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Epic Meepo's page

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32. RPG Superstar 2013 Marathon Voter, 2014 Marathon Voter, 2015 Marathon Voter. Pathfinder Society Member. 4,205 posts (4,361 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 9 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

What if there was a version of Flight that didn't grant that combat advantage? Say, the flying is so distracting or awkward that weapon attacks and spellcasting take massive penalties or just plain aren't possible, forcing the flying character to land to do all their fighting. Yes, it's ham-fisted, but I believe in ham. (It also doesn't address flight's ability to bypass obstacles, but I'm not a great believer in those.)

So how bad is this idea?

Animal Races: Clan of the Bat, a third-party PDF, features a playable flying race that works exactly like that.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Animal Races: Clan of the Raptor is now available in the Paizo store.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Barong wrote:
Anyway, you're trying to do the Chinese zodiac, Eric? We'll see a clan of the rat, dragon, and cow eventually?
In the PDF for Clan of the Rabbit, they mention several clans yet to be released, including ones for the Rat and the Ox.

There is also a Dragonfish Clan, so you have Rats, Dragonfish, and Oxen.

For now, though, the latest release is Clan of the Raptor, currently available here. It should also appear in the Paizo store any time now.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I won't have time to upload Clan of the Raptor to stores this afternoon, but it is done, so expect it in the near future.

Next month's release, Clan of the Swan, is also well underway.

After that, Clan of the Raven for all the tengu fans out there.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Sorry to be a pest, but any word on how much longer until the next entry in this magnificent series is released?

As of this post, maybe 48 hours.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The harshest critique the Animal Races series has yet received still managed to squeak in at four out of five stars. As the reviewer correctly observes, as a race that can fly unaided at 1st level, Bats are not perfectly balanced against the standard core races.

As a matter of fact, Bats are balanced against wyrwoods and wyvarans, a pair of 0-HD races you can read about on the linked pages of the PRD. If exotic races like wyrwoods and wyvarans would work in your campaign, Bats and other flying animal races will, too. If wyrwoods and wyvarans are outside the scope of your campaign, consider instead sticking to animal races based on non-flying animals. Non-flying animal races make up the majority of the Animal Races series and have capabilities similar to members of core races with access to APG feats like Aspect of the Beast and Keen Scent.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Barong wrote:
Oh dear, Halloween. That, and the name of their god I just looked up, really points to them being evil. I hope that's not the case.

As noted in the Zodiac Council section of Clan of the Rabbit, there are entire clans of lawful good Goat therians. There are also entire clans of Goat therians who think lawful good Goats are brainwashed conformists because lawful good isn't metal enough. Both groups of Goats blame the other Goats for all of the world's problems.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Barong wrote:

Loved the additions to Clan of the Bear :).

Also, Eric, I hate to ask because others keep requesting things, but have any plans for a 'Clan of the Goat'? I think goat-folk would be cool.

I plan on making Clan of the Goat my Halloween release this October.

In the mean time, some information about the Goat Clans appears in the Zodiac Council section of Clan of the Rabbit. Also, brief mention of their deity is made in Clan of the Cat and the upcoming Clan of the Raptor (search either for "the Eye of Ra").

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

A note for customers who haven't checked their email lately:

If you purchased Clan of the Pig, Clan of the Raccoon, or Clan of the Turtle prior to this week, a new version of your PDF with some minor corrections should be available for you to download.

If you purchased Clan of the Bear prior to this week, a new version of your PDF with two full pages of new (and critically acclaimed) content should be available for you to download.

Enjoy.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

For the record, if Paizo published every RPG Superstar entry whose creator revealed it to the public after the fact as a self-contained magic item card on DriveThruCards (which they legally can do), I would object just as strongly to the ethics of RPG Superstar. There's a big difference between, "We have to assume ownership of this donated content for our own legal protection," and "Since we have to assume ownership of this donated content, we may as well monetize it even though we didn't pay for it."

But, as I've said, I doubt there's any malicious intent on Paizo's part. Also, it seems that very few other posters have issues with the Card Creator, so I'm just going to drop it. If everyone else is enjoying themselves and it's not causing me any direct harm, who am I to butt in and complain?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I realize that Paizo hasn't done anything with malicious intent here, and isn't actively attempting to devalue creative work. The issues I mention are unintended consequences, like carbon emissions from an otherwise beneficial power plant. But, like carbon emissions, these unintended consequences are contributing to a toxic environment for creative professionals.

When we live in a world where consumers take it for granted that creative professionals who create intellectual property for a corporation should be glad they had the opportunity to perform unpaid labor for that corporation's benefit ("they weren't going to make money doing that creative work, anyway, so its okay that the corporation publishes and sells their work"), I consider that a problem.

Pyrocat wrote:
...this isn't your typical abusing-artists situation where someone creates free art for a company that they then profit on.

This is exactly that situation. People who use the Card Creator to show cards they created for Paizo to the public are creating free art for Paizo that Paizo then publishes and sells for money without paying the creators.

