Pyrebloom


Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

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RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka shiverscar

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A huge, faintly luminous flower supported by four spindly legs clicks cautiously foward, fluids roiling visibly inside its tightly closed, membranous petals. Twin tendrils of knotted vines, protruding from its stem, coax an unstable looking sphere of sap from its underside.

Pyrebloom CR 7
XP 3,200
N Large plant
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +13

----- Defense -----
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+6 natural, Dex +3, -1 size)
hp 95 (10d8+50)
Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +5
Defensive Abilities plant traits; Immune fire

----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 vines +11 (1d6+4 plus grab)
Ranged bomb +11 (3d6+5 fire)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks Sap Bomb 10/day (3d6+5 fire, DC17), Noxious Vapour (DC20), Volatile Demise (10d6 fire, DC22)

----- Statistics -----
Str 18, Dex 16, Con 21, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; CMB +11 (+15 grapple); CMD 24
Feats Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Point Blank Shot, Ability Focus (Volatile Demise), Weapon Focus (bomb)
Skills Perception +13, Stealth +12
Languages Common, Goblin (cannot speak)

----- Ecology -----
Environment warm forests or plains
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

----- Special Abilities -----
Sap Bomb (Su) Pyreblooms can excrete and hurl sticky globules of the unstable fluids contained in its blossom. These sap bombs function identically to the bomb class feature of the alchemist class, with the exception that bonus damage, bombs per day, and save DCs are Constitution-based rather than Intelligence-based. A pyrebloom has an effective alchemist class level equal to half its HD for the purposes of determining damage and bombs per day.
Noxious Vapour (Su) A pyrebloom can spend two daily uses of its Sap Bomb ability to spray a noxious vapour in a 15 ft. radius, centred on itself. Creatures in the area of effect must pass a DC 20 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1d4+1 rounds. The noxious vapour dissipates immediately after use. This is a poison effect. The DC is Constitution-based.
Volatile Demise (Su) The volatile chemicals contained in the pyrebloom's blossom burst free when the creature is slain. The unstable fluids ignite when exposed to air, creating a 20 foot burst of flame that does 10d6 fire damage. Creatures caught in the blast can make a DC22 Reflex save for half damage. The DC is Constitution-based.

Pyreblooms resembles a squat, uprooted flower with thin, translucent petals wrapped tightly around a core of glowing, agitated fluids. A small bulbous protrusion, hanging beneath the flower and thick with dangling roots, comprises most of the plant's sensory organs. A full grown pyrebloom is typically 7-9 ft. tall and weighs 3200 lbs.

Pyreblooms are the result of the experiments of alchemists in the nation of Nex. The hope was to create a biological factory for useful chemical reagents and the result exceeded expectations. When pyreblooms proved too clever to be contained, their creators attempted to dispose of them, with explosive results. The detonations sent seeds leagues from the alchemist labs that spawned them. The pyreblooms that grew in the wild have scattered to the depths of the Mwangi Expanse, Geb, and The Mana Wastes. Adventurous alchemists hoping to succeed where their peers in Nex failed have had seeds imported to other parts of the Inner Sea, often with disastrous results.

A pyrebloom feeds by sinking its roots into the ashes and carbonized remains of burnt plants, animals, and the occasional humanoid. Because of their indiscriminate burning and feeding habits, pyreblooms occasionally attract small tribes of goblin followers. The goblins bring sustenance for the creature and revel in its blazing wake.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hey, Adam...welcome to Round 3. This carousel doesn't end until you either fall out of the competition or win the whole thing. You've been chugging along pretty well so far. So, let's see what you've given us this time around.

Wall of Text:

Spoiler:

First off, going into monster design, a freelance designer has to recognize certain basic elements of the game...the give-and-take of all the variables upon which it's mechanically founded. The most important defining characteristic (which has a trickle down effect) in monster design is its Challenge Rating (CR). The rules for Round 3 already told you what that would be...i.e., CR 7. Thus, the "test" for this round isn't just determining if you can cook up a really great idea for a monster. It's also to see how well you can interpret what a CR 7 monster is meant to have, mechanically-speaking, that distinguishes it from a CR 6 or a CR 8 monster.

So, what are the trickle down effects you need to know for a CR 7 creature? In general, its AC should be around 20. Its hit points should be around 85. Its best saving throws should be around +10 and its weaker saving throws should still be around +6. The damage curve potential for a combat-focused CR 7 monster should be around a +13 attack inflicting an average of 22-30 points of damage per round if all its attacks manage to hit an opponent. Even a less combat-focused CR 7 monster should still have around a +10 attack and the DCs for any special abilities or SLAs should be a DC 17 for a primary power and a DC 12 for a lesser power. There's still wiggle room within these numbers, but typically, if you make one of those things higher or lower, you want to offset it with a variation in one of the other statistics above.

Additionally, monsters should be built around the non-standard array for their ability scores (i.e., 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10) before applying racial adjustments. These adjustments should always come in even-numbered increments (i.e., +2, +4, +6, etc.). That means for a basic monster design, you should end up with three odd-numbered ability score values and three even-numbered ability score values.

Okay. With all that serving as your baseline, let's see where you've taken us...

Creativity Factor:
It's a cool, intelligent, fire-plant thing, making use of the alchemist's fire bomb class ability in an organic way. I can get behind that.

The noxious cloud ability to essentially give itself a debilitating aura at the expense of some of its bombs is a nice addition.

