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This shark-like creature has four long tentacles surrounding its mouth, which is full of rows upon rows of razor-sharp teeth. The creature’s body is covered in oozing pustules and sores from long exposure to sewer water.
Selachipoda CR 4
N Large aberration (aquatic)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +8
----- Defense -----
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+3 Dex, +6 natural, -1 size)
hp 33 (6d8+12)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +5
Defensive Abilities Immune disease, poison Resist acid 5, cold 5
----- Offense -----
Speed swim 40 ft.
Melee bite +6 (1d8+1), 4 tentacles +4 (1d6 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with tentacles)
Special Attacks constrict (1d6+1), multigrab, regurgitate skeleton, swallow whole (1d6 slashing damage plus sewer water poison, AC 13, 3 hp)
----- Statistics -----
Str 13, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 5
Base Atk +4; CMB +7 (+11 grapple); CMD 20 (24 vs. grapple)
Feats Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +8, Stealth +4 (+9 in sewers), Swim +15; Racial Modifiers +5 Stealth in sewers
----- Ecology -----
Environment urban aquatic
Organization solitary, pair, feeding frenzy (3-4 feeding on rat swarm)
----- Special Abilities -----
Multigrab (Ex) A selachipoda’s tentacles are semi-autonomous, and therefore can act together or completely independently. The selachipoda can grapple multiple creatures of its size or smaller at the same time, up to one with each of its four tentacles, and all checks made to maintain any current grapples can be made as a single Move or Standard action each round. The selachipoda does not gain the grappled condition when grappling a creature using its tentacles.
Regurgitate Skeleton (Su) Each round during combat, at the start of its turn, there is a 40% chance that a selachipoda will regurgitate 1d3 skeletal rats (use statistics for a rat familiar, Bestiary page 132, but with undead traits and immunity to acid) as a Move action, which will attack any living thing near them. This ability can only be used once in a 24-hour period. The selachipoda will not attack these skeletons, as they are unappetizing in this form.
Sewer Water Poison (Ex) Swallow whole—contact; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Strength damage and nauseated for 1 round; cure 1 save.
The strange creatures known as selachipoda dwell in the sewers below Absalom and other large cities of Golarion, feeding on anything that falls into the disgusting waters in which they hunt. They are thought to have arisen from sharks that made the mistake of entering Absalom’s sewer network, but then could not find their way out.
However they came to be, selachipoda are fierce hunters who reach out of murky sewer waters with grasping tentacles to snatch and swallow prey. A selachipoda’s meal is slowly digested in its stomach, which is lined with bony protrusions almost as sharp as its teeth. A selachipoda’s ability to grapple multiple creatures at once makes a swarm of rats a favored meal, so thieves and others who use the sewers under Absalom for clandestine travel have learned to scan the depths of sewer water for a selachipoda if they stumble across such a swarm.
Selachipoda stomachs are filled with a horrid mix of sewer liquid and mutagenic bile, and this disgusting mixture has the capacity to reanimate small creatures that had been swallowed into skeletal horrors. These skeletons can sometimes be found attacking other creatures, attracting the selachipoda back to the site to feed on the newly discovered creatures.
|Liz Courts Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8|
Hi Tyler! I'll be one of the judges for this round, and I'll be looking at a couple of key points for your creature: flavor, GM usability, and how well it fits into the world of Golarion. For some background, I helped found the Wayfinder fanzine before I started working for Paizo, and these are all points that I took into consideration when selecting articles for the magazine. In addition, I oversee every third-party Pathfinder Roleplaying Game product that makes its way onto Paizo.com.
Ewww...And I mean that in a good way! Opens right up with a great description of its appearance, and your descriptive text gives me a great sense of how it would function in my game.
I can see this creature being mistaken for aboleth--mistaken identities being a fun trope to use ever now and then. I am concerned at the multigrab ability, as it could be quite the challenge to an ill-equipped party (even more so when multiples of them are encountered), and constrict on top of that--ouch! The regurgitation of skeletal rats is...ripe (hah) for a fun tactical element in play, and encountering this guy in the sewer tunnels will probably make any low-level party yearn to bring back rat tails to the barkeep.
