Bloodroot Vine

Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

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This thick vine is a mottled blue and green with sharp red thorns.

Bloodroot Vine CR 5
XP 1,600
CE Large plant
Init +0; Senses blindsight 30 ft., dweomersense 60 ft.; Perception +1

----- Defense -----
AC 17, touch 9, flat-footed 17 (+8 natural, -1 size)
hp 52 (7d8+21)
Fort +8, Ref +2, Will +3
DR 5/cold iron or good; Immune plant traits; Resist acid 5, cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5; SR 10
Weaknesses despoiled origin

----- Offense -----
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee slam +9 (1d6+7 plus grab and dweomer siphon)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks dweomer siphon, ruinous harmony

----- Statistics -----
Str 20, Dex 10, Con 16, Int —, Wis 13, Cha 9
Base Atk +5; CMB +11 (+15 grapple); CMD 21 (can’t be tripped)
SQ dweomersense

----- Ecology -----
Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, or patch (3-6)
Treasure incidental

----- Special Abilities -----
Despoiled Origin (Ex) A bloodroot vine inherits some of the weaknesses of its vrock spore origin. A bloodroot vine is treated as an evil outsider for purposes of holy water, and a bloodroot vine that is included in a bless spell’s area of effect is unable to use its dweomer siphon ability for 1d4 rounds.
Dweomer Siphon (Su) A bloodroot vine that makes a successful grapple check grows its thorns into its victim, inflicting 1d6 bleed damage. The victim must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or lose one use of his highest level spell-like ability or one of his highest level unexpended spell slots or prepared spells as it is consumed by the bloodroot vine. The highest level ability, slot, or spell is always lost first, and among abilities, slots, or spells of the same level the one lost is determined randomly. A bloodroot vine’s spell resistance increases by 2 for 1 hour (up to a maximum spell resistance of 20) and it heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) for each ability, slot, or spell consumed. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Dweomersense (Su) A bloodroot vine is able to sense the location of creatures with spell-like abilities, spellcasting ability, and magic items.
Ruinous Harmony (Su) For the purposes of a vrock’s dance of ruin, a bloodroot vine counts as an extra vrock joining in the dance. A bloodroot vine does not have to spend an action to participate in a dance of ruin and cannot initiate or sustain one without a vrock.

Bloodroot vines are relative newcomers to Golarion’s ecology, originating from the Shudderwood where demonic forces from the Worldwound corrupt the native fey. Bloodroot vines are created when a vrock’s spores kill a fey creature and absorb its spark of First World magic. Unlike the product of normal vrock spores, a bloodroot vine does not wither away after a few days. It instead enters a dormant state and only rouses when it senses the presence of magic. A bloodroot vine does not move in the traditional sense. Rather, it grows rapidly and withers away behind just as quickly. Bloodroot vines require magic to live so their preferred diet consists of creatures directly imbued with magic, such as fey and spellcasters. Any source of magic, however, attracts bloodroot vines, and they often mindlessly extend their thorns into creatures who merely carry magic items in a futile attempt to feed.

Vrocks from the Worldwound sometimes kite patches of bloodroot vines, taking great pleasure in seeing the vines amplify their dance of ruin.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: Wow, an evil plant with a TON of resistances, descended from demon spores. I'm intrigued.... What makes this tick?

On closer review, the vrock spores are a cool bit of lore, and this plant is already more metal than anyone could rightly expect. The ruinous harmony adds nicely to a vrock encounter for an adventure designer (though the CR difference is probably a factor there).

Add to that the dweomersense and dweomer siphon and thorns that grow into the victim, and wow! This is a monstrous plant to reckon with.

I DO recommend this monster to advance.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: Come on! Vrock spores! I love it! Add siphon thorns and you've got me hooked. This is a great submission.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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. :) My focus in this review is on the overall coolness and balance of your monster, with an eye on how efficiently you put it together and a spot-check of stat block elements that catch my eye.

Your monster is an animate plant created by vrock spores growing on a fey creature. Weird!

Stat block nitpicks:
SR is normally 11 + CR so PC spellcasters have a 50% chance to penetrate the creature's SR; a creature with weak SR is normally 5 points lower than the default value (6 + CR, in this case SR 11)... a deliberate choice so there is some consistency in SRs and we don't end up with monsters having unpredictable CRs.
Dweomersense is listed under Senses, so you don't need to list it under SQ (like how we don't list blindsense under SQ).

Dweomersense: I don't know if "sense the location" is just an awareness of such a thing in the area, or if you mean "pinpoint" (in the sense of an invisible creature), or something else. "Dweomer" also doesn't mean "creature that can use magic," so the name is a bit off. "Sense magic" or "magic detection" would have been a more appropriate name... or you could just say "Senses detect magic" or even "Senses arcane sight" (especially as arcane sight actually lets you focus on a creature to determine if it has any spellcasting or SLA abilities).

