Cypherplasm


Round 2: Create a Bestiary entry

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7 aka ClemCon

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This mass of translucent protoplasm is constructed of tiny gelatinous diatoms in a wet heap, shimmering among detritus.
Cypherplasm CR 4
XP 1,200
N Fine Ooze (swarm, aquatic)
Init -5; Senses blindsight 30 ft; Perception -5
----- Defense -----
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (-5 dex, +8 size)
hp 36 (5d8+8)
Fort +2, Ref -4, Will -4
Defensive Abilities ooze and swarm traits, hydroslime; Immune weapon damage; Resist fire 5
Weaknesses vulnerable electricity
----- Offense -----
Speed 10 ft., climb 10 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee swarm (1d6 force plus dimensional jolt)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks dimensional jolt (DC 13)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +0)
At will—quickened jester’s jaunt (self only)
----- Statistics -----
Str 1, Dex 1, Con 12, Int -, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +3; CMB -; CMD -
Skills Climb +7, Swim +7
SQ amphibious, camouflage
----- Ecology -----
Environment urban, underground
Organization solitary or colony (2-5)
Treasure incidental
----- Special Abilities -----
Amphibious (Ex) Although originally an aquatic sea foam, the cypherplasm can live indefinitely on land.
Camouflage (Ex) The translucent nature of the cypherplasm makes it difficult to spot while it rests among detritus. A DC 15 perception check is required to identify the ooze among other mundane material. The ooze will automatically hit any creature that moves within its space.
Dimensional Jolt (Su) Any creature that takes damage from a Cypherplasm must succed at a will save or be teleported instantly to a new location 2d4 x 10 feet away with a 50% chance the move will also be at an elevation change of 1d3 x 10 feet up or down. The jolt cannot send a creature to a space occupied by a solid body and will push it to the nearest suitable location. Dimensional jolt is negated by spells that prevent teleportation.
Hydroslime (Ex) A cypherplasm produces a slime-like coating that grants protection against fire. When hit by fire, the coating will absorb fire damage up to 5 points. Once the hydroslime coating absorbs a total amount of cumulative fire damage equal to or greater than 10 points it will evaporate causing the cypherplasm to lose its fire resist ability. The Hydroslime coating is renewed when a cypherplasm remains submerged in water for a full round.

The elusive cypherplasm uses teleportation to pursue and evade in combat. Their attacks cause victims to be jolted internally with force while using a dimensional attack to scatter them. The cypherplasm moves into the heart of major cities by using overflowing sewers during periodic downpours. Citizens have little recourse to fight a creature that teleports them away. The cypherplasm is even more of a nuisance in areas near the water, teleporting unlucky dock workers on a dimensional leap into the ocean. This disruptive foam has spread to almost every major port in Golarion, leaving a jolt of chaos in its wake.

Studies of the swarming ooze at the Cypher Lodge have discerned that it is derived from common diatomic organisms that grow on flotsam. Cyphermages determined that the Cyphergate transformed a harmless sea foam into a menacing ooze swarm. Experimental dimensionally locked canisters may hold the secret to containing this elusive foe but concerns grow that pirates may use the ooze as a weapon of war.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

Hi ClemCon, 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.

I'm not sure what I would do with this monster. It's not really that much of a threat; it really seems more like an inconvenience than anything else. I guess it could be used to create interesting terrain in a fight in a flooded area, but other than that I'm really not sure if I would ever use it. It's not like it's intelligent enough to have goals or such; it just sort of floats into town and teleports whoever steps on it until someone lightning bolts it. Seems more like pest control than anything else.

I'm giving this one a Should Not Vote For.

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
One of my biggest problems right off is the read-aloud text... You're giving a most basic description of the creature, what the GM can tell his players, and I can assure you people are going to stop and ask, "What's a diatom?" While roleplaying games have a long history of being a great means of introducing new vocabulary to players young and old, I don't think the read-aloud text is the place to do it.

