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Sinful Beasties: An Interview with Ryan Costello

Sinful Beasties: An Interview with Ryan Costello

Monsters of Sin - Avarice

So, the Monsters of Sin series is underway. What inspired you to visit monsters in this way? Are they part of your home campaign?

Themed monsters lend themselves to more than just battles to the death. I’m sure the assumption is that I was inspired by a movie like Se7en, but it was actually a creature nicknamed the Money Bag Monster from Super Mario Galaxy that made me realize how visceral the seven deadly sins are as a theme. You get ten times the treasure for killing this creature that is not aggressive and avoids you at all costs. I felt guilty every time I killed one because it was 100 percent an act of greed.

Is this series just for Christian gamers? I mean, it does lean heavily on Biblical tropes.

Sin fits into fantasy gaming as much as angels and devils, regardless of religion. Without spoiling anything about one of their adventure paths, Paizo has already introduced the seven deadly sins as a theme in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. The Monsters of Sin series isn’t directly tied to that adventure path, but it certainly could be used to enhance it.

If you had to pick one of the seven deadly sins, which one would you say is your weakest point? And which one is the weak point of most adventurers?

Considering how passionate but irrational the edition wars got at their peak, I think we all have to admit as gamers we let pride override our better judgment. Those of us not publishing the Switzerland of the edition wars, that is.

Avarice is up first in the series. Tell us a little about your approach to the Monsters of Avarice.

I wanted to tempt the players as much as the characters. Take the hoard golem. When you kill a dragon, all you expect next is bagging a hoard. For that hoard to defend itself, damaging its valuables in the process, is more heartbreaking to the players than the PCs.

How were these monsters playtested? What did your players think of them?

Fighting the embodiment of avarice was painful for the players. Not only is it massive and resilient, characters in its presence have to make a Will save to resist handing their valuables over and watching it swallow their precious holy avenger or headband of mental superiority +6.

Are there any settings where you think these monsters work especially well, or any adventures planned that will use them in KQ or Midgard?

Every book in the Monsters of Sin series discusses where the sin fits into Midgard, in particular Zobeck. A danger of a free city is the freedom of the citizenry to indulge in sin.

What comes next after Monsters of Sin: Avarice? Teasers, please! Also, kobolds loooove wrath and are not so crazy about pride.

Next up is either envy or gluttony. I think GMs are really going to like (and players’ minds will be blown by) the embodiment of envy’s combination of an aura that makes nearby creatures attack it and its ability to possess creatures, imbuing them with its aura of envy. If gluttony makes it out first, I’m really fond of the gnarljak. Basically a cross between a bear trap and a piranha, it is always hungry but never full.

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