Necrotic Reef

Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

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Reeking of death and decay, this monstrosity lumbers forward flailing its skeletal appendages. Thousands of tiny tentacles protract from the plant-like mass, groping for prey.

Necrotic Reef CR 7
XP 3,200
NE Huge undead (water)
Init -2; Senses blindsight 60 ft., detect magic; Perception +14

----- Defense -----
AC 20, touch 6, flat-footed 20 (-2 Dex, +14 natural, -2 size)
hp 85 (9d8+45)
Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +10
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR 5/bludgeoning or slashing; Immune undead traits; Resist fire 10
Weaknesses susceptible to shatter, vulnerable to sonic

----- Offense -----
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +12 (1d8+8 plus grab)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks channel negative energy (4d6, DC 17, 7/day)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +13)
Constant—detect magic

----- Statistics -----
Str 27, Dex 6, Con —, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 19
Base Atk +6; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 27 (can't be tripped)
Feats Channel Smite, Defensive Combat Training, Iron Will, Toughness, Vital Strike
Skills Climb +16, Perception +14, Swim +16
SQ antimagic grapple, piercing coral, sightless

----- Ecology -----
Environment any aquatic or coastal
Organization solitary, cluster (1 plus draugr crew), tangle (1 plus wight gang), or colony (1 plus lacedon pack)
Treasure double

----- Special Abilities -----
Antimagic Grapple (Ex) When a necrotic reef grapples a creature, polyps extend from the skeletal mass and continually feed upon the creature’s magic auras, negating them. The victim is effectively in an antimagic field (CL 9th). The necrotic reef itself can be affected by spells and supernatural abilities as normal.

Piercing Coral A necrotic reef’s slam attack is treated as piercing in addition to bludgeoning for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Sightless (Ex) A necrotic reef is blind and is not affected by any effect that relies on sight.

Susceptible to Shatter (Ex) A shatter spell damages a necrotic reef as if it were a crystalline creature.

Violent storms, passing ships, and careless spells can severely damage coral reefs upon which so much marine life depends; however, a more dire ruination is inflicted upon coastal regions when a necrotic reef rises to unlife. A mass of undead flesh within a skeletal shell, this undead abomination animates when latent necromantic effects permeate clumps of recently dead coral. Hundreds of polyps that once fed on minuscule plants and animals now feed on dweomers and possess an insatiable hunger for these magical auras. Ceaselessly searching, this creature grabs and crushes any creature it finds radiating magic. Though magical items cease to function while in the creature's grasp, no permanent damage is done. Treasures from its previous victims can be found within the hulking mass and quickly return to full strength once the creature is destroyed.
When attacked, a necrotic reef lashes out with a wave of negative energy attempting to damage living creatures. It also can use this ability to heal undead creatures, which attracts all manner of marine undead. Particularly intelligent ones intentionally attack a necrotic reef, prompting it to eventually heal itself and the undead assailant.
An average necrotic reef is 18 feet long and weighs 4,000 pounds.

While many necrotic reefs originate along the Gebbite or Nidalese coast, they can also be created with create greater undead. The caster must be at least 15th level and the creator or an assistant must be able to cast antimagic field (or provide this magic from a scroll or other source).

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hey, Steve...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 and making your way through the competition as best you can so far. 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:
An undead, sea-based creature merged with/grown from coral. Very cool. That's a Superstar innovative idea.

I liked the susceptibility to shatter and sonic vulnerability as a nice thematic addition to the fragility of coral reefs.

I thought the creation notes were also a nice design touch, including Golarion tie-in's to necromancy-favoring nations like Geb and Nidal. It's very smart to link up with the campaign setting. Even better that you didn't limit it to a single location (like another entry that relied almost exclusively on the Eye of Abendego for a storm-themed creature). This was a wise design step on your part. It demonstrates how and where a GM can expect this monster to have applicability in their game world.

