Steel Miser

Round 2: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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This grey and blue scaled reptile slinks low as it moves with wings folded down, and horns folding across its brow and along its skull resembling a crown.

Steel Miser CR 3
XP 800
CE Small dragon (earth)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision; Perception +5
----- Defense -----
AC 15 touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 30 (4d12+4)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +2
Immune acid, paralysis, sleep
----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee gore +7 (1d4+1), 2 claws +7 (1d3+1)
Special Attacks breath weapon, brigand rush
----- Statistics -----
Str 13, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 13,Wis 6, Cha 10
Base Atk +4; CMB +4 (+6 disarm); CMD 16 (20 vs. trip)
Feats Weapon Finesse, Power Attack, Improved Disarm
Skills Appraise +8, Fly +15, Knowledge (local) +8, Perception +5, Sense Motive +5, Craft (trapmaking) +8, Stealth +17 (+21 in urban areas) ;Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (improves to +8 in urban areas)
Languages Common, Draconic, Terran
----- Ecology -----
Environment any urban
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard
----- Special Abilities -----
Breath Weapon (Su) Once every 1d4 rounds as a standard action, a steel miser can expel a 15-foot line of dull grey acid dealing 2d6 acid damage to all creatures struck (Reflex DC 13 halves). The liquid clings to walls, floors, and objects, affecting terrain as per the grease spell for two rounds. Non-magical metal doused in this acid loses 10 hardness. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Brigand Rush(Ex) When making a charge attack, a steel miser makes a single gore attack. If successful, it may also attempt to disarm its opponent as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Compulsive and patient, steel misers nest in abandoned warehouses and sewers where they gather precious goods without worry of intruders. These covetous dragons often shadow wealthy merchants, taking to rooftops, sewers, or tight passageways as needed, using its breath weapon to gain access to its interest. Misers rarely destroy something they perceive valuable, and take care to move treasures from one nest to another if not stalking or sleeping to keep their wealth safe.

A steel miser forced to fight will try to keep its distance and slowly wear down opponents, however they rarely flee a fight until they have garnered a trinket for their trouble. When retreating, a miser goes to an abandoned nest that they prepared to defend, and wait until they are certain they were not pursued.

A steel miser is 5 feet long and weighs 100 pounds.

Other types of metal corroding dragons exist; the steel miser is the most likely to survive alongside other races instead of in place of them, its variations are summarized below.

Steel Tyrant: These dusk scaled dragons are much larger, and their breath erodes stone and metal both. Steel tyrants are steel misers that become Huge size and advance to 11 Hit Dice and CR 9. They deal 9d6 damage with their breath weapon.

Mercurial Miser:Mercurial misers are the same size as their steel miser cousins, with red and black scales covering their body. They are far more aggressive and their breath weapon makes the iron in blood burn. Mercurial misers are advanced to 6 HD, gain 2d6 fire damage to their breath weapon and the grease effect lasts for 4 rounds, and affected metals suffer from the fire and acid damage each round. Mercural misers are CR 5.

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 more to the more up to date judges and concentrating on story, overall balance, and how I could see using them in a game.

I guess since this is a small off-shoot dragon the normal “metallic dragons are good” rule doesn't apply, but it does seem odd. Otherwise I love the backstory for this creature; mini-dragon hoarding thieves create a lot of options. I could see PCs being hired to find one that stole something interesting, or even the PCs trying to recruit a steel miser to help them break into some place. It takes the hoarding aspect of dragons to an interesting place, as a thief rather than a conqueror. It doesn't have any tie to Golarion though, which is a strike against it.

The mechanics are interesting, particularly the breath weapon. I'm surprised it doesn't have Disable Device as a skill, but does know how to make traps. The other variants are interesting, but I think the word count could have been better spent elsewhere.

I would say this is a Should 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!

I have no idea what to expect with this name. Construct vault guardian maybe?

Wasn’t expecting a dragon with this name. Also, yay! First dragon I’ve read so far.
I think this is the first dragon I’ve seen without a bite attack. The gore serves that purpose, I guess, but the lack of a bite attack jarred me a bit. Also, since its average damage is lower than the low target value, adding a bite attack wouldn’t have thrown its numbers off much.
The breath weapon is interesting. I like the combo effects, but including objects in the list and not calling out specific mechanics leaves unanswered questions (first of which is, “Why not creatures if objects are included?”). I probably would have just left it as a terrain-affecting effect. That last effect is weird too. Does this happen before the breath weapon deals damage to the metal object, like as if it bypassed damage reduction? Or is it on rounds after the object is already damaged that it loses its hardness? Is the hardness reduced forever? I think you probably could have just had this be an acid breath weapon that included a grease effect, which is cool by itself.
Okay, brigand rush explains why it has a gore and not a bite. It’s like a swordbreaker dragon.
The language in this entry could use some improvement. (“charge attack”, bad space semicolon racial mods.)
You switch between steel miser and miser. I understand, but it seems like using it that way you are introducing a new category of creatures called misers, and steel is just one of them.
This leads to something else. I somewhat like that you included variants. I like variants and use them fairly often in the two-page monster entries in the Pathfinder Adventure Path bestiaries. I tend to use them when the monster is an ooze, construct, animal, or some other creature that doesn’t have a lot to talk about in the ecology, habitat, or society categories. In this case, especially with limited word count, I would have much rather heard more about the steel miser than the two variants (only one of which is called a miser, which kinda breaks up the set). These variants make it look like you didn’t want to decide on one creature OR you wanted to introduce a group of new creatures OR you just didn’t have enough cool ideas about the main creature.
Which is kinda sad, because I dig the idea. I like the idea of urban dragons that are sneaky thieves.
The monster is urban but has no tie to Golarion. This monster would take a fair amount of time to develop for print.