The potential "partnership" between such a plant and various goblin tribes that exult in its fiery mayhem is sure to be a crowd pleaser. After all, if I've learned anything while observing the fans of Paizo, it's that they love their goblins. So, kudos on you for picking up on that and running with it.

I also liked the feeding method and dependency the plant has on ashes and carbonized remains. It's a good thematic tie-in to its abilities.

I guess the Nex-based backstory fits. The archmage Nex was one of the foremost wizards in all of Golarion, but I never really got a sense that there's a high prominence of alchemists in that nation. Still, they have "fleshforges" there. So, having one of them serve as the plant's origin might work out for you.

Kind of a missed opportunity, but I would have liked to see you create some variation for these pyreblossoms by allowing them to select from a limited list of alchemist discoveries to enhance their sap bombs (i.e., explosive bombs, precise bombs, smoke bombs, etc.). And, if they advance in Hit Dice, let them expand their options so long as their equivalent alchemist level meets the prerequisites for a particular discovery. I think that would've been a nice, creative design touch.

The volatile demise ability is kind of overkill. If you're already giving the plant the ability to hurl bombs, is there really a need to introduce a death throes ability to further annoy players who have their PCs finally kill one? Yes, there are other monsters in the game that have similar abilities (e.g., dark creepers and dark stalkers), but investing this type of ability in the design (while thematically-appropriate) comes off more like overkill to me.

I assume the plant gets a bonus language to understand Goblin in addition to Common? An Int 11 wouldn't normally entitle it to one.

Mechanical Considerations:
Just because I'm OCD, I did a very quick number crunching of your design using the spreadsheet Paizo provides us as freelancers. I thought it was important to do that just to give some kind of assessment on your technical skills. You were actually really solid here. I ran into just a couple of things that seemed off to me. You might want to go back and double-check the following:

- Your attacks seem off by 1 point. It looks like you may have left off the -1 size modifier for being Large. Same deal for the CMB/CMD scores.

- The Throw Anything feat is normally associated with alchemists and that's where it mentions they get to add their Int modifier to their bomb damage. This creature seemingly gets that ability without having the Throw Anything feat involved.

- Your ability scores don't appear to have used the 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10 non-standard array. You're close, but at least one of those even-numbered ability scores should be an odd number.

- The DCs for your monster's special abilities are unusually high for a CR 7 creature. And, you've chosen to bump the volatile demise DC up even higher with the Ability Focus feat. Granted, you've got some trade-off's in there, because the monster's actual physical attacks are on the low side of the typical range for a CR 7 monster (i.e., +10 is usually an attack score for a creature that isn't as heavily focused on combat). Even so, this feels kind of at odds for me. I got the sense your creature is supposed to be good at combat. Thus, your attack scores really ought to be higher (and more threatening) and the plant's special ability DCs could use some reining in. That's just my opinion, though. The other judges may feel otherwise.

Presentation:
Several missteps in the template. The AC bonus breakdown and feat list need to be alphabetized. Special attack forms need to be lowercase. You forgot to put a space before the numerical values of each ability's DC. There's a typo with "centred"...and/or some Queen's English with "vapour" vs. "vapor"...etc. Even the lead-off sentence in the body text of the submission has a subject/verb disagreement thing going on. This is either a first draft or a demonstration of poor attention-to-detail.

Bottom Line:
I really like the core concept of this design. A volatile, bomb-throwing plant would make for an awesome encounter. Unfortunately, I think you've got some significant flaws in your mechanical considerations for monster designs, the proper use and presentation of the template, and also your writing, because you haven't fully divested yourself of the Queen's English yet. You need to work on all those things.

Given all that, I'm going to put myself ON THE FENCE for this monster. The creative idea might be enough to trump the errors in design and presentation. But, I'll leave it up to the voters and we'll see what they think. If you make it through, I'd be interested in seeing what kind of encounter you can cook up for us by applying all the lessons you've learned so far. And there should be a lot them here for you to incorporate into your future designs.

Looking back across your earlier work, I really liked your flask of liquid sunlight. I was probably its greatest champion during the winnowing. I also liked your organization with the Red Bastards, but didn't feel like it went quite far enough. I'm more concerned at this point that your mastery of the technical aspects of game design might be lagging a bit. And, with the competition tightening at this point, you can't afford to take your foot off the gas. Keep your eye on the prize and best of luck in the voting.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Adam, good job advancing to Round 3!

What I am looking for:I’m a big picture guy more than a minute details guy. I don’t think just seeing if you crunched out the rules properly is the right way to judge a good entry for this round. Of course you need to execute the stat block properly. Luckily, Sean, Neil and others are way more qualified than I am to talk about the nit picks and issues with the stat block so I will leave that to them. My comments to you will be more “big picture.” For me, I want to see a monster that is fun and playable—a monster that leaps of the page and makes me find a way to incorporate it at the game table. That, to me, is a superstar monster. So here we go…

Initial Impression: Fiery alchemical plants go boom!

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A
The idea of working alchemical abilities into a monster is just awesome. Great idea, great design space. Usable, playable, great name. Man, what does this thing not do well from a concept standpoint? Plus, this thing does what other entries failed to do—it gives us a potential combo with other monsters. I love that. I can imagine a tribe of goblins around this thing. Nasty, fire-y goodness!

