Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

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

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This hairless pony-sized quadruped is covered with an immaculate pelt of glossy black flesh. Its vaguely canine head is dominated by a pair of shimmering blue eyes and an over-sized mouth with three rows of jagged silvery teeth.
Slaughterhound CR 7
XP 3,200
CE Large magical beast
Init +7; Senses arcane sight, darkvision 120 ft., scent; Perception +15
----- Defense -----
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+3 Dex, +6 natural, -1 size)
hp 86 (9d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +8, Will +6
Defensive Abilities ferocity; DR 10/magic; Resist cold and fire 10; SR 18
----- Offense -----
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +15 (2d6+5 plus trip)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks maw of the void
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
Constant—arcane sight
At Will—entropic shield, feather fall, invisibility, mage hand, spider climb
3/day—dimension door (self only), dispel magic, slow (DC 17)
1/day—teleport (self only)
----- Statistics -----
Str 20, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 18
Base Atk +9; CMB +15; CMD 28 (32 vs. Trip)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +12 (+16 jump), Climb +9, Intimidate +12, Perception +15, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +10 (+18 underground), Survival +6 (+10 scent tracking); Racial Modifiers +4 Intimidate and Perception, +8 Stealth when underground
Languages Aklo, Thassilonian, Undercommon
SQ spell distortion
----- Ecology -----
Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair, or pack (3-12)
Treasure standard
----- Special Abilities -----
Maw of the Void (Su) A slaughterhound’s bite is infused with the obliterating power of the void, and is considered adamantine for the purpose of damaging objects and overcoming damage resistance. Additionally, if a slaughterhound confirms a critical hit with its bite the victim suffers an additional 6d6 points of damage. A successful DC 19 Fortitude save reduces this damage to 3d6. Creatures reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by this damage are disintegrated. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Spell Distortion (Su) A slaughterhound’s hide contains particles of reality-warping material that react violently when targeted by magic. When a spell directly targets a slaughterhound and fails to overcome the slaughterhound’s spell resistance, the spell-caster must make a DC 19 Fortitude save or become stunned for 1d4 rounds due to the magical backlash. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Slaughterhounds were created in ancient Bakrakhan, the Thassilonian realm of wrath, by a combination of potent rune magic and breeding techniques and bio-technology obtained from the alien mi-go. Sometimes called wrathhounds, they were one of Bakrakhan’s earliest attempts to harness the power of a runewell to engineer a race of warrior-thralls -- a practice that culminated centuries later with the creation of the sinspawn. Used in Bakrakhan’s wars with neighboring Shalast, slaughterhounds are highly intelligent and possess an array of abilities designed to help them hunt down and kill enemy spell-casters. Slaughterhounds do not eat or drink, but instead derive sustenance from the energy released when they destroy organic material with their disintegrating bite. Slaughterhounds are nine feet long, stand five feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh 500 pounds.

Millennia after Thassilon’s fall, slaughterhounds have evolved into nomadic pack hunters who roam the caverns, vaults, and passageways of the Darklands below Avistan and Garund in constant pursuit of sentient quarry. Though most slaughterhounds regard all intelligent life as prey, a few ambitious slaughterhound packs are employed as mercenaries for various evil Darklands races. Slaughterhounds are mainly found in the Darklands layer of Nar-Voth, though rumors persist of a great nomadic slaughterhound nation that wanders the lightless plains of one of the deepest vaults of Orv.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hey, Tom...welcome to Round 3. This carousel doesn't end until you either fall out of the competition or win the whole thing. Your stuff has been pretty darn strong so far. So, let's see what you've got for us now.

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:
I really love the Runelord tie-in. That's a really smart design choice for the purposes of RPG Superstar, because you know most of your audience recognizes what the Runelords entail and they've already got a built-in image upon which to insert your monster idea. To me, that's not just creative, but a smart way to approach the competition, too.

Good lead-off, read-aloud description. Evocative. Well-written.

I like the inclusion of the ferocity ability in a creature meant to serve the Runelord of Wrath.

I love the arcane sight ability for these hounds. They're like mage-trackers and I would have liked to see you play up that element in their reason for existing.

The creature's name fits. Anything invested with the sin of wrath is bound to be engaging in slaughter. Well done.

In terms of its spell-like abilities, I would have liked to see you drop the teleport ability and just stick with dimension door. It's kind of redundant to build both of those into the creature. And multipe dimension door opportunties resonate better than a single teleport as this thing blinks around the battlefield.

The maw of the void ability is vicious. Disintegration of victims who succumb to it is nasty. There's no coming back from that. But, the notion of the servants of wrath ensuring their victims stay gone is really rather appropriate.

