Thursday, February 25, 2016

Top 6: Hellfire Gorger by Isaac Volynskiy

This oversized bulbous worm is covered in pale corpulent faces with sealed shut lips, erratically sputtering fetid flames from its many nostrils.

Hellfire Gorger CR 5
XP 1,600
LE Large outsider (evil, extraplanar, lawful)
Init -2; Senses scent; Perception +8
Aura ignition aura (5 ft., DC 15)

AC 15, touch 7, flat-footed 15 (-2 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size)
hp 63 (6d10+30);
Fort +9, Ref +0, Will +1
Defensive Abilities Immune fire, poison; Resist acid 10

Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +10 (1d6+6 plus 1d6 fire)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks burning hunger, feast of ashes

Str 18, Dex 7, Con 18, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 5
Base Atk +6; CMB +11; CMD 19 (can't be tripped)
Feats Blind-Fight, Step Up, Toughness,
Skills Perception +8, Survival +8
Languages Common, Infernal (cannot speak)

Environment any (Hell)
Organization solitary, pair, clat (3–5)
Treasure none

Burning Hunger (Su) Whenever a living creature is dealt fire damage from a hellfire gorger, it must succeed a DC 17 Fortitude save or suffer the effects of failing a Constitution check against starvation (1d6 nonlethal damage and the fatigued condition) as the food in its stomach burns to ashes. Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same hellfire gorger’s burning hunger ability for 24 hours.

Feast of Ashes (Su) As a full-round action, a hellfire gorger can inhale all nearby ashes.  Creatures within a 30-foot radius that have ash in them (such as the ash created by failing their saving throw against burning hunger) or are on fire take 4d6 nonlethal damage as all of the ashes in or on them are sucked out.  If the hellfire gorger inhaled any ashes it immediately expels them, creating a 30-foot radius cloud of ash that obscures vision like fog cloud.

Ignition Aura (Su) A hellfire gorger constantly writhes and snorts out hellfire in all directions. Creatures within 5 feet of a hellfire gorger at the beginning of its turn catch on fire unless they succeed a DC 15 Reflex save.

A mass of flesh with many maws that cannot open, a hellfire gorger is eternally hungry but unable to starve to death.  They are woven together from the souls of the sinfully gluttonous, existing for two reasons: to suffer and to serve devils.  It is only able to feel a moment’s respite when it inhales the ashes of the living that it burns, and cannot keep itself from sneezing them back out.  The tainted cloud it creates may sting the eyes of most creatures, but does little to prevent a hellfire gorger from continuing to seek its next meal.

A hellfire gorger is so infused with unquenchable hunger that the flames it spouts are tainted with its torment, causing its victims to suffer as it does whilst they are crushed and immolated.  A hellfire gorger is typically 8 feet long and nearly 3 feet wide, and weighs roughly 900 pounds.

Barely retaining enough intelligence to understand language, hellfire gorgers cannot ignore their suffering to be persuaded by pleas or temptations, relentlessly following anything that can be burned and preferring meat above vegetation.  They are by creation compelled to obey the commands of devils, often made with false promises of relief after service.  Generally left to roam free and search for what rare carrion there is in hell, occasionally devils will trick or compel mortals to summon a hellfire gorger to raze farms, granaries, and city streets in order to strengthen their bargaining position with rulers.

Jacob W. Michaels

Congratulations to the Top 6 monster designers; we had a lot of great entries, but these rose to the top. For my comments, I'm including what were, for the most part, my stream of conscious thoughts as I read each monster (edited slightly for public consumption).

Ew. Great description. Except ew.

Good write-up too. Gives me everything I need to understand these creatures. I admit I laughed a little at the sneezing the ashes back out, which may not be what you want, but it does make these things even more pitiful.

Stat block looks good.

Special abilities look mostly good; it makes sense that burning hunger can only work once within 24 hours, but that then limits the damage that can be done with feast of ashes. Similarly, I don't think I'd make feast of ashes a full-round action. It's not so powerful that it needs to take that long — once a player knows what this thing could do, he can just pull out of range as it's trying to use the ability.

That said, my biggest concern would be the monster's lack of a ranged ability, which combined with a slow speed could make this thing fodder for ranged characters. Just stay away from it and pepper it with arrows. That fits the concept, but maybe let it suppress its aura for a round to breath fire in a single line just to make it a little more dangerous? Or give it a flame jet to let it move farther at times? Definitely needs something added along those lines or players will quickly learn to just keep away from these.

Even with that flaw, though, this is a keeper.

Mike Welham

Congratulations on making the Top 6! I'm just going to jump into the monster and give my feedback.

The description is creepy without going overboard. It only covers one sense, but it does so in awesome fashion.

The stat block is fairly clean. Its hp are slightly high, but its AC is low to offset it. I'd suggest increasing its natural armor bonus to +10. I'd also recommend increasing its damage dice to 2d6 to bring its average damage up. The save DCs are generally in line with CR 5. The special abilities should indicate what ability score drives the save DCs, though.

I would consider adding trample to its repertoire, specifically since the write up mentions it crushing its victims.

As an outsider, it should have darkvision.

