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How come Neil always goes first when it comes to the reviews. Does the submission date end, all the new entries flash up on the screen and the other judges head to the pub while Neil sits in a darkened room, his face illuminated by the glare from the screen and his table covered with open source books?
This is just so much the best entry in the round by such a long way it's not even close.
I agree with Will Cooper's points, so I won't repeat.
I very much like the use of the Design Blog terrain. Even if Sean/Vic had "charged" you the word count for this, I think it's still good to weave in other articles and material. Too much published adventure material is one-shot, especially from articles like the Design Blogs and AP appendixes that aren't actually linked to a published encounter.
I'm looking forward to your adventure proposal!
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Agreed, if I was going to do a dragon airship at all, I'd have gone with an old Shory one in Shaguang. You also tie in the dragon element there as dragons and the dragon mythos fit better into the Dragon Empires than Inner Sea.
You're the Tian-Xa dude of this year's RPGSS. Your Riders of the Black Steppe made me go out and buy the Dragon Empires Gazetteer and read it cover to cover.
So why is this obviously Asian inspired encounter not set in Chu Ye with the ogre miniatures as Oni who are the oppressive slave masters of the bath house?
The unfortunate thing is that Bob's infractions were nowhere near as bad as some of the other competitors during round 2 (albeit they didn't make it to round 3). I understand why the judges did this, and there were repeated warnings in round 2 about this.
I hope Bob bares no ill will and holds his head high on getting this far in the competition, to which he must be given his due credit.
No question, this is great. First your Raiders, now this, I think you have great talent and I do hope to see you published one way or the other. You have my vote.
Indeed, you must be the favourite at this stage and it would be a crying shame if you didn't follow this up with an awesome encounter and cruise into the finals.
The Laru gets my vote. I don't have a problem with an ambush monster. Granted you don't need as many of them in a Bestiary as you need straight up in your face monsters, but they still have a role.
The best thing about it is the background writing, as Clark says. I don't think that should be discounted. The end goal is writing a module after all, stats are good, but we want a good writer to win the contest.
Neil Spicer wrote:
The Lovecraft genre is almost always a hit with people. In some ways, it's wise that you reached for that...in terms of fostering more voter support. In other ways, I'm somewhat disappointed
This monster has a lot of errors, scoring 0/4 from the judges. Neil is right, in that lots of people like Lovecraftian monsters and that might win you the votes. I'd love to proudly state that I am a discerning punter and won't fall for it... but...
... I actually like it. I think the core idea of a floating cancer is really good. I was wondering if the judges would comment about this being too close to the bone for the the family-friendly approach of Paizo (cf previous Sean/Ryan comments on dead babies), but seeing as they haven't I must assume it is ok.
What else do I like? Well, the CON damage is nasty, and fits in well with the horror theme. CON damage is one of the scariest things that a PC can face. I hate the auto-hit swarm mechanic. The "ooze but not an ooze" is also poor, should have just dropped that and gone for a full aberation. I'm also not sure what "use magic" means, is that a thing? None of the judges have commented so maybe I'm missing a rule here.
I've giving it a vote, but only just.
I'm voting for this because it is well put together and well designed. I like the idea of designing "the worg" for svirfneblin - I agree with Clark, this is a good goal, and I think you were aiming for that even if it wasn't as explicit as it could have been.
My only problem is it's the sort of monster that DMs who are jerks get a kick out of using. You know the sort of DM who would lord it over the "you don't feel the bite" ability and then when you finally do detect the creature and you all start the fight on 1/2 HP, he would cackle with glee as he screws you over with the vertigo pulse in the surprise round. It's probably not a monster I would use as DM, nor one I would enjoy as a player, but that doesn't mean it isn't put together well.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
A CR7 threat is going to be fighting Wizards with between 20 and 30hp. 6d6 will do an average of 21 points. So there's an excellent chance that on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd bite, the Wizard ceases to exist. And there's no save vs. the disintegration. Wow, is that overpowered.
But it only does the 6d6 extra damage on a crit and doesn't have improved crit, so that's only an average of 21/20 = 1 point of damage. The criticism here should really be that one of it's main damage sources is massively spikey in damage/round, which can be a pain when DMing as a lot of the time it will suck damage wise. Lets say it gets 4 rounds, chances are it will not crit at all. Yes, the disintegration (which remember only happens on a killing-crit) needs a save, but that's really a very minor tweak.
Anyway, I really like the creature and it gets my vote. I think it bags a whole lot of mage-hunting flavour and abilities together well. I don't think it is overpowered at all.
In addition I think the prose in the last three paras is def some of the better prose from the entries in this round, and seeing as the end goal is writing a large amount of prose, this scores points in my boook.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
To me that's a good thing, not a bad thing. Trolls, gorgons, skeletons, rust monsters, these all have a "you have to solve the monster" element that has become iconic to the individual monsters. Pros can happily sit down with a newbie and say, "Yeah, I brought a mace along. You need to use that on these guys... watch and learn kid".
