So, You're Designing a Pathfinder Monster...


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Drejk wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
I'll be judging the monster round again this year, and I'll be treating the entries pretty much exactly as I did last year.
So, what kinds of pizza toppings do you like? :P

Ha! Pretty much any cheese and/or veggie. I'm not a picky person when it comes to pizza. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Adam Daigle wrote:

It's never to early to start thinking about future rounds. I wasn't going to dust this off just yet, but a few others on the boards have been sharing their advice and I didn't want to get left out. :)

I'll be judging the monster round again this year, and I'll be treating the entries pretty much exactly as I did last year. In addition to the advice I gave in the first post in this thread, I strongly encourage people to check out the excellent advice given by Eric Hindley in this thread and all the great blogs Mikko Kallio has posted (easily found in this thread.

As the monster round nears, I'l likely be adding to these lists of advice and answering questions, but until then read up! Good luck everyone!

Thanks for the plug about the blog posts, Adam!

Anyways, since my articles are quite wordy, I'm thinking I might write a one-page summary / checklist about it all and post it here later. I'm also planning to write a two-part blog post similar to the longsword of fireballs --> fire-blossom blade articles, where I first show a monster that has all the beginner mistakes I can think of and then use the aforementioned checklist and present an improved version of the same monster in the second part.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Mikko Kallio wrote:
... where I first show a monster that has all the beginner mistakes I can think of and then use the aforementioned checklist and present an improved version of the same monster in the second part.

Mikko, if you would like, I could also send in a revised Filth Dragon. I took the comments from last year and re-worked the Dragon. PM me if you are interested.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Adam Daigle wrote:

It's never to early to start thinking about future rounds. I wasn't going to dust this off just yet, but a few others on the boards have been sharing their advice and I didn't want to get left out. :)

I'll be judging the monster round again this year, and I'll be treating the entries pretty much exactly as I did last year. In addition to the advice I gave in the first post in this thread, I strongly encourage people to check out the excellent advice given by Eric Hindley in this thread and all the great blogs Mikko Kallio has posted (easily found in this thread.

As the monster round nears, I'l likely be adding to these lists of advice and answering questions, but until then read up! Good luck everyone!

Hey there Past Daigle, Present Daigle here,

You probably posted this and revived the thread too early. Now's a pretty good time, so....

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

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Alright. Round 2 is underway and we have some awesome maps in the running. Good show, Top 32 (and alternate)! I encourage everyone reading this who haven't already done so to go check out the entries, vote for them, and comment on them. People only know what people like and don't like by hearing those kinds of things. Help folks grow!

Only 16 of the contestants are going to proceed to Round 3 and get the chance to shove a monster at me to review and judge. I love monsters, so I'm eager to see what folks create. I also work with a lot of monsters. In addition to the hundred + monsters I've created in the 7-ish years I've been writing game material, I develop roughly 60 monsters a year for the Adventure Path bestiaries (and other books here and there). Working with monsters is one of my favorite parts of my job.

For those of you going into the next round that want to get high praise from me (and hopefully the other judges), I strongly encourage you to got to the first post in this thread and read the advice I posted last year. The comments in the thread are great too, so taking the time to read through the thread wouldn't hurt.

I really want to see badass entries, so I'll do my best to keep myself available to answer questions in this thread for those interested in monster creation, however, as a judge I reserve the right to not answer some questions or even give vague and cryptic answers. :)

I know the rules for Round 3 aren't available yet, but for everyone competing in Round 2, it would be a good idea to start brainstorming a bunch of ideas. Once the rules go live, pick the best one of the bunch and get to work fine-tuning it. I personally spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about a project before I actually put fingers to keyboard. I probably spend 60%–70% (sometimes 80%) of my freelance deadlines concepting and brainstorming, and then once the idea is set I can jam out the words. By brainstorming now, you already have your head wrapped around a few good ideas, and once you choose you can get right down to refining the idea.

Good luck! Give me cool things to review! Make it hard for me to choose!

Contributor

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Folks, I put together a long advice PDF about monster design, you can get it here, if you think my advice is worth anything. Hopefully you'll find it useful whether you're writing for RPG Superstar, for Adam, for a third-party publisher, or for your own campaign. :)

And now... I sleep. :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

This was a fantastic use of 10k gp in diamond dust Adam.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

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Today I helped some of you competitors a tiny bit. Owen ran a rule for the next round past me for a gut check, and I told him that it felt too restrictive, so he scratched it.

For that small gift, I expect even awesomer* monsters!