GM Usability
Listing out amphibious in the Special Abilities section cost you some valuable word space--it's a universal monster ability, and "camouflage" could just as easily been relegated to a Racial Modifier to Stealth...but this leads into an overall design flaw. This creature haz no motivation--it literally teleports food sources away. How does it survive? What does it eat? How is it going to be weaponized? How much of a nuisance can it be when a good dosing of a cantrip (jolt) will take care of it right quick? Why is it immune to weapon damage? Too many questions to make me want to use it as an actual encounter with initiative checks.

Setting
Its origins are a bit too clear cut for me, though I do appreciate how you've worked in tidbits of information regarding it.

Final Thoughts
This creature would have better presented as a hazard--a magical one, but still a hazard. I do not recommend this monster for advancement.

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. Maybe some ooze from Riddleport?

Yeah, I had to look up diatom. I’m not afraid to admit that.
Okay, I’m interested. I like seeing people stretch things a bit and ooze swarms can certainly do that.
You don’t have to capitalize creature types, but you do alphabetize those subtypes. (Alphabetize nearly everything, actually.)
You probably didn’t need to explain amphibious since it’s a Universal Monster Rule.
Camouflage is pretty much the same thing as transparent (from gray ooze, among others), so it would have been stronger to just use that existing rules language.
The dimensional jolt idea is weird and could easily become frustrating to PCs, but I have to admit I like it, even though it’s a bit wacky.
This is a weird one. (I mean that partially in a good way. I like weird.) I like the Cyphergate, so it’s interesting to see the connection to that. This would take a bit of time to develop for print.

I do recommend cypherplasm 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

Ooze swarm that is part of the Cypher Mage stuff? Awesome.

Diatom is too scientific for an inherently magical creature and game.

Biggest complaint is that it doesn't seem to be a monster. Like Liz said this is a hazard. I feel like you were hoping the cool ooze swarm would carry this entry.

Overall I like it and it's weird...but is at odds with itself a bit flavor and mechanics wise. I also don't feel like I would want to spend the time to develop it far enough to print.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6

Keep it coming, Casey! A swarm of teleporting oozes just, well, *oozes* creativity (see what I did there?). Love the old school, 50 cent vocabulary description text, too. Diatoms in the detritus!


I hoped for something more strongly tied to cyphermages.
Mindless creature is not the one I would expect to use teleportation efficiently.

Swarm of teleporting oozes mentioned by Charlie Bell would be more captivating for me.

I might or might not vote for it, depending upon other entries, though.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Mark D Griffin

I was really excited when I saw this was an ooze swarm, because I don't think I've ever seen one before. I give you props for swinging for the fences with your concept, but unfortunately I think it struck out. The flavor text needs work, and I don't know what this monster can do other than just float around. The abilities other than Jolt lack pizzazz, and Jolt seems like a lot of work to adjudicate without much payoff. Best of luck in the competition.

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

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Wow. You had me at diatoms. I have to disagree, as ever with folks saying not to get people reaching for their learnermeration books/googlemapadblet when they come across an unknown word. But I guess I'm not that target market, because I vaguely knew what the diatom was, and in your entrancing and evocative description I knew I was in for a treat.

This entry is fantastic from start to finish. The visuals, the amazing abilities (though I think the d-jolt should not be on every hit) and the concept are showing the creativity here.

If I had a complaint it would be the d-jot spamming and perhaps the Fine size could be altered, even up to medium. Apart from those mild niggles, this is pure gold!!! I want one as a familiar for my vegepygmy summoner. ;)

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

I would love to see a colony of 5 of these babies.


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 n/a
Dmg --
Primary Ability DC: ???
Secondary Ability DC: n/a
Good save: n/a
Poor save: -/--/--

Dimensional Jolt: One thing adventurers want to do is get away from swarms. This one does that for them magically when it hits them. Swing and a miss. And where is the DC for the save? And why does it have a spell-like ability that does basically the same thing? Can oozes, which are essentially mindless, even uses spell-like abilities? What is "at will" for something which is essentially mindless?

