Imaginus


Round 2: Create a Bestiary entry

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

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This blue tinted creature appears to be a small child made of solid magic that smiles wickedly as it fades from view.

Imaginus CR 3
XP 800
CN Small Construct
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception -1
----- Defense -----
AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)
hp 32 (4d10+10)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +0
Defensive Abilities construct traits, natural invisibility
----- Offense -----
Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +3 (1d3-1 plus 2d6 sneak attack)
Ranged sling +6 (1d3 plus 2d6 sneak attack)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3th)
At will—mage hand
1/day—gust of wind
2/day—animate rope, hydraulic push
----- Statistics -----
Str 6, Dex 13, Con --, Int 11, Wis 9, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +1; CMD 12
Feats Catch Off-guard, Friendly Switch(APG)
Skills Craft (trapmaking) +4, Stealth +9
Languages Common
SQ Magical Affinity, Uncraftable
----- Ecology -----
Environment any urban
Organization solitary
Treasure none
----- Special Abilities -----
Magical Affinity (Su) An imaginus is composed of raw magic made solid. The spells dispel magic and break enchantment deal 1d6 points of damage to an animus targeted or caught in the spell’s area of effect. Such spells deal an additional 1d6 points of damage for every 2 caster levels after 1st. This damage is halved if the imaginus succeeds at a DC 14 Will save. It also cannot enter an antimagic field. If an antimagic field is cast with it inside the imaginus takes 1d6 damage per round until it escapes the area or is destroyed. The imaginus does not heal by normal construct means. It instead can choose to devour its own spell-like abilities to heal 1d6 damage per spell level.
Natural Invisibility (Ex) An imaginus is naturally invisible to all but the child that created it. This provides all the normal bonuses of invisibility. After using a spell-like ability or attacking, it stops being invisible and instead gains the benefit of blur until the start of its next turn when it returns to being invisible.
Uncraftable (Ex) This construct is a random manifestation of a child’s imagination and latent magic ability and cannot be crafted.

An imaginus is a very rare creation crafted from a combination of a child’s inherent magical abilities and imagination. An imaginus is a creature of pure magic given solid form. The creation of an imaginus is typically an isolated incident unless it is a highly populated city with an unusually high percentage of disowned children, such as Absalom or Nidal. Most often, the child that manifests an imaginus is an outcast who has no one else to rely on or protect them. The imaginus will always put itself in harm’s way to defend the manifester and has been known to attack at the slightest provocation. Its direct attacks are fairly weak so it prefers to use its stealth and cunning to exact revenge for any perceived slight. Common methods an imaginus will use to execute these attacks include knocking people down stairs or dropping heavy objects onto their heads. At first, most people will think these attacks are little more than an oddity, believing them to be bad luck or the work of a weak poltergeist. However, the longer the imaginus is around, the more frequently the attacks occur as it begins to become increasingly paranoid over its manifester’s safety and starts attacking needlessly. The imaginus shares a magical bond to the manifester and can always pinpoint their location.

Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hi there! 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.

Flavor
Really great flavor--it's your imaginary friend made real, and uses your own magical abilities to manifest. Unfortunately, the idea has been covered though, and there's not much making it stand out from these other creatures.

GM Usability
Gah, natural invisibility...a potential TPK if the party is not prepared for it, and there are no listed weaknesses for this creature (other than its link to a child). I have some concerns in its ability selection, though... Why is it uncraftable if it's a construct? The construct type implies deliberate creation, and this creature is definitely not. Given its abilities, a magical beast would have been a better choice, with the inability to heal naturally unless it consumes its spell-like abilities.

Setting
This dips a toe into the "violence against children" pool that's generally a no-no, and could go poorly a number of different ways depending on how the GM and players handle it. While Absalom is the easy go-to choice for an urban creature, this could just as easily be found in Quantium or Starfall. Invisible protector spirits of children...but what happens when the children grow up?

Final Thoughts
The imaginus is a good concept but not executed well (the creature type chosen with its abilities doesn't work for me), but the concept is already covers ground trod by a summoner's eidolon. I do not recommend this monster for advancement.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

Hi Ixxix, 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.

The visual description says it looks like solid magic. That seems a really vague description as magic comes in all shapes and sizes.

Sort of like the nafligo, this seems like a somewhat benign creature and no solution is given to the problems it causes aside from killing it. Some guidance to getting the child that spawned it to let the imaginus go or some such would be a welcome option here. The core idea of an imaginary friend made real is a neat idea, I just don't know that I would ever use it an adventure, especially if the solution to the problem is murdering the imaginary friend.

