Kravyad – 599 Words


Round 3: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Helena Handbasket

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Flakes of ash waft from this massive ursine creature’s charred and cratered hide. A cavernous maw drips flaming saliva as bulging crimson eyes shine with ravenous hunger.

Kravyad CR 7
XP 3,200
CE Large magical beast (fire)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +10
Aura immolation (30 ft., DC 17)

----- Defense -----
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+2 Dex, +9 natural, –1 size)
hp 85 (9d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +8, Will +6
Defensive Abilities ferocity; Immune fire
Weaknesses vulnerability to cold

----- Offense -----
Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +13 (1d6+5), bite +14 (2d6+5 plus 1d6 fire and grab)
Ranged burning spittle +10 touch (2d6 fire)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks howl of hungry flames, swallow whole (1d8+5 bludgeoning damage and 4d6 fire damage, AC 14, 8 hp)

----- Statistics -----
Str 21, Dex 14, Con 19, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +9; CMB +15 (+19 grapple); CMD 27 (31 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Perception +10
Languages Ignan

----- Ecology -----
Environment warm deserts, hills, and plains
Organization solitary, pair, or ravage (3–6)
Treasure incidental

----- Special Abilities -----
Burning Spittle (Ex) As a swift action, a kravyad can launch a mass of burning spittle at a target within 30 feet. This is a ranged touch attack that deals 2d6 points of fire damage.
Howl of Hungry Flames (Su) As a standard action, a kravyad can loose a thunderous howl, transforming nearby flames into grasping claws that drag creatures towards the kravyad’s gluttonous gullet.
The howl fills a 60-foot-radius spread centered on the kravyad and only affects creatures who are on fire. As part of the howl, the kravyad makes a special combat maneuver check, substituting its Charisma modifier for its Strength modifier (resulting in a +13 bonus for a typical kravyad). If the kravyad’s check beats a creature’s Combat Maneuver Defense, that creature moves 5 feet closer to the kravyad in a straight line. For every 5 by which the kravyad’s combat maneuver exceeds a creature's CMD, it moves an additional 5 feet. The kravyad does not move, but this otherwise functions as a drag combat maneuver affecting all burning creatures within range.
Immolation (Su) A kravyad’s mere presence encourages the spread of fire. When any creature within 30 feet takes fire damage, it must succeed on a DC 17 Reflex save or catch on fire.
Additionally, Reflex saves to extinguish flames suffer a -2 penalty in this area.
The save DC is Charisma-based.

Kravyads were once simple predators—akin to bears or wolverines—with hunting grounds in the Windswept Wastes of Casmaron. Following the destruction of Gormuz, wildfires and famine spread throughout the region, forcing kravyads to scavenge a torturous, charred landscape for survival. The harsh new environment, combined with Rovagug’s lingering corruption, mutated the kravyads into their current state: eternally-ravenous monsters with a preference for scorched flesh.

A kravyad is about 13 feet long and weighs up to 5,000 pounds.

To appease their hunger, kravyads constantly travel in search of new prey. They are drawn to funeral pyres, fire-ravaged battlefields, and regions experiencing calamitous wildfires. A starving kravyad will resort to eating nearly anything—a kravyad’s treasure consists of swallowed items that failed to digest.

Though intelligent and capable of brutish speech in Ignan, a kravyad is driven mainly by gluttony. Those seeking to coerce a kravyad into service must rely either on mental enslavement or shows of strength combined with a steady supply of charred corpses and chastisement in the form of cold damage.

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!

• The descriptive text is evocative, and makes me want to know more.

• Its hit points, AC, and saves are all on the mark. One of its attacks is one over, but that’s not a big deal. The damage output is pretty high for a CR 7 monster.

• I like that you included a ranged attack for this monster.

• Howl of hungry flames is a cool ability. The language is pretty spot on in most cases (don’t capitalize combat maneuver defense, and I don’t see why you did a hard return after the first sentence.) The ability is unique and the image of flames clawing at the victim and dragging them along is evocative.