I would have liked to see a bit more definition around the creature's origin. If it could have been cast as a dead body or flesh-stripped bones around which coral grew and then became necrotized in some fashion, I think it would have worked even better. Even if it wasn't just as single body, but the bones of many sailors which settled to the bottom of the sea and then coral grew over them to eventually animate, that could sell it even more.

I wasn't as keen on the sightless ability. I thought it might work better with darkvision and then assign it a constant arcane sight rather than detect magic to widen out its magic-tracing abilities. It mostly depends on how deep your want to get with your coral reef. I'm no diver, but aren't they usually positioned closer to shore rather than the totally lightless depths of the ocean?

The antimagic field as a result of the grapple feels a bit too tacked on...or not quite as tightly woven into the creature's theme as I'd like to see. Undead creatures don't typically exist just to feed on magic auras. Usually they embody negative energy and seek out the positive energy of life to snuff it out. So, I kind of wish this were either a straightforward undead creature without the need for feeding on magic...or, make it a magical beast rather than an undead and let it focus more fully on magical tracking/feeding.

I really like that you gave it the channel negative energy ability and Channel Smite. Basically, it's got options to not only harm people around it with the negative energy that gives it life, but it can also heal itself as a result. There's a great irony there in how you've given us the opposite of how most people imagine coral reefs as fragile, easily destroyed lifeforms. Yet, here we have one that's not only undead, but it can keep on perpetuating itself. Nice.

To play off that, I really think something that would have been really cool here would be to replace the antimagic field ability with a create spawn ability, maybe even hinting at a new coral zombie template or something so this thing can have "minions." In the organization section of the template, you made call outs to the draugr, wight, and lacedons, but it might be interesting to set this coral reef up with the ability to generate its own guardians...not as a mastermind of them, but just an undead reef perpetuating itself through its victims (kind of like a yellow musk creeper), some of whom might later collapse and then start their own colony of necrotic reef. I think that would have punched this up even stronger.

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 really tight on your design here. Among the best in the entire round. The only comments I have here are:

- You gave the creature the grab abililty, but I don't see anything it gets to use after that. Typically, you're looking for constrict or something else that works with grab.

- I think the antimagic field goes a bit too far for a CR 7 creature. It's not an effect PCs would normally expect to face until they ran up against an 11th level caster. So, introducing it at this stage of the game goes too far. If you want a magic dampening effect, you could rely on targeted dispel magic, if you wanted. But, as I stated earlier, I think I'd rather have seen you set aside the magic cancellation abilities of this necrotic reef and focused on the lifeless coral infused with negative energy.

You were really good here. Great attention to detail. Quite possibly the most complete stat-block of the entire round.

Bottom Line:
There's a lot to like in this entry. Though the antimagic field overpowered it a bit for CR 7, I really like so many other things about this monster. The theme, the environment where it's found, how you connected it to Golarion, the attention to detail in the crafting and professional polish...all of these things are top-notch Superstar. You really brought your A-game this round. Fantastic stuff.

Given all that, I'm happy to say I DO RECOMMEND this monster to carry you through to the next round. And I'm really excited to see what kind of encounter you can create. Your creativity has been shining through for awhile now, but most of your designs seem to introduce one key element that kind of overbalances it a bit. If you can find an equilibrium to that, while still applying this level of attention to detail and profession polish, you could be on track to go pretty far in the competition. So don't let off the gas. You need to floor it to get through the next couple of challenges.

Looking back across your earlier work, I thought your night monarch vardo showed promise, but I would have sorted it out of the Top 32 without spending a "golden ticket" on it. Yet, here you are and with this latest offering, I'm really glad you made it this far. Likewise, I had some reservations with your organization for the Arcadian Interceptors. Sometimes, competitors start out slowly in RPG Superstar and build to a dramatic finish. I think you might be this year's example of that. Maybe some of the earlier challenges weren't your strongsuit? Maybe this one was right in your wheelhouse? Regardless, it's up to the voters now. But I'd really like to see what you've got in the way of storytelling with a memorable, dynamic encounter. It'll be interesting to see what comes next. Best of luck in the voting.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Steve, 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: Anti-magic coral monster? That sure is unique.

The Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): B+
Great creature. Love the shatter angle. Not sure adding piercing really makes much difference at CR 7, but still cool. Playable, usable, fun and different.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): B+
Anti-magic sucks and the PCs would hate this creature, which would make it a fun encounter. Whenever the PCs are saying "oh man, not more of those," you know you are on to a great monster. Unlike Neil, I don’t think the anti-magic is tacked on, it seems like the core of the monster to me. That said, you are at the high end of CR7 power curve in my view. You could, perhaps, have achieved the same goal of anti-magic with more focused use of, say, dispel magic, for instance. I think your problem was the name--necrotic says death not anti-magic. Marginal Golarion connection, but not clearly non-Golarion.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A-
I love this thing. An anti-magic undead coral beastie is cool. I'd find a way to work this into a module.

Overall: B+
This one gets it done. Some minor glitches, but mostly right on.

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

Your night monarch raised some questions and your Interceptors seemed to go a bit off track. But I think you are back on track with this. I have to admit, this is not my favorite of the round, but I am recommending it to advance. If you make it to the next round you really better make yet another improvement.

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

It's an undead reef.

I loved the name. I hated the monster.

Coral reefs are formed by the slow accumulation of generations of coral shells. They take millennia to develop. As an ecosystem they're home to an incredibly diverse range of sea life - plant and animal.

I was thinking of all the ways this thing could live up to that name, but what I got wasn't any of them.

First, there's no "skeleton" in a reef. It's not a single creature - it's a collection of millions of tiny creatures and their dead bodies. It's like a crust of life on a huge mass of rock-like aggregate.

Second, where do the tentacles and polyps come from? Coral are tiny, tiny creatures. Yet this thing can apparently project huge structures from its mass. I guess we just hand wave that away with "its magic" but that kind of sucks, in my opinion.

Third, it is mobile. And pretty quick too - 20ft movement means it can cover a lot of ground. When I think "reef" I think something that sits in one place an effects its environment. Does this thing pose a hazard to ships? Would a group of them be able to shut down access to a harbor? Why doesn't it set up shop in unexpected places and prey on shipwrecks?

It's featured ability is effectively antimagic field. Not very SuperStar; you've just recycled a spell effect without doing anything interesting with it.

Mechanically it works, thematically and creatively it fails.

I give this submission a D.

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.

An animate, undead coral? That's pretty novel!

Channel negative energy means the creature can heal itself or harm its energies; that's a nice alternative to fast healing. Channel Smite means it can make some pretty deadly slams (though that feat is pretty weak in general, as it's more effective to blast an area for the same damage than to focus it on one target).

The antimagic field is pretty harsh--it's a mage-killer. It's bad enough that spellcasting is severely limited when grappled, now this thing just shuts down all your magic. AMF isn't normally present in the game until caster level 11, so throwing this at a GM at level 7 is a bit of a shock--and the PC has to recalculate a lot of stuff (attacks, saves, ability scores, hp, and so on) when all of that magic stops working. I think it's going to slow down the game when it game. There's a reason why the AMF spell lasts a long time and is centered on the caster. One, it means you're not having to toggle off all your magic for a short time and then bring it back up again... you can recalc your stats without magic and leave them like that for a while. Two, it's an extreme action to take when you know you're going to battle a dangerous magical opponent--you won't be able to use magic, but neither will your opponent. This monster makes AMF quick and casual, and that's going to throw a wrench into the speed-gears of any encounter with this monster. It would be simpler if the monster had the ability to use dispel magic on a grappled target, that's just one effect being destroyed instead of all of them, with a resist roll instead of it being automatic.