Anyway, this is a cool monster. It gets my vote.
Sam Polak wrote:
This ability alone gets my vote. It's clearly what you started with, and then the rest of the monster was built around that. That's not a problem as the execution of wrapping this ability into the rest of the monster is pretty much perfect.
Creativity + Execution = Win.
Having just read all the entries, this is the one I like the best. Great concept.
I haven't crunched all the stats yet, but the Redcap (which has been around for a long time) certainly sets a precedent for little fey dudes that cause massive damage on their melee attacks. Besides, part of the fey humour of the monster is mocking those who underestimate their martial prowess so I'm OK with it being a melee brawler rather than a spellcaster as SKR suggests.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Here's the thing about spells... they basically only have ten possible "costs"/power levels... 0-level, 1st, 2nd, and so on. By comparison, a wondrous item can have a cost/power level anywhere from 1gp to 200,000 gp. That limited variance of spells really restricts what you can do with them.
I disagree with this. Spell level (and of course class list) is only one "cost" from a spell. Other costs are:- casting time
- material components
- (to a limited extent) verbal and somatic components
You can also modify the core effect of a spell by tweaking the levers such as duration, damage, etc.
Besides, the judges have said on numerous occasions that the cost of the item is not the key deciding factor in "winning" submissions. Generally the price has to be in the right ball park, but they are looking for innovative design above accurate pricing.
I think the core difference between spells and Wondrous Items is that, in general, spells have transient temporary effects (with a few exceptions such as permanacy, contingency, and to some extent 1 hour/level spells), and Wondrous Items often have permanent effects such as the bag of holding, folding boat, goggles of night etc.
The other key difference is the visuals. Spells you generally wave your hands, there is some transient visuals and then something happens. Wondrous Items have a core visual element (the item!) that is linked in some way to the effect.
Presumably exploring both of these design spaces then (permanency, visuals) are ones the judges are very much interested in, as these are the spaces that spells tend to not cross into.
This got one of my votes too, but I'm confused about the alignment. They seem strangely well organised for a "Chaotic" group. I realise there is the whole Gorum thing and he is CN, but still.
I'm also curious how a group that tends towards the noble savage portrayal of Orcs gets on with the burning evil that is the Golarion orcs of Belkzen. Granted they are "quite amoral", but beyond that they seem a bunch of consummate professional who frankly just get the job done. If I was a native tribe Belkzen I'm probably think they were a bunch of soft-bellied human-loving scum, partially ruled by a woman <spit>.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
This organisation is not in the Pathfinder Wiki. So are we saying that all RPGSS have to have purchased every source book product? I think that would be unfair. If it was in the link above, or in the Inner Sea Guide then that would surely be a strike out, but as it is not, some benefit of the doubt must be granted.
I agree that this is certainly not the best organisation in the round. But it does have some interesting potential. The fact that a published organisation taps into similar themes kinda shows that...
Not being a Dragon Empires expert, I was also a little lost. I fear that you may have lost a few votes there, which would be unfair.
Having said that, the tightness of the writing, the cool touches such as the name policy for riders (works for me more than Neil), and the very enthusiastic comments from the judges (who know Dragon Empires better than me) convinced me to vote for you.
I loved the speakbreaker gauntlets, best magic item of the round. But I'm afraid I'm only voting based on the contents of each round and this is just a little too out-there. It doesn't fit with the rest of the tone of Golarion. It might work in an off-the-wall Faerun home campaign, where the PCs are all 17th level, and form an intercontinental rock band with the power of magic.
I might still change my mind before the round is out. The spellbreaker gauntlets might punch through my barriers and steal a vote. But it's not working for me right now...
Ryan Dancey wrote:
I'm not a Golarion expert but I have read the Inner Sea Guide cover to cover and lots of the other supplements also. I actually thought there was a lack of cool mercenary companies in Golarion. Compared to say, Song of Ice and Fire, I thought that merc companies were an oppertunity for this round and expected to see a few of them.
There are many flaws in this organisation. The lich as mentioned, and indeed why Pharasma? The fact they aren't too antagonistic. The fact that they are basically described as CN, but listed as N. The lack of detail in their immediate goals and plans. (Step 1: ???, Step 2: Restore the prophecies!). So my head says I should vote for something else instead.
But still I like it. I really like the whole Age of Lost Omens angle that Golarion has, and I think the idea of living in a time where the prophecies have failed and the ship of destiny has no captain is one of the best parts about the backstory to Golarion. And I really like that you've taken that cool element and worked some more plot around it. Also I agree with Ryan, the idea of splinter groups or fanatical churches is a lot of fun (hence why Razmir is such a great setup).
So I'm voting for this one, despite the fact that some of the others it nudges in front of are more polished.
I think this a cool organisation. I know they are antagonistic and can be used in that way, but I can also see them being used in a 3-way potentially becoming temporary allies of the PCs to fight a greater evil that threatens both groups. They could then later betray the PCs as Bebtu shows her real hand.
