Labyrinth Weaver


Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 8 aka Grimlight

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A pallid grey humanoid face with six vibrant purple eyes and arachnid fangs protrudes from the cephalothorax of this spider. Its smooth exoskeleton coated in polished stone.

Labyrinth Weaver CR 6
XP 2,400
N Large magical beast
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6
----- Defense -----
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +6 natural, -1 size)
hp 78 (8d10+32)
Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +3
DR 5/adamantine, 5/bludgeoning

----- Offense -----
Speed 40 ft., burrow 10 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +12 (2d6+7 plus poison and grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

----- Statistics -----
Str 20, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +8; CMB +14 (+18 grapple); CMD 28 (+40 vs. trip)
Feats Ability Focus (poison), Improved Initiative, Pack Attack (teamwork), Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Acrobatics +4 (+8 to jump), Climb +18, Perception +6, Stealth +10
Languages Aklo

----- Ecology -----
Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair, or cluster (3–6)
Treasure none

----- Special Abilities -----
Camouflage (DC 15) (Ex) A labyrinth weaver at rest looks like a boulder, a DC 15 Perception check is required to notice it before it attacks for the first time. Anyone with ranks in Survival or Knowledge (nature) can use either of those skills instead of Perception to notice.
Poison: (Ex) Bite—Injury; save Fort DC 18; frequency 1/round for 8 rounds; effect 1d2 Wisdom damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based. Labyrinth weaver poison causes strong psychotropic hallucinations. There is a 20% chance the poison will induce cumulative fear effect each round until the poison is cured. Creatures immune to fear are immune to this effect.
Stone Tunnel (Ex) Labyrinth weavers can create tunnels through solid stone or masonry. They have a burrow speed 10 feet through any terrain with hardness of 8 or less. Labyrinth weavers choose whether to leave a tunnel behind.
Wall Weave (Sp) Labyrinth Weavers spinnerets do not create traditional webs but instead produce a viscid liquid in all variety of colors that dries into solid stone in 1 minute. A labyrinth weaver creates 5 cubic feet of stone in a minute. The labyrinth weaver may quadruple the time taken in creating the stones to match existing terrain including color, style and duplicate artistic designs including writing. Once a wall has dried it takes a DC 20 perception or knowledge engineering to recognize the new barrier.

Labyrinth weaver spiders are tenacious intelligent pack predators found in the tertiary tunnels of the Darklands. They are extremely patient, stalking prey for days before making themselves known.

A labyrinth weaver does not spin webs but instead creates a plaster-like substance that dries as hard as stone in any color. As the name suggest the labyrinth weaver uses or even creates elaborate maze structures for a hunting grounds. Labyrinth weavers reshape their maze hunting grounds by opening and closing passageways.

Unsuspecting adventurers have made camp in tunnels only to later find themselves entombed and quickly running out of oxygen.
Labyrinth weavers will herd more powerful opponents towards traps, hazards, or even other Darkland denizens to significantly weaken them before attacking. Their poisonous bite contains a powerful hallucinogen that disorientates victims and is known to causes horrifying visions.

A labyrinth weaver exoskeleton is coated in layers of their stone secretions making them resistant to piercing or slashing weapons. The typical labyrinth weaver is 8 feet long and weighs about 1600 pounds. Labyrinth weavers can speak Alko and sometimes taunt terrified prey.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Don't describe something using game terms, unless it matches those games terms. This creature is not a humanoid, so it's a bad idea for the description to say "A pallid grey humanoid face ." A player hearing that might well feel he has been told he is facing a humanoid or monstrous humanoid, and plan accordingly.

Try not to send players to a thesaurus during gameplay. It's one thing to use technical terms in something a reader can absorb at their leisure, but the description of a monster is there for the GM to read aloud to the players. if a player doesn't know what a "cephalothorax" is, and the GM hasn't prepped an answer, a creepy reveal can turn into a search for meaning that slows the game.

