Scrapshell Oyster – 598 Words

Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka King Tius

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Covered in pieces of ship debris, coral, and bits of armor, this large pearly mollusk opens suddenly and brandishes a scimitar with its whip-like tongue.

Scrapshell Oyster CR 6

XP 2,400
N Large magical beast (aquatic)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

----- Defense -----
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +8 natural, –1 size)
hp 68 (8d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +4
DR 5/adamantine

----- Offense -----
Speed 5 ft., swim 30 ft., jet 60 ft.
Melee +1 scimitar +13/+8 (1d6+8/18–20) or tongue +12 (1d8+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks opalescent mucus

----- Statistics -----
Str 20, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 7, Wis 14, Cha 9
Base Atk +8; CMB +14 (+16 disarm); CMD 26 (28 vs. disarm, can’t be tripped)
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, Quick Draw
Skills Appraise +8, Perception +7, Swim +20; Racial Modifiers +8 Appraise
Languages Aquan (cannot speak)
SQ cunning combatant, undersized weapons, water dependency

----- Ecology -----
Environment any oceans
Organization solitary
Treasure double

----- Special Abilities -----

Cunning Combatant (Ex) The scrapshell oyster is proficient with simple and martial melee weapons and is always considered to be wielding a weapon with two hands. Its intelligence counts as 13 for the purpose of meeting the prerequisites of combat feats.

Opalescent Mucus (Ex) As a swift action, the scrapshell oyster can lick a weapon and apply an opalescent mucus coating. If the weapon deals damage, the mucus coats the target and functions as a tanglefoot bag (DC 17) that works underwater. If not applied within a round, the mucus sloughs off the weapon. The DC is Constitution-based.

Fiercely territorial and covetous of valuable treasures, the scrapshell oyster is commonly found in the waters around the Eye of Abendego and the trade routes of the Inner Sea, as well as other areas that feature sunken ships or underwater ruins. The scrapshell oyster searches the wreckage for powerful weapons as well as curious items and interesting debris which it permanently adheres to its exterior with its opalescent mucus. This hodgepodge of salvaged material, covered in an iridescent sheen, gives the scrapshell oyster its name and distinctive appearance, though it does not gain any benefits from specific items stuck to its shell.

The scrapshell oyster is able to wield manufactured weapons to devastating effect and is proficient with most common weapons due to a life of sparring and exploration. Its tongue, both sinuous and strong, features an eye near its end, allowing the oyster to wield a weapon and perceive its surroundings while keeping its body protected within its shell. Its tongue is also adept at snatching enemy weapons and turning them back on their previous owners or quickly stowing them away.

If the hunting grounds of two scrapshell oysters overlap, they will clash in an intense duel of steel and shell. Though the confrontations are rarely fatal, the victor will claim the loser’s weapon as a trophy. Veteran scrapshell oysters often have several prized weapons hidden inside their shells, and may lurk at water's edge to stalk adventurers in order to add to their hoard. Using its tongue, a scrapshell oyster can drag itself out of the water to chase a foe along the shore until it gives up its weapon, or until the oyster must retreat into the ocean.

Scrapshell oysters can understand and write Aquan from observing other creatures, but cannot speak. Merfolk, gillmen, and other civilized creatures often enlist scrapshell oysters as mobile, self-defending treasure chests by bartering with rare weapons or interesting materials to ornament their shells.

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!

• Good descriptive flavor text, though it assumes action on behalf of the monster.

• As of this typing, I haven’t read this whole monster yet, but I’m kinda excitied. I wrote the gigas clam that appeared in Pathfinder #60, because the idea of a monstrous mollusk seemed like a cool idea.

• Its hit points, AC, saves, attack bonus, and damage output are all pretty much on point, only wavering by 1 or 2 in most cases. The iterative attacks threw me at first until I read the special ability.

• In the melee line, when there is a “or” situation, do a hard return and put the other attack on its own line.

• Giving it jet was a good call.

• In the languages line: Don’t be afraid of contractions. We aren’t. Use “can’t” instead of “cannot.”

