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Shiyara the High Mediator

Caelesti's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 48 posts (50 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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RonarsCorruption wrote:

Round two! I hope my critique is useful, even if I'm not Clark. ;)

Gloves of the Magi

review::

Yeah, it's hard not to draw the connection to staff of the magi with a name like that.

Your descriptive sentance starts out fine, but ends really clunkily. Remove that last bit after the last comma, and I think it flows better. After that, the contents flow rather well, too, so it's a bad opening line. I do like the whole magus touch spells, carry over effect thing. It's a neat ability, and it's written well - except that you don't clairify what happens with non-damage spells. That's a major hole.

Still, I do like it - your attempt to pluralize magus killed it, though.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm definitely not going to make a naming mistake like that again, even if it was justified by the book clearly stating that magi is the plural of magus. I've since revised my item, and hope to get further feedback on the theory that, if I can produce a worthy item once, I can do it again.


Wicht wrote:
I also notice, and its not unique to this year (and we all are prey to the temptation) complaints that the judges misunderstood something about your entry and that their feedback is therefore insufficient to help you improve. But regardless of whether they did misunderstand you, and even assuming you understand the rules and how your submission conforms to the rules better than the judges, it doesn't matter for you have a deeper, more fundamental flaw. Your writing was not good enough to convey your ideas. End of story. That sounds harsh but it is not (because I'm not saying your writing can't improve). Its a simple truth and you need to admit it before you can improve. Consider this: if the judges, with their expertise, did not understand the nuances of your submission, you are pretty much guaranteed that the average reader will mess it up too. This is due to the inherent cheapness, in my opinion, of the Paizo Accounting department. They have refused to include a cloned copy of the writer in every book they sell. Until such time as the bean counters see fit to adapt with the times, the writers have to write in such a way as to allow everyone to understand their work the first time through, everytime, without the benefit of their presence at the table. That's not always easy, but the sooner and better you can accomplish this, the better for you. So don't argue with the judges about how they misunderstood you. Learn to write in a way where there is no doubt as to what's what. Once you have mastered those rungs, you can start to worry more about the whole hammer and nail aspect of the business.
Neil Spicer wrote:
Caelesti wrote:

Gloves of the Magi

...The next melee touch or unarmed attack that the wearer makes, including one to deliver a melee touch spell, will deal an amount of bonus damage equal to the level of the spell that was cast, of the same type as the damage that was dealt...
*What if your next touch attack isn't a damage spell? What if on round 1 you cast shocking grasp on an enemy, and on round 2 you cast invisibility on yourself or an ally? Do you hurt yourself or the ally when you touch them?

See, the problem with your stance is, you get judge responses like the one I've shown, that are so out of touch with reality that I don't know how the judge that said that could have ever played ANY version of D&D, let alone Pathfinder. You don't make an unarmed strike or melee touch attack to grant invisibility to an ally, so where is this criticism even coming from? They've clearly read what was said, yet they have so completely misinterpreted the rules of the game, that they're voicing an objection that makes no sense. How could any reasonable, average player believe that an item which only activates when making a 'melee touch attack' will activate whenever anyone/anything is touched?


Clark Peterson wrote:
Caelesti wrote:
While I fretted plenty over my item, having now looked over the Top 32, I find myself having no idea what I 'did wrong', and so I'm really going to have to get a lot of feedback, because I don't actually feel that my item is any weaker than the majority of Top 32 entries.
Feel free to request feedback in the Critique My Item thread once it opens. The judges (well, Neil and I, and maybe Sean) will likely summarize for you what our thoughts were and offer some advice. Our goal is to help you improve.

And the help you two gave was great. I mean, I was basically there if I'd just stuck with the name I was originally planning to use and had thought about how 'damage' could be interpreted to include ability damage. I really am interested in what people think of the item now that I've attempted to correct the mistakes.

my item:

Gloves of the Magus
Aura moderate universal; CL 9th
Slot hands; Price 10,800 gp; Weight --
Description
Favored by casters who enjoy delivering their spells while toe-to-toe with their enemies, these supple leather gloves with silver fingertips can retain and temporarily store small amounts of energy when the wearer casts certain spells, without diminishing said spells. Whenever a wearer successfully delivers a melee touch spell which deals energy damage (such as fire or negative energy damage) while wearing these gloves, an amount of residual energy will remain in the gloves until the end of the following round. The next melee touch or unarmed attack that the wearer makes, including one to deliver a melee touch spell, will deal an amount of bonus damage equal to the level of the spell that was cast, of the same type as the energy damage that was dealt. The gloves do not have the ability to store ability damage or other types of harmful effects or conditions. (As 2nd level spell dealing cold damage, casting frigid touch while wearing the gloves of the magus would result in the storage of 2 points of cold damage, but not the storage of the staggered condition.)

