Morwen Riley CR 8 - Rudy Francis Gauthier

edited July 2018 in DesignFinder Chat
Morwen Riley (hybrid form) CR 8 
XP 4,800 
Female advanced lycanthrope human (natural shark) bloodrager 7 
NE Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger) 
Init +8; Senses low-light vision, keen scent, scent,  Perception +12 
===== Defense =====
AC 22, touch 12, flat-footed 22 (+4 armor, +4 Dex, +6 natural, -2 rage) 
hp 89 (7d10+49) 
Fort +12, Ref +7, Will +8, +2 bonus vs. spells cast by herself or allies
Defensive Abilities improved uncanny dodge, uncanny dodge;  DR 1/-, 10/silver  
===== Offense =====
Speed 40 ft., swim 60 ft. 
Melee +1 nodachi +16/+11 (1d10+12/18-20), bite +10 (1d6 +4 plus curse of lycanthropy), or bite +15 (1d6+12 plus curse of lycanthropy)
Ranged javelin +11/+6  (1d6+8)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (15 ft. with +1 nadachi)
Special Attacks bloodrage (19 rounds/ day), curse of lycanthropy, staggering strike  (DC 19)

Known Bloodrager Spells (CL 7th, concentration +10):         
2nd (2/day)—mirror image, protection from arrows 
1st (2/day)—enlarge person (DC 14), expeditious retreat, long arm, protection from law, shocking grasp 
===== Tactics =====
Before Combat Morwen casts long arm on herself before a fight.
During Combat She prefers to be in or near a body of water to take advantage of her abilities. If there is room to maneuver, she casts enlarge person on herself to increase her reach. 
Morale Morwen flees into the open water if she is reduced below 20 hp. If she cannot flee, she will surrender and give up information on the monastery and its inhabitants. 
Base Statistics When she's not raging, and in human form, Morwen's statistics are AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 18; hp 68; Fort +9, Will +6; Melee +1 nodachi +13/+8 (1d10+8/18-20);Ranged javelin +11/+6  (1d6+8); Reach 5 ft.; Str 20, Con 17; CMB +12; Skills Swim +14. 

===== Statistics =====
Str 26, Dex 18, Con 23, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 16 
Base Atk +7; CMB +15; CMD 27 
Feats Arcane Strike, Combat Reflexes, Eschew Materials, Extra Rage, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Vital Strike 
Skills Acrobatics +13, Acrobatics (Jump) +17, Bluff +10, Intimidate +13, Perception +13, Survival +13, Swim +24 
Languages Aquan, Common, Lycanthropic Empathy 
SQ aberrant bloodline, abnormal reach, blood casting, bloodrage, blood sanctuary, change shape, damage reduction, fast movement, improved uncanny dodge, low-light vision, lycanthropic empathy 
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (2); potion of hasteOther Gear  masterwork chain shirt, +1 nodachi, javelin (3), cloak of resistance +1, explorer's outfit, feather token (anchor), wand of endure elements (20 charges), pearls (3) (25 gp each), 34 gp
===== Special Abilities =====
Keen Scent (Ex) Morwen can notice creatures by scent in a 180-foot radius underwater and can detect blood in the water at ranges of up to a mile.

Description Morwen is a powerfully-built young woman with pale skin, large dark eyes, and short slicked-back blond hair. Knowing her angular features and wide mouth do not lend themselves to classical beauty, Morwen has adopted an androgynous style.

Her parents, blessed by some eldritch creature of the depths, raised her with the beliefs that might makes right and those of the family's "school" are destined to be the mightiest above and below the waves. Always a bully and prone to conflict, Morwen has trouble staying with one occupation for very long, but has tried her hand as a merchant, wreck salvager, pirate, and mercenary.  

Motivation/ Goals Morwen desires power over others and distraction from routine. Initially in Roston to hide from the neighboring capital's navy, she became curious when her nightly swims indicated humans had been killed and dumped into the sea along with some foul tasting "additions". After several nights of observation, Morwen realized she had a way to influence the situtation. Revealing herself first to one of the younger monks, she claimed to be a sign that the monk's experiments were headed in the correct direction. She prefers to associate less with the bookish abbot, Norbert, and more with the more martial monks. She knows lycanthropy is not the first path the cultists of the Scaled Eye would have taken, but the allure of being able to swim without modification is a powerful temptation.

Morwen has no loyalty to the monastery, seeking only to sway its members to her control and hasten the conflict with the village. 


