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Besmara

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RPG Superstar 2015 Marathon Voter. 4,852 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Marathon Voter 2015

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
None of these mean the tomahawk's a bad item. On the contrary, it's a tight example of competent design. The problem is that the tomahawk didn't show any of your ambition or imagination. It didn't sell the work you put into it well enough to make up for its flaws or shortcomings.

I do appreciate the comments. I should have done more research into the competition before entering, but I only saw it with like a day left. You're spot on and I appreciate it. I was not especially ambitious--I generally don't like magic items, so, they're probably my weakest area of Pathfinder knowledge (with maps, since I don't use them, right up there next, so I am probably not destined to win this contest). I do very much want to work in the RPG industry, and I will try again next year (after spending the year learning about the things I don't like), but I'd ultimately rather be editing in the long run.


You know, I never noticed how awesome Swamp's Grasp was. Now I wish there was some way to combine your concepts with the White Haired Witch, so that I could just use the increasing reach of the hair instead of a polearm. I wonder if there are any good ways to get the White Haired Witch a Hex or two without having to multi-class Hexcrafter Magus.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Finally, know that I did not read any critiques of your item yet. These are all my first thoughts based only on the item itself, so, I apologize if I repeat things others have said already.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

I had this item in the upper middle of the pack--not in the top, but still solid. It was one of the best earthbreakers in the competitions, but not really one of my favorites overall.

My first reaction was: "Thundering? Really?" Honestly, it's just one of the worst magic item properties out there. Something that only works on a crit (and only adds a little bit of damage)? No thanks.

I like the effect to a degree. I enjoy the creation of difficult terrain, but it's just a line, which means, unless you're in a narrow hallway or whatever, you can just walk around it--or across it (if you can position it well) at minor cost. It's a little underwhelming. And the trip thing...I don't know, I just don't think combat maneuvers are that valuable by the time 20k worth of items is floating around in the party. CMD scales REALLY fast--too fast--and tripping is such a weak control.

Plus, if you've seen my other critiques, I don't like limited daily resources. 3/day is just not enough, especially since the effect is just not that impressive. I like the idea of Thundering triggering on a trip crit--it's subtle and clever--but, not enough to save it in my mind.

If my party found the item, we'd probably sell it, but anyone who specialized in Earthbreakers would probably use it on the way to the store. It's cool, just limited and not worth the price tag--and yes, the near worthless Thundering property is part of that. I think a weapon that makes difficult terrain is awesome, but 3/day in a line instead of a burst, I just don't think it's worth this much gold.

That said, your writing is solid, the template looks good at a quick glance, it is overall pretty professional--I could imagine this in print, so, you definitely deserve to be in the top 32, even if I wouldn't have put you there because of taste reasons.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Blackwaltzomega wrote:

Guns exist. Archery isn't practical no matter what technique you use. It's a hobby.

Honestly, frigging awesome-looking trick shooting is arguably much more practical in this day and age than the techniques that let people pierce plate armor with their arrows required them to train from childhood and DEFORM THEIR BONES.

You know, actually, I'd like to see what arrows can do against modern body armor designed so specifically to stop bullets. I know kevlar doesn't help a ton against knife wounds, so, I wonder if arrows would fare better than bullets or worse.


1) The halfling can attack the kobold with 20% concealment

2) The halfling can see the kobold and suffers no concealment (but does suffer ranger penalties)

3) This is the same as #2


The weapon's base damage is added again. In the case of a Warpriest with sacred weapon, the base damage scales with your level, so you'd be dealing an extra 1d8 at 6th.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

I liked this item quite a bit, and had it as one of the best "maybes." The powers were cool and evocative, and were things I would enjoy being able to do (especially on, say, my Hydrokineticist, though I wish it were Mithral for that purpose).

I know there are a few formatting errors, but, fixing an italics here and there isn't so bad. There are a few more severe issues that held it down, though, in my opinion. First, while I love the idea of it flowing on and off from 10' away, the command word part scares me a bit, because there's nothing making the armor "mine." If my enemies heard me say the command word, they could just command it off of me--or worse, on to them. Hell, even if they didn't, a simple UMD check could theoretically strip me if they knew what kind of armor I had.

Oh, and you should clarify earlier that the command word takes a move action rather than its normal action (i.e. standard). Additional minor nitpicks: can you still smell, taste, or feel in "melt" form? Would a blind man regain their vision? I would have used a phrase like, "the wearer retains their normal senses" rather than "the wearer can see and hear normally." I think Hydraulic Torrent should really be in the requirements, since Gush can semi-duplicate it.

Anyway, for me, the real thing holding it back from being a high keep is the 3/day limitation. This, well, it's probably my own personal thing, but I just hate such limited resources, especially for something so cool. Couldn't there at least have been 3 uses of Melt and 3 of Gush? It bugs me when Pathfinder is turned into a tedious resource management simulation. I don't want to jealously guard my uses of such cool powers in case I really need them more later.

But still, personal crazy aside, I think this was awesome. If my group found this, we'd keep it for sure. The real beauty is that, you don't even need to wear it all the time--it can maintain its utilitarian uses just sitting in a back pack somewhere. Whoever the party needs to have scout, for example, can toss it on and melt for a bit. Need to get the group across a gap, but don't want to spend spell slots on the heavy melee? No problem, just have them gush across. Even if there's more than one, toss it back and the guy on the other side can probably ready the command word to put it on even if you can't throw it completely across. If it was in the game, I can see some having it made, but, unfortunately, not a ton of people. It's a useful item, but it's not so useful that everyone would order one all the time. There are lots of 20kish utility items that are just as useful, so, choosing this one out of a big pile is going to be more rare. I think it would mostly see purchase with those into the roleplaying aspect of not wearing armor most of the time so that they can don it in a flash.

