Monday, November 28, 2016

Here Be Monsters 3: From Beyond the Stars observations

It's always interesting to see how people interpret themes, as oftentimes game designers find themselves mining similar territory for their creations. It's a trait we've seen many times in Paizo's RPG Superstar, and it holds just as true in this contest.

In this case, we noticed a few similar features in many of the monsters submitted: tentacles and eyes (or lack thereof). For what it's worth, having one of these commonalities didn't hurt a monster's chance to make the Top 5 -- at least one monster with one or more of these features made the cut.

Nearly a quarter (7) of the submitted monsters had tentacles of some sort. I feel like we can thank the Cthulhu mythology for that, though that's mostly a guess: The tentacled monsters in this competition weren't all Cthulhu-esque and actually seemed to mine a wide range of inspirations.

We also thought we noticed a trend toward monsters with just a single eye, leading to the quip that in space, no one needs depth perception. Crunching the numbers for this blog post, though, it turned out that it was a little less of a trend than we thought as we were going through them: It turned out only four creatures had a central orb. (I think, as happens with Superstar voting to winnow down the magic items, sometimes you feel like you see something and just become hyper-aware of it, leading to the perception that thing is occurring more often than it does.)

Finally, we also had a similar commonality with naming: "Void" was a popular choice, with four monsters submitted with some variation of it in the name. "Star" came in second place, appearing in three monsters' names.


  1. Thanks for the info, Jacob. I brainstormed a handful of concepts before settling on, and then writing my submission, and every single commonality you mention above appeared at least once in those concepts.

    It's interesting, but not too surprising to see such overlap given the contest's theme and tropes about "aliens" in general. Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons come to mind.

  2. Thank you, Jacob. Mikko must be rubbing off on me, as I find myself liking the stats more each contest. :D

  3. Is it bad that I just want to see the top five? I plan to use them all in my home campaign!

    1. No, Scott, we love that.

      We just need time to finish writing up our comments, plus testing the voting system.

  4. New template idea - Cyclopidean Tentacle Monster

  5. Here Be Monsters 3, it's tentacular spectacular!


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