• The immolation aura is neat too, though it looks like you had some copy/paste error or something that resulted in making each sentence its own line... which is weird. Also, use an en-dash for a minus sign instead of a hyphen.

• I like that all of the special abilities work together instead of being a checklist of random abilities.

• The flavor text is nice, and I buy their origin story. I like that you included size dimensions for this monster. The flavor text also does a good job of letting the GM know where these things could be encountered and how they’d behave.

This is a unique submission with some nice flavor. I do recommend this designer advance to the next round.

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Bill! 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 Kravyad. I take it this is meant to be a cryptid from Hindu mythology, which is essentially another name for a rakshasa. Of course, the name also has representation in the Hindu god Agni who first instituted the worship of fire and Kravyad is his most destructive aspect. So, given the fire association you've given this creature, I imagine that's where the inspiration came from. If so, it works just fine.

Now, let's examine your creativity in describing and explaining what your monster is all about. "Flakes of ash waft from this massive ursine creature’s charred and cratered hide. A cavernous maw drips flaming saliva as bulging crimson eyes shine with ravenous hunger." Okay. Sounds appropriately frightening. Quick! Somebody cast resist energy! Reading through the rest of your entry, there's a fair amount of creativity on display with the new special abilities for the ranged burning spittle attack, the howl of hungry flames, and the immolation effect. All cool, flavorful additions to what this burning monstrosity is all about. You're definitely doing it justice. The writeup in the description is useful, as well, giving us an idea of their origins within the wastes of Casmaron.

So, what about the mechanics? In the interests of time, I didn't try to number-crunch everything, but you look pretty solid. The AC, saves, hit points, and attack bonuses are spot-on for a CR 7 creature. The damage curve looks a little high, though, particularly if the grab and swallow whole comes into effect—though I do like that ability for this creature. I also like that the immolation ability carries a penalty to extinguish the flames if anything catches on fire. And the howl to pull things in closer so they'll burn is inspired.

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, but your carriage returns are kind of all over the place within the paragraphs of your special abilities. So, you need some stronger attention to detail there.

Bottom Line: This monster design has strong core idea, carries that theme through in interesting ways and backs it up with competent mechanical representation for a CR 7 monster. It has a unique niche and some iconic abilities that can make for a memorable encounter at the game table. The presentation is still a little sloppy, but that can be cleaned up in development and trained into you for future designs. So, for now, I'll say that I DO RECOMMEND this designer to advance to the next round. You've got a “spark” here and I'd like to see what else you've got for future challenges in the contest.

Paizo Employee Editor

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

First off, nice use of a Sanskrit word for your monster’s name. I don’t know how many people will notice it, since it isn’t exactly the name of a mythological creature, but I appreciate it. I also like your collective noun.

Mechanically, I don’t think its spittle should be a swift action. The damage it does isn’t going to break the bank or anything, but given the right conditions, it could spit on a target, take a 5-foot step, and then launch a full attack on that same target. That seems a little too much to me. Otherwise, all of its other abilities seem to make sense to me.

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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Helena Handbasket

Thank you, Judges, for your feedback. I will be happy to answer questions after the voting session ends.

~Bill~


Quote:


Immolation (Su) A kravyad’s mere presence encourages the spread of fire. When any creature within 30 feet takes fire damage, it must succeed on a DC 17 Reflex save or catch on fire.
Additionally, Reflex saves to extinguish flames suffer a -2 penalty in this area.

The penalty to extinguish flames is a nice touch. I'm not crazy about the base ability, though. If it were paired with a creature that inflicted even minor fire damage, the danger level could rapidly escalate beyond its stated CR. I'm imagining, as one logical pairing, a kravyad and two fire mephits.

I'd prefer its spittle were a standard action and set the target on fire on a failed save.

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

<--------------------------------------------------------(obv)
This one's fighting for my fourth vote. I love bear-like creatures and fire creatures, and this is basically a fire-spitting bearverine. It's like (and I mean this in the best possible way) someone asked a kid who likes bears and dragons what the best monster would be, and she came up with a bear dragon. It's from the whimsically gonzo school of old-school monster concepts.