This seems to be a creature very specifically designed for Absalom, but flexible enough to be used in other cities with ease. I would have liked something a bit more specific to Absalom (or Korvosa, or Goka, etc.) to make a bit more uniquely Golarion.
New sewer creatures that aren't thieves, kobolds, goblins, rat swarms, or otyughs? Adding this to my random encounter list. I do recommend this monster for advancement.
|Lee Hammock Goblinworks Lead Game Designer|
Hi Tyler, I'm Lee Hammock, the lead game designer on Pathfinder Online. Before that I did lots of d20 freelance work, but I'm probably going to be leaving mechanics to the more up to date judges and concentrating on story, overall balance, and how I could see using them in a game.
Ick. Good description of its appearance, this thing sounds disgusting.
The selachipoda seems like a great threat for a group of low level characters. I could see using this in any trip to the sewers of a large city and keeping a group well tasked with one or two of them. It's dangerous but not overwhelming, and encourages some tactical thinking to not get swallowed. Also this is probably the worst description I've ever seen of getting swallowed; not only are you in it's stomach, but the stomach has teeth too. And that's just terrible. The only note I had about the stats were questions about the Regurgitate Skeleton ability; where do the rats appear? Can it spit them out a short distance? If so, it could be an interesting way to deal with PCs who are smart enough to not get in the water.
I would say this is a Should Vote For.
|Adam Daigle Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9|
Congrats on making it to this round! May you have the luck and talent to push all the way through to the end!
When I develop a monster for the Adventure Path bestiaries, I print out the monster entry, and then go through it in a quick pass, marking up the page with notes and highlighting any problems that I need to address later when I really dig into it. Much of the time I’m circling things in the stat block or flavor text and leaving a quick note. Most often, this quick note pass is performed while I’m writing out art orders for the monsters so I can make sure that the description I give to the artist is what the final monster will be. This is where I make note of any changes I plan to make (some of which I’m sure frustrate some of my freelancers from time to time).
I’m going to judge this round in a similar manner to how I’d treat a monster I ordered from a freelancer if I asked one of my freelancers to just send me something within the same parameters that you’ve been given. My review isn’t anything personal, and since tone is difficult to communicate online sometimes, imagine my comments and critiques read in a friendly and nudging way. To heighten the experience, imagine my comments on your monster written in purple ink. :)
The blue italicized first line in my review was my gut reaction from reading the name with no context whatsoever. It was a fun guessing game I was playing while reviewing the monsters, so I included that note for everyone’s enjoyment. (Spoiler Alert: I was wrong a lot.)
And now to the monster!
Saw the name, expected shark, figured I’d get tentacles.
Got shark and tentacles, just like it says on the tin.
“Urban aquatic” isn’t an environment we use. Also there’s no climate entry.
Move and standard aren’t capitalized.
Average damage is high.
It’s weaker than a shark its same size and weaker than a squid one size lower.
These sound creepy and dangerous.
In your flavor text you mention that their ability to grapple multiple creatures makes rat swarms their favored meal, but you can’t technically grapple rat swarms. I know what you mean, but different wording would be more clear.
It’s kinda weird that it can animate rat skeletons in its belly. You use the phrase “mutagenic biles” but that doesn’t fully explain the reasoning or effect. Mutagen is already a game term and necromancy is involved with animating the dead, so it seems like a bad word choice in this case.
Also, it vomiting rat skeletons makes it seem that it only does this to rats. What happens when it eats a halfling or a cat?
This is a weird and gross monster that has a few problems, but it’s a cool idea.
The monster is urban and has a tie to Golarion.
This would take some time to develop.
I do recommend selachipoda for advancement.
|Garrett Guillotte Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8|
|John Swenson 262|
|Kiel Howell RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase|
Sounds like a scientific name of an animal domain...not sure what to make of it yet.
I had to reread the intro sentence. At first I thought it meant the tentacles were full of teeth.
A Large aquatic aberration...let's see how you make this urban.
That's a lot in the Special Attacks line.
I would have just called your 3-5 group a frenzy. They may not be feeding at all times.
