Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 aka jeffh

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A wave of hot, foul air heralds the arrival of a rippling yellow egg-shaped mass topped by a mushroom-like growth, floating lazily through the air, its many tendrils wriggling unsettlingly.

Pilobolus CR 6 XP 2400
N Large plant
Init +0; Senses Blindsense 30 ft; Perception +7

----- Defense -----
AC 15, touch 9, flat-footed 15 (+6 natural, -1 size)
hp 65 (10d8+20)
Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4
Defensive Abilities contents under pressure; Immune blinded, gaze attacks, plant traits; Resist acid 10, fire 10
Weaknesses congeal

----- Offense -----
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee 3 tendrils +12 (2d4+5 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict 2d4+5, contents under pressure, feed

----- Statistics -----
Str 20, Dex 10, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 13, Cha 5
Base Atk +7; CMB +13 (+21 grapple); CMD 23 (25 vs. grapple, 27 vs. trip)
Feats Body Shield, Death from Above, Flyby Attack, Greater Grapple, Improved Grapple
Skills Stealth +0
Languages Pilobolus

----- Ecology -----
Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair or colony (3-8)
Treasure incidental

----- Special Abilities -----
Congeal(Ex) If a single attack deals 21 or more cold damage to a pilobolus, the gasses within it lose much of their potency. It immediately drops any creature it was feeding on, and for the next 1d4 rounds it loses its flying speed and its Feed and Contents Under Pressure abilities.
Contents Under Pressure(Ex) If a single attack deals 21 or more non-cold damage to a pilobolus, its internal gasses jet out through a short-lived rupture, dealing 2d6 acid and 2d6 fire damage to all creatures in a 20’ cone (Reflex DC 17 half). The pilobolus goes flying 1d6x5 feet in the opposite direction and drops any creature it’s grappling or feeding on. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Feed (Ex) A pilobolus can transfer one Medium or smaller grappled creature from a tendril to the sticky membrane on its underside and begin feeding. Creatures stuck here retain the grappled condition, while the pilobolus does not. At the end of each of the victim's turns, the pilobolus deals 1d6 each of bludgeoning, acid and fire damage to a victim who remains stuck. There is room on the underside for one medium creature, or two small creatures, four tiny creatures etc. It only constricts creatures there isn’t room to feed on.

When an aberration falls prey to russet mold, far stranger things than vegepygmies can emerge. Among these is the pilobolus, a semi-intelligent fungus that feeds by exposing organic matter - preferably freshly killed humanoids and animals - to a caustic mixture of gasses via a membrane in its underside. The feeding process causes more and more of these gasses to build up, heating as they go, until most of the creature’s body is a ten-foot wide balloon-like chamber filled with these dangerously hot substances. Lighter than air, these gasses allow the creature to fly through the huge caverns they typically call home. After a lifespan of about a year, this chamber builds up so much pressure that the pilobolus explodes, spreading spores far and wide.

The pilobolus language consists of tendril gestures and clicks. They can’t see, but their awareness of vibrations in their surroundings is so keen they seldom have cause to regret this. They must have some sort of creative drive, as they leave behind whatever they can't digest in interconnected geometric patterns; if they have treasure it will normally be found here. They are approximately 12’ tall excluding tendrils but can weigh as little as 250 pounds.

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

It's not a good idea to pick the name of a real-world species unless you actually stat up that particular species.

The concept, a floating fungus full of gases is interesting and different, and I think it's appropriate for Nar-Voth.

Descriptive line

The descriptive line is ok. It is sufficiently evocative and dynamic. However, ”arrival” kind of assumes a specific type of encounter with the creature, making it less useful as read-aloud text. What if the PCs surprise it? There are many situations in which it doesn't ”arrive”.

Stat block

There are a few minor formatting mistakes: The XP figure doesn't have a comma as a thousands separator. Blindsense shouldn't be capitalized. You've used a hyphen instead of an en dash in ”-1” and ”3-8”. Perception is not listed in Skills. Other than that, it looks fine.