Pyrocat wrote:
This is creating some fan made rules for a game that you never had any rights to in the first place. And now Paizo has spent a lot of time and money facilitating the process of making those fan made rules more official looking and easy to use...

Fans don't have any rights to the Star Wars brand, either. But if Disney spent time and money setting up a website where fans with 3D graphics skills could spend hours designing and rendering original, CG Stars Wars characters, I would expect those fans to receive fair compensation if Disney then ported the CG characters they created using Disney's website directly into the next Star Wars movie.

Aerros wrote:
YOU choose whether or not you want your "Intellectual property" shared with the community who can then pay to have your cards printed for use in their home game.

Your statement is technically incorrect. When using the Card Creator, you do not choose whether or not to share your intellectual property. You choose whether or not Paizo shares the intellectual property you created for Paizo, free of charge. Cards you create using the Card Creator are not "your" cards; they belong to Paizo, Inc.

Aerros wrote:
Now If Paizo takes Your cards and stuffs them in a package and sells them then yes you should be compensated at some level. But this is not the same.

This is exactly the same. Paizo is taking all of the non-private cards created by fans, stuffing them in a package (since a digital storefront is the packaging of a print-on-demand product), and selling them without paying their creators.

DriveThruCards is not a printing service; in fact, all of the printing they do is outsourced. DriveThruCards is a distribution service for published products. Paizo making a card available for sale through DriveThruCards is Paizo releasing that card for distribution as an official, Paizo-published product. That is exactly how a publisher goes about releasing an official product via DriveThruCards.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Steve Wieck wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
If I purchase a community-created card, does the community member who designed that card earn a percentage of that sale?

No, at least not at this time.

One of our future feature sets will be to allow for that to happen, but this wasn't part of our initial release scope coding.

Also we (Paizo and DriveThru) want to keep the pricing of these cards as low as possible to keep them accessible to the community, so even when we develop that "royalty" capability/feature, it's unknown if we'd implement it here or not.

Steve
DriveThru

In that case, I have to object to this Card Creator on ethical grounds.

DriveThru earns money on each sale, which is perfectly fair and ethical, since Drive Thru is providing a service by printing and distributing these cards. There's nothing wrong with that part of the process.

The providers of the stock art earn money each time someone licenses their artwork, which is perfectly fair and ethical, since artists have the right to profit from their own intellectual property. There's nothing wrong with that part of the process.

But then we get to the part where Paizo is asking amateur designers to transfer ownership of their intellectual property to Paizo without compensation. And we're not talking about messageboard posts here. We're talking about designers putting time and effort into the creation of published, proprietary, Paizo-owned products without getting paid for their work.

That would be tolerable if the designers retained full ownership (or even a copyleft) of the intellectual property they created while doing this volunteer work for Paizo, Inc., but the designers don't even get that. They are donating their time (and potentially paying for licenses) to create intellectual property owned by a for-profit corporation that is not their employer.

That is exploitative, and helps perpetuate a culture where creative workers are conditioned to expect no compensation for work they perform on behalf of others. I realize this was probably not anyone's intention when setting up this project, but it is still the end result. As someone who believes artists should receive fair compensation for any work they perform that generates revenue for any party, I cannot support this Card Creator.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If I purchase a community-created card, does the community member who designed that card earn a percentage of that sale?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
And we get some birds, unless you mean the scaly sort of raptors. Any hints on what sort of 'subclans' we can expect in these releases? I.e., eagles, hawks, swans, ravens, etc.?

Clan of the Raptor will feature Eagle, Hawk, Owl, and Vulture clans. (Ravens have their own book.)

Clan of the Swan will feature Peacock and Swan clans, plus lots of fey and samsarans.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
VM mercenario wrote:
Cool thanks. I still have to buy clan of the bat and clan of the pig to see how you did flying and aquatic races, but expect to see it around mid march.
Clan of the Bat just got updated with an additional two pages of new content. w00t!

Yep, Clan of the Bat now has two pages of new information about non-vampire Bats.

Also, Clan of the Bear, Clan of the Deer, and Clan of the Rabbit were all updated to add a scent ability that got lost in cut-and-paste limbo.

Clan of the Pig and Clan of the Turtle will receive a few cosmetic tweaks soon.

After that, I will be adding two additional pages to Clan of the Bear, since I have more to say about Cave Bears and Polar Bears, plus a new bloodline option for the bloodrager class.

Following those updates, I'll be moving on to some new releases, namely Clan of the Raptor and Clan of the Swan.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

By popular demand, I've added two pages of content to this PDF, including rules for playing non-vampire Bats. If you purchased this PDF prior to the time stamp on this post, expect an email notice about this file being updated in the near future.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I've got some good news for anyone playing a Rabbit. I've just uploaded an updated version of this PDF which adds a scent ability that was accidentally omitted from the list of Rabbit Clan racial traits.

If you have already uploaded this PDF, expect a message about a free update in the near future.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I've got some good news for anyone playing a Deer. I've just uploaded an updated version of this PDF which adds a scent ability that was accidentally omitted from the list of Deer Clan racial traits.