We list DR the way we do for a reason, as there is a difference between DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning, and DR 5/adamantine or bludgeoning. Listing two unrelated DRs doesn't tell the GM which you mean.

I like the idea of a poison that causes fear, but you can't just say something "causes a fear effect." If it causes a foe to be shaken, and that gets worse with successive failed saves, you need to state that.

Also, the poison states it's DC is 18, and is Constitution based, which seems to match 10 +1/2 HD + Con modifier. But it also has Ability Focus (poison), which doesn't seem to have been added in.

I like the idea of giving a pack hunter monster teamwork feats, but we don't list a feat's type in a stat block. A GM is going to have to look it up to see what it does anyway.

The descriptive text feels like a series of disjointed facts, rather than a carefully-crafted description.

Overall this is basically yet another spider monster. Staying away from webs is interesting, and there are good things to replace those abilities with, but the resulting monster feels haphazard to me. There's nothing here that really justifies a new spider creature. I might have actually liked it better if it has seemed less spiderlike. Combined with the format errors, the core idea just isn't spectacular enough for me to want to take the time to clean it up. If the details had felt better connected, or had been presented more cleanly, I might feel otherwise.

Overall, I weakly do not recommend this monster for advancement.

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

Congratulations on making the Top 16 in RPG Superstar! I'm Mikko Kallio, an RPG design blogger, freelancer, and former RPG Superstar finalist. Some of my freelance work involves designing monsters for Paizo's Adventure Path bestiaries. I'll review your monster much like I do when a fellow freelancer asks me to have a look at an assignment they're going to turn in.

Name and concept

The name describes the creature well and is sufficiently evocative.

I think the concept is appropriate for Nar-Voth and a labyrinth-building spider sounds interesting as a concept.

Descriptive line

It's a good, sufficiently evocative descriptive line. However, I'd advise against words like cephalothorax because the descriptive line can also be used as read-aloud text.

There's ”is” missing from the second sentence. Rather sloppy, not Superstar.

Stat block

The DR line should read DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning. Oddly enough, you've used the en dash correctly on the Organization line but not in ”-1 size”. This is very minor quibble, however. Feat categories (”teamwork”) should not be shown.

Its damage output seems quite low, and I'm not convinced the Wis damage makes up for it. (Low damage output and Wis damage seem to be a recurring theme this year.)

Special abilities

The special ability descriptions are rife with formatting errors. Rather than listing them all, I suggest you compare your entry with existing monster entries in Paizo's bestiaries.

I think Knowledge (dungeoneering) to notice the monster would be more appropriate than Knowledge (nature), considering we're talking about a creature living in Nar-Voth.

The last sentence in camouflage ends prematurely.

I'm not sure what the 20% chance to induce cumulative fear effect means. I guess you're talking about shaken > frightened > panicked, but I cannot be sure. The last sentence is largely redundant since you've already mentioned that it's a fear effect.

Wall weave is a really cool ability and a nice variation on the usual webs. However, the amount of time involved in making a wall decreases its utility as it requires a lot of preparation time. But still, I really like the idea of the spiders opening and closing walls to mess with the PCs.

Description

There are a few sentences in the description that only repeat information from the stat block. However, the majority of the description gives really useful ideas on how you can use the spiders to make the PCs' day more interesting. There's some missing punctuation and the text doesn't flow very well, but the information as such is solid.

The misspelled ”Alko” (should be ”Aklo”) is a funny ”bilingual bonus” for me (it means ”liquor store” around here), but it's yet another careless mistake that tells me that you didn't put enough time and effort in your entry.

Verdict

This is a really cool idea executed in a very sloppy fashion. I would have been able to look past the problems in round 1, but we're already in round 3. I don't recommend this entry 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!

My Judging Process:

I’m treating these like a pre-development pass.