When worn by a magus, these gloves allow the wearer to channel this residual damage through their wielded weapon with their next hit if the triggering melee touch spell was delivered using the magus's spellstrike ability.

The gloves can only hold one such charge at a time, which will always dissipate harmlessly after one round if not used. If the triggering spell has multiple energy types, the wearer may select which type will be temporarily stored within the gloves.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, elemental touch; Cost 5,400 gp


Clark Peterson wrote:
Caelesti wrote:
So, overall, it seems I picked the wrong name, and didn't clarify well enough that the item only stores typed energy damage, not ability damage/drain/etc. Would it be reasonable thinking that, had I done these two things better, I would have had a real shot at the Top 32?

Caelesti

Good question. Let me answer that in a round about way...

First, the comment about the name matching staff of the magi and that being a pimped out super staff came from me. It brings up a good point. In other threads we have noted how we compare items you submit to other items that already exist that do similar things--like the kingfisher cloak being similar to what a helm of underwater action already does. Item names are similar. If you use a name or theme then we are going to see how your item fits that theme. For instance, if you make a "cloak of..." we are going to compare it to other cloaks, or if you make a "tome of..." we will compare it to other book items. You chose a different phrase: "...of the magi." Maybe you didn't mean to, but in doing so you referenced a really powerful and really iconic item--the staff of the magi. I really felt that was a BIG design error. Though in some ways just a small thing, what it shows is that you are not yet asking all the questions a good designer asks. So it isnt just an "item name" issue, it is seeing how items work together as part of a system in a game. The name issue showed me you overlooked that.

Second, clarity on how the item works is probably the biggest function of item design. When we are left scratching our heads as to what it does or doesnt do, that is the fundamental thing you have to convey in good item design. We had some questions, sure maybe nitpicky questions, but as a freelancer that is what you get--guys like Sean and me and Neil and Ryan picking apart what you do. But clarification would have helped you big time. Again, not clarifying showed us that you were only thinking about what you wanted it to do. A good designer...

Thank you so much for the feedback, Clark. (And Neil, since I just realized I forgot to thank him, crap!) Clearly I should have just gone with my first impulse of gloves of the magus instead of overthinking it and making a bigger mistake in trying to avoid making a small one. Ironically, I've since caught the possible additional issue of if a touch spell dealt (for example) both cold and negative energy damage, what sort of damage the gloves would deliver, though I can't think of any spells that do that. I'm not sure how I missed ability damage for clarifying, but I'm certainly not going to make that mistake again. Of course, with 235 words, I definitely had room for some extra clarification.

According to Word, my revision below comes in at 289 words, which is a lot closer to the limit, but still has some wiggle room. If anyone at all would like to give me feedback on this version, that would be totally awesome. I know I can't resubmit next year, but getting this item where it needs to be for Top 32 would make it much easier to get there next year.

my revised item:

Gloves of the Magus
Aura moderate universal; CL 9th
Slot hands; Price 10,800 gp; Weight --
Description
Favored by casters who enjoy delivering their spells while toe-to-toe with their enemies, these supple leather gloves with silver fingertips can retain and temporarily store small amounts of energy when the wearer casts certain spells, without diminishing said spells. Whenever a wearer successfully delivers a melee touch spell which deals energy damage (such as fire or negative energy damage) while wearing these gloves, an amount of residual energy will remain in the gloves until the end of the following round. The next melee touch or unarmed attack that the wearer makes, including one to deliver a melee touch spell, will deal an amount of bonus damage equal to the level of the spell that was cast, of the same type as the energy damage that was dealt. The gloves do not have the ability to store ability damage or other types of harmful effects or conditions. (As a 2nd level spell dealing cold damage, casting frigid touch while wearing the gloves of the magus would result in the storage of 2 points of cold damage, but not the storage of the staggered condition.)

When worn by a magus, these gloves allow the wearer to channel this residual damage through their wielded weapon with their next hit if the triggering melee touch spell was delivered using the magus's spellstrike ability.

The gloves can only hold one such charge at a time, which will always dissipate harmlessly after one round if not used. If the triggering spell has multiple energy types, the wearer may select which type will be temporarily stored within the gloves.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, elemental touch; Cost 5,400 gp


Neil Spicer wrote:
Caelesti wrote:
Gloves of the Magi

*Meh. Not really all that interesting or innovative of an idea here.

*You can tell the designer strove hard to apply the template correctly and reference something new with the magus spellstrike ability. Even so, I don't think this one is Superstar-caliber. And what happens when you cast a touch spell that sustains for multiple rounds (like chill touch)? Does the residual damage keep stacking...last longer...?