Generally speaking, I recommend against inventing new languages. Each new language means that the PCs have to put a skill rank in Linguistics to be able to communicate with the creature. It's more likely that they won't, and Pilobolus joins the list of languages that no-one speaks.

Its AC is unusually low for its CR, and its other defensive stats don't really make up for it.

Tendril is not one of the primary natural attacks listed in Natural Attacks by Size, so it should be a secondary natural attack, and we don't know which damage type it deals. Slam would have been a better choice, or tentacle, if you wanted them to be secondary natural attacks.

Its reach is unusually long for its size.

Special abilities

There are missing spaces before the (Ex) identifiers in the congeal and contents under pressure abilities. Also, you've capitalized the ability names in the running text – they should only be capitalized when used as titles. In running text, you should also spell out ”foot”, e.g. in ”20-foot cone”. Similarly, you shouldn't write ”21 damage” but ”21 points of damage”. If you had been closer the the 600-word limit, you might have accidentally DQ'd yourself for leaving out words, so be careful.

Using a certain amount of damage as a trigger is a bit unusual. It means they'll only get to use some of their abilities if the PCs trigger the ability. There is some fun randomness about it, though. What determines the direction of the cone? I guess the monster gets to choose. Where does it land if other creatures block its path? I think the mechanics are a bit shaky and using the ability may require a bit of GM fiat. I like the visuals of a ruptured fungus propelled by escaping gases, though.

What action is it to transfer a creature from a tendril to the underside? I presume it's a free action. How does escaping the grapple work when you're stuck to the underside? Do they only take the damage indicated in the feed ability, or can the creature perform the same maneuvers a grappler normally can to deal more damage? I think here, too, the mechanics are a bit shaky and might cause problems.


The ecology of the creature is described well. Their language is also briefly described, but it's uncertain why and in what situations these creatures want to communicate. The clause about their seldom regretting their lack of vision sounds odd when we're talking about an Int 4 fungus. Speaking of their vision, if the creature doesn't have the blind weakness (which it doesn't) it should be able to see normally.

The part about the geometric patterns sounds very interesting, but unfortunately the details are very sparse.


There are some good ideas, but there are some issues in each part of the entry. I think you're not quite ready for the later rounds. I don't recommend this entry for advancement.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

NOTE TO VOTERS: There was a template error for some contestants that placed name, CR, and XP all on one line. That is not a contestant error, and they should not be penalized for sticking to the template we told them to use.

I'm not a fan of the name. The description assumes a lot about how the players are first encountering this creature, and might well not be appropriate. Try to avoid specific circumstances being needed for a monster description to make sense.

A floating fungus is a fine idea for Nar-Voth, but this left me largely uninterested. First, as Mikko notes, there are a lot of minor details that need to be fixed or clarified, and that's a lot of work for some developer before it can be published. Secondly, there's nothing that tells me anything interesting about this creature's life, only its origin. The weird effects with cold damage (and no explanation for why it's 21 points of cold damage that triggers them, which is an odd number choice) aren't enough to set this thing apart.

I do not recommend this monster for advancement to the next round.

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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!

• Weird description, but it makes me want to know more. Also, from googling the name, a dung fungus turns up. Which makes me nervous that “a wave of hot, foul air” is someone being too jokey.

• Blindsense isn’t capitalized and you left the period off of “ft” in the senses line.

• AC is low for a creature of this CR (is the blinded condition taken into account already? That needs to be clear so that GMs don’t either forget it or double down on that), but it looks like the contents under pressure special ability is something that wants to be triggered, so allowing more hits is better? (Which is kind of a flaw anyway, because typically the folks in the party that can hit the hardest, also hit more often.)

• Actually, is this creature permanantly blinded? If that’s the case then that needs to be somewhere other than the immune line. If I were developing this today, I’d try to match the language used for the yrthak.

• What kind of attack is a tendril? Either choose a standard attack type or explain it in a special ability.

• Put the mechanics in parenthesis for the constrict UMR.