When I develop a monster for the Adventure Path bestiaries (or anything really), one of the first phases is where I print out the monster entry, and look it over, 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-making 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 figured the best way to judge this round is to treat it like my normal day-to-day work and do what I mentioned above. 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. Some of the things I comment on might seem nitpicky or overly critical of a small element, but I blame that on my job. I’ll probably even use terms that aren’t that familiar outside of publishing. :)

One thing to keep in mind is that nothing in my review here is 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 all of these comments scribbled in purple ink on a sheet of paper containing your monster.

I start by googling the name to make sure that it isn’t something already existing, a weird term that could mean more than one thing, or isn’t secretly offensive or illegal.

Then I read the flavor line under the monster’s name.

Then I work my way down the statblock looking for anything that stands out or is in the wrong place or is formatted wrong. Most of these comments are just things that jumped out at me from a glance and are super easy to fix while I’m developing a monster. (I don’t get annoyed at my freelancers for these little typos and oversights unless it gets really sloppy or persistant.) During this I also look at how much the stats match up to Table 1–1 and how different elements of the design account for numbers that are off the average. During this part I often have questions about why a decision was made or why the creature has this element. I jot these down. Many times I figure out the decision once I read the flavor text and go back and scratch those notes out.

This leads me to the flavor text. This is the part of the monster where I get to see how well the designer can write. (One of the reasons I often test new contributors with monsters is that it pairs up design and writing in a nice compact package.) I also look at how the designer used the tight wordcount. This round’s rules used pretty much the same wordcount that we’d use for one of those monsters, and it can be difficult finding the right balance of flavor text and statblock. Too much flavor can sometimes result in a boring creature mechanically, but when 90% of the turnover is statblock, the GM doesn’t have much to go on for how to run the critter.

In judging, I also go back and evaluate some of my critiques and revise after looking at the monster again with fresher eyes.

I notice that I say “probably” a lot in my reviews. When I use that word I pretty much mean that I’d either really think it over and research a few things more than I normally would before making a particular change. This would certainly include me turning around in my chair and getting feedback from other developers (including any editors that heard me in the next cube over).

Even though most of my comments are very “stream of consciousness,” I spent a good amount of time with each of these monsters, typically an average of 30 minutes on each submission. Some more than others. I also did all of my reviews blind without seeing the other judge’s comments. I didn’t want what they had to say influence me. I apologize ahead of time if we end up being repetitive.

And now onto the monster!

• The second sentence in the intro flavor text is a fragment. You need a verb in there. I assume you meant to put “is coated.”

• That said… a bug with a humanoid face? I’m listening. I love bugs, especially ones that are weird, and a humanoid-faced bugs are delightfully weird. (I know this because I designed the azruverda and have always been in love with phase spiders.)

• Hit points are a bit high for a creature of this CR, and since it has damage reduction, that effectively bumps it into the range of a CR 7 creature.

• Speaking of the damage reduction, that should be worded as “DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning” OR “DR 5/adamantine or bludgeoning.” The way you have it formatted is unclear what your intention was for this monster.

• Good job on the speed line. I just got through a few that got it wrong, so I was happy to this one right.

• The damage is low for a creature of this CR, even with the addition of poison and grab.
Also, why does it have grab? It doesn’t have any other abilities that key off of it, so it kinda feels tacked on and it’s never described in the flavor text.

• I think choosing Ability Focus (poison) is a bad choice, because the creature’s save DC for that ability was right on the baseline for a creature of its CR. I also wouldn’t have spent a feat on Skill Focus (Stealth). Instead I would have just given it a racial bonus on Stealth.

• When using a feat, spell, or other mechanical element from a source other than the Core Rulebook, we typically cite that with a superscript of initials for that book. Since the codes used in the submission tool don’t account for that, I’m not going to ding you (or anyone) for that. Just pointing it out as a learning experience for folks.

• You don’t need to indicate what kind of feat a particular feat is in the feats line. Just list them. The only thing you need to indicate is if it’s a bonus feat and where the feat came from if not from the Core Rulebook.