If anything, what drops it down the list for me is how it isn't much more than just a dragon-ish bear. The swarmwyrm pushes to do something new with the dragon form, while this just gives a magical beast some traits traditionally applied to dragons: fire spit's just a little different thematically than fire breath, sucking creatures closer is just a little different than wing attacks, and it still has claws, a bite, and swallow whole. Its biggest difference from a fire-focused dragon-kin is its inability to fly.

It's nice to have a fire creature that isn't a dragon or an elemental, but that alone isn't enough to elevate it. The mechanics are really tight, and the creativity in the flavor is there, but while the concept is fun I can't quite get past it being a (very, very well done) reskin of a different creature type. The tightness gives it a mechanical edge for me over the swarmwyrm, but the swarmwyrm's concept gives it a mojo edge over this.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

As Adam mentioned, there's some formatting weirdness in your entry. Hopefully that's a result of a technical hiccup during submission and not carelessness on your part.

This creature feels fun, but reading the comments I'm seeing the obvious abuse of the immolation ability. Perhaps limiting this to creatures the Kravyad damages with fire, or maximum once a round. Otherwise, everyone is probably on fire all the time. Except for those tricksy rogues.

It's very clear to see there's a tight theme here, and an obvious way for GMs to run it. That's really good. Your descriptive text and background are interesting, too, though they remind me strongly of the high level flaming bear magical beast with the snake tail, whose name escapes me. Admittedly, this one is about 10 CRs lower, but still.

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

Kravyad
How I’m rating monsters:
Creativity: does this seem innovative and original or does this seem contrived? How is the description?
It’s a fire spitting bear with some panache. I’m not sure how I feel about that but points for being original 10/10
Marketability: are the choices you made smart and marketable to a voting public? Does the name pop?
Name works even if it bores me. It might be a little gonzo for the vote 5/10
Trade craft: did you format correctly and scale correct to Paizo standards?
Formatting and balance seem fine 7/10
Encounter worthy: as a GM is this easy to use and reuse?
It has a strong single use then I’m prolly just going to give an owlbear the half dragon template and do everything this does only better… 5/10
6.75 out of 10: Judge love might carry you thru but I think there’s a solid chance the voters overrule that.
Good luck.

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

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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 monster has some potential, but it is a bit over the top with the Fire everywhere theme. Its execution is ok, but it lacks something that would really surprise me. This monster is a Fire Bear and that is pretty much it.

- Visuals are great. The name was unknown to me and I thank the judges for sharing the results of their etymological research with us. That said, this monster is a Fire Bear. Envision it with this name and its almost mono-dimensional nature becomes apparent.

- A mass of burning spittle is something I am not sure how to envision :-/

- The howl of hungry flames is the most imaginative part of this creature, though the visuals are a bit strange.

- The immolation effect would be okay, maybe even great, if it was not so complete (with the added difficulty for putting out the flames) and did not come in addition to so many abilities to deal fire damage :-(

- The high fire damage of the swallow whole feels too powerful, especially since the victim also suffers from the immolation effect.

- Pet peeve : why so many monsters with Improved Initiative coming out of the blue ?

- I quite like the descriptive text and especially how you can get this monster to work for you. it opens nice hooks for GMs.

All in all, despite some twist through the howl of hungry flames ability and the quality of its description, this monster feels too mono-dimensional (Fire Bear) for my taste.

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


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 tenth monster entry I've read.

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

Everything is within the right range for a CR 7 monster. Damage goes way up with a swallow whole, but that's special abilities for you.

I like the name. It sounded familiar so I looked it up. It's fitting. The description is great. I can see players grabbing for their d20s and fiddling with their character sheets when this is read out loud.

Burning spittle is a nice ability. Not too powerful, but ties in with the other abilities to make it an effective tactic.