Overall, good job. It's up there, but not quite the top in my esteem.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

This item was a maybe for me. I don't especially like the fact that it deals damage to the user--I think hit points are handled strangely enough that you don't necessarily need to tie drawing a blade along your skin with actual HP damage--but that's hardly enough to vote it down. I do like the interesting visual for how the Neutralize Poison actually works, but it feels fairly unreliable as the caster level is only 7th, and the price is so high, you likely won't be getting one until your teens, when poison DCs are likely in the 20s.

The DC 16 to neutralize an enemy's poison is also pretty weak. I do understand that's how magic item saves work, but, well, that's why I generally avoid items with saves. That effect is also kind of sloppy, because in the first paragraph, you use a standard action to draw the poison out, while in the second, it is assuming you can do it as part of a successful attack without actually saying you can. And it only lasts 1 round!? Yikes, that's weak.

I really like the ideas here, but the end result is just not very useful. Poisons I want to take and use are going to be too difficult to reliably neutralize, while the ones I can reliably neutralize are going to be too weak to matter (I won't need immunity to it, nor will enemies I fight be especially susceptible to it).

If my party found this item, we'd really want to keep it, but it's just worth too much money for how ineffective the magic item rules make it. We'd sell it, and I can't imagine anyone having one made. It's a shame because the concept is solid.


Pool strike is awful, avoid that at all costs.

Looking at your party, the Hospitaler can heal and tank. The gunslinger can DPS. The Monk is...there. You probably want some arcane utility, which, means the Magus could work, but the Wizard is likely best.

Marathon Voter 2015

Last divergence, I promise ;)

James Casey wrote:
I also would like to make throwing weapons a viable and competitive means of combat, but for the contest it has to be done in a "splashy" way, otherwise you fade in with the rest of the average "good for a magic item book" items. I use that term because that is how I would have classified your tomahawk. Good for a magic item book but not WOW.

This was the first year I saw the contest, and, well, since the prize was being published, I thought they were looking for something they could publish. It seems like people voting want it to be a step beyond that (though the top 32 are...not especially wow! to me, either). It was my mistake and I understand where I went wrong.

James Casey wrote:
I know giving different damage/effects for the murder diverges from your intent of KISS, but it makes the item unique and as I mentioned before, gives it a cinematic quality that is very popular in RPGSS. I must be honest, discussing it here has given me a few ideas and has inspired me to maybe do a different take on it.

All of that stuff sounds really cool, but, I have to admit, I don't really want magic items to have big flashy effects like that because, well, I hate magic items. This is getting too far off track, though. I'll talk about that in another thread on the main boards if such a discussion is desired.

If you want to take the inspiration an run with it, feel free. I don't mind.

Papasteve08 wrote:
2 - Sickles are not stupid weapons wielded by stupid players who don't know any better. Sickles are in fact, excellent choices for players who can only use simple weapons AND ARE ACTUALLY PRIMARILY MELEE CHARACTERS. Namely the rogue and ninja, who tend to benifit highly from the weapon finesse feat, which can only be applied to light, one handed weapons. (adds your dex bonus to hit instead of strength) What distinguishes this from a short sword which has essentially the same mechanics, (different damage type) is the ability to trip without getting tripped back if you make a bad roll. You can even use that weapon with some other feats that help you specialize in combat maneuvers (such as... trip, for example) and get really freaking good at tripping, with the only penalty for messing up being that you drop your weapon. (instead of being tripped yourself...) Also, that problem is easily remedied by purchasing a very inexpensive weapon cord, which allows you to retrieve your dropped or disarmed weapon as a swift action, instead of a move action.

I don't intend to be insulting or say that only stupid people wield sickles, but that doesn't mean it's not a trap. Plenty of smart people fall into traps. In fact, the trip property is just adding to the trap, in my opinion, because rogues and ninja are really bad at combat maneuvers. Hell, by the mid game, even normal fighters and other full BAB characters have trouble using Combat Maneuvers unless they put a great deal of effort into focusing on such things.

After the first few levels (before specific magic items can be found or made) Rogues and Ninja will only be able to reliably trip enemies that are such push overs, they should just be attacked normally and killed, rather than tripped.

Edit: Dual wielders, even rangers, that can routinely trip successfully, must be playing in very specific kinds of games quite different from what is expected. Having seen a few APs, for example, that would never fly in those.

And specifically in regards to the Thorn and Thicket, Rogues and Ninja generally do not use shields ;)

Papasteve08 wrote:
3 - Some of the critique I have seen against the stormcrow tomahawk is (imo) misplaced. That being said, I was generally unimpressed because it was so short. Give me something to read... While I respect your opinion of utility being most important, if it isn't interesting, voters won't care about it. It's nearly impossible to make something interesting in so few words. Just my 2 cents. Probably the wrong spot for it...

Yeah, I only really posted it here because I started commenting on items and didn't think it was fair not to let others comment on mine. I never actually saved an alternate, I just went through revisions, which cut the word count down and down until I was satisfied and everyone else was bored ;)

Edit: What I should have submitted was an item based on a Scythe one of my characters carried around. I was a Witch hyper specialized in the Slumber Hex, and I'd use my Scythe to Coup de Grace the enemies in their sleep. I called it the Dreamreaper.

