The Lost Entrance to the Crystal Labyrinth

Round 4: Design an encounter

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka moon glum

The Lost Entrance to the Crystal Labyrinth
The Crystal Labyrinth stretches from Nar-Voth near the Long Walk north of the Court of Ether, down to Sekamina near Giratayn. It is doubtful that the maze is a natural phenomena, for the few records left by explorers report of crystalline formations that distort sound, light, time, and space. Tales speak of a crystal that contains a whole city preserved like an ancient insect in amber, of shining cathedral chambers whose walls sing the story of the world before there were gods, and of a number of weird prisms that serve both as gates to other dimensions, and as eyes by which things in those dimensions peer out.

The Pathfinder Society has no complete maps of the Crystal Labyrinth. No explorers have successfully traveled the maze all the way from Nar-Voth into Sekamina. What is known of the labyrinth comes mostly from drow who have ventured through the Sekamina entrances in search of exotic materials that can be fashioned into weapons or used to weave dark magics.

There once were two Nar-Voth entryways to the Crystal Labyrinth known to the Pathfinders: Raelath and Borroughs, each named after its discover. The adventurers of old that ventured through these portals provided only a few rough maps and brief passages in the Chronicles, for most did not return. In 1325 an underground earthquake of mysterious origin collapsed both entrances, and for over a century attempts to explore the Crystal Labyrinth ceased. Until recently, the only account of an explorer returning from what may be a newly discovered Nar-Voth entrance is that of Fineous Drot from 1463-- a sketchy account more than 50 years old. Since that time, the location of that entrance has been lost. Adventurers seeking it have found numerous false entrances leading to collapsing chambers, purple worm and gloom wasp nests, radiated poison gas pockets, and other such dooms. However, a month ago a wild-eyed dwarven woman named Gawlda Twicehewn has come to the attention of the Pathfinder Society. She had escaped from enslavement by the druegar, and while pushing her way up to the surface she fought a group of derro. She slew all but one. Upon interrogation, that one survivor betrayed that it knew of a shaft descending to a cavern bedecked with strange, shimmering, undoubtedly valuable crystalline deposits. Before she executed the derro, she forced it to draw her a map, and now she offers that map for sale. If this is in fact an entrance to the Crystal Labyrinth, the prestige to its discoverers would be immense, and a significant amount of wealth might be obtained from the many valuable crystals those adventurers could harvest.

The Maw of the Crystal Labyrinth (CR 8)

The passage widens into a vaulting cavern whose earthen surfaces are decorated by a dazzling variety of crystals. To the left, a fifteen foot wide shaft breaks into the room from the ceiling, and continues down through the floor, descending as far as you can see. A narrow ledge winds to the right of the shaft and leads beyond to where the cavern widens and the earthen floor shimmers with crystalline structures-- some very sharp. At about head height, the northern wall of the cavern splits open into a three foot wide fissure lined with pink gem-like crystals.

The illusory shafts are created by supernaturally reflective crystal on the floors and ceiling. The shafts appear real with only a cursory examination, and seem to extend beyond one's line of sight. Although they are a supernatural effect, they otherwise function as a hallucinatory terrain spell (CL 12, DC 20). The illusions mask a surface composed of a shimmering silvery mineral that is smooth, hard, and even. It is treated as normal terrain.

The real shaft to the east of the cavern has sheer rough edges and descends 140 feet to a rocky bottom. If an adventurer slides into this shaft because of the slip crystal, they may attempt a Reflex save (DC 15) to cling to the edge. Climbing the rocky sides of the shaft requires DC 5 climb check.

The earthen ledges that exit the cavern to the northwest are each 5 feet in height.

The areas of slip crystal appear to be rough, rock and crystal strewn difficult terrain unless they are carefully examined. See the traps section below.