*Bonus Tip: Don't use words like "awesomer" in your write ups. :)

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Black Powder Chocobo

How about awesomesauce, awesoming, or Daiglemancer?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Heh heh, I know I proposed a few ideas for R3 twists, but don't know if any of them made it to the R3 rules.

Either way, I hope to see more awesomer monsters! ;)

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

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I see the Bestiary 5 cover now... introducing the new mythic titan called... "The Awesomer" :P

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Round 3 rules are up!

Congrats to the Top 16 and good luck on your monster creation!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

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Wow. That Nar-Voth twist is a big one. That could certainly throw off some folks' planning.

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

It would have thrown me off, I had to look up Nar-Voth.
Except that I haven't been able to 'climb on' yet to be thrown off. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Wow. That Nar-Voth twist is a big one. That could certainly throw off some folks' planning.

...yup

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Adam Daigle wrote:

Howdy folks! Some of you entering and following along with RPG Superstar know me already, but some of you don’t. If that’s the case and you’re interested knowing more about me, clicky on the button right there. Onward to monster design tips!

** spoiler omitted **...

From Adam's introduction I imagine him surrounded by dusty old tomes, mostly ancient copies of various bestiray and a massive collection of monster toys (anyone remember Monsters in my Pocket?).

Loads of great advice here, thanks @Adam. This is one of the great things about RPG Superstar... the chance to learn and grow, both as a GM and as a designer of things that eat people.


Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Wow. That Nar-Voth twist is a big one. That could certainly throw off some folks' planning.

I don't know that it's that big a twist. There's a lot of development area for Darklands monsters. Last year's urban setting seemed more of a curveball to me.


Captain Phoenix wrote:


From Adam's introduction I imagine him surrounded by dusty old tomes, mostly ancient copies of various bestiray and a massive collection of monster toys (anyone remember Monsters in my Pocket?).

Loads of great advice here, thanks @Adam. This is one of the great things about RPG Superstar... the chance to learn and grow, both as a GM and as a designer of things that eat people.

Daigle knows his monsters. Case in point.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

Jeff Lee wrote:
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Wow. That Nar-Voth twist is a big one. That could certainly throw off some folks' planning.
I don't know that it's that big a twist. There's a lot of development area for Darklands monsters. Last year's urban setting seemed more of a curveball to me.

I had to look up Var-Noth, but I agree. Darklands (especially upper Darklands) monsters seem like not that big of a deal. Urban is way less common. Which is not to say that Darklands monsters are easy. It takes a decent twist to make them stand out from every other dungeon monster...


Eric Hindley wrote:
Jeff Lee wrote:
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Wow. That Nar-Voth twist is a big one. That could certainly throw off some folks' planning.
I don't know that it's that big a twist. There's a lot of development area for Darklands monsters. Last year's urban setting seemed more of a curveball to me.
I had to look up Var-Noth, but I agree. Darklands (especially upper Darklands) monsters seem like not that big of a deal. Urban is way less common. Which is not to say that Darklands monsters are easy. It takes a decent twist to make them stand out from every other dungeon monster...

I suppose that means contestants who have run the Second Darkness Adventure Path before or own Into the Darklands might have a bit of an edge.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

People knowing our setting and general design tastes will almost always have an edge, at least in the eyes of some of the judges and voters.

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

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It also isn't a very big ask that, if you win and thus write for paizo, you are willing to invest in one or two pdf's - they aren't ubah expensive, and knowing about what you intend to write for is not a bad thing to strive to do.

I have just purchased a couple of core books in pdf for another game settings that has intrigued me to want to try and write for it. So I look at that as research costs.


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Not sure how they do it on your side of the pond, but here you can use those as tax write-offs, since they're research material for freelance work.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

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Now that the contestants' maps are turned in and the Round 3 rules are out, seems like this would be a good time to dust this thread off and bring it back into regular rotation.

For those of you just tuning in, the first post of this thread contains a bunch of monster design advice I wrote a couple of years ago, and I answer a bunch of questions in the body of the thread as well. I hope this helps folks make some awesome monsters. I'm looking forward to judging the monsters again this time around!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

This thread has now been rezzed more times than the doctor.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

Oi Adam...I've got questions for you an idea I have but I'm afraid I can't ask you! (It's only about history of something you created)

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Kiel, try asking someone to ask someone else to ask Neil. A couple degrees of separation should help.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Sir_Toon

I really don't know Osgood my odds are to make it to round three, but this thread is a wonderful asset and helps a lot with those pre round jitters.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Cyrad

Where's the Round 3 rules?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Unofficial rules

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9 aka electricjokecascade

This thread is great - thanks for sharing your expertise, Adam!

Does anybody know where one can get a copy of Sean's Monster Advice PDF? His old link to Etsy no longer works.

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