• When we use feats (and spells and whatnot) that are from sources other than the Core Rulebook, we cite them. Typically using a superscript. Since that’s not something our messageboard code allows, I’m not dinging you on this, but keep it in mind if you make it far enough to write the module. (At least both of your sources came from the same book, so the GM doesn’t have to reference too many books to run the monster.

• I’m often leery of creating new languages. Any of these decisions I’d run by our creative director, James Jacobs. I also think it’s a bit weird that they have a language with so little of an intelligence and pretty small groupings.

• We use en dashes to separate a range of numbers (and minus signs) instead of hyphens. (Edit: I noticed in your flavor text you did a hyphen with a space on either side of it instead of an em dash.)

• Why did you list Stealth +0? That just looks weird. Where did you spend your skill ranks?

• Why did you choose 21 points as the threshold?

• You list your special abilities correctly in the special attacks line, but then capitalize them in the special abilities.

• Contents under pressure. I don’t like this at all. Far too jokey and it’s just confirming the feeling I had above. This reminds me of the old school gas spore, except it doesn’t look like a creature we can’t use in our game. As for formatting, you need to put a space between the numbers and the times sign in a formula.

• The feed ability is cool. It’s pretty much a variant swallow whole, but it needs rules for how a victim can break out or for how a target’s allies can help them. As written, it’s a death sentence. Capitalize creature sizes, and if you use “etc” put a comma before it. I don’t understand the last sentence of that ability.

• I don’t see the connection to russet mold. That already makes vegepygmies from any creature type, so introducing what happens to aberrations is going counter to what has already been established.

• In the first volume of the Iron Gods Adventure Path, we ran a sentient floating-by-gas-bladders plant creature with tendrils and I feel that this one could maybe be a variant of that one, but this one needs some work.

I don’t recommend this monster to advance.

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Exploding pus plant. I'll pass. I think you spent too much time thinking of how this thing would exist, where it would come from, etc. and didn't spend enough time thinking of if it should exist? That isn't meant to be a harsh dig, it's just I'm uncertain if this should be a creature... what niche within adventuring does it fill? Was there a gaping hole in the Nar-Voth ecosystem that called for this plant? Its not bad, and I would say its a fine and dandy "filler" creature for a large Nar-Voth bestiary, but it's not going to be a special encounter in the AP/module.

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

5th monster I have seen.

Good: Your descriptive text is ok.
Bad: I cannot shake the idea of an egg fused with a microwave from my mind.
Ugly: floating microwave egg, see still in my head!

Not a fan of this monster.

Your current rank is 5th.

Star Voter Season 8

I voted for your glacier. This monster however, I have some serious problems with. Fly speed 30? For a balloon with no wings? Reach 15 down I am OK with, but reach 15 sideways for a creature described as rather weightless, so without much muscle? No.
I simply do not believe in this monster, though I like its other features.

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Like Adam, the first thing that I thought of when I read the description and got to the "contents under pressure" ability was the Gas Spore. You distinguish the Pilobolus somewhat from its 1E "cousin," with its various abilities, though. I'm not sure why this creature needs to be intelligent, save perhaps that there are some feats that you wanted to give it, but I'm not sure those alone warrant giving it an Int score; I'd either just give the necessary feats as bonus feats, or expand a bit more on why this creature is intelligent, and what how that intelligence manifests (for instance, why do they leave things behind in geometric patterns? Why do they have a creative drive?)

A good start, but overall there isn't quite enough oomph with this fungus creature for me.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

Congratulations on making the Top 16! :D

The visual image of this monster is weird, but evocative. Flying yellow mushrooms with tentacles? Not bad at all.

I have some issues, as this emerges from russet mold without any ties to vegepygmies or russet mold. I mean it ties in to Nar-Voth, but the way it ties in should be more than just a creation; some indication of the connection to the mold or vegepygmies should appear in its abilities or attacks. They don’t. There seems to be no real connection other than that dictated in the description.

