Thaumigorger – 526 Words


Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Thrawn007

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This large catlike creature is covered in grey and brown scales and sports an oversized maw full of teeth. A third eye set in it's forehead moves independently of its other two eyes.

Thaumigorger CR 7
XP 3600
N Large aberration
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, magic sense, scent; Perception +15

----- Defense -----
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+3 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size)
hp 76 (8d8+40)
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +3; +4 bonus on saves against mind-affecting effects
DR 5/non-magic; Immune disease, poison; SR 18

----- Offense -----
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d8+7 plus grab), 2 claws +12 (1d6+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks consume magic, pounce, rake (2 claws +12, 1d6+7)

----- Statistics -----
Str 25, Dex 17, Con 21, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +6; CMB +14 (+18 grapple); CMD 27 (31 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Run, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +12 (+16 to jump), Perception +15, Stealth +12, Swim +11; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +4 Perception, +8 Stealth
SQ absorb magic

----- Ecology -----
Environment Warm desert, hills, or plains
Organization Solitary, pair, or hunting pack (3-8)
Treasure Incidental

----- Special Abilities -----
Absorb Magic (Su) Any time a thaumigorger successfully dispels a spell or spell-like ability, or a spell or spell-like ability fails to affect a thaumigorger due to spell resistance, the thaumigorger heals hit points equal to caster level of the spell or spell-like ability. If this would put the thaumigorger above its maximum hit points, the extra are converted into temporary hit points (maximum 20) that expire after 1 hour.

Consume Magic (Su) Any time a thaumigorger successfully hits with a bite attack, it immediately makes a targeted dispel attempt as a dispel magic spell against that enemy as a free action, using the attack roll as the dispel check.

Damage Reduction (Ex) Due to a thaumigorger's magic absorption, enchanted weapons have less effect on it. Its damage reduction is overcome by using non-magical weapons.

Magic Sense (Ex) A thaumigorger can constantly see magical auras as if using detect magic. It identifies the strengths of auras, but is unable to distinguish spell schools or individual spells.

Thaumigorger are immense predators native to the Mana Wastes. Although the wastes are known for spawning mutant versions of various creatures, thaumigorgers have evolved over the milennia of strange magical effects and devastated environments, adapting to the magical energies of the area. The thaumigorger's favored prey are creatures with magical auras, consuming not only their flesh, but magical auras along with it. The thaumigorger's senses allow it to track creatures with enchantments and choose prey with stronger auras to get greater nourishment. These scaled beasts are not intelligent, but they are cunning hunters that are well adapted to an environment that is confusing and debilitating to most others. They stalk their prey, looking for rocks or other perches where they can pounce on their victims. With their senses, they also have an advantage in identifying anti-magic fields common to the wastes, and will use these areas to strike from or retreat to when overmatched.

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Robert! Welcome back for Round 3! This is the round where we temporarily set aside your earlier tests--i.e., a magic item "calling card" to showcase your potential, and a map to literally draw in the viewer so they can connect with your vision for an inspired gaming experience at the table. Instead, this go-around, we're testing your skill with monster design--one of the most important skills a freelancer can have--and, it'll be measured from the ground up rather than relying on class levels or special templates to make it stand out. This is absolutely vital to a great designer, because new monsters are always needed, and always in demand. Even if you don't necessarily go on to win the entire RPG Superstar competition, you can still make a significant enough impression in this round to serve you well in securing future freelancing opportunities, whether with Paizo or Pathfinder-compatible third-party publishers.

So, with that in mind, I'm going into these monster evaluations looking for a handful of insights into what your design choices and overall execution tell me about you. Aside from just a useful, compelling monster, I want to see how creative you are in selecting a particular concept and bringing it to life with your words. I also want to see how you match that with an accurate stat-block, and I want to ascertain how well you understand the mechanics which distinguish one monster creation from another, both as a combination for incorporating existing rules into your design, as well as being innovative enough to invent all-new material which others may eventually reference for their future designs, as well. Essentially, it's one thing to create a competent monster for the game table, but it's quite another to transcend that, and create something truly iconic and ground-breaking. You do the latter and you'll definitely be on your way to the next round.

First up, let's evaluate your monster's name: the Thaumigorger. It's a very appropriate name given what it does. While reading it, part of me thinks there should be a better name for this creature, but as I get into the text and review its abilities, I'm really not sure there's a better name out there for it. It kind of compares to the Disenchanter, and there's not exactly a better name for that creature either. So...

Next, let's examine your creativity in describing and explaining what your monster is all about. "This large catlike creature is covered in grey and brown scales and sports an oversized maw full of teeth. A third eye set in it's forehead moves independently of its other two eyes." Well, those eyes certainly sound pretty creepy, and a scaled cat-like creature with an oversized maw full of teeth also commands attention. If you read that description aloud at the table, you're very likely to have your players leaning forward as they anticipate a fierce battle. As I read further into the paragraphs describing your monster, however, it seems a bit sparse. You only used 526 out of the 600 words available. In some bestiary writeups (depending on the size of the art), that might leave quite a bit of blank space. Generally speaking, you don't want to come in too far under wordcount on a monster write-up, just like you don't want to go over either. And a greater than 10% underwrite is probably too far. Aside from that, I do appreciate the connection to the Mana Wastes to help explain its reason for existing. Having them be attracted to magic (whether in spell form, magic items, or auras) is a good niche to explore. But having them feed both on the flesh and magical emanations of their victims is a nice touch.