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): A-
I happen to like the overkill of volatile demise. I don’t think every monster has to have a mathematically perfect amount of damage they do for a specific CR (or all of a sudden we are playing 4E). Things like this ability keep PCs on their toes, keep them from meta-gaming encounters and keep things fresh. I also really, really like the alchemist angle. It’s a fun thing to explore with monsters. We tack arcane spells on monsters so much it’s a standard part of the stat block. But you didn’t just do that. You took the alchemist abilities and worked them in as SAs. Nice. The sap bombs and noxious vapor abilities are great. I am with Neil in that I'm not sure the Nex tie in is the best, but at least it isn’t a tack on. I do have to admit, there are some format and stat-fu issues here that I’m not willing to ignore. They aren’t bad, but I dinged you for them.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A
This is a fun monster and it already makes me want to create an encounter for the PCs to have to deal with it, and some goblins.

Overall: A
Listen, I’ve been doing this for a long time and when you make a monster that I immediately want to find a way to use, you are on to something. And that is what these do.

Recommendation: I DO RECOMMEND voters consider this monster to advance to the Top 8. Another of my favorites this round.

Your flask was good, but I had questions. Your Red Bastards helped answer some of those questions, but I still didn’t know what I would get from you this round. I have to say, you are steadily improving and everyone else better look out. You keep developing at this pace and you may be one to watch in this here shindig. You are “in it to win it.” Keep the mojo working and spend some time polishing some of the technical issues and you could win this.

The competition is tight. Great job and I wish you the best of luck!

Contributor

Welcome to Round 3! I'm posting this little blurb at the top of my reply for everyone. FYI, I'm not going to crunch all the math in your stat block, for several reasons. One, I don't have an hour for each monster. :) Two, I'm sure you've been very diligent about this and if anything is wrong, it's probably only off by a little bit. Three, if you were writing this for publication in a Paizo book, you'd be using our stat block spreadsheet, which takes care of the math for you--your job is to understand the rules and bring the mojo. Four, Neil's going to scrutinize that stuff because he is a machine. :) My focus in this review is on the overall coolness and balance of your monster, with an eye on how efficiently you put it together and a spot-check of stat block elements that catch my eye.

Your italic intro text reads a little weird. It's grammatically correct, but I kept wondering if each sentence was going to suddenly stop and be a sentence fragment without a verb. As journalists say, "don't bury the lead"--in this case, don't bury the verb so late in the sentence. Frex, if you rewrote the first sentence like this, I think it would be stronger:

A huge, faintly luminous flower clicks cautiously forward, supporting itself on four spindly legs. Fluids roil visibly inside its tightly closed, membranous petals.

Okay, on to the stat block. A plant, eh? That's taking a risk, I like it. There aren't many plant monsters in the game (though we've trying to remedy that in Pathfinder) and a new plant monster is going to get my attention.

Fire immunity makes me sad. Fire immunity means the creature can walk on lava unharmed. The game gives fire immunity to so many creatures it's like Halloween candy. I get that it throws fire bombs, but it doesn't need fire immunity to protect itself from that unless it's going to throw them adjacent to itself, and with Int 11 it's smart enough to not do that. Its bombs are only gonna do 3d6 fire anyway, you could just give it resist fire 20 and it would be safe. Also, this is a CR 7 monster, so level 5 PCs could fight it as a challenging encounter... level 5 PCs who've just learned how to cast fireball, which has no effect on this monster. Smart design is not throwing an X-immune monster at the PCs right after they acquire attack X. Even as a CR 7 creature facing level 7 PCs, it's nice if the mage's main attack spell isn't worthless.

You've invented a new natural attack, "vines," but that just as easily could have been a slam attack or tentacle attack. You even gave it grab, which is a natural fit for a tentacle attack... though it's weird that it has grab and doesn't have any attacks that follow up on grab, like constrict or swallow whole... so it hits you, grabs... and doesn't gain any benefit for grabbing you.

Its abilities in the Special Attacks line shouldn't be capitalized, nor should the parentheticals in the Feats line. You need a space between "DC" and the numerical value of the DC.

I like how sap bomb points at the alchemist rules, that's a good use of your word count. And I like how it's implied that if this thing gains HD, its effective alch level increases, too.

I think the 10d6 for the volatile demise ability is too much... a CR 7 enemy wizard is throwing 7d6 fireballs as an active attack, and this monster is doing better damage than that as an incidental effect of its death. Especially when you consider the DC 22 save, which is much higher than a primary attack form DC far a CR 7 monster.

I like the backstory and the idea of goblin followers.

I think this is an interesting monster that touches on things that (1) the game needs and (2) I like. You stumbled a bit on the fire immunity and the deathboom. There are some technical errors that using the spreadsheet would catch or warn you about. You've created a monster that a GM could easily build a cool encounter with, you just need to keep in mind the larger design space that the monster impacts.


It's a plant that throws fire.

Good initial description.

Good thing it's immune to fire. :)

Stats look good, reasonable for CR7.

Sap Bomb is a good ability - recycles alchemist class feature. Of course, that assumes that the user has access to the book where that class feature is described.

Noxious Vapor is deadly. The DC20 is waaaaaaay up there for CR7. All you can do basically is flee if you fail the save. This thing can run after you and keep slamming / bombing you while you gag.

Volatile Damage is also deadly. It happens at the end of the fight when PCs are weakest and the damage it delivers is HUGE. The DC save to avoid is also waaaaaay up there for CR7.