• Cunning combatant is a good addition, and it cleared up two things that I saw in the statblock that threw me off at first. I had written up this whole bit about Combat Expertise and different ways to make adding it to its feats work, and then I read this ability. (Intelligence should always be capitalized when talking about an ability score, though.)

• Opalescent mucus is both neat and evocative. I like the ability, but I feel using the word applied in the third sentence is a little confusing. The mucus is already applied to the weapon, but I know that you likely meant that if the mucus doesn’t entangle a target in a round it sloughs off. Also, make sure you follow our standard wording in the final sentence about the save DC.

• I kinda expected a special ability that included its debris-covered shell.

• Ah, there’s at least a mention of it in the flavor text! The flavor text is good and gives a nice look at the monster’s behavior. I don’t know if I would use the word tongue. I think pseudopod or something might be a better fit. The idea of oysters wielding weapons and dueling is sort of silly, but it’s also kinda cool. I like that you gave a short example of other creatures that these things might associate with.

This one was weird, but cool. I do recommend this designer advance to the next round.

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Jason! 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 Scrapshell Oyster. Okay. On the surface, it doesn't sound especially inspired. I can't say I've seen a monstrous oyster depicted in the game yet, but perhaps this the first time and it's going to be awesome. The term “scrapshell” certainly helps it stand out a bit more.

Now, let's examine your creativity in describing and explaining what your monster is all about. "Covered in pieces of ship debris, coral, and bits of armor, this large pearly mollusk opens suddenly and brandishes a scimitar with its whip-like tongue." Okay. So, it's a blade-wielding mollusk? Now, we're definitely headed somewhere unusual. This thing isn't simply monstrous, but apparently has a bit of intelligence to it. So, what we're really talking about is another potential aquatic species that can carve out a society for itself...but...then, I see you've only gone with making them solitary creatures, jealously fighting and sparring with one another to claim some treasure-strewn area on the ocean floor. Personally, I think you zigged when you should have zagged here. An aquatic species stemming from mollusks would be a great addition to the game, something that can reasonably challenge the sahuagin, merfolk, aquatic elves, and even the aboleth, perhaps, if their civilization continues to mature. To me, defining an actual society for these creatures would have been much more interesting than lone, solo, sword-wielding, aquatic monster-in-a-shell. That said, I do like how you've tied them to the region surrounding the Eye of Abendego to give it solid “footing” in Golarion. The cunning combatant ability gives it something unexpected, though it might work better if it chose to wield weapons that work best underwater. The opalescent mucus is also an innovative approach to bringing entanglement under the sea. So, you're hitting on some unique, iconic abilities for this creature. Two ideas that cried out for examination, however—both the scrapshell itself, as well as the possibility of an oyster making pearls—don't really get explored, and I'm left kind of wishing they did to give it even further identity and capability, both above and beyond the sea. In fact, if these scrapshell oysters had an even larger society, I could imagine them enchanting their shell-like armor and manufactured pearls to give them greater powers.

So, what about the mechanics? In the interests of time, I didn't try to number-crunch everything, but you look pretty solid across everything to me. The AC, saves, hit points, and attack bonuses are spot-on for a CR 6 creature. The damage curve goes a little higher than the norm, and so does the DC for its opalescent mucus ability, but not by a whole lot. In development, that might be worth dialing back just a little. The feats all support the creature's fighting style, and the cunning combatant ability coupled with the undersized weapons helps explain how it does its thing. The DR 5/adamantine also feels appropriate given the scrapshell's presumed defense. And giving it a massive underwater speed with the jet ability is a must. The rest of the design leans on the innovation of the opalescent mucus. Pinning it to how a tanglefoot bag works is inspired, but giving it the ability to apply it to its wielded weapon is the real trick, and it works.

Next up, the presentation. You're pretty solid here in terms of the template use. You bolded, italicized, and alphabetized the right things and got everything in order. Within the description of the special abilities, you forgot to capitalize Intelligence, though. So, make sure to proofread and apply game terminology correctly.

