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Efreeti

Anthony Adam's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2013 Marathon Voter, 2014 Marathon Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber. 2,065 posts (2,186 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. 4 wishlists. 4 aliases.


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Just in case, here is the link again, it seems to be the same.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Ok, those commas in the intro look weirdly placed, try moving the bought by the dozen to start of the sentence..." Bought by the dozen, these sweet, buttery... it will keep the roll descriptions with the word "roll" and read better when read aloud.

Now the one that will make you go "huh?"

See that paragraph starting "The size of the creature" - well, if you read it, it's really boring as it's talking about how the price is derived, so how about you take that whole paragraph and move it down in to the front of the last line of the description.

This will bring the roll's eating affect to the fore of the item, and it IS the most exciting part of the item, so that is what should follow the descriptive intro.

Try it, I think you will find it makes the whole item much more exciting to read the first time and subsequent times.

Description should always go...

Short visual para of the item,
Main exciting powers first thing after the description,
Secondary powers next (if any)
Closing statements, usually end of duration, limits etc (in this case pricing and roll freshness limitation).

Doing this gets the voters and the judges into the meat and potatoes of the item design the fastest.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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You don't need "per dozen" on the weight as that's in your price entry, so there's two words saved.

In fact remove it from price, weight and cost and put in your description, something like

"...fist-sized rolls, bought by the dozen, glisten with a sugary..."

On reflection, drop the "bone flour" in the price entries. I think it will scan better without.

Drop (Dozen) from the item name. You don't normally put quantities here, and remove the s from Rolls. You describe what eating one roll gives, that fact you buy them a dozen at a time is covered, so we don't need to put that everywhere.

Because you changed the wording to "increases the bonus to +4" you don't need the "effects stack" anymore, drop it to something like.

"All benefits last for 10 minutes." or something along those lines.

I might even go so far as to change it to

"The save bonus lasts for one hour, but the size change lasts just 10 minutes."

Buffs tend to last an hour or more on items, whereas physical changes last around 10 minutes or less (sometimes for just the current encounter).

That should cut the word total some :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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I would probably change the wording slightly...

This is because of Sean's wonderful exercises on his design course for prevention of rules lawyer-ing. I was awake on that Skype chat ;)

Simply refer to the amount eaten as a half or a whole roll - I don't want to think that I can take a bite of a fist sized bread roll and discover my mouth is so big it takes half the roll in a single bite. Scarfing might be regional, but it works, wolfing it down, also likely a regional saying. The rewording suggestion below gets around this problem

"Eating either the first or second half of a roll as a standard action grants the consumer ...., but eating a whole roll in one go as a full round action also grants..."

This way the rules lawyers cannot say "It was the second half of my roll, so I have now eaten the whole roll so I get the whole benefit this time..." - yes, Sean has encountered that level of rules lawyer-ing.

Also, the paragraph starting with "Taking a bit" says exactly what happens when a whole roll is finished but isn't very clear on what just a half roll provides. I suspect just the save bonus but I can't be sure.

If you break it up like above, assigning the benefits to each eaten amount, you resolve this issue.


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Another way of thinking about archetypes is this...

Usually, when you design a number of new powers/abilities/etc, there will be a theme or core ideology behind the design.

So all you need to do is ask yourself whether you want the theme diluted by allowing free selection as a mix with existing powers/abilities etc.

If you are happy with that, then they can be additional options added to existing character shopping lists, but if the summation of the new design gives an over arching theme you don't want diluted, then archetypes (or prestige) is the way to go.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Snorter wrote:

What's the chance of this course resulting in a fresh wave of posters coming on Paizo, and informing the staff how they're doing it wrong?

Better still, backing it up with "And Sean says...yadda yadda...which means you're doing it wrong!"

From my experience of the course, Sean provides you with the tools to be a good writer and designer without preventing your from developing your own style, ideas and creativity.

It is a fine line to walk, to be original and creative yet be within the confines of the Paizo product style.

You will also find, if you take the course, that Sean never "says", he "asks".

For example, you choose to do some ability in a different way - he wont say "ack, that's wrong", what he will say is something like "interesting, can you explain your thoughts behind". And you will end up discussing the reasoning behind the way of designing that sort of thing.

In short, you won't see hardly any of the above, what you are likely to see instead are things like

"When I design that sort of thing, I consider this... I can see why you did xyz, but have you considered this?..."

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Hah! Something must have stuck in my noggin from studying under Sean, I have seen 3 volunteered items, and found things to feedback on all three! :D

Even better, I could see some of the things I used to fall over on in those items too. :)

So, do find the time to take this course if you can, it may not make you a superstar finalist, but it will make you a better writer and designer.

I am so glad I did this and I have every confidence that if you take the course, you will be glad you did too!

You could all do me one big favor though - don't complete the course before the next superstar competition, 'kay? :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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The spell thrower has changed name!

I am fast changing how I name my items so that I can lose my crown of "king of bad names" this year :P

I have held that title for far too long.

I am now only going to worry about the item name as the very last thing to do so that the final item design leads me to a better name.

Well... that's the theory.

Hopefully this has plugged up all the holes :)

Inkspell Glove
Aura faint abjuration; CL 5th
Slot hands; Price 4,500 gp; Weight
Description
This glove, made from woven spider silk, is so pure and brilliantly white that it emanates a subtle nimbus.

Placing a gloved hand onto a scroll animates the writing, the words leaping from page to glove, writhing in a macabre dance to the palm, leaving behind a pristine clean parchment. At the center of the palm, the words merge into a wriggling, pulsating ink ball. One ink ball may be created and held at any one time, lasting as long as the wearer holds it in the gloved hand.