Guns and Fantasy are always a tough balance. Too much and you stray into pure steampunk territory and it takes over the setting. Too little and, well, what's the point? I think the Paizo people recognise this as they have been consistent with the level of steampunk presented in Golarion and I think this matches their tone.
Anyway, gets my vote.
I didn't like this at first, but it grew on me. I've have liked to have seen more exploration of the evil side of the organisation. Andoran's free slaves, sure, and this organisation is a front for some nastiness, sure. So skip to the evil and tell me what they really do. I'd also have liked to have seen them be a bit more evil than "wants to gain influence in the senate". The blacksmith's guild wants influence ... doesn't make them evil.
But it does have the potential to sucker in PCs. Ok, everyone knows that "the person that hired you is actually evil" is a terrible cliche, but you could use this in an interesting way as a slow reveal as the PCs find out more about who they are working for and are faced with the choice between acting against the railroad and foiling their nefarious plans, but leaving all those slaves.
Anyway, it gets my 3rd vote.
I'm voting for this one ... I think it's quite cool.
Not sure if you've read them, but this is very similar to the His Dark Material trilogy, (the first part released in the US as "The Golden Compass"), where humans have a special daemon spirit attached to them and in rare cases this can be severed.
I'm not sure I like the fact that they hate all summoners. Presumably they hate only summoners who summon against the will of the creature. For example many summoners have a pleasant relationship with their eidolon, kit them out with magic weapons, take advice and discuss things with them, etc, more partnership than master and slave... can the Unfettered see the difference or have they become fanatics?
I'm quite new to the Paizo boards n'stuff and found out about the existence of RPGSS literally two hours or so before the submission deadline. I was like WOOOT!!
So I read the rules, and Sean's advice thread, and then hastily came up with this, submitted with about 30 mins to go or something...
Keg of Unlimited Ale:
Keg of Unlimited Ale
Having read more threads later, I found out that beer items are among the things that are not liked. So I'm keen to find out if my item was rejected primarily because of the theme, or because of the mechanics, or something else.
Many thanks for this and all the board presence you guys have.
DnD has helped me learn a lot of new words.
Oh man - you've just brought back a memory that I had totally forgotten.
I was 8 years old when I started playing D&D and one of the first things I had to do was look up the words Constitution, Dexterity and Charisma. You'd actually be surprised these days how many people don't know what dexterity means...
I think this is a pretty cool item, it has that iconic feel to it, is cinematic and to the point in what it does. As Ryan says, it could cause problems in combat. As a DM I think I would worry a bit if one of my players bought this as I'd have to make up a whole bunch of house rules to cover the items that he and Sean R. talk about.
Perhaps if it produced only horizontal stones it would be easier to manage in that fashion, and less SIAC-like (price and name would need changing). It would still be useful for navigating all sorts of terrain, and still have that iconic spell thematic.
I like it either way. I think people that like the Immovable Rod would like this.
Sean McGowan wrote:
Oh, I see. I read the item's text as (A) always prevent the Mind Control and (B) become dazed unless you pass the Will save. I can see how you read it as passing the save means you don't get (A). It's a little unclear.
Sam Zeitlin wrote:
They're the judges obviously, but I think I disagree with all four points above. I think it's a cool item, but I don't like the name.
As a PC you have lots of ways you can be attacked. Hit points + AC are the ones that new players focus on, but smart players buy cloaks of resistance. Why? Because things that can hurt you don't just come in on AC. Smart spellcasters run freedom of movement as another form of defence.
This item offers additional defensive choices for those sorts of players, at a price, but a reasonable one. I think it's pretty neat. I'm not sure I agree with Sean McG saying it's weaker at higher levels. I think its more powerful at higher levels as the penalty for missing a round or being MC'ed can be much more substantial.
As well as being mechanically sound, it's a cool concept, so I like it.
I think this item is pretty cool. From a player point of view, one of the first things I would look at is the price, and for 22.5K I say "would my party benefit from this?" and the answer is yes. As Sam says, it's perfect for a mid to high level barbarian or fighters to protect their party and is cinematic too.
It's also quite interesting in that it dramatically raises the importance of the placement of your characters, adding more strategy to the battlemat.
EDIT: Now read through all 32 items and I think this is my favourite!
Ryan Dancey wrote:
From reading this, and the comments in the Bottled Time, it seems like certain themes which are common (eg, alcohol, time, smoking) are almost auto-rejects.
I understand that it's not as simple as that, eg time items often duplicate haste and are thus SIAC, and clearly these two items made it into top32, however there didn't seem to be much discussion on all the pre-competition threads that you are effectively taking a -2 circumstance modifier on your submission if you pick a common theme. It's not as if time and beer are not present in the campaign setting - both themes have a god that directly embodies that theme. So I'm a little surprised that the judges take this approach.
Anyway, onto the item. The best thing about this item I think is the flavour text and the writing which is tight and creative - as Sean McG says. Will be fun to read later round submissions from this designer I think.