• In the camouflage ability you shouldn’t put the DC in the bolded name of the feat. The only thing that goes there is the type of ability. Also, you mention that it looks like a boulder when at rest. That would have been interesting information to put into the description. You mention that it is coated in polished stone, but the rest of the description makes it hard to imagine being mistaken for a big rock. You almost nailed the language by using the same language as the assassin vine, but you should have started off with “Since.” The way you have it now is grammatically incorrect.

• Your formatting is off for the poison ability. First, you put a colon after the word poison. Second, you should have italicized the words save, frequency, effect, and cure. I also would have put the description and special effects of the ability first in the description, and then followed with the poison “statblock” in its own line. My least favorite part of this poison is sadly the coolest idea. I really like poisons that have a hallucinogenic effect, and the fear bit is cool. However, you don’t describe the fear effect. Did you mean an effect like the spell fear? The fear UMR? A better choice would have been to state a condition (and give a duration for the effect).

• I really like the wall weave ability and how the creature uses it. Hopefully it uses that to deal with the tremendous amount of damage it does to everything else made out of stone. For some reason, I’m much more okay with a creature making big bricks than one that’s making tunnels through stone (including buildings) big enough for a person to walk through without ducking. You know some jerk GM is going to have one of these just wreck the PCs’ stronghold in three rounds just because he can.

• I wasn’t familiar with the word viscid, so I had to look it up. I usually see viscous. Using viscid with liquid creates a rhyme, but it also kinda looks like it’s a shortening of viscous liquid (which I kinda wish was the reality of it all). :)

• Word choice strikes again! Using the geologic instance of tertiary is clumsy right here and is likely to throw readers off. It’s possibly/technically not even true since we’ve never pinned down the formation of Golarion nor named any geologic periods (something we’re probably never going to do either).

• This entry has problems, but I think this is a cool idea for a creature. I like the idea of a weird, humanoid-faced spider that blends into its terrain and builds walls to confound creatures and help ambush prey. That’s pretty rad. That said, I weakly don’t recommend this monster to advance.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 8 aka Grimlight

Thank you for your critiques. I will respond to any questions and explain my thought process after voting has concluded.


This will be the third monster I've viewed thus far. Initial impressions are favorable. A stony spider that weaves tunnels to misdirect and capture it's prey. Sounds cool. Let's see how this plays out.

Name: Like it.

Description: I'm going to butt heads with Owen on this one and point out the description of the phase spider: "This large spider-like monster has an eerie, humanoid face surrounded by a shaggy mane of fur." It uses the word "humanoid" to describe the face. Why? Because that's what it looks like. I don't see where writing around the obvious is good, because that leads a writer to use more words to describe something that could be said in one. That said, starting with the face does reinforce the idea that it is humanoid. I agree with Mikko about your word choice. Keep the descriptions simple and save the 25-cent words for another time.

hp: A bit high for CR 6.

AC: Low for CR 6. In fact, it's below CR 4 range. Yes, it has DR, but I'm once again looking at a monster that doesn't have the usual qualifications for that DR (being a golem or other construct) and I'm questioning the choice of that over simply giving the creature more natural armor.

Attack: Right on the money for its CR.

Damage: Low, falls into the CR 4 range, but offset by additional effects like grab and poison.

Primary Ability DC: High, in the CR 8 range. Might be an attempt to offset the lower damage.

Saves: Fort is on the money, Reflex is a little low, and Will is low.

CMD: Off by 1. CMB of +14 plus 10 plus 3 for Dex and it should be 27. (39 vs. trip for multiple legs.)

Feats: I like that there is a team feat included here; it reinforces the idea of a pack hunter. Not so thrilled about Skill Focus, since with its stony appearance you could have just given it a racial bonus to Stealth.

Skills: Skills are off. With its Int score, it should have a total of 8 skill points. After playing around with the points, it would seem that it has no points in Acrobatics at all, 2 points each in Climb and Perception, and 4 points in Stealth. If so, then Stealth should be +9 (4 ranks + 3 class skill + 3 Dex + 3 Skill Focus - 4 size penalty).