I don’t recommend steel miser for advancement.

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

I'm kind of underwhelmed by the creature, to be honest. The inclusion of variants steel misers, while nice, doesn't really do anything to prop up the base creature's value as a monster. The name of the brigand rush ability bugs me, but I can't put my finger on why--just doesn't seem to match the presentation of the creature.

GM Usability
No Sleight of Hand skill for a creature that likes to take things for itself? Surprising. Do objects affected by the breath weapon get a saving throw too, or is it an automatic loss of hardness? Seems a touch much, and ripe for a case of "stop destroying the loot" at the table.

It fits into an urban environment, but doesn't feel like it's particularly Golarion in flavor.

Final Thoughts
A Small dragon is a welcome addition to the urban creature ranks, but there are problems mechanically, and tries to do too much with the introduction of variants (while not focusing on fitting it into the setting). I do not recommend this monster for advancement.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Thank you for your discussion. I'll be taking these thoughts into consideration given the change to advance.

Another Small dragon!

It has technical problems (Improved Disarm requires Combat Expertise as prerequisite for example), though.

Weak keep.

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

I wish the miser had a more direct connection to Golarion. It'd be a pretty easy vote for me because I think the little thieving dragon has great urban mojo.

I think I am more interested at this point in what Tyler would do next round, since the magic item is a battlefield control, and the dragon shows a little mechanical experimentation.

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

I really hope I don't get a pun on steal/steel.

Small earth dragon ok.

Hmmmm....pretty bland so far.

So basically Improved Disarm on a successful gore.

Overall...this isn't as good as the other dragon creatures this round and particularly the Guttersnipe set the bar very high for this type of creature. I don't think you swung hard enough with THIS creature and instead expended valuable word count on the variants. Cool idea but weak execution. Can't vote for it.

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

This doesn't wind up being as exciting to me as a dragon should be, I'm afraid.
I do like the breath weapon having the lingering grease effect. Aside from that, it's just a mini acid-based dragon that's greedy. It's possible more description might have made these guys stand out more to me, but instead there's some rather unnecessary text on variants. Bold decision to try and diversify your entry by including that text, so points for cojones, but it didn't pay off, for me, at least.

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

Huh. I actually like this, though perhaps my Oxide Drake for KQblog is the reason. I like the description and I like what it does, particularly its habits - the passage describing its predilection for moving treasures had me visualizing crannies and roofspaces, and desperate tuggings on far-too-large objet's d'art. That you evoked this in me makesme like your lil dragon.

Adding the variants is always a positive in my book, and as always, the possibility of a shell miser familiar is making me salivate.For some reason, I think this should be smaller than Small, but its no biggie…

Nice work!

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

As far as mechanics go, this has pretty poor saves for a dragon, as well as a low damage output, though that's offset by the breath weapon, and Power Attack, which is weird to see on a Small creature.

Breath Weapon: Pretty cool combining the acid with grease. I like that. Then we got into the whole "losing hardness" thing and it went downhill from there.

Brigand Rush: This is also a pretty cool little ability.

The monster fits well into the urban environment but has no ties to Golarion. While the variants are a nice touch, you could have used the word count to tie your monster to the campaign world and tightening your overall theme. They're called steel misers and I presume they hoarded items made of steel. The info says they rarely destroy something they deem valuable, but then they have a breath weapon that seems specialized in destroying what I thought they valued. It's all a bit muddled. Between that and the mechanical issues, this one is middle of the pack where the dragons are concerned, and may not get a vote from me.

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

Steel Miser
The Good: I like the name and the behavior of this beastie. The variants were a bold choice.
The Bad: Improved disarm wasn't the best choice, I'd almost appreciate it more if it was bull rush and got some kind of bonus to that.
The Ugly: The combination of grease and acid doesn't jibe, glue and acid, grease then it ignites... that combination is off putting because it breaks logic.
Overall: 5/10- For me this is in the exact center of the round neither good or bad but right in the middle and unlikely to gain my vote.

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

Congratulations Tyler,

Creative? small urban dragon not too much but the acid turned grease is very cool. I like the disarming ability built in, though felt it should be more tactics than extraordinary ability.
Fun to GM? yes throwing acid at my players will be expected, grease them will have them trying to think a couple rounds ahead. I do wish the grease effect could be targeted to items to go along with the brigand rush ability. As written anyone in the area of effect who failed the save, would also drop everything they were holding. at the least it will take a second save, & this is something the GM will need to adjudicate.
Golarion? nope missed it, but having variants feels like something Golarion would do.

Good luck!

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

Evidently, the dragons have been saved for last as I go down the list of monsters. :)

The splash of acid that becomes grease for two rounds is a neat design choice. and I like the visual you give for the brigand rush ability. Based on its description, a steel miser seems like it would be most at home in an urban environment.

I wish you would have spent the space you used to describe variants to instead tell us how the steel miser fits into the Golarion setting.

Good luck in the voting!

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

The acid grease breath weapon is the coolest thing about this monster, but also a problematic one. For a creatures that "rarely destroy something they perceive valuable", it's main attack reduces hardness by 10, which for non-special materials means reducing its hardness to zero. That's hardly rarely destroying things and would certainly reduce their value.

Also, while the motivations for this monster are okay (it likes to steal things and hoard them), that's not really that exciting for a monster, especially a dragon, where it's pretty much a given - it's the dragons who don't hoard loot that are the interesting exceptions. This could pretty much be a hatchling black dragon that moved to the city, but not as iconic.

While the disarm on a gore attack is somewhat cool, calling it brigand rush is weird. It seems that you're going for a variant of the bum rush, which would be bull rush attack of some sort, but brigand seems like a very humanoid term, and not something I'd associate with a dragon of any sort.

Not a bad monster, but not enough to snag a precious vote compared to what else is out there.

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