory under the Structure and Leadership section than you did actually talking about their structure and leadership. The information there just isn't framed in such a way that the reader gets an immediate sense of who's leading and who's following and who's the right hand strongman the leader relies on. The information is sprinkled throughout there. It just doesn't come across as the focus in how your writing flows. And, later on, if Paizo gives you an assignment to write up a monster or something for a bestiary section in one of the Adventure Path books, you want to make sure you're talking about a creature's Habitat and Society in those sections and not just more information about how they appear and what kind of abilities they have.

Anyway, there's enough here...and enough attention to detail on the Golarion lore...that I DO RECOMMEND this organization to advance you to the next round.

Competition might prove stiff, however. And it's only going to get tougher the further you go. That's why the difference maker in a lot of these rounds will be ironing out some of the wrinkles I've alluded to above. They'll help your work shine more strongly. So far, your chimaeric mantle is getting some positive feedback from the voters. But you still haven't knocked anything out of the park yet. If anything, I want to light a fire under you to see you go further. Not go crazy. Just go further with what you're doing. Eventually, you have to go large in this game or you go home. The trick lies in recognizing when you're taking a risk that's too great when you do go large vs. leveraging such a risk into something that makes everyone stand up and go, "Wow." Strive for that. And best of luck in the exit polls.


Gunslingers, eh? You took a risk--but I think it paid off with an evocative image of dog-men with rifles.

Interesting point: I don't know if Bebtu is a leucrotta or a gnoll. I actually like that ambiguity--each reader can interpret it differently.

As Clark and Neil said, this group could just be a couple of encounters on the way to the main quest, but I think you put in just enough about their plans that they could become a recurring villainous organization. It would require some attacks on the PCs, then the leaders escaping when the PCs retaliate, and return when they have the Lamashtan artifact--perhaps with the power to shift between hyena, gnoll, and leucrotta forms, using their powers to track and loot caravans...?

I think you need to push yourself a little harder. Don't be afraid to write closer to the word count, or even over the word count, then go back and tighten it up so it still fits the limitations for that round.

I recommend this to advance!

This is a great example of a very self-contained group. It has a place, it has a reason to exist, and its easy to see the PCs getting mixed up with it. In fact, unlike many submissions to the contest this year, this entire organization could be wiped out by the PCs!

You get a little wonky near the end. Bebtu Gig (name sounds like something George Lucas would come up with, not something a dog would say) "knows" she wasn't sent by Lamashtu. How? Why is that meaningful? Its not like she's using the tribe for nefarious ends - she's taught them a new way to live in a hard place and made them strong.

Since they're CE, nobody would try to buy their protection. They're not the mob, they're a biker gang. Your best bet is to run fast, or fight hard, and not stop to talk.

I'm going with the mojo on this one - I like the idea of a gnoll biker gang.

I recommend that you vote for this designer.

EDIT FROM SEAN: Competitors, remember this item from the Round 2 FAQ, which reminds competitors about the rule against commenting about their own submissions. We're pasting this reminder into the last judge comment for every organization just to make sure all competitors see it and remember.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Evil Paul

I think this a cool organisation. I know they are antagonistic and can be used in that way, but I can also see them being used in a 3-way potentially becoming temporary allies of the PCs to fight a greater evil that threatens both groups. They could then later betray the PCs as Bebtu shows her real hand.

Guns and Fantasy are always a tough balance. Too much and you stray into pure steampunk territory and it takes over the setting. Too little and, well, what's the point? I think the Paizo people recognise this as they have been consistent with the level of steampunk presented in Golarion and I think this matches their tone.

Anyway, gets my vote.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Not a large fan of firearms. BUT!!! I really think your organization fits in well with the location.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

And with 42 words to spare! This is the type of submission I was hoping for in this round and you delivered. I will certainly be throwing a vote your way; good stuff.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka moon glum

Dog soldiers! Reeking with the stench of gnoll! I like it. Its got my vote. But where did the gnolls get the guns from? It works well in my campaign that is more Baroque period than medieval, but I bet other DMs would want some sort of origin story.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

moon glum wrote:
But where did the gnolls get the guns from?

There is a picture in ISWG page 113 of a gnoll with a rifle. It is the Mana Wastes, home of Alkenstar, and maybe they picked them up from a lost or slaughtered patrol.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

Amongst a number of very bland capitalist, diplomatic or business oriented organisations, the Foulgrip Rangers stand head and shoulders above most of the competition. You clearly channelled pure imagination in creating this unique, voracious, yet lovable gang. Congratulations!

You have my vote! *ducks from gunfire*

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

I like this, it's got "fun" written all over it. As a bonus, it would be right at home in a traditional campaign and at the same time could easily be pushed into a gonzo game. Well done!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Thanks all for your comments and please vote for my Org!... I'll be happy to answer any questions once the polls close!