Special Abilities
Camouflage: Since it can only look like a boulder when it's not moving, I'm not sure why it doesn't just have the Freeze universal monster ability.

Poison: I like the idea of a psychotropic poison, but fear seems the wrong way to go. A confusion effect seems more logical.

Stone Tunnel: I would have just called it Tunneling. I see where you're going with this, and it fits the creature thematically, but there is the possibility of abuse, as pointed out by Adam. If these were Medium-sized creatures, it would be better overall. The tunnels would be more cramped, the creatures could come at opponents without fear of being ganged-up on, etc.

Wall Weave: I really like this ability.

Background: I'm going to call Adam out on the use of the word "tertiary." It is used extensively in Into the Darklands and even has its own section on page 11 as a type of terrain. Perfectly acceptable, and it shows you did your research on the environment. Kudos to you. If a developer or editor thinks it is "clumsy" or will "throw readers off" then I'd advise that it could be smoother and less confusing with a quick reference to the appropriate info in the book.

Overall, I'm impressed with this concept. Packs of stony spiders hunting the tertiary tunnels of Nar-Voth, creating their own mazes and putting up walls to confuse and herd their prey is a great idea. That said, I'm not completely sold that it was executed to Superstar level. I'll have to see what offerings the other contestants have to be sure. Good luck to you.

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

Spider-Minotaur? I wanted to make a spider-man joke but it just wasn't going to work.

Anyways, I just ding'd the narrick for using "psychotropic", and though you don't specify if that makes this a mind-affecting effect, you DO call out the "immune to fear = immune to this" so well done.

I wasn't going to like this, I was sure, as I started reading it because "oh look, just what the Underdark needs another frigging spider!" <because the Drow don't love themselves enough spiders>

But then I read the wall weave ability, and the idea of them being more about building a trap, essentially, for creatures rather than the sticky net/web --- I like it. It's especially fitting for the Nar-Voth setting and I could totally see an arachnid that fufilled this niche existing.

It being intelligent just means I can choose to really mess with my PCs when they "stumble into" this Minotaur's labyrinth :D

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

The concept behind this one bowled me over - in my opinion, it's probably the most memorable of the Top 16. I'm more than willing to overlook a few mechanical errors due to a great idea. Definitely getting my vote!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

12th monster I have seen.

Good: not your typical spider
Bad: poor execution
Ugly:

I am on the fence for this one.

Your current rank is 6-7

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

I didn't quite like this at first, but on a reread, I think this has a great concept that has some legs (bad pun) - a spider (or spider-like monster) that creates "webs" of stone.

Clarification of the poison's fear effect is definitely in order; I can see where their hallucinogenic poison, if it instilled the frightened or panicked conditions, would be great combined with their labyrinth creating- you've got panicked adventurers running around, getting lost, and then the monsters attack.

It definitely fits into a Darklands setting, though its Nar-Voth ties could be stronger. I could almost see this as a Vault Builder creation gone awry.

I think the judges made some good points about the execution, but the core concept is definitely a good one.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

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Name- Labyrinth Weaver. Evocative. Not thrilling, but it certainly sets the stage.

Description- Creepy, esp a humanoid face with 6 purple eyes. The art for this should be cool.

Special Abilities- Wall Weave is the star here, the key to the concept. I like the possibilities. I agree Poison should probably be confusion based rather than fear based, in keeping with the theme. As others have pointed out, Stone Tunnel is very powerful in some situations.

Nar-Voth appropriate- Yes. This monster uses the cave environment quite well. With naturally limited exits in caves, this creature can work to full effect. Also fits the 'wilderness' theme of the region.

Mojo- Yes. The core concept of weaving tangled mazes instead of tangled webs has quite a lot of mojo. I also like that they might taunt their victims. "And now a recitation of my favorite story, The Cask Of Amontillado."

