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Bleah. I get it. J.J. loves the Beastie Boys. I love Motorhead, but if I were producing a movie franchise I wouldn't try to shoehorn one of their songs into every movie.
Good points: Looks like we've finally got original antagonists and new aliens. There's some of the wry humor I expect from Star Trek.
Bad points: This looks like Fast & Furious in space. A whole lot of blockbuster action movie, not a lot of Star Trek except for the trappings. It looks better than the first two, but I think I'll pass on this until it gets to Netflix.
Why it's bad: Low-budget action flick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Directed by Albert Pyun whose career is filled with terrible movies, the only one of note in his career being The Sword and the Sorcerer. This movie has terrible dialogue, a predictable plot, and is full of 80s action movie cliches while taking itself way too seriously. Special effects are terrible. Van Damme proved his less-than-adequate martial arts skills here by blinding another actor while filming a fight scene. 14% on Rotten Tomatoes (where they erroneously list the title as "Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg, for some reason).
Why I love it: This is a Road Warrior level post-apocalypse chase movie, only on foot. I could run a game based on the plot of this movie and make it fun and exciting. So many knives. So. Many. Knives.
Also, I met the parents of the actor who plays the movie's antagonist. They ran a little candy store in a shopping center in Hawaii. Only reason I found out was because they had a full-sized movie poster on the door to the shop. They were so proud of their son. They also had a signed promotional photo of him on a shelf behind the register, in full costume holding a great big knife. It was heart-warming and funny all at the same time.
I didn't. I was too busy sitting there thinking "Why do you have a beaker of an experimental chemical sitting open on a tabletop?! It could get contaminated! Put a lid on that thing!"
The monster round is always my favorite, so I'm going to give some feedback on all the entries. Basic run-through using the monster creation rules to see if the numbers line up, then general thoughts and critique. I'm running down the list as I find them. This is the fourteenth monster entry I've read. Only one more to go!
Basic Stats [+: high for CR; =: within CR range; -: low for CR]
Abilities for this thing are across the board. Hit points are high. AC is spot on. Damage is awfully low. Saves are okay, but still outside average ranges. DR is in keeping with the monster's thematics, but I have to agree with some other commenters that perhaps turn resistance should have been considered.
I'm not sold on the name. I see the tie-in, but neologisms for a word from another language seems a bit overdone. I feel for you though, since beheaded is already taken. The descriptive text is excellent and sets a really creepy tone for a first encounter with this thing.
Steal head is a creepy and cool ability and ties in neatly with the creature's theme.
Summon guillotine. This thing is a bit wonky. First, it should probably be a supernatural ability, rather than spell-like. Second, I'm also of the opinion that it shouldn't take a round to summon. It's tactically unsound for it not to be summoned prior to an encounter, but having a ghostly guillotine hanging around when the party comes wandering by will certainly clue them in to something not-at-all right in the area. Perhaps make it a swift action following a pin that it could use X times per day.
I'm also puzzled as to why it doesn't have the grab ability. It already has natural attacks, so that seems like a no-brainer (budumtiss!). It would be able to damage its foe and establish a grapple in the same round, making its ultimate attack that much smoother to accomplish.
The background text is useful and gives the monster a solid tie to Golarion. Galt isn't my favorite place, but the idea of one of these things working with a desperate band of followers is intriguing.
Overall, I like the theme and idea of the creature. It's got some rough edges, but I like it. I don't know that I like it enough to bump out any of the five monsters already contending for my four votes though. Good job, and good luck to you.
The monster round is always my favorite, so I'm going to give some feedback on all the entries. Basic run-through using the monster creation rules to see if the numbers line up, then general thoughts and critique. I'm running down the list as I find them, so this is the eighth monster entry I've seen. (Past the halfway point! Hurrah!)
Basic Stats [+: high for CR; =: within CR range; -: low for CR]
Hit points are a little low, especially for a predator that will be in the PCs' faces dishing out damage. The DR takes up the slack for that, assuming that a party fighting one of these things doesn't carry any nonmagical weapons, though since this would be a challenging encounter for 6th level PCs, there's bound to be a few in the mix somewhere. AC, attacks, and damage are on par. DC doesn't directly factor in, but I'll have more to say on this when discussing the abilities, because...damn. Saves are a little low, especially Will. It does have SR to make up for that, and a bonus against mind-affecting effects, so that does provide a little balance.
I'm not sold on the name. It does its job, but it doesn't really flow well. I'd say go with "arcanavore," but that was the name of the magic weapon I entered for last year's RPG Superstar. The description works well. I'm alarmed and intrigued.
Now, I can make an argument as to why this is an aberration. It's a weird, scaly, three-eyed hunting cat thing that eats magic. However, it has animal intelligence. I'd say there's an argument, both thematically and mechanically, to make it a magical beast instead. I'd even bump up the Int to at least a 3.