Star Voter Season 6

I'm not a huge fan of the name, but I like the concept. A bit small in scope, but cool for a wasteland type area.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

To me it seems more like an encounter than an organization, but that may have been the best use of a very limited word count. Love the name, like the group, plug and play. You got a vote from me.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

This seems like a backstory for one encounter at first, but after good reading it fills the requirements for being an organization. And it's a good, traditional group to pit your player's against! I like that it's small in scope, it's easy to throw in a campaign. Nice small twists brings this one in my favourites pile!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Gnolls. Check. Leucrotta. Check. Wastelands. Check. Ancient rites at powerful well. Double check. I want Bebtu Gig to have my cubs! OSW likes this a very big much. Well developed and well played.

Small nitpicks: Foulgrip Rangers spelled out twice in first two sentences - unnecessary and a little clunky.

And: "Although unknown to the tribe, Bebtu Gig was not sent..." Is Bebtu Gig unknown, or do the gnolls not know she wasn't sent? I think it's the latter, if so, "although" is probably redundant.

I LOVE these guys. Again, well done!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka OwlbearRepublic

This organization grew on me after I reread it. At first glance, all I really saw were gnolls in leather jackets with "The Wandering Monsters" stitched on the back. Upon a more careful reading, the very sketchy plot hooks started to seem more open-ended than incomplete, and I began to see myself using this organization for something interesting, rather than just another option to attack the caravan or whatever.

What I really wanted to see here, and what you could have given me with those unused words, was a more compelling and concrete hook for taking this group beyond the encounter level. You tell us what Bebtu wants and vaguely indicate how she's planning to get it, but I don't clearly see the shape of a larger conflict in which I could embroil PCs. Once you get past the protection racket aspect, I don't understand why the PCs should care about the group's deeper motives or interfere with their plans.

Maybe the gang tries to make alliances with powerful groups moving through their territory in order to organize a joint raid on the Well of Lies. Secretly, though, Bebtu has ordered her gnolls never to permit any outsider to use the Well, alliances notwithstanding. Even such a simple idea indicates to the reader, "This is the dramatic situation that can hook your PCs into the plans of this group."

This is one of the strongest entries in the lot, though it's deceptively unassuming. Congratulations.

I was impressed with this one. I was immediately drawn in, to the point where I want to know how it concludes - which requires me to get involved as a GM and conclude it!

In my opinion that is exactly what an organization is supposed to provide the reader. Excellent work!

The Lamashtu tie-in and the core idea of gnoll gunslingers with packs of ravenous beasts leading the charge grabs my attention. I voted for this entry.

I love this just based on the visuals.

Liberty's Edge

A group of bandits / outlaws who roam the desert killing monsters, attacking caravans and searching for an ancient artefact is not all that exciting as an organisation ... BUT, make them Lamashtu worshipping gnoll gunslingers with leucrottas and you are on to something!

As some of the judges mentioned, I think it might have been a (minor) misstep to call them ‘Rangers’ (maybe The Foulgrip Marauders or something?), and I had exactly the same thought as Ryan that your leader’s name sounds like one of the sillier Star Wars characters. I think there are a few problems with presentation and grammar here, but overall it is a pretty cool idea.

This goes on my shortlist.

Good luck Russell.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

Right on target. Not world shattering like some, which is one of it's strengths. Basically, you could fit it into a campaign with little or no change. Atmospheric as heck.

One of the best groups I've seen.

I appreciated your item: not one of my favorite but still in the top part of my list. This organization is my absolute favorite. I'll hope to see you in the next round, you get my vote!

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Nice, upfront nasty group of monsters. Perhaps not the best entry in this round but a great, consistend entry.
Voted for you

Dog Soldiers + Mad Max / Road Warrior + Event Horizon / Star Trek V.

I can dig this.

Dark Archive

I actually really like the name. It's simple and straightforward but it paints a clear image of what your about to run into. Reminds me of those 70's Biker flicks where they'd just ride into town and cut loose by tearing it up.

This is something I can drop into a campaign at any time and since it's really a decentralized gang and can always recruit more members it's something that can haunt the players over and over again.

You sir, have my vote.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on top 32 and recommendation from all 4 judges. That's some achievement. Good luck in the voting and (likely, it seems) further on!

I liked your item, though it had some issues. I like this quite a bit too. This too, though, has some weirdnesses: Most of all, what's with the leucrotta thing?

I'm in-between on the name. "Foulgrip" sounds good, though I'm not quite sure where it comes from, which annoys me. "Rangers", others have given objections to, and mine are some of the same. "Rangers" strongly suggest a class, which I'm kind of hoping is not the intention.
I really like the use of gnolls. Neat that. I don't quite comprehend your choice of a leucrotta for a leader. They strike as devious, cunning and possibly smart enough, but not really the sort of monster to get a lot out of working in a group, especially if Lamashtu is not really involved. You could probably have found something more logical there.
The goal seems a little high for one group. I guess it's still got a lot of time to being in reach of that. That's okay though. I don't quite know why they want the artifact - well, the gnolls make sense, but you are rather specific on the leucrotta not being involved because of Lamashtu. I think you might as well have let it be involved, if you want a Lamashtan artifact as the ultimate goal. However... I'm missing a little bit of a "what then?"