The wearer may throw the ball up to 30 feet as a ranged attack with no range increment, or make a melee touch attack with the gloved hand. A successful hit releases the absorbed spell’s energies against the target dealing 1d6 points of damage per spell level. If the absorbed spell deals damage with a damage type, the damage dealt by the ball is the same type, otherwise it has no type.

If the absorbed spell would normally heal the target, the ink ball heals the target instead of harming it, except it heals 1d6 points of damage per spell level instead of the spell’s original amount.

A held ink ball is discharged harmlessly if it is released in any other way from the gloved hand.

The glove can only absorb a spell if the wearer’s character level is equal to or greater than the caster level of the spell.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, explosive runes; Cost 2,250 gp


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Hey all,

Don't forget to go to The Ennies 2014 and log your votes by the 30th - and make sure your favorite publishers include Paizo and Paizo Fans United ! ;D


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In case you hadn't seen it - Wayfinder 10 is up on the Ennie 2014 submission list - check it out! - It might not get to be shortlisted to be voted on, but getting listed is a fantastic achievement!

And let me be the first to say well done to everyone involved with this issue!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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I can say on the item part of the course that Sean is an excellent tutor ( we are just starting the monster design part, so Adam Daigle had better watch out ;) )

Sean has already shown me quite a few miss-steps I was making without realizing it! I feel so much more able to produce a quality design now, so much so, that I am this week drafting an intro covering letter to send to 3PP and Paizo touting for work, something I was not confident enough to do prior to this course.

I heartily and without hesitation recommend anyone serious about games design to consider and take this course. Don't worry about the material being Pathfinder related - that is just the vehicle that is the common ground for the coursework, and provides a solid platform for you to learn the ropes.

The lessons I have learnt can certainly be applied to any games design I do in the future for any system or publisher.

@Sean - if you have a laptop at your presentation, I am happy to skype in so people can ask me about my experience from the student side - let me know if you would like this ( I will have to double check the time difference for UK to Gen Con local time, but I am sure I can be awake for an hour or two on that Sunday :P )

@Everyone else, you can also PM me on the message boards here and I will get back to you and answer any queries you have as I can (usually the same day but at most within a day or two or your posting).

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Ok, we are into July, so here is a calendar of things to do that will help maximise your chances of success...

Superstar Preparation

July:
Re-read the Core Rules volume - as a designer not a player.
Look at sentence structures and the language used.
Jot down ideas that are inspired or triggered.
Re-read the Bestiary 1, pay particular attention to the monster creation rules.
Jot down ideas that are inspired or triggered.

August:
Week 1 - read all winning items and judges feedback from 2008 & 2009 (64 items). Jot down ideas that are inspired or triggered. Why are we reading items from another system....? Because the theory craft behind the feedback stands for any system!
Week 2 - move on to items 2010, 2011. Jot down ideas that are inspired or triggered.
Week 3 - items 2012, 2013. Jot down ideas that are inspired or triggered.
Final week - items from 2014.
Jot down idea that are inspired or triggered.

September:
Read the world setting books and the gods setting books.
Jot down ideas that are inspired or triggered - reference back to the lore so if you end up doing that idea, you can get your lore right!

October:
Sort your ideas into possible rounds, Items, NPCs/Villains, Monsters, Encounters.

Week 1 - Develop first cut drafts of at least 5 of your items, and send them out to your review circles.
Week 2 - 3 Monsters at least now, and circulate for review.
Week 3 - Now 3 villains/NPCs, circulate for review.
Week 4 - 3 Encounters, circulate for review AND playtest them over the next 3 weeks.

November:

As your review feedback comes back, narrow your items down - this is your main immediate focus in the December run up.

In the meantime, polish your favorite items, read the extra books teh Advanced's, the Bestiaries

Get at least 3 items to what you think and believe are Superstar quality submissions.

Wait for the December announcement with confidence, knowing you are well prepared.

December

The hard part, when the competition starts, DO NOT POST in the first 5 days. READ THE Round RULES - is your entry going to break them? Rework as necessary.

Beware, the judges/Paizo may add a twist to the item rounds and know that if they really change it up, you have prepared fully and can react quickly and with confidence.

When you Enter = DO NOT mess up your entry, take time to get the formatting right and use the PREVIEW button A LOT.

There are normally two boxes...

The title thin box contains your submission item name - WITHOUT any bb coding - it does not count towards your item words.

Paste your duly bb code formatted item into the larger second box, including the name WITH the bb bold encoding around it.

PREVIEW it at this point

Word count good?
Formatting nice and voter friendly?

If not, cancel the preview and fix up your entry, rinse and repeat.

If you are happy...

SUBMIT!

Good luck!


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Quick question as I'm not 100% sure, one of my submissions is going to be an article on "typical Osirion life" that will exhibit the tools, life and foods of Ancient Egypt re-themed for Osirion.

So, it's not really magical items (but I might make some items from the article as magical items as another submission), and I'm not really sure what category of submission it does fall under. So, can I assume that the 1500 word limit applies to this type of article?

Thanks in advance for your kind attention.


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Hey all

As promised, here is my linked article freebie that didn't make the cut - use or not as you see fit. Yes, the articles were linked, but I did talk to Tim and Paris before creating and sending the submission ;)

The submission consisted of Item, Organisation and Side Trek Seed.

Enjoy (I hope).

Anthony.

Indelible Bindings
Aura faint illusion and divination; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 6,000 gp; Weight
Description

Shimmering golden letters rise from the pages of historical tomes encased by these scarlet hued leather bindings, shifting and reordering to provide an accurate and true account of the history being described where the written text is incomplete or incorrect.