So, what about the mechanics? In the interests of time, I didn't try to number-crunch everything, but most things are solid. The AC, hit points, and attack bonuses are in line with a CR 7 creature. The Will save is a little low (which could be easily adjusted with a higher Wisdom) and average damage potential gets a little high. If the bite and claws land they overshoot the high-end damage curve of most CR 7 creatures. And, if the pounce/rake combo comes into play, that's going to get even more magnified. Additionally, the DR 5/non-magic, while interesting, is likely going to come into play pretty frequently for most PCs encountering this creature at their APL, so their best weapons are likely to be ineffective. And, if they're reduced to unarmed strikes (which might provoke attacks of opportunity) or a backup mundane dagger, it's going to be a much harder combat to survive. This is also true because of its unique resistance to magic with high SR, as well as the absorb magic and consume magic abilities, so if weapons fail the PCs, magic isn't necessarily going to be an equalizer for them. Thus, you've kind of got to look close at how this might play out at the table. I'd be interested in seeing how a few combats come out during playtesting. With regards to the special abilities, I like what you're shooting for here, but I think some of it goes too far. It can sense magic (which is great), absorb it to gain extra temporary hit points (which is probably overkill given its high hit points and DR already), and consume magic (which I've got trouble with). The way you've defined that latter ability, the dispel check is equal to the attack roll which gets fully modified by its Weapon Focus (bite) feat, its rapid rise in BAB, and its high Str bonus. This will likely overpower any attempt to resist the dispel effect, so I'm not a fan of this mechanical design. You'd have been better off borrowing the disenchanter's disenchant ability, which is a melee touch attack wherein the disenchanter makes a caster level check (at +4) opposed by the target's Fortitude save (which has a much more sane progression than attack rolls).

Next up, the presentation. Everything looked pretty tight here. You got the bolding, italicizing, alphabetical ordering, and placement of everything right as far as I can tell. Nicely done.

Bottom Line: This was a novel creature concept. I can't help but compare it to the disenchanter, though, and there are a few areas where I think you'd have been better suited following in those footsteps a bit--while obviously looking for ways to do something new and different, too. Speaking of which, there are some innovative abilities here. The absorb magic is thematically appropriate for why these creatures stay in the Mana Wastes. You've also got the professional polish down. The desciptive text reads reasonably well, but you underwrote the assignment by a fairly significant amount, and I would've liked to see you expand it a bit more. There are also some small mechanical choices that might warrant a closer look, but I think this turnover would still require a few changes during development. Therefore, I'm going to put myself ON THE FENCE for this designer. If you advance to the next round, keep bringing the mojo, but also widen your research for things that already exist in the game so you can look for ways to avoid reinventing the wheel, while also innovating a bit.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Congratulations for making it to Round 3! Your item worked for enough people to make Top and you mapping skills got you through Round 2, and now folks get to see your monster. Like previous years that I’ve judged this round, I’m approaching judging the same way I would do a pre-development pass on a turnover one of my freelancers sent me. I start at the descriptive text at the top and then work my way through the statblock looking for errors or weak spots that need to be addressed in development. Then I read the flavor text and see how it is all integrated. My final judgment is not only based on errors or lack thereof. Some of my comments are just personal preference, so please don’t take anything personally. We just have different tastes.

Now on to your monster!

• I like the descriptive text, especially the part with the third eye.

• We put commas between the thousands and hundreds place for numbers. Also, we use en-dashes for minus signs and number range separators instead of hyphens.

• Its hit points are a bit low for a CR 7 creature, and the DR isn’t really enough to offset this very much. Also, that DR exception, while it makes sense, is weird. The developer in me is trying to figure out the best way to present that. Your AC and attack numbers are good, and damage is a bit high, especially if it can reliably pull off that rake.

• You don’t need to capitalize the first word after the bold header in the ecology lines.

• Consume magic is neat, but the bit about using the attack roll as the dispel check strikes me weird. I like its synergy with absorb magic, but that special ability could use a bit of work with its wording to standardize the language.

• I’m glad that you spend the word count on explaining the non-standard damage reduction.

• I would drop the magic sense special ability and just given this creature detect magic as a constant spell-like ability. I don’t know if the restriction is worth making a new ability.

• I like that you tied these things to the Mana Wastes. It makes good sense. The rest of the flavor text is fine, and it describes their behavior in a way that a GM would know how to use them in an encounter.

This is a decent submission, but it didn’t completely “wow” me. I’m on the fence about whether this designer should advance to the next round.

Paizo Employee Editor

Welcome to the top 16! Great job getting this far! Now let’s take a look at your monster.

First off, the name feels a little jumbled to me. My suggestion would be “thaumavore,” despite the fact that that mixes ancient Greek and Latin. And speaking of names, I am a big fan of interesting collective nouns, and I think you missed out on a opportunity to give one to your monster. “College” springs to mind.

This monster overlaps a bit with the disenchanter, but I do like the idea of a large magic-eating creature prowling the Mana Wastes.