That said, you've got a fun and flexible organization. I'm probably going to find a vote for this, but I have some doubts I need to figure out for myself first... Until then, and no matter how that turns out, the best of luck to you.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Thanks again for all your comments! I'll be happy to try and answer your comments and questions once round 2 closes!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

Mad Max style gnolls? Yes, please.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
John Bennett wrote:
Mad Max style gnolls? Yes, please.

+1. Evocative, well-written, superstar. Hope to see you in the next round.


Dedicated Voter Season 8

Vote given.

Good luck, hope to see you in the next round.

A short note on my reason to vote for you:

You seem to have fine grasp of fulfilling the task you're given.
You seem to have exciting and worthwhile ideas, that go outside the box.
I think you have a lot of potential to develop in this competition.
I believe you could write an adventure I would be interested in buying/reading/running/using parts of or idea from.
I think you showed good design, unusual thinking and a fair grip of mechanics with your item.
I think you showed creativity, unusual thinking and a good grasp of scaling things down a little from your (perhaps a little overpowered) item to a far more balanced organization, in my view.

Where I see room for, and hope to see, improvement:
Use what you get to the full extent. Don't leave words hanging. I don't expect to get anything less than I pay for. That said, maintain your ability to keep your writing concise. Try to use remaining words for more awesome.
Think bigger. Especially for your monster, you may wish to go for something that'll be able to work outside a specific situation such as this.
I hope see perfect balancing on the monster, because the item definitely had room for abuse.
I hope to see even more creative and evocative writing. I think you can do it, but you need to use all you get to do so.

I hope you can use this in the future rounds, and I hope you get there. I leave it to your organization, item and luck now:
Best of luck in the voting!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

My favorite entry this round.

You managed something that many others did not: you delvered cool and into your face adversaries for the PCs with some hints of a higher goal.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I am a fan. I liked the concept while not orcs ;) Still an organization I can get behind. Good work I really want to find out more about this group and put them up against my own characters and see how things turn out. Giving me many ideas thank you.
Keep up the good work you have my vote and I hope to see what you can do next round.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Thank you all for you support and thanks for the critiques. I hope to move to the next round but whatever the outcome, thanx all for your words and thoughtful advice.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Russell, I think you've got one of the best organizations in the round. I'm not a big fan of the gunslinger, but this ... if you can't get behind gnolls riding leucrotta and carrying guns in an apocalyptic wasteland ... wow.

Just curious, were you inspired by the gun-carrying gnoll in the Mana Wastes writeup in the ISWG?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Heya Jacob, I enjoyed (and voted) for your (The) Unfettered. I never noticed the gun-noll, but if there is a picture there I could have seen it subliminally :)

Gnolls and leucrottas have always been all-time favorite monsters of mine, so an org "ranging" about in a wasteland with consfiscated guns struck a chord (although in my homebrew it would not be the gnoll riding the leucrotta)!

Liberty's Edge

Well done on moving forward Russell – gnolls with guns FTW! Looking forward to seeing your monster.

I can dig it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I liked this one. I've always loved gnolls, rangers, trackers, and wilderness adventure, so this was a great combo. I like the "can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em" aspect of these guys! A lot of adventure seeds are sprinkled in there. Good job!


Total win!

Russell Vaneekhoven wrote:

The Foulgrip Rangers

Alignment: CE
Headquarters: Ndele Gap, Nex
Leader: Bebtu Gig
Structure Frontier Outlaw Band
Scope: National


You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead wasps and a six week old ‘to do (in)’ list.

Important Note:
There’s a difference between late and fashionably late. The former is what most other beings manage. The latter is what sophisticated, (very advanced) succubi manage.

First impressions always being important, do members of this organization wear nifty robes or uniforms when out on formal business?
They're gnolls and leucrotta deranged enough to worship a goddess who is a byword for craziness. I doubt it.

Does membership of this organisation seem likely to involve regular tea or dinner parties or other appropriate social occasions?
Sarcasm would be wasted answering this one. No.

Is the cost of being a member of this organisation likely to be acceptable to a succubus?
Succubi. Do. Not. Worship. Lamashtu. Not unless they're under extreme duress (including forms of magical compulsion) or insane. Membership of this organization is not acceptable, let alone any hideous entry or membership fee.

Other comments?
Rrrriiiight. So this organisation (although I use that word loosely) consists of a pack of gnolls, slightly nuttier than the average marzipanned fruit-cake, who use rifles and follow the orders of a pack of leucrotta. And they plan to raid a heavily guarded magical facility protected by wizards. Well, that's about par for a bunch of worshipers of a deity of insanity.
I'm surprised a group of Lamashtu worshipers like these are actually capable of maintaining firearms though. Or even of using them...

Organizations are not being rated except under special circumstances.

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