If you have already uploaded this PDF, expect a message about a free update in the near future.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I've got some good news for anyone playing a Bear. I've just uploaded an updated version of this PDF which adds a scent ability that was accidentally omitted from the list of Bear Clan racial traits.

If you have already uploaded this PDF, expect a message about a free update in the near future.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cyrad wrote:
It takes 7 days of progress per spell level to finish researching a spell. That means it costs a total of 700*(spell level)^2 gp and requires 14 skill checks per spell level to complete. You cannot take 10 on any of these checks and you risk losing days of progress.

The "shenanigans" being discussed in this thread are an inefficient way to increase the number of different spells your sorcerer can choose to cast. If you have the Craft Wondrous Item feat, you can craft a page of spell knowledge for only 500*(spell level)^2 gp in less downtime than it takes to research a spell of the same level.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

In case anyone's still looking for new technology-related content:

Animal Races: Clan of the Frog (now available in the Paizo store and here) includes new technological equipment, a cult of technology-worshipping idolators, and a new Technology domain for clerics.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Animal Races: Clan of the Frog is now available in the Paizo store and here.

Products of alchemical evolution, members of the Frog Clans and their allies represent two new playable races of humanoid amphibians. Hailing from a mysterious land beyond the stars, these races now preside over ancient frog temples in the hearts of swamps everywhere. Led by templars equipped with technological relics and altered through strange alchemical and surgical experiments, these new races showcase dozens of new character options.

Spur your continuing evolution with new alchemist discoveries. Become a test subject for experimental body modification procedures. Wield circuit-threaded weapons, ray guns, and other strange gear. Worship at the altar of high technology with a new Technology cleric domain. All of these options and more are available to the boggards of the Frog Clans and to other characters who cross their path.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Animal Races: Clan of the Rabbit is now available in the Paizo store and here.

This 13-page sourcebook introduces a new player character race of humanoid rabbits. Play Rabbits, Pikas, and Hares whose fast-paced culture is an ideal breeding ground for adventurers. Learn acrobatic feats that let you leap about the battlefield; race to reap the rewards of an adventuring life while evading the monsters that traditionally prey upon your people; or take a quiet moment to sit still and study the heavens, as some Hares are wont to do.

Also included: an overview of the Zodiac Council, its clerics, and the animal races that control each of its thirteen seats. Founded by ancient Rabbit stargazers anxious to preserve the astrological lore of their ancestors, the Zodiac Council is a church of astrologer-priests devoted to the preservation of knowledge and to the rule of law. It is also a cultural melting pot rife with political intrigue, so take care when participating in its internal affairs...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

necromental wrote:
OK, any news on this?

At last glance, I have about 450 pages worth of material that needs to be edited and sorted a few dozen times over, plus some decisions to make about a hundred or so obscure class features that are so unwieldy, they should never have been written in the first place.

I also have to make a final decision about how much streamlining I'm going to do on the several hundred class features that involve bonuses which alternately scale every two, three, four, five, or six levels. The better I make the math work, the harder it will be determining when and how custom class features interact with existing class features.

TL;DR: I still have a lot of work to do on this project.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

VM mercenario wrote:
Hey Meepo, since you won't be doing insectile races, would you mind if I posted a vemin clan based on your model on the homebrew boards? I've been reading the Shadows of the Apt book series and the idea won't leave me alone.

Sure, go for it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Do you have any idea on just how many of these 'Clanbooks' you'll be making?

There will be one book for each clan appearing on any genealogy chart in the Animal Races series, plus a few extra clans that have not yet been shown on genealogy charts. (Note, for example, that marsupials have not yet been mentioned.) That makes for roughly forty Animal Races titles.

In the next few months, I plan on releasing a free Animal Races catalog that includes every genealogy chart and a checklist of every clan (including those that do not get their own, separate entries on genealogy charts for various reasons).

Quote:
Also, any idea on just where they might be found in Golarion?

I don't have a license that lets me write original material for Paizo's campaign setting, so I can't answer that question directly.

In any campaign setting, animal races would be most populous in wilderness areas with strong connections to elemental planes and other primordial places. Also, the real-world folklore of the Indian subcontinent mentions numerous mythical clans associated with animals (Garudas, Nagas, Vanaras, etc.); any campaign setting modeled after ancient India might have plenty of animal clans scattered about.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Chris Shaeffer wrote:
P.S. - Looks like our team lost at sportsball. :/

Allow me to translate that Sportsball match into Pathfinder terminology for folks with no ranks in Knowledge (Sportsball):

You are at the end of a PFS scenario. In order to win, you must move through a doorway and activate a McGuffin in your possession in the room on the other side. There are a bunch of ogres standing in the doorway, trying to stop you, and time is running out.

Your party consists of a low-level, ranged-weapon fighter with really good stats; a handful of moderately-optimized, mid-level rogues; and a super-optimized, high-level barbarian with Dodge, Mobility, Greater Bull Rush, and a special boon that increases his CMB against ogres.