*Vote to Reject.

*I like it. It's simple, and useful, and immediately understandable (though the language as written needs to be edited for clarity).

*If I had a mage or cleric character, and I didn't already have a pair of more useful gloves, I'd have my character wear these.

*Vote to Keep.

*Hmmm. The author does a few good things. Good template. Good idea to work in the fertile field of the magus. Touch spell stuff is fun. Good use of template.

*I don't like the name. There is a staff of the magi, and that is a pimped out super staff. So the gloves of the magi better be on the same level. These, of course, are not. They are the gloves of the magus. I think that is a HUGE name fail.

*I also see Neil's mechanics question, as many of the magus spells are touch spells and there is some serious confusion in my mind (maybe only mine) as to how this item works with that. That needed clarification.

*Weak REJECT though props to the author for doing so many things right.

*It's a nice try. To me, the main fault is there are touch spells that don't deal damage, or don't deal energy damage... so what type of damage bonus carries over to the next touch attack? Heck, Neil's example of chill touch deals Strength damage, not hit point damage, so does Strength damage carry over to your next touch attack?

*What if your next touch attack isn't a damage spell? What if on round 1 you cast shocking grasp on an enemy, and on round 2 you cast invisibility on yourself or an ally? Do you hurt...

I'm glad that I got at least one vote to keep, so it looks like I was generally on the right track, especially with making these useful to everyone. Indeed, one of my thoughts was that clerics would like these almost as much as magi (the plural for magus, as mentioned in the book, hence the name I chose), for delivering a lot of cure spells to undead, or inflict spells to the living. I actually considered calling it Gloves of the Magus, but felt that would too heavily tie it to that class, when it could be used by any caster with plenty of touch attack spells.

I'm a little confused about some of the comments. Clearly I needed to clarify a little better that the gloves only store energy from hit point damage directly dealt with a touch, hence chill touch would only store 1 point of negative energy damage, and only once, when the spell was delivered. However, I felt I was pretty clear that the damage would only discharge through a melee touch attack, which dissipates (though maybe I needed to add 'harmlessly'), and thus wouldn't be delivered if, for example, you then cast cure light wounds on an ally next round, since that's not a melee touch attack.

So, overall, it seems I picked the wrong name, and didn't clarify well enough that the item only stores typed energy damage, not ability damage/drain/etc. Would it be reasonable thinking that, had I done these two things better, I would have had a real shot at the Top 32?


Matt Duval wrote:

Thank you very much for your feedback! Hopefully I'm improving from the last couple years.

Lastwall Guardian's Scabbard

Not a judge, but I suspect they're getting some sleep so here's my 2p: underpriced and overpowered. Consider the 3rd level spell keen edge, which has a duration of 50 minutes when it first becomes available at level 5. If the average combat lasts only a minute or less, and you engage in 5 or fewer combats per day, this scabbard will maintain that spell for an effective duration of ten days, more likely for much longer. But even worse, lets look at what this item means at high level. A 12th caster could cast greater magic weapon on a sword, giving it 12 hours of +3 bonus... which could last for years due to this scabbard before needing to be cast again.

Far too powerful of an effect for far too little price.


Cheapy wrote:

I'm guessing Swiss Army Knife!

Astrolabe of the Mesmerizing Heavens

Not a judge, but, in my opinion, more a matter of spell-in-a-can and way overpriced. 12k gold for an item that can be ignored with a mere DC 14 Will save is simply massively underpowered. Even ignoring the SIAC/SAK problems, I would either increase the save DC or decrease the price by a significant amount. It's off by far too much to be a reasonable ballpark right now.


Kevin Mickelson wrote:

I felt really good about this one. It would be great to know where I went wrong. Thanks much!

Pharasmian Tomb Stone

I'm not a judge, but I'll offer my 2p. This seems way under-priced for what it does, especially given the duration and uses per day. Compare it to scabbard of keen edges, which also is usable 3 times per day to grant a +1 weapon enhancement, and is priced at 16,000 gp. Also, the similarity to stuff like scabbard of keen edges means that this really isn't Superstar material, even if it might be the sort of thing you'd find in 'Ye Olde Book Of Magickal Items'.


I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback on my submission:

Gloves of the Magi
Aura moderate universal; CL 9th
Slot hands; Price 10,800 gp; Weight --
Description
Favoured by casters who enjoy delivering their spells while toe-to-toe with their enemies, these supple leather gloves with silver fingertips can retain and temporarily store small amounts of energy when the wearer casts certain spells, without diminishing said spells. Whenever a wearer successfully delivers a melee touch spell while wearing these gloves, an amount of residual energy will remain in the gloves until the end of the following round. The next melee touch or unarmed attack that the wearer makes, including one to deliver a melee touch spell, will deal an amount of bonus damage equal to the level of the spell that was cast, of the same type as the damage that was dealt. (A 2nd level fire spell results in the storage of 2 points of fire damage.)