The spell distorition ability felt like an unnecessary power-up. The beast is already a mage's worst nightmare. I think spell resistance was sufficient (though you could have ramped it up higher than the base amount to reflect being more resistant than normal). And, that might have left you more room to give the slaughterhound an additional ability in line with its theme.

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. Oddly enough, I ran into some things that seemed off to me. You might want to go back and double-check the following:

- A magical beast typically also receives low-light vision in addition to darkvision. It seemed unusual to see that dropped from the design.

- Hit points seemed off by 1. Might be due to rounding those average dice values.

- The Reflex and Will saves should be 1 point higher. I'm showing a base value of +6 and +3, respectively, for its racial Hit Dice, then a +3 for its Dex mod, a +2 for its Wis mod, and +2 for Iron Will.

- When listing out the creature's resistances, it should be "Resist cold 10, fire 10"...

- I'm showing the bite attack should be at +14. I think maybe you forgot the -1 size modifier for being Large? Additionally, creatures that only have a single bite attack, typically get 1.5 times their Str mod. So, damage should probably be 1d8+7...which is a bit low for a CR 7 creature. It needs to generate around 22-30 points of damage per round. I think you could have ramped this up a bit. But, maybe you traded off some of that melee capability with the other special attacks...i.e., trip, maw of the void, etc.

- Looks like you went with something other than the non-standard array for ability scores. I'm guessing you used all 10's based on the wording for the monster creation rules in the Bestiary. It doesn't do a very clear job there, since it's talking in terms of general guidelines on referencing what an average creature's ability scores should look like at a particular CR. The introduction to monsters in the Bestiary, however, does have an entry discussing ability scores where it tells you: "Unless otherwise indicated, a creature's ability scores represent the baseline of its racial modifiers applied to scores of 10 or 11." And, if you check any other monster entry in the Bestiary (or trace back the roots of this design rule to 3.5), you'll find they always use the non-standard array of 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10.

- I'm showing one unspent feat for this beast.

- Looks like the skill points might be off by 1. I couldn't replicate everything as listed above. My Acrobatics came out as +12 (+20 when jumping) and only had 3 ranks left over for Survival, putting it at +5.

- The DCs for your spell distortion and maw of the void abilities might be a point too high. Should be 10 + 1/2 the creature's Hit Dice + Cha, I'm showing 10 + 4 (rounded down from 4.5) + 4. Even if you set aside the math considerations, a CR 7 creature should have a baseline DC 17 for a primary power and you've given it DC 19, which is more in line with CR 10. If you'd offset that by scaling back on its martial prowess or something, that could have been okay. But, with a +14 attack, you're ahead of a CR 7 creature's baseline of +13, too.

- Lastly, your maw of the void ability grants a save to reduce critical hit damage. That seems weird to me. There are weapon properties like shocking burst, etc. that can add to critical hit damage, but I don't think I've come across anything where someone gets a chance to lower critical hit damage with a saving throw. So, from a mechanical standpoint, I'd favor doing away with that. Maybe just give the creature an extra bit of damage on a critical hit with its maw of the void ability. The bonus damage and disintegration effect would then function more in line with what weapon properties do. And, again, for a magical beast created by the Runelord of Wrath, that seems very in keeping with the design theme.

Pretty good here. Followed the template pretty accurately. Some small missteps here or there, but nothing too egregious. You needed to lowercase "trip" in its CMD listing...and some other very minor things like that. I actually appreciate the attention-to-detail in trying to make it look as close as possible to an actual monster entry from the Bestiary. Good job.

Bottom Line:
I like the design space you selected. The game could use a few more magical beasts. I like their reason for being and the Golarion tie-in to the Runelords. I like a lot of the creativity you put into giving this monster some surprising and fun abilities. I think, mechanically, you still need a bit of work on ironing out some stuff. The spreadsheet Paizo provides to its freelancers helps catch a lot of that stuff, though, and guide you through the process of monster creation. So, it's not something I'll hold too strongly against your design.

Given all that, I DO RECOMMEND this monster to carry you through to Round 4. I'd be interested in seeing what kind of encounter you can cook up for us.

In addition, your feywhisper crown and organization for the Sisters of Chana-Zhol have consistently demonstrated some really good design mojo. I think your experience as a three-time competitor in RPG Superstar is paying off for you. This time, I think you're destined to break that Top 16 barrier and reach the upper design challenges of the contest. So, don't take your foot off the gas...and keep your eye on the prize. Best of luck in the voting.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Tom, 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: Well, well, well…Look who created what is possibly my favorite monster of the round. Nice work, Tom! A spell resistant death dog that disintegrates you with its bite? Sign me up!