This thing is more of a hazard than a monster. If you know about its nature you're going to stay far away and try to range attack it to death, and you'll avoid being near one after inflicting a lot of damage. If you have never met it before you're going to get your ass handed to you. So this has that old-school feel of being able to "solve" the monster, and the old-school problem of PC knowledge vs. player knowledge. The two are always intertwined which can neuter the "shock & surprise" value that the PC should be feeling.

I'm going with a positive grade: B

I recommend that you vote for this designer.


I like it. If I ever use it will be after some tweaking, however, including many of the issues mentioned by judges (replace fire immunity with resistance 10-20, maybe increase bomb damage, reduce speed, etc.).

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

I normally don't like plant monsters or use them often, but this is cool- it blows up! I like monsters that blow up upon death. So if anything, you've changed my mind about plant creatures. I haven't read all the entries yet, but a possible vote getter.


This is a Triffid. Interesting idea.

Star Voter Season 6

Hmm, I read through your stats and my first thought was, "Stay the hell away from me!" I felt the saves were too high and the damage to large for it to be a CR 7 creature. CR 9 or 10 would fit better and I wouldn't be so worried. However, it's a damned good thing my 7th level wizard just finished making that Wand of Resist Energy...

Don't tell my GM about this... please?

I'm definitely keeping you in mind for a vote. I loved the background and over all theme of the Pyrebloom, but felt it was just a tad too powerful, save wise.

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 8

I like it. Feels very Final Fantasy to me - (which in this case is something good) - Volatile Demise seems a bit of overkill. Limiting the damage (number of bombs left x2) preventing or delaying the explosion (killed by a cold effect) or simply putting the explosion on a timer could keep the blast without killing PCs.

As Mr. Reynolds suggested, that resist fire would have been enough, I would suggest the same. Of course, that's just to make a chain reaction possible, so an encounter with 4-5 of these would be ... fun^^.

I really liked the flask of liquid sunlight, the Red Bastards didn't really hit the spot for me since I currently GM Kingmaker and this would .... lessen the impact of post endgame events.

I have voted for this designer, and will vote for him again.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Fire immunity makes me sad. Fire immunity means the creature can walk on lava unharmed. The game gives fire immunity to so many creatures it's like Halloween candy. I get that it throws fire bombs, but it doesn't need fire immunity to protect itself from that unless it's going to throw them adjacent to itself, and with Int 11 it's smart enough to not do that. Its bombs are only gonna do 3d6 fire anyway, you could just give it resist fire 20 and it would be safe. Also, this...

I was going to quote Lava Effects from CRB page 444, to argue that fire resistance gives immunity to lava. Good thing I checked the PRD it was changed via errata), so read that this is no longer the case.

This has bothered me for years, thank you very much for fixing it.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Fire immunity makes me sad. Fire immunity means the creature can walk on lava unharmed. The game gives fire immunity to so many creatures it's like Halloween candy. I get that it throws fire bombs, but it doesn't need fire immunity to protect itself from that unless it's going to throw them adjacent to itself, and with Int 11 it's smart enough to not do that. Its bombs are only gonna do 3d6 fire anyway, you could just give it resist fire 20 and it would be safe. Also, this is a CR 7 monster, so level 5 PCs could fight it as a challenging encounter... level 5 PCs who've just learned how to cast fireball, which has no effect on this monster. Smart design is not throwing an X-immune monster at the PCs right after they acquire attack X. Even as a CR 7 creature facing level 7 PCs, it's nice if the mage's main attack spell isn't worthless.

Do as I say, not as I do? I know you've got an article talking about why absolutes are problematic when designing things, but that doesn't seem to have stopped Paizo from adding a large number of absolutes (whether they are elemental immunities or other types of absolutes). I'm not sure if it is fair to ding the contestant for following Paizo's lead in this area.

That said, you could of course be losing the battles internally at Paizo to keep other people from adding more absolute type abilities to the game.

Dark Archive

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I like it. Feels very Final Fantasy to me

Well to be honest I was thinking it was some weird mix between a Bomb and malboro hahahahahaha now that you say it like that.

Great monster! I like it, might be the DC on saves is high (just a tad), but I knew you were going to kick butt this round too! I will vote for you as this is pure awesomeness monster.

Scarab Sages

Very nice. I've often felt the need for more plant monsters, and one that has a fire aspect is....interesting. I was wondering why something like this would speak (or at least understand) goblin, and I suspected the answer. Hilarious!

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is easily my favorite monster. Yes it uses an APG ability, but if a GM doesn't have the APG there's the PRD, and the monster has the information on its damage in the stat block. This one gets my vote. Your other two submissions were favorites of mine. Can't wait to see your adventure proposal.

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

I'm immediately intrigued when I see that this creature uses the alchemist bomb ability. That's a bit of unused niche space for monsters, so it's nice to fill it, especially with a plant! There need to be more murderous plants.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of mechanical issues and formatting problems that slowly drag the pyrebloom down. First off, there's the "vines" thing. Pathfinder standardized natural attacks. These should be slams, or maybe tentacles. And you've forgotten the size penalty to hit! The pyrebloom has three abilities that are all dependent on Constitution, but they have three different save DCs! To be fair, one of them is modified by Ability Focus, but it's hard to tell at a glance, because the feats aren't in alphabetical order!

The balance feels like it could use some work. It's got low attacks and damage for a CR 7, except when it explodes, which is a bit high damage at a very high DC. Ability Focus is just gilding the exploding lily here, and is likely to end up with some dead PCs and annoyed characters.