Howl of the hungry flames is great. It's a unique and interesting mechanic that makes this thing much scarier than just a bear with a a half-dragon template slapped on it.

Immolation is a nasty final touch. Now if you've got the magic, most of the extra punch of the thing goes away, but if you don't, this thing is going to cook and eat you.

The description is fitting and the monster fits into Golarion quite well. I also appreciate that you gave a size and weight for it.

All in all, this is a really well done creature. At this point, it has one of my four votes. Whether that changes when I read the final five entries remains to be seen. 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

Very nice descriptive text. I could easily read that to players and think they'd be intrigued.

The name didn't really grab me, though I see from the comments it has a Hindu source, so I guess my quibble isn't with you on that. :)

Write-up is solid, I think. It's not the most flashy ever, but it gets across the essential information that would let me use this. I think it's solidly set in Golarion. I'm glad the last paragraph gives some non-combat options for this; I think it's still most likely a fight-and-move-on creature, but you've given me options that indicate I can use it otherwise.

In terms of stats, I also like your collective name. Thanks for calling those out, Jason (in this and other monsters); I think that's a great way to give a monster a little personality and far too often is a missed opportunity.

And to the special abilities:
It feels a bit odd to have flaming spittle be a swift action. That feels a bit like it's breaking action economy and definitely gave me pause. I was also initially surprised it didn't ignite creatures on fire, though I saw later immolation took care of that.

Jumping ahead, I think I'm going to agree with those who raised the concern that maybe immolation is too much as it means it can likely set something on fire every round, while going off elsewhere making its full attack. I think I'd rather have seen flaming spittle be a standard action that ignites, with immolation having some other effect -- maybe fire does an additional 1d6 damage as well as the difficult to extinguish?

That said, I really like howl of hungry flames; great name, lots of flavor and interesting mechanics. I do wish I had a little more idea (from the write-up) how the kravyad used it, though -- does it drag everything in range closer as much as it can or is it more selective? It's Intelligence is only 5 but its Wisdom is 12, so if it's facing six PCs, for example, is it OK keeping some of them a bit farther away?

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

I really like this monster - a neat blend of abilities that complement each other. The one bit I think is missing is for the immolation ability how it interacts with objects. It seems a bit weird that creatures catch fire, but oil soaked straw wouldn't.

Good job also describing the monster's behavior - I feel I could run this immediately after reading it.

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 know what to expect from this name. Sounds vaguely like it might be from Slavic folklore? Google tells me it's Sanskrit, and refers to "a title for the consuming fire of the funeral pyre." That sounds promising.

Flakes of ash! Flaming saliva. Looks like we're on that fire trail with a firebear!

I like the collective name.

Spittle is ok, a 2d6 ranged attack.
Howl Of Hungry Flames is a good name. Ah, see, this is what I like. Special Abilities that feed off each other. Catch 'em on fire, drag 'em closer with Howl, Swallow 'em whole.

"Gluttonous gullet" might be overdoing the alliteration a bit.

Whoa! 13 feet long? 5000 pounds??? Hmm. I'm not sure its stats feel right for that. That's several times the weight of a very large grizzly bear, but this has the same STR and CON as a grizz. Feels off to me. Easy fix, though, just cut the dimensions down.

Overall, I think this would be a memorable encounter. The flames, they are everywhere! And they're pulling me to this giant maw!

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?

Kravyad

First, the name makes me think of Krav Maga. Completely personal but I have no idea what to make of it. It sounds cool to say so points on that...but its not indicative of what I should expect.

Ok good intro. I'm into a fire bear!

Without having read the bottom text I'm not sure why a fire bear would be CE and not CN. Beasts aren't evil because they are hungry...perhaps there is a precedent for magical beasts but it would make more sense to be closer to Neutral than Evil if it is just a creature you stumble on in the wild.

Dark and low-light vision and scent, cool. I almost would have liked to see it give light as a torch (since it has flaming spittle) and maybe that is why you put low-light vision. Darkvision though may not make sense unless that is standard magical beast fare.