Wha...semi-autonomous face tentacles? Weird. Does that mean they each get an init roll? I'm a little worried about the strength of this beastie after reading the Multigrab ability.
Ok...getting weirder in abilities with rat skeletons. But it's pretty cool and thematic for a hungry face tentacle fish to regurgitate skeletal rats as a summon monster type ability.
I don't like that you as the author don't know how they came to be :) Be more assertive!
Overall, I'm willing to forgive a lot for this creature. It is weird and fun and I kind of am drooling to run this. Keep...but focus on mechanically tightening it up.
|Elghinn Lightbringer Star Voter Season 8|
Great description, and tastey monster for a sewer-based adventure that could scare the pants off the PCs. Good job Tyler, you did great! Although the regurgitation of animated rat skeletons is cool, nonanimated rat skeletons that are regurgitated as a ranged attack would also have been an interesting angle. Hate to get swallowed by this thing. I could see these things being raised and trained by sewer denizens as guards, perhaps a secret thieve's guild or such.
I'd vote this one through.
|Avatar-1 Star Voter Season 6|
|Beast from the Deep|
I didn't have a lot of time for item reviewing this weekend, so I'm doing monsters instead. First I'll look at how the monster's basic rundown fits the monster creation table, then general theme and abilities.
= Monster meets the target statistics for its CR
+ Monster exceeds the target stats for its CR
++ Monster greatly exceeds target stats for its CR
- Monster's stats do not meet target stats for its CR
-- Monster's stats are greatly below target stats for its CR
High Atk -/--
High Dmg +
Primary Ability DC: =
Secondary Ability DC: n/a
Good save: -
Poor save: +
The damage output for this thing is slightly higher than average for a combat-focused monster of CR 4...if it focuses all its attacks on a single target, and this monster isn't designed to do that. The multigrab ability all but assures that it will be targeting multiple opponents, and the tentacles do an average of 3 hp of damage per round of constriction. If you're not squishy, you're not in a lot of danger until it's your turn to be swallowed. Also, it has lower-than-average attack bonuses, and the tentacles are secondary attacks.
Multigrab: Limiting the grapple to one or two size categories smaller than the monster might mitigate the perception that the ability is overpowered.
Regurgitate Skeleton: It vomits skeletons? Awesome! Only rat skeletons? Aww...lame. The text later says it "has the capacity to reanimate small creatures" which hints that it could do this to other things besides rats, but mechanics trump flavor text, so we're left with 1d3 rat skeletons that are a nuisance at best. This ability could have used some serious reworking.
Sewer Water Poison: It swallows me, continues to chew me up inside, and poisons me? We're back to awesome again.
I could have used some stronger Golarion ties here, but this is definitely a cool urban creature. Despite some missteps, I'm liking the creative vibe of this thing and would be interested in seeing how you fare in Round 3.
|Sean McGowan 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|
Sewer dwelling sharktopus with a necromantic belly? Ew! And weird! And... kind of awesome.
Since there's no limit on how long the skeletal rats last once produced, this could be a fun adventure setup, with the PCs headed down below to find out why there are rat skeletons coming out of the sewer gratings, fighting their ways through swarms of the horrid little things, and winding up finding something completely awful as the source.
This is crazy, and yet you make it work. There's a lot of disparate elements here that come together to make an insane and yet memorable monster encounter. I think this is a definite vote for me.
|Oceanshieldwolf Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9|
Disclaimer: I provided feedback for this monster.
The thing I like about this creature is its size - it is entirely doable for this creature to both swallow characters (and grind them into adventurer pate) and hold creatures in its belly. I could also see the necromantic (or otherwise) rats (or otherwise) also having an opportunistic gnaw on the hapless adventurer while inside.
I like Elghinn Lightbringer's idea of spewing bones as a ranged attack, and I agree mutagenic rats (or as others have pointed out, anything) might be a better fit than necromantic/undead.
I like the alligators in the sewers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle feel and the large dumb creature that is actually very deadly suits me.