On the other hand, it's a giant flower filled with noxious fluids that throws bombs and explodes when you kill it. And that's awesome. So much so that, despite my well-deserved reputation as being a stickler for mechanics, that I feel inclined to vote for the pyrebloom. But that vote is in spite of its mechanics, not because of them. I recommend you brush up your mechanical skills for the encounter round. Good luck!

Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I don't think there's any reason to give a monster a 10/day ability. Not getting my vote.

Silver Crusade

I like it. I wish I had a campaign at that level so I could use this in my campaign.

Contributor

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Caedwyr wrote:
Do as I say, not as I do? I know you've got an article talking about why absolutes are problematic when designing things, but that doesn't seem to have stopped Paizo from adding a large number of absolutes (whether they are elemental immunities or other types of absolutes). I'm not sure if it is fair to ding the contestant for following Paizo's lead in this area.

Every monster that crosses my desk is a monster that I scrutinize for absolute immunity to an energy type. And unless the monster has a really good reason for having immunity, I change it to a numerical resistance.

Liberty's Edge

I like the concept of a big, ambulatory plant that throws bombs and explodes when you kill it. It’s out there but it’s fun.

Personally I think this thing is a bit too powerful for a CR 7 monster, and could make for a very frustrating / dangerous encounter if used as one.

While I like the association with goblins, I’m not sure if it works with how you have placed these things in Golarion – are goblins particularly prevalent in Nex, Geb, the Mana Wastes and the Mwangi Expanse? Not as far as I’m aware, and these locations don’t particularly fit their (goblins) preferred terrain and climate (temperate regions, usually coastal or along major waterways). It also stretches my disbelief a little that these Int 11 monsters were ‘too clever’ for the alchemists that created them.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

Superstar! I can create an interesting encounter with this that will be fun to describe to my players AND best of all it is unique. Well done.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

This thing is just cool. Great job.

Dark Archive

Killer plants have been a lot of fun for me to discover in the ToH Complete, and I'm totally using this plant in my Kingmaker campaign.

As for the complaints about the death throes, I'm in the "fear and uncertainty make for better tension in all future encounters" camp.

Not like there isn't precedent for crazy unexpected area damage and weak melee, either. Throw 6 shocker lizards at a party with approximately a CR 7 and check their active area effect ability that has the very real potential of going off more than once in an encounter, quite possibly twice in the first two rounds.

The save on the deathsplosion however, is a bit rough. :) I'd like to give evasion PC's a chance to use that feat, and the plate-wearing PC a chance to survive at ground zero.


Love the idea of the goblin followers! Not sure I like the exploding death throes.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

I want to use it. I imagine how to adapt this thematically to other settings (mainly Dark Sun and WH4k), I really want to use them, so much I will ignore any possible (didn't strike me before reading Seans comment anyway) mechanical glitches. You get my vote.


My criteria for deeming a monster voteworthy:

1. Can I drop this into my home campaign and still do something interesting with it outside of Golarion? Oh yeah. If your campaign world doesn't have a place for walking, stinking, bomb-throwing flowers, then I don't want to play in it!

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Definitely. I can think of several creature types and organizations that would want to harness the powers of these plants for military purposes. And the look on my players' faces when it explodes after the death blow is dealt would be priceless!

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? They'll probably like it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka shiverscar

Thank you to the judges for you feedback and criticisms! Always helpful and always appreciated!

Thank you to everyone else for your comments and critiques as well! Keep them coming!

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

Ryan Dancey wrote:

So this has that old-school feel of being able to "solve" the monster...

To me that's a good thing, not a bad thing. Trolls, gorgons, skeletons, rust monsters, these all have a "you have to solve the monster" element that has become iconic to the individual monsters. Pros can happily sit down with a newbie and say, "Yeah, I brought a mace along. You need to use that on these guys... watch and learn kid".

Anyway, this is a cool monster. It gets my vote.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

I vote for this monster, the only think I do not like are the DC of noxius vapor and volatile demise.

I mean why a monster would want to improve the DC of an ability that only trigger when it dies, improving survivality would be a better idea.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

I like new plant monsters. Monster plants are something the PCs don't get to fight very often. And while I like the flavor of this, there are two really big sticking points with me.

1 - Fire immunity. Heck, even if it were fire resistance, it makes me groan, because this is a plant. I hate plant enemies that are resistant to fire, because that's counter-intuitive to what plants are. That's where people get fuel, burning plants - and it's one of everyone's favorite damage types.

2 - that volatile demise really feels overpowered. It's way more damage and way stronger than what the PCs would do, and unless the PCs know about it, they're going to get caught by it. And the first time they do meet this monster, it seems likely to kill at least one of them with it, like a rogue who gets in a good hit, and then can't make this abnormally high save. Or an animal companion or something.

There was a discussion last year about not making a monster more difficult after it dies, and this one hits that flaw too - but on the other hand there's a lot of good here too. Hmm.


I'm normally 'meh' when it comes to plant monsters, but I quite like these. I'd drop the fire immunity and give them a resistance to fire. What could be even more interesting if these had sort of a suicidal guerrilla fighting style tactic as a means to fend off and/or preserve something else more vital to them.

I also appreciate the fact that simply by reading the name of the creature, I'm getting what I'm expecting from it.