The original wasn't a magic item or anything, just a plain regular item I had named. And I wasn't proficient in its use anyway, so it was just for sleep murder, but I bet I could have turned that into a Staff that functioned as a Scythe, carried some sleep spells (maybe that altered the sleep spells to have higher caps) and perhaps something that let me call up memories from the guy when I coup de graced them.


Shane LeRose wrote:

4 BONUS skill ranks.

Level 1. Take this feat and choose stealth. You put a rank in stealth and this feat grants a BONUS rank. You have two ranks in stealth.

Do the same each level after that until 4th (where the bonus' stop). You are level 4 with 8 RANKS in stealth (4 of which come from your own pool of skill points).

There are feats and prestige's you can qualify for much faster with this feat. You could write an entire optimization guide on where this would apply.

Uh, no. Absolutely nothing about this feat removes the normal limit on skill ranks (i.e. that no skill can have more ranks than your level).

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

Pyroclastic Spike
This item hooked me with cool imagery and its evocative name only to lose me when I thought about actually seeing it used in game. In the end, there's very little here other than the imagery and name. The effect that is clearly defined (Resist Energy) is worded poorly and boring. The awesome part is too vague. Does it make real lava? Like, 20d6 per turn real lava? How fast does it move towards the limit (I assumed it was instant at first, but the later descriptions of damaging barriers suggests otherwise)? If it's not real lava, how much damage does it deal? If it is real lava, why does it fit in a 5x30 trench instead of melting the surrounding area? What about convection? Why does it use Firefall instead of Obsidian Flow? What happens if someone is trapped in the Obsidian? Are they immobilized? Drowning? Entangled? How hard is it to escape?

So, yeah, this has a lot of issues. If my party found one of these, I'd want to keep it, but after a few discussions with the GM about how it really works, we'd either have a steal of an item, or we'd be selling it post haste. Again, if the GM ruled it was real lava, I would want one for sure, but more than that, I'd want a better GM that understood the implications of an infinite duration 20d6 river of doom.

Very cool concept, very weak execution.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

The Staff of the Vanara King
My first thoughts: I really dislike Sun Wukong fanboyism. Yes, the monkey king has a staff that changes size. We are all familiar with the myth. Yawn. Oh, plus Dragonball. Boo!

Anyway, the actual powers of the weapon appear to be:

1) Deal +1 average damage and get +1 to a combat maneuver nobody uses (Bull Rush), thanks to the Impact property (which is way overpriced at +2)!

2) Make a junky weapon into a junky reach weapon! And it comes free with needless restrictions, meaning, that, even though you're almost certainly using Enlarge Person, Lunge, or other effects to increase your reach anyway, you now get no further benefit from those things! You'll be able to punch farther than you can swing your magic staff whose only power is growing/shrinking!

3) Deliver Stunning Fists and ignore certain kinds of DR at reach (since any monk that can take advantage of Ki Focus can already do those things adjacent with unarmed strikes--that probably deal more damage)!

4) Threaten Adjacent when using a feat that is not worth taking, even though the primary wielders of this weapon (monks) can already threaten adjacent via unarmed strikes!

5) Argue with your GM about what effects shrinking your staff actually has!

6) Spend a ridiculous amount of money for very little benefit!

Seriously, a +1 Impact Ki Focus Quarterstaff should be ~32k. That means the ability to fight at reach (that won't stack with all the easier reach extending techniques you're already using) and threaten adjacent if you have a lousy feat which you could do with your unarmed strikes anyway costs 50k! WHAT?!

If my party found this item, we'd sell it in a heartbeat. I can't imagine anyone having one made. The clear target wieler is the monk, but they have no need of most of the properties. Anyone could theoretically wield a staff, but the strict reach limitations make it mostly pointless for fighting types, and the Staff Magus is near-trap level anyway.

I do think this was the best Sun Wukong staff in the competition for what that's worth (even though I'm stunned there was more than one Sun Wukong staff to begin with), but I think it needs some serious work. Maybe if shrinking it actually did something concrete and defined, or the powers were actually useful (Monks don't need to threaten adjacent, nonmonks don't need Ki Focus, nobody needs Impact), or if the price were at all reasonable, I don't know.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

Ice Fang
There is very little benefit to switching between a dagger, a short sword, and a longsword. It pretty much only allows for a wider audience. I'm not saying this is a bad thing--just that it's a thing at all. That said, a +2 Frost Transformative weapon costs something in the 28k range and can become ANY weapon. This weapon costs 45k, so, the extra 17k worth of powers should be super awesome, right?

Oh, I guess not. All you get is a once per day 15' cone of damage that triggers on a crit. Whoopee. If I crit, and if there are actually some enemies standing directly behind the guy I crit (since the 15' cone can't hit more than one adjacent guy), and they're all small enough to fit in the cone....don't get me wrong, the effect is neat and interesting, but it is nowhere near useful enough for the cost. If my party found this item, we would sell it in a second! That's so much money for just about nothing, effect-wise.

Overally, pretty "eh" for me. Great concept, but it's way too limited and way too expensive.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

The Hero's Breath
First, this is a shield? I disbelieve. This is clearly a wondrous item that got shoehorned into being a shield. You can't just put a face on a shield and give it a totally unrelated-to-being-a-shield power.