Mechanically, it is a bit confusing. Why fire and acid as its attacks and why cold as its nemesis? The ecology is pretty neat, but if the pilobolus uses vibratory sensing as it means of “vision”, why doesn’t it also have tremorsense?

All-in-all it’s a little weird and disjointed and as such I will not be voting for this entry.

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

Name- Pilobolus. Don't know what that is. Googled it, it's a fungus, but a very different one from what's described here.

Description- Description of the monster itself is good. Could easily see some good (if gross) art coming from it.

Special Abilities- Feed is the only one the monster controls. Congeal is a disadvantage. Contents Under Pressure isn't a great name, though the ability itself would be fun, if it's triggered at all.

Nar-Voth appropriate- Fungi are popular in underworld RPG settings, but I'm not seeing anything that strongly ties this to Nar-Voth. Real world pilobous apparently specificially use sunlight to good effect, which hurts here.

Mojo- A little. Floating fungus is good, and it's got some of the ick that should have, but strong mojo would have a creature that can use its abilities with more intent.

Will players remember in 6 months- Probably not. It'd be a weird encounter while it happened, but not much to remember it by.

Star Voter Season 8

The Good: The living hot air balloon is rather fun, the visuals of its special abilities are appealing and appropriate.
The Bad: It's a glass-cannon monster with low AC/hp, but huge damage (average of 30). The threshold for its more interesting abilities appears arbitrarily high (~a third of its max hp), making it extremely unlikely they will ever come into play.
The Ugly: The grapple-monster abilities are high enough to almost guarantee success, and coupled with flight allows it to fly off with PCs to divide and conquer - ranged attacks already risk hitting allies, and then it adds Body Shield.

This thing has a lot of mojo, but the execution is unfortunately messy. Lower thresholds on the specials would make it more interesting to fight, and there needs to be some defense against abduct-and-eat.

I will not be voting for this one.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I like the floating fungus concept, but it's really downhill from there. Setting thresholds based on a number of hit points makes it difficult to advance this monster; is there a formula? Why make a monster related to vegepygmies that isn't a vegepygmy?

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 16!

I've gotten a really strong Final Fantasy vibe from your work, and this is no exception. In fact it's the most blatant yet. I instantly thought about those floating bombs that will self-destruct if you hit them too often. That's not a fatal flaw, per se, because you've given this enough identity to make it separate, but I'm definitely sensing a theme here.

Unfortunately what makes this monsters problematic is that its mechanics are not that strong. The blow away ability is a cool one and I've always liked monsters that punish people who hurt them as it forces the players to be creative, but here I wouldn't know exactly what happens when the creature is wounded. The direction of the cone and the mechanics of the flight away need to be explained precisely enough that I don't have to make stuff up during combat, for example.

Plus the little touches like the curiously high movement speed or the lackluster AC make this seem like the first draft of a monster, not the finished product. It's also curious that it has a language even though it's barely smarter than an animal and it doesn't really reproduce so it has no parents to teach it to speak. Is the language instinctual somehow?

I like the idea and I could definitely see something like this existing in the game, but as it is, it's just not polished enough.

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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 Its a floating fungus which is fun.
Bad and Ugly The cold bit is weird and it definitely took a step over the gonzo line.
Overall The ecology shows ome chops this is a C+ to a B- for me. I'd vote for it if I had 8 votes but not with 4

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Description’s OK. I get an image of the creature, but it’s not the most intimidating monster. It also assumes some action. I don’t think you need the comma after “mushroom-like growth.” It makes “floating lazily” read like a clause that refers just to the growth instead of the whole monster.

The write-up’s OK. Part of me likes the tie-in with an existing monster, but it’s not very clear and I feel like it contradicts as much as builds on canon: the russet mold says a vegepygmy bursts forth, while this introduces the possibility that something else does, but doesn’t really explain – is it all aberrations? I’m afraid more concerning is I don’t really know how to use these. They can be random monsters, but there are hints that aren’t explained that there’s something more to them. This should be a definitive write-up, telling me what their creative drive is, not that they have some sort of one.

hp =
AC -
Atk =
Dmg +
Saves =/-

The abilities are OK, but seem rather random with the 21 damage threshold among some other small aspects.

