Witchbole Willow

Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

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Twisted into large effigies of the elves that died to stop Treerazer, these horrid willow trees wander the Tanglebriar seeking a way for their master to escape its exile.

Witchbole Willow CR 7
XP 3,200
CE Large Plant
Init -1 Senses low-light vision, Perception +9

----- Defense -----
AC 21, touch 9, flat-footed 21 ( -1 Dex, +12 natural)
hp 85 (10d8+40); fast healing 5
Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +7
Defensive Abilities camouflage DR 10/slashing Immune plant traits
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire

----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +14 (1d6+8/19-20 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7)
3/day-dimension door

----- Statistics -----
Str 26, Dex 8, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; CMB +16 (+20 to grapple); CMD 25
Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (slam), Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Perception +9, Stealth +1 (+15 in forests) Racial Modifiers +14 Stealth in forests
Languages Common, Sylvan (cannot speak)
SQ thornburst

----- Ecology -----
Environment any forest
Organization solitary or grove (2 – 7)
Treasure standard

----- Special Abilities -----
Camouflage (Ex) Since the witchbole willow appears as any other willow tree when it is still, a DC 18 Perception check is required to notice the plant before it attack. Anyone with ranks in Survival or Knowledge (nature) can use either of those skills to notice the plant.

Thornburst (Ex) Once per week the plant can emit a burst of thorns coated with a toxic sap in a 30’ radius. Any foes within the radius must make a DC 19 Fort save or suffer the exhausted condition. This ability does not affect plants.

The witchbole willow is a foul plant that uses the corrupted bones of elven heroes to stalk the lands. Sent to test the wards and guards used to prevent Treerazer’s escape from its containment, the plants roam the Tanglebriar and attack all that cross their paths. Although primarily found in the southern forests of Kyonin, the willows have begun to spread out farther afield for some purpose.

As the living fortress shambles through the forest, the bones of long dead elves rain down to the forest carpet. These bones, steeped in the foul influence of Treerazer and the dead elves’ own link to the Sovyrian Stone, draw the trees around them, greatly accelerating the growth of the foliage. Within a week, a faintly humanoid, albeit large, shape can be discerned. Within two weeks, the willow begins to move and looks like a horribly warped effigy of an elf.

Most troublesome to the warders of Kyonin is the witchbole willow’s ability to dimension door, giving Treerazer a possible mechanism for escape from the elves' cordon. This ability seems to tie to the elves’ affinity with the ancient artifact that allowed the elves passage to their mysterious retreat Sovyrian.

While the plants neither care for nor collect treasure, the bones that make up their dark cores are the remains of the some of the elves’ mightiest champions during the terrible times of Treerazer’s rampage. The bones themselves are valuable to certain alchemists and crafters on the black market, though possession of them for any other purpose than delivering them to a temple for purification carries heavy civil penalties. There is also a chance some bit of treasure is embedded deep in the bole of the tree. When determining treasure, roll normally. Any results other than magic items or treasure that would typically be worn (such as jewelry) is the approximate reward for returning the bones to a temple or government agency.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hey, Russell...welcome to Round 3. This carousel doesn't end until you either fall out of the competition or win the whole thing. You've got a pretty good head of steam coming into the round off the popularity of your gun-toting gnoll biker gang homage. So, let's see what you've given us this time around.

Wall of Text:


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:
The core idea is pretty cool here...i.e., the notion of dead elves twisted into sentient, demon-allied plant creatures which now serve the demon they once opposed. The Golarion historical references support all of it. And I can appreciate the inherent creativity behind that, even though I have some reservations, as well (see below).

The dimension door SLA is a nice (if unexpected) touch. When's the last time you saw a plant moving about the battlefield in that manner?

The selection of abilities for this creature all synergize for a plant-based monster: fast healing, camouflage, DR 10/slashing, vulnerabilitiy to fire, slam attacks, grab, etc. Well done here on finding all the right things to fit your theme.

The read-aloud, descriptive text isn't really a description as much as a summary of the creature's background and I think that's a misstep. Each piece of a design needs to play its role in a writeup. So this kind of information should have appeared in the body text and the read-aloud stuff should have focused on merely describing how the creature appears when someone encounters it.