  • I have no idea what's going on with this stat array. If we start with the base NPC heroic array, I assigned the scores basically in order of highest scores in the final block:
    Str 15
    Con 14
    Dex 13
    Wis 12
    Cha 10
    Int 8

    Then we sub in the better scores for sharks, which gives us:
    Str 17
    Con 14
    Dex 13
    Wis 12
    Cha 10
    Int 8

    Add +4 to everything for advanced, and +2 Wis, -2 Cha, +2 Str, +2 Con for being in hybrid lycanthrope form and we end up with:
    Str 23
    Con 20
    Dex 17
    Wis 18
    Cha 12
    Int 12

    It should then have +2 for being human and +1 for being 7th level, but that's not going to get it close to the final stats presented. I'm wondering if the designer also added the bonuses for monsters with class levels? If you swap around Con, Dex and Str a bit, I think I could MAYBE make that work...
  • Hello Rudy, and welcome to the Top 8!

    I’m looking at three primary aspects when reviewing the villain. First, I want to see a strong motivation for the villain. The villain has to have a compelling reason for what he/she/it does beyond “I’m eeeevil.” Next, the villain has to have some kind of plan to achieve its goals. The PCs should have a reason to hear about the villain and seek the villain out. A villain that just waits for its victims/foes to show up is unexciting. This is also where I’ll look at the villain’s suitability for the chosen location. Finally, the stat block has to support the above two points. I’ll consider mechanics and formatting as well when reviewing the villain.

    I gather from the write up that Morwen wants to establish control over others and sees an opportunity to convince the monks of the Embracing Bower Monastery to allow her to infect them with lycanthropy. She also wants to increase the attacks on the village. Both motivations support her general personality as a bully with a taste for confrontation.

    As a creature with simpler motivations, Morwen’s plans are correspondingly basic. She plans to make the monks into weresharks, and has convincing arguments to support their return to a primordial state. She also intends to attack Roston. My main concern with these approaches is that they contradict the subtlety and slow boil of terror inherent in the monks’ plans. However, it makes her an obvious villain for the PCs, and may give the monks a scapegoat for the disappearances.

    Given Morwen’s motivations and combative approach, I think bloodrager is an appropriate way to go with her. Her aberrant bloodline fits her background as a creature blessed by an eldritch deep-sea creature. Generally speaking, the stat block looks good. You can change “will surrender and give up information” to “surrenders and gives up information,” since “will” is superfluous in morale blocks. Looking at stat blocks for other were-creatures, I noticed that “Lycanthropic Empathy” is not listed as a language, so you can remove that.

    Overall, Morwen is a straightforward villain, but there’s enough wiggle room to add a deceptive element to her when convincing the monks to choose her path to a devolutionary pinnacle. I like the way her appearance melds her shark and human elements. I recommend Morwen advance to the next round.

    Most of the above is subjective. The voters may take a different view on your villain than mine. All the villains this round have been great, and many are a handful of edits away from excellence. Good luck in the voting!

  • edited July 2018

    Hello! I’m Ron Lundeen, a developer for Paizo Inc. and a frequent freelancer for several Pathfinder publishers. Congratulations on making the Top 8!

    When looking over a villain, I keep in mind the player perspective—more specifically, how the players at a table will interact with the villain. Are the mechanics of the villain sufficient to create a good encounter? Could a plot centered on finding or confronting the villain feel particularly heroic? Will the villain’s actions convey its motivation and goals?

    My initial thought was that a lycanthrope is a daring choice; they’re complicated mechanically and can fall easily into the “I’m evil just because of my affliction” trope. But let’s take a closer look!

    Although villains aren’t built the same way as monsters, it’s handy to look at the table on page 291 of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary and check their stats. Monster Statistics by CR gives the expected toe-to-toe fighting ability of an opponent of a particular CR—with the caveat that NPCs often struggle to have as many hit points as the chart expects. Morwen hits all these markers well—a fight with her will feel very appropriate for a CR 8 encounter. Her high DR might pose a challenge to some parties, so an encounter with her can skew a bit towards difficult, but that’s actually pretty ideal for a key villain.