On to the abilities. First, absorb magic. Nothing new here, but it's a good ability and fits thematically.
Consume magic. Remember the two pluses I put under "DC" up top? Yeah, those were for this. On average, the dispel check for this thing will be 23, which is more than enough for any spells a party facing this will likely have on them. It's not even a contest. The mechanic may as well not be a mechanic unless we're talking about a higher level group facing a pack of these things.
Magic sense. I'm going to be nitpicky here. Detect magic doesn't allow the caster to see magic auras. That's arcane sight, which seems like the go-to spell for a third eye that can see magic.
The Mana Wastes seem a perfect fit for this thing, and I could see them being a major predator there, so solid points for the Golarion tie-in. I'm a little confused as to the text talking about them tracking people with magic. How? The range of its magic sensing vision isn't listed. Since it isn't, I presume that it can only see auras up to 60 feet away, which is the maximum range of detect magic. So either the flavor text is wrong, or the mechanics haven't been fully explained. Either way, if they could track magic-using/wearing creatures by scent, that would fit the thematic and be pretty cool as well.
All in all, this is a solid entry, but it's not one of my favorites. I still have another seven entries to read, however, so we'll see how things go. Good job, and good luck to you.
The monster round is always my favorite, so I'm going to give some feedback on all the entries. Basic run-through using the monster creation rules to see if the numbers line up, then general thoughts and critique. I'm running down the list as I find them, so this is the first monster entry I've seen.
Basic Stats [+: high for CR; =: within CR range; -: low for CR]
Everything is on par for a monster of CR 9, except for the average damage output, which is high. That's not a deal-breaker by any means, because creatures of the dragon type are typically tough customers no matter their CR.
I like the name, it's evocative and immediately clues me in on what I might be seeing. The description works well, though I have to wonder how it sees with no eyes. I'm imagining drones in the swarm whose job it is to act as eyes, sitting in the sockets and keeping lookout, though how they communicate what they see to the dragon remains a mystery.
The aura is a nice touch, but the penalties seem a bit much for a non-magical effect.
I'm noting a lack of the dragon's typical tail slap attack. It seems odd, since it presumably still has its tail and it retains all the other attacks of a dragon of this size. I'm hoping it wasn't left out to keep the damage output down, but if it's a blatant omission that's not so great either.
I like the concept of the breath weapon, as it's like bees spilling forth from their hive to defend themselves against attackers. The nauseating effect is a nice touch. Given that this is its big, showy attack, it still seems lacking somehow. If the clinging insects inflicted continuous damage over another round or two, that might have clinched it for me.
The low Int doesn't bother me, as it seems that we have a hive mind running the show rather than the original dragon's intellect, so that's cool.
I appreciate the Worldwound connection. There's a lot to work with there. Unfortunately, I don't think you did quite enough with it. As has already been mentioned, given the risks faced at the Worldwound, you would think someone would have investigated this thing, put forth theories as to its origins, something. A little more depth on the ecology of the thing would have gone a long way. I like the idea of some extraplanar insect hunting young dragons, infecting them, and creating a parasitic/symbiotic relationship with the dragon getting the short end of the stick.
Overall, my impressions are positive, but I'm not sure I'm sold on this being a Superstar submission. I'll have to see what the remaining fourteen hold for me. Best of luck to you.
Finally done. Here we go.
GRIGORI RASPUTIN CR 17
Male middle-aged human mesmerist (cult master) 18
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +14
Aura unholy aura (DC 22)
AC 26, touch 22, flat-footed 26 (+4 armor, +4 deflection, +4 insight, +4 luck [touch only], +4 natural)
hp 192 (18d8+108)
Fort +16; Ref +17; Will +28; +4 vs. disease
Defensive Abilities stitched soul, towering ego +8; SR 25 vs. good
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk dagger +13/+8/+3 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged mwk Nagant M1895 revolver +14/+9/+4 (1d8/×4)
Special Attacks bold stare (allure, disorientation, sapped magic), hypnotic stare (-3)
Mesmerist Spells Known (CL 18th; concentration +30)
6th (4/day)—power word blind, project image (DC 24), true seeing, waves of ecstasy (DC 26)
5th (7/day)—joyful rapture, mass castigate (DC 25), mass synesthesia (DC 23), mind fog (DC 25), primal regression (DC 25)
4th (7/day)—dominate person (DC 24), enervation, freedom of movement, restoration, serenity (DC 24)
3rd (7/day)—confusion (DC 23), dispel magic, displacement, greater onieric horror (DC 21), terrible remorse (DC 23), vampiric touch
2nd (7/day)—]i]agonizing rebuke[/i] (DC 20), catatonia, glitterdust (DC 20), hold person (DC 22), levitate, silence(DC 20), touch of idiocy
1st (8/day)—anticipate peril, beguiling gift (DC 21), burst of adrenaline, healing thief, murderous command (DC 21), psychic reading, ray of enfeeblement (DC 19)
0 (at will)—bleed (DC 20), detect magic, detect psychic significance, lullaby (DC 20), read magic, unwitting ally (DC 20)
Before Combat Within the Thrice-Tenth presbytery (area H6), Rasputin enjoys the benefits of the World Engine's unholy aura and insight bonus to his AC. When faced with combat, Rasputin casts anticipate peril, expeditious retreat, freedom of movement, levitate, and true seeing. Once enemies are in sight, he casts displacement for additional protection before entering combat.