On to the actual effect, which is sloppily written. It removes air and "vapor." Does it affect smoke, dust clouds, or ash? It doesn't work on solids--what about Solid Fog? Why does it only last one round when spit out again? What's with all the "full effect" language when most gas spells are only fully effective with a duration greater than one round?

I normally don't nitpick price or construction requirements, but where's the Absorbing Inhalation spell here (edit: sorry, I realize now that Mark picked on this issue, too)? This item creates a slightly altered version of this 4th level spell, but only has a caster level of 3?! It also has no chance of failure! And look at that price! At the very least, ignoring all of the special cloud/poison stuff that this is good for, this item provides at-will Gust of Wind, which is a 2nd level spell. The bare minimum price for an at-will Gust of Wind should be 12,000 gp, and frankly, the Spell level x CL x 2000 price is widely regardly as too little for such a thing anyway. Then consider that this is also a +1 Shield to boot, and it is easy to see that it is severely undercosted.

I was also under the impression that the judges would look down on items that made adventuring easier. This basically removes gas/fog/poison clouds as a danger. Isn't that kind of the definition of making adventuring safer?

If my party found this item, we would keep it and use it all the time. It is way underpriced and too useful. If we could, every party I am a part of would have one made. It is way too good and shows poor understanding of how the rules work and interact. I do not believe I ever voted for this after the cull, sorry.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

Crook of Unseen Forces
This is just kind of bland item, for me. There's nothing special about it to me. I like three of the spells in it (the first three), but I dislike summoning in general.

The +2 to Drag and Reposition is appropriate, but pointless. Not only is the user of this staff exceedingly unlikely to be fighting with the staff iself, but Drag and Reposition are two of the least useful combat maneuvers.

Making the Spiritual Weapon and Ally invisible works with the name, but it's kind of just weird in the end. Why not mention the benefits? It's just a +2 to hit and denying Dex.

I don't like the special ability, either. It is worded awkwardly when it comes to multiple targets. Further, a CL + Wis check simply cannot keep up with the way CMD scales by the time one could afford this staff, and the Drag/Reposition maneuver cause problems at range/on multiple targets.

Reposition, for example, says that "the target must remain within your reach at all times during this movement, except for the final 5 feet of movement, which can be to a space adjacent to your reach." Since this works up to 30' away, uh...what?

Drag is also tricky at range and especially on multiple targets: "If your attack is successful, both you and your target are moved 5 feet back, with your opponent occupying your original space and you in the space behind that in a straight line. For every 5 by which your attack exceeds your opponent’s CMD, you can drag the target back an additional 5 feet. You must be able to move with the target to perform this maneuver." Ok, so, I guess you can fudge it at range such that you move and they move the same distance, even if they're not in the space you vacated, but what happens when you drag multiple targets? If I drag 3 people one square each, do I move 5' or 15'?

Finally, there's once again no target audience for this. Arcane casters and Oracles don't have the Wisdom or the Spiritual X spells (well, Oracles have them, but for some reason, they were never errata'd to work with Charisma, so they're junky without houserules), while Clerics and Warpriests lack Unseen Servant and have much better weapon proficiencies than a quarterstaff.

If my party found this item, we'd sell it, and I can't think of any character that would have one made on purpose. Even with the incorrect price, it doesn't feel worth it. Overall, it's pretty "eh." It needs some work to be publishable, the writer did not seem to consider how the game really works (CMD scaling, the drag and reposition rules, etc.), and there's nothing especially interesting or innovative about it.

Marathon Voter 2015

Jacob Kellogg wrote:

You made a throwing weapon whose special power is resolved exactly as though it had been thrown. The only difference is that when you use the blast ability (which you can apparently do as much as you want every day), you still have it in your hand. So... kind of like if you added returning to it, or had it on a blinkback belt.

So, mechanically, you didn't actually even design a new magic weapon. You just took something that already existed and described a different visual.

Sort of, yeah. You make it sound like a bad thing which, is, well, exactly why it lost. The purpose was to make throwing a viable build option. To that end, it's basically a weapon with an integral slotless Blinkback Belt (it's even priced that way) with, I thought a cool visual. But the true point was to make throwing not suck. That's not what people wanted out of this contest. My taste in items is not what the contest was looking for.

RJGrady wrote:
I voted this up a couple of times, and down a couple of times. Really, the only thing that strongly distinguishes this from a +1 distance returning shock throwing axe is the visuals.

I don't want to look like I'm in "defensive mode" or anything--I fully accept the loss with no ill will or anything, but, no, the major difference is that this weapon can make full attacks and Returning is a worthless weapon property.

RJGrady wrote:
Mechanically, you might be able to make iterative attacks with it, which would be a plus, but isn't spelled out. "As if the weapon itself had been thrown" is a lot of interpretive burden to place on the GM.

Yeah, other than apparently being boring, this is also where I think I blew it--lots of people I spoke to didn't have any clue how it worked. I tried to make it really simple, but the simplicity caused confusion. Every time I tried to spell it out, it came across awkwardly, so, I cut it down.

As for that potentially offensive bit, well, damn. I have never heard anything about tomahawks being weapon made by white people--I just thought it was a term for the Powhatan's handaxes that expanded to just mean an Amerindian flavored hand axe. Hmm, is it better that I didn't know that, or worse? Is that stuff about white people inventing it really even true? I'm having trouble finding sources for that.