At times, I felt like this entry spent more time talking about matters in Kyonin and Treerazer (both historical and current happenings) than the actual witchbole willow and its abilities as a new monster. I think maybe you lost sight of the goal a bit in your eagerness to create something new playing off that material from the campaign setting.

I really didn't care at all for the treasure explanation contained in these witchbole willows. If you'd just limited it to jewelry and worn items only, I'd have been fine with it. But, to interpret everything else as the "approximate reward for returning the bones to a temple or government agency" is just lazy handwaving. That was a really weak note to end the submission on.

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. I ran into a few things that seemed off to me. You might want to go back and double-check the following:

- Your AC bonus breakdown is missing the size modifier for a Large creature. That should bring it down to AC 20.

- Your Reflex and Will saving throws seem off to me. I came up with +2 and +5, respectively.

- The witchbole willows attacks came out as +15 slams rather than +14. Should be +7 BAB, +8 Str, +1 Weapon Focus, -1 size. That puts it a bit higher than what a CR 7 creature should have. It's okay to go a little further than the average as long as you're compensating with a reduction in some other area. Unfortunately, I didn't perceive any drop-off's anywhere.

- Your ability scores don't appear to have used the 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10 non-standard array. I'm guessing you went by the Monster Creation rules in the Bestiary and got swayed by the guidelines for average ability scores. The actual Monster Introduction, however, indicates that ability scores are always based off scores of 11 or 10. This goes back to the days of 3.5 rules and Pathfinder honors that by incorporating the same restrictions into its monster designs. Essentially, you should always have three odd-numbered ability scores and three even-numbered ones. After that, racial adjustments are provided in even-numbered increments (i.e., +2, +4, +6, etc.).

- I couldn't get the skill points to line up. Even with an Int 8, it still gets a minimum of 1 skill point per Hit Die. So, you had 10 to spend. I'm guessing maybe you got crossed up with the Alertness and Skill Focus bonuses being applied to Perception. Additionally, because Alertness also grants a bonus on Sense Motive checks, you needed to include that skill in your listing.

- The thornburst ability reads like it's a toxic poison-based effect, but provides no usual poison stat-block line. Instead, you've interpreted it as a simple DC 19 Fort save or become exhausted. I'd have rather seen this done up as an actual poison with an unusual demonic taint specific to Treerazer's influence. Additionally, the DC for thornburst is a bit advanced for a CR 7 creature. A DC 19 is more in line with a CR 10 monster.

Several missteps in the template. There are proofreading problems like..."it attack" and "the remains of the some of the elves’ mightiest champions." And you've gone with "30' radius" instead of "30-ft. radius." You also need to lowercase the creature's type. Should be "Large plant" not "Large Plant." And your AC bonus breakdown has an extra space in there and you're missing the size penalty entirely. You also need semicolons to break up the listings of Defensive Abilities, DR, and Immune. Your spell-like abilities need to indicate a CL 7th and you forgot to include the concentration stat for it. Your thornburst ability should be listed as a Special Attack rather than a Special Quality. And so on.

Bottom Line:
I really like the core concept of this design. Undead elves whose bones have been pulled into a massive plant creature subservient to the elf-hating demon Treerazer is some awesome mojo. Unfortunately, I think you've got some significant flaws in both your mechanical skills, the proper use and presentation of the template, and your writing/proofreading. You still need 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 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 chimaeric mantle. I thought it demonstrated a fair amount of innovation, but it too had some mechanical shortfalls. I also liked your organization with the Foulgrip Rangers. You really have the ability to tap into some creative ideas, but I don't feel like you're quite up to speed yet on the technical aspects of game design. With the competition tightening at this point, you can't afford to take your foot off the gas. But you also need to demonstrate growth in these areas of perceived weakness. Best of luck in the voting.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Russell, 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: Nasty thorn plants that are actually corrupted elves! Now you’re talking…

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A-
Really fun and playable. Easily fits core conflicts in nearly any Golarion campaign. You could drop these on the table without problem and they would make for fun encounters. These are the kind of monsters that make you dream up adventures and encounters just to include them.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): A-
I appreciate Neil’s comments, but I am not that worried about them. Those are edits and are things that are fixed by the spreadsheet you’d get as a freelancer. I concede that a superstar gets them right, but not getting them perfect is not the same as not getting them right. You did a good job, you just have some cleaning up to do. Plus, I wanted a tad bit less history less and more monster description. However, what is there is great. And d-door, come on that is a great power! Finally, a truly Golarion-specific monster. Love the idea of the corrupted elves. Coolness. While I’m nitpicking, I guess I don’t like 1/week for thornburst. Just make it 1/day. Really, how many times are you going to encounter the same willow in a week? Exactly. So 1/day is enough. I also have to admit, I was dying for the third ability on these guys. Some of that last paragraph could have been cut and the monster given a cool other ability. I thought it needed another SA. That said, this is proof you don’t have to go gonzo to be good. Solid CR 7 monster.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A-
You had me at “bones of corrupted elves.” Nice.