Immolation as aura is kind of...weird. It's not from the plane of fire. It should need to coat creatures in something to encourage catching on fire. It's a magical beast though so maybe an aura works. Good idea though.

Defense looks good...ferocity nice. Immune to fire and vulnerable to cold make sense. Although since it doesn't originate from the plane of fire I'd almost like to see resistance 20 (or some number) to fire. But immunity makes thematic sense.

Offense looks good...that attack routine! The attack bonuses look good but that bite...2d6+5 + 1d6 fire + grab, coupled with swallow whole. Hopefully we see something that starts incinerating PCs as they are swallowed...and we do! It probably should have its own name as an ability and broken out into the special abilities section, but word count probably forced you to do it as you did.

Ranged fire spit!

Howl of hungry flames is very flavorful and makes sense. But I'm not a fan of calling it a special Combat Maneuver without defining what that is. You couldn't because of wordcount but it would have been just as easy to call it a ranged drag or reposition combat maneuver. You could have saved a little bit of words and spent them elsewhere. I also would have made it a 30-ft. cone, as it doesn't make sense that a creature behind the kravyad gets dragged to its mouth. Also, I get why you went with Cha for the bonus but it could have still been strength (strength of its lungs in roaring) and you could have cut that whole part. I like the base idea here but it needs some work.

Stats look fine.

Feats look pretty...generic. I'd have gone for something like an Improved combat maneuver feat and some others that play into its theme. A focus on its fiery spit would have been good too.

Only Ignan...but they don't originate from the plane of fire. Should probably be Common since it comes from Casmaron.

Not sure I like the ravage name for the 3-6 group but it works well enough.

Incidental treasure seems like a wasted opportuntiy considering its theme.

I like in the descriptive text that these are mutated bears. You call them intelligent with an Int of 5. I would guess you are referring to them being considered intelligent as above Int 3...but I don't really like calling them intelligent in the descriptive text as it kind of implies they are more intelligent than what their stats allow for.

Overall, I really like the idea you have here, a mutated fiery bear. Ranged fire spit. Huge maw capable grabbing, swallowing, and burning. Theme is there. But I feel like your mechanical execution fell prey to word count. I'm on the fence about this and can't definitively say if I will vote for it, but I won't be sad to see you progress.

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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Kiel Howell wrote:

Darkvision though may not make sense unless that is standard magical beast fare.

It is, along with low-light vision. (Though having it radiate light as a torch would indeed have been cool; only so much you can do with 600 words, though.)

Dark Archive

I like this monster, and I knew as soon as I read it that it was getting one of my votes. While I like immolation, I do feel that it's a little overpowered as it currently stands. Maybe the save penalty should only apply to fire damage from the Kravyad? I also agree that burning spittle as a swift seems too good, since there's nothing else vying for that action economy.
As I said, this got one of my votes, and I wish you luck!

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

Kravyad
Name From the name, I have no idea what the monster is. It looks awkward to pronounce—Krav-yad?, Krav-y-ad? Looking it up, I see that it comes from mythology, and the definition I get is a carnivore or a funeral pyre, which is a great tie-in.
Gimmick It’s a fire bear. It likes to cook its food before it eats it.
Description The descriptive text is all very well done (tee hee!). It helps reinforce the character of this monster.
Usefulness It’s most likely going to spice an encounter with fire giants or some similar, intelligent fire villain. And it seems like it very much will.
New abilities I love howl of hungry flames. That’s awesome. I don’t like the spittle being a swift action. I like the aura since it gives encounters a little to think about than just the raw damage of the creature.
The rest Damage seems high, especially since things may also be catching fire, or swallowed whole. Skills and feats seem fine, nothing stands out as particularly good or bad. I think the package taken as a whole is a great monster.

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

For me, Howl of Hungry Flames is the star ability here. The effect is interesting and useful for this creature, as it's likely to draw in the characters who most want to stay away from it. The imagery really shines here, too.