The bindings can be separated as the spine that would join them has been rent apart, a result of being torn from the original editions of Cheliaxan History. Placing the bindings around any historical tome, results in the changes, additions and deletions since the previous edition of that tome to be made known via the floating text as each page turns. This provides the reader a +4 circumstance bonus to Knowledge checks related to research into noble bloodlines, houses, and history of Cheliax as they occurred rather than how they are now being represented.

Separating the covers over two editions of the same tome will reveal all changes in the rear binding encased tome from the front binding encased tome, providing the same circumstance bonus on the same types of research.

Using the indelible bindings this way conveys writing made in the front binding encased tome to the rear binding encased tome as each sentence is completed. The two bindings must be on the same plane of existence when separated in this manner. Let the writer beware, the truth of what is written is conveyed even if they attempt to mislead by writing false text.

Being caught with these bindings in Cheliax is regarded as high treason, resulting in immediate public execution.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, illusory script, witness, creator must be a bard and member of The Way of Indelible Truth; Cost 3,000 gp

___________________________________________________

The Way of Indelible Truth
Alignment: N
Headquarters: Two main headquarters exist: Verso, located in Egorian, and Recto, located in Westcrown. Both headquarters are built into the sewers of both cities, each with a sliding wall defense system that can close access to the headquarters in such a way that the sewer channels appear to run naturally without creating suspicious dead ends.
Leader: Verso Folium leads Verso, Recto Folium leads Recto. These hereditary names are assumed on taking office as an identity protection for the leaders.
Structure: Nationalist Hierarchy
Scope: National
Resources: Real property and liquid assets worth tens of millions of gold piece across Cheliax. Sixty percent of this held equally between the two headquarters.

During the treacherous break of Molthune from Cheliax in the year 4632, a number of nobles of Westcrown, fearing the total break up of Cheliax and an end to their own power and holdings, formed an alliance to preserve the ideals, society, treasures and noble lines of the true and powerful Cheliax from which their lines ascended.

The organization was driven underground during the years of the interregnum and the rise of the House of Thrune. During this time, the order has been publicly denounced, reinforcing the members desire to preserve not only the histories of Cheliax, but its noble bloodlines.

In order to provide resilience to the organization’s continued existence during this turbulent time, a second headquarters was formed in the new capital, Egorian. This facilitated closer monitoring of the activities of the House of Thrune and expedited the discovery of noble lines in danger of being deposed in the new capital.

Over the years, the order came to realize that historical artifacts were being perverted or destroyed by the ruling houses, effectively removing the proof of the old histories. These acts were seen as abhorrent by the members of this order, reinforcing their determination to preserve all aspects of the true history of Cheliax.

Today, they continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes, bringing those of true noble blood, survivors and strays loyal to the old ways to the safety of their hidden safe houses; preparing those they save to spread dissension, to plot and grow in power, to build their bands and armies in secret with the final aim of tearing down the House of Thrune and restoring the original Cheliax order.

Structure and Leadership
The two leaders each have a tome encased between two halves of a matched pair of indelible bindings, facilitating secret two way communication between them when needed. These tomes are reverently referred to as the bifolium.

Reporting to the leaders are the chapter house heads dispersed throughout all major towns and cities of Cheliax, referred to collectively as the quire. Order heads in villages and towns have four subordinates, known as quarternion, cities have eight, known as octernion. Although their title may differ, for all intent and purposes, they are regarded with equal status irrespective of their title.

It is these individuals that, through the use of adventuring parties and Annalist Bindings, locate and retrieve the articles, treasures and lost nobles who form the true history and lifeblood of Cheliax as they deem it should be. All that work through them are referred to as signatures.

Goals
Their greatest desire is the preservation of the true histories and bloodlines of Cheliax, seeing this as the only way to ensure that Cheliax is kept pure and able to rise once more to its illustrious heights without the need of any pacts with devils or any other external agencies. The order strives to this end, using whatever means necessary: acquiring historical treasures, secreting away survivors of deposed noble lines, subversive activities to undermine the ruling houses, assassinations, thievery, seeding of dissent, and so on.

Public Perception
Those loyal to house Thrune and their view of the future of Cheliax regard members and adventurers working for this organization as traitors, although any noble who finds they have fallen into disfavor will often quickly change their allegiance. Those few who have escaped the bands of slavery see this organization as a life line, an escape from the slaver’s noose, and a cause they can join to re-establish Cheliax to its purest and greatest heights.

_______________________________________________________

Egorian, Cheliax – House Championship

Plot Hook
If the PCs are playing as loyalists to House Thrune, they are approached by an agent noble house to act as champions in the forthcoming annual house championships held in Egorian’s arena. Should they be working against House Thrune, they are approached by either an agent of House Thrune pretending to be a member of The Way of Indelible Truth or one of that organization's octernion.

They are advised that a deposed noble was captured recently and put to the arena by House Thrune. This noble knows of the location of a sacred artifact of Aroden that must be retrieved – the agent of House Thrune intends to destroy it, otherwise it is to be preserved and secreted away to safety. To that end the PCs must enter the arena, identify the noble, win his trust and keep him alive, making him a member of their party as the rules of championship combat dictate (see background). The noble knows that this information is his only route out of the arena and so will not divulge this information to anyone at any time, even to the PCs.

Arrangements are made that the PCs are taken to the arena 3 days before the grand contest, where they will billet amongst all combatants. It is during this three days they need to locate and identify the target of their search.

Background
Once per year, House Thrune holds a Championship in the Egorian arena, consisting of multiple bouts, some house versus house and some house champions versus slaves. The latter events being a thinly disguised method of cleaning house. Instead of the actual nobles of a house taking part in the arena, they are allowed to proxy champions in their stead, encouraged and approved of by House Thrune as a way of preventing the loss of staunch allies to a lucky blade.