Overall: A-
Not the best of the round, but these trees are a good, solid Golarion monster. Well done!

Recommendation: I DO RECOMMEND voters consider this monster to advance to the Top 8.

Your mantle rocked and the Foulgrip Rangers were also great. This entry was solid, if not as spectacular as your first two. But I won’t accuse you of playing it safe because I don’t think that was what you were doing.

The competition is tight! You have done a great job and I wish you the best of luck!


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.

Lotsa plant submissions this year! :)

Your italics intro text could be written more clearly, bringing the subject to the front of the sentence. You should also avoid having references to specific world locations in this flavor text, as it's supposed to be read-aloud-friendly for the GM, who may not be using this in the Tanglebriar or even Golarion. The description doesn't really inform the reader that the monster looks like an elf-tree... at least, it wasn't obvious to me (the later description clarifies this).

The creature is a "witchbole willow" but there's nothing really witchy about it--no ties to witchy rituals, no witchlike spells or hexes. "Witch" is an evocative name, and has ties to stuff in the game, and I think naming the item with that word and not incorporating witchy stuff is a mistake.

Unless a monster really needs to be good at Sense Motive, you shouldn't give it Alertness, just give it Skill Focus (Perception). I see that you did give it Skill Focus, so giving it Alertness was away to give it another +2 to Perception. You failed to include the +2 to Sense Motive in its Skills line, which may mean you forgot about the feat's bonus to Sense Motive (bad!) or you felt the Sense Motive aspect of the feat wasn't important (also bad, and should have been a clue that Alertness was a bad choice for this monster). You could have just given it a +4 racial bonus to Perception if you wanted it to be better.

Thornburst shouldn't be once per week, it's really weird for monsters to have that limitation and it's cooler if the monster can use its ability once per day. It looks like this is supposed to be a poison effect (what with plants being immune) and if that's the case it should say so explicitly (and that takes care of the plant aspect, as they're automatically immune).

The descriptive paragraphs spend too much time talking about Treerazer and the usefulness of this monster's corpse. This needs to really sell how cool the monster is and how it uses its abilities to do cool stuff.

As it is, this monster doesn't really come off as something new. It's an animate tree with an AOE that can use dimension door. I get how that fits with the elfgates and such, and I get that it incorporates the bones of dead elves, but in terms of that this monster does, I think the monster is in a niche that's already filled ("shhh, I look like a tree... SLAM!"), and none of its abilities make me think, "oh yeah, I want to build an encounter with this!"

Plants that look like elves.

Treerazor is a pretty good bit of Golarion lore. I like seeing it brought into this submission.

Stat block checks out - at the high end of tough but not over tough.

Taking the Thornburst into account this thing is going to be a bad day for the PCs. A -6 penalty to STR and DEX means all the melee-type activities suck. Plus it requires an on-the-spot recalibration of character sheets and there will be all sorts of feedback loops and synergies as well.

That's a huge rules overhead. I'm not sure the fun payload warrants it.

A whole lot of backstory here which doesn't have much bearing on using this thing in the game.

You'd have been better off without the last paragraph. There's all sorts of logical issues with it that are going to trigger challenges.

Overall I think this is a C quality submission. Not great, not bad, just uninspired. The real flash and sizzle here is Treerazor but you didn't make that up, you're just recycling.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

The second plant monster that I might use someday with a bit of tweaking. Neat.
Ooooo, wait! Demon-tainted elf-tree?! Really, I might consider sending my party to Myth Drannor sooner than I expected! :D

A once a week ability is something I don't like. The name does not fit the monster IMHO, but then again the flumph is a classic and I hate that name.