The rest of the monster is solid, and what formatting errors exist don't reduce clarity, which is the most important thing. It is a well written entry, but aside from Howl of Hungry Flames, nothing else really wows me like that ability. I don't want to say it's "just a Fire Bear" because it is a well executed Fire Bear with some cool stuff, but I'm not necessarily as excited for this entry as I am for others.

This is shorter than my other critiques so far; sorry! I feel like most of my concerns have been covered by other posters. Good luck!

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

I too like Howl of Hungry Flames - nice design work on an interesting mechanic concept.

Beyond that, I'm not too fond of firebears, and I do find drawing on real world mythology a little strange for Golarion, regardless of certain Russian stories and their coherences.

Nice work on the Rovagug tie in - that at least makes sense.

I see a lot of thought went into this monster, as can be seen by the last paragraph of more social interaction and further capabilities other than being a struggling bleeding (and burning) sheath for adventurer's blades.

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

william collins wrote:

Flakes of ash waft from this massive ursine creature’s charred and cratered hide. A cavernous maw drips flaming saliva as bulging crimson eyes shine with ravenous hunger.

Kravyad CR 7

Hi William,

I am partial to elementals and magical beasts, this is a nice way to start. :)

Creative: -+ since elementals can take any form it will not stand out too much for my players. I like the new, nice twist on burn. I like that swallowed hole has fire damage instead of acid, though with immolation it could quickly get out of hand. Spittle is decent, though not too exciting (BW fire would have been worse, at least you avoided that. Howl of hungry flames has an interesting firebending effect that makes a lot of sense.
Useable: -+not much to make this stand out from half-dragons or true elementals (it doesn't even speak common). I think the howl isn't done yet (how does a howl pull targets in?)
Memorable: -+ Flaming bear is memorable, elementals are not & it will be difficult to differentiate to my players. I can see someone at my table saying "this bear spits? what is it a camel bear?"
Voting: Keep

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

Hi, william, congrats on getting into the top 16!

What I like: It's a BEAR THAT'S ON FIRE. Hard to go wrong with that. Moreover, it's Smokey the Bear's vengeful cousin who's taken wildfires especially personally.

Also, it's just a well designed creature. Mechanics are on point with good flavor text to back it up. I love the howl of hungry flames ability, that helps it stand out.

What I struggle with: While its abilities are GOOD, if I need a fire monster, there is not a LOT of reason to choose this one over other fire monsters that already exist in the game. That said, your flavor text helps provide some ideas.

Is it one of the three monster types I've been totally sick of since, oh, about the Bestiary 3 (dragon, fey, or undead)? Nope! It's a magical beast and a very well designed one. There are a lot of fire monsters already in the game though.

Final Thoughts: It's a fun, solid design. Good luck!

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? When invoking Rovagug, anything is possible.

Are the abilities exciting to run? So this thing starts everyone on fire, and then those flames become desperate clawing limbs that try to drag the prey back to the mouth that spawned it? That’s awesome! These abilities are nicely woven together and serve the ceaseless hunger made manifest in their creator, not unlike the flames themselves. It’s a great theme and well-executed.

Does it spark ideas for use in an adventure? Making it ursine and fire-based means players are going to make a lot of Smokey the Bear gone bad jokes. I almost wonder if this concept couldn’t have just been an elemental. That said, I like the mechanics of this critter enough to want to spend time thinking up ways to use it.

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

Pedant alert: It's Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear... :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Helena Handbasket

I'm honored you chose to keep me in this competition—Thank You!

My responses to your feedback from the monster round will have to wait until Friday—I really need to buckle down and work on my encounter entry. Sorry for the delay, and thank you for your patience!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Helena Handbasket

Now that I’ve submitted my encounter for Round 4—and took last night off to vegetate—I’m back to give some answers/feedback concerning the kravyad. I will post these in the form of spoilers to save space and make it easier if you’re looking for a specific topic.