During Combat Rasputin begins combat by catching as many opponents as possible in a mind fog, then attempts to hinder opponents with waves of ecstasy or mass castigate, and turns foes against one another with terrible remorse and murderous command. He will leave melee to his cohort and any other allies in the area if possible. Should he be forced into melee, he will cast defensively, using spells like greater onieric horror or agonizing rebuke to rebuff his attackers, and quickened healing thief on wounded opponents in the hopes of siphoning aid intended for the enemy.
Morale On the precipice of claiming his mother’s mythic power, Rasputin relies on his stitched soul to preserve his life, and fights to the death again and again until slain permanently.
Base Statistics Without the benefits provided by the World Engine, Rasputin's statistics are AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 18; Fort +12, Ref +13, Will +24
Str 9, Dex 11, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 26
Base Atk +13; CMB +12; CMD 22
Feats Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, DiehardB, Expanded Arcana, Great Fortitude, Greater Spell Focus (enchantment), Iron Will, LeadershipB, Lightning Reflexes, Quicken Spell, Spell Focus (enchantment), Toughness
Skills Bluff +29, Diplomacy +33, Heal +12, Intimidate +29, Knowledge (arcana) +16, Knowledge (nobility) +16, Knowledge (planes) +16, Knowledge (religion) +20, Perception +14, Perform (dance) +12, Sense Motive +24, Spellcraft +16, Use Magic Device +29
Languages Church Slavonic, Common, Russian
SQ faithful followers, false healing (11/day, 2d8+8 hp or 1d4 ability dmg, 18 hours), fanatical devotion, insidious personality +9, manifold tricks (5), master tricks (avenge me, die for me, free in body, vision of blood), mesmerist tricks (DC 27; double, extol, false flanker, linked reaction, psychosomatic surge, spectral smoke)
Gear mwk dagger, mwk Nagant M1895 revolver with 21 metal cartridges, amulet of natural armor +4, belt of physical perfection +2, bracers of armor +4, headband of mental prowess +4 (Wis, Cha), mantle of spores, slippers of cloud walking
Stitched Soul (Su) Rasputin’s soul is stitched to his body with threads of fate, and he clings tenaciously to life. He gains Diehard as a bonus feat. In addition, when first reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to or greater than his current Con score, Rasputin dies, but he springs back to life 1d4 rounds later as if the target of a resurrection spell. If killed a second time, the Mad Monk again comes back to life 1d6 rounds later, as if the target of a raise dead spell (upon his return, he loses 50% of his remaining unused spell slots as if they had been used to cast spells). Only after Rasputin is slain for a third time do his soul’s stitches finally unravel from his corpse, releasing his malignant spirit into the ether.
Note: With Leadership as a bonus feat provided by his class, Rasputin gains a cohort. The logical choice for this role would be Serafina, but it could also be filled by one of the Brothers Three, or a high-ranking Russian general (a 17th level fighter or or other martial class would fit the role, with appropriate equipment for a Russian soldier as described in the adventure).
Sources: Advanced Players Guide (Expanded Arcana feat), Ultimate Equipment (mantle of spores and slippers of cloud walking), Pathfinder Adventure Path #71 Reign of Winter: Rasputin Must Die!
She killed someone (well, that's what she thinks.) It was up close, personal, and someone that she knew and liked. That's called emotional trauma. That she's not thinking like a gamer playing a survival horror game is fine with me. Kudos to her for still being able to keep it together for her family as much as she has thus far.
Here's mine. I'll try to get some feedback in on items tomorrow sometime.
Alternately, the field can be activated to repel rather than attract. Attacks from weapons made of the aforementioned metals suffer a 20% miss chance, including natural attacks from creatures primarily made of such metals, like iron golems. The magnetic field can be used up to 10 rounds each day. These rounds need not be consecutive. Switching from one field to the other is a swift action.
Finally, the wearer can expend the remaining rounds of the armor's daily allotment to generate a powerful magnetic pulse. This is a standard action that does not draw attacks of opportunity. Any creature carrying, made of, or wearing at least 10 pounds of appropriate metal within 15 feet is the target of a bull rush. The CMB for this combat maneuver is +11, with an additional +2 for every round of use expended beyond the first (maximum +29). A bullrushed creature that would be pushed into a square occupied by a solid object or obstacle is instead knocked prone in the square before it.