Dweomer Siphon: The main problem with this ability is that SLAs aren't sorted by spell level, so the GM may have to make a call about which of two SLAs (each of which has different spell levels on different spell lists) is the highest spell level. It also doesn't address what happens to an "at will" SLA. Does the creature still keep the SLA? Is it shut down for a while? You can set up some crazy combos that way. For example, a quasit can use invisibility at will, and if the vine's ability doesn't affect the quasit's SLA, then an evil master can "feed" a quasit familiar to the vine for several rounds, stacking SR (up to CR 20) and temp hp (up to 52 hp + 52 temp hp) onto the vine for an hour, and the quasit's fast healing lets it quickly recover from the damage.

Ruinous Harmony: Sweet, kinda like counting as a hag for a hag coven.

Overall, I like this monster. It needs a little fiddling, but it's neat.

I DO recommend this monster for advancement.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Michael, way to go getting to Round 3!

Now that I’ve read all 16 entries, I can say that there are some real strong entries here—more strong entries than spots, unfortunately. Some good submissions won’t make the cut. I am only going to recommend 8 of you since only 8 can advance. In close cases, I took into account your prior work.

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 and Wolfgang 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…

You got my Initial Impressions above. Let me say this: way to step up! Spell sucking vrock thorns still totally rule.

Design (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): A+
Great big idea. That is how Superstars do it. The vrock tie in, the siphon, the dance of ruin boost. Way to go big. That says a lot about you as a designer and I will be honest based on prior rounds I didn’t know if you had it. Well, well, well, you sure do.

Execution (quality of writing, organization, Golarion-specific, use of proper format, quality of content—description, summary of powers, rules execution, mechanics innovation): A-
I thought your execution of an excellent core idea was very good. I agree with Sean’s comments about the abilities and don’t need to echo them, but again those are development notes not flaws.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?, mojo, just plain fun factor): A+
Way to bring the old school demon mojo. Solid, my brother. Type I solid, in fact.

Overall: A
Michael, most of the other guys with great entries this round also had great prior rounds. I didn’t see this from you and I am really impressed. More than anyone, you really stepped it up.

Final Verdict: I DO RECOMMEND this monster advance.

Michael, you know I wasn’t sold on your walking stick. I thought your Round 2 archetype was an improvement but not one of the clear leaders. Hopefully for your sake the voters see the same big leap forward this round that I see!

Good luck!

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the fantastic thing about this is that (apart from its own veritable trove of abilities) it neatly piggy-backs on the vrock, and becomes its own iconic team builder. Kinda the way Dark Creepers and Dark stalkers hang together, or Drow and Spiders, Monks and threads.

And in doing so Michael just added about a bazillion parsecs of information in the reader's brain to his creation. And that, my friends, is the mark of a design superstar. Not that it's a no-brainer - you still need to pick the correct iconic, and then match it with a logical, thematically appropriate pal. And this creature does that very well indeed. Nice one Michael.

[EDIT - tiny nitpick - the flavor text could use a bit of mojo!]


Oh wow. This is an absolutely wonderful monster. Everything ties together so beautifully. It has a very "unexpected side effects" feel to it, and I love how you managed to take an aspect of one monster (the vrock) and use it to justify the existence of your own monster. Finding those little puzzle pieces that fit together is, to me, a telltale sign of Superstardom.

This is my favorite monster this round (maybe a hair before the hulk). There were several very good submissions, but something about this just appeals to me. The flavor is great, and as other commenters have already said, the bloodroot vine fits in very well with the existing vrock even while remaining a unique and interesting monster in its own right. I love it!

Very creative monster. Excellent use of the setting, overall well-written and interesting concept. Awesome! Congratulations!

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Great one! A little bit of the abyss 'creeping' into Golarions nature. I can sure see use of this in the upcoming Worldwound AP!

This gets my vote!

Good luck with the remainder of the contest!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

This is badass. Surprised that a monster like this doesn't already exist. Thematically very strong, mechanically tight.

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 6

Aside from the other (very minor) nitpicks already mentioned above, the one thing I didn't see was a range for the dweomersense (30 ft, 60 ft, 120 ft?). Otherwise, this is a great monster! I once got off a Dance of Ruin in a homegame, and boy they sure didn't like what happened! Two of these guys and one Vrock is enough for a Dance of Ruin.... however, I did just have a thought... won't the Blootroot Vine try to kill the Vrock during the Dance of Ruin?

Anyway, good job Michael!

Nice, this could be related to the razorvine.

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

Eric Morris wrote:
Aside from the other (very minor) nitpicks already mentioned above, the one thing I didn't see was a range for the dweomersense (30 ft, 60 ft, 120 ft?).

Senses blindsight 30 ft., dweomersense 60 ft.; Perception +1

Star Voter Season 7

I really like this one. It's interesting, the mechanics are fairly solid - at least to the point that I just know it wouldn't be hard to clean up for print - and it can remain a challenge at higher levels simply by adding them to a vrock encounter. You definitely are getting my vote.