I also see the triffid resemblance that Caedwyr pointed out and this would fit well in a wasteland / post-apocalyptic type setting too.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Do as I say, not as I do? I know you've got an article talking about why absolutes are problematic when designing things, but that doesn't seem to have stopped Paizo from adding a large number of absolutes (whether they are elemental immunities or other types of absolutes). I'm not sure if it is fair to ding the contestant for following Paizo's lead in this area.
Every monster that crosses my desk is a monster that I scrutinize for absolute immunity to an energy type. And unless the monster has a really good reason for having immunity, I change it to a numerical resistance.

That's good to hear. I thought you made some well reasoned arguments in your Fewer Absolutes articles, and one thing I've been disappointed with in published Paizo products is the amount of Absolutes that still get published. Whether it is a spell giving an auto-success/auto-fail at something that normally requires a skill check with a DC to the hordes of cold/fire/poison immune creatures that have no real reason to be completely immune.

It's good to hear that there's someone at Paizo fighting to reduce the amount of absolutes (even if it appears you haven't made any significant impact over previous versions of the game).


I really this. My favorite part, actually, is linking it's Volatile Demise with the spread of its seeds. That, combined with the association with goblins is pretty nifty. I do agree with the judges who say that the damage potential is too high for that particular ability but this was definitely an interesting monster all around.

Star Voter Season 6

I really like this monster. As a large, solo monster, my criteria for CR7s is would I throw this at my level 4-5 party as the boss. I really like that you teamed it up with goblins for that reason. I can send lvl 5 players through a goblin dungeon, have a bnch of reasonably class leveled goblins at 3, a few lvl 5s, and then finish it off with this for a solid progression. I can team this guy up with some suicidal low level goblins, and even have it hit them with friendly fire in the fight. :) It extends the levels I can use the little buggers while keeping things reasonable.

As written, I would, with some reservations on using it though.

Noxious Vapour is a little too dehabilitating. I would reduce the durration to nausiated for 1 round and sickened for 1d4. It still screws up with the PC's action ecconomy, but doesn't take players out of the fight. The -2 from sickened will boost its low AC of 18.

I like Volitile Demise as a 10d6 ability. I would reduce the DC though. As a death attack, its not like it is targetted and so I feel Ability Focus is uncalled for. Its not like it ever got to practice it :)

Dark Archive

It might never got to practice it but hey how do you think they escaped, it a way the plants try to preserve their mos treasured thing they have which is their freedom and why they are so hard to handle in the first place.

I would reduce to Fire resistance 10 and make it a I will charge against the players and let it all burn until I can take it no more and go BOOM!.

Fire resistance 10 means low dice rolls for the damage will do barely to no damage while high rolls will still do a small amount that build up for the BIG KA-BOOM! That is my idea of why I would modify the FR to 10 instead of 20.

Noxius vapor I would just make it once per round and leave the rest of the things as is. Since its the defense against melee attackers.

Now this monster is for ranged guys to pick out while melee buys beg to their gods that they can runaway before it dies (fun part is many players will never now what hit them MUEHEHEHEHEHEHEH) I will drop this on my players the moment they reach level 5-6 just to see what they do.


Neil Spicer wrote:
Additionally, monsters should be built around the non-standard array for their ability scores (i.e., 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10) before applying racial adjustments. These adjustments should always come in even-numbered increments (i.e., +2, +4, +6, etc.). That means for a basic monster design, you should end up with three odd-numbered ability score values and three even-numbered ability score values.

I keep wondering about this, because it comes up for every contestant's entry. If you start with 11,11,11,10,10,10, and then add even-numbered racial adjustements -- and then add +1 to a stat at 4 HD, and another +1 at 8 HD, etc. -- then while it's certainly possible to have a 10 HD entry with 3 even and 3 odd scores, it's equally possible to have one with 5 even and 1 odd score, or 5 odd and 1 even.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Kirth Gersen wrote:
If you start with 11,11,11,10,10,10, and then add even-numbered racial adjustements -- and then add +1 to a stat at 4 HD, and another +1 at 8 HD, etc. -- then while it's certainly possible to have a 10 HD entry with 3 even and 3 odd scores, it's equally possible to have one with 5 even and 1 odd score, or 5 odd and 1 even.

Actually, no. Not in base monster design. You don't add +1 to a stat at 4 HD, 8 HD, etc. unless you're advancing an existing monster's Hit Dice. Then, you take it up a notch. I'm not privy to the exact particulars why myself. But, I imagine it has to do with maintaining the creature's CR balance in relation to other creatures with similarly advanced Hit Dice. In other words, those extra +1's at 4 HD, 8 HD, etc. during monster advancement are helping it catch up with the other base monsters designed at that higher CR.

Hope that makes sense,
--Neil


Neil Spicer wrote:
Hope that makes sense

Neil --

Thanks for the quick reply! In a way, it does make sense. I guess I'd have to look at Paizo's design rationale in more detail than they provide in the Bestiary; what you say fits nicely if the process works by looking at total attributes by CR, with HD also incorporated into the same step of the rubric -- but not so well if it works by comparing to the base set of stats and adding up the racial mods alone, and then figuring HD as a separate adjustment. In either case, I appreciate the response.
--Erik


Adam Donald wrote:
Pyreblooms can excrete and hurl sticky globules of the unstable fluids contained in its blossom.

Never mind the discrepancy in ability score numbers -- this particular entry eschews number agreement even in the dscriptive text! Please, Mr. Donald, use "A pyrebloom," or "their blossoms."