Will players remember in 6 months- Yes. If only for messing up their maps if nothing else.

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

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Congratulations on making the Top 16! :D

The descriptive line is interesting, but choppy. The second sentence should have been combined into the first and using obscure terms like cephalothorax just slows down the imagery that you are trying to evoke.

The labyrinth building aspect of the spider is very cool and unique, allowing the creature to change the very halls that its prey are wandering in as the move about. But mazes are often death to a gaming session unless adjudicated properly, so this cool idea may be hard to convey within a game in a satisfactory manner.

There doesn’t seem to be any tie in to Golarion other than a vague mention of Darklands denizens. That is extremely weak and as such this monster could be used on virtually any game world. Great for a Bestiary entry; not as good as a Golarion monster.

I liked this spider-monster but I will not be voting for it as I am only allowed four votes.


Sloppy. Thematically, I wonder why "spider" and "pack hunter" were chosen to go together, when most spiders are solitary hunters or colony dwellers.

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

This one needed a friend to help edit, bad.

As I read this monster I kept going back to wall weave and thinking, "If this monster had more of it tied to this cool ability, I would vote for it maybe."

By the time I was done pondering, you had a cavern spider man who could pass through his own walls, inscribe trap runes into them, move them, and trap creatures in them.

This one seemed like a friend saying "Oh! And what if.." short of being a really good entry.

Creativity and Theme: 3/5

Running this monster as a DM: 2/5

Encountering this monster as a complex/story encounter: 1/5

Encountering this monster as a random encounter: 2/5

08 / 20 pts.

Dark Archive

I'm a big fan of how useful this monster is as a tool. Need a 'reason' for a certain sort of underground labyrinth (other than 'insane dwarves'), these guys could be that reason with their Stone Tunnel and Wall Weave abilities.

Tweaking the creature to produce some sort of corrosive venom that can reduce the hardness / DR of solids (and serving as the source of it's stone-manipulating ability), or stiffen up (Dex damage?) those bitten, instead of the (IMO) somewhat less thematic hallucinatory Wis-damage poison could tie it more strongly to the theme.

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

Description's OK. I like where it's going, but the second sentence is a fragment, lacking a verb.

I liked the write-up. I think this creature's got an interesting niche and could make for some interesting combat scenes. Labyrinths/mazes can be a little tricky to run but I think that doesn't mean it can't make for an evocative encounter.

hp +
AC = (Jeff, AC is 18 appropriate for a CR 5 monster) (Also, since I feel I should give credit, I totally stole this little breakdown chart I'm using for each monster from Jeff. Thanks, Jeff!)
Atk =
Dmg -- (but has poison and grab)
Ability +
Saves =/-

Not sure I like camouflage. I think just using freeze, which is in the universal monster rules, would have worked better.

The poison is OK, but 8 rounds seems like it could really hurt. That could end up doing 16! Wisdom to an unlucky character, which is probably going to put down anyone but a divine caster (and even then could well have him at 0 Wisdom). The fear effect almost feels tacked on, and I don't think you need to note that creatures that are immune to fear aren't effected; that's kind of a given. That said, as with the narrik, I like that it's a cumulative fear effect, though I don't think it's worded as well here.

Is stone tunnel even necessary? This feels a bit like camouflage in that it's close to a UMR but just a little bit different. I'm not sure that that's not adding unnecessary complexity.

That said, I really like wall weave (except the skills should be capitalized). The description makes it feel different enough from wall of stone to me, and I just like where it's going. I think it could be a lot of fun for a GM with a group of PCs in Nar-Voth to wall them in while they're sleeping (perhaps having it happen just out of eyesight) so the characters REALIZE they're being herded, but with no idea by what or to where.

I'm now halfway through the monsters, and I have to admit I like this. I'm not sure it's going to overcome its missteps enough to earn my vote, but the core concept is obviously making me think of fun scenarios I could do it with, and that's what we want in monsters...