Mechanically, I don’t see too many problems. I think the consume magic ability should have a second caster check to dispel magical effects (using the monster’s HD, of course). The creature’s DR is a little unusual, but the more I think about it, the more it appeals to me.

In the end, I am on the fence with this entry. It needs a little more oomph to push it into Superstar territory.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Thrawn007

Thanks for all the feedback. Look forward to adding my discussion in about a week.


A cool creature.

I think the temporary hit points from absorb magic should not stack with each other, only the highest should count.

A giant, three-eyed cat, and as we note,

Quote:


These scaled beasts are not intelligent,

So... I'm thinking this should be a magical beast.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

See, this is probably my favorite monster of the round and here's why:

The Rust Monster,
The Beholder,
The Illithid,
The Displacer Beast.

All of these creatures have become iconic for a lot of reasons, but part of their appeal is that an encounter with these creatures pushes characters to take on new tactics that they aren't going to always be comfortable with.

Wandering the Mana Wastes, magic is going to be unpredictable at the best of times. Then a Thaumigorger gets your scent, all because you insist on wearing those Boots of Striding and Springing.

Perhaps it ambushes you when you get lost in a blind canyon, this bizarre thing of scales, its third eye wandering hungrily over your magic boots, your wands, your +2 Belt of Strength. While the other two eyes intently stare, it's waiting for you to move before it pounces.

Suddenly you have to use your backup weapon, the dagger you picked up on the cheap, or that Goblin's bow that you haven't had a chance to sell. Your spellcasters need to choose who they are going to buff wisely, because a haste spell could be more trouble than it's worth.

The Thaumigorger might need some fine tuning to give it a bit more of an achille's heel, but imagine what happens if you have an artifact you can pull out to blind the beast.

The Thaumigorger could be an incredibly iconic monster.

I declare this monster my Top Pick

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

Thaumigorger
How I’m rating monsters:
Creativity: does this seem innovative and original or does this seem contrived? How is the description?
I was bored with your description until we got to the third eye then you started to intrigue me. Unfortunately you went with a magic eater which is something I’ve seen a lot over 4 years of voting in the form of crappy items. 4/10
Marketability: are the choices you made smart and marketable to a voting public? Does the name pop?
Name makes me expect a fat zombie that eats magic… You went cat abberation but I’m not buying in. 5/10
Trade craft: did you format correctly and scale correct to Paizo standards?
Formatting is on point, power balance meets the challenge 8/10.
Encounter worthy: as a GM is this easy to use and reuse?
A Gm that’s sick of prep time buffing is going to enjoy this but it is a one encounter monster as in the PCs are going to kill this with extreme prejudice and possibly try and find it’s kittens and kill them with extreme prejudice. 6/10
All get a 1-10 score which I will then average. I reserve the right to add or subtract points from the final score as long as they are justified with reasoning.
5.75 out of 10: You made a workable monster but not a superstar monster in my opinion. Most interesting bit was in description but it didn’t go places I’d have liked. This could be cooler with the addition of occult material but alas that was not available.


I like the concept and flavor of this monster quite a bit. It's pretty well executed, too, though not quite perfect. The mechanics could be improved, but my gut instinct is to like a monster that challenges PCs in a not-so-typical fashion, which this does.


The pedant in me wants to nitpick a bit, if you'll bear with me.

  • First off, "it's" is a contraction, not a possessive. Having a misspelling/grammatical error in the opening sentences of an entry does not "sell" it to me.

  • Along the same grammar-nazi lines, weapons are mindless objects, and hence immune to mind-affecting spells (including enchantments), and hence cannot normally be "enchanted." You might use "enhanced," to describe a magic weapon.

  • SR fits the overall anti-magic theme nicely. That said, giving the thing SR and also a bonus to Will saves (which will mostly apply against spells) seems like overkill.

  • You made your critter an aberration, which gets a lot of skill points, but then removed most of those skill points by setting Int as 2, then made up for that by lavishly assigning large racial skill bonuses. Something about that offends my sense of workmanship.

  • Finally, cat monsters seem a trifle overused.

    All that said, I like the core concept of a dispelling, magic-eating critter, so I think there's real potential here.


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    The monster round is always my favorite, so I'm going to give some feedback on all the entries. Basic run-through using the monster creation rules to see if the numbers line up, then general thoughts and critique. I'm running down the list as I find them, so this is the eighth monster entry I've seen. (Past the halfway point! Hurrah!)

    Spoiler:
    Basic Stats [+: high for CR; =: within CR range; -: low for CR]
    hp -
    AC =
    Atk =
    Dmg =
    DC ++
    Saves +/-/-

    Hit points are a little low, especially for a predator that will be in the PCs' faces dishing out damage. The DR takes up the slack for that, assuming that a party fighting one of these things doesn't carry any nonmagical weapons, though since this would be a challenging encounter for 6th level PCs, there's bound to be a few in the mix somewhere. AC, attacks, and damage are on par. DC doesn't directly factor in, but I'll have more to say on this when discussing the abilities, because...damn. Saves are a little low, especially Will. It does have SR to make up for that, and a bonus against mind-affecting effects, so that does provide a little balance.

    I'm not sold on the name. It does its job, but it doesn't really flow well. I'd say go with "arcanavore," but that was the name of the magic weapon I entered for last year's RPG Superstar. The description works well. I'm alarmed and intrigued.