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A+
The name is perfect. In fact, you read it and it seems like it’s a monster that should already exist right beside some of the classic monsters of all time in the game’s cannon—displacer bea…oops, cant mention that one, hell hounds, blink dogs, et cetera. This thing belongs right there with many of the classic magical beasts, it is that good.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): A-
I love d-door, but that and teleport are not needed. Look, I’m all “first edition feel,” so a bit “overpowered” never bothered me that much. But I do have to note this creature is on the high end of CR 7. I don’t think it’s over or I would ding you harder, but it took your “A” to an “A-”. That "additional 6d6, reduced to 3d6 with Fort save" is interesting. I'm going to have to find (or ask Neil to find) how many other creatures or things affect criticals in this way. That is an interesting mechanic. I want to see what this is on par with, see if it fits CR7. But that is a technical nit pick and wont stop me from loving these things.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A+
You had me at “maw of the void.” Seriously. Let me put it to you this way: these would have been included in Rappan Athuk had they existed before today. That’s how much I like them.

Overall: A
Dude, you are rocking it old school with this monster and I am ALL IN. ‘Nuff said.

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

Your crown was, in my view, one of the clear winners of the first round and the Sisters rocked the house like the Sisters of Pain with their classic REH fantasy mojo! This is EXACTLY what I wanted to see from you. I’m already giving you the unofficial “Grognard” award because this is precisely the kind of monster Bill and I would have freaked out about and immediately put in a classic Necromancer Games product. I’ve published countless old school adventures in my years as a third party publisher and when I can envision exactly what rooms in hardcover books I have already published where I would replace the existing monsters with these monsters, you have done something pretty darn good.

You are putting together a run here that reminds me of the kind of consistent excellence we have seen from prior winners. I've got my eye on you.

I wish you the best of luck!

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Its a big hairless dog that disintegrates you with its bite.

What's the difference between "hairless" and "pelt"? Look that up.

Spell Resistance packs a big wallop at CR7. The average spellcaster facing this monster will roll a number somewhere between 13 and 17 more than half the time. So a SR of 18 is a substantial obstacle to overcome - especially since those same spellcasters likely only have 1 or 2 "big spells" at that level. If they fail to overcome SR with the Fireball or Lightning Bolt, things could get dicey for the party very quickly. I think that tends to make SR18 too high for CR7.

Spell-like abilities give this thing huge punch. It d-doors into position invisibly and when hunting in a pack that also means its going to be flanking. I think these spell-like abilities all by themselves would make this encounter close to CR7, and that's before we event get to the special powers. I think that to keep the power level at the right point you need to remove these spell-like abilities.

Maw of the Void has issues. First, why are we adding a saving throw? The bite attack requires you to overcome AC, and that's effectively the "save" against this power. Second, why is a Fortitude save being driven by Charisma? What does Charisma have to do with reducing damage from a bite attack anyway? This is poor design.

Since these creatures are designed to attack the spellcasters (and have the spell-like abilities to bypass the attempts of their companions to protect them), you have to think about the likely hit point ranges for the opponents they'll face. A CR7 threat is going to be fighting Wizards with between 20 and 30hp. 6d6 will do an average of 21 points. So there's an excellent chance that on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd bite, the Wizard ceases to exist. And there's no save vs. the disintegration. Wow, is that overpowered.

Spell Distortion creates a negative feedback loop. The wizard casts a flashy big spell at the creature, it SRs and now the Wizard is stunned. The Wizard drops any wand or staff. It can't take actions. It gets no Dex bonus (sneak attack now in effect). And it takes a -2 penalty to DC. Stun is Big Bad Mojo, and should only be used in very specific circumstances vs. a PC.

Piling on, but still worth mentioning, is that your history lesson in the middle was a waste of a paragraph, and doesn't add much value to the entry. And while essentially meaningless in the context of how they'll be used against the PCs, not needing to eat or drink is another Wahoo overpowered capability.

Darkvision 120ft + Scent? Wahoo.

Look at those abilities. 18 CON. 18 CHA. WAHOO!

These creatures are Wahoo intelligent. They are effectively Villain level adversaries. I'd have much rather seen you talk about how to fight them effectively and/or set them up as a dangerous assassins guild or something similar.

I think that when you combine the spell-like abilities, the disintegration of Maw of the Void, and the negative feedback loop from Spell Distortion, you have produced a wildly overpowered creature for CR7.

For that reason I'm saying that you didn't follow the rules of the round, and therefore I gave your entry a D. It wouldn't be usable in the context it was requested and would require massive editing and redevelopment; effectively someone would be paid to fix your work.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.


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.

I like your intro text and the main description of the creature and its history. Most creatures with darkvision have it at 60 ft. range, but this thing's purpose makes sense at 120 ft.