Creatures: A Geomaw exploits the hazards of this cavern in its ravenous pursuit of blood and flesh. It has taken up residence at the place along the northern wall indicated on the map. Using its freeze ability, it waits with its mouth open, hoping to lure prey onto the slip crystal and into the illusion-covered pit (Perception DC 35 to notice the hidden Geomaw). If someone does fall into the pit, it burrows in after them and attacks. If it swallows such a victim, it will gorge at the bottom of the pit, relying on its blood lantern ability to keep those that can see through the illusion fascinated. If the Geomaw is discovered and attacked by a foe that it can sense, it will roar and burrow forth, plowing under the blade crystal and slip crystal to erupt from either the ground or a wall to attack any available foe. However, if it is attacked from beyond the range of its senses, it will burrow into the open space to the north and wait in ambush for the adventurers. Enraged, it will then fight to the death.

Geomaw CR 7
XP 3200 each
hp 85 each

Hazard: Blade crystals are fragile, incredibly sharp formations of crystal that vary from 6 inches to two feet in length. A number these protrude from the earth in the area near the center of the cavern. These squares are treated as difficult terrain, but each square a creature enters deals 1d4 points of damage and one point of bleed damage to that creature. A creature moving at half speed, or that succeeds at a DC 15 Acrobatics check as a free action when first moving into a region of blade crystal can avoid the damaging affects for the round but not the difficult terrain effect.

Trap: An area of slip crystal covers the floor around the center of the cavern as indicated on the map. Slip crystal is a white, reflective, supernaturally slippery crystal. Each five foot square is treated as a separate trap. It is difficult to detect because adopts an illusion duplicating the texture of the ceiling above it. Disabling it typically involves marring the crystal, or striking it with a tanglefoot bag.

Slip Crystal Floor CR 1
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
----- Effects -----
Trigger location; Reset automatic
Effect Treat as though the area is covered in a grease spell (DC 15). In addition, a creature that falls has a 50% chance of sliding into a random, adjacent square. Creatures that slide from a slip crystal trap square into another slip crystal trap square have a 50% chance of continuing to slide into the adjacent square that is opposite the square they entered from.

Trap: An illusion covered spiked pit trap sits in the midst of the slip crystal. The illusion is a supernatural effect created by a crystal at the bottom of the pit. The crystal is specific to this pit and loses its power if removed. Disabling this trap does not remove the hazard of the open pit, but does make the illusionary covering disappear. Although it is a supernatural effect, the illusion is otherwise treated as a hallucinatory terrain spell (CL 12, DC 20).

Illusion-Covered Spiked Pit CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
----- Effects -----
Trigger location; Reset automatic
Effect 20-ft.-deep pit (2d6 falling damage); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+3 damage each); DC 20 Reflex avoids; multiple targets (all targets in a 15-ft.-square area).

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Welcome to Round Four of RPG Superstar 2015! You've worked hard and pleased the voters to get here, and your chance to get into the finals depends on whether you took risks and pulled off a big idea. Let's see how it goes!

I'm looking at each entry as a developer, as a GM, and as a player. If you can please all three of those crowds, you are a Superstar!

Encounter, Location, Prose The prose here really builds excitement. By the time I find out Twicehewn wants to sell her map, I'm thinking "Eureka!" That kind of urgency and excitement is great. The background story is very much the strength of your submission.

The map is a bit of a mess. It's very crowded and with tons of details, but I recognize that a pro cartographer would make the published version look great and differentiate the details. Even so, a crowded map like that could have used some color. I note also there are keyed locations that aren't described in the text. What are phase crystals and spell prisms?

The encounter is quite vulnerable to fly, freedom of movement, and other magic readily available to characters near its CR. With only 1 CR 7 creature, I'm not really sure the encounter poses much of a challenge. A character that slips into the geomaw's...erm...maw...still has to be grappled and swallowed. With a reach of 5 feet, unless you're saying a falling creature lands in its space, there's no attack of opportunity to take against the PC (and the players will bring that up, right?).

I've looked in several places, and I can't find references to blade crystals or slip crystals as published Pathfinder hazards. I think the ideas are neat, but be careful about inventing new mechanics when your developer doesn't ask you to. In the case of RPG Superstar, we don't want a precedent that designers can just make up new mechanics because they didn't conceive of an encounter with existing hazards. Not a party foul, but be careful and knock it out of the park if you do it. In this case, you didn't knock it out of the park because you have a CR and description block for one hazard, and a less formal description of the other. Other judges might disagree, but
I don't think this tactic worked for you.

