Paizo Publishing’s latest RPG Superstar contest is now into its fourth round. Contestants had to create a lair for a villain that someone else had designed. Go check ’em out and vote! My thoughts:
Hecataeus: Sanctum of the Colossus
A lair for Hecataeus, wizardly master of constructs. Good execution. It triggered a couple of my pet gripes though. If someone just rings the doorbell, what happens? Does Hecataeus himself come to let them in, or what? And WTF does “grief and suffering, in a social sense” mean? Good descriptions though. A lot of reliance on staged rooms, which reminds me of X11: Saga of the Shadow Lord (favorably). Map is lovely. Gets one of my votes.
Burnt Apple Haven
A lair for Rustin Harp, satyr bard. I don’t like the name – is this where the Apple Dumpling Gang hangs out? Not enough description and flavor. What does the “starfish boy” look like exactly, for example? And the tactics don’t take into account their close quarters. Pass.
The Putrid Temple of Volner Taint
A lair for Volner Tain, lich. Too-simple writing with many grammatical errors. And inconsistent – the invisible stalkers and leukodaemons have their tactics in the text and the humans do in their stats? Overly simple layout and really short. Pass.
26 Paper Street
A lair for Bracht the Flesh Peddler, sorcerer and body sculptor. I’m not sure whether I like having the adventure hook at the beginning of this one or not. It has a load-bearing boss, which is OK – it’s cliche, but at least it’s clearly foreshadowed. The Arm is cool if really just there for flavor. I like the mouther in the icebox even though it doesn’t make any sense. Gets one of my votes.
The Abandoned Carnival at the Bumpy Apple Orchard
A lair for Rustin Harp, satyr bard. Nice map, though that’s a mighty squared-off orchard. The weirdos here are very flavorful. “Ogrekin Halfling Icosatuplets!” That’s worth the price of admission. I like it. Gets one of my votes.
The Legendary Playhouse Theater
A lair for Sharina Legend Singer, bard. Beautiful map. The fights don’t seem all that hard or interesting. And it seems like “she escapes through the trap door and plane shifts away” is a likely result, which is fine but lame. In the end, other stuff gets my votes, so this one’s a pass.
The Palace in the Ashen Wastes
A lair for Vashkar, the False Maharajah, vampire rakshasa. Yay! Flavorful, good fights. I’m a little concerned that all the foes are in pretty close quarters and there’s no tactics for when they hear a bunch of fighting 20′ away, though. And there’s not a lot of context to what’s going on. Gets one of my votes but just barely.
The Lonely Colossus
A lair for Hecataeus, wizardly master of constructs. Hmmm, the dungeon in a colossus is too much like Clash of the Kingslayers, the winner from last year, which docked it a point for me. Decent and solid but didn’t ooze flavor IMO. Some spelling errors. Pass in favor of others.