The maw of the void ability is really tough for a CR 7 creature. On a crit it's going to deal 4d6+10d6, which can insta-kill a level 7 wizard. Ouch! Perhaps this is to bring its average melee damage up to what's appropriate for its CR, but in general it's better to have a fairly consistent damage output rather than something quite so prone to high spikes.

Most creatures at this CR have DR or SR, but not both. DR/10 may be a little high if you're also going to give it SR.

I agree with Neil that maw of the void is weird that it allows a save for half damage... but I understand that's modeled after disintegrate. BTW "and maw of the void" should probably go in its bite damage parenthetical.

They don't need teleport and dimension door (in general, I'd be happy if fewer creatures in the game could teleport anywhere in the world); dimension door is great for escapes.

SR defaults to CR + 11, which means a level-appropriate caster is going to fail the SR check half the time (CL 7 = 1d20+7, DC 18 = fails on a 10 or lower, 50% success rate). You've added the spell distortion ability to this, which means half the time a caster's going to have to save vs. stun for 1d4 rounds. So this creature is a mage-killer not only with its bite, but with its SR and its natural defenses when you fail to overcome its CR. Odds are, caster gets stunned in round 1, and the rest of the party kills it, hopefully before it kills the mage.

This is a cool monster, but it needs to be toned down for CR 7. You could cut 2 of its powers and be much closer to on-target for its CR. There are some technical errors that the spreadsheet would catch, and things it would warn you about (like the DCs being too high) and not using the 3odds/3evens ability scores setup.

I like the creativity you've shown here. You need to keep a closer eye on your power level by running the average math on the damage output and using the benchmarks in the Bestiary.

@Sean: From what I see it should inflict 4d6+10 plus 6d6 damage on a critical hit to wizard (assuming he fails DC 19 Fortitude save, which is quite probable) but I agree that it will end most full arcane casters of 7th level. On the other hand, what that damn casty was doing in the front line anyway, waiting to get hit with crit?! Uh, wait, d-door ;)
So yes, this is possible mage-killer, which would explain why Runelord Of Wrath was tinkering with that thing. Still, CR 7 creature should do 22-20 damage on avarege, which doubled on a critical hit will inflict similar amount of punishment anyway, and that thing deals much less damage on a regular hit than CR would suggest.

Dark Archive

The alien mi-go connection, combined with the disintegrate bite effect and the space-warping dimension door / teleport effects, mix the flavor and the mechanics nicely. That's the sort of stuff one would expect of a mythos critter.

And then there's the Runelord of Wrath thing, which, to me, feels like it was thrown in there to get some Golarion all up in that thing. Wasn't that particular Runelord an evoker? Wouldn't some sort of mage-killing hound created by the evokery-iest evoker that ever evoked by some sort of twelve-dimensional shifting vaguely-dog-shaped construct made of planes of force that are on fire, connected by writhing intertwined multi-colored strands of lightning, or something?

Removing any reference at all to the Runelord of Wrath or rune/sin-magic, since these things don't feel relevant at all to the creature, and, indeed, feel off-theme, to me, would make this entry better, I think.

Describing them as an early attempt, predating the sin-spawn (who are notably less potent), also feels like a step in the wrong direction. Sin-spawn do not feel like an upgrade to these critters!

Star Voter Season 6

Someone has a grudge against Arcane Casters. I've liked most of what you've submitted so far, but this creature is simply too powerful for CR 7. You're still a contender based off what you've submitted before, and what you submitted now. You show an obvious understanding of building a creature to a theme, but maybe not so much as to what should be appropriate for that level. Maybe the people you play with have very strong builds and so this really would be a good encounter for them, but for the normal party, they're not going to have a chance.

From a stylistic point of view, this seems a whole lot like a hell hound. The scary scary bite doesn't really excite me, but the spell distortion power does. It is bad ass and will put a hurting on. Add in the dimension door, teleport, invisibility, and arcane sight and this is a really effective hunter-killer for mages. That's the idea, but like others, I worry that this is too nasty and overpowered for the challenge.

Scarab Sages

A very interesting entry. I like the whole, experimental servitor before the sinspawn thing. It's only logical that the Runelords would have developed other servants. The mi-go thing was a nice touch.

Dark Archive

I voted for this it has the awesomeness mojo feel in it.

It might be true you could just chop down some SA and tone down the disintegrate by 2 dice to 4d6 maybe, but other than this minor things it is raw awesomeness!

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

This is good but for the same CR level, I think I like the Hound of Tindalos better, another doglike creature that can dimension door. That being said, I do like the two new abilities you came up and your theme is very tightly woven. With 8 votes this round, I think this is a possible vote getter.

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

Wow! vote #3.