Over the years, this contest has offered approximately one billion pieces of advice related to passive and active text. If you advance, be sure to save word space and keep readers engaged by using action verbs and avoiding auxilaries.

Small quibbles with your language. A singular object is a phenomenon, not a phenomena. Also, your short stat block for a single geomaw list Xp and hp as "each".

Is it original? Your submission does a pretty good job of being both original and throwback. Weird radiation, underground crystals, and (semi)naturally occurring pits and hazards unite Pathfinder Nar-Voth with 1e Underdark. Everyone who knows me knows I appreciate old school, so this pleases me.

Do I want to run it? Not so much. I can think of dirty tricks with more weird crystals and give spell prisms a mechanical identity, but then it's the GM engineering those details, not the designer. The round asked for an encounter inside your location, but you haven't keyed descriptions for the separate locations you put on the map. What do I do when a PC walks on A3?

Do I want to play it? I feel casual parties wouldn't have much fun being constantly told this square was full of something or being zapped by a spell prism every few feet or whatnot. I think seasoned parties would blow through the encounter with little trouble. Parties between those categories will have a mixture of both. Again, the story is awesome but the encounter execution doesn't do it for me.

Overall: The location's history is great, but the encounter design leaves a lot of unanswered questions. A developer would have to ask or make new stuff up. I admit it's always possible that those references exist somewhere and I just don't have every book. But a) if someone who has played the game since 1e AND owns more Pathfinder books than the average GM/player can't find them, they're too hard to find, and b) book references would be called for, and c) making your customers jump through those hoops isn't Superstar design.

Recommendation: I can't recommend this encounter for one of the spots in the final round.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Map: The map is an interesting use of the space, and fairly clear. I'd like to see details about things mentioned on the map but not included in your encounter. It's fine for the map to have more than your encounter on it, but in this case I'm not left 'wanting more," I'm left feeling like I didn’t get enough information to know what those details are there. It's wasted space, and that makes the map much less useful, which is sad because it got off to a good start.

Trap: Slip crystals are a neat effort at a new idea, but I don’t end up being convinced by them. Magically slippery would have been just as easy to do with an actual grease spell trap with tweaks to make it work like you want. Super-slippery but nonmagical (since it’s a mechanical trap) crystals don't pass my rule of cool test. I'd change this in development, so a lot of the unique flavor of creating it in the first place is lost.

Monster: Your choice of geomaw works very well for the encounter you designed, and is used appropriately.

Encounter: There's the start of something really interesting here, but the promise of it never really blossoms. The geomaw is the most interesting part of your encounter, and that means the heavy lifting was done by the monster writer, rather then by you. The ideas of weird crystals and natural to semi-natural hazards and traps are good ones, but the exact choices you made don’t elevate this encounter with an already-interesting monster.

Tips: Having an underground tunnel to a subterranean world be named after an explorer named Burroughs is an Easter Egg, and we prefer to avoid those. Yes, it's a nice nod to Pelucidar, but don’t do it. If you actually get writing work, ESPECIALLY don’t do it without calling it out to your developer so he can decide to leave it or not.
Also, always check your names to see if there are real-world implications you hadn’t considered.

I do not recommend this encounter to advance to Round 5.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hey Ben, congratulations on making it to the top 8.

I am the developer of Pathfinder Society Organized Play and the Pathfinder Society Open Call, which means I see lots of short adventures and self-contained encounters over the course of a year. It’s a developer’s job to read through, revise, and fact-check pretty much everything, but I have attempted to distill my feedback into several major headers. Essentially, I’m approaching this round like I would a scenario turnover, which involves marking up a copy of your encounter and providing feedback on what you did and how you might improve.

My Criteria:

Setting: Does your encounter fit in Golarion? Is it an encounter appropriate for Nar-Voth? Is the CR appropriate for the setting and the encounter? Is it clear how a GM might use this encounter? How effective is the map?
NPCs, Creatures, and Traps: How well did you incorporate the Round 3 creature into your encounter? Does it feel like a natural fit, or was it forced? Does the creature have a chance to shine? Do your NPCs fit in the location? Do their motives make sense? Is there an opportunity for roleplaying (appreciated but not essential)? Does the trap fit the encounter? Does the trap add to the encounter?
Numbers: Are all of your statistics and calculations correct? Are your skill check DCs reasonable?
Style: Did you watch Paizo’s styles, both in terms of writing and formatting? The more closely a writer can match Paizo’s styles in the turnover, the easier it is for me to develop. The easier it is for me to develop, the more eagerly I assign that author more work.