    You’ve got a lot of missing rules references here, and I recommend you look at how other complicated stat blocks in print present this. You should be referencing the Advanced Class Guide (for bloodrager) and Bestiary 4 (for wereshark) at the top of the entry, the long arm spell needs the ACG superscript to alert the GM where to find it, “natural shark” at the beginning should be “natural wereshark”

    There are also some other scattered errors: nodachi is misspelled once, weresharks get blindsense 30 ft. in hybrid form, and both change shape and lycanthropic empathy need parentheticals giving more specific rules description. Taking a careful read before turning a product over, and comparing it to existing rules like the wereshark hybrid entry in Bestiary 4, is important to show developers that you can produce high-quality work.

    I’m uncomfortable with the implication that Morwen appears androgynous because she isn’t beautiful; androgynous readers are likely to be very turned off by this. Gender presentation is often touchy, but it’s worth working to get right to keep your product accessible to the greatest number of readers.

    You also left some opportunity for further description/motivation out of this entry; you used only about 700 words of your allotted 750 words. For this contest, I’m considering this only as a missed opportunity—as the assignment was for no more than 750 words and you did that. If you’re commissioned to write a piece freelance, the word count is not only something you shouldn’t go much over, it’s something you shouldn’t go much under. We assign word counts based on expected words on the page, and I can see getting 700 words for a 750-word assignment and thinking, “ugh, now I’ve got to do this person’s job to fill the rest of the page.”

    Morwen’s motivations and actions aren’t at all clear. She wants “influence” and “control,” but only over the monastery, not the village? And is it her, or the monks, who are attracted by the idea of lycanthropy to become free-swimming creatures? What is Morwen doing now that she’s revealed herself, and where can she be found? More importantly—and more distressingly unanswered—is how Morwen will come into conflict with the PCs. Handled poorly, she’s just wandering in the sea or the lower monastery as nothing more than a mook for the PCs to overcome—I’m missing a strong agenda from her that will put her into confrontation with the PCs.

    In all, I am on the fence about whether this entry should advance.

  • First of all, Rudy, congratulations on getting to Round 3. Ron and Mike have already offered some fantastic feedback, so I'm going to try not to duplicate what they've said.

    A wereshark is a fun idea for a villain -- lycanthropes I think naturally scare players, since who wants to potentially lose control of their character if they get infected -- and I think makes some sense playing with the Embracing Bower. After all, what is a wereshark if not a hybrid of land and sea, even if it's not done scientifically. That said, I'm not sure she really works as a strong villain. While power over others can certainly be a good motivation, that's diluted by the idea that she also wants distraction from routine. That says to me (and is backed up by her tactics under morale) that she's more a piece of a puzzle, a mid-adventure means to find out the true villain of an adventure involving this location. It appears she's looking for monks to volunteer/accept being transformed into lycanthropes, where I feel like a more dedicated villain might be trying to steal this monastery out from under the abbot (thus giving a section of that location a different set of defenders/foes for the PCs so they don't run into the same opponents in every area and increasing the adventure possibilities). If she has no loyalty to the monastery, she can also simply leave when the PCs come calling after having discovered the nefarious happenings there, which again makes her less of a villain to me (or even someone who is going to care about the PCs/their actions at all).

    In terms of the stat block, I think you've taken on an ambitious villain here, but I did notice some mistakes. I didn't do a full dive into all the mechanics of the stat block, but tried to do some spot checking and I think your ability scores are off; I just can't get them to work, though it's possible I'm missing something (I started with the basic heroic NPC array, adjusted for the lycanthropy, added for being advanced -- which I thought was a great way to pump up the CR, by the way -- but even with the racial adjustment for being human and the +1 for being 7th level, I couldn't match these numbers). I'm wondering if you also added the adjustments for being a monster with class levels? Once you're allowed to comment (AFTER the voting finishes), I hope you'll let me know if I'm missing something.

    Considering all this, I'm afraid I do not recommend this to advance. That said, this round especially I had a lot of difficulty deciding which entries should get my recommendations, so other voters may disagree with me.

  • Wereshark!!! Chomp Chomp!
  • explanation of stats...
    raging in hybrid form: Str 26, Dex 18, Con 23, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 16
    remove rage -4 Str, -4 Con (Str 22, Dex 18, Con 19, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 16)
    remove hybrid form -2 Str -2 Con (Str 20, Dex 18, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 16)
    remove lycanthrope -2 Wis+2 Cha (Str 20, Dex 18, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18)
    remove advanced template -4 all (Str 16, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14)
    remove stat bonus -1 Str (Str 15, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14)
    remove human -2 Cha (Str 15, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12)

    Thank you all for the feedback!

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