Stats wise the unlimited invisibility seems really powerful (this may be because in the Pathfinder game I am playing in we ran into an invisible creature when we weren't prepared for it and really messed us up). It does seem weird to make this a construct as, while it is in a sense built from the child's imagination, it doesn't really seem construct-like at all. If it were a toy or something empowered to defend the child, sure, that I could see as a construct. This seems like something else.

I would say this is a Should Not Vote For.

Paizo Employee 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!

”How I Judged These Monsters”:

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!

Not the most imaginative name. Maybe it redeems itself.

What does solid magic look like? This is almost a non-description, similar to “This is a creature out of nightmares.”
AC is low, hit points are a slight touch over the target. Damage is low, even considering the addition of the conditional sneak attack. ( I see you addressed this in the flavor text, nice to throw that in)
Magical Affinity: dispel magic and break enchantment should do more than 1d6 points of damage. Those are 3rd- and 5th-level spells. Giving it the bonus for every 2 caster levels above first is weird since a 1st-level caster can’t even use those spells. I would have went with a different mechanic. In addition, you bring up antimagic field (cleric 8, sorc/wiz 6), another spell that isn’t available to low-level characters. It’s almost like you had this idea and then tried to fit it to a low CR creature. The last line of the ability is troubling. It can use at will SLAs to heal itself? Kinda strong. Also, what does “does not heal by normal construct means” mean? Most constructs don’t heal naturally. Does that mean you can’t use make whole on it? Because make whole specifically speaks to healing constructs, and if this construct can’t be affected by make whole, that needs to be called out.
Ah, got it... it’s an imaginary friend made real.
I don’t get the hydraulic push SLA. That one doesn’t really fit the rest of them thematically. I’m assuming that it’s there to knock people down, but the flavor is off.
The imaginary friend thing is kinda neat, but I’m not sure this was executed in the best way.
This monster is urban and has some sort of tie to Golarion. This would take some work to develop for print.

I don’t recommend imaginus for advancement.

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

Name is kind of blah and makes me think it's a rod or ring or item of some sort.

Unconstructable construct. I think you are trying to get across the dichotomy of magic made real but it just falls flat if that's the case.

This is a little all over the place and needs some focus. I think that you chose construct for this creature really hindered you.

Overall it's just not the best entry out there. The road already traveled and less focused, evocative, and cool than those.

Dark Archive

The ability to sense it's manifesting child is tacked onto the bottom of the description, and, IMO, should instead be a special ability.

As mentioned above, 'made of pure magic' isn't terribly descriptive to those of us in the real world that have never seen real magic. :)

I'm not thrilled with the mechanics, but I *do* like the story potential of a protector of children / imaginary friend / monster of the id that can get *too* protective and turn into something that needs to be dealt with for the good of the child. (A fey might have gone better in this specific role, than a construct, perhaps, not that this phase of the competition was exactly lacking in fey...)

Then again, that same story can be told with a child who is (unconsciously) manifesting the abilities of a 1st level Summoner, and whose eidolon is attacking those who have bullied or neglected or upset it...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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Do they have a weakness for chocolate milk?

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

The first thing that struck me was that the name sounds very like something J.K. Rowling would come up with. That's not a criticism, I always felt she had a good knack for creating creature names that worked perfectly in the context of the Potter books even if they might sound silly otherwise. Still, I'm not sure that the name 'Imaginus' grabs me here.
While the concept of the 'real' imaginary friend has been seen before, there's always more room for more contenders in that trope, so I don't at all feel it's a bad idea to explore that fairly cool design space. That said, I'm not sure the design itself works to well here. a CR3 creature with natural (recurring) invisibility and a 2d6 sneak attack is potentially super lethal. Their SLAs are okay, mostly in touch with the theme. I do like their being able to heal themselves by 'eating' their spells.
I don't so much mind these being constructs, since I think there's still room inside that creature type to explore options besides yet another animated statue. But that does raise the question, since these are 'uncraftable' and so intimately tied to their manifester, what happens when that manifester dies? (Or, possibly worse, grows up and stops believing in imaginary friends?) Do they cease to exist, are they cut free and look for a new kid to tie themselves to? I kind of like the possible notion of one of these jealously stalking a grown-up ex-manifester who has no idea why weird things happen around him. (Drop Dead Fred, anyone?)
This could get my vote; right now the questions and issues I have with it push it to the middle of the pack, but I still have a lot of other entries to read through. Cool idea regardless.

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

I appreciate all of the feedback and will make sure to incorporate it into any future rounds. Thank you.


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

hp: +
AC: -
High Atk -/=
High Dmg --
Primary Ability DC: =
Secondary Ability DC: n/a
Good save: --
Poor save: --

Despite the concerns others have about the sneak attack damage, it doesn't come close to giving the monster an average amount of damage for a creature of its Challenge Rating. Since the other attacks mentioned in the text--dropping heavy objects or tripping someone down the stairs--don't apply precision damage, this isn't a problem. The natural invisibility helps offset some of it, but one see invisibility on the fighter and 2-3 rounds later this little guy is a goner. The problem is that it is weak for a CR 3 monster.