The house versus house results affect a houses rank within the noble hierarchy and their esteem by House Thrune. They are fought fiercely unto the death of all of a house’s champions. The house versus slaves events are fought to the death of all slaves. Rarely, a slave fights so well that the house champions offer them leniency should they elect to join them against the remaining slaves. This must be offered to the slave by a house champion during the contest, a slave asking for this boon is always killed. It is this route that the agent wishes the PCs to take.

Potential Resolutions
Should the PCs fail to identify the noble agent, or they fail to protect him during the championship bouts, he dies resulting in all arrangements to retrieve the PCs from the arena are cancelled. They are left as arena slaves seeking their own route to freedom.

If the PCs successfully protect the noble agent, the resolution depends on whether you chose to play the introduction that the employer was a member of The Way of Indelible Truth or was an agent of House Thrune.

For the former, the PCs and the agent are bought and paid for by an anonymous party who arranges their safe delivery to a safe house where they meet their employer who rewards them for a job well done.

For the latter, only the noble agent is bought out of the arena. The PCs, realizing they have been duped, hear through the slave vine of his summary trial and execution. Should they escape their current predicament, they may plot and enact their revenge.


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Hey Kerney

Template Fu had a look see and your commas and capitalization have already been put out. Another thing he suggests you could look at is staying focused on the game aspect of the description. By this, for example, your para 1.

"This elegant silver hair comb seems to be the perfect accessory to any aristocratic young lady’s wardrobe. The wearer unconsciously takes on the demeanor, accent, and behavioral cues of an aristocratic woman, granting a +5 bonus to diplomacy or a +5 to disguise themselves as a given such individual."

Do I need to know its a perfect accessory? Nope. Or for young ladies (but not old ones?) - nope not that either. "unconsciously", nice padding but has no real game effect. Why can't male characters benefit? Does it have to be the mannerisms of an aristocratic woman or just the mannerisms of an aristocrat? (gender neutral can be useful).

Reworking that first para, it could shorten some to

"Wearing this elegant silver hair comb changes the wearers behavior to that of a refined aristocrat, granting a +5 bonus to diplomacy and a +5 to disguise themselves as a member of the local aristocracy."

Note the disguise part is an AND not an OR, because it is situation-ally qualified, the diplomacy can be in many situations, balls, shopping, etc, but the disguise is a more focused sort of skill check usually as a result of direct role play actions. I would say you get both hence the AND.

What you could have included instead of all the behavior waffle is some descriptive element of the comb, how large, is it say a butterfly with the legs forming the combs tines? That sort of descriptive element.

The other cardinal sin you committed is leading off with a mundane skill bonus, which has a problem of itself - if you are already an aristocrat, should you gain those bonuses when you would likely be acting as such with and without the comb?

After the initial flavorful description, wham us between the eyes with the coolest power first!

This is especially true in round 1 of superstar with regards to public voting - as tiredness sets in on the voters, they will start scanning. If you start with the mundane, they may stop there and start down-voting it because it didn't excite from the git go.

Hope there's something useful there.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Hi all

Something a bit strange and wacky for you to review and vote on please. My creation for the McDonalds design a burger competition.

Behold the tangy, garlic loaded Garlic Blast burger.

Thanks to all who vote for me ;)

And now, back to the normality that is Blazing 9 :D


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Paris Crenshaw wrote:
... Tim has been gracious enough to give me time to work on another Paizo freelance project. It's the first time I've worked on this type of thing for Paizo. ...

Although you are a tease, let me say Congrats on trying something new!

Now to start the guessing game as to what it might be. Here's a starter to get people smiling ;)

Wayfinder Papercrafting - Issue 1

Expect to see...

Modern fold up walls and flooring, enough to build a replica to miniature scale of the Paizo offices - populate and run it as a dungeon! Comes with a set of paper stand ups including web store ninja's, customer care bears and the oft quoted and dreaded end boss encounter - the Cosmo!

Origami trees - paperfolding gone Bonzai! Lifelike to scale miniature trees to populate your table top wilderness encounters - this issue, oaks, elms and weeping willows, and no Glue required!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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I'll take a look when I get some spare moments, things are hectic here at the moment, so I'm a tad snowed under :)


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Being a bit of a web store noob, is there a donate product link or some way of making such an option easy to find for anyone we tell who might be interested in such?

Sorry if it's a daft question, unfortunately I am one of those people that always ask the "obvious" questions.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Still working through your item reviews folks (just 9 left now), as I can get the time - just posted Earthbind Boots review, next up will be Deck of Falling Houses. I hope you are finding them useful/of interest.


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Timitius wrote:
Anthony Adam wrote:
Hey Tim/Paris, we still have a couple of days to deadline, so any chance of an article count update so we can see if there are some gaps needing plugging?

We have 96 submissions as of right now.

<snip>

Awesome, just 4 short of your initial target -

WELL DONE!!!

... to every person who submitted whether your article gets selected or not! And...

GOOD LUCK!

... to all the editors and artists end everyone involved with the task of reviewing, selecting and putting the issue together.

As a reward(?) for your sterling submission efforts, if your article(s) do not get selected, you could post them to the Blazing 9 thread where I will endeavor to perform a Template Fu review on them for you (and you might even get some other thread participants provide you valuable feedback too - it's what we do in that thread!)

Those of you who do get selected, congratulations - please keep your article secret so we all get a nice surprise on release day :)


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So many of us saying how we wish we had met or gamed with the fine fellow.

But we have!

Everytime we read his words, remember fine moments in our encounters, we oft forget the writers on the cover, and inside. Take a look, what are you running / playing right now?

I would bet more than one book involved has been across this mans desk.