I also noticed that these things are trying to free Treerazor, but they only have an int of 8, and a charisma of 8. They are not likely to do it, nor get anyone to help them do it.

Dark Archive

I like the idea and the flavor but my brain is not 'getting' the mechanics.

A thorn burst that causes exhaustion? Shouldn’t this be listed as a poison effect, and shouldn’t it require the thorns to do damage (and therefore actually do damage) to take effect? Does the creature have thorns as part of it’s slam attack, or gain the benefit of armor spikes, or have the use of this exhaustion poison with it’s regular attacks? Or does the rest of the write-up just assume that these thornburst thorns don't exist until fired off to deliver their exhaustion not-poison effeect? Eh. I like the idea, but would prefer if it followed through.

Thornburst seems like it belongs under special attacks, and not SQ (camouflage, on the other hand, maybe should be under SQ?).

Something 'witch-y-er' than dimension door might also help capitalize on that name. An evil eye gaze or bane aura or some sort of hex or poison fruit that it can force-feed someone it grapples (or use beguiling gift with). Even spanish moss under the effect of the prehensile hair hex could be funky!

I love the name, Witchbole Willow, I'm just not feeling it too much in the write up.

Evil Ents! Oh no...

While I would love to give Mr. V a good rough time criticizing this monster, I don't think this is that bad. Some of the mechanics are off (what? like you don't have friends to check it for you?), but overall I think the idea is steeped in lore, and can lead to some tangential adventures, like being chased by the crazy alchemist (but really, what alchemist isn't?) for the bones that the PCs now possess.

I will be voting for this

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

Hmm. Unless I'm missing something, this is at least as tied to one location at the Thunderthief. I don't personally think that's an issue, but it's worth noting.

Silver Crusade

This is a fairly interesting monster, the misleading name aside. You have my vote.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Thank you for your comments! I'll be happy to answer any questions once the polls close.

Star Voter Season 6

I really like this entry. Unfortunately, part of the reason I like this entry is because recent situations at my table have made me slightly biased against Elves. Seeing demonic mockeries of the running around in their homeland really pleases the vengeful ******* inside me >:)

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Hmmm. While I like the concept and can imagine some creeped out elf player at my table, some of the shine vanishes if one looks too closely at this monster - it doesn't add much new to the many plant/elf forest/corruption monsters I have seen and used in many years of gaming - still, I would add this to any Kyonin (or Myth Drannor) campaign with glee, so it is only fair I give you my vote.

I like the idea, but I found the monster description confusing as it is more about Treerazer than the monster.
I was wondering how the Witchbole Willow would escape the cordon, but then you gave us the dimension door, which is a cool feature meaning the monster could pop up anywhere when least expected.

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

Russel, love the imagery of this creature. Good luck in the voting!

Here's what I like:
- dead elf visages twisted together into a murderous willow tree. After Second Darkness I was rooting for Treerazor. So what's not to love?
- immediate useability. I can pick this monster and use it right away; it's like an improved shambling mound, and I know how those work. I don't have to "figure out" how to best use this creature.
- I have a fondness for twisted plant creatures and generally think we need more of them in the game.

Here's what I don't like:
- I don't see the point of x/week mechanics, particularly an attack power like Thornburst.
- Throwaway feats (alertness and skill focus). Give it a racial bonus to perception and use these feats to better define the creature's strengths.
- nonstandard racial bonus (+14 to stealth in forests). I feel that racial bonuses typically come in the +2, +4, or +8 variety. Not sure how you derived a +14 number except that it nicely rounds the stealth score to +15. Just feels odd.
- this creature seems like it wants to be a little more vampiric than it is. Right now it's kind of a basic 2-claw grapple monster. The thornburst power is handy but as a whole this monster doesn't have that really sinister ability that would elevate it beyond the level of one of Treerazor's grunts.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

I haven't shared my opinion much in the Superstar contest, but I want to this round.

This isn't a bad monster. I could see it in a Bestiary, but ... it just doesn't strike me as superstar quality. You've got some minor mechanical mistakes, AC is missing the Size modifier, thornburst is a special attack and not a SQ, but the monster really falls short in it special abilities. You've got 2. First would be better expressed as a racial modifier to a skill, at least IMO. The second is a burst that makes people exhausted and it can be used 1/week. Eh. Boring. I'm not wowed.