Given the situation/habitat, and the immunity to disease, I can totally see some filthy disease as well, but I'm sure you are already pushing the CR envelope…
I wasn't entirely wowed by the sharktopus concept, but the added rat skeletons moves this well into shades of Fighting Fantasy's Deathtrap Dungeon territory. And we all know there ain't enough reasons to fear going into the sewers these days. Nice job Tyler!
|DJEternalDarkness Star Voter Season 7|
|Curaigh Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9|
I am trying to keep reviews simple to get through them quickly.
Creative: sewer shark with mouth tentacles... any two of those I have seen before, but combing all three scores some points. Regurgitate swarm, poisonous gut, and even the multiple grab are all unique well done.
Fun to GM: I can clearly see how everything runs so, aye. Especially with the rat swarm you just suggested :)
Golarion Tie: Not bad, big cities have sewers, sewers have these critters. The 'shortcut through the sewers' sounds like something a Venture-Captain or two has suggested for my PFS characters, so that was the clincher for me.
Good luck! :)
|frank gori RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral|
|Nicholas Herold RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138|
I've given this round a lot of thought. I've read over all of the monsters, done some deliberation, and come to my conclusions. That said:
Concept wise, we're dealing with gold here. Sewer adventures are a dime a dozen, and yet few aquatic organisms end up there--it's always otyughs, rats, undead and (in PF at least) derro. Since most sewers do have copious water in them, making more critters for it is a niche that needed filling. Making it a sore-covered shark/squid hybrid feels classic. Honestly, this critter could have been designed for the original Fiend Folio.
Mechanically, the entry is pretty tight, but could use some tweaking. As pointed out upthread, it's weaker than a shark or a squid, but I think that's a feature, not a bug. The multigrab combo is nasty, and boosting the strength scores could elevate the damage, and thus the CR, a bit. Since it's sickly and deformed, there's even a good flavorful excuse for this drop in ability scores.
The spit skeletons doesn't sit quite right with me, but not for any reasons mentioned previously. Although I agree that plain old rats are a little underwhelming as summons for CR 4, my big problem is the "40% each round" thing. Percentile rolls to determine when a monster makes an attack went out with 2e. It already has the 1/day limitation--this means that poor rolls will prevent a selachipod from making its most dramatic attack in a combat. And if you're using a skeleton-vomiting tentacled sewer shark, you want to make sure it gets to vomit some skeletons.
Despite the misstep with the spit skeletons ability, I really like this entry. It has that "1st edition feel" that some publishers are big on, without seeming unfair or overly mean. I did vote for this entry. Best of luck!
|Joel Flank 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|
Wow, very cool. I was ready to vote for it as soon as I read multi-grab, which is really an ability many monsters in the game should have...I know when running just about any tentacled grabbing monster, they use the grab and release tactic...being able to keep a few PCs grappled at once just makes sense if a monster can use the grab ability with more than one natural attack in the first place.
On top of that, just an overall great entry, weird without being bizarrely weird.
Now to figure out what previous vote you bumped off my ballot.
|Oceanshieldwolf Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9|
|Mike Welham Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9|
I'm glad to see this icky sewer monster, which fits into an urban dungeon environment, but not necessarily any other dungeon. The semi-autonomous tentacles are a neat addition, and the sewer water poison is an appropriate ability (I think a disease would have been a good fit as well, but that would really stretch the CR).
I think you could have explored the origins a little more to give a stronger Golarion feel (you could tie it to Lamashtu, for example). The regurgitate ability seems out of place, and I feel you could have done a better job explaining that in the description.
Overall, this is worth consideration for a vote. Best of luck in this round.
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Yay I can finally post!!
Okay, so first off I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your comments and critiques. There were several things I would have liked to do slightly differently with this creature, but word count really constrained me. Hopefully I can address a few of the issues that you guys brought up here:
1. Flavor: i.e. why a sewer shark?
I started writing this monster up with the thought that it would be a sewer creature from the beginning, so when the twist was revealed that it needed to be an urban creature, I was ecstatic. I had a couple other ideas going through my head, but I felt that this was by far the most evocative and interesting.
I was trying to go for "gross" but not so much that it would involve crude language and description of things that might cause people to feel overly icky. Having it covered in nasty sores seemed appropriate, and from there I decided to make it an aberration instead of a magical beast. Swallowing its prey was an instant given for me, and the multigrab came about when I thought "What would it eat in the sewer? Rat swarms, of course!"