    Now, I can make an argument as to why this is an aberration. It's a weird, scaly, three-eyed hunting cat thing that eats magic. However, it has animal intelligence. I'd say there's an argument, both thematically and mechanically, to make it a magical beast instead. I'd even bump up the Int to at least a 3.

    On to the abilities. First, absorb magic. Nothing new here, but it's a good ability and fits thematically.

    Consume magic. Remember the two pluses I put under "DC" up top? Yeah, those were for this. On average, the dispel check for this thing will be 23, which is more than enough for any spells a party facing this will likely have on them. It's not even a contest. The mechanic may as well not be a mechanic unless we're talking about a higher level group facing a pack of these things.

    Magic sense. I'm going to be nitpicky here. Detect magic doesn't allow the caster to see magic auras. That's arcane sight, which seems like the go-to spell for a third eye that can see magic.

    The Mana Wastes seem a perfect fit for this thing, and I could see them being a major predator there, so solid points for the Golarion tie-in. I'm a little confused as to the text talking about them tracking people with magic. How? The range of its magic sensing vision isn't listed. Since it isn't, I presume that it can only see auras up to 60 feet away, which is the maximum range of detect magic. So either the flavor text is wrong, or the mechanics haven't been fully explained. Either way, if they could track magic-using/wearing creatures by scent, that would fit the thematic and be pretty cool as well.

    All in all, this is a solid entry, but it's not one of my favorites. I still have another seven entries to read, however, so we'll see how things go. Good job, and good luck to you.

    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

    I gave Robert some feedback during development, so I'll be somewhat limited in my comments here...

    I think this visual works well -- one of the things I learned from my first horrible monster was make something interesting, and this is. That said, the typo in the descriptive text gets us off to a bad start, I'm afraid.

    I think the write-up text seems pretty clear in terms of how I'd use it as a GM. I think an encounter would be pretty straight forward, but I think you could also get a neat adventure out of trying to capture one for use as some sort of guardian creature.

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

    Just a quick preface - the point of commenting for me is to force myself into coherent thoughts about the design choices. That might make it feel like I'm being super-critical of a given monster, but that's not my intent.

    I don't like the name at all. It feels too forced and clumsy to me. That said, it does give me an idea of what it does.

    Description in is ok, if a little generic. The third eye is interesting.

    DR/non-magic is promising. Certainly forces players out of their routines.

    Absorb and Consume Magic are maybe too similar in their naming.

    Alright, the abilities are tightly themed, and that text makes it all make sense. The Mana Wastes are a good home for these guys, and in fact they seem sort of inevitable there.

    I think the biggest problem with this one for me is that there aren't many surprises. Once you get the concept, nothing here really stretches it. The concept is fine, and it would likely be memorable, but...

    On the other hand, I can imagine the players' reactions when they run into one for the second time. A bit of panicked shuffling of gear and some caution. Knocking them out of their routine a bit.

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

    In the interest of sharpening my skills I'll finally be chiming in on entries! I do a stream-of-consciousness style of review (just like my other critiques) and I will do my best not to read other folks' comments so as to not be influenced one way or the other. I believe creatures serve more than just a combat capacity, and removing choices from players (such as forcing them only into combat with a specific creature) is not Superstar design. Plus, who doesn't like outwitting/outsmarting/etc. a creature?

    Thaumigorger

    Name makes me think it's a spell eater of some sort. Decent name.

    Intro sentence is good, not quite evocative but good.

    Aberration!

    Magic sense makes sense (HA!) but why not just give it constant detect magic?

    Defense looks good, for being a spell eating creature I'm surprised at a bad will save. This may be an aberration thing and if it is then it was definitely the place to break tradition.

    DR and SR to offset low HP. Immune to disease and poison....but honestly against creatures who only live a few rounds against PCs it won't really come into play.

    Offense looks good.

    Hmm..a targeted dispel instead of granting it something from eating spells. Not where I saw this going but I kind of like it. Pounce and Rake to go along with everything else goes with being leonine.

    Stats look good, Run is probably a little useless as a feat, just increase its move speed.

    Ah, absorb magic DOES give a benefit for consume magic...and for failed attempts due to its SR. It heals and possibly gives up to 20 temp hp. Easy mechanic. I might have made the temp hp last 1 minute.

    Wish your collective noun would've referenced magic somehow.

    Treasure line is fine with this one as well..it doesn't exactly scream special treasure.

    Descriptive text is a simple wall but it taps the Mana Wastes and gives some base knowledge. Not really superstar though.

    Overall it's not new to have creatures who eat magic. This is literally a magic hunting cat so it's ok but it kind of falls flat. The abilities are pretty safely written and nothing in this screams awesome. I probably won't vote for it, but I wouldn't be sad to see it come through. You'll have to stretch yourself farther if you do proceed to the next round.


    Favorite monster so far. My favorite part is most likely the DR/non-magic, which is really cool. Major Thumbs-up!

    Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

    Thaumigorger
    Name It’s a neat name for something that eats magic. It evokes a cool monster while being descriptive enough to make sense.
    Gimmick It’s an animal intelligence magic-eater. It can easily see magic auras so it knows who to attack.
    Description Definitely matches the gimmick, big scaly cat with a third eye.
    Usefulness It’s a neat critter, but how many times does the party really want to fight a monster that eats their magic? It’s a bit like the rust monster, once in a while it’s cool to use, but you certainly need to be wary of overuse. At least it’s not overly niche, which it quickly could have become, given its gimmick.
    New abilities It has a few “new” abilities in absorb magic, consume magic and magic sense, but these are really basically just situational spell-like abilities. The damage reduction is a really neat idea and fits the monster great.
    The rest The stats look fine and the skill and feat choices match what I would expect from a savannah predator. I feel like this monster is one cool trick away from being a great entry.

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

    Robert Thomson wrote:

    This large catlike creature is covered in grey and brown scales and sports an oversized maw full of teeth. A third eye set in it's forehead moves independently of its other two eyes.

    Thaumigorger CR 7

    Hi Robert, Well done getting to Top 16!

    Creative: +-I remember the disenchanter from early days, and think it struck fear into players in the same way rust monsters do, (that even dragon's do not in a game with sticks full of cure spells :) This is a good niche to play in, but it has been attempted before. Tying it to the Mana Wastes is appropriate and I like the description. Absorb magic have to potential sources seems a good call.
    Useable: +-yes, it looks balanced to me. Consume/absorb magic might need some playtesting. I think it will be all or nothing depending on the party makeup.
    Memorable: -+ Captivating & concrete description. With the right (powered-up) party it will be, though such a party might cry foul.
    Voting: Weak Keep

    Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

    Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    I am going to be rather direct in my feedback.

    DO NOT ANSWER ME NOW. DO NOT DQ YOURSELF.

    This is an interesting monster that does some unusual things that players will hate. More variety in its uses of stolen magic would have made it great.

    - Thaumigorger is a good name. I am expecting something that gorges on magic and it does not disappoint. Not expecting the catlike appearance though.

    - The description makes me think of fey or magical beast. Not of an aberration. Why did you chose this type, which is so strongly tied to aboleths and things from outside in Golarion lore ?

    - The DR is an excellent trick in its concept, but I think it will be mostly frustrating to archers and TWF, while being only a speedbump to the two-handed barbarian. I would have upped it to 10 and replaced the additional HP ability with some other use for the stolen magic (ranged attack maybe).

    - Improved Initiative puts me on the fence here because it appears so often in monsters this round. That said, it is a fast predator and a lion does have the feat. So, I guess it's ok.

    - Absorb Magic is great in its intent, but I would have preferred that it does other things besides gaining hit points.

    - Consume Magic is a great and terrible idea (makes me think of the Dispelling Attack Rogue Talent), but using the attack roll seems too strong. This ability needs some limits.

    - Magic Sense is bizarrely worded though I cannot really pinpoint why.

    - Large and immense mean different things to me. Try Colossal rather ;-)

    - Too bad that you limit it to animal intelligence without it being either an animal or a magical beast. I would have liked seeing PCs try to negotiate an alliance with one ;-)

    All in all, I rather like this creature but I would have preferred to see more options in both its uses of stolen magic and its possible interactions with PCs. Still, I put it on my Alternate list :-)

    ONCE AGAIN : DO NOT ANSWER NOW. DO NOT DQ YOURSELF.

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

    A scaled, magic-eating cat with a third eye, hailing from the Mana Wastes.

    Makes sense. I'll take two please.

    Dark Archive

    I briefly debated this for my fourth vote, but ultimately it had too many problems, all having to do with the special abilities. I like the DR, but saying non-magic feels a little weird. However, I'm not sure what's a better way to say it, so that wasn't something I would ding you on. I also like absorb magic, but I think gaining hp from both dispelled and failed spells is a little too much. Especially since using the attack roll as the dispel check for consume magic is way too powerful. At the level PCs will be facing these, +13 is almost certain to succeed unless the Thaumigorger rolls really low. I realize that in the Mana Wastes natives don't rely on magic (so this isn't much of a problem for them), but most adventuring parties will always have some sort of buffs up if able.
    That said, creatively this is a wonderful entry, and I wish you 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

    From the names alone, this monster was my favorite of the round, and it lives up to eating magic, so you didn't disappoint not living up to the name.

    Overall, I like the monster concept, especially the wandering third eye. I agree with some of the previous criticism about using the attack roll as the dispel check, especially since if it already hit, the attack roll has to already be decent to high, likely dispelling things too easily. It will effectively never roll a 1-5 on the dispel check, which stacks the odds too much in its favor.

    Also, for a creature that eats magic, I was hoping for it to be able to interact with more than spell effects - against creatures with supernatural or spell like abilities, I would have liked to see the ability to instead suppress them for 1d4 rounds, similar to a magic item targeted by dispel magic, as those are more likely what it encounters in the mana wastes as its usual diet.

    I really liked the DR/non-magic, but it does pose some problems for creatures that always count as magic, like a monk with ki strike, or monsters with DR/magic - they don't have a way to turn it off so it's especially strong for them.

    I'm not sure that my like of the overall concept outweighs the issues with the monster. If I had 6 or 8 votes, I'd certainly have voted for this though.

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Robert, congrats on getting into the top 16!