When worn by a magus, these gloves allow the wearer to channel this residual damage through their wielded weapon with their next hit if the triggering melee touch spell was delivered using the magus's spellstrike ability.

The gloves can only hold one such charge at a time, which will always dissipate after one round if not used. If the triggering spell has multiple energy types, the wearer may select which type will be temporarily stored within the gloves.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, elemental touch; Cost 5,400 gp

Many thanks in advance.


Neil Spicer wrote:
The judges and companies who put on most contests completely wash their hands of those who don't make the cut. You never hear back from them. No rejection notice. No feedback whatsoever. Instead, it's the strength and passion of the gaming community, Paizo as a whole, and their supporters which fosters this deeper level of interaction with those who miss out on the top 1%-3% of everyone submitting to RPG Superstar. That's part of what makes this contest different (among a great many other things). And that's why I'm happy to keep giving back to it.

This is why I am so devoted to Paizo, and will never go back to (that other brand that need not be mentioned). Paizo cares about the community. The way this contest is handled shows how much Paizo wants to develop the community and get the best possible writers they can, which benefits everyone... but also how much they care about improving everyone in the community, because those who didn't win are still likely players, GMs, or both, and creating better items makes the game more fun to play. Maybe your item didn't make the cut, but when you submit it in the critique thread, everyone gets to take a look, see how to make it better, and maybe that better version will show up in campaigns, making the Pathfinder game that much richer.


ciretose wrote:
Clark Peterson wrote:
ciretose wrote:

But I wonder if the judges have seen really cool ideas that were poorly executed and been inspired to fix them for use in upcoming books.

Not that I am aware of. In fact, very few items or content from RPG Superstar has made it into any books at all (a few exceptions). RPG Superstar is for finding designers, not for finding items.

Interesting. That was kind of my thinking from the selected items. They were very well written and showed a lot of creativity.

But none of them were as exciting to me as something as simple as a handy haversack or an efficient quiver. Items that don't break the game, but made a lot of sense and solve problems.

I guess I'm more a function over form kind of person. But hey, maybe next year.

Personally, I'm more form over function. I really love magical items that are really beautiful re-skins on an effect, like Lief Klennon's Top 32 entry from Superstar 2010. It's the sort of item that really can set a tone for a campaign, starting the players out in the midst of the action with an NPC using something like that really conveys the flavour, I feel.

(edit: I need to use 'really' less, but work has had my brain utterly fried lately, so synonyms aren't coming to me as readily as I would prefer.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ciretose wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:
I, for one, encourage Paizo wholeheartedly to take my non-top-32 submission and consider it (or its core ideas) for future wondrous items; say for Ultimate Equipment. ;)
This is absolutely my thought. I keep going "I want this it the game, I know it isn't right for the contest. I know I could have fluffed and polished it more, but it would be a great item to play with."

+1

I really like my item, and feel it would be a solid inclusion in the game, even if the judges apparently feel it's not Superstar material. But then, there's only maybe a dozen Top 32 items since Superstar started that I would ever actually include in any of my campaigns, so clearly it's not all about making a good item.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

While I fretted plenty over my item, having now looked over the Top 32, I find myself having no idea what I 'did wrong', and so I'm really going to have to get a lot of feedback, because I don't actually feel that my item is any weaker than the majority of Top 32 entries. I certainly feel that I could have done better, so I know the feeling you're referring to, but I also feel I did well enough to at least make it to the alternates, given the competition, so I'm going to have to give a lot of thought to this next year and really take to heart whatever critique I get. Ironically, the worst possible critique I feel I could get is something like: "you got 2 keeps but no golden ticket", because although I'd be elated to know I came that close, I'd have no idea how to reach the next level.


I'm finding myself agreeing with Clark and Neil regarding this item being made into gloves. The descriptive text is nice, but I still feel that a better slot could have been chosen. No, PF doesn't have explicit affinity rules, but they're still implicitly there in the design of magical items, and this just doesn't feel right in those terms. I could see this as filling any of several slots (eyes, head, even neck works, such as being an actual holy symbol) but hands doesn't feel right.


81 = Gearman
58 = Gnoll
24 = Ratfolk
14 = Fetchling
00 = Pseudodragon

Though it's a rather strange mix, I'm already getting all sorts of ideas for a sort of post-apolcalyptic fantasy world set in the ruins of an ancient magical civilization. It'll take me a while to actually write something up though.