So, you see, we all play with the man, every time we roll those dice.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Mike Kimmel wrote:

A little while back, Adam Daigle said...

Adam Daigle wrote:
Another thing that can be super helpful is becoming friends with other freelancers. When I first started freelancing I was lucky enough to have a few friends that were already doing it, and then I got invited into a freelancers guild called the WereCabbages. Having a group of people to review work, act as fresh eyes, be sanity-checkers, and just the pool of experience was absolutely one of the most helpful things I could have ever had. A lot of our freelancers are friendly with one another and bounce things off each other pretty often. I always encourage that kind of shared learning.
I like the idea of having what I'll call a "critical freelance group." Any fellow freelancers interested in starting a group like that? Maybe on a private web forum or Google group?

Template Fu is available to anyone who PMs me, whether freelancer, top 32/100 or regular contestant. PM me with your email address and i will mail it with mine.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Template Fu Review 2014 - Kalervo Oikarinen - Murktouch Cloak

Template Fu boilerplate: I have yet to make Top 32, therefore much of what follows is from someone learning from your item and may include suggestions you might agree with or not. Please consider anything suggested with your critical designer mind and know that nothing here is personal, it is about your item not you. I try to be thorough every year, taking an hour or more per item, so I hope you find something of value in the review that follows.

Name: I can understand the name derivative, but there is a disjunction between name and effect. Taking murk and touch, it is easy to see how touch describes part of the items effects, but murk, although a derivative of fog, is more akin to a dirty, dusky, smog like fog. This puts the murk part of the name at odds with the fog being described in the item effect. This is not a major issue, more of a speed bump, but it something to be aware of.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Template Usage: Excellent execution of the template! Another dis-junction in the description is that the cloak is initially described as dissolving with no description of how it reforms or whether it is consumed in the process making it a single use item. I suspect it reforms somehow as there is a quoted limited uses per day, and so for this reason, the price is more reasonable. It is a difficult item to price, the multi touch aspect is very powerful, making the price seem weak, but the other powers granted are not as powerful making the price seem slightly high. Based on this, I would try to price an item based on it's most powerful effect, so for me, the price of the item is too low and should be revisited comparing the power of that multi-touch in relation to other items on the wondrous item table.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Game Balance: That last sentence is a doozy, my touch attacks, spells or otherwise will have a specified attack roll as part of the definition of the touch attack being made. So are we really saying here that I can replace the normal attack bonus of the touch attack with my wisdom or intelligence bonus (which is what I assume is meant by mental ability modifier)? This ambiguity hurts your item with reference to how likely discussions will halt play at the game table determining and agreeing what this sentence actually means.
The multi-touch is very powerful, but it is also not clear whether the touch attack is affected by the miss chance everyone gains in the mist or not. This should be clarified, because if the touch attacks are also subject to miss chance granted, then quite some game balance is restored and the item is not as powerful as first visioned, and likely placing the item correctly for pricing.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Cinematics:
Sight - check, good imagery - to avoid the meme effect of turning into mist, you could have gone one step further and be wearing a cloak OF mist.
Sound - missed opportunity - fog deadens sounds and makes strange aural effects, this could have been in the description.
Smell - missed opportunity - assuming the for is murky as the name implies, is there a rank odor given off, or is it a metallic rust smell to account for the redness?
Taste - missed opportunity - murky dirty fog make have an acrod taste when you are breathing within it, this could also have been used to heighten the cinematic.
Touch - missed opportunity - is it warm, cold, damp, icy, chilling - fog definitely has these aspects, so use them to heighten your cinematic.
Cinematic Summary I like the imagery - just remember to utilise more than just sight sense to make your descriptions even more evocative.
Template Fu scores you 14/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
The cloak has an ethereal quality about it in the description, but the effect fell short of etherealness. I can't put my finger on it exactly, and have tried for some time - maybe it needs to interact with ethereal enemies in some way, I'm not sure, it just feels like a missed opportunity that arose from the choice of words used in describing the base item. Be aware that when you describe an item, you might be opening up alternative effects that you might not have noticed or considered.
Try to remember that if the state of an item changes due to its effects, then consider in your description how it reverts back to its original state at the end of the effect.
Also consider that the "you get 10 rounds, spend them during the day in increments that you need totaling up to 10" is becoming very meme now. Consider instead less book-keeping for the players and just have x times per day for up to y rounds. Once a player has two or three items all having "spend part duration per day" type items, their book-keeping can become onerous for them (and usually the GM as well).
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 52/70, or 74% - An original item, work on your visuals going forwards!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Thanks for the kind words everyone, only now am I able to respond without tearing up. The house is very strange feeling at the moment - an empty, cold quiet at night times.

I have to keep soldiering on though, so am burying myself in as many distractions as I can - thank god for Superstar.

And the half way point is reached, Ironmorph Dust is up, one of the highest scoring reviews thus far...

Murktouch Cloak, you're next :)

I also noticed just now that there are 34 item threads in the round 1 forum section, so I will have a look at the two extra items as well - so if they are your items, you will get some feedback ;)


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I too want to wish both of you every success for the future.

It was Sean (amongst others) who took this fan boy and gave him the kick up the a** he needed to take designing seriously.

Sean's honesty coupled with his great love for the game and his audience clearly shines through everything he does, even his posts and more importantly his feedback on your work. I have no doubt that in the RPG Hall of Fame his name is there with Gygax and Arneson, and rightly so.

Learning, taking his feedback - Yes, it was painful, yes, it stung, A LOT, but he was always right on the money with everything he said, you just have to move past the feelings and look critically at what he advises.