All that being said, there's one thing I'd like to see added to this monster. You say "A bloodroot vine does not move in the traditional sense. Rather, it grows rapidly and withers away behind just as quickly." I'd like to see a mechanic to indicate this - my suggestion would be either an immunity to attacks of opportunity or a overrun/trample type of effect where it grows into a character's space. Whatever it is would probably bump it up to a CR6, and I'm not sure I'd want to cut anything that's there now to bring it back down to CR5, but it's just too cool a method of motion to not get some effect from it.

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

Naming: I confess the name set me up to expect a boring creature. The SA names are good, though.

Cool Factor: High.

I'm a little concerned that it borrows a lot of cool from a very well established monster of very well established coolness. That seems a bit like it's skirting the limits of the contest. But then, no one said you couldn't do that. So props for figuring out you could. It might be worth considering such a rule in future contests, though.

Having said that, this is a cool plant thing. It's well designed and coherent and would be fun in the right context. A likely vote for me.

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

I am a fan of monsters that put fear into spellcasters. This one accomplishes that nicely.
Gets my vote.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

I've said elsewhere that I don't think plant monsters are exciting, normally at least. But apparently it's fairly regular for RPG Superstar to prove that assumption wrong. Not every time, but when there are things like this? Awesome.

I love the synergies between a very iconic existing creatures, and I love the dweomer siphon ability. It's so much fun, and while there are some notes made above - I don't care too much. The ability to charge the vine up by feeding it a fast healing quasit or something? Yeah, sure! It'd probably have a higher CR than base, but that's what you get for having a plant and advanced planning.

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 6

Aaron Miller 335 wrote:
Eric Morris wrote:
Aside from the other (very minor) nitpicks already mentioned above, the one thing I didn't see was a range for the dweomersense (30 ft, 60 ft, 120 ft?).
Senses blindsight 30 ft., dweomersense 60 ft.; Perception +1

Well, that was dumb of me. :-)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I like it, I like it a lot. Cool combo of abilities, the grab is effetive against any target, and the magic siphon extra good against spellcasters. Also, the tie in to vrock spore created background is a brilliant fit into the Pathfinder mythology - it just makes sense that a monster like this could exist, so good job sharing it with us.

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

@Michael Eshleman: I'm pretty sure I've designed and posted a vine monster grown from vrock spores somewhere, but even I can't find it with a simple Google search, so I'm sure this is a case of parallel design. In the case of your vine monster, I'm not entirely sure why vrock spores and dead fey would produce a monster that eats magic; the theme of your monster doesn't seem as cohesive as it could be.

Also, ruinous harmony troubles me a bit, as it allows a dance of ruin from a single vrock in an ECL 9 or 10 encounter to be as powerful as that of three vrocks in a ECL 12 or 13 encounter. That may be a bit overpowered, and may reflect a situation where you were trying to cram a higher-CR monster into the Round 3 CR limit. Then again, I suppose bloodroot vines are non-demons, so they are damaged in full by a vrock's dance of ruin, even if they count as participants, so that may mitigate some of my concerns.

All that being said, this monster is solid enough to earn the Epic Meepo seal of approval, and I will be voting for it this round.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

I'm in the 'don't love it' minority, apparently. Like I've said elsewhere, I think I just have a bias against plant monsters, but this doesn't do quite enough for me to overcome that bias. Much like i didn't feel the leechroot's undead skinning doesn't completely make me feel it isn't just another 'crush foes with roots' type plant, the vrock skinning on this doesn't take away from my initial impression that it's yet another vampiric bloodsucking plant.

I will admit that you do a lot to try and compensate for that; and some of that is quite creative. The fact that the bloodsucking is supplemented by spellsucking is actually pretty nice, and complemented by the roots dweomersense. The ability to stand in for a vrock during a dance of ruin is interesting, but really just a bit of icing on the cake; I like that it gives a way to use them outside of being an encounter all by themselves, but it does have some weird CR interaction in doing so, as Eric mentions right above me. All in all, it's a good entry, I just don't think it's in my top eight. Best of luck.

Liberty's Edge Contributor , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

This is a pretty nifty plant monster, and I like the abilities you included to "smell out" spellcasters and also ruin their day. At first I thought its SR was a little weak, but you compensate for that. I am hopeful you will make it to the next round.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

I am overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback that this monster received, and am quite surprised. When I was putting it together it seemed very 'meh' to me. Hopefully it won't be a fluke and I can continue to improve and impress.

Marathon Voter Season 6

Michael Eshleman wrote:
Hopefully it won't be a fluke and I can continue to improve and impress.

Ball is in your court now.

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

Congratulations Michael,

This has several things going for it and I hope you can keep that going until you reach the top.
A plant that does bleed, short & colorful description. Part of the vrocks for song which is cool, and stealing spells to boot. It is also good on its own allowing foreshadowing of vrocks in a longer campaign. Nice job, nice niche, lots of options. Overall: pp, the second of my insta-votes. :)

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