My only major snark at this point is that some of the items on my personal Top 32 were cut in the final cull, leaving me to reevaluate my list. That, and certain items are still in it which leave me scratching my head, but I suppose there's no accounting for taste. It's definitely going to be an interesting final run. Looking forward to tomorrow's results.
It's okay. I often pine for the good old days, where there were no solid crafting rules, and you just had to have the DM give you a list of archaic ingredients to hunt down--usually hacked off parts off of monsters you killed or weird things found in extremely distand and dangerous places--and combining them in a long, drawn-out, and typically infuriating ritualistic fashion before losing XP to gain your item.
Just remember, people, your item isn't necessarily bad just because it was taken out in a cull. I'm having to revise my personal Top 32 list because items I thought were worthy to advance were culled. Public opinion can be fickle.
Utilize the Critique Your Item thread, and those who are willing to give you honest feedback. Learn from your mistakes, learn from the mistakes of others, and pay attention to what people think makes a winner. Come back stronger next year.
Jason Dandy wrote:
Who said they're being downvoted for the word "filigree?" I certainly didn't. I just snark about it because after you read some words time and time again, over and over, they cease to have any meaning. Just because a person snarks about an item, it doesn't follow that they're never voting for the item. I, and most voters, I'd like to think, vote for the better of each pair, whether or not they have to groan over an overused word or turn of phrase, such as "this item is prized by...".
Also, I don't believe I'm voting for the best items. Hopefully no one believes that. What you should be confident in is that you're voting for the best item out of a pair. Every time. That's what makes the system work. Sometimes I may be voting between two of the worst items in the contest, but the better of the two always gets the vote, whether or not it has filigree on it.
For those of you feeling disappointment and frustration, I can empathize.
This competition has been going on for 9 seasons now. I've entered all but one. I've never made it to the Top 32. I'm bitter about it every year. Every single one. In the years since the public voting on items started, there have been items in the Top 32 that I've looked at askance, not seeing what the judges saw in them. Some of those designers went on to do some really good stuff in later rounds, so I'll stick with the judges' take on them.
I was chosen as an alternate in 2013, which was probably the worst year of all, as I was literally one bad case of stomach flu or car accident away from being in the competition, which really would not be how I'd like to get in. Worse yet, one of the judges messaged me to praise the archetype I'd submitted for round 2, saying that they saw a lot of potential. Then I was actively wishing for someone to get the stomach flu, and I'm not proud of that.
My point is that it is natural to feel bad about it. You may even want to rail at the system or ponder the "unfair advantages" some entrants have. (Which they don't. A few people workshopping items together isn't going to be able to skew voting with the system that's in place.) However, what you do after this is entirely up to you. You can continue to be bitter or you can be professional about it. Ask for criticism on your item at the appropriate time. Plenty of people on the boards will happily comply, including some of the judges. Take what they say into consideration. If you're too attached to your item as it is, and can't allow yourself to find fault in it, then you need to step back and detach yourself. It's not your baby. It's a piece of game design, in which there is always room for improvement in some way or another. Pay attention to what people praise about the winners, as well as what they dislike about them. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the successes and missteps of others. Come back stronger next season.
Your item didn't make it. If you let that be the sum of what you take away from this experience, then you're missing out on a lot of potential growth as a designer and, I think, as a person.
The Raven Black wrote:
This is the snark thread. I'll snark on your snark if I snarking well want to. That's what you get for posting unacceptable snark before I've had my coffee. Snark.
Eric Morton wrote:
Soooo many items this year could have been salvaged if their visuals weren't so derpy looking. Why can't your item let me do the coolest mechanical thing in the history of the game without covering me in purple polka dots and surrounding me in an aura of continuous circus clown music?
*jots down notes for polka-dotted circus apparatus*
The Venture Bros.? Yes, I highly recommend it.
Mike Franke wrote:
I'm guessing that one won't win over many voters...
Seriously though, most times there's an item devoted to Cayden Cailean, it's a mug or has something to do with alcohol. Why is there never a magical version of his favored weapon? What about items that focus on his love of freedom, or accepting challenges, or bravery? It's like people take one look at his name and say "Oh! God of booze!" and that's that.
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Thomas, here. Eat a Snickers...
You would think with all the jokes about it, the filigree would stop. But no. Everything is still covered in filigree. When it's not filigree, it's runes. When it's not runes, it's the blood of an orphan.
I'm going to make a cursed item where anything it touches is infected and begins growing filigree on any available surface, including people.
"Someone cast remove curse, quickly! She's caught the filigree!"