Instead of handing the McGuffin to the super-optimized barbarian so he can bull rush through the ogres, your party tells the barbarian to stand guard one room over. The fighter throws the McGuffin through the crowded doorway and the rogues attempt to grab it before any of the ogres do.

The rogues predictably fail to get past the ogres to claim the McGuffin. The party attempts a few ineffectual attacks against the ogres that now own their McGuffin, time runs out, and no experience points are awarded to the party. The barbarian is still standing guard one room over.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.
MAJT69 wrote:
The things the players hate more than anything is having to constantly swap out items and having bags of 'magic' vendor trash after every fight.

There's a simple house rule you can use to fix both of these problems:

Permanent magic items are user-specific. When the PCs loot an opponent, the opponent's permanent magic items become non-magical, but the PCs gain an amount of mana with a gp-value equal to the sales price of those permanent magic items. The PCs can spend their mana to upgrade their own magic items as if that mana was actual gp.

That gives you upgrading magic items without all the vendor trash.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steven Helt wrote:
I wanna be in that glacier with time running out, background music spiked very high, and ice walls collapsing as I fight my way out.

Now I'm convinced they need to add a challenge that takes place between Rounds 2 and 3: every finalist has to submit a background music playlist for someone else's map.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

In a campaign where the GM plays efreet as creatures with their listed stats, it should be very hard to planar bind an efreeti. An efreeti has enough Spellcraft to know what planar binding is, enough Wisdom to know that people will want to bind it, and enough Intelligence to utilize a few straightforward defenses against planar binding.

The first thing any efreeti worth its stats will do in life is acquire a loyal minion (preferably an intelligent minor magic item, which is both affordable and easy to control). The efreeti can grant its minion three wishes per day and have the minion use those wishes to the efreeti's advantage. First order of business: protect the efreeti from calling spells via contingency and dimensional anchor.

Heck, the entire City of Brass (and every other place inhabited by efreet) should be blanketed with dimensional lock effects so none of its residents can be whisked away by calling spells. None of that makes it impossible to planar bind efreet, but the process should be much harder than just casting planar binding and asking for an efreeti.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

My votes go to the maps of Ben Iglauer, Brian Fruzen, Charlie Bell, Chris Scaeffer, Gabriel Almer, Jeff Heikinen, Monica Marlow, and R Pickard.

My reasoning behind my votes is spelled out in another thread.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

This year's Round 2 vote was the smoothest Superstar voting experience I've had in my seven years of following the contest. All told, it took just under thirty minutes to go from first my glance at the maps to knowing the eight that had earned my vote. My process went as follows:

Without reading any judge or voter commentary, I loaded all of the (original 32) maps into a slideshow. I played the slideshow once through to get a feel for all the available choices, then ran it again, deleting a few of the weaker entries as I went. After repeating this process three times, I had eight remaining maps. (When the 33rd map was promoted to the Top 32, I compared it to each of my eight favorites, in turn.)

I don't know that I'll compile any in-depth commentary to post in individual map threads, but here's a stream of consciousness run-through of my entire decision making process, from start to finish:

Spoiler:
First Round of Eliminations

Anthony Pennington - How are these two levels even connected? Delete from slideshow.

Ben Parkin - A hex map that uses a scale incompatible with the hex map exploration rules in the PRD. Delete from slideshow.

Charlie Brooks - Some faint geometric shapes surrounding a giant circle. Delete from slideshow.

Christopher Donnangelo - What do all the color-coded squares mean? Delete from slideshow.

Frankie Trombetta - It's boat, just like every other boat. Delete from slideshow.

Jacob Kellog - A few blocky rooms and hallways. No more, no less. Delete from slideshow.

John Laffan - Not expansive enough to be a settlement map, not detailed enough to be an encounter map. Delete from slideshow.

Maria Smolina - A hex map that uses a scale incompatible with the hex map exploration rules in the PRD. Also, giant mountains obscure too much of the grid. Delete from slideshow.

Mark Hart - A chasm with no geological justification and lots of names of things that aren't visually described anywhere. Delete from slideshow.

Matthew Morris - Wait, is the green water? And is that half of a boat? Delete from slideshow.

Matt Roth - This map might be okay. I don't know. It's too faint to read. Delete from slideshow.

Taylor Hubler - You want me to draw how many obnoxious zig-zags on my battlemat? Yeah, I'm just going to ignore this map and pretend any encounter occurring at this location takes place in a Big Square Room. Delete from slideshow.

Second Round of Eliminations

Christopher Wasko - Where are all these waterfalls coming from? And how does a room-sized whirlpool work, exactly? I'm not entirely sure. Delete from slideshow.

David Higaki - Why is the temple a gray box with some squiggles and some dots? What does that mean? Delete from slideshow.

Jason Keeley - I don't know if that's an accurate portrayal of fish anatomy; either way, your map doesn't really sell me on it. Delete from slideshow.

Justin Riddler - A sarcophagus below the water level in a sewer? And a sewer that opens into a giant antechamber to accommodate a grandiose staircase, because reasons? Delete from slideshow.

