Friday, January 22, 2016

Here Be Monsters 2: Hell Breaks Loose begins!

Here Be Monsters is a Pathfinder RPG monster design contest. The second season began on Thursday, 21 January.

Theme: Hell Breaks Loose

The open call for Here Be Monsters 2 begins! The theme for Season 2 is Hell Breaks Loose. To create a monster appropriate for the theme, you monster should be:
  • A denizen of Hell, such as a new type of devil,
  • An ally of Hell or its denizens, such as a creature born in an area tainted by devils,
  • An enemy of Hell or its denizens, such as an archon that hunts hell hounds, or
  • A creature that is otherwise closely connected to Hell.
Please note that the monster must be setting-neutral. This means that you should not make references to deities, countries, organizations, or other entities that are specific to a particular campaign setting. For example, a new breed of hell hounds would be acceptable, but a creature allied to an order of Hellknights would not be acceptable.

Publisher: Rogue Genius Games

The Top 6 entries will be developed and published as a bestiary in the PDF format by Rogue Genius Games! The winner of the contest is offered a contract to write another 2 monsters for a total of 8 monsters published in the bestiary.

Below are some additional details:
  • The finalists are required to sign a contract that outlines the terms of using the entries in the bestiary product. 25% of the money earned by Rogue Genius Games from the sales of the bestiary product is split among the authors. Assuming the winner agrees to design additional monsters for the bestiary, his or her share is proportional to the total word count. 
  • Rogue Genius Games owns the published entries, but they're 100% Open Game Content. The authors are given permission to use the monster art for their personal non-commercial promotion.
  • All other entries remain the property of their respective authors, which means you can publish your monster elsewhere if you don't make the Top 6. Only the three contest judges see the entries. The judges reserve the right to publish statistics based on the entries.


  • Legendary Games gives each finalist a book of their choice from the Mythic Monsters product series, and the winner gets a signed Mythic Monster Manual.
  • Special thanks go to Tommi Salama who designed the Here Be Monsters logo!

Additional Information

How to Submit a Monster

  1. Download the monster template.
  2. Read the contest rules & judging criteria, and design a monster that follows the rules and guidelines.
  3. If you have any questions about the rules or judging criteria, use the form at the bottom of this blog post to leave a comment. We'll answer as soon as we can.
  4. When you're ready to submit, send your monster via email to Include the monster's name in the subject line of the email. The monster template page contains more information about submitting.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Here Be Monsters 2: Monster Template

Download the monster template by clicking one of the following links: Microsoft Word or Open Office. When submitting your monster, please copy-paste it directly into the email. This makes it easier for the judges to review the monsters. You may also attach the monster as a file if for any reason copy-pasting breaks the formatting.

Before you submit, check that the formatting (bolded words, italics, etc.) matches the template and that you have replaced or deleted all the placeholder text (marked with [square brackets]) and placeholders for numbers (marked with ##). Also, remove any lines that you don't need (such as the Aura line if your monster doesn't have an aura), and add any lines as necessary.

Please do not include anything else in your submission. For example, explaining your math or design choices is not allowed.

Submit your monster via email to before 11 February, 2:00 PM PST.

Here Be Monsters 2: Contest Schedule

Here Be Monsters 2 begins today! Before we reveal this season's theme and other important details, let's have a look at the contest schedule.
  • 21 January: The open call begins. Contestants have three weeks to create and submit a monster.
  • 11 February: Thursday 11th of February, 2:00 PM PST is the deadline for the entries. The judges (Jacob, Mike, and Mikko) start winnowing down the entries to find our Top 6 finalists.
  • 18 February: The judges (including our guest judge) begin commenting on the Top 6 entries.
  • 25 February: The Top 6 entries are revealed in the order they were submitted, along with the judges' comments. When the sixth finalist is revealed, public voting begins.
  • 3 March: The winner of Here Be Monsters 2 is revealed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Here Be Monsters 2: Meet the Judges

The judging panel for Here Be Monsters consists of three freelancers and RPG Superstar veterans, who select six finalists from among the submitted entries. Our esteemed guest judge joins us to comment on the Top 6 entries. The judges for Season 2 are:

Guest Judge: Adam Daigle

Adam Daigle is a developer at Paizo and works on the Pathfinder Adventure Path line of adventures. An avid monster maker, Adam has designed and developed hundreds of monsters for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Adam has also been a judge on RPG Superstar since 2014.