Hydroslime: So...basically a temporary, renewable fire resistance? Why not just all-the-time fire resistance?

This has the germ of an interesting idea which has some great Golarion tie-in material for an urban setting. Unfortunately, muddled writing and fundamentally bad mechanics have made sure it doesn't go anywhere. I'm going to have to pass on this one.

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:

This is a peculiar one. I like diatoms. I like Cyphermages. I like the visual behind forced teleportation. The idea of an ooze living in the sewers created from magical runoff is a pretty cool one. But there's some holes here. Why does it attack people? It doesn't seem to gain nutrition from them, and it's not intelligent, so it can't be spite or revenge or whatnot.

The jolt mechanic I was prepared to like, but the percentile roll for elevation is a very peculiar one. Percentile rolls in exception-based attacks went out, for the most part, in 3e. Sometimes, it'll do an extra 3d6 damage by picking up a foe and dropping it. Sometimes, it'll send them into a basement or... embedded in the earth? Does the jolt shunt deal damage ala dimension dooring into a solid wall? Hydroslime is also peculiar. The idea of resistance that goes away with time is a novel one, but it seems like it would add more bookkeeping for the GM trying to run a fight with one of these things (which, since it keeps zapping party members in random directions, is already high).

Although the basic concept is solid, the mechanics ended up annoying me more than anything else. The cypherplasm is okay... but okay is not what I'm looking for in a Superstar entry. I will not be voting for this creature. Best of luck!

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

As much as I love weirdness, this one is a miss for me. A teleport-based ooze could have sold me if there were a bit more... I don't know, internal consistency? This just raises enough questions about 'why...?' and 'how...?' that it just feels too randomly put together.

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'm not sure this gels together. Not only does it always teleport things away, which makes for a frustrating combat, but the dimensional jolt doesn't say it has to teleport a victim to a surface, so 1d3x10 feet in the air could be adding 3d6 falling damage to the attack, which is pretty steep for CR 4, on top of everything else it does. At least you ruled out teleporting someone into solid stone though.

I wasn't bothered by wondering what it eats, since a single bit of text that it consumes the dimensional energy of moving things could fix that (hey, it's weird, so it can eat weird stuff too), but just don't think a teleport everyone away ooze is a fun challenge. Now if it was intelligent, and teleported all but one PC away, and laid oozelets in the corpse of the remaining PC, that's a threat they can't ignore. They way it's written, it teleports a bunch away, some possibly flee, then when it's alone, it probably jester jaunts it's way somewhere else....so it's fairly easy to avoid.

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

Congratulations Casey,
I am trying to keep reviews simple to get through them quickly.
Creative: Tiny ooze? Not sure I have seen that before, Dimensional jolt is a cool concept.
Fun to GM: the parts are pretty simple. Dimensional jolt will be an unexpected twist to my players. I will like the randomness of new location, but not everyone will.
Golarion Tie: I was wondering why nothing Golarion was ever mentioned in the critters title. While I am not familiar with cypher mages beyond they seek info, I definitely recognize the name. Good choice. That said if they have nothing to do with sea foam or (and T-porting is not the kind of gate the cypher-gate is) you might have missed something.

Good luck! :)

diatom sure its Latin, but sounds a bit sci-fi.

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

Cypherplasm
The Good: I like the idea of an ooze swarm.
The Bad: OK dislike random teleports it is a pet peeve.
The Ugly: the stat blocks is where this falls down and hard. Even 3's would help a great deal.
Overall: 7.5/10 - There's a fair chance I'm going to vote for this despite the some serious design flaws. End of the day my gut says you have something here, just needed a little help in editing.

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

This creature has a cool name and concept that you neatly tied to Golarion. The forced teleportation in place of a swarm's usual distraction ability was a nice design choice. I also like your decision to give it a sort of ablative fire resistance.

There is nothing that particularly ties a cypherplasm to an urban environment. It could easily wash up on shore at some random location the PCs happen to be traveling through.

The cypherplasm is on my list of potential vote-getters. Good luck this round.

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