    What I like: I was worried AT FIRST, because the name and a quick glance at the abilities made me think, "Oh, some broken anti-spell-caster schtick." But reading along, you DON'T fall into that trap, nor even repeat the abilities of loosely thematically similar creatures such as disenchanters. The abilities are actually really quite balanced and do not actually gimp any one character type, but simply force other tactics. I LOVE that ordinary weapons bypass its damage reduction, and would (perversely) love watching PCs puzzle over what on earth could penetrate its hide (or thinking that it is a special material because they use a nonmagical cold iron or adamantine weapon and find that it is effective). The Mana Wastes lore fits right in with the creature.

    What I struggle with: Not much, at least at a glance -- I kind of wish it had a little more zip, somewhere, and I want the read-aloud text to hint a little more at its nature than just "weird cat thing" (of which there are many in RPG monsterdom). I'm not sure why treasure is incidental, perhaps it would collect magic items in hopes of absorbing their magic eventually (even if they cannot directly do something to them).

    Is it one of the three monster types I've been totally sick of since, oh, about the Bestiary 3 (dragon, fey, or undead)? No! Hallelujah for your taking the opportunity when being asked to make ANY monster suitable for Golarion to think outside the box a bit.

    Final Thoughts: While I don't have that ooooooh I need to use this right away thrill that I get from some other monsters, this is very solidly designed. Well done.

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    Congratulations on earning the votes to see you through to Round 3! Here’s what I’m looking for in a monster.

    Does it make sense as something that could really exist? It’s a magic eater. Not exactly original in concept, but you it does serve a purpose ecologically and has some easy to use abilities that are tied into that function well.

    Are the abilities exciting to run? Stripping PCs of all their annoying buffs is an excellent motivation for running one or more of these beasts. I like that you turn a few expectations players will have on their heads with the unique damage reduction and consequence for failure to penetrate its SR.

    Does it spark ideas for use in an adventure? I can see a brisk trade for these springing up, and a few of my villains with animal companions would make good use of them. One getting loose at a magical academy could make for a fun adventure too. I rather like this critter.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Thrawn007

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    Just like I did in previous rounds for my map and item, I'm going to talk about how I arrived at my creature that was submitted. I'm hoping that going into the process of how I created things will be useful for future contestants who will need to go through similar processes. However, because there is so much more to break down in the monster round, I'm going to format things a lot differently, talking about a lot of the individual elements of the monster in addition to the overall package. (FYI - I've had to sit on this post for a week. I almost had it all written when judge comments went up.)

    Inspirations

    Spoiler:

    As I've said in various other posts, for this competition, I worked backwards. I wasn't sure how heavy my workload would be during any particular round, so I wanted to make sure I had multiple options at least partially developed to submit for each round so I could choose something that best fit the twists and rules. This monster is drawn from one of the module pitches I have sketched out (but a pitch which I'm hoping to not use for this competition unless the rules push me in that direction.)

    However, this monster is more a result of developing an ecosystem than it is a result of the module pitch itself. The Thaumigorger is actually very loosely inspired by the the writings of Timothy Zahn. (Although this moves quite a bit away from that source material.) In Heir to the Empire, a Star Wars novel, Zahn introduced the planet Myrkr, which had an ecology that had interesting interactions with the force. A predator called the Vornskr hunted using it's natural ability to detect prey via the force, and it's counterpart was a creature that adapted to "push back" the force to avoid detection.

    I thought that building out a similar ecology somewhere on Golarion could make for some very interesting monsters to throw into adventures. I started looking for a place to set such an environment, and quickly realized the perfect location not only already existed, but that I don't even have to tweak it for my needs. The magic fluctuations and null-magic zones of the mana wastes was the perfect environment to set up an entire ecological system based on magical interactions.

    I do want to note of where I didn't take any inspiration. I'm embarrassed to say, I had no idea what a disenchanter was until it was mentioned in the comments. I actually try searching for creatures that dispelled magical auras, but I was not having any luck. So I didn't read the abilities of the disenchanter until the middle of voting. I actually don't know that I'd have changed much based on that creature, as it does some very different things than what I wanted out of my creature.

    Thaumi-what?!?!?

    Spoiler:

    The creature was not originally called the Thaumigorger. Lets just say, some of the comments on names caught my attention.

    It's first name was the Thaumivore. However, making sure I didn't step on a name already being used either in the game or in a similar game, I came accross a reference that there is a creature called a Thaumivore in Discworld novels, so to be safe, I crossed that name off the list immediately to avoid any IP disqualifications.

    Before asking for any feedback (and after another IP check) I renamed the creature the Manavore. I got a couple interesting bits of feedback on that name. #1, someone took it as "man-eater" instead of "magic-eater". More importantly, #2 I was given advice to avoid using latin in my naming conventions, since Latin doesn't really exist on Golarion. I felt that was very sound advice, and I went back to the drawing board on my naming.

    When I was using the Latin (or Greek-Latin mashup) for a name I actually had a couple of lines in the description of the creature about studies of the creature by scholars at the Magaambya, and covering up it's existence for fear that it would make a nasty weapon against magic users once word of it leaked out to the greater world. (Removing those two sentences actually dropped my total word count by 50 or so words, which was also important to me because I couldn't get the preview to show me the word count. Low word count would get criticized, over word count would get disqualified. I decided to play price is right an make sure I was well under and did not replace those two sentences with new content.)