Ok, the first line is jarring as a pelt refers to fur or hair, but that is easily fixable. One of these would be tough enough, but it says they roam in packs. It seems a bit of a PC killer. Can you Raise Dead on a disintegrated mage?

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

These could really wreak havoc as a CR7 encounter, but I like their theme (and their connection to Thassilon and the Mi-Go...I will put them in my RotRL campaign). I would like to see these cleaned up a bit, re-evaluated for CR and published. That, of course, gives you my vote.

This is a really cool monster, but it seems wildly overpowered to me.

I liked your organization a lot, so it is really hard deciding ...

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

A disintegrating bite? Holy crap. And what amounts to basically countering spells, too? Wow, some off-kilter abilities in this guy. They basically do between 7d6+10 and 10d6+10 damage on a crit, which is enormous, considering that's 5% of the time and a good crit can easily kill a non-fighter character. even assuming it gets three attacks in a battle, the odds are by the fourth one you fight you've permanantly lost a party member.

Other than that one kicker, the monster is pretty tight though. Makes me want to finish reading the rise of the runelords path to know more of what the runelords are about.

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? Definitely. These things are wicked scary!

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? Oh yeah. These would go great with an Alaznist-themed dungeon crawl.

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? They should dig this. I like the description of its skin (even if, as Ryan pointed out, pelt isn't quite the right word choice) and the triple rows of adamantine-like teeth.

Additional Thoughts: Dog-like predators are a dime a dozen in OGL gaming, so you were fighting an uphill battle, at least for my vote anyway. But these are cool. It also helps that I love Runelords stuff, and you tied this monster in very well with the existing canon.

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

Ryan Dancey wrote:
A CR7 threat is going to be fighting Wizards with between 20 and 30hp. 6d6 will do an average of 21 points. So there's an excellent chance that on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd bite, the Wizard ceases to exist. And there's no save vs. the disintegration. Wow, is that overpowered.

But it only does the 6d6 extra damage on a crit and doesn't have improved crit, so that's only an average of 21/20 = 1 point of damage. The criticism here should really be that one of it's main damage sources is massively spikey in damage/round, which can be a pain when DMing as a lot of the time it will suck damage wise. Lets say it gets 4 rounds, chances are it will not crit at all. Yes, the disintegration (which remember only happens on a killing-crit) needs a save, but that's really a very minor tweak.

Anyway, I really like the creature and it gets my vote. I think it bags a whole lot of mage-hunting flavour and abilities together well. I don't think it is overpowered at all.

In addition I think the prose in the last three paras is def some of the better prose from the entries in this round, and seeing as the end goal is writing a large amount of prose, this scores points in my boook.

Liberty's Edge

The disintegrating bite isn't necessary. That coupled with Teleport will more often than not result in an irrevocable loss of one or more party members, plus a "Hey! There goes our XP!" as the creature teleports safely away before it's killed.

Get rid of those two things and its DR and you have a very cool monster with an intriguing back-story. Good job!

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

This monster strikes me as pretty solid. I don't think it's particularly overpowered (highish attack and defenses, but low average damage), although the off saves and attacks and the missing feat hurt it. The save DC on the spell distortion should also be lower.

The writing is what sells this monster for me. It fits in well with the Golarion theme and the actual quality of the prose is pretty high. There's one thing that bugs me, though. This was apparently an early Thassilonian fleshwarping experiment, culminating in the creation of sinspawn. How, exactly? Sinspawn are dumber and weaker than these guys by far--how are they an improvement to the process? If these things escaped their master's control and broke loose, I could see it, maybe, but as written that comes off as a stumble.

Although there were a number of little stumbles, the idea is solid, the prose is good and I come away with an overall positive impression. You have my vote, although you should double-check both your math and your logic if you want to get it again in the encounters round. Good luck!

Just wanted to stop by and say that I really enjoyed this monster, and the fluff that comes with it. I agree with the overall comments about the CR being off - this thing is too strong for a CR - 7.

What bothers me about that though, is that because you blew the top off the CR, you were able to do some things with the monster that aren't CR appropriate and give the monster a much cooler feel then what a lot of the other contestants were able to throw down. It's a minor gripe for me, but I feel like over-designing should be just as punishable as under-designing within the scope of the contest (not that, you know, my opinion matters for anything....)

Regardless, I really liked this monster. I hope you make it through to the later rounds, and for what it's worth you definitely have my support.

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
The writing is what sells this monster for me. It fits in well with the Golarion theme and the actual quality of the prose is pretty high. There's one thing that bugs me, though. This was apparently an early Thassilonian fleshwarping experiment, culminating in the creation of sinspawn. How, exactly? Sinspawn are dumber and weaker than these guys by far--how are they an improvement to the process? If these things escaped their master's control and broke loose, I could see it, maybe, but as written that comes off as a stumble.