Congeal seems like a major weakness – not everyone can do 21 hp of cold damage, but those that know to try and manage it really nerf this thing. It can still move (oddly, why would it ever fly as it’s faster on the ground?) and attack, but it’s major abilities are lost.

I feel like contents under pressure should have a bull rush/gust of wind aspect to it – that could be fun having it be more hot air than acid that knocks things away… Having it drop the creature its feeding on also really hurts. I like the idea of the PCs rushing to help a friend only to have their attacks push the monster (and their quarry) farther away. Except in this case, a simple attack breaks the feed.

With feed, it’s not clear what kind of action it takes to transfer a creature (and the sizes aren’t capitalized at the end).

This is the 13th monster entry I've read. First impression is positive. A big, floating fungus? Sounds like it might be interesting. Let's see how this breaks down.

Name: Well, the name indicates a type of fungus, but it's nothing like what's presented here. A bit misleading.

Description: Provides a complete picture of the thing, including scent. Mikko already mentioned making assumptions in either the monster or PCs actions.

hp: Below average, which is weird because it has one more Hit Die than average for its CR.

AC: Low for its CR.

Attack: On par for its CR. "Tendril" is not a form of attack. Should be "3 slams."

Damage: High for its CR.

Primary Ability DC: High for its CR.

Saves: Fort is on par, Ref and Will low for its CR.

Speed: This thing has no legs. Why does it have a land speed and climb speed that are both faster than it can fly?

CMD: This thing has no legs and is a primarily flying creature. It shouldn't be able to be tripped at all.

Feats: An adequate collection of feats. They match the thematic and combat elements of the creature.

Skills: Stealth +0? Why? It should have 10 skill points for its Hit Dice. If they were all put into Stealth then its score should be +9 (10 ranks + 3 class skill bonus - 4 Size penalty + 0 Dex mod) barring any specific penalties to the monster, of which there are none. Perception is listed as +7 in the Senses line, but not listed here. With a +1 Wisdom modifier and class skill bonus, that means 3 points put into Perception, which would make Stealth +6.

Special Abilities:

Congeal: Weirdly worded. I think it would be better to say "If it takes more than 20 points of cold damage in a single attack." That said, this would be a pretty severe weakness, except for the fact that it is faster on the ground and could flee.

Contents Under Pressure: I like this ability, but while the damage limit for congeal works, it doesn't here. This should be due to damage type and activate for any slashing or piercing attacks, I think. I like Jacob's idea of making this do a bull rush in addition to the damage, rather than having the thing woosh away like a balloon, and dropping its prey seems silly when it is designed to grapple. Special abilities shouldn't gimp a monster rather than help it.

Feed: Good ability, but needs clarification as has been pointed out by other commenters.

Description: Adequate, but I would have liked to have seen some further tie-in to vegepygmies aside from the mere mention. They're cousins of a sort. How do they interact with one another?

Overall, I feel this was a good concept, but not well executed. Good luck to you.

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This is a freakshow I admire! Seems the judges scraped, flayed and filleted you over unholy coals and razor sharp stones, and apparently

Mikko Kallio wrote:
I think you're not quite ready for the later rounds…

Would be unfortunate for Mikko if he were wrong.

Regardless, there is some awesome design and creativity here, and not some weird floating gas monster just to be gonzo.

I applaud this russet mold product variation - there is so much design space for variants to my beloved vegepygmies depending on the source body. Nice work.

I love the Contents under Pressure ability, especially the flying through the air away from the attack!

Even better is the Feed ability. Feels all the right amounts of scary and horror.

I would have liked to see some affinity for aberrations as some sort of ancestral/birth longing, and perhaps some sort of insane antipathy for vegepygmies.