I'm glad that many people liked the Multigrab ability... it's something that I've felt for a while that some monsters should be able to do... why should the Colossal dragon be limited to holding one creature in one of its claws, as opposed to one in each claw and one in its mouth? Some people are worried about it being too powerful against a single creature, but this monster is absolutely not built to fight against a single creature. If I was running it as a GM against just a single creature, I would probably just substitute a regular shark instead. However, with a party of 4-5, this creature will do decent damage while grappling a few characters at a time and trying to swallow one during each turn, and that's what it's really designed to do.
My original version of this ability included a +2 to grapple checks for each tentacle in addition to the first used to grapple a creature, but I realized that against a single foe that would be way too devastating, so i dropped that.
Specifically in response to something that Mr. Daigle said: Yes I definitely recognize that saying that a "rat swarm" is a favored meal doesn't work with the grappling, but in this case I had to go with imagery over rules-correctness. In reality, the selachipoda likes to eat singular rats that happen to be moving in a large group (which is what a rat swarm is, really) so I went with the word "swarm" despite its specificity in the rules.
This was actually the last major change I made to the selachipoda before I submitted it, and it originally was meant to allow for the idea of the creature's nasty stomach contents to reanimate some of the meals it eats and then those undead creatures to crawl back out of its gullet. I ran into a couple little issues when writing up this ability, the largest of which was that we technically can't use any templates for our submissions (even if the template doesn't apply to the creature itself). So, instead of being able to have a rat with the skeletal template jump out of its mouth and attack, I had to use the slightly awkward wording that I used, to get the point across. If this monster was to be published, I would instead have it regurgitate a skeletal (as in the skeletal template) version of its last meal (which could be used to increase the CR of the encounter, with 1d3 skeletal rats being the default). I might even include a random (1d6?) table of likely creatures to be spit out!
Nicholas Herold mentioned another thing about this ability that I would have liked to do differently, but couldn't come up with a better way... the 40% chance of the regurgitation per round. The reason I did it the way I did was that the selachipoda is supposed to be non-intelligent... certainly not intelligent enough to decide when to burp up a few skeletal rats. I couldn't come up with a better way of making this happen without allowing the selachipoda to be strategic about it, so if you can come up with a better way to write this, please let me know! :)
@Lee Hammock: I didn't think about where the rats would show up exactly, but it was my intention that they'd appear adjacent to the selachipoda, with preference given to solid surfaces so that they wouldn't immediately sink.
Swallow whole and stomach poison
I was obviously going for "gross" here, along with "scary!" because of the stomach essentially having teeth and dealing slashing damage. This was written to evoke the idea of a creature being swallowed, then being slashed by lots of little shark teeth and having gross, dirty water infect their wounds. This could have been done with a disease, but I felt that a poison was more appropriate to the CR, as some others have pointed out.
Other abilities that I considered
One thing that I would have liked to include in this monster that I couldn't fit because of word limits was the ability to fit through areas smaller than its body without squeezing (so that PCs wouldn't be able to just run through an area of the sewer where the waterway is 5 feet and effectively defeat the thing). I dropped this ability for the word count of the regurgitate skeleton ability.
3. THANK YOU!
I'd just like to thank everyone for reading the monster and giving me their critiques, and to everyone who voted in the item or monster rounds (whether you voted for the selachipoda or not!) thank you SO MUCH for your hard work and taking the time to read all of these crazy creatures and items!!
If you have any specific questions or clarifications left about my monster, please don't hesitate to post here... I'll be watching it carefully as we go into the next few rounds. Thanks again!
|Andrew Marlowe RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520|
|Jacob W. Michaels RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor|
|cartmanbeck RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 7|
While I'm patiently waiting for our encounter rounds to be posted, I figured I'd jump in here once more.
@Jacob: The only reason I didn't do compression is that it seems like it's too much... I'd rather have a weaker version of compression that just lets him move through a space half his size with no penalty or 1/4 his size with standard squeezing penalties.