Like I said, I could easily see this in a Bestiary. But as a publisher, that would be on my "if we don't have enough room, cut this monster" list.

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? Maybe. Its flavor is very closely tied to Golarion elements, however.

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Not really. At the end of the day, it's an evil treant with a burst attack and dimension door.

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? Well... it looks like a tree. So, neither. But that's kind of the point, I guess.

Additional Thoughts: You brought the Golarion-fu in your description, but mechanically there just isn't much here for me to get excited about.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Of the three plants submitted this round, you place second for both flavor and mechanics, neither super exciting nor super fun to play with. It's just an evil tree, and those are already about half of the existing plant monsters, which is very uninspired.

I also have to say I basically hate the in-built plot hook of having to return bones for reward with this monster.

I would have much preferred a tree-stride-like ability instead of dimension door. Or, a more monster-specific ability, where the bones/spirit of the elf actually move from one tree to another, potentially regenerating hp in the process. It feels a lot like a tacked on ability where there could have been something sooo much more cool.

I'm on the fence as to voting for you.

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

It's not a good sign when you present me with a demon-tainted skeletal tree and I think, "oh, how dull". Although the flavor is there, mechanically the witchbole willow doesn't bring anything particularly new to the table. Its one special ability is thornburst, which doesn't work as advertised. If it's thorns, shouldn't there be some piercing damage involved? If it's a poison effect, plants are already immune! I would have loved to see something witchier to bring a new element to the table.

The lack of descriptive text until the third paragraph of flavor-text really irked me. That's what the italics above the stat-block are for. Speaking of the statblock, the saving throws are rather a bit off. Did this have Iron Will and Lightning Reflexes at some point in development?

Also, as far as the flavor-text goes, Treerazer's minions are mostly demons, who have greater teleport at will. I imagine that the elven blockade accounts for teleportation effects pretty handily.

This monster isn't bad, exactly, but it's kind of boring. And boring isn't Superstar. You will not be getting one of my votes. Best of luck!

I think I kinda like this one. Rich in description and history, I could see an encounter with one of these leading into something bigger. You have my vote. :)

It looks like a willow tree. But it has a toxic thornburst. Willows don't have thorns. Where do the thorns come from? And how do we reconcile the toxic thorn aspect of the monster with the more necromantic feeling with the elf bones and effigy? I'd like it much better as either a toxic thorn tree, or a necro flavored creepy willow tree, which is what you're selling with the name. They don't play well together in my mind.

Also, the monster is _extremely_ tied into the campaign setting. Enough so I am told how the treasure has to work. Explaining where the critter fits into Golarion is good up to a point, but what if I want to drop it into a totally different world? I'll have problems to solve and decisions to make, and I'm not sure I'm excited enough to want to.

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

I'm not a fan of this monster, but this round's assignment was specifically to create a monster for Golarion, so if it's a Golarion Golaria of Golariness, I can't hold that against it. That was part of the job.

Clouds Without Water, you have a good point there. I'm not likely to use it, partly because of its specificity, but that shouldn't be held against it. I'm selfish, but not that selfish. :-) Still not a big fan.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

I am a big fan of your Organisation which I think rocked.

Your monster starts quite good, it's name got my eye immediately and it's backstory is quite engrossing.

I would have liked that you expanded on that.

The witchbole willow is a foul plant that uses the corrupted bones of elven heroes to stalk the lands.

Nice! But where does this descrption comes into the mechanics? The willow doesn't use the remains to conjure up ghostly images of fallen elven heroes or something (which would be very witchy indeed). It even looks like a normal willow when standing still but looks like elves when moving?!

I am on the fence with the monster but you still get my vote becausethe monster is not bad and your organisation rocked.

BUT if you make it to next round you should try to match your imagination closer to the mechanics.

Lantern Lodge Star Voter Season 6

This is the second of my top two - the other being the Pyrebloom. Ironic that both should be plants. Anyways, I have very few negative things to say about your entry. Sure, it could have been more witchy what with 'Witch' in the name, but that can be waived by any GM with the addition of a hex or two.

I love how you tied this in with Kyonin and when I close my eyes I can see myself in the depths of the dark forests feeling the trees closing in around me. That state of paranoia is what I want my PCs to feel and, if your entry does it with me, I have no doubt it would do it with them as well.