I, personally, have grown so much through his advice and assistance found on these forums and on his own blog site. I am still learning to day because of him. I don't know if I will ever be an RPG Superstar (as Clark once said, I could never win that competition) but I have now had articles in three successive Wayfinder's including a whole mini adventure in the latest issue. That wouldn't have happened with out that kick in the pants. So thank's Sean, keep kicking.

I know we will see you posting in the forums, you care too much not to.

I know we will see more from you, as you said, you want to concentrate on your writing.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting you personally as I am on the wrong side of the pond, but if I can ever help you with anything at all, the offer is there, in thanks for all you have taught me over the last few years.

The very best for you and your lady in this new chapter of your lives.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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No need to be paranoid, you just have to win my vote, that's all there is to it :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Just in case you missed it - Kobold are holding a fantasy fiction contest set in their Midgard setting - if fantasy fiction writing is also your thing you might want to take a look and have a go.

Midgard is a wonderful setting and Pathfinder compatible loveliness too! It ranges from norse mythology to the legend of the monkey king in scope so should provide some vast diversity for inspiration if you take a shot.

At least one of our Superstar winners and finalists has written for this setting, so you would be in good company!


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Hi contestants

A few things to consider and ponder on your encounters.

a) Be consistent with dimensionality.

If the text says the area has particular dimensionality, does the scale of the map and the representation of the area on the map match?

If you describe entry/exits by compass, does the compass orientation on the map result in the representation of those entry/exit points match?

b) Houses aren't build on grid lines? Drunken dwarves rarely make perfectly straight corridors...

Consider the style of your map, does everything go old school and follow the graph paper grid lines, or is it a more natural evolution where the grid lines purley illustrate scale and spacing without effect on area orientation?

If your dungeon corridors are in hard rock, they would like follow the rock strata and the softer paths of least resistance. Make things gel coherently with the surrounding environment.

c) Symbols are never obvious to anyone but the drawer!

If you have symbols, numbered locations, points of interest, etc, have a key table that depicts those symbols and what they stand for. These may not appear on a flip mat but are invaluable to an artist rendering your map to that flip mat.

It could include a compass rose purely for the artist who may have to render your descriptions and room content onto a flip mat surface, but if your whole map is a single flip map and the orientation is easy to work out, it's not so important for flip mat maps.

Also include that scale - if you have pull outs of the map at different scales, don't forget to include those scales too! Again, the base map at flip mat scale is scaled for miniatures and gridded in 5 foot squares, so unless your map differs from that, it'snot so important.

d) leave room for combat!

If you have a party of 6, that's 6 occupied squares, if the encounter has an opposing forced of equal medium enemies, that's another 6 squares, so the encounter area where they are met must exceed 12 squares.

If you want to encourage tactics and movement into your encounter, use at least double that, 24 squares.

A 20 x 20 room is 4 squares by 4 squares with 5 foot squares, that's only 16 squares and so is unsuitable for a 12 medium creature encounter - be aware of this sort of space on your encounters.

Also consider the "dungeon dressings", if you have chairs, tables, altars, pillars, things that eat up free space, bear that in mind on your encounter design too.

e)Sound carries, dynamise your encounters

If combat breaks out in an area of your encounter map, what nearby will hear and come to investigate or aid the enemy? Monsters won't sit idly by, they will come and make things difficult for the PCs and at the same time minimize the risks to themselves.

Monsters who have survived any length of time will hunt naturally and use whatever advantages they can get, so not these possibilities too. It may take a round or two for them to react and arrive, just make sure you have covered this eventuality if you need to!

f)What makes your encounter unique/exciting?

Consider your local environment - is the area highly flammable, slippery with snow, running across slippery rooftops, dangers of precipice edges nearby (like falling from a third story balcony or roof top), chance of discovery by a night patrol, etc. The urban environment provides many opportunities to affect the encounter.

Is there anything else heightening the danger, a time limit visually represented in some way, a rescue where someone is sinking fast in the towns river or well, the lower floor of a building is fast ablaze and spreading to the upper floor where the PCs awaken, a running ranged combat where the boat on the river is fast heading to clear and wide waters out of town leaving the PC's helpless behind, catching the culprits in the act just as the guard dogs awaken from the magically induced slumber, etc.

Hope you find these initial gotchas useful, and best of luck with the reveal tonight.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Hi all - Wayfinder 10 is out!

Now why would Template Fu be saying this to people deep in encounter designs - why, 'tis because he has an encounter in that very issue!

Now, I will admit, I had a lot more words to play with, but if you take away some of the history/backdrop, the introductory encounter, getting into the genies bottle, it's a little closer to what you might be aiming for on your entries.

Now the reason I am suggesting you take a look is I developed this side trek, trying to think of all the salient encounter design advice found over previous years of the competition. Trying to build some of that sage advice into the encounter design.

Take a look, it might provide thoughts and ideas you hadn't considered. The encounter is the main encounter of the side trek Pairi-Daeza’s Abode starting on page 12, the encounter in particular to look at is part 2 - Bottled! - the rest is all padding and getting the PC's into the story.

In particular, have a look at what I did to provide interesting/unusual elements of the encounter design...

a) A well defined entry to the encounter that isn't just "open the door"/"walk in"
b) Environmental impacts on the encounter - immediate effects and environmental hazards that could be brought into play by PC actions
c) Doing something different or unexpected as the encounter centerpiece
d) In this case, a visible tension builder as the rounds progress.
e) Staged introduction of encounter participants

I won't say it's a perfect encounter design because it's not, but I am hoping it might help you look back at your entries and maybe give them some unexpected polish, or an extra twist or turn that it may have inspired.