Bottom Line: This creature is interesting and meets the mechanical expectations of a CR 6 monster. It can certainly make for memorable undersea encounters, but I'm not sure it'll see much more use given its water dependency. Is it a Superstar choice to showcase your ability? Maybe not. You could have made it so by punching it up a bit more and giving it an actual culture below the waves, but it stands up in this design, as well. So, given all of that, I'm willing to say I DO RECOMMEND this designer advance to the next round.

Paizo Employee Editor

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

First off, the image of an oyster brandishing a scimitar is so ridiculous and fantastic that it is immediately endearing to me. This is the sort of thing I really like to see every once in a while. That being said, there is a bit too much movement in the descriptive text, which is something we try to avoid as much as possible. You never know how and where GMs might introduce the monster to their players.

Mechanically, the abilities seem quite sound to me. However, I would have liked to have seen more about how these oysters came into existence. Was it magic? Or natural selection? Did they exist before the Eye of Abendego? Or did that phenomenon create them somehow? Though I do appreciate your discussion of the creature’s territorial nature, but some of that could have been trimmed for more information on its origin.

In the end, I recommend this designer move on to the next round. Well done!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka King Tius

Thank you once again, Judges!

I was asked to offer my feedback on a previous version of this entry in preparation for this round, so I will be restrained in my comments.

This is a fun and offbeat concept, that lends itself well to memorable encounters and stories. This is the type of creature that could be the next flail snail, froghemoth, or wolf-in-sheep's clothing. I am going to level a few criticisms about the choices made.

The name sounds like the shell is going to do something cool, but "This hodgepodge of salvaged material, covered in an iridescent sheen, gives the scrapshell oyster its name and distinctive appearance, though it does not gain any benefits from specific items stuck to its shell." That's just a bummer. I really think it's name should say something about being an effin' oyster with an effin' scimitar.

Rather than all that jazzing around with cunning combatant and Combat Expertise, I think a cleaner choice would have been to simply grant Improved Disarm as a bonus feat.

Since it has a collection of weapons and Quick Draw, and is always wielding a weapon two-handed, I would like some language about how it handles its collection. Is it like a backpack?

I don't think DR 5/adamantine is right for a creature which has to expose its flesh to fight. Now, if it could employ a special defense where it closes its shell and gains that DR, that could be cool. Word count could have been an issue here.

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

Since one of my games is a piratey type campaign, I am always interested in monstrous shell fish, and as soon as I read the description of a giant oyster that wields a scimitar with its tongue, it got my vote.

However, scimitars are difficult to wield underwater. If I get the chance to use a scrapshell oyster might give it an ability that lets them use any one handed melee weapon underwater without penalty.

Also, it would be more fun if they were clannish, rather than solitary, and had a sort of undersea feudal culture with oyster knights, and squires and warlords. Then players could fight large numbers of them at once, which makes for a better battle.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

I immediately noticed that the descriptive text is phrased to imply that it's covered with pieces of bits of armor? Just me? Okay.

Anyways, as to the monster itself, I was very disappointed. Mechanically it's sound enough, I suppose, but as I read it...

What is it? "It's a giant clam that uses swords"
Okay, and what ab- "clam, swords"
So it just... "stabs you with your swords if it can get'em"

I just woulda liked to see a bit more... variation in what it does. Or what it is. The whole thing feels to me like "because I can"

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

Scrapshell Oyster
How I’m rating monsters:
Creativity: does this seem innovative and original or does this seem contrived? How is the description?
This grabs me right away and basically it’s a friggin oyster that wants to duel me which gets tons of points. 9/10
Marketability: are the choices you made smart and marketable to a voting public? Does the name pop?
Underwater = niche but the risk pays off in my opinion and the name really pops 8/10
Trade craft: did you format correctly and scale correct to Paizo standards?
Points for treasure being obvious on this and points for a neat ability. You lose a little for not realizing that that’s not a tongue but a foot. and this could have had a transformative form that made more sense with a little effort. 7/10
Encounter worthy: as a GM is this easy to use and reuse?
As a player I already like the idea of hunting giant oysters for their pearls but this thing is just nifty. I agree with Neil that this should have zigged towards an organized society instead of loners though as is this is likely a one and done monster 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.
7.5 out of 10: I’ll admit I love this more for what it could be rather than what it is. It inspires me to want to rewrite it int

I liked the name. Not only did I find it intriguing (this was the first monster that caught my eye), I like the way it evokes the key visual characteristic of this beast.