Kalvero Oikarinen - Wait, are those white areas inside the mountain or on top of the mountain? And what's up with all those natural caves whose interiors are not shown? Delete from slideshow.

Newton Philis - Is this a map or a plot write-up? A note about the capabilities of a blacksmith has no bearing on the layout of a neighborhood. Delete from slideshow.

Olivier Lalonde - I'll admit it. I just dislike this one because I think the owner of this establishment could find a furniture arrangement that makes better use of the floorspace. (Sorry, but if you're submitting a tavern as your Superstar map, it needs to be a damn good tavern.) Delete from slideshow.

Patrick Kilcullen - What do the red and the green mean? And what are all the non-mountainous, grey areas in this Christmas-colored cavern of doom? Delete from slideshow.

Russ Brown - There seem to be things on the elevation view not appearing on the overhead view, and vice versa. I disbelieve! Delete from slideshow.

Third Round of Eliminations

Scott LaBarge - Two-thirds of the page is devoted to an elevation view and I still don't know how far I fall if I jump from the highest ledge to the second highest ledge. Delete from slideshow.

Benjamin Wilkins - It's a perfectly serviceable map of a monastery where there doesn't seem to be anything interesting going on. Just some routine monastery stuff. Delete from slideshow.

Dana Huber - Why bother with an elevation view if you're going to cram multiple, overlapping levels onto a single overhead map instead of using one overhead map per level, all of them tied together by the elevation view? That's what elevation views are for. Delete from slideshow.

Eight Maps Remain

By process of elimination, my picks for the eight strongest maps are those belonging to Ben Iglauer, Brian Fruzen, Charlie Bell, Chris Scaeffer, Gabriel Almer, Jeff Heikinen, Monica Marlow, and R Pickard.

A New Player Has Entered the Game

Allana Sliwinski - Your map is not detailed enough to unseat any of the eight strongest maps selected above.

---

So that's how I assigned my eight votes. What approaches are other voters taking to Round 2?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Animal Races: Clan of the Frog is just around the corner. I just need to find room in this PDF for all of the content I want to include. Clan of the Frog has not one but two new playable races; new feats, new traits, and a new deity, as usual; a new Improved Familiar option or two; new technological items and artifacts; and new alchemist discoveries, several of which can be taken by non-alchemists who take a feat for subjects of alchemical and surgical experiments. (One of the options you can select gives you adamantine claws.) As soon as I cram all of that crunch into one PDF, Clan of the Frog will be good to go.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Our judge, Mark Seifter, posted this in another thread. I'm re-posting it here because I think it offers some additional insight into the commentary Mark is posting here in this thread.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Eric, I think that the critique my item thread will allow each individual designer to do just that in a way that is even more directly useful to them. Ask for your judge feedback, and I'll supply it. The more and longer, more comprehensive negative bullet points on the judge feedback, the more likely you failed to impress the judges (and you get to know why too, in detail). The fewer the comments (and especially if they are more generally neutral or positive, but either way), the more likely that it was the voters you failed to impress. You don't get to know why, as well, in that case, except as much as the voters help you by critiquing your item too.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Mark Seifter wrote:
Eric, I think that the critique my item thread will allow each individual designer to do just that in a way that is even more directly useful to them. Ask for your judge feedback, and I'll supply it. The more and longer, more comprehensive negative bullet points on the judge feedback, the more likely you failed to impress the judges (and you get to know why too, in detail). The fewer the comments (and especially if they are more generally neutral or positive, but either way), the more likely that it was the voters you failed to impress. You don't get to know why, as well, in that case, except as much as the voters help you by critiquing your item too.

This is a very useful insight into the judges' commentary.

Thanks for sharing this, Mark.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Neil Spicer wrote:
And, if they want to foster more focus on the actual competitors and ensure more engagement in their submission feedback threads, I think they'd be wise to withhold it. Why? Because I think a lot of people stick around for the "Critique My Item" thread and the Top 100 posting, but, as soon as they get that insight, they tune out the rest of the contest. And that's because they're not as interested in supporting the actual competitors as they are in extracting something for themselves.

I'm not sure I follow your logic. There are certainly people who only hang around the Superstar forums so they can get feedback on their own items. If you release the Top 100 list, those people will stop by long enough to read that list but will not comment on the Top 32. If you withhold the Top 100 list, those people will not stop by at all and will not comment on the Top 32. Withholding (or releasing) a Top 100 list does nothing to change that demographic's unwillingness to comment on the Top 32.

So let's not factor that demographic into the decision at all. Let's consider the people who are interested in learning more about the contest and participating over the long term. When looking at that group, the lack of a Top 100 list creates a weird situation where the contestants who appear to have been culled can learn more from their mistakes than the contestants who survived the cull. The culled contestants can at least identify which audience, the public or the judges, eliminated them from the competition. In the absence of a Top 100 list, the non-culled contestants can't know that same information, and thus have a harder time deciding what adjustments to make in future years.