Mikko Kallio

Mikko Kallio started out gaming in the late 80s with the Red Box D&D. (He still mourns Aleena the Cleric). In 2014, Mikko was a top 4 finalist in Paizo's RPG Superstar contest, and a year later, he returned as a monster round judge. His freelance design work for Paizo can be found in more than a dozen publications, including Occult Bestiary, the 5-star adventure Ancients' Anguish, and the 5-star Player Companion Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Mikko is also a developer at Swords for Hire Development and the main organizer of the Here Be Monsters contest.

Jacob W. Michaels

Jacob W. Michaels has been gaming for 30 years, since he went on an expedition to the Barrier Peaks in the third grade. A newspaper editor in eastern Pennsylvania, he's a two-time finalist in Paizo's RPG Superstar contest, making the Top 16 in 2012 and 2014. He has written several five-star products from Raging Swan; published a five-star module, Ironwall Gap Must Hold, with; and had work in products from Paizo, Flying Pincushion Games, Jon Brazer Enterprises, Louis Porter Jr. Design and Rogue Genius Games. He started Swords for Hire Development with Mikko Kallio, with whom he runs the Here Be Monsters contest.

Mike Welham

Mike Welham has been gaming since 1979. The first RPG purchase he made with his allowance was the original Fiend Folio, which set him along the monster path. He translated his love for RPGs into an RPG Superstar victory in 2012, and he has written and contributed to a number of critically acclaimed works for Kobold Press, Paizo, Raging Swan Press, Rite Publishing, and Zombie Sky Press. He has also contributed a menagerie of monsters to the Mythopoeic Rambling blog ( Mike was a finalist in last year's Here Be Monsters and looks forward to being on the other side of the judging table.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Here Be Monsters 2: Contest Rules & Judging Criteria

Here Be Monsters is a Pathfinder RPG monster design contest. The second season of the contest begins Thursday, 21 January 2016.

Contest Rules

Contest entries must adhere to the following rules.
  • Your monster must be 590-610 words. Note that the maximum word limit is almost 100 words fewer than in the previous Here Be Monsters, and this time there is also a minimum word limit. Use your word processor to check your word count.
  • Each entrant may submit one monster.
  • Your monster must be designed for the Pathfinder RPG, and you must use the monster template.
  • Your monster entry must be appropriate for the contest theme "Hell Breaks Loose", which is described in more detail in the contest announcement.
  • Your monster may not have class levels or templates.
  • Your monster must be setting-neutral.
  • Your monster's CR must be at least 1 and may not be higher than 20. Please note that you only have 600 words, and higher-CR monsters may eat up all your words with describing special abilities, which could leave you limited space for describing it.
  • Your monster may use feats, spells, and other resources available in Paizo's Pathfinder PRD. Your monster may not, however, have mythic ranks.
  • You must submit your monster via email to before the deadline 11 February, 2:00 PM PST. Include the monster's name in the subject line of the email.

Additional Judging Criteria

Following the guidelines presented below maximizes your chances of winning.
  • Your monster's concept is something new and creative or puts an interesting spin on a classic theme.
  • Your monster's name and read-aloud text are evocative.
  • Your monster's stat block is correctly formatted. Use any recent Pathfinder RPG bestiary product published by Paizo as your style guide.
  • Your monster's statistics are balanced against other creatures of the same CR. Refer to the Monster Creation chapter in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary for instructions.
  • Your monster has interesting new special abilities with reasonably simple and elegant mechanics.
  • Your monster entry includes compelling lore about the monster which helps GMs use the monster in adventures and campaigns.
A Sword for Hire