My take on this: sometimes in magic, as in real life, technology has to be formulated on a large, expensive scale before it's scalable to be more cost-effective. Slaughterhounds are probably difficult and expensive to produce and maintain - but sinspawn likely aren't.

So if you need a few shock troops to act as your personal guard retinue, sure, spring for the big dogs - but if you need cheaply-produced infantry that can be quickly amassed into large armies for invading and holding territory, go with sinspawn.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

nathan blackmer wrote:
because you blew the top off the CR, you were able to do some things with the monster that aren't CR appropriate and give the monster a much cooler feel then what a lot of the other contestants were able to throw down.

I think we were pretty liberal in defining what the limits of a CR7 monster were. I also don't think there is any entry that can seriously lay claim to "really being CR 7 and being judged harshly for not having enough cool powers!" That just didn't happen this round, in my view. So I don't think this monster is getting some undue benefit as compared to others. Powers that were out of whack got called out. Similarly, underpowering a monster could lead to comments.

Let's not forget what monsters are CR 7, after all. Here is a selection of monsters from the CR 7 list:

aboleth, black dragon (young), black pudding, brass dragon (young), bulette, chimera, chuul, dire bear, dracolisk, drider, elemental (huge), flesh golem, ghost, greater barghest, hill giant, invisible stalker, lillend, medusa, nymph, remorhaz, shadow demon, shaitan, spectre, stegosaurus, succubus

Except for the attack of the cancer of the void, there is no monster in my view that would not fit on this list. Think about some of those: remorhaz, succubus, shadow demon, dracolisk?

If your concern is the disintegration on death, that is less than the bodak's death gaze, and the bodak is CR 8, so I don't see that you can say this one is clearly not CR 7.

If others failed to maximize the pimpy-ness of CR 7 monsters, that's on them.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Tom Phillips wrote:

Slaughterhound CR 7

How can you not like a monster named a slaughterhound? I like this monster. Sure it has problems (i.e. to many spell-like abilities for a monster who's attack is at the upper level of CR 7, I'd be more comfortable with the spell distortion being staggered for 1d2 rounds, I'd make the SR 16, reduce the additional crit damage, and I'd dump all the at will SLAs except spider climb, make all the 3/day SLAs 1/day and dump teleport), but all in all, I like this.

But is it superstar, I don't know. I think the things that need fixed may make be not vote for it. But the ideas behind it are solid for a CR 7 monster.

Star Voter Season 6

1. I Absolutely HATE the name.

2. The SLA don't seem to have any logical connection. Teleportation, invisibility, spiderclimb, featherfall, slow? On a dog? Why? There is no real theme here, just a cherypicked list of powerful spells usable way too frequently.

3. Invisibility at will is rediculous. This thing is more or less impossible to kill when you combine its teleportation. Unless you spend the time to cast detect invisibility ahead of time, it will always be able to retreat for a round and then be out of sight, with you not knowing if it is arround the corner or in annother dungeon. It will always get the drop on you with its 120ft darkvision seeing you before you see it.

4. Int 14, Cha 18 - why? What justification do dog assassins have for an 18 cha? Why do they need to be that smart? These were bred as cannon fodder minions, but they have stats that would make them hard to control.

5. Maw of the Void - I personally dislike using disintegration effects on players. As a crit only ability on a 20 weapon though, this is pretty much a throw away. I dislike that it amplifies the "sucks to be you" of a crit.

6. I like spell distortion. I would probably rework it though to affect any spell that fail to penetrate the SR. You could clean it up a lot.

Overall, I don't like that this monster is set up as both a wizard counter and something only wizards can deal with.

How does a hairless monster have a glossy pelt? You sure grabbed me with the name, but then lost me on the first sentence. But there's some promise here, although I confess that I'm equally unsure why a 9 HD monster has a CL 10th for its SLAs (is the +1 indicative of something I'm missing?). The bite probably needs to be reworked -- having it deal additional negative energy damage on a crit would explain the save for half, and would avoid the weird effect of a crit adding more bite damage and then inexplicably adding more bite damage to that, but maybe only a little more for that second "more." And, yes, I'd tone down the stunning effect. There's the makings of a very good monster here, but it will take some work to get there.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Another monster that has both a great feel of its own, while tying in very well to Golarion. It's got some weak points, mechanics-wise, but with a few tweaks, I'd definitely use this critter.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
How does a hairless monster have a glossy pelt?

Its magic.

As a GM with a party of optimised casters, this is just the beast i nead.

Dark Archive

I think you can do it this time around, Tom. You get my vote again for Round Three.