Well, there's certainly some encouraging stuff keeping my hopes alive here, though I still find myself worrying I'll have been auto-rejected, rather than having a legitimate shot at the 32. There's just not much I can actually say without killing anonymity, since I have no idea how unique my idea actually was.


I'm going to go ahead and wait until this weekend to finish up. Heading back home Saturday, so I'll have all my books and such rather than having to wade through the PRD.


HP for Chetna

Max 1st level = 5
1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 41d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 51d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 41d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5

So, 5 + 4 + 5 + 4 + 5 = 23

Pretty good for a wizard with a negative Con modifier, I was fully expecting to roll all 1s and have only 13 hp!


Sgmendez wrote:
If you have any questions about anything, like crafting, etc., just ask.

Ooh, ooh! I gots me a question thingie! What are your rules for purchasing additional spells for spellbooks?


Sgmendez wrote:

The 1d4 one was in a thread somewhere. There was talk about having a random HP but with a little more control so that no one ended up with 10 HP at level 5.

You can email then or post them to the spreadsheet on the site. Also if you tell me your characters name I will give you one of the character pages to edit in your info.

My character's name is (still) Chetna Kamala Udipti, a samsaran transmuter who studies the ability to heal and improve the mind and spirit rather than focusing on the mundane physical aspects of the Great Art. Alchemy may be able to turn base metals to gold, but to transmute a damaged mind into a healthy one is a far more noble pursuit.


Sgmendez wrote:
Its fine. I figured most people would be busy around this time so I wasn't expecting much.

Got most of my character's stats sketched out now, should I e-mail them? Post them here? Wait for you to finish setting up the Google site?


Sgmendez wrote:

Here are some options, and I would like to see what everyone would like to do:

  • Max Each Level
  • Average Each Level
  • 1d4 + Difference of HD (So a d6 HD would get 1d4+2, d10 HD would get 1d4+6)
  • Roll Like Normal
  • Something Else (Please Make a Suggestion)
  • My apologies for slow response times, been busy with family and work on account of the holidays. As for hp method, I'm good with whichever method you go with. I'd prefer a method that gives plenty of hp, since my character isn't going to have many regardless of method, but any of them work.


    CylonDorado wrote:
    In my experience, no matter what language you choose, it's the wrong one that will never be used, ever.

    Then your GMs aren't doing their job. A good GM should find ways to incorporate ALL of the skills and abilities of their players into the campaign. Maybe not into every adventure, but if you have a player who speaks a wide variety of esoteric languages for RP reasons, let them benefit from that every now and then. Adventure Paths as written are, for the most part, suggestions. A good GM can substitute monsters, skill checks, etc without anyone knowing unless they read the original AP.


    Wow, so much consideration of abilities and such. I figure I'll just put together something that feels right for the character concept once I know if I get to play and what all the home rules are. Only real consideration I've given is which school I might want her to specialize in, but only because that highly flavors her personality. Enchantment and Transmutation are both excellent choices for an alienist, but each points in a very different direction. Illusion could theoretically work too, but all the ideas I have for that are decidedly in villain territory.


    I agree, Gillmen and Strix both work quite well in a wide variety of campaign settings. Personally, in some ways I prefer Strix over Avariel. The only reason I'm iffy on Gillmen is that I don't tend to play aquatic campaigns, and they don't fare too well in deserts or high in the mountains. They're a great option for people who enjoy campaigns set in watery environs though.

    Personally, I just hope that they do a better job with Chapter 4 than they did in the playtest, they need far more options and far fewer restrictions. It was very obvious that they were just going through the existing races and pricing the abilities, rather than considering what NEW races people might want to price out, such as diminutive races, serpentine races, etc. How did they ever miss those as options in the first pass?


    Sgmendez wrote:
    One last question, what is everyone's opinions on the Words of Power from UM?

    Honestly? Great concept, terrible implementation. Far too many of the words are a literal 1:1 correlation with a spell, with no other application possible, but are either less powerful or higher level. I had been hoping for something more like the old spell seed mechanic for epic spells, but designed to work for level 1-9 spells, but no such luck.


    Not completely married to this particular character concept, but it's my favourite at the moment. Let me know what you think. (Samsaran Wizard)

    Chetna Kamala Udipti:
    In this incarnation, the occult mysteries have come only with long study and careful practice for Chetna Kamala Udipti, but she half remembers a time before the smoke and steam of industry, when conjuring flames from the air was as simple for her as a flick of her wrist. Originally an alienist hailing from a large city, Chetna sought to bring balance to others, to mend broken minds as one might mend a broken clock. But in this modern age, as magic and tradition give way to invention and the cold logic of science, depression and despair are all too common, and the effort of healing the minds of others began taking a toll on her own. Now she pursues the arcane arts, grasping at mysteries that came so much easier in past lives, wondering if the difficulty means that she has strayed too far from the inner peace and focus of her past incarnations.