I don't get why, if the creature feeds on magic, that you can find intact magic items within it, you'd think it would eat them.

I think you could have skipped the Creation section and given a bit more description about what this thing actually looks like. I know it's a lumbering behemoth made of coral, and I know an illustration would normally accompany this, but I'd like to know if it has a vaguely-anthropomorphic shape or if it's just a big coral mass with limbs jutting out in several directions.

I like the concept of this monster. I do think it needs a little more description and some refining of its major ability (the antimagic field). I always liked the sussurus from the 1e AD&D Fiend Folio, and coral monsters are weird enough to really stand out as a unique encounter.

I am not very much into aquatic monsters (let's see, what put in water-related encounter? chuul, aboleth, sailors' skeletons at lower levels, maybe some lizardmen and I have covered more aquatic encounters than usually happen in any campaign I have mastered. In fact I haven't used aboleth yet).

Despite this the monstrosity looks interesting. However, I have the strange feeling that something similar in general idea was presented somewhere for 3.5 - aquatic undead that was composed of trashes and water-based detritus infused with negative energy. Was it in Stormwreck or Libris Mortis? Can't recall at the moment.

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

I agree with Ryan that the details of this monster are a little odd, but I love it anyway. Its the first of the monsters from this round that I looked at and said to myself, "yes, I must use something like that in one of my adventures!" Also, while I have had weird reefs as hazards, I have never done one as a monster. And I like the anti-magic grapple and susceptible to shatter abilities.

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

This is very creative. Never would have thought of an undead reef. I normally don't associate antimagic with undead so in a revision, I might replace this power with something that fits into its theme more. Energy drains are par for course with undead, maybe something instead that would cause a creature to drown faster (and drown at a regular rate even if you could breath underwater)? I have 8 votes and this one definitely resonated with me the first read through so probably a vote getter.

Star Voter Season 6

Who doesn't love a good undead monster? This one works well, and funnily enough, I could easily see a druid hating and loving this creature. I'd argue that part of it's energies is devoted to protecting coral, but at the same time, it is undead and therefore must be destroyed.

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

Very cool, vote #2.

First one I've read, it looks pretty cool.
It has a climb score, so does that mean it can operate out of water?
I'm assuming from the organisation bit that a reef can be sort of controlled, but I think that needed expanding on somewhere in the text.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

I can really imagine a cool, creepy encounter with this beast, and an undead reef is original, even if some abilities seem off - thematically. You get my vote.

You got my vote!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Easily my favorite submission so far. Great flavor, good niche, no obvious balance concerns, and the potential tie-in to the upcoming Skull and Shackles AP is a brilliant touch. You're getting my vote.

Side note; I especially love the anti-magic grapple, even if there are some judging concerns with it.

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? Absolutely - and I already want to!

2. Does this monster inspire me to design an encounter just for the purpose of featuring it? YES. I can think of several types of aquatic undead that would offer good synergy with this creature and provide interesting encounters for my PCs.

3. Will my players think the monster's physical description is cool, or will they laugh it off of the table? They'll like it, though I'm not sure how accurate your description is. I guess in an area where large naval battles or multitudes of shipwrecks took place, there might be a thick layer of humanoid skeletons over such a coral reef to explain the skeletal arms flailing about, but the tentacle thing seems a bit off to me (though I would imagine it is hard to describe the many things you might find latched on to a coral reef and still stick to your word count!). I'd probably describe the reef slightly differently than you did if I used it at my table. But it's still very cool!

Additional Thoughts: Steve, this is the type of entry I've been waiting to see from you. I gave you my vote last round despite being a little disappointed in your organization entry because I felt you had better stuff in you, and I'm now very glad that I did that, because this is a great monster concept. The traits you've assigned to this monster build fit its theme perfectly, and I really like the package of special abilities you've assembled here. Nice work!