    Since I had disassociated it with the university, I tried to decide who would likely run into this monster, and thus would be likely to name it. Mwangi natives? Ogres? Gnolls? I decided a much more jarring and brutal name was appropriate. -Gorger is basically a synonym for -vore, and I thought it had that more base convention I was now looking for. I actually expected a lot of people to not like the name (just like a lot of people would likely go "I don't want to fight that" when voting), but I felt that the the in your face name was so appropriate, I didn't even ask opinions on it before submitting it. (After getting comments from people, I tend not to send out my last version or 2, so that there are surprises for everyone.) The Thaumigorger was born.

    The Evolution of the Thaumigorger

    Spoiler:

    The entire approach to my monster (and the whole ecology system that I was building around it for future use) was trying to do a little bit of a study in evolution. There were creatures who lived in the mana wastes before they were the mana wastes. What likely lived here? How would they be able to adapt to survive?

    I wanted an appropriate predator for this study. In early versions of the creature, I actually had written Magaambya scholar speculation on what the Thaumigorger actually evolved from, with one school saying that they were hunting cats that became more reptilian over time, while the other said they were raptors that became more catlike over time. All of that didn't make it into the final copy since it's more of a sidebar than a creature description. The out of character correct answer is that it is a dire lion at the core of the creature. I know a number of people were concerned about the cat-like build and with the high damage output of the creature. Both of those come directly from the dire lion roots. (I found rather telling that the same attacks/damage from a CR 5 creature got so much criticism at CR 7.)

    Because the Mana Wastes already has a mutant template associated with it, my comparison tools were a Dire Lion (CR 5) and a Mana Wastes Mutant Dire Lion (CR 6). I knew I was shooting for a CR7 creature, but that the abilities I was planning to add would make it much stronger than the CR5, and stronger in some ways but not others compared to the CR6. (You want to splatter your party, throw a pride of CR6 Mana Waste Mutant dire lions at them!) I didn't want the randomness of the mutant template, but I found it very useful in getting me to think about what kinds of things happened with creatures in the wastes. For example, I know there were some comments specifically about disease and poison immunity, and how those seemed out of place on the Thaumigorger. I disagree. Those are fundamental survival tools to just surviving in the wastes. All of the water is likely poisoned, and most of their prey are likely diseased (and poisoned.) If you are susceptible to those basic hazards, then you don't get to survive and evolve over the next 1000 years and 50-100 generations.

    Basically, I wanted to look at how dire lions might improve to survive the wastes, so I didn't take away anything that a dire lion had. Pounce stayed as it's primary way to take down prey. Scent stayed (although I was very close to dropping that for the magic sense, but it still needed it for hunting in null magic zones which are common in the mana wastes.)

    I did think some of the mutant template items would have been overkill though. No extra slam attack. No extra strength (to make those attacks even stronger!) No mutations for extra abilities. No disease on hit. All of these are very thematic things for the mana wastes, but none of these items were needed for the Thaumigorger to play it's role as a mana wastes predator. (Actually these mutants are probably common prey for the Thaumigorger...so I needed to note what different animals with that template looked like...which is why pounce is so needed.)

    I'm going to discuss all the new abilities individually.

    Aberration vs Magical Beast

    Spoiler:

    This is one I got a bit of feedback on from local gamers. Here was my case for aberration . #1 - Mana Waste Mutants were aberrations and in a way, this creature was just a very evolved mutant. Yes, I know, it's a very weak case. This should have probably been a magical beast. I actually think this creature is much scarier as a magical beast than as an abomination though, due to d10 HD and full BAB progression. I didn't feel it needed to hit any harder than it already did. So...I held on to my weak excuse to maintain aberration status, in order to keep more adventurers alive.

    SR and DR

    Spoiler:

    As two of the main defenses, these are very key to the creature, and both went through a little bit of evolution in the process of creation and feedback.

    I originally wanted to apply a +5 to the SR of the creature beyond what they normally would get for their CR. Universally, I was told it's just too much, so I quickly scaled that back. (I was already leaning that way, but I wanted to see what I got from everyone there...I got what I expected.) This was a simple fix, as the SR is standard for a CR 7 monster.

    Damage resistance was a little more complicated. What you got was actually my first draft version of damage resistance. I was very worried what kinds of reactions this damage resistance would get, so I was fluctuating between DR/magic, DR/cold iron, and DR/Non-magic. All three had valid cases.

    DR/Cold Iron - This is granted by the mana wastes mutant template as a core feature, so you cold argue that this is pretty common in creatures of the mana wastes. It also is a good defense against many other creatures that exist in the wastes already.

    DR/Magic - This also would provide good protection from prey and other predators in the wastes, and by using null magic zones (using magic sense to find them) a Thaumigorger could dodge into zones where magic weapons suddenly become non-magical. I didn't want to give it too smart of tactics however.