Name:
A couple of years ago, while searching the internet for gaming inspiration, I discovered a kravyad article (probably on a mythology website) and scribbled ideas in one of my notebooks. I loved the concept of a sentient, flesh-eating funeral pyre (my take on the “destructive aspect of Agni” version of kravyad), so that became the framework guiding my monster design. The rakshasa connection also intrigued me, but didn’t think it fit with my critter concept, so I went a different route.

As for pronunciation…I don’t know how to pronounce the real-world word (and couldn’t find out from a casual search), but I go with: KRAH-veh-YAWD.

Formatting Fumble:
Separating elements of the monster (esp. the howl of hungry flames and immolation abilities) onto multiple lines helped me organize my ideas during the creation process.

Unfortunately, I was careless and didn’t correct these carriage returns before submitting the monster.

I’ll try to be
more vigilant from

now on ;)

“Fire Bear”:
Hehe ;) Now that several of you have pointed this out, I see that the kravyad could be a little weirder/more unique in description and abilities to keep it from being pigeonholed as a Fire Bear.

My original concept was closer to a giant wolverine (the wolverine’s scientific name, Gulo gulo, comes from the Latin word for gluttony), but I thought that describing the kravyad as “wolverine-like” or “mustelid” in the flavor text would be awkward. I went with “ursine” instead, since a bearish kravyad also seemed appropriate.

Additionally, I picture a kravyad’s face to have bulging eyes, exaggerated tusks, and a manic appearance similar to some Balinese demon masks, though less humanoid.

I think that the major issue may be the “fire” part of the “Fire Bear”—the kravyad’s description and abilities are narrowly-focused. During the creation process, I often struggled to design a suite of abilities for the kravyad that: worked together, made sense, fit the creature concept and CR, *and* seemed fresh (before the competition, I had no idea how hard trying to do this would be). I knew I wanted fire-based abilities (to fit my “sentient, flesh-eating funeral pyre” concept), but I also wanted abilities that would fit an eternally-gluttonous monster. Did I make a cohesive set of abilities? I think so. Are they too limited/concentrated on fire? Quite possibly. The kravyad is a decent creature (in my opinion), but it may not have been the *best* choice to showcase Superstar-level imagination. Still, I’m glad enough of you liked it to give me a shot. Thank you :)

Burning Spittle:
After reading your feedback, I agree that this ability should require a standard action to use. I was trying to cram too many actions into one round :P I am happy I gave the kravyad a ranged attack so it had options besides straight-up melee combat.

Originally, I gave the kravyad a breath weapon that dealt fire damage (with those failing their Reflex saves catching on fire) and created a temporary cloud of smoke & ashes. Eventually I ditched the breath weapon since it felt too dragon-y (and I was already pushing the word count).

Howl of Hungry Flames:
This was the centerpiece of my design—an ability that played off of the other abilities while doing something (hopefully) splashy and new. The howl ability directly influenced (and restricted) the design of the other abilities, and sometimes I wonder if I was too attached to it. Overall, however, I’m pretty happy with it, though the wording might be clearer (and I’d correct the combat maneuver defense capitalization error, of course).

Jacob W. Michaels wrote wrote:
does it drag everything in range closer as much as it can or is it more selective?

I think a kravyad, being nearly insane with hunger, would want to get everyone as close as possible to gobble up. Though somewhat intelligent (and with above-average Wisdom), a kravyad doesn’t favor clever tactics or practical concerns. It’s more like, “Mmm, tasty meat! Get in mah belly!”

Immolation:
Possibly the ability causing the most concern, according to your comments. It does seem overpowered (especially if the kravyad is paired with other fire-wielding enemies). The process behind this ability’s creation is long and frustrating…I’ll try to explain without giving myself (or you) a headache:

Okay, I had the “sentient, flesh-eating funeral pyre” concept and the Howl ability pretty much set. I knew I needed a way for the kravyad to catch people on fire, so at first I just gave it the burn universal monster ability. This seemed logical, but didn’t work at range (so it wouldn’t enable the howl ability) and made the kravyad too similar to a fire elemental. Next, I gave the kravyad a breath weapon. That didn’t work (as I explained in the burning spittle section). A gaze attack that caused people to catch on fire? Maybe…but I wasn’t sure that fit (I’m interested to know your opinions, however). Eventually, I created the immolation aura, which (via ranged burning spittle attacks) would help the howl ability work as planned. It’s far from perfect and could probably be revised.