James Casey wrote:

I don’t think this is a bad item. I think it is just a little bland. The visual of the screaming crow is cool but other than the visual this is just a +1 distance shock throwing axe that can launch a blast of power that is only a slight step above the returning ability. Since the CL is 9 and call lightning or lightning bolt are used in the creation, why not expand on the storm theme?

Expanding it would have, in my mind, watered down the point (make throwing weapons viable) and added too much to the cost, making it impractical for real use. You'll see when I start posting more critiques how important I think usability and practicality are.

Mark Seifter wrote:

*The crow ability, its only ability, is just a strictly superior returning

*Also, the weapon costs less than +1 distance shock returning.

I can't really argue with that, no, I just never considered looking at it from that angle. It's priced as a +1 distance shock weapon plus a slotless Blinkback Belt.

Personally, I think the Returning property is kind of awful, so, I wasn't worried, but that is a very good point as to why I got culled.

Feros wrote:
The visual is great, although I don’t generally associate crows with lightning. My problem is the blast. If it is available every round and is the same as a normal attack, why bother with a normal throwing attack?

Well, you wouldn't. It basically just lets you make full throwing attack with a cool visual added in. Stormcrows are from Amerindian myth, which I guess is not a common association for many people.

Thank you, everyone for the comments, though. Like I said, I think I'm a better critic than author after all.

Marathon Voter 2015

James Casey wrote:
As for the tomahawk- I didn't hate it and I posted my thoughts on it in the critique my item thread. However I will add something here now that I gained some insight from your post. I think it would have been cool to have some different effect occur when the axe "released" the screaming crow. Maybe it should have released an entire murder of crows that did some sonic effect. The power you gave it really was just the returning power, which maybe you didn't know about.

I was aware of Returning, but Returning does not allow for a full attack. It's a garbage property. The basis was a Throwing weapon plus a Blinkback Belt, which is why it's priced as a +1 Distant Shock weapon with a slotless Blinkback Belt tacked on. I didn't want to add any other powers because I felt like it was already too expensive as is, and I didn't think I would bother using most other powers anyway. It was my mistake--my tastes and desire for simplicity cost me.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

Staff of the Prime Mover
First, I kind of groaned at the name. The Prime Mover is basically God to Aristotle, but then, the item just has force stuff, nothing divine or whatever, making the name more of a pun type than anything else. Not something I'd vote something down for or anything, but still something I wanted to mention.

Anyway, I considered this item to be better than most, but hardly top 32. Again, no offense intended, but, I feel like there are a lot of problems with how it works.

First, all of the spells are designed to work differently against someone that is anchored by the weapon. However, the anchoring property seems to suggest you can't actually use the item once it's been anchored. You're not able to attack with it, you certainly aren't wielding it. If you can just put your hands on it while it's immobile like that to use it, what stops your opponent from doing the same thing back at you? Actually, I suppose this is an issue of the anchoring property itself being unclear--an immovable rod, for example, can just be moved with a button press.

Kinetic Reverberation doesn't seem to make much sense. You need to have the staff anchoring someone in order to knock them back, but, well, they can't be knocked back if they're anchored, so it only works against enemies other than the one you anchored. Or are you supposed to anchor the weapon just in mid air somewhere when you cast these? Yeah, I guess you are because Force Hook Charge's special change only works on enemies not anchored. Weird. Maximizing Force Punch feels like the lamest, but also the strongest of the altered spells.

Finally, who is supposed to use this staff? Two of the spells are Magus spells, two are sorc/wiz spells. Neither should use a staff to actually fight. I am well aware that the Staff Magus archetype exists, but I also know it's kind of crappy, and they'd still need UMD to use Kinetic Reverberation. The Magus is only really up to snuff when either crit-fishing (and a weapon that only crits on a 20 is not a good choice) or stacking debuffs, and none of these spells are debuffs. Oh, and you'd need to take the Wand Wielder arcana to really make use of this anyway during Spell Combat.

Oh, and the good spells take 2 charges, so you can't even expect to use it once per day of continuous use.

If my party found this item, we'd sell it, likely even if we had a Staff Magus (which we wouldn't have if I had any say). I don't know anyone that would try to acquire one specifically.

Overall, it's not bad, obviously, but I am just not especially impressed, either. I like the concept of your spells changing based on a toggle of some kind, but the specific toggle and the way the spells change didn't really interest me.

Edit: Apparently, this is some reference to Naruto? I had no idea, as the show holds no appeal to me whatsoever.

Marathon Voter 2015

So, first, just to show I'm not above it all or whatever, my item got culled:

Stormcrow Tomahawk:
Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

I never had any alternate items made, but I did have several revisions. My goal was a throwing weapon that made throwing a viable option without requiring a belt slot item (the blinkback belt is 100% necessary for throwing builds). It began just as a throwing axe that teleported to your hand, essentially a combined Blinkback Belt + Throwing Axe, which was very wordy and clunky sounding (and it disappeared in a poof of crow feathers and popped into your hand with a crow shriek). I was never able to find concise, elegant wording for the teleportation effect, so, abandoned it for a duplication effect. But trying to word the ability to make a throwing motion without letting go and sending a ghostly version of the axe out never worked out. The same for throwing the weapon's shadow. So, eventually, I settled on shooting blasts of power, and the wording worked out so perfectly and elegantly. Well, in my opinion. Obviously, people hated it. I think what I took as elegance others took as "laziness" or they totally didn't understand what it did and just thought I didn't finish or explain it enough.