Magical Affinity: This could have been rewritten to say the imaginus takes 1d6 damage plus an additional 1d6 per two caster levels from the appropriate spells, thus saving you word count for other things. An antimagic field should do more damage, possibly enough to kill it outright if it stays in longer than a round. I do think the "ingestion" of its own spell-like abilities is a clever idea. However, what about mage hand? It's useable at will.

Natural Invisibility: An interesting twist with the blur effect, but it really should have some line about being able to be seen by the child that created it, and possibly being able to become visible to others.

I really like the concept overall, though I have concerns about the execution. This is a sort of monster that would be inspiring for certain urban scenarios, that's for sure. While I wouldn't have chosen construct for the type, I can overlook that. The overall package, sadly, makes this one a fence-sitter for me until I've gone over all the entries. I'm left with a lot of the same questions as the others that commented before me. What happens when the child is grown, or dies, or decides that its friend is scary and demands it go away? There's some gray area here that needs definition.

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

Congratulations Clay,
I am trying to keep reviews simple to get through them quickly.
Creative: spell incarnate? yes please.
Fun to GM: I think the magical affinity is three abilities including a weakness, It's not clear. Did the name change? Talking my PCs into threatening the bonded child will be problematic.
Golarion Tie: minimal.

Good luck! :)

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:

The idea of a monster bound to protect a child is not a new one, and it's gotten a lot of tread over the decades. It's not one that is super-well-represented in Pathfinder, but that niche could very easily be taken by a 1st level summoner's eidolon or the like. The descriptive text is not strong, as others have pointed out. The prose in general could use some tightening. I do like the idea of putting them in Nidal, with its high rate of orphans--but perhaps Isger could have served you better? Lots of orphanages, lots of potential for conflict there.

Mechanically, this entry is way off the map. Since its invisibility snaps back at the start of every turn, and it has sneak attack, that means that it will always get its sneak attack off. That makes it a PK machine. The "magical affinity" ability is too complicated--it tries to do too much at once. Splitting it up into multiple abilities would have made it more streamlined and comprehensible.

Overall, the imaginus has a lot of issues, both conceptually and mechanically. A good monster could be built from this idea, but a few more passes are certainly needed. I will not be voting for this creature. Best of luck!

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

For making an imaginary friend monster of a poor magically gifted child, you neglected a few important things. First, what happens when the child grows up, isn't a downtrodden urchin anymore, etc., and what happens in the child dies or is killed. You don't actually say that this would kill the imaginus, even though the background certainly suggests this is so. As others have said, the easy solution of killing the child is an area many gamers don't want to go to.

As for the creature itself, I didn't feel the Golarion tie much, this could be in any generic fantasy city, and felt that it's not very effective at what's supposed to be its primary function - protecting it's child/best friend. Instead, it plays magic tricks on people who upset the kid, rather than either stop the attacks on the kid, or protects the kid from harm.

Using this in a game seems pretty limited - someone hires the PC to stop the weird tricks that are harrassing it, the PCs investigate, fight the imaginus perhaps, and discover that their employer is really a bad, bad person who harasses poor orphan kids, the PCs put their employer in his place, possibly fighting and killing him instead, and then discover that the poor precocious orphan has magical talent and find him a mentor to train him to use his magic well, the end. In other words, the imagines is too niche. Letting the child control it directly could add more possibilities, but even better would be if imaginuses were only created when such a child grows up, and abandons their imaginary magical friend, making it a loose free agent who goes around causing all sorts of trouble like a trouble making kid. That would also remove the "why don't we just kill the kid to make it go away" aspect, and could allow tracking down the adult former friend of the imaginus to find out what's going on.

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

Imaginus
The Good: The twisting of a child sorcerer's gift into something dangerous is a ripe idea for horror plot.
The Bad: Like Adam my reaction to your description was what does solid magic look like?
The Ugly: I have balance concerns in the mechanics and the writing isn't that sharp.
Overall: 4/10 - Not likely to gain my vote, there's better monsters out there to vote for.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

An child's imaginary friend given tangible form is a cool idea, and I could see this becoming a bizarre adversary for the PCs who might have unknowingly slighted the child who created it. The Golarion locations you chose nicely fit the theme.

I get the inclusion of hydraulic push as a way to emulate its poltergeist-like abilities, but the visual does not fit this creature. I also think the natural invisibility combined with its sneak attack is extremely powerful (instead, someone targeted by the imaginus could see a hazy outline of the creature).

Good luck in the voting!

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