    DR/Non-Magic - This was my favorite, but also the most worrisome. The argument is easy...the Thaumigorger is being healed instantly by some of the magical energy, which makes the overall result less damaging. On the other hand, I'm certain I read somewhere in a monster design blog that this type of resistance simply doesn't exist. That made me fear the reactions it would get. I pulled out this DR at one point, and the feedback I got was actually negative. It was loved among some of my local gamers, and they were disappointed I was considering not going with it. I decided that even if it would upset a few judges and voters, I should just go for it. No reason to hold it back. My favorite part of this is it creates a dilemma. Will the magic on my weapon be better with the resistance, or will a normal weapon be more effective? It really comes down to some math someone can do, but it means thinking about it, and that it's not always best to do that obvious thing that someone does every other encounter.

    Magic Sense

    Spoiler:

    I saw a number of comments about just giving at will detect magic. In some ways, this would have been the easy way to handle this ability. However, I had a low intelligence creature, that I wanted to have instinctively read magic auras. I didn't want it sitting around concentrating on things. I wanted it to see and to react. It should be pouncing, not detecting like a wizard. If I were to change this, I'd actually word it stronger to make sure everyone is clear it can see aura strengths without concentrating a round, I wouldn't make it more like detect magic. (I have the word count to do that now, and this is one place I wish I'd used some of that.)

    I think this ability gets glossed over a bit because everyone pays attention to the disenchanting and healing, but this ability is what I would consider the core ability of the creature. It is also the ability that makes for the most interesting tactics. Here you have a creature that sees strengths of magics, and wants to attack the strongest. Once players figure this out, they can bait the creature. Put a buff spell on the tank who's harder to hit, and this thing will chase him down. Even better, put a debuff (or even a buff) on your foe to get this creatures attention going his way. Put movement magic on someone to fly just out of range, or to run fast to lead this thing around. Sure, it's not an unintelligent creature, but a party has tactics available to them that are the equivalent of waving a bone around to attract the attention of a dog, or waiving a red cape in front of a bull. It offers up something other than "I walk up and hit it."

    Consume magic

    Spoiler:

    I agree that this effect is extremely effective when a bit hits. It's basically dispelling like it's a 13th level caster, and since it hit, it probably had a decent roll. I originally had a separate roll for dispel, using the magic inflicted as the caster level of the dispel. It was reduced down to the current version for a couple of reasons. Number 1, it got rid of an extra die roll and a lot of extra randomness. The old version would have had a dispell check of d20 + d8 + 7 which averages 2 less on a dispel check than d20+13, but in the end was that difference worth the extra calculations and rolling. Second, this put it a little bit more in line with sunder spell, which made a CMB check against a spell. I decided on the simplicity of the targeted dispel since it already includes all the language of highest effects to lower effects without having to explain it.

    In the end, I was good with this being successful more often than not IF it hits a bite. It's the combat gimmick of the creature, and it makes for interesting uses in adventures. In the wild it's nasty. On the other hand, a big boss might keep one or two as pets, and use them to debuff a party right before or during an epic final fight.

    Due to this ability, I did see comparisons to the rust monster, both positive and negative. I'd love to see this be as iconic, feared, and memorable as fights with that monster. However, I will say that there is a huge difference. Rust monsters destroy permanent wealth, which in many ways is more valuable than lives within the metagame. A thaumigorger dispells spells, and if it attacks items, it would surpress them for 1d4 rounds (as per dispel magic) instead of destroying them. It's a huge inconvenience that will make you change tactics in the near term, but it's not the devastating loss that a rust monster is known to cause. (BTW, ironically, if it disenchants your weapon for 1d4 rounds, your weapon now gets through it's DR! Might be worth dispelling your own weapon for that same tactic.)

    Absorb Magic

    Spoiler:

    This ability was put in as much to explain WHY this creature wants to eat magic as it was put in as an actual ability. I went through a few versions of this and really went back and forth about the hit points. I like them because it provides that "what did I just do" moment if the party wizard chucks a spell at it to start the combat. I'd probably limit it to 1 temp hp per HD if I was doing it again though. I'd also consider making it fast healing of 1 per level for 1 minute, but that just isn't as scary. This was simplified a ton. Originally I was trying to account for spell effects, supernaturals, and such. It just got too complicated and too wordy, and I hate that in abilities, so I scaled it back and tried to keep it tight. I simply don't want DM's and players to have to read the ability more than once at the table to use it. That's my general rule with magic items, monsters, and pretty much anything else I write.

    If I were to do it all again...

    Spoiler:

    If I were to design this monster right now the way I want to...I'd get disqualified. Although I originally designed it as a monster, I've since distilled it down to a template (templates are against the rules.) I could take the exact same templated abilities and add them to normal lions, manticores, and chimera and get a whole family of magical predators for the Mana Wastes. Nothing needs to limit this to cats, but due to the interbreeding rules with manticores, I like the idea of using that same cat family to get a variety of creatures that change the ecology of the mana wastes. I've applied the same build rules to all these creatures, and I love them...at least on paper. We could also apply the same template to dinosaurs and then both sides of the scholarly debate at the Magaambya can be at least partially right.

    (It also goes great with a template for magic suppression creatures that want to avoid being eaten.)

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Thrawn007

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    Just want to give a general thanks to everyone who supported me, edited stuff, and voted for me in this and previous rounds.

    For this round special call out to DM_aka_Dudemeister for his post on the monster. You absolutely nailed what I was trying to get out there.

    Thanks to Jacob W. Michaels, my local gamers in Memphis and the Huntsville crew for you insights and editing throughout this process.

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