I was forced to recognize that I am a much better critic and editor than actual writer.

James Casey wrote:
Although some of that may come off as snarky, I didn't mean it in that manner at all. I really appreciate your comments and think several of them have great merit and will help me in designing items. So thank you very much.

No offense taken, and I hope you feel the same way here.

Clarification on summoning prejudice:
I did actually vote for several summoning items, but I did not put any on my keep list. The fact is, the contest is to hire a new developer. I want that developer to share my mindset. I think Pathfinder as a whole is carrying a lot of unfortunate baggage from 3rd edition's mistakes, so, I want a new developer to recognize that. Summoning is one of those things that is very problematic in play, from just about every angle: power, spotlight, book keeping, etc. Adding a totally different template doesn't just support a troublesome character option, it creates EVEN MORE Book keeping to something already heavy on book keeping, as you would need additional stat blocks for every potential creature you could summon. I did read every item and I analyzed them in full, but I was not just voting for "most creative item," I was voting for "this is someone I want writing for this game," and taste is a factor there.

Other rebuttals:
You are right that the whirlwind wording is straight forward, but it's confusing from a "marrying fluff and crunch" standpoint. It creates this whirlwind that lasts 6 seconds, but it only has an effect against a very specific subset of attacks, and that effect normally prevents those attacks entirely. It's straightforward if you read it as pure rules text, but it's confusing in the context of real use.

Harvestweal is a sickle, and one of my biggest complaints was that it was a sickle (even if it were a Scythe, it would have been better). My biggest judging point here was usability. Sickles are awful weapons, so, I would not vote for an item that was a sickle unless it did something completely amazing (in which case, it being a sickle is part of the cost of using it).

James Casey wrote:
If everyone is using the same weapons, why have them in the book?

The sad truth is, the answer is, "to make the people wielding the correct weapon feel better about themselves. 3rd edition was designed with deliberately good and bad options so that people who figured out what was best could feel awesome and could laugh at the people using the secretly suboptimal options. Ivory Tower game design is definitely a thing, no matter how much it is now denied.

Sickles are simple slashing weapons you can use in one hand. That's their role. Nobody serious about using weapons is intended to use them--they are intended for spellcasters and other simple weapon wielders to have a low level back up option.

Magic weapons are meant for actual serious melee characters. Sickle wielders do not intersect with serious melee characters. Thus, I feel it is a valid criticism. The fact that people you know use deliberately bad options does not mean I have to like it when other designers essentially build up the trap by making shiny awesome versions of those deliberately weaker options.

About rules lawyers, they are gamers, too, and they play Pathfinder. To ignore them is ignoring a large part of your audience, and more importantly, a large part that, when ignored, make your game less fun for everyone. Non-rules lawyers can and will enjoy a game with tight rules language, too, whereas rules lawyers will ruin a game that is not written carefully.

Finally, I just checked both spells you put and neither one has any poison save in it. I was just saying that a "save vs. poison" is not a phrase in Pathfinder. You're making a save to avoid the nausea, and it counts as a poison effect, because otherwise, you'd have to word it as actual poison--i.e. with an initial effect of "1 round of nausea" or whatever. It was a nitpicky formatting critique, nothing more.

And, again, this is all meant in the spirit of help--if I sounded snarky, please, also do not take offense, as I have taken none, either.

Petty Alchemy wrote:

I'll pipe in that I also don't like once a week. It's basically translated as once per adventure.

I actually did have an item before Sightstealer Rapier, with the same imagery but it was even more SiaC. No twist whatsoever, though I think mechanically solid. I'm glad I didn't submit it, so maybe it's not fully on topic (sorry).

** spoiler omitted **

Cayden's Grin I concepted, but couldn't get past the jokes. It had a more interesting new mechanic than my actual submission though.

** spoiler omitted **

Since the contest has ended, I've been nonstop pitching ideas to my gaming group.

I actually much prefer the Assassin's Escape to the Sightstealing Rapier. The Sightstealer came across as awkward. And I dislike the ridiculously long duration on the blind (yes, I am aware that the spell it's based on is permanent, a fact that I dislike enough as is).

I also like the thought behind Cayden's Grin, but obviously, the actual wording is too silly to possibly work. The idea, though, is a nice one.

Marathon Voter 2015

So, I guess I should post my own item, as I am about to create a thread analyzing every other item.

Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

The only actual mechanical mistake I noticed (too late) was the cost--I accidentally halved the cost of the base weapon, as well. Since I got culled, though, I obviously made other mistakes. I believe I understand why it did not receive votes, but I don't want to lead the critiques in this thread, either, so I will just wait and see if I am confirmed.

Ultimately, I realized that I am a much better critic and editor than actual writer.


Isn't Martial Artist compatible with Master of Many Styles?


You can just take two levels of Master of Many Styles to get Pummeling Style and Pummeling Charge.


Nope, not really. Get a bow? I hope your GM is screwing casters over hard, too...

Marathon Voter 2015

Yeah, I agree, neither item would get my vote. It was "create a magic item," not "create a template" or "create multiple magic items." Keep in mind all of these comments are intended to help, not hurt.

Further, the sandcaller buffs what is already one of the strongest possible character options: summoning. I hate summoning. It doesn't even just give an unfair mechanical boost in power, it also steals spotlight and game time because it takes so long to adjucate. So, I will never pick an item that makes summoning stronger.