When I talk about making adjustments to appeal to a specific audience, I am speaking from experience. After my first Top 32 finish, I failed to make it twice. I spent that second year as an outside observer studying the specific preferences of the Superstar judges. There wasn't any public voting in Round 1 at the time, so I knew for certain that the judges were the audience I was failing to impress. The next year, I submitted an item designed solely to appeal to those specific judges. I didn't even like my item or the choices I made while designing it, but it served its purpose; that was the second year I made the Top 32.

Thus, I would contend that knowing whether or not you have won over a particular audience is an important step in this contest. Without a Top 100 list, the non-culled contestants don't know if their items stumbled before or after being seen by the judges, and thus don't know which audience they should be thinking about when changing their tactics. Do they change their approach completely because they were voted down by the public, or do they make small adjustments to appeal to the judges without alienating a voting public that was mostly supportive of their design decisions? Without a Top 100 list, they have no way of knowing for sure.

EDIT: Of course, Paizo is under no obligation to provide any particular piece of information that might help contestants improve their craft. While I think the Top 100 list would certainly have some value to certain contestants, that doesn't, in itself, constitute an argument for Paizo releasing the list. I don't expect Paizo to cater to any one to two forum-goers on this issue; I merely encourage them to weigh the pros and cons of keeping non-finalists engaged in the Superstar process when making decisions that affect the contest.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

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Neil Spicer wrote:
But is [studying the Top 100 list] really necessary? It's pretty clear that you can get a sense of what it takes to make the contest by simply reviewing the Top 32.

A visual learner might learn what it takes to succeed in this contest by simply reviewing the Top 32, but an auditory learner might only learn the same lesson when listening to a panel at PaizoCon. Likewise, a participatory learner might only learn the same lesson by walking through the judging process, comparing the Top 32 to their highest-ranked also-ran competition.

An alternative set of learning tools will always have value, because there are as many different ways of teaching a given lesson as their are people willing to learn it.

So the Top 100 list could certainly prove useful to some contestants. That doesn't make the list "necessary," by any means, but the list would have some value.

I can already imagine one potential response Neil Spicer might give: The whole purpose of Superstar is to help Paizo find talented freelancers, and the contest is serving that purpose just fine without catering to contestants who don't make the Top 32. Any desire to divert contest resources away from the Top 32 is ultimately self-serving, and is distracting Paizo from its talent search.

If someone posted the words I'm unfairly putting in Neil's mouth, I would agree with them 100%. Everyone asking to see a Top 100 list is being self-serving and distracting Paizo from its talent search. So is everyone (myself included) asking that the public be given more say in the Top 32 selection process. We are definitely putting our own interests ahead of Paizo's interests...

As it should be. I would not expect Paizo to host Superstar if doing so did not benefit Paizo. That being said, the audience is still the consumer and Paizo is still the producer. If Superstar is run in such a way that its achieves Paizo's goals without also providing its audience with entertainment value and opportunities for self-improvement, Paizo is eventually going to lose its audience.

The Top 32 potential freelancers are the part of this contest most important to Paizo's goals, but that doesn't mean discussions about Top 100 lists or increased voter input should be dismissed simply because they involve different agendas. Paizo is in the entertainment industry. Paizo's audience should get as much out of Paizo as Paizo gets out of its audience, no more, no less. The discussion going on in this thread should be about finding the equilibrium point in that equation.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Based on the Critique My Item thread, it seems nearly every item that survived the cull was reviewed and commented on by one or more of the judges. To me, that suggests the judges considered most, if not all, of the 300+ items that survived the cull when picking the Top 32 instead of restricting themselves to just the Top 100.

Which, honestly, makes me want to not vote in Round 1, since my input seems to have little or no impact upon the Top 32 selection process. Sure, I helped weed out the bottom half of all entries, but a single gatekeeper skimming every entry could have done that just as efficiently behind the scenes.

By spending thousands of hours sorting items, the public is saying, "Hey, judges, here are these several dozen items most of us really want to see in the Top 32." And then the judges turn around and say, "I don't know why this item I like didn't get a lot of support from the public. I'm putting it in the Top 32, anyway."

In contrast to the ballot voting in later rounds, which is the sole determinant of who advances, the Round 1 sorting doesn't really seem to count for anything. I'd feel much better about seeing 90% of my favorite items passed over in Round 1 every year if the public had more of a say in things. Perhaps the judges could put their favorite 32 on a list alongside the most popular 32 the judges didn't select and let the public ballot-vote items from that list into the Top 32. Then I would at least know that my rejected favorites were eliminated by hundreds of voters, not just one or two folks at Paizo.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Castarr4 wrote:
I don't suppose you saved the text for those items? I made a couple edits to my Bow of the Bard before actually submitting, and forgot to save the final version...

I didn't save the text of any items this year. Sorry.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

*pokes Scott LaBarge with a stick*

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

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Garrick Williams wrote:
I'd honestly like to see future years have maps as Round 2.

I'd honestly like to see future years have maps as Round 1.