Seeing as this thing has some sever weaknesses as Jeff Lee points out, I'm happy for it to have some killer damage and DC.

Should definitely be stealthy to trap the unwary.

Nice work Jeff, mechanically it may not be the tightest, but you've out-created most of the competition of hum-drum stat blocks attempting to be interesting or interesting for interesting sake. Your previous two rounds show you are a designer of some flair.

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Jeff Heikkinen wrote:

A wave of hot, foul air heralds the arrival of a rippling yellow egg-shaped mass topped by a mushroom-like growth, floating lazily through the air, its many tendrils wriggling unsettlingly.

Pilobolus CR 6

Congratulations on Top 16 Jeff.

The intro lost me, I find out more about what precedes the critter than the critter itself. With so few words for the visual, be careful not to bury the lead. After the details I see the heat could be considered a part of the critter, but again that is way late. Contents under pressure is a poor name, but the ability is self is hilarious. Maybe too much, my players may see it as a joke creature. But it is written well and mostly clear. I am left wondering if said movement provokes AoOs or what happens if this direction takes it through another critter's space? a solid wall? That said, this inspired ability is the only part that stands out.

In the keep pile for now. Good luck.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

The mechanical issues others have covered pushed this into the no category for me. I do like the concept of the monster though.

Marathon Voter Season 8

How I Judge/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!

Contents Under Pressure is cool, but sloppy. It creates a cone and then gets blasted in the opposite direction, but it seems like the creature gets to choose the directions--the angle of attack means nothing here, and I would have liked the ability to direct its movement by attacking from certain directions. 21 damage also seems like a very low threshhold. It's pretty easy to deal 21 damage at 6th level--a nonmagical Greatsword with Power Attack and a 20 Strength behind it is doing 2d6+13 (20 average) after all, before any kind of class abilities, feats, magical buffs or enhancements, etc. This even has a lower AC than usual, so you can Power Attack without much fear. I feel like it'll be unleashing its jet and getting thrown around pretty routinely. Does the movement provoke AoOs?

Overall, the Contents Under Pressure's low damage threshhold kind of ruin it's main tactics--it can't hold on to people if it's taking 21+ damage, and well, it's going to be, because that's the amount of damage the most common beatstick PCs deal at 6th level. Instead of a cool fight against this weird balloon creature grabbing people and eating/constricting them until someone cleverly identifies it and deals a bunch of cold damage to shut it down, you're just going to get a goofy balloon deflating effect as it takes too much damage every round and just blasts around, unable to do anything but hope its feeble 4d6 cone kills the party in the 3 hits it can survive.

Star Voter Season 6

Fourteenth monster I've read...
Large floating, exploding, gassy fungus...
Icky concept. That works for a Nar-Voth monster.
Could make for a memorable encounter.
Not my favorite, at least not enough for a vote, but still... Well done. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

Brief critiques as I prep for the possibility of advancing, focusing on feedback that is hopefully new and constructive to future designs.
Watch out for using non-core feats; you may need to cite some of their sourcebooks, I recognized very few of these offhand, and some of them (the grapples) lacked proper prereqs. Love the “balloon pop” special ability, cinematic and flavorful way to finish this critter off. That said, the specific damage caveat is responsive, not active, and oddly specific. As written, the two abilities also overlap with each other, which is very confusing to me. Does it congeal or pop or both or what? Not sold on the high speed and maneuverability either, given that it’s kind of at the mercy of the surrounding gases.
Hope to see some cleaner rules language in your encounter if you advance. Good luck!

Star Voter Season 6

Christopher Wasko wrote:
As written, the two abilities also overlap with each other, which is very confusing to me. Does it congeal or pop or both or what?

It congeals with cold damage, ruptures with any other damage.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

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Lady Firedove wrote:
Christopher Wasko wrote:
As written, the two abilities also overlap with each other, which is very confusing to me. Does it congeal or pop or both or what?
It congeals with cold damage, ruptures with any other damage.

Ah, gotcha. I missed that, thanks @Lady Firedove!

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