With regards to difficulty, I can definitely say I was trying to err on the side of "less lethal," in that I don't have a lot of experience with how PFS scenarios are supposed to unfold (and my home game is pretty deadly, so i didn't want to use that as a benchmark). Most of the changes Mark made in the editing process seemed to turn the lethality knob back to the right, but I'm seeing more than a few deaths in this thread, so I have to think the lethality is pretty drastically affected by party makeup.
And yeah, the two guys were both pretty strung out on the merchandise.
Matt Haddix wrote:
What would be a more appropriate thing to roll?
I'm curious, myself. I toyed with CMB, but what's a sensical way to set the CMD of a sinkhole? I felt like Strength checks made the most sense to simulate the gradual hauling of a person from a muddy, caved-in street.
Walter Sheppard wrote:
(describes a bloodbath)
Holy Crap! Sounds way more lethal than intended! Did everyone have fun, at least?
Hey, people are already playing this thing! Kick ass! For your edification, I wrote the scenario, and I have never played 4E. Take that however you will.
With regards to the sinkhole, I will only say that my intention was to differentiate between simply walking through a bog filled with lumps of broken earth and cobblestones and trying to pull a prone figure up from beneath said lumps of earth and cobblestones.
With regards to Lawful characters interacting with a crime syndicate, I will definitely say that was the most major challenge of writing the scenario. I had some story elements to work from, and "try to write it so the PCs don't immediately attack the Sczarni" was at the top of my directives. Only you guys can judge how successful I was.
Michael Eshleman wrote:
Well I wouldn't have priced it differently, I would have stripped out some functionality. The metamagic applications feel very much like functions that are solidly in the "Rod" category, and there have been rods that acted as power-ups for wands since 3.5, at least. Spending extra charges to activate these metamagic functions aren't a penalty, really, in that you'll only activate them when they're necessary, I.E. when it's worth paying that extra charge cost. The rest of the time, the wand will expend charges as normal. So the utility is actually greater than something like a Rod of silent metamagic, because you can use it many, many more times a day, when you're under circumstances when that would be advantageous.
GP cost is the most negligible cost to an adventurer, day-to-day. By 6th level or so, most Pathfinder characters start buying items purely out of vanity, or buying villages, or trying to become party king of the River Kingdoms. Money is easy-come-easy-go to an adventurer. So the microtransaction (to repeat a phrase) of using an extra charge on a wand is not a hard decision for most characters. It's not really a good limiting aspect for functionality. If, every time you put a wand in, for example, it drained 1d8 charges from it, that would be a penalty. People would agonize over paying that cost every time they swapped out a wand. Spending a charge is a very reasonable cost for the benefits it provides.
So I was kind of down on that whole aspect of the item, which is kinda where the theme was, "concealing" spellcasting. Which I also wasn't really behind, as far as a design goal. I know there are players who want to be able to fire invisible scorching rays at a suspicious NPC in a crowded marketplace (which would be possible with this item, I think, if I read it correctly), but I'm not sure that results in a good situation at the play table. It sounds like it could get very frustrating for whomever was on the other side of that scenario, player or GM.
So the last function, the one that was an afterthought, it sounds like, was what I was left with. Concentration is kind of an under-explored gamespace in Pathfinder. I find it funny that the answer to "how long can I concentrate?" is essentially "Until you fail a concentration check," and that might not happen, unless you're damaged, or on a stormy sea, or riding a wild stallion. But you can only concentrate on one thing at a time. I can see having an extra "concentration slot" as being beneficial, and giving someone the ability to do something they couldn't before, even if that's something as simple as directing two summoned swarms simultaneously.
Like I told Steve last year, I'm the worst possible audience for aquatic items. And this one does ring of recent pop-culture elements. That said, I actually like this one. The ability to disguise a ship as a derelict, by itself, is a very useful trick. Disguising the crew as undead, and the other added features, might be just gilding the lily. Recommended.
Reminds me quite strongly of Vasilisa's comb from Chapter Four of Hellboy: Darkness Calls. Which is perhaps a coincidence, but an "icy woods summoning comb" seems like an odd thing to evolve in separate environments as it were. Which doesn't really matter to me anyway, because I don't really see much use for the item, especially considering how pricy it is.
Edit: Some later posters have suggested that this is, in fact, a legitimate item from the legend of the Baba Yaga, and not, as may be inferred from this post, a recent invention.
I agree with Wolfgang on this one. I don't think every form of expendable used by a player needs to have an "exchange rate" so they can cash in towards other expendables.So, thematically, I'm precisely the wrong audience for this one. The mechanical writing is fine though, aside from one lamentable goof.
I'm a little baffled by this one. Are there that many ethereal creatures where this would be a necessity? I originally thought it was for use against ghosts and such, but then I remembered that incorporeal=/= ethereal. Dodging magical sensors seems useful, but most dungeons can't be navigated in ten minutes or less. This is an expensive solution in search of a problem, I think.
Yeah, I wasn't aware of lily-pad stride, either.
But here's the thing, In my mind, this seems more like a wondrous item effect than a spell effect. Water walk seems like a spell. "Need to cross that water? Let's use water walk." But this seems like a magic treasure, something found at the back of a beloved fey relative's hope chest. It's whimsical, and it's function can be clearly understood by anyone who sees it in action (especially once people start walking across those lily pads). I'd almost prefer that it was a little pricier, and could be reused, perhaps once a day. Recommended.
Too many functions, which is a shame, I think, because it has some quality stuff here.
I like the idea of taking control of opponent spell effects, but some of the described abilities (like moving a wall of flame) don't really make sense. Taking control of another's spell shouldn't allow you to do something with that spell that the original caster couldn't. The multiple charges/multiple functions for each charge functionality is unnecessarily convoluted, and I feel like this item kinda struggles under that complexity.
I like the functionality here, I know mounted combatants are frequently thwarted by mundanities like "a tree stump in the way" and other rules rubbish, and while dimension door-ing past such obstacles might be an overreaction, it definitely works. The other stuff about forced marches is probably too much.
I think this one is thematically very strong, with the snakey suggestion theme and all. It feels like something I'd see in a movie, something used by an evil vizier or a dapper magespy. It's existence seems to suggest stories that would take part in, and that is a great achievement.
I'm not quite as over the moon about it's actual abilities, but I have to recommend this one just on how evocative it is.
I like archery gizmos, like the Quiver of Spiderkind, that let archers do the kind of stuff fantastic archers have been doing throughout history and literature. So I want to like this one.
And I think I do, although it rides a little rough as it were. I agree with what Steve said, that the circumstances whereas you would need to shoot at a target that you can
Thematically it's a bit bland. It's a watch that alters time, like dozens of similar items throughout pop culture. So that feels like a chestnut. The mechanic is refined pretty well, it's not confusing or convoluted. I feel like the 25% chance is meaningless because a player will simply never wind it that second time. A much smaller chance of failure every time it's wound means it won't become a daily-use item. I don't hate it, but I'm not excited about it.
Those Elementals do look great (although I agree that I don't like legless minis, DDM did that way too often in later sets). However, the Earth Elementals bear more than a passing resemblance to Prism Break (of the Skylanders mini-centric videogame), right down to the same krytonite-color crystal protruding from their bodies. Great minds think alike.