    A.P.P.L.E. wrote:

    *Snarls at doppelganger*

    I'll probably end up as a Magus.

    Aww, don't be like that... We just both found the most awesome amazing avatar available and picked it! Besides, I'll be using an avatar appropriate to my character via alias if this goes forward.


    I would so totally be interested in this, though it will be difficult to pick just a single character concept to go with. What sort of races/classes/etc are you thinking of offering?


    RonarsCorruption wrote:
    Last year, if I recall, they said they had just over a thousand entries by the end of the competition. Like, 1,300 or something.

    Then that's far less competition than I was expecting there to be, and I shall instead hope to place in the top 320 of entries. *grin*


    Isaac Duplechain wrote:
    I think that they've said that the submissions number in the hundreds, and have also said that Top 32 is (at least) the top 5%; so just by submitting, you've made it into the Top 1000.

    I'm just going off of Clark implying that people would be discouraged if they knew how many submissions get sent in. Personally, 1000 isn't nearly enough to discourage me. Maybe if it were ten times that number I might feel that was too many and I would get lost in the sea of entries... but I was guessing more like 2-3000 would be how many they get. I just want to be the top 50%.


    Sgmendez wrote:
    And just to mention. If I don't make it into this game, or maybe even if I do, I think I might run an Dragon Empires game with a more SteamFu setting. A mix of Oriental and Steampunk, guns and samurai, kitsune and clockwork. Doesn't it just sound awesome.

    Oh. Em. Gee.

    I would so totally play the bejeebus out of that.


    It's been well over a decade since I read any of her books, but I loved Anne McCaffery's books. Not just the Pern series, but also the Crystal Singer trilogy and I had started in on the Acorna series before moving on to other authors as my tastes changed. She was a wonderful author, and I was sorry to hear that she had died.


    Cheating is its own punishment. When you cheat for better rolls, you remove the thrill that comes from being able to FAIL. That rush of adrenaline you can get while playing is completely denied to cheaters, because they know they're going to win, regardless.


    This is one of the reasons that I absolutely love the alternative rewards suggested in the GameMastery Guide. When a player does an awesome bit of roleplay, don't give her a bonus xp award that will put her character ahead of everyone else's, give her a situational bonus she can use to replicate that feat without needing to roleplay, so that she can focus her roleplay on other things.

    Triple benefit: a) your group's thespian doesn't have to give lengthy speeches every time you're all hauled in front of the king, b) the thespian's character still gets to succeed at diplomacy checks with the king far more often than normal, and c) everyone remains the same level!

    As long as you stick with the advice about having a limited number of such benefits that a character can accrue, balance is maintained, and new players will lack these benefits, but can pick up bonuses of their own quickly if they roleplay well. They're big enough to matter, small enough to not break the game, and the longer you play, the more carefully a player can cherry-pick the exact benefits they want.

    Just be VERY careful to keep an eye on those bonuses and make sure they're not stacking. You don't want a player managing to get a +8 or something just from RP bonuses.


    Clark Peterson wrote:
    I would say no more than half of the items submitted even seem to be correctly formatted. Let alone perfect.

    So, generally speaking, if we format our item perfectly, don't have a paragraph of flavour text including 'Bozo the Wizard', and aren't creating a Swiss Army Knife or something... that still doesn't mean we'll get into the Top 32, but at least we don't need to feel embarrassed about submitting a lemon that gets rejected without even being read and considered?

    Because honestly, much as I would truly love to have the opportunity to design professionally for Paizo, this is my first year, and I need a lot more practice writing on this level, so that's really all I want. Something that, even if rejected, was seriously looked out and mulled over first. If I'm in the top 1000 or so (even though I'm sure no judge would actually say so), that would be more than good enough for my first year here, and encouraging enough to keep trying again.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Sometimes I wonder if better advice wouldn't be to just do what I do when creating content for homebrew campaigns: Find a couple things similar done by Paizo, and follow the template exactly, by breaking it down into its component parts.

    For example, here's the description of Gloves of Arrow Snaring.

    Once worn, these snug gloves seem to meld with the hands, becoming almost invisible to casual observation. Twice per day, the wearer can act as if he had the Snatch Arrows feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for the feat. Both gloves must be worn for the magic to be effective, and at least one hand must be free to take advantage of the magic.