The whirlwind is also kind of awkward. You can't take AoOs against targets that have total concealment. Are you basically saying you don't take AoOs anymore from summoning? Or that you still provoke them even with total concealment? Does it really only protect against AoOs? If I just ready an attack to hit you while you're casting it (since it takes a full round, normally) am I unaffected by the whirlwind?

Oh, and a vulnerability to water isn't even a thing--there's no "water damage" in the game. You're relying on the GM to adjudicate when damage is dealt by water, or whether non-damaging water would damage such a creature.

Thorn and Thicket, meanwhile, even if you look past the being two items thing, is also problematic. For one, it's two items that nobody uses. Sickles are awful weapons, and I can't think of any serious weapon user that would ever wield one on purpose. Likewise, light shields basically serve no purpose. If you want to bash or get AC, you use a heavy shield. If you want a free hand, you use a buckler. Light shields are pointless.

And it's weird that it's covered in spines but it's not a spiked shield.

There are a lot of clarity issues here. What does being struck by the wielder mean? Can I hold the thorn and thicket and then attack with unarmed strikes? If I have four arms, can I hold them and then hit with a polearm? Can I hold them and then cast a spell at someone? Do those count as striking?

Then, requiring a save every swing from or against the wielder just to avoid 1d6 damage? That's going to get annoying. Making a "save vs. poison" also isn't a thing, since you don't follow the proper format for poison. You really want it to be a save vs. nausea and then have it count as a poison effect.

Finally, once per week? Really? I don't even like daily abilities--now, I have to track weeks, too? No, thanks.


Actually, shooting an arrow out of the air is a special ability of the toxophilite Ranger archetype.


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Uh, I hate to break it to you--that should be stuff low level archers should be able to do. As he explained, the old text books suggest what he does is the baseline. He rediscovered ancient techniques, but everyone used to do these. Just about any low level fighting type dedicated to archery should be able to do that sort of stuff, and hey, they kind of can with Rapid Shot and, later, Manyshot.

High level stuff, though, blows real humans out of the water. Numbers were run long ago that show, by 3rd edition standards, the best human being to ever live on Earth is 6th level, so, high level characters should be punching out concepts, cutting rivers in half, and throwing mountains at each other (sigh), not just doing what regular people can do.


I didn't watch the video--is this the Danish guy that shoots lots of arrows super fast by holding multiple arrows in his hand at a time? He's pretty awesome.

If that's the case, you'd make him by...being a normal Pathfinder archer.

At level 6, a full BAB character with Manyshot and Rapid Shot can fire four arrows in 6 seconds. That's pretty ridiculous.

A level 16 character with full BAB, Manyshot, Rapid Shot, Snap Shot, Combat Reflexes, and a +8 Dex (not unreasonable) can theoretically shoot 15 arrows in 6 seconds.

If you're looking to duplicate that one trick he does where he shoots incoming arrows out of the air, though, you'd need to be a Toxophilite Ranger.


Sundering does not (necessarily) split an item in half, so the presumptions of your first two options do not work for me.

I am going to take a wild guess that your vote is C, and that you are the GM that came up with the clever idea to break the rock your player's boned your NPCs with.

If I were the GM, I would say that sundering the rock doesn't work because it's silly. If I had to make a detailed ruling, I would say that one particular fragment of the rock would still glow (not both halves or every piece) and which fragment would be essentially random (i.e. not the largest).

It's not especially different from, say, cutting off a bad guy's arm. If the bad guy had Enlarge Person on, he's not going to suddenly shrink because you cut his arm off.

How badly must the item be damaged to negate the spell? It would need to be utterly obliterated, like a Disintegrate or acid or something. However, a much easier solution would be to just grab the rock and put it in your pocket, or throw a cloak over it.


A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
...

I beg your pardon, I was insufficiently precise, and possibly provided extraneous information that was confusing. The specific system or environment that _isn't_ this one and to which pathfinder rogues are compared is irrelevant. I'm trying to communicate that it is my impression there are a lot of people trying to play _this_ class like it were a different class in a different system because it happens to have the same name.

It's not my contention that a rogue's role is "doing skills," or whatever you crazy kids call it these days. Although it might be the case, by some reasonable measures, that rogues _are_ the best skill class, I'm confident that's not relevant.

Sidenote: Bards and Investigators are objectively better skill classes than Rogues.

That said, I am trying to figure out what your contention is as far as the Rogue is concerned. You're suggesting people who come in expecting Rogues to be deadly or skillful or whatever else are to blame because they're not playing right--they're trying to play the Rogue as something it's not (i.e. like it was before or since in other games). So, what is the Rogue in Pathfinder?

A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
What is it you want this class to be that it isn't? (I don't mean that rhetorically or insincerely.)

Me, personally? I'd like Rogues to be a high skill/high reward class. I'd like their effectiveness in combat to potentially be the highest, higher than say, two-handed power attackers, but only if they get the set up right. I'd like them to be the Wizards of the martial world. A poorly played wizard is nearly worthless, but one played optimally is the consensus best character in the game. I'd like the Rogue to do garbage damage if the player just grabs two weapons and wades into melee, but top the DPS charts (and/or deliver the nastiest conditions--damage should not be the only option) if they play smart and know what they're doing (flanking even, is too easy in my opinion).

Ideally, they'd be hard to hit, but not be able to take a punch--great saves, good non AC defenses (concealment, for example, or Evasion), but crappy hit points.