Clat is an interesting name for a group of hellfire gorgers. I didn't see too many definitions for the word (British term for clod of dirt/dung or clot, and irksome or troublesome task, which seems like it fits the monster), so I'm curious about the name.

As with many of the top 6 monsters, the special abilities set it apart. Burning hunger has a scary description to go with its game effects. I like the connection between burning hunger and feast of ashes. I do think feast of ashes should take a standard action to allow the hellfire gorger to move into position to affect multiple targets.

The write up continues the theme set up by the description, and provides an excellent overview of the creature's origins (appropriately deriving from the sin of gluttony).

Overall, I like this near-mindless killing machine.

Mikko Kallio

Thanks for submitting a monster, and congratulations on making the Top 6! Below are some comments on your entry.

The description is evocative and concise, and it describes the monster pretty well. The only (minor) complaint I have is that there are probably a few too many adjectives; the sentence would probably flow better if you left out either oversized or bulbous, for example.

The stat block is mostly well formatted, but there are a few mistakes. I noticed a few trailing semi-colons and commas. Defensive Abilities should be omitted if it has no abilities of that type (immunities and resistances don't count because they are separate entries on that line.) In the AC line, -2 and -1 should technically have en dashes instead of hyphens. The same applies to Init.

Burning hunger could use some rewriting. The passive voice is completely unnecessary, and it would actually read a lot better in the active voice: "Whenever a hellfire gorger deals fire damage to a living creature, it must...". The word order is better, too, because "a living creature" is closer to "it must", so it's less ambiguous as to whether it's the target or the gorger itself that has to attempt a save. Other than that, I like the evocative flavor text and the straightforward mechanics.

Feast of ashes has a really cool synergy with the other two abilities. This ability, too, is pretty evocative. The secondary effect (cloud of ash) is also described in an evocative way, and it creates an interesting complication for the PCs. Some mechanics are missing, though. How long is the duration? Fog cloud normally has a duration of 10 minutes per level, but I don't think you intended for it to last that long. Even if that were the case, the creature has no caster level, so it's impossible to know what the duration should be.

By the way, I don't recommend putting two spaces after a period. Removing the extra space is extra work for the developer.

Ignition aura looks mostly ok and is consistent with the creature's description ("...sputtering fetid flames..."). However, the Paizo (and RGG) style is to write "...succeed at a..." rather than on or having no preposition.

The monster's ecology section flows well but offers relatively little new information. About 50% of the first two paragraphs just paraphrase information from the stat block, special abilities, and description. The third paragraph describes how they interact with more intelligent creatures, but unfortunately, their role in an adventure or campaign is quite limited.

To make them more likely to be encountered by PCs, I'd probably expand on your idea that they relentlessly follow anything that can be burned and describe how they use their scent + Survival to track down creatures that have eaten well recently, and try to describe them as more proactive hunters. I'd also consider making the monster a little bit smarter, so that they are better able to torment other creatures. It doesn't have to be an actual Int bump, it could be a predatory kind of cunning that allows them to utilize more brutal hunting techniques. There are probably also other ways that devils use them that could be described if some of the repetition of information in the first two paragraphs was removed.

Overall, I think this is a very evocative monster with really cool special abilities.

Adam Daigle
Congratulations on being selected for the top six monsters! Monster contests are a blast, so I hope you had fun coming up with this cool critter. When judging, I’m not going to focus too much on the mechanics and making sure it hits all the numbers on Table 1–1 in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary (because I’m sure one of the other judges will cover that). Instead, I’m just giving my gut opinions on the monster and focusing on the style and formatting. With that said, on to the comments!

The descriptive text line at the beginning is nice and creepy. I can picture these gross things and think that there could be some good art resulting from the description.

The three special abilities make sense for this creature and I like that burning hunger and feast of ashes work together. I imagine this sooty symphony of wheezing and whistling as it inhales and exhales. One thing that you missed, however, is you didn’t specify which ability score the save DC for burning hunger uses. From doing the math I’m pretty sure its Constitution, but you need to have a sentence at the end of an ability that says, “The save DC is Constitution-based.”

This entry is very clean. There are very few grammatical or style errors, and the writing is engaging and descriptive. There were only a few minor quibbles in the entry. In the special ability descriptions, you need to put “points of” between “1d6” and “nonlethal”. (You don’t have to do this in the actual statblock text like in the melee line where it mentions the fire damage. You got it right there.) Here are the few minor errors in your entry: You used hyphens for minus signs (we use en dashes); you have a leftover semicolon in your hp/HD line; and a leftover comma in your feats line. So, pretty damn clean!

You also taught me a new word. I’d never heard “clat” before.

My only gripe with the descriptive text is the last two sentences. The part about them being compelled to obey devils is a cool addition, but I’d like to see some mechanics that back this claim up. The last sentence is confusing. The first phrase sounds like it is meant to describe hellfire gorgers, but it’s actually modifying devils, and I don’t understand which rulers you’re talking about at the end of the sentence. I feel like this might have been a victim of trying to whittle down the word count, and accidently sacrificing clarity.


  1. Scott 'Curaigh' JankeFebruary 25, 2016 at 10:20 PM

    Congratulations Isaac!
    That description is nice & creepy. I think a huge version is also in order :)


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