This is a bundle of fiery fun! I love the association with goblins, and the reproduction by explosion... Given that reproductive strategy, I'm not a fan of the fire immunity, agree it should be resistance. I imagine these guys would self-immolate upon reaching a certain age.

That's a quibble though, I like this monster a lot.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hello again, welcome in round 3 and congratulations on making it this far. I'm sorry I didn't get by your organization last round; I walked into my winter disease period.

Now, round 3 is for monsters, so let’s have a look at the beastie:
I'll be trying for thorough this round, as those who make it on will have an increasing chance of writing a supplement, which I'll likely have an interest in buying. Therefore both to help me and help you, I'll do my best and fiercest to give constructive critique here.
1) Rules (I want to be reassured that you have your attention to detail and sharpness for rules along here, especially since the organization round tested little on this spot): Oh dear, another kill it = you die ability. I hate those. I want to reward my players for being successful, not punish them. This kind of ability seems spiteful to me, and I frequently consciously nerf their damage into literally nothing or at least significantly less than they used to be. Additionally, this is a blasted plant. Plants. Don't. Explode. Well, my parents are both bilogists/botanists, and trust me, plants don't explode. It's just not really logical. They don't actually have any blood-circulation or such, that can stop and trigger the explosion. An explosion doesn't coem out of thin nowhere. Sorry, I'm in my logical corner. I want a reason, and I'm not getting it. Liquids that are this volatile should, reasonably be triggered all the time. Nothing about a plant *dying* really changes how volatile the flower is. Mark me confused. That said, there's a number of problems here and while my inner mean side GM wants to unleash this on my players, this monster worries me too much that I'm likely to so. Unless I want someone dead, real bad. Some of the abilities are really neat, but they are not really making the insecurities up to me.
Rating: 2/5 - too many problems, too little logic and way too much damage sneaking in between those two.

2) Innovation (I want to (again) see promises of an adventure I couldn’t just think up myself, I want to see great and new thoughts, thoughts that seize my attention and holds it): An alchemical fireflower. It's new, I think. Haven't seen it before. I very much like the alchemist use, I very much don't like the idea of a plant having "habits". Even a magically intelligent plant is and does things because of its survival. That has nothing to do with "habits".
Rating: 4/5 - Smart use of alchemist powers and a novel design space lets me excuse you too intelligent (I want reasons!) plant.

3) Creativity (Alike innovation, I want something that isn’t just new, it’s the good kind of new, and awesome at that): Hmm, I sense creativity here, there's a lot ideas that could work. Forgive me if I steal the concept and rewrite it. I need something to punish a player for making an industrial revolution on a cursed island. I have an urge to make this useful, and that means it's working for me.
Rating: 4/5 - You're not getting 5, because I could have wanted more. I still feel a need to to completely rewrite the thing to use it. But. I do want to use it.

4) Writing (I’m a nitpicker for good writing, and I want to see it. This isn’t the most writing intensive round, but that just means I’ll be looking for wasted words, that I really get nothing from, and checking the bits that are ever more carefully): Oh dear. The grammar monster is VERY unhappy. Subject/verb incongruence, plant "legs" clicking, plants with "habits", sap being coaxed. Your choice of words makes the grammar/linguistics monster inside very, very upset. And here it was about to find sleep. "Pyreblooms resembles a squat, uprooted flower" AAAAAAA... the pain. "A pyrebloom resembles a squat, uprooted flower" or "Pyreblooms resemble squat, uprooted flowers". Also, why do they "resemble"? If they "resemble" this, then what ARE they? My point is, your writing makes me, as a non-native English speaker, quiver with instinctive pain. I almost hope this is a draft, because if this is your reviewed writing, then this is enough that I probably can't read a full page of text you've written without crying.
Rating: 1/5 - Either do send in drafts, or seriously, very much, take writing courses and grammar courses and do rewrites, and multiple of them. And turn on the spelling/grammar-checker. It's not poisonous, and it would catch at least some of this.

5) Golarion (Most monsters can be fitted into my campaigns, but as I mostly run Golarion, I have a keen interest in monster fitting seamlessly with the rest of the world, without expansive details for why they do so): Nex, huh? You could have just said alchemists, there's loads of other countries more famous for alchemy, but okay, this strikes me more as magic experiment mishap, than alchemy, to be honest. it's not bad, it's just not really good either. I like that you let it spread. Else the threat would have been long ago exterminated, I think. Good logic there.
Rating: 3/5 - Good enough, but no more than good enough.

6) CR appropriate (I don’t want a monster pretending to be CR 7, when it’s just not fitting for what my players can reasonably handle at any level near 7, or opposite, won’t represent a challenge even to a level 5 group): Hmm, probably overpowered in most cages, though I don't worry too much over it. I think you wanted a lower CR or higher CR, and sort of misadjusted for this one. It doesn't really matter, that much, to me. I'm not using them as written, anyway.
Rating: 2/5 - Fairly sure this is off, not sure it's critically off.

7) Previous work (I’m not just looking for monsters, I’m also looking back at the former rounds, especially since they may well be tie-breakers for my votes, but also because one single round doesn’t show all anyone has to bring): I sort of liked your flask, but your organization was a disappointment to me. This has the same creative as your flask, but I feel worried about mechanics, and super-worried avout language. Generally your writing looks better in the other instances, but I think it's something to pay attention to.
Rating: 3/5 - I liked the flask, and your organization could have worked, though I didn't much like it.