In keeping with the "wrath" theme, I believe that getting rid of teleport and some of the other spell-like abilities in favor of some low-level damage-dealing spell-like abilities, while also getting rid of the SR and Spell Distortion, would have made this more of a CR 7 creature. I do like the Maw of the Void ability, both the name and the effect.

Really hope to see more! Hang in there, man!

Dark Archive

Ryan Dancey wrote:
6d6 will do an average of 21 points. So there's an excellent chance that on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd bite, the Wizard ceases to exist. And there's no save vs. the disintegration. Wow, is that overpowered.

And a save would give you around 10.5 points of damage.

So drop it to 4d6 and get rid of the weird save, netting you about the same average damage with less variance, and give the save instead for disintegration where you'd expect it to be. Leave it Cha-based since the ability is powered by Wrath and not strength.

I absolutely love the unvarnished criticism in most circumstances, but this one felt like...reaching:

"No food or drink = wtfoverpowered?" Really?

It eats mages, obvsly.

And by eats, I means disintegrates, awesomely.

High SR is fine for a caster-killer, 4 rounds of stun is pretty sick, though. Maybe dazed works better. No drop everything + worthless/helpless for possibly 4 rounds, and still plenty scary even for only a single round.

More disintegrations, more "overpowered" please. This one gets my vote for bucking the "tabletop as MMO, mechanics should guarantee a 99% survival rate" trend.

Caineach wrote:

1. I Absolutely HATE the name.


I am not keen on it eother. While it is an incredible combatant I think that that is not really what defines this monster.

I really like your monster! I can see a group engaging these, not thinking them much different from other Darklands predators... and then one PC suffers a voidmaw critical. Surprise!

I feel the creature is a little heavy on spell-like abilities. I agree that it needs more than just a scary bite to be a Superstar monster, but between it's physical attacks, defenses (DR/SR) and the fact that it will usually appear in a pack, it could make an encounter overly challenging. Like a few others, I feel spell distortion seems to be pushing it.

I am a little concerned that slaughterhounds would appear generic until someone witnessed the critical bite. Which would have me, as GM, hoping for one. But the package you presented intrigued me from the start and I began creating encounters in my head. That's a good sign!

Best of luck with the voting!

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

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Disclaimer: In the Top 32 Guildhall, Tom Phillips gave me express written permission to tear into his monster, even after I promised that my criticism would be as harsh as I felt necessary. Accordingly, I'm not going to hold any criticism back in this review of his slaughterhound.

Actually, the slaughterhound is a solid concept with decent mechanics. The monster could use a few tweaks here and there, but the slaughterhound nonetheless earns the Epic Meepo Seal of Approval.

Here's an itemized critique:

Languages Thassilonian was a nice touch. Since you're assignment was to make a Golarion specific monster, why not use a Golarion-specific language.

Special Abilities I get what you're going for with maw of the void being a mini disintegrate, but making it that powerful requires you to limit it to critical hits only, at which point one of your monster's big, signature abilities is statistically unlikely to come up in a fight. You'd have gotten moter mileage out of this ability if it were simply an extra die of energy damage on the slaughterhound's bite, which disintegrates a target if the hound reducing the target to 0 or fewer hp with a crit.

As for spell disruption, I'm none too fond of the "particles of reality warping material," which sounds too scientific for an ability that essentially says, "I mess with magic." Also, stunning a spellcaster seems a bit harsh. Staggering a spellcaster for 1d4 rounds, or just preventing them from casting spells for that duration, would have been less overpowered and more fun for the PCs fighting this thing.

Description Perhaps I don't know enough about the Runelords, but mi go bio-technology seems rather out of place here. In fact, bio-technology in general seems out of place when not specifically dealing with alien creatures or crashed spacecraft a la Numeria. But all that aside, you have a solid back story for these hounds.

Love this. Really love. What amuses me the most though, is all the criticism aimed against the description. Pelt can refer to the skin of a creature with or without fur/hair (look it up). And while pelt does typically have fur attached to it, look at the way Tom is describing it. Clearly, the “glossy black flesh” is replacing the hair or fur that would normally be considered part of the pelt. Therefore, yes, the Slaughterhound has a pelt of flesh instead of fur.

As for game mechanics, I can’t comment on that as I do not have the background that others do. I will say this however: I would not want to encounter one. Ever. But, part of the reason why I love RPG is the risk to my character. I hate losing a character, but knowing that the risk is there makes the game more exciting! If I know at the start of a Pathfinder adventure that my character was 99% likely to survive AND accomplish all the goals set before him, what’s the point in playing?

Tom’s got my vote. 100 percent.