Sorting 800 maps two at a time would be so much more enjoyable than sorting 800 magic items. After side-by-side voting ends, you could have the Top 64 map designers submit some descriptive text to accompany their maps (or reveal descriptive text they already submitted for their map) and let the public ballot-vote finalists into the Top 32 based upon a combination of mapping skills and writing skills.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

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Scott LaBarge wrote:
So are there minions around to give back-rubs in this guildhall joint or what? (Filigree not required.)

The Guildhall is fully staffed by the Staff of the Top 32 Guildhall, which can tend to all your chiropractic needs. Observe!

*pokes Scott LaBarge with a stick*

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Why not rule that Alchemical Allocation only works once per potion or elixir?

I like this compromise, Mr. Stonebreaker.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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DominusMegadeus wrote:
David Neilson wrote:
Well its less silly than trolls being able to survive in space. Though knowing Golarion there probably are Space Trolls.
Half-Red Dragon Space Moss Trolls.

Half-red dragon space moss troll giant space hamsters.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

Mark Seifter wrote:
*This was actually priced correctly down to the gold piece assuming that all the ki benefits added nothing to the price. However, especially in this case where the staff allows the user to spend ki instead of charges, the price should have been increased by a noticeable amount (consider a staff that allowed the user to spend spell slots instead of charges as an added ability to see why).

Gah, I knew I forgot to do something! That price should have been be increased by exactly 10,000 gp (the cost of two 1st-level pages of spell knowledge and two 2nd-level pages of spell knowledge, items whose combined effect is exactly the same as allowing casters of certain classes to expend spell slots instead of staff charges).

multiple posters wrote:
I don't like the whole "casting spells with ki" thing.

I'm surprised no one noticed, but ninjas and rogues can already use a single ninja trick (forgotten trick) to duplicate every spell in my staff by spending ki. My staff just makes a narrowly-focused variant of forgotten trick available to monks and sacred fist warpriests (with a reduced cost and an extended duration so the staff still has value to ninjas and rogues who already have forgotten trick). I used the staff chassis as the vehicle for granting this ability so the item could also be useful to various arcane casters.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

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Norgorber's Lens - The reality warping effect was a really roundabout and confusing way of granting concealment and a few numerical bonuses. Also, there are no rules for facing in Pathfinder, so how do we know which way the area of effect is directed at any given time?

Phantom Guardian's Ring - A large chunk of this item seemed to be just repeating text from the spiritual ally spell, so it felt to me like the item could be summarized as "spiritual ally three time per day, with a few adjustments." I suspect I would appreciate the adjustments better if I were more than passingly familiar with spiritual ally, but it's not a spell I see used often, so I wouldn't recognize clever variations upon its theme if I saw them.

Raven Leather - One of my personal Top 48. While I agree with some of the judges critiques about this armor not being very protective for the price and feeling a bit like a wondrous item, I think both of those problems could have easily been fixed with some minor tweaks. I think the mojo of the item more than warranted a minute or two of effort tweaking it to seem more armor-like.

Rod of Gravimetric Attraction - I didn't keep the full text of this item, but it is one of my personal Top 48. I disagreed strongly with the objection some posters raised that the pull special attack would work better than a drag maneuver. Characters can take feats to get better with the drag maneuver, but no parallel exists for pull. By using drag, this item can serve as a reward for characters who choose to devote feats to combat maneuvers.

Rod of Illusory Casting - One of my personal Top 48. I figured this rod would be popular with voters because I keep seeing people requesting some way to do the things this item does. I don't necessarily agree with just packing all of those abilities into a single, convenient package for spellcasters, but I appreciated your attempt to address a popular-but-underserved design space.

Rod of Resonance - One of my personal top 16. Probably underpriced, and more utilitarian than flashy, but I liked how it was sort of the opposite of a silence spell: silence negates all sonic effects in a radius, this item enhances all sonic effects in a radius. And, lest it be argued that this item's benefits are too good, silence still trumps it completely.

Serpentine Stave - "Stave" is not the singular of "staves," nor is it a synonym for "staff."

Skywalker's Cloth - "Skywalker" will always make me think of Luke Skywalker and family. Always.

Staff of the Auraboros - I suspect that you intentionally mispelled "ouroboros," but I can't know that for sure. Also, I am not sure what an "aura effect" is.

Tempest Bow - One of my personal top 48. I thought this was a nice, clean implementation of a flavorful idea.

Windpath Razor - One of my personal Top 48. I thought the wording was elegant and the effect was interesting.

Wing Smasher's Hammer - Any weapon meant to ground flying creatures should really be a ranged weapon; otherwise, how are non-flying creatures supposed to use it against flying creatures.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

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For a lot of the items in this thread, my critique would be something along the lines of, "It's an okay item. Not bad, not superstar, but okay." Since that's not particuarly useful on my part, I'm just going to focus on items which provoked more of a response from me.

Betrayer's Blade - One of my personal Top 48. I thought this item made really clever use of the speed property.

Blowgun of the Accursed Serpent - One of my personal Top 48. The curse ability should probably say that it functions the first time (or two times) the target makes a save against the dart's poison, not anytime the target makes a save. That would make the curse's effect closer in power to an ill omen spell instead of strictly better than an ill omen spell.