It sounds like the Crystal Labyrinth is something new, as it’s not showing up in my searches of Paizo’s PDFs. This sounds like a big place with lots of cool things inside. On one hand, that’s neat. On the other hand, I’m distracted from your encounter by the possibilities of all of the things you could have created but instead only namedropped. Would I rather fall in a pit with a geomaw or break into that crystalline city?

It seems like your sense of Golarion’s timeline is way off, and that sets off red flags for a developer. The Pathfinder Society was founded about 400 years ago (4307 or 4317 AR, depending on how you measure it), but you have Pathfinder agents exploring this place in 1325—thousands of years before the Society began. You later note that Fineous Drot’s account from 1463 is about 50 years old, which suggests you’re assuming the year is about 1520 AR. These are numbers I could easily change in development, but spotting this so early into your entry makes me really uneasy.

The RPG Superstar requirements don’t require a particular background:encounter word ratio, but 438 out of 1,400 maximum words spent on background feels like too much. Sure, I now have really deep adventure hooks available, but there’s less space to flesh out the encounter and explain what some of those other things on the map are (e.g. cocoons, spell prisms, and phase crystal walls).

The map took me a while to digest because it’s difficult to visually distinguish individual squares labeled “SL” from pointy icons that indicate blade crystal. Certainly it’s clear exactly where each hazard is—a great benefit when I’m developing the adventure and need to tag the final map’s hazard areas—but in the meantime it feels very…”dense.”

The map appears to give the geomaw some space in which to move without difficulty, yet it’s confined enough that the creature is not completely doomed if the PCs spot it; it still has a chance to attack with its 10-ft. speed.

NPCs, Creatures, and Traps
Taking advantage of slippery rock to funnel prey into its mouth seems like just the right amount of cunning for a creature with 6 Intelligence, and the divide-and-conquer nature of a pit trap does allow an ambush predator to continue being ambush-y after the surprise round.

On the other hand, once the geomaw ducks after the hapless victim, there’s not a whole lot for the other PCs to do. As a cleric, do I really want to step into a grease area and fall into a pit? It would be nice if there were a parallel threat that keeps the folks upstairs busy while the geomaw takes lunch.

I like how the weird floor conditions synergize in their own special ways, though the slip crystal is far more significant a threat than the blade crystals. These crystal types both really feel like hazards, not traps, despite your labeling the slip crystal as one. This is especially relevant when calculating the encounter’s CR (see below). In the meantime, can I break the blade crystals? How? Does the geomaw ignore these crystalline structures? Does its burrow speed crack the slip crystals?

The cruel GM in me appreciates that there are some false pits mixed in with the real pit. The illusory nature of these fits with the location you have created.

The CR calculation is rather weird based on the premise of each slip crystal square being its own CR 1 trap. 19 patches is the equivalent of a CR 9+ encounter by a strict calculation (not including any other threats), even though I think we would both agree that the slip crystal is not nearly so dangerous as that. This makes the encounter both deceptively hard to calculate as a threat, but it means there’s a miniature gold mine of experience points just waiting for an enterprising rogue. As a developer, I would change the slip crystal into a CR 4 (give or take) hazard and be done with it.

I spotted a lot of stylistic nitpicks, including use of passive voice, not capitalizing skill checks, 2nd-person references in read-aloud text, reliance on future tense, and assumed perception/height of the observer (i.e. what does “at about head height” mean if I’m playing a halfling but my friend plays an elf?).

I would really like to see a lot of the geomaw’s tactics in a tactics entry in its stat block. That would make it much easier to prepare and run as a GM.

The Traps header should cover both of your traps; don’t create a second traps header in the same encounter.

Closing Thoughts
This is an interesting location, but I can summarize the encounter by saying “An ambush monster waits for PCs in a good ambush location.” It’s ecologically sound, yet it doesn’t jump out at me. Compared to the fantastic sub-regions mentioned in the introduction and the wealth of background in the encounter, I’m a little let down that there’s not more to this encounter.