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

Eric, I like your critiques even when I disagree with them. Thanks for adding them.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Eric, I also love your critique - but unlike Clouds, I totally agree with you.

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

Another quadrupedal predator monster. Done that many times over. Did really care for it at all. I'm not a big fan of the Lovecraftian 'weird things from space genera mixing into my medieval fantasy and this definitely skirts that dislike. It's a personal taste thing, but I just can't bring myself to vote for this as it is not something I would choose to use in my game.

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

Tom, this is a deadly-looking beast, with a lot going on mechanically. Good luck in the final voting!

Here's what I like:
- Really neat Thassilonian influence. Well-described visuals. I can immediately see how these creatures would fit into the niche you've created for them.
- Interesting and scary special abilities, though could use some toning down.
- you tie your creature's backstory into the mechanics really well. I understand why you chose the abilities, qualities and resistances that you did.
- It's something that I could easily drag-and-drop into a non-golarion game without issue.

Here's what I don't like:
- It feels like your defensive spell-like abilities do too many things. Any one of your movement powers would be fine, but between teleport, DD, spider climb, and feather fall (not to mention adamantine teeth to chew through pesky barriers), this guy can go just about anywhere it pleases and get into/out of combat on its own terms. Invisibly, too. Seems like there's too much built-in PC frustration here with its defensive suite.
- Disintegration at 0 hit points. That needlessly screws PCs with diehard, ferocity, or similar abilities. I'd be more on-board if this disintegtation happened at death, rather than 0.

As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest lets see..
Oh man. This one is right up my ally. Yet another case of "I should have thought of that".
It has a good look (without the whole "hairless pelt" thing). I would tone down the SLA some, but I like the spiderclimb..creepy. Players would..and very afraid of these things.
In the end..I am so adopting a litter of these guys for my home game! I have not decided on my votes yet, but this will likely be one of them.

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

Didn't dig it as much as I thought I would. Posted a more detailed review, but was eaten.

Basically, we already have hellhounds, Tindalos hounds, worgs, winter wolves, shadow mastiffs, blink dogs, etc. Now we have a dog with a disintegrate bite.

On second reading, and compared with other entries, it does grow on me. Still think it's a little tough, with lots of defensive abilities, but it's more interesting than its peers so far and not too terribly tough.

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

Mages better watch out! I wouldn't want one of these things coming after me. In my mind's eye, these kind of look like the alien beast from the Jim Caviezel movie "Outlander" (which is a good thing). I think you did a good job of matching the mechanics to the theme, and I appreciated the backstory on where these things came from. Of course, I've always been into the whole bio-weapon concept. Anyway, well done!

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

This was my favorite of the round. Hands down my favorite. Good job!

That's a bad ass hound. I would have voted for it but got here late.

Something I noticed right away is that the description says he's pony-sized and the size part of the stat block says he's Large. But ponies are Medium.

"How exciting can another hound be?" was my first throught when i saw the name. Exactly this exciting! You had me at Maw of the void. I love everything about this creature, although i would change the stun effect to something else. Everything that instantly takes a player out of a fight is a bad mechanic. Beside that this is really cool. I liked your round 1 submission, loved your second round submission and i'm quite infatuated by this monster. It's a solid concept, good "flavor" section and fitting abilities.

Vote given!

I hope to see you in round 4!

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Sorry I didn't get by earlier, reality wants me to be busy... best of luck with next round. You got a vote, and I think it's a very fine entry... most critiques I could have had have been said. I really love how you keep showing new sides of your creative ability.

Best of luck!

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

I'm thinking of the kick but magic item I can make with this things hide.

Tom Phillips wrote:

This hairless pony-sized quadruped is covered with an immaculate pelt of glossy black flesh. Its vaguely canine head is dominated by a pair of shimmering blue eyes and an over-sized mouth with three rows of jagged silvery teeth.

Slaughterhound 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?
How can something with so many letters score so few points? Heigh-ho, oh well... 22 points it is.

Would a specimen of this creature look good on the cream and scarlet paisley pattern sofa I have in my Druman villa?
It has cute blue eyes, but no all that black isn't going to go with my sofa...

What place does this have at a dinner party?
Given that it's more intelligent than the average human, speaks several languages, and has a fun disposition, one could probably invite one of these as a guest - especially if there's a (hell)cat person one wishes to wind up...

Other comments?
It's a shark which looks like a dog and has a moderately nastier bite than the average shark. Oh yes: and with its ferocious nature, it's going to chew up a lot of adventurers before they get close to killing it. Ah well, omelettes and eggs...

If this creature were a crime, what sort of crime would it be (expressed in the time honoured culprit/implement/location format)?
The cleric of Abadar, with the fish-fork, in the carriage-house.

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

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