    Which boils down to:

    <descriptive sentence>. <frequency>, <benefit>, <clarification>. <additional requirements>.

    So, using this format, more than one sentence of description would be right out, and really you should keep that length about the same. It then shows a reasonable order for presenting the rest of the information, and reminds you to put clarifications and special requirements at the end, after describing all the cool stuff the magical item lets you do.

    So, an example using that format for Bracers of Distance Throwing:

    These heavy bronze bracers, set with images of giants hurling boulders, clasp snugly around the wearer's forearms. For five rounds each day, which need not be consecutive, the wearer can act as if he had the Distance Thrower feat, or double the benefit gained if the wearer already has the feat. Both bracers must be worn for the magic to be effective.

    Obviously, this is Feat-in-a-can and no wow factor at all, so no chance at Superstar for something this simple, but it illustrates how to find an item and follow the basic format.


    I'm not going to argue this point any further. If you hate Crafting skills so much and don't want players to benefit from them, BAN them.


    Not the least bit surprised. You get the same thing just about anywhere. Try hiring for an on-site technician who needs to have network experience, and you'll get someone who doesn't even know what an 'RJ45' is. Honestly, I don't think it matters if they ignore the requirements or simply think they're special enough that the requirements don't apply, but I find that those people tend to have personalities I just cannot stand.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    thenobledrake wrote:
    Caelesti wrote:
    If the player is going to [all the trouble of investing in crafting skills, item creation feats, etc, then I see absolutely no reason to bar said player from a reasonable amount of items created with said skills/feats. If the fighter with Craft: Armoursmithing shows up with a Masterwork Breastplate she crafted herself, then good for her.

    Answer this hypothetical for me, would you please?

    A player puts together a halfling rogue and places skill ranks into disable device, stealth, knowledge local, perception and bluff, and takes skill focus (disable device) as their feat.

    This player then rolls their starting wealth and finds that they have enough for the gear they wanted, except they only have exactly half the cost of the masterwork armor they were hoping for - so they say "Hey DM, I stole this masterwork armor before the game started."

    Do you A) say no, B) allow them to have the armor but take the gold they have left (equal to half the price), C) allow them to have the armor and not spend any gold on it at all, or D) some other less obvious response.?

    I have to ask because I get the impression from you, and others sharing the position that crafting be allowed to provide a discount on goods, that the answer would be A despite the fact that B is exactly the justification used for allowing crafting discounts - that the player put points in the skill needed or took the feat needed and should get something out of that besides having that skill or feat for later use.

    Sorry, but B is NOT related to the justification given. Disable Device is a perfectly useful skill that is used frequently in the course of adventuring. Giving a player with Disable Device the ability to 'steal' items outside of the adventure for the same net benefit as players with craft skills de-values the craft skills and removes far too much of the incentive to purchase crafting skills.

    Crafting skills are downtime/roleplaying based, and only very rarely ever come into play during actual encounters. That said, as another person pointed out, when you're the GM, you get to decide, and maybe you'll let the person steal a starting item... and have that as a plot hook. But that means the party had better be okay with being on the wrong side of the law, since they're now aiding and abetting a known criminal.


    Tobias Mullen wrote:

    Don't let not having the Core Rulebook on hand trip you up. If you have access to the internet, you have access to the Pathfinder rules.

    I was browsing the Core wondrous items on a break at work and ran across an item that had mechanics that were very similar to the one I was building for this year.

    Back to the drawing board. But, I probably would have missed it if the PRD wasn't so easily accessible.

    Oh, I certainly do use that for reference, but (for me at least) it's just not even in the same ballpark as how convenient it is when you've got the book open right in front of you. If I actually do make the cut (somehow), I'll be glad to have all my reference material on hand for the future rounds, since I'll have been back home for most of a month by then.


    If the player is going to all the trouble of investing in crafting skills, item creation feats, etc, then I see absolutely no reason to bar said player from a reasonable amount of items created with said skills/feats. If the fighter with Craft: Armoursmithing shows up with a Masterwork Breastplate she crafted herself, then good for her. If the sorcerer with Scribe Scroll shows up with 473 Scrolls of Magic Missile, that's NOT okay, and I'll reject that and tell them to tone it down to single digits.

    Put another way: If a player has a list of 20-30 different articles of clothing on their equipment list, then I'm going to assume they're really into outfits and dressing up, which is fun. If a player has a list of 20-30 different magical scrolls on their equipment list, then I'm going to assume they're a power-gaming munchkin, which ISN'T fun.

    When a player invests in an item creation feat, they're giving up some other feat, so the least you can do is make it a little easier for them to get the full benefit. The person who took Dodge instead of Brew Potion is going to be using their feat all through the first set of encounters, so why shouldn't the person with Brew Potion have access to that extra potion for those encounters?