I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka moon glum

Thank you all for your comments!

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

The Long Walk, a major trade and travel routh through Nar-Voth; the upside-down fey city of the Court of Ether; Sekamina, a Darklands level beneath Nar-Voth; the drow city of Giratayn; the Pathfinder Society, a maniacal cabal of map-obsessed traveling writers, and the Chronicles they publish using mutilated prison labor; monstrous, ravenous, alien purple worms; and the mad underground race of derro.

The geomaw was Brian J. Fruzen's Round 3 monster.

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

3rd review:

Your map shows so much and then you spend so much words on history that you should have spent on the encounter - that is not Superstar.

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

The Map: This map reminds me a lot of your map from round 2, but with less color. It's cramped, hard to read, and worst of all you filled it with too many unanswered questions. I didn't like your unnamed keyed encounter areas in round 2, and I like it even less here. We also have more vaguely named map features without description or purpose. What was good enough to get past round 2 no longer cuts it here. I would have preferred that you just zoomed into A1 and cut the rest.

The Idea: The language in your background is overly ornamental, but also describes places much cooler than the place you've presented here. Geomaw doesn't do it for me, it's too passive of a monster to make a cool dynamic encounter out of. I actually like the idea of the slip crystals, but I'd prefer a save over a flat 50% chance to slide.

The Encounter: If someone actually falls into the pit, this encounter will probably be fairly memorable as people scramble to help him out and a scary monster emerges. However it seems likely as not as this level that people will simply avoid the pits entirely so there is no encounter at all.

Will I vote for it: I was a big fan of your monster (though it had serious mechanical issues), but not of your other 2 rounds. This encounter hasn't convinced me you're ready yet, so I won't be voting for you.

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Ben Iglauer wrote:
The real shaft to the east of the cavern has sheer rough edges and descends 140 feet to a rocky bottom. If an adventurer slides into this shaft because of the slip crystal, they may attempt a Reflex save (DC 15) to cling to the edge. Climbing the rocky sides of the shaft requires DC 5 climb check.

I once submitted a module for a convention that also featured a long drop like this, and I'll give you the same advice they gave me: that's 14 x d6 falling damage if you fail that Reflex check. A nasty and quick way to end an adventure!

I loved the idea of the Crystal Labyrinth, it has loads of potential and really gets the imagination going. I think your use of it as a draw card is interesting, and could possibly work well as part of a Pathfinder Society campaign involving the Labyrinth.

Good luck.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

The opening paragraph got me very excited for this location- strange crystals, warping time and space, and eyes peering out from alien dimensions. However, afterwards, there is a long backstory not quite grabbing my attention. When I get to the actual encounter, there are some neat ideas there (slip crystals) but ultimately it's "a player falls into a pit to be eaten by the geomaw" scenario. Where's that city in amber and those other dimensions?

With the word count, I realize you can't get to all those cool things you mentioned in your opening paragraph, but I feel like too much word count was spent on the backstory and not enough on the encounter where you could have fleshed out one or two of the ideas.

Great idea but needs tighter execution.

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

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The map is too busy for me and I find it hard to figure out what is where or to visualize the whole. It uses both letters and symbols to denote different terrain types which helps cause some of the clutter. Further some of the terrain is simply marked “difficult” with no indicator as to why. Since some of this terrain is a part of the section in which the encounter occurs, it should have been described somewhere but it isn’t.

There is a cool location described here, but using a questionable entrance to that location rather than the Crystal Labyrinth itself was perhaps a mistake. True the crystals are a part of the encounter, but by making that part of the entrance rather than the maze itself makes this more the introductory encounter rather than one of the exciting central encounters of the adventure. While very important, it has to be topped by some of the encounters to come in order for the plot to feel as if it is progressing. Starting off too strong can be as big a mistake as starting too weak.

Since the drow have only recently been confirmed to exist on Golarion, having them be a source of information on any Darklands location also breaks with the current history of the world and is a bit of a disconnect with what has been established canon.