I don't think of oysters as having hands, so I would have appreciated more of an explanation for how it could wield a scimitar. But I haven't really played Pathfinder yet, so maybe I'm just unfamiliar with the characteristics of its mollusks.

Yeah, you had me with the opening sentences. Anyone running Skull & Shackles, for example, needs these things in their campaign!

Opalescent Mucus (Ex) As a swift action, the scrapshell oyster can lick a weapon and apply an opalescent mucus coating. If the weapon deals damage, the mucus coats the target and functions as a tanglefoot bag (DC 17) that works underwater. If not applied within a round, the mucus sloughs off the weapon.

Maybe it's my reading comprehension, but I'm not clear on what this does. Does the mucus stick the weapon to the person, as a tanglefoot bag would normally stick a person to the floor? Or does the mucus on the weapon somehow drip down to the target's feet and stick him to the sea floor? If the former, it needs clarification. If the latter, I love it, but the delivery system seems a bit off to me.

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. This is the ninth monster entry I've read.

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

Most of the stats are on par for a CR 6 monster, with saves slightly low and DC of its opalescent mucus ability slightly high. No real problems here.

Name. I like it. Oyster you say? Oyster with patchwork armor glued to it waving a sword at me? Well, there's something you don't see every day. I was going to chide you about it not being a cutlass, until I realized that the cutlass is not in the PRD. (Why, Paizo? I get a double chicken saber, but not a cutlass? WHYYYYYY?!)

I'm really liking the cunning combatant ability. The idea of a swashbuckling shellfish just really piques my fancy. It's fun, but not to the point of being a joke. Strange, yes, but I can fit it into my worldview.

Opalescent mucus. It's not mucus, by the way. The substance is called nacre. Took about 15 seconds on Google to find. Research is an important part of design. I like the concept, but not the execution. The wording here needs to be much more clear.

It says that there's no benefit from all the stuff stuck to its shell, but I disagree. What else explains the damage reduction? You can't have it going around gluing armor and ship hulls and whatever else to its shell and then say it has no mechanical benefit. RJGrady makes a good point about it not jiving with its shell open and the inside so squishy.

The background is solid, and the monster is well-grounded in Golarion. I enjoyed reading the details, and lament that my Skull & Shackles campaign is on its tail end, so there's not much likelihood of being able to slip one of these guys in. My PCs would just end up cooking and eating it anyway, like they do giant anything that comes out of the water at them.

All in all, I'm feeling favorable towards the scrapshell oyster. There are some problems, but I like the creative vibe of it as a whole. It goes on the bottom of my vote list for now. I still have another half dozen entries to read through, so we'll see if it stays there. 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

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Name of this thing makes sense and is OK. I like the visual painted in the description, but it assumes action. What if the PCs come upon it with its shell already open?

The write-up is pretty clear how to use this creature, which is nice. That said, how does it know what powerful weapons are? I see you've given it Appraise (nice use of a skill that most monsters don't have), but it has no way to detect magic, so it's not going to be able to tell a +4 weapon from a masterwork weapon.

Looking at the stats, there are a lot of nice steps that show good rules knowledge: undersized weapons is a great use of a less-commonly see universal monster rule, and I like the feats you've chosen as well. I already mentioned appraise too.

That said, here's my big problem with this: I think the reason your write-up is strong is because you haven't give us particularly exciting special abilities, so you had a lot of words left to use. To me, these abilities feel like something that would make sense for a CR 3 or 4 monster, but at CR 6, I want something more than a giant oyster that uses a sword.

With recommendations from all three judges, I think you've got a good chance of moving on. If so, I hope you'll give us something a little more exciting in the next round.

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

Overall a decent concept, but think I agree with Jacob that there's not a lot going on here for a CR 6 monster. Also, the fact that it's an oyster doesn't seem to matter. It could be a ball of underwater tentacles, a crab that uses a scimitar in one claw, etc. I'd expect either a really strong defensive ability with the shell, or being able to clamp it down on an enemy and lock them inside, or at least an interesting pearl it can grow around the debris it collects.