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

Feros wrote:
There doesn’t seem to be any tie in to Golarion other than a vague mention of Darklands denizens. That is extremely weak and as such this monster could be used on virtually any game world. Great for a Bestiary entry; not as good as a Golarion monster.

While I think the strongest monsters have a really good tie-in, I don't think it eliminates it from being a Golarion monster. My guttersnipe last year tied into Golarion with a simple line: "... are the scourge of sailors and sea merchants across the Inner Sea region, from Port Peril to Katheer." Mikko's immured had a reference to Osirion, but could have been placed anywhere.

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

Criteria:

The Monster round is my favorite in the competition as it generally exposes the designers in a way previous rounds do not. 300 words is enough to make an impression but does not tell me much about you as a designer.

The monster round tells me about your gaming ascetic, your attention to detail, and if you have the creative chops to be different. Anyone can make a boring monster it takes a special kind of mind to make a Chimney Troll or a Yellow Tongued Hulk. IS it fair to compare you to my favorites from prior years? Probably not but I'm going to do so anyway.

Format you'll find familiar but shorter than my item reviews. I'm combining bad and ugly and I'm going to be harsh even on the things I like, this is because compliments don't make you better.

Good Description is great and I like so many of the ideas you demonstrate here.
Bad and Ugly DC 15 hide ability? DC is for saves stealth is a roll. That's just one of a few too many errors.
Overall A+ ideas with a C- execution... Averages to a B and I'm leaning towards voting for this... rule of cool might win out.

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

This is a tightly themed creature oozing with mojo!

I see the stat block is sloppy, and there are typos. But this:

Mikko Kallio wrote:
I would have been able to look past the problems in round 1, but we're already in round 3.

C'mon Mikko - Round 1 is the open call. Round 2 was a freaking map exercise. How is this "far" into the competition? Its the first actual round we see the designer creating content none of the rest of us had a chance to. Is it sloppy? Sure. Does the awesomeness of the creature outweigh that? Yes.

More patterns and writing. Maybe the map round got everyone artistic.

This thing is really nice Anthony - humanoid face notwithstanding, it's very nice to see a dread, intelligent hunting creature with masses of trickery and obfuscation.

I see we have another psychoactive poison here - while it works with the evil taunting and general feeling of terrorizing prey I could also see an over-coagulant or hardening of the blood to match the plaster casting weaving stuff.

The visuals I get from a bunch of boulders in a strange tunnel system, that creepily unfurl into pack-attacking stone carapaces spider monstrosities is awesome. I'm a fan of spider creatures - the ogre spider has the compression ability - I can't decide if that is missing here or not - seeing as the Labyrinth Weaver mostly makes its own environments it might not need it, but then it might use it to make some especially frightful narrow tunnels to trap the incautious.

One question - why is it a magical beast? I could see Vermin, or Aberration or, with an earth plane tweak, Outsider. Apart from the wall weaving, everything else is (Ex) and the wall stuff could easily have been too.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Round 2 was a freaking map exercise. How is this "far" into the competition?

Why don't you ask the 16 people bumped out of the last round? The fact is, any serious entrant at this point should, above all else, avoid making rookie mistakes.

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Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Feros wrote:
There doesn’t seem to be any tie in to Golarion other than a vague mention of Darklands denizens. That is extremely weak and as such this monster could be used on virtually any game world. Great for a Bestiary entry; not as good as a Golarion monster.
While I think the strongest monsters have a really good tie-in, I don't think it eliminates it from being a Golarion monster. My guttersnipe last year tied into Golarion with a simple line: "... are the scourge of sailors and sea merchants across the Inner Sea region, from Port Peril to Katheer." Mikko's immured had a reference to Osirion, but could have been placed anywhere.

Oh, I agree. But as you just said the strongest monsters have a really good tie-in. Any monster can be made a part of Golarion with a reference. But look at the Chimney Troll from last year (and now in finalized form in Daughters of Fury). It used the atmosphere of Ustalav combined with dark fairy tales to create a truly unique monster with strong origin ties to Golarion.