My vote for you is cast. Good luck.

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

Another plant monster and this one is not very unique. Sure it has a deep Golarion back story, and I know the object was to create a "Golarion" monster, but not everyone plays in the campaign setting. I think when designing for this contest you have to take that into consideration as all kinds of players will be voting for you (or not voting for you). Yes, tie it into the campaign setting, but leave room for someone to envision it in their own game world. This one just hangs its hat on a cool Golarion tie in that players who are unfamiliar just won't get. Other than the backstory, the monster is just boring and I can't vote for it.

As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest most..so lets see..
Nice concept, and really tied into the game world.
I like the basic concept of the monster, but it needs more magic to really live up to the name.Over all it is a solid monster that is less flashy then some, but has a well thought out history. The thornburst would be better served as a every 1d4 rounds, or x times per day.
In the end..I would use these in my home game in a heart beat, as tough minions! I have not decided on my votes yet, but this is a strong entry.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Read aloud text should be a physical description. No one seeing this thing for the first time knows or cares about its motivation.

Improved Crit should be a bonus feat if you wanted it badly enough. IC has a +8 BAB pre-requisite.

Camouflage would be better represented here as simply a racial bonus to Stealth in wooded areas.

Thornburst should be a poison, or include the description that creatures immune to poison are immune to its effect.

I think the Treerazer story is cool, and makes your creature uniquely Pathfinder/Golarion, maybe more than any other entry. But the real meat of this ting is derivative. You have not really created anything original on your own. In light of the laru or the alchemist tree, your entry sems uninspired.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Hey all, thanks for your comments! I've already begun re-writing some of the sentences based on your good advice.

Witchbole Willow name... this name was chosen as the tie-in to Treerazer's prison, named Witchbole. The trees only spawned from the corrupted bones of the elves that fell in the wake of the massive stalking fortress.

Thornburst 1/week... thanks all for pointing this out... ouch!

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on top 8. I liked this quite a bit and you got a vote for it. Good choice of theme/location in Golarion. You have very good ties there. Think you have most of the relevant critique by now, so I'll just leave it with a:

Best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka Ottovar

Thanks for your vote and your well wishes!

I loved your entry last round a lot based on the visuals. Didn't like this one nearly so much, mainly because I played on willow trees a lot as a kid and I just can't picture one with toxic thorns. So I guess my advice is: for creative types like me imagery can make or break a concept. :-) I bet you came up with something fantastic for the upcoming round and I can't wait to see it.

Russell Vaneekhoven wrote:

Twisted into large effigies of the elves that died to stop Treerazer, these horrid willow trees wander the Tanglebriar seeking a way for their master to escape its exile.

Witchbole Willow CR 7


You should know the drill by now, but in case you (somehow) missed it so far, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus:
Fairness means both the mortals falling off the plank into the lava at the same time, balance is an essential feature in a good diet (let’s not look too closely at the use of the word ‘good’ in that context), and logic means that it’s never the succubus at fault – always the incompetent idiot of a second-rate hairdresser who is incapable of living up to a succubus’ expectations. Oh: And always remember it’s a succubus’ privilege to change her mind without any warning…

Maths is Important. How many points is the name worth, and does it successfully ‘Scrabble’ around for extra points?
Thirty-one points, but I'll give you a double-letter on the 'b' for final total of 34 points.

Would a specimen of this creature look good on the cream and scarlet paisley pattern sofa I have in my Druman villa?
Alas, a plant this size would snap the sofa in question, so it would definitely not look good.

What place does this have at a dinner party?
It wouldn't, unless it were an outdoors dinner party, in which latter case, one could be festooned with tasteful coloured lanterns if it could be induced to stay in one place for the duration of the meal.

Other comments?
Whilst trees which look like warped elves may look normal and blend in perfectly in some corners of the Abyss, I'm reasonably certain that unless these trees have some unspecified mind-control power, anyone with any sense seeing one on a material world is going to realise it's something horribly out of place, whether it's moving or not.

If this creature were a crime, what sort of crime would it be (expressed in the time honoured culprit/implement/location format)?
Geoff the paladin of Iomedae, with the lead piping, in the garden shed. Probably several times.

Ask A RPGSupersuccubus – turning hope to ruin, victory to despair, and asking the important questions which really matter since whenever.

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