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

You had me at the description text. I can easily see a shambling amorphous mass of coral oozing slowly forward, its body shaped into jagged protrusions it uses to lash out at prey. Although the anti-magic effect is unusual for an undead, I like it. The limitation to it only being against the creature grabbed helps pull it in line with a CR 7--if an antimagic field is for 10th level characters to experience, a single target, rider-dependent antimagic ability three levels lower seems fair.

The creation guidelines, connection to the campaign setting and the plot tie-ins with its undead followers are all delicious gravy topping a fine monster. The necrotic reef is one of the most usable creatures of the contest I've seen so far, and I will happily give it one of my votes. Good luck!

Jon Brazer Enterprises

All in all, I like this monster. There are a few things that need modified but an edit pass can take care of that. The only reason I can't say, "Yes this is a superstar monster" is because its a sea undead with no real sea-based abilities. I mean sure the damage counts as piercing and bludgeoning, but that's not really much. It needs like 1 or 2 sea based abilities to really make it shine.

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

Undead coral reef. Nice. That is something I never considered. Liked it from the start. This was one of my favorites. Not totally crazy about the antimagic power but mostly because the "why" isn't quite clear. Necromantic magics made it rise to undeath and now it wants to feed on magic auras? Why? I don't think that is explained well if at all. Love the fragility to shatter, sonic, and bludgeoning like it is made of calcified sea detritus. Cool. Vote!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

When I saw the name I was thrilled - it was the most inspiring name of the contest but a feared this monster would be as hard to place in an average campaign as your organisation.

When I read the monster I thought of a Coral Golem and that was a huge let down for me.

This thing is not a "coral reef". Nothing it does has anything to do with a reef (afaik a coral reef isn't even particularily brittle but rather concrete like), it even hasn't got any water abilities.

The imagery of a block of coral reef pulling itself free and starting to lumber towards the next town conjures all sort of cheesy japanese monster flick feelings.

Also the special abilities are not that exciting - anti magic shell because "polyps" feed on your magic? That doesn't make a lot of sense, I would have expected vanishing spells instead.

I give you Kudos on the stat block though, where many many other contestants slipped you prevailed.

Well, this sort of monster is something I would expect from a Monster Handbook XVII but not from a "best monsters of all times" compilation.

I was really excited by the name... but gotta agree, I was wishing for something that's more like a necrotic coral reef and less like a coral golem. I like its nurturing undead feature, since coral reefs are a nurturing environment and a necrotic one should... yeah. But I'd sort of like it to be stationary with some evil evil powers. Like a haunted house in the sea. With scary undead lurking in its shadows.

It's not a bad critter, I just pictured all that from the awesome name. And then was a little disappointed with the actual monster. And I'm not loving the anti-magic. How do we get undead things? Magic. So why anti-magic? Why are the undead things hungry for magic and not hungry for the blood of the living, with that creepy horror movie intensity?

As a monster designer, I look forward to this phase of the contest lets see..
I have to admit..the name threw me a bit..I picture reefs as huge areas, and had issues picturing a CR 7 out of that, but once I read it, I got it. I get where you took the corals limestone "skeleton" as a riff on typical undead.
I am on the fence about the anti-magic field. Quite powerful for a creature of its level, but also utterly unexpected as well. A GM would have to use the reef with care as to not hose the players, but could build an amazing story around it. It sets it apart from other drain abilities as well. If I was throwing it together I would have made it a higher CR, but your did not have that option, and it is something easily tweaked outside of the contest. A pet peave: the "Organization solitary, cluster (1 plus draugr crew), tangle (1 plus wight gang), or colony (1 plus lacedon pack)" line; Having one plus x creature with 3 diffrent names just feels awkward. May have been better off just chosing the extra undead that just felt right.
In the end..I think I would try this out, carefully in my home games. I have not decided on my votes yet..but this is likely to get one from me.

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

Steve, I think you've got a great monster concept here. Good luck in the voting!