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?

Scrapshell Oyster

The name works but...its missing something. That proverbial something that isn't definable. Plus, oyster in the name makes me feel this is a little silly even though it also evokes images of cartoons where the huge oyster shell opens up and slams down on the characters.

Hmm. Your intro description is ok. I don't like that you make it brandish a specific weapon. I can't remember who (probably Adam Daigle) in a previous year dropped the piece of advice that this sentence or two shouldn't assume that all PCs come upon the creature in the same way every time. So, is it really opening suddenly and brandishing a scimitar EVERY time it is encountered? Also, with the haphazard stuff stuck to it, I'd expect it to wield different types of weapons, maybe even magical ones for variant kinds.

Aquatic magical beast which I expect from an oyster.

Senses and such look good.

Defense looks good. But DR 5/adamantine might be a bit too stiff for the level this would be likely encountered. This will be encountered underwater, at a level when sorc/wiz folk are just getting access to water breathing and adamantine increases cost for a weapon at least by 3,000 gp which is a good chunk of WBL. So surviving underwater is just becoming viable and it is very expensive at this point in the game to have an adamantine weapon.'s probably the way the save distribution falls for magical beasts but I would imagine reflex would be the low save for an oyster.

Now, the speed here is interesting and I think you made a good decision. 5 ft makes sense because it would move by using its tongue-foot thing. I'd almost like to see an SQ that makes it so when it moves 5 ft it can't take a standard action to represent needing to use its primary damage dealing appendage to move. That is of course personal preference.

The scimitar shows up again and I would like it to be more generic for scavenged weapons. Should the tongue just be a slam?

Opalescent Mucus is a little weird that it can lick its weapon that its holding with its tongue as a swift action. Otherwise I'm not sure it makes sense that it's putting enough mucus on the weapon to cover a creature and cause's a good idea just a really weird image and mechanical execution.

Stats looks good.

Feats make sense, and I'm glad to see Quick Draw to offset some of the weirdness of a slow moving thing like an oyster and drawing the weapon and attacking.

Not sure why the oyster has appraise. I get that oysters make pearls but they don't sell them. They don't have a need to recognize the value. The only thing I can think of is allude to why it wields a +1 scimitar.

Aquan makes some sense.

Really solitary? How do they reproduce? I'd have put "or pair" at the very least.

I think you missed an opportunity with your treasure line. It wields weapons and actually has a +1 scimitar in its offense block. Double makes sense...but is lackluster.

Here's the description and you do a good job. I appreciate bringing in the Eye of Abendego (maybe you took inspiration from my map! lol). Here you go at odds with yourself in terms of wielding multiple types of weapons but specifically calling out the scimitar twice above.

Overall, I like that you went for an underwater oyster idea. You do a good job. Your mechanical execution is somewhat off though and I think you wasted too many words on your description section making us believe this is a super cool oyster. You've got 2 special abilities, one somewhat odd, and the other also odd-ish. I don't think I'll be voting for this. You had a good idea. Good description but you don't pull off the mechanics and to be honest there's not much too this thing.

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.

The name creates a clear image. Plus, oyster! That's a rare choice.

Description is fine, if not exciting. The weapon use is the attention-grabbing part, the rest is functional.

Is there a reason scimitars seem to be preferred?

Quick Draw is a nice touch.

Ability names are functional. The abilities are functional as well, sort of bare bones in a way.

I wish it *could* gain benefits from items attached to its shell. As it is, all that is merely fluff decoration.

I kind of like them being solitary treasure hunters. Driven by greed.

The image of one dragging itself along on the beach feels silly.

Its low intelligence may not serve it well. I believe an INT of 7 has a -2 modifier on Appraise, for example.

I like the idea of this monster. It's fun, it's memorable. But I don't think the execution got it there. It's just not exciting enough. Still, there's a good version of this out there with another revision or two.