Catapult Ring - This item really needed a save or some other defense for unwilling targets.

Chrysalis Carapace - I'm not sure how the spell-absorbing power of this item ties into its theme.

Cryohydra's Coil - One of my personal Top 48. The blanket +4 bonus to disarm and trip attempts was a bit too much, but I liked the imagery enough to overlook that.

Deadeye's Shepherd - Using a bow to summon something just seemed strange to me. Also, I don't know where the animal appears when summoned. Maybe if you said you had to fire an arrow and the animal appeared where the arrow landed, or the animal has to appear adjacent to the wielder because the horns used to make the bow become the summoned animal's horns, I could have gotten behind this item, but without a visual of the summoning in action, I had a hard time bridging the gap between "bow" and "summoned animal."

Dynamic Staff - One of my personal top 48. Its ability to regain charges so quickly would need to be scaled back or cut, though. As is, high-level spellcasters could use these things as bargain-basement, 9th-level pseudo pearls of power.

Enlightened Jian - This would have gotten more upvotes from me if monks were proficient with longswords (or even just magically proficient with this longsword in particular).

Eremite Rod - This one was thematically sound, but would have benefited from having fewer fiddly bits. When using this item against your opponents, someone has to track bleed damage and pain penalties that modify multiple stats and possibly modifiers due to ability damage. Also, the wielder's spell DCs may change based upon their subtype. Lots of moving parts that modify things on the fly in the middle of combat, with the potential to slow things down at the table.

Housebreaker Bow - I really dislike how the third power of this item is referred to by a wordless sound instead of having an actual, speakable name.

Mail of Ash-Woven Ramparts - One of my personal Top 16. A bit overpowered/underpriced, but I suspect it would make tactical combat very interesting. Also, to me, the visuals inherent in this item suggested a designer who would be able to make a very awesome map.

Monastic Staff - This item was almost exactly the same as the first draft of my own item, right down to the name. I would explain at length why I changed my item from doing exactly what your item does to doing something slightly different, but the judges seem to like your approach better, so my commentary would be largely irrelevant.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

James Casey wrote:
What kills me is that none of my top 5 made top 32... Hell not even my top 8!

Heck, none of my top 16 made the Top 32 or alternates.

(I started a new thread for my list of favorites because I couldn't pick just one item as my overall favorite.)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

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At least one person expressed an interest in seeing my personal Top 32 list in another thread. This year, I picked my Top 16 favorites (including my own item) but didn't bother ranking the next 32 items on my favorites list, so here are my own personal Top 48:

Epic Meepo's Top 16:

arbalest of aurochs
armor of hidden horrors
balladeer's waltz
black dragon wing
blade of the malik's messenger
covenskein net
ghast hide
mail of ash woven ramparts
moveable rod
occult hunter's net
piranha blade
rod of resonance
sacred boar hide
serpent's tongue
staff of the hidden blade
three-fold gemini

Epic Meepo's Next 32:

aetherlace
animated wrappings
betrayer's blade
blowgun of the accursed serpent
bow of the bard
breastplate of light's salvation
butterfly's jaunt
captain's nostalgia
cryohydra's coil
dynamic staff
earthcracker*
grasping shield (218 words)
hellstinger
interrogator's ally*
raven leather
ring of the choking coil
rod of exorcism*
rod of gravimetric attraction
rod of illusory casting
rod of the iron rose**
scales of the scarab
scepter of the mist king
scimitar of dancing lightning
shield of the doubled ruse
shield of the paragon
sly smallsword
spectre blight*
staff of protean whim
storm bow
tempest bow
venom's kiss*
windpath razor

*Also an official Paizo Top 32 pick
**Also an official Paizo alternate

It appears that I have five of the Paizo Top 32 and one Paizo alternate in my personal Top 48 and none in my personal Top 16. If I had expanded my list to include my own personal Top 64, I believe I would have doubled those numbers, but my records this year were not precise enough to know for sure.

If anyone else has a list of favorites they want to share with the public, feel free to post it here in this thread.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

I may eventually publish a book of magic staves similar to this one, so I'm curious to know what voters thought about it.

Staff of the Hidden Blade
Aura moderate illusion; CL 8th
Slot none; Price 16,745 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description
This walking stick is a scabbard that conceals a matching sword. It functions as a +1 sword cane that grants proficiency in its use to any wielder proficient with short swords. The staff allows the use of the following spells, but only when its matching sword is sheathed within it:

  • disguise self (2 charges)
  • invisibility (self only, 2 charges)
  • mirror image (2 charges)
  • ventriloquism (2 charges)
A creature with the ki pool ability can cast any spell from this staff as if that spell was on the creature's class spell list. The creature may choose to cast that spell without consuming any charges from the staff by instead spending 1 ki point per charge that would otherwise be consumed.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Staff, disguise self, invisibility, mirror image, ventriloquism, creator must have the ki pool ability; Cost 8,545 gp

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