8) Promise for Adventure (I want to, as a potential buyer, contemplate how likely I am to buy an adventure written by you – based on your previous RPG Superstar work, your monster and my impression on how well you’ll do with an adventure): Not entirely sure here. I could like an adventure you could write, but it depends on a lot of improvement on your side. I see creative potential, and I like that, but I don't know if it's enough.
Rating: 3/5 - I'm just unsure here. I guess it depends on how you develop in the coming rounds.

9) Personal Rating (Sometimes, at the end of it all, there’s things I just like, even if there’s other things that might be better for multiple reasons – now I don’t want to tell you I don’t like something, but I do want to, positively, say that I like a particular piece of work a lot): Hmm, okay I don't know. The language bothers me no end. But the idea is really rather neat. I'm split here. Mechanics and language points down, flavor, idea and creativity point up.
Rating: 3/5 - There both goods and bads, placing you with an inbetween rating from my personal feelings.

10) Overall (This is where I try to give my opinion on what to improve on, how I feel about your submission in general, and finally, the thing you really want to hear, if you’re getting a vote or not): Wauw, I thought I'd dislike this more, but I like the name and the idea. I'm concerned by other points.
Rating: 3/5 - You get a low end 3 on average rating. That means likely no vote, though I'm not decided yet.

Congratulations on top 16, good luck on your road to top 8!

Dark Archive

This is the first one that grabbed me, and would be a solid CR 7 if you would have toned down the CR for both the nausea and the death throes and the death throes damage. Maybe the death throes should be 1d6 points of damage per daily bomb not used by the creature that day; so, say at the end of the encounter if the thing's used 5 bombs then the death throes are 5d6, but should still be no higher than CR 17.

Nauseated is an awful condition that may not be easy to get rid of at the point that most PCs fight this, and so knocking a PC out of combat (which would happen to most PCs if they failed the save against this) for 2-5 rounds with a chance to affect an area of (my math may be off but) 32 squares using 2 bombs is a bit much. Maybe a 15 foot cone instead of 15 foot radius is more balanced (again, at a DC not higher than 17).

All that said, I will more than likely be voting for you this round based on this and your previous entries, and would like to see what else you can bring to the competition.


My first impression was that the pyrebloom felt like a monster from a videogame... but I've warmed up to it (not a pyrebloom joke).

I think the entry promises fun encounters, ones the PCs will talk about afterwards. It's not so airtight that they won't discover it's weaknesses, but they will have some thinking to do.

I think that fire resistance is entirely reasonable for something that produces and lobs fire, but I will echo previous entries in saying that immunity is too much for a plant. Fire Resistance 20 would (nearly) protect it from its own attack - that should be enough.

Because there are so many monsters to choose from, three things grab my attention on a first pass - the descriptive paragraph, the illustration and the special abilities. You've provided an excellent paragraph, one that draws me right in. Your special abilities would have earned the pyrebloom a bookmark for sure.

Thanks for the entry. Good luck in the voting!


This one is my favorite! I love how the pyrebloom came about, and can definitely see myself using this monster in a campaign. And of course, the imagery of this monster is horridly beautiful.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

I'm usually not a huge fan of plant monsters and use them sparingly in my games, but this one is unique. I love the tie in with alchemy though I can't comment on the specific Golarion lore. I'm pretty sure my gaming group would bring up a comparison to the fireball spitting piranha plants in Super Mario Brothers which I think would make for some good ooc jokes. Again, I'm voting mostly on the ideas of the monster and not the balance of the mechanics. This one is good and I voted for it.

Lantern Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Only four of the entries stood out for me as something I would use in my game. This is one of the two that were at the top of my list to use in a game. I love what you did with the alchemical tie-in and though a few of the qualities you chose for it would see a change for me (Fire Resistance rather than Immunity) I could see any one of my group (all GMs) using this in our games.

I'm a huge fan of imagery as well, so like Phloid said, the first thing that comes to mind for me is Super Mario. You have my vote.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Neil Spicer wrote:

...You don't add +1 to a stat at 4 HD, 8 HD, etc. unless you're advancing an existing monster's Hit Dice...

Hope that makes sense,
--Neil

I have never not made this mistake before - that's really good to know.


Luthia wrote:

Hello again, welcome in round 3 and congratulations on making it this far. I'm sorry I didn't get by your organization last round; I walked into my winter disease period.

** spoiler omitted **...

I don't believe it's illogical at all. The liquid is only triggered by air. The plant itself doesn't trigger the explosion. There are chemicals that react to air or water by exploding. It makes sense that if I slice open this monster, it would explode via contact with air. In biology, anything is possible.

Also, if we're going to say plants don't explode. We can also say that lizards don't breathe fire. This is a fanatasy game. :)

Grand Lodge

I could swear that this is not an original idea. Maybe I've always had it in my head and therefore presumed it already existed?

If so, this definitely falls under the "why doesn't the game have this already" category.

Star Voter Season 6

poizen37 wrote:

I could swear that this is not an original idea. Maybe I've always had it in my head and therefore presumed it already existed?

If so, this definitely falls under the "why doesn't the game have this already" category.

I already have the mini

Dark Archive

Well I don't know if the mini makes it that much justice, it kinda looks more like something else, but it works ^^ for tabletop purposes and it is still a nice mini.

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