    Anywho, that's my 2cp.


    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    HerosBackpack wrote:
    Because the template provided in the round one rules doesn't have commas in cost and price
    BTW, that's because the ZZ in the wondrous item template isn't a number. If you were to put a number there (like for an item submission), you'd add the comma separators (which you can see is done in the Core Rulebook, and most American publications).

    And I'm glad I caught myself on that, because I almost submitted with the wrong format (2 000 000 gp, for example, a ridiculous price so that it bears no relation to my actual submission), but spent about 10 minutes comparing mine to ones from previous Top 32 entries that had no comments on formatting errors. I unfortunately left all my Pathfinder books back at home aside from the GameMastery Guide when I came up to stay with my parents for Christmas, so I couldn't actually crack open the Core Rulebook to compare to those, or I would have.


    Aaron Webber wrote:

    I've been writing up drafts using the faction listings in the Inner Sea World Guide as a sort of template. I know its probably way over the word count, but it allows me a benchmark for creating a lot of information that I can then pare down to fit the format and word count of the actual competition.

    Also some of the information listed in the Faction Guide I've been working on for my drafts as well. Again, in the end I'll have too much information, but I'd rather have details which I can then edit, fine-tune and perfect rather than too little.

    But that's just me ... and I like doing this creative stuff in my head anyway all the time, now I'm just writing it down :)

    That's probably a really good idea, and at the very least would get the creative juices flowing, though with over a month to go, I'd worry about any such ideas no longer being fresh enough in my mind to really use them once it came time. Plus, I figure I'll be lucky if the judges just say in the reject thread that they considered me for a bit, since this is my first year trying this and I most certainly need more practice. (Though I'm sure everyone feels that way, including the prior Superstars. Always more you can learn.)


    So, hopefully I'm not stepping on feet or anything, but based on the commentary given, especially from Neil, here's my own version of PsionicFox's attempt at the corset:

    Serpentskin Corset
    Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
    Slot chest; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
    Description
    This corset made from mottled black and grey snakeskin magically tightens to fit comfortably around the wearer's torso when donned. While worn, the user can squeeze through narrow spaces as if they had the compression ability for up to 10 rounds each day. The compression effect's duration need not be consecutive rounds. Further, while worn, the corset gives the user a +2 circumstance bonus on the DC of all Charm abilities and spells (such as charm person or a witch's charm hex) used on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, alter self; Cost 2,500 gp

    Price might still be a bit off, but pricing a small circumstance bonus to a single subset of spells/abilities is tricky.


    I certainly feel I did well enough for my first time entering the competition to not be completely embarrassed, having not even known about RPG Superstar until this week, and hopefully I'll learn something regardless of how I do, but I enjoyed the process of making a magical item for other people to use, rather than simply for inclusion in my own campaigns. It was different, fun, and challenging.


    Step 1: Learn that RPG Superstar exists.
    Step 2: Research past entries, both from the 32 that placed each year, and entries that didn't make it, especially those that the judges said almost made the cut.
    Step 3: Yoink several of the past entries for inclusion in some form in my own campaigns. (I especially love Last Leaves of the Autumn Dryad and Seven Thousand Blossoms.)
    Step 4: Jot down a bunch of ideas in Notepad.
    Step 5: Eliminate as many of those ideas as I can based purely on the list of 'automatic reject' advice so thoughtfully provided.
    Step 6: Use an idea that feels a little SIAC-ish anyway, simply because I think I can do an original treatment on it that will overcome that potential drawback.
    Step 7: Check that the title hasn't been used anywhere else, or if it has, only as randomly generated MMO items that don't have anything to do with my item.
    Step 8: Alt-tab back and forth between the preview pane for my submission and a winning submission for last year.
    Step 9: Submit the entry.
    Step 10: Stress out over whether the name wasn't catchy enough for the judges to even care about the item and not just reject it out of hand.


    Having already sent in my submission and now having to wait until well into January for specific feedback, I nonetheless find myself actually worrying most about the title of my item as being too... common? I did make sure that no item of that name already existed, and it certainly meets the criteria of describing what it is and what it is for, yet I don't know that it's properly inspiring, and thus truly Superstar.

    It's far too late to fix that, so all I can really do is wait and hope, but that's really something I would like some advice on, regardless of whether I make the cut or not, because all the really 'cool' sounding magical items I could think of felt far too gimmicky or similar to existing/previous items, or simply far too niche to place. I guess I'll end up seeing one way or another in a month, but this is the one thing that worries me the most, when I should probably be worrying about some other aspect.


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