Dark Archive

I gave Jason some feedback on his entry, so I'm going not going to comment fully until voting closes.
I made sure to read all the other monsters with an open mind, and I still believe this is a strong entry. There were three that I knew upon my first read through would get my vote, and this is one of them. I agree the Opalescent Mucous could use another edit, but beyond that this monster is straightforward, and easy to understand/run as a GM. I think this monster has lots of flavor, and would make for a memorable encounter!

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I love this, although I do think that there should be some mechanical tie in with the junk covered shell.

Also, how easy is it to remove an item once it's stuck to the shell? Especially after coral has grown over it.

I really like the living treasure chest aspect of this beastie, which would establish the scrapshell as a staple of any underwater adventure.

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

Capt. Phoenix's comment brought up something I forgot to mention in my critique: I really liked the double treasure.

I find when I design monsters they often tend to have incidental/standard treasure, so I thought it was nice to see something with double, and with very good reason. Smart design there.

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

That's what I was getting at, double treasure is a good choice but it could have been much more flavorful if it would have been something special like a +1 weapon (assuming it wouldn't have a pigeon-holed the scimitar angle) or a special material from the ship debris.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mechaPoet

This creature is immediately hilarious in a good way. I love the double meaning of "scrap" in the name. It's kind of a silly concept, but I think the straightforward presentation lets me take it seriously as a threat. This also feels like the kind of monster that my characters (the rude ones anyway) would ridicule until it disarmed them and beat them up, and that's always a good story at least.

You show a great attention to detail in combining mechanical and thematic design: the double treasure, DR/adamantine for its shell, the bonus to Appraise. This does trip you up a little bit with choosing a pirate's "cutlass" instead of a weapon that works better underwater. Although I suppose the next most obvious choice is a rapier, which changes the damage numbers a little bit.

I agree that a more social take on their ecology could have been more interesting. Think of the roving pirate crews of these things! Still, they also make sense as solitary territorial creatures (I'm not sure how organized most magical beasts get anyway). Besides, you do call out that they're not completely averse to bartering, so it's not like that sentient Intelligence score is going only toward treasure hunting and swashbuckling.

There are a few issues with wording abilities and getting the Paizo standard language in there, but overall the entry is clear and I got through all the abilities without any hiccups or misunderstandings. This is pretty much just a combat monster, but it would definitely be a memorable combat! And there is the possibility of appealing to its greed for shiny things (there's that Appraise coming in handy) if the players can approach it right. I think this is a very strong entry, and I'd be hard-pressed not to give it a vote.

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

Jason, congrats on getting into the top 16! Trying to comment this time while voting rather than after...

What I like: This is FUN. It's freaky and weird, but we need that especially for aquatic encounters which often are more toward the dour, gloomy, and ickily horrific... all well and good, but sometimes you just need a sword fighting mollusc. I didn't realize you needed one till reading your monster, but you do. (And I hope in fact to perhaps gank this for use in a Skull and Shackles campaign I'm running). The descriptive text immediately evokes a very specific image (and while it does describe an action, which these flavor-texts aren't supposed to do, I'm okay, as it is merely "brandishing" the sword rather than attacking with it--I expect such a creature would be reflexive and might brandish its sword at any sort of notable movement nearby. Mechanics are tight and appropriately particular to this monster.

What I struggle with: It's an ambush monster, which on one hand can be very fun to place in encounters, but on the other hand is hard to get creative with how, why, and where they show up. So it's rather "limited use." Of course, some monsters just have to be. Little nitpick--presuming it doesn't magically grow +1 scimitars on its tongue, its treasure line should read "double (+1 scimitar plus other treasure)".

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! Yay! And I love magical beasts in particular, and this is definitely appropriate example of this creature type.

Final Thoughts: Well done monster with good formatting and showing a lot of creative thought and a sense of fun from this designer.

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

Kiel Howell wrote:
That's what I was getting at, double treasure is a good choice but it could have been much more flavorful if it would have been something special like a +1 weapon (assuming it wouldn't have a pigeon-holed the scimitar angle) or a special material from the ship debris.