If all I achieve is that you think about these elements of encounter design then my job is done! ;)

Good luck all.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Template Fu Review 2014 - Brian Fruzen - Groundbreaker Cloak

Template Fu boilerplate: I have yet to make Top 32, therefore much of what follows is from someone learning from your item and may include suggestions you might agree with or not. Please consider anything suggested with your critical designer mind and know that nothing here is personal, it is about your item not you. I try to be thorough every year, taking an hour or more per item, so I hope you find something of value in the review that follows.

Name: A solid descriptive name that hints at the effects. It didn't excite me as a name, but for utility it serves its purpose well. I think the reason it didn't excite me was it didn't portray for me the really cool effect of your item. Creating difficult terrain is a "ho hum" ability, but treating solid ground almost like water allowing you to swim through it like a shark, your fin protruding from the surface, now that grabbed me.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Template Usage: Spotless template use, everything is where it should be, the spells listed alphabetically, price to cost ratio is correct. Well done indeed.
Template Fu scores you 10/10 on this.

Game Balance: You mention that the burrowing individual has cover from attacks, but you haven't qualified whether it is partial or full. I would assume that the "fin" means that you can be targeted by spells requiring a target perhaps?
Rather than give a standard speed, you could have considered a reduction in the PC's base speed depending upon the type of ground you are moving through - moving through lose sand is probably able to be done faster than through dense granite for example.
Other than that, the game balance is nice and tight.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Cinematics:
Sight - check, the visuals and flavor of effect and the item itself are very tight and on theme on this item. I had no problems picturing this in my minds eye.
Sound - missed opportunity, moving through sand would likely produce a swooshing sound, but through stone a rumbling cracking sound.
Smell - not applicable, smell doesn't really play a part of this item or it's effects.
Taste - not applicable, taste doesn't really play a part of this item or it's effects.
Touch - missed opportunity - what does it feel like to slide through solid rock?
Cinematic Summary The item description and main effects conjure a vivid imagery, we could have been given a sense of what it feels like to move through rock, but on the whole, I think you have kept things tight and well described. Well done.
Template Fu scores you 17/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
Even though I am a Warcraft player and know of a certain ground travelling quest this could have been inspired from, I found you had distanced the item enough that it didn't bother me in the slightest. This is the trick and subtle difference between replicating an in game effect and using something for inspiration. A tricky line to walk, and for me you achieved that.
Mmmm, a Stone Golem, can I go through it/ into it, using it's own body to spring my charge attack from, if I can burrow a creature does it damage it? Some creatures are created from the elements through which this cloak can move? This should have been covered, simply fixed by choosing to add the word "inanimate" when listing the types that can be burrowed.
I am personally very pro mythic at the moment, so one possibility here would be to allow the wearer to bring his allies with him when empowering the cloaks effect with mythic power.
This was one of my favorite items during voting, very well done.
Template Fu scores you 17/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 59/70, or 84% - Excellent!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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The first one is the obviously worst in template, going a little deeper are some mechanical concerns too...

The both have an aura without having a spell in the construction.

The second one has caster level 5th which means 3rd levels spells which means the aura should be faint.

That's just the first few obvious things, but back to my Top 32 mondo reviews for me for now, musn't get distracted, musn't...

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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In that case, I'm a Wayfinder printed issue-aire

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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For those who make the Top 100 and aren't a Top 32, if you want to consider whether you want a Template Fu review, I have now posted up my first full review on Andrew's Scourge Vial, so you can see what you will likely be getting.

This will be the format of the review I use for all Top 32 and for all any of the Top 100 who request their item is reviewed in this way.

Naturally I will concentrate on the Top 32 initially, so expect me to open the Top 100 thread in a few days, just hang in there and I will get to you :)


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Template Fu Review 2014 - Andrew Marlowe - Scourge Vial

Template Fu boilerplate: I have yet to make Top 32, therefore much of what follows is from someone learning from your item and may include suggestions you might agree with or not. Please consider anything suggested with your critical designer mind and know that nothing here is personal, it is about your item not you. I try to be thorough every year, taking an hour or more per item, so I hope you find something of value in the review that follows.

Name: A fairly solid name - ties in with the component of the effect rather than the effect itself - because the visual is strong, the name does help recall the item and what it does, I just would have preferred it to concentrate more on what is being provided as a benefit than the source of the visual.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Template Usage: The 5th edition change to none; for slot is well caught, emdash rather than dash on weight, spells italicised and ordered alphabetically, the comma separating the two spells is not italicised (well done on that one), cost is half of price. You pass the US Spelling check in Word 2010 without a problem and your template execution is flawless.
Template Fu scores you 10/10 on this.

Game Balance: Wow, a cheap item that lets everyone flank the target. This is so ubah powerful at this cost, I can see GMs having this in just about every thieve's guild they run - it would make taking the thieve's guild proportionately more dangerous and magnify potential backstabbing damage by orders of magnitude without need to moving around. Template Fu loves flowing combats with lots of movement and he says this item actually can discourage movement as the PCs no longer need to jockey for flanking bonuses, so he is eating a point for that, and a couple more for the power to cost ratio, even taking into account it is a one shot item.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Cinematics:
Sight - check, a good description of what is seen when the item is used, full of flavor. Not sure about the paragraph break, especially considering in the second paragraph you mention the distraction effect and then the first sentence of paragraph three describes why it is distracting - these two short sentences could have been merged bringing cause and effect together.
Sound - check, the effect can produce a sound, nicely described.
Smell - missed opportunity - you have an item that produces smoke and embers - does it smell like a wood smoke fire, the pits of hell, cloying burnt hair, etc. Your description kind of screams out that smell is a missed opportunity.
Taste - missed opportunity - you have an item that produces smoke and embers, which will get in your mouth, is it dry, oily, gritty, greasy, etc? The more you give to the senses in your cinematics the stronger the associations and memories of your item being used will be.
Touch - check - you throw the item as a touch attack at a target which implies impact, and then from that impact the vial shatters releasing a smokey skull - nice imagery, which could have made your intro stronger if a miniature skull was visible moving around inside the vial before it is broken for example.
Cinematic Summary I found the imagery overall to be very strong with this item. It probably could have done with one more pass through the description to bring related descriptions together.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
One thing that struck me as not covered, the item genreates smoke, and if the taregt moves, the item moves with it - so i did find myself wondering if the space they vacate has a lingering smoke that could sicken anyone passing through that space. It's not major, but is something that could come up at the gaming table if the target moves.
From the rules, "Throw Splash Weapon" your last paragraph is kind of stating the obvious for a thrown vial (the first sentence of the rules linked pretty much state what this item is), you could have simplified here and just described what happens if no target is hit by the touch attack. This is one of Sean's great pieces of advice about not repeating the rules in your item, so I felt it worth pointing out.