Possible solutions:
* Fire-starting gaze?
* Rework the howl ability so that it causes people to catch on fire, then, during later rounds (at the beginning of the kravyad’s turn), the flames drag creatures toward the kravyad? That could work, though I’d probably need to make the howl ability usable less often (maybe once every 1d4 rounds?)
* A minimum amount of fire damage (5 points? 10 points?) must be dealt in order to activate the catch-on-fire effect?
* Only activates based off of kravyad fire damage? (a couple of you have proposed this solution)
* …?

Joel Flank wrote wrote:
The one bit I think is missing is for the immolation ability how it interacts with objects. It seems a bit weird that creatures catch fire, but oil soaked straw wouldn’t.

I see your point. I suppose I could change the wording to “When any creature or object within 30 feet…”. This would make the immolation aura even more powerful, however, so another solution might be better.

Damage Output:
A kravyad does a lot of damage, which was intentional: I wanted it to be a brute. I thought that it would be okay if fire damage nudged the kravyad’s damage output over the limit a bit, since fire is (in my experience) the most common type of energy damage, and the type PCs often have resistance to. Parties without fire protection could be toast, however, so maybe the damage output is too high…Oh well, more food for the kravyad ;)

I could go on an on if I had more time (and were a faster writer), but I think I’ll stop. Please excuse me if I failed to address your concerns—feel free to PM me and I’ll try my best to respond.

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

For what it's worth, I did somehow picture it with the face of a Balinese demon mask. I wonder where that came from?

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

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hello, WC.

"sentient, flesh-eating funeral pyre". Wow. That is Superstar concept for me and I would have been far more likely to vote for your monster if it had looked that part. Glad you made it to Top 8.

Rather than rewrite Howl (and make it more cumbersome), Immolation could have become something like :

Immolation (Su) A kravyad’s mere presence encourages the spread of fire. Reflex saves to extinguish flames suffer a -2 penalty within 30 feet of the kravyad. Additionally, three times per day, as a standard action, a kravyad can unleash an aura of dancing fire. Any creature within 30 feet must succeed on a DC 17 Reflex save or catch on fire.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Helena Handbasket

The Raven Black wrote:

Hello, WC.

"sentient, flesh-eating funeral pyre". Wow. That is Superstar concept for me and I would have been far more likely to vote for your monster if it had looked that part. Glad you made it to Top 8.

Rather than rewrite Howl (and make it more cumbersome), Immolation could have become something like :

Immolation (Su) A kravyad’s mere presence encourages the spread of fire. Reflex saves to extinguish flames suffer a -2 penalty within 30 feet of the kravyad. Additionally, three times per day, as a standard action, a kravyad can unleash an aura of dancing fire. Any creature within 30 feet must succeed on a DC 17 Reflex save or catch on fire.

Thank you :)

I really like your idea for reworking the immolation ability!!

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

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
william collins wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Hello, WC.

"sentient, flesh-eating funeral pyre". Wow. That is Superstar concept for me and I would have been far more likely to vote for your monster if it had looked that part. Glad you made it to Top 8.

Rather than rewrite Howl (and make it more cumbersome), Immolation could have become something like :

Immolation (Su) A kravyad’s mere presence encourages the spread of fire. Reflex saves to extinguish flames suffer a -2 penalty within 30 feet of the kravyad. Additionally, three times per day, as a standard action, a kravyad can unleash an aura of dancing fire. Any creature within 30 feet must succeed on a DC 17 Reflex save or catch on fire.

Thank you :)

I really like your idea for reworking the immolation ability!!

It is a great honor to receive this praise from a Top8. Thank you.

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