Double treasure just means it's twice the usual value per the treasure chart -- a GM could easily have some of it be magical weapons/armor, but that wouldn't usually be called out in the stat block (the exception being some monsters have specific items they use -- a thanadaemon, for example, lists standard [+2 quarterstaff, other treasure]).

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

Scrapshell Oyster
Name The name is certainly descriptive, if not particularly menacing.
Gimmick It’s a fighter-clam? That’s… weird. It’s certainly unique, I’ll give you that.
Description It does match the gimmick, and it’s well written.
Usefulness It’s aquatic, so that limits the appeal off the bat. And it tries to steal people’s stuff? And then maybe use it? It doesn’t seem like I’d ever use this as more than a random encounter, unless the PCs are sent to defeat the monster and take its weapon, in which case it would be the finale of a weird side quest.
New abilities Cunning combatant and opalescent mucus are both solid abilities, if a little bland.
The rest I like the choice of feats, and the skills make sense. Statistics don’t look particularly out of whack. I wish there a bit more to this monster than “it attacks stuff for their weapons”

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

I think this exceeds my gonzo comfort zone. Unless you also provide stats for PC Scrapshell Oysters.

I'd want some adhering abilities to make more interesting scrap-use of your shell, and some cutting stabbing protuberances.

I dunno, it just seems very situational (underwater adventures) and somewhat silly. Though I can imagine I wouldn't think it so silly if was swinging a scimitar at me.

Apart from the difficulty I have conceptually with this I do applaud reaching for such a gonzo concept, and making it work - I just think there were some very basic opportunities missed, especially given the name.

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

I am going to be rather direct in my feedback.


This is a completely surprising (in a very good way) creature with a solid chassis but it lacks a few things to live up to its full potential.

- Good name. I like it.

- The description is hilariously bizarre with a hint of unexpected danger. People will love it or hate it, which is almost as good.

- Jet is a very good idea. It makes for interesting combat tactics.

- I am worried by the +1 scimitar for reasons I will detail below. BTW, why a scimitar ? Is it a common weapon to be found under the sea ?

- Excellent use of the undersized weapons universal monster ability. And it gives it a reason to go after the usually Medium PCs' weapons.

- I like Cunning Combatant, as it is a well-streamlined ability, completely in line with the monster's description. But why exclude the exotic weapons ? Including them would make this monster an appropriate purveyor of strange loot that fits PCs with unusual choices in weapons. Thus greatly increasing its value to a GM.

- Opalescent mucus is ok I guess, if a bit strangely worded. The crunch seems tight and it does complement the description when you read the text further down.

- I agree with other posters that something is lacking with the debris attached to its exterior, though I cannot really say what it should be, other than the DR it already gets.

- "powerful weapons" is problematic. How does this monster assess how powerful a weapon is ? Especially if it is magical ? Which is why it struck me as odd that it would be wielding a +1 weapon if it has nothing to help it discern its magical power. I really believe it should have Detect Magic, or even Identify, as a SLA.

- What I feel is missing for this monster is an explanation of why it is the way it is. Since it is a magical beast, did magic play a part in its creation ? Did someone create it on purpose, and for which purpose ?

- I like that you can barter with this creature and that it can become more than just another combat/treasure monster.

All in all, though I like this monster for its originality and well-built statblock, I think it could have been even more awesome with a few tweaks. As is, I put it on my Alternate list :-)


Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

This was slightly too gonzo for me, which pushed this into the category of stuff i wanted to vote for but didn't have enough votes for.

Star Voter Season 9

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This is GONZO. In the best way! I loved it.

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? This thing is pushing the envelope no doubt, but while it’s strange enough to question its existence as something that’s even possible, it is delivered creatively enough to brush such concerns aside. It’s weird, and I think I like that about it.

Are the abilities exciting to run? This thing is more about being a competent melee combatant that about flashy abilities. The ones it has are easy to run, and use existing rules that we’re familiar with. If anything, I would have liked to see some of the word count spent on creating at least one more fun combat trick for the GM to play with.

Does it spark ideas for use in an adventure? I want to see the look on my players faces when they’re told they’re fighting a giant oyster brandishing a scimitar. I would like the think my way through the challenge of using one of these critters in an epic way.

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