From a tactics standpoint, the geomaw fits into this location very well and can obviously use the crystalline terrain to a great advantage. However some of what is listed as a trap—slip crystal—is in fact a hazard. The difference is that a trap can be disarmed and has to reset before it can fire again after being tripped, while a hazard is “always on.” Slip crystal is effectively always on or should be considered to be and shouldn’t by its description be able to be disarmed. There is enough of a trap with the illusion covered pit and the shaft down 140 feet. The combination of pits, illusions, and the slip crystal could have been described as a single—and very original and cool—trap.

The geomaw is the only monster and its presence is effectively that of an ambush beast. Nothing to exciting or original in that. Had its tactics used the light refraction of the crystals to more effect, such as creating illusions of where it was or even a displacement effect, it would have been far more interesting.

There are some really good ideas here, but they haven’t gelled well. As such I will not be voting for this entry.

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

I don't have time right now to give a detailed review so I'm just going to write something quick.

This is not getting one of my 2 votes for a variety of reasons and would not if I had 4 here's a highlight reel of my reasoning:

-Map is identifiable as something you made but it's missing the charm that bought me in on the dino graveyard
-Monster choice hurt you especially here because I could see a spiroskek treating that obstacle race track you have set up and making it a challenge for the Pcs, especially if you added a secret passage...
-You could have gone with the crystals bending light sources in a strange way that had effects ect...

Stuff to work on:
-If you make it to the final round bring back the whimsical element to your work. It's missing here and t's what made your previous entries shine

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

Ben Iglauer wrote:

The Lost Entrance to the Crystal Labyrinth


Congratulations Ben!

Map: + lots of details, but they kind of blended together. Color (or different patterns to keep b&w) would have helped.
Monster (homefield advantage): ~ it defininately will be able to hide well, but that is only good until it gets cover. (fortunately, burrow+move action=cover (but doesn't need to hide).
Trap: ~ incidental at best, hazard is cool though.
Tactics: - 'it burrows and waits in ambush prey'... I needed it to go threaten my players.
Challenge my players: ~ the terrain will make it difficult, but once they leave the geomaws senses they can just.
Memorable: + the location is (crystal cavern, slippery crystals, crystal caltrops, illusionary pits). Not so much for the encounter.

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

Steven Helt wrote:
The round asked for an encounter inside your location, but you haven't keyed descriptions for the separate locations you put on the map. What do I do when a PC walks on A3?

I think this is a tough area of Superstar. I in theory like the larger maps and assume a full product would have descriptions for these keyed areas. I think that used to be the assumption a little more in earlier years and we've gone away from that the last couple years. Here, IMO, we're simply seeing just the part that's relevant to this encounter. I think taking points away for having a larger map limits what contestants can do a bit, since if this were part of a full product all of those areas would presumably be listed.

I think I ran into that problem a bit last year. I think Ben runs into another problem I ran into, using just a single R3 monster. I think people just want a bit more for the R4 encounters (similarly, people want a hard/challenging encounter, not something just at CL, even if this was meant to be the initial encounter to enter the labyrinth).

Some spelling/grammar/English issues also tripped me up: discover instead of discoverer in the first sentence of the third graf; gloomwasp as two words; and I think "The areas of slip crystal appear to be rough, rock and crystal strewn difficult terrain" needs a hyphen or two in it ("rock- and crystal-strewn" is what I think you're going for).

I'm afraid I won't be voting for this, but as I said to Gabriel, there seem to be three favorites who appear likely to move on with the final slot open to any of the rest of you, so good luck.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I think this is an interesting location, but with an average encounter within it. To be fair, a pretty cool average encounter, but the trick this round is to pick the big cool set piece encounter from your location and really sell it.

I'll echo what Jacob says though that I have no problem with the map covering far more than the encounter. Based on the description of the round, that's what I expect actually - you map a location, then describe a single encounter there. I'd actually take points away from a a map that just was of the encounter itself.

Also, as to Steven's point about creating new hazards as new rule elements, I don't agree at all. Superstar is all about creating new stuff, and while a new spell or feat wouldn't be appropriate for an encounter, a hazard or trap is. The rules even call out that you can create a new trap, and a hazard is another bit of rules that is completely appropriate for an encounter...I mean where else would you use it?

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