Here's what I like:
- I really like the basic concept. I think that a hive-mind undead coral reef is pretty innovative.
- good job tying in its back story into known Golarion locations without making it overly dependent on that setting.
- you've thought through its physical makeup and have given good defenses and vulnerabilities based on that.

Here's what I don't like:
- I don't get a good sense of what this creature actually looks like from the flavor text. A coral reef is made up of millions of tiny shelled creatures and while it might provide a home to things that have tentacles or cilia or "appendages" that provide movement, it's not apparent that this is the case here. This is maybe the one entry where my own mental picture of the monster differs from the flavor text you provide.
- I think an anti-magic grapple is a bad move. Grappled spellcasters are already at a huge disadvantage. I'll admit that PCs running around with Freedom of Movement spells active pretty much kills the mood, but I'm not sure this is the way to solve that problem.
- This is one persuasive coral reef. I know undead need charisma to drive their abilities, but an animal-intelligence creature with this high of a charisma seems jarring.

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

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This base ideais new and unique. It touches an area I don't think saw any ideas in Pathfinder, 3.5, 3rd ed and before. Having saidthat, it's not very 'reef-like'. I'd ave considered a slow-moving underwater swarm with many different undead sea creatures forming a larger whole.

But unique is an important facet of Superstar, and this round in particular. I think the anti-magic application is fine. This beast is a little tough for CR 7, but then it should be - it's very localized, easy to find, and easy to get away from. Nonfighty type will struggle to break the grapple, but others won't be hindered so easily.

I actually kind of like that dead magic items come back to life when removed from this thing. First, it seems to me the reef feeds off continuously generated magical energy. Real reefs exist on a regenerating ecosystem, so the dead magic items constantly feed it by passing on their permanent magical powers to it. In fact, it'd be cool to have an ability where a certain amount of treasure or magical pluses gives it different abilities, or even allows the reef to emulate some of the magical auras of the items it feeds on. GMs could torture treasure-hunting players with shocking burst grapples and the like until existing magic items are removed frmo the thing.

Also, this creature makes for a great treasure hunt. Sometimes offering loot to your players can be contrived. Drop this thing nearby and the rewards-barren-but-realistic scout camp still offers some swag. And if you're old school, probably swag that will make other parts of the adventure easier.

I don't think its perfect thematically, but it's a good idea, not being done anywhere else. Maybe my favorite entry of the round. Which is weird, because I'm more the BBEG, crafty villain sort of monster-lover.

But hey, us Steve's have to stick together.

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

Note: I'm only giving a full review to finalists that requested one in the Top 32 Guildhall.

While the concept here is top notch, I want to note that the commentary in this thread has convinced me not to vote for the necrotic reef. At least three people in this thread have proposed alternate ways of implementing this monster's concept, each of which I find more compelling than the monster itself. This entry has been outflanked by the voting public!

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

This was another of my three favorites for this round. I think the execution has some issues, but the core concept is just cool! I love the reef idea. I can totally see myself using something like this in a game, especially with Skull & Shackles on the horizon. It's very original. Good job!

I don't understand the crux of mr. Dancey's criticism of this item. It works well mechanically I think, but most of the criticism from Mr. Dancey seems to be on the naturalistic end.

Ofcourse most of what he says is true, but dogs don't blink in and out of existence, octopoid tentacles don't grow out of shoulder blades of panthers, and the size of a titan would cause a complete collapse of the skeleton. Not even counting that giant insects can't survive out of water because their Chitin would collapse.

We have also restored coral reefs in a matter of decades not millennia.

This is not even my favorite entry but the criticism seems somehow unfair given the vast history of monsters in D&D and the bestiaries of pathfinder. In a fantasy game one should not have to worry about anything being chemically, physically, or biologically sound. If that is the case I can take a huge red pen and cross out 85% of our 3 bestiaries.