But honestly, I'd just settle for them being good at something--if they did the most damage, or at least damage competitive with fighters, I'd be ok. If they were actually the best at skills. If...there was any reason to be a non-multiclassed Rogue, I'd be satisfied.

Marathon Voter 2015

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Hey, if it makes you feel better, I don't like the top 32 much either, nor do I like Widow's Web (sorry!), so, your taste is not the most divergent ;)


If the module says there's no way to succeed:

1) It's a weak module that needs work

2) There's no way to succeed. Both guys get rolls, but the DC is too high for either one to hit.


Nicos wrote:
BAckstab was hard to do. The enemy had to be unaware of you, it was only once per fight, you have to attack him from the back, you had to be able to reach a vital spot (like flying to back stab a giant), you can only do it with a dagger, no flat-footed, no flanking.

That is not my memory of it at all. I need to dig out my 2e books now, to see if I"m just internalizing houserules or what. By my recollection, Backstabbing was unlimited (not once per fight) as long as you were behind the bad guy (they did not have to be unaware just facing away, though being unaware helped). I also do not remember it being required to be done with only a dagger. I definitely remember playing a Ranger with a Skills and Powers option to get Backstab who used a Quarterstaff.

Nicos wrote:
The multiplier was not that great. with strength 17 you only had +1 to damage.

Right, but everyone else ALSO had those low modifiers, so, multiplying them was still great.

Nicos wrote:

Besides Rogue AC, saves(I think) and hit points were low.

Rogue were bad warriors.

AC and HP was bad, but saves were ok, if I recall. Yes, they were bad warriors, but not bad damage dealers. That was my point.

I think most people would be happy with a Glass Cannon Rogue, but in 3rd/Pathfinder, it's more like a Glass Beebee Gun.


Nicos wrote:
Not sure what are you talking about. In 2ed the thief were horrible damage dealers.

Backstab multiplied your damage, eventually by x4 or x5 and it was significantly easier to do because facing existed. Further, normal weapon damage was pretty limited--there was no power attack or anything, just 1d8 + a mediocre str derived bonus. And multiple attacks were fewer and came pretty late. Damage was lower overall, so Thief damage was relatively high. But again, casters were the best damage dealers by far.


The Human Diversion wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
mplindustries wrote:

... so it's really ONLY in 3rd edition/Pathfinder that Rogues aren't deadly and dangerous.

Further...

I agree with that. My position is that it's not surprising that rogues disappoint if everyone is expecting them to operate like they do in MMORPGs, and of course they will under-perform if you try to force the class into that role with a lot of really specific sub-optimal character build choices.

My point was that it's not just MMOs, though, it's every other version of D&D, too. It's basically everything with a Rogue in it. Pathfinder/3rd edition is alone in its mistreatment of Rogues.

Let me ask, what do you think the Rogue's role in Pathfinder? Since it's not being dangerous in combat and they're not the best at skills (plus, skills are suboptimal in general anyway because spells obsolete them very quickly), what are they supposed to do?

3.5 was actually harder for rogues to do damage because so many blasted things had crit immunity, but the rogue was the only base class that could effectively handle traps and going straight-class in 3.5 was nearly unheard of.

I think my highest level LG character had saves of +30/+25/+25 when he retired at level 15 and had evasion and mettle and was immune to enchantment.

Exactly, yeah. I said 3rd edition/Pathfinder. Did you think I was excluding 3.5?

The problem is that 3.5 made Rogues weak and sucky (though, yeah, trapfinding made them almost necessary), but that wasn't that bad because as you said, everyone multiclassed all the time anyway. But when Pathfinder came around, everyone got buffed up, but Rogues got buffed up the least (plus, multi-classing is now relatively weak). Then, reasonable trap rules (where you don't necessarily need a special feature) and archetypes came around that took away the Rogue's unique thing.


A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
mplindustries wrote:

... so it's really ONLY in 3rd edition/Pathfinder that Rogues aren't deadly and dangerous.

Further...

I agree with that. My position is that it's not surprising that rogues disappoint if everyone is expecting them to operate like they do in MMORPGs, and of course they will under-perform if you try to force the class into that role with a lot of really specific sub-optimal character build choices.

My point was that it's not just MMOs, though, it's every other version of D&D, too. It's basically everything with a Rogue in it. Pathfinder/3rd edition is alone in its mistreatment of Rogues.

Let me ask, what do you think the Rogue's role in Pathfinder? Since it's not being dangerous in combat and they're not the best at skills (plus, skills are suboptimal in general anyway because spells obsolete them very quickly), what are they supposed to do?


Command or Murderous Command are first level spells that can make someone move, which would provoke.

There are also the feats Greater Bullrush, Greater Drag, Greater Reposition, and and Greater Trip.


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Disclaimer: This whole idea is ridiculous, not worth doing if it even worked, and against the spirit of the game, and I would not want to play/run a game with you if you tried to pull this in a real game, rather than just as a thought experiment. In the interest of the thought experiment, though, I will see what I can do.

So, the first hurdle is that Lead Blades is not a valid option for Spell Storing to begin with. Lead Blades is a personal spell, so it can target only you.

Rage however, would work, so we can go with that.

Yes, you can absolutely take AoOs against your allies. If you want to hit them with a weapon and deal damage to them, that's a totally legal (but again, ridiculous and anti-RAI) method.

If you really want to cheese it up, though, you