To me, getting that tie in is an important point. Will it stop me from liking or voting for a monster? No. But though I really loved the visual imagery connected to the Labyrinth Weaver, the lack of a strong tie was one of a number of reasons for not making my four selections. You will note that if I had been able to select eight monsters, I would have voted for this monster, as I really did like it a lot!

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Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

Right off the bat, the "read aloud" description contains words most players will just blink in confusion at (cephalothorax!) and a non sentence (the second one needs to either be a subordinate clause of the first, or it needs a verb).

It should just have DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning, not two separate DRs. It's very odd, in my mind, for a Spider to have more Strength and Con than Dex. I might be wrong, but I feel like all the giant bugs still have more Dex than Str because of their relative light weights for their sizes (given the way exoskeletons work).

The Camouflage ability is very strange--DC 15 is pretty low for 6th level characters, and the ability to use other checks also seems unusual--maybe that's a common thing and I just don't look at enough monster stat blocks, I don't know. It's also unclear as to whether or not those rolls are automatically given or if they need to be asked for--and why this extra layer of perception defense separate from its own Stealth skill? Why not just let them hide in plain sight in rocky environments?

An 8 round poison is really strange--aren't the vast majority 6 rounds, with a few less? I've never seen one more than 6 rounds that I can recall. I hate the fact that the "cumulative fear effect" (which is not how you should word this) is based on random chance, not on the normal save, or even a separate Will save.

I love Stone Tunnel + Wall Weave, though. I may adapt that specific ability myself for a separate creature. I wish you expanded it, though--could it be used to trap victims that were helpless, for example?

I like the ecosystem set up by these things, though, well, I always wish they made more sense from a world building standpoint (what do they usually hunt that they have to be so elaborate? In a way, I wish they had some other goal, other than just hunting for survival. I also wish their venom actually did what your flavor text suggests--i.e., hallucinations, disorientation, and confusion, rather than just wisdom damage and fear. But yeah, a fight with these things would be very interesting and outside-the-box fun.

You made this very difficult for me, because you have a lot of little errors throughout, but, the real "meat" of the creature is conceptually awesome. I don't know if I'll vote for this or not, but it's at least in contention in my mind.

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This is the eleventh monster I've read.
Thoughts:
The introduction line should be one complex sentence. As it is, it's a sentence and a fragment.
I believe that the way you list the double DR separately is off.
Ooh......Nasty capabilities! Not only creating the maze, but changing it once the PCs are inside! I can see driving some PC map-makers nuts! This could be a good, memorable challenge ...or it might end up being way too powerful for a CR 6 monster.
Still, I really like the concept. Cool idea! :)

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Brief critiques as I prep for the possibility of advancing, focusing on feedback that is hopefully new and constructive to future designs.
Name, theme, and flavor were excellent, super distinctive and a great hook. The execution, however, fell flat for me, for many of the reasons already cited. I’ll also second Owen’s belief that spiders are a little overdone.
I hope to see the same zing but with stronger rules-fu in your encounter if you advance. Good luck!

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Anthony Pennington wrote:

A pallid grey humanoid face with six vibrant purple eyes and arachnid fangs protrudes from the cephalothorax of this spider. Its smooth exoskeleton coated in polished stone.

Labyrinth Weaver CR 6

Congratulations Anthony,

I am still catching up on critiques, but this is what I had noted.
Visually good, but I had to reread to get it. Magical beasts are a favorite of mine, but spiders... a whee over done, especially in the underground. I had just finished watching David Attenborough series on the undergrowth and when I first saw the spider I kept thinking: why not ants? why not termites? Then I saw the wall ability, combined with the tunnel ability and I was sold. I would totally make this a creepy termite critter (creepy with the herding and trapping) and the rest of it sold. This was in my keep pile.

Nice job. :)

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