Generally Ryan Dancey is the first criticism I read, and one that I lend serious weight too, and still will. This particular criticism just struck a nerve.

Dark Archive

Greetings, Steve Miller!

I feel I must ask you:
Do some people call you the "space cowboy"? The "gangster of love"? "Maurice"? And what, pray tell, is a pompitous, exactly?
I keed, I keed. ;-)

I really liked your Night Monarch Vardo, although I haven't had a chance to post anything about it yet. I will when I can.

On the other hand, unfortunately, I am not a fan of the Arcadian Interceptors - I wasn't convinced that they were clearly antagonistic (except for the hidden enemy being the leader), and I also found it difficult to believe they would have any chance for longevity, given their modus operandi, versus the usual suspects that ply the waters of the Arcadian Ocean (the Chelaxian and Nidalese navies in particular). Having said that, I looked back at that thread and I now see many walls of text from you with exposition which might contain further explanation that could alter my initial impression, but since that round is over now I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Now that's out of the way, I would like to say that the Necrotic Reef is extremely cool, and IMHO a very "Superstar" monster submission for this Round! This is my favorite submission of yours so far, and the dripping-with-evil-awesome Necrotic Reef gets two thumbs up and one of my votes this Round.

As far as feedback, I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said by the judges and the other Paizonauts except that I am DEFINITELY using this monster (with the recommended changes) in my home campaign at some time in the near future, because it is too hungry and lonely and it wants me to feed some PCs to it.

Best of luck to you, sir, and I really hope to see what else you have in store for us in the last rounds.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for all the comments, and thanks for the votes.
-Space Cowboy

Dedicated Voter Season 8

I'm sorry I didn't make it by earlier, congratulations on making it to the next round. I'm afraid I didn't quite like this enough for a vote, something about the execution just didn't stick very well with me.

Best of luck, though!

Silver Crusade

Ebil plans:
I'm so going to try this out on Tuesday with my second darkness group, probably throw a cutlass spider in with it too. (Book 15, part 3 of second darkness page 84).

I really like this entry. I'll be using it on Tuesday against my party of a cleric of Cayden Cailean, a rogue and a monk, with Samiritha as an NPC. They're just in the fight for Celwynvian though they haven't been near the lake created by the festering crater yet and this looks like a nice/evil thing for them to run into. It makes sense to me that one of these things would have grown over the last 10,000 years considering the lives lost, ambient magic the elves have worked into their buildings and land, plus lets not forget the magic surrounding the pieces of the starstone that could have clung to it.

They will need to make sure the Drow haven't got anything stationed there, and they will soon know why.

Will let you know how it goes. Mwahahahahah.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

Mrs Camelot wrote:

Will let you know how it goes. Mwahahahahah.

Excellent! I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.

Steve Miller wrote:

Reeking of death and decay, this monstrosity lumbers forward flailing its skeletal appendages. Thousands of tiny tentacles protract from the plant-like mass, groping for prey.

Necrotic Reef 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?
It scores 19 points, but doesn't successfully gain any extra points.

Would a specimen of this creature look good on the cream and scarlet paisley pattern sofa I have in my Druman villa?
A huge chunk of coral is likely to crush my sofa to splinters. Wheretofore, the answer to this question is a resounding 'no'.

What place does this have at a dinner party?
It doesn't. Well not unless you're out of doors and need a windbreak, though I'm not sure it would enjoy being out of water very much. Although actually this article doesn't state it suffers from being deprived of water.

Other comments?
It does seem rather strange if this ambulatory mass of squick doesn't suffer any negative effects from being out of water for any length of time; I mean why is it a 'reef' at all, if it's not water dependent? Why not some sort of weird ooze-related monstrosity?

If this creature were a crime, what sort of crime would it be (expressed in the time honoured culprit/implement/location format)?
The priest of Asmodeus, with the dog's breakfast, in the privy. And yes, that's supposed to come over as disgusting...

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

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