Template Fu looks at the description and sighs. How many vials are crystalline? You could have stood out so much more without using that meme for vial construction, rather than use crystalline, what if it was made from fused, cracked, translucent fish scales for example.

I am personally very pro mythic at the moment, so you could have amazed me even more with some sort of mythic enhancement, maybe something like infusing the throw with mythic power causes the target to be affected on a successful attack, with extra skulls per mythic power splashing out to adjacent creatures. You chose to go non mythic though, so I respect that choice.

Overall, a very solid item, just one "at game table" concern in my musings.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 57/70, or 81% - Well done

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Very honored (note the US spelling there :D) I am too! Most unexpected!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Ohhhh, is this the server button that switches things off for a while while "THE" post is made...?

Mmmm, dare I press it?

<plonk>

I dared :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Please read this after the reveal, it's an old post which I am re-linking on behalf of Clark who couldn't commit to judging this year.

Everything he says is as true today as then.

It's just like Clark to miss potentially the best year yet, so take the time to pop in here and give him a friendly wave, let him know he's missed.

And a quote from a latter post in the same thread...

"It's all good. :) Just a friendly reminder from me. And the reason the reminder is necessary is that it is human nature from an enthusiastic group such as this to want to get to work right away. I appreciate that. Which is what leads me to post the gentle reminder every year (and I have done it every year I think)."

So don't worry Clark, a proxy repeat is now made in your name so you can keep your 100% posting ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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That linked in mail line made me laugh so hard, i lost half my cup of tea! ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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My monster is about done. I survived the cull. Anything else is a bonus.

I am now thinking about how I will do my Template Fu reviews this year. The ONLY escape from one of these is my getting a Top 32/alternate slot!

:D

Even then you wouldn't be safe as I would likely return and do them anyway after the whole competition is over. ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Ok, around 11 hours to go to Top 32 reveal.

I must say I am very excited to see the winners this year, I think this year is definitely going to be a tough one to vote on.

So let me take this opportunity to wish every one of you the very best of luck.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Be radical - choose both and just have an extra alternate this year!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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My theory is that there is no consipiracy.

Shutting down the forums doesn't really qualify as secret - the whole competition is rather like the X Factor, which means

"Loss of Forums" is just replicating that pause, you know the one... when the Host says...

"And the next person safe and through to the next round is..."

<forums gone pause>

:P

>.< - omg what a twist that would be... On reveal, they reveal the top 32, one every 10 minutes until all top 32 are revealed. Can you just imagine the pain of waiting then as the number of places goes down one by one? >.<

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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I think there is something worth point out here...

Don't get despondent if your item is not on the lists you see. Don't count yourself out of the running.

These are lists of one persons take on their favorites and what the Top 32 should be.

BUT remember this, all of us voted on more than just our favorites, likely up-voting items which didn't appear in our favorites list, even down-voting items we saw on other peoples shared lists.

Some people voted on their preferences on items, some voted on formatting, some on content, some on word count, some on name, some looked to the designer behind the item itself.

Only the sorting algorithm on the server and now the judges know the averaged and final ordered list covering all our voting choices. You may find that when the top 32 (or more) get revealed, that it is wildly different to every list we have shared.

So chin up to everyone, keep the hope alive a little longer and don't worry about disparity in our lists.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Hi Judges/Host,

As it's now Friday, I got to wondering the usual last week before reveal things, like...

Any tid-bits for us to voraciously devour?

Are you having a hard time agreeing on your choices?

Have you gone beyond top 64?

Come on, tease us a little :D

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Wicht wrote:
Amy Gillespie wrote:
Rabbitball wrote:
I cast every vote I could for the Cheese Wheel of Fortune. You're welcome.
Sadly, there is no Zagyg in Golarion,...
Actually there is, he just goes under a different name.

Adam Daigle? :P


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*twitch*

Mustn't.

*twitch* *twitch*

These are not real items... not real, not... real

*twitch*

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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Ohhh another one...

In House Developer Assessor - gets all in house creative talent to submit an item, removing them at vote end and noting their final placement in all entries. This position is then fed into their next staff review! ;P

Taking it further... getting all freelance talent to submit and then offering work to those avoiding the cull >.<

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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The White wrote:
Price is about right for the effect but completely wrong for spell used and CL.

That is part of the art of pricing. Quite often the "calculated" to the rules price is way off. Knowing how to fit the price to the effect is part of the game of game designing :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

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SCSi wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Golden kitten fang?
Can you in fact make kittens even more irresistible?

Yup, increase their caster level of "plaintive meow" and "big wide eyes" spells.

Also increase the DC for resisting "purr attack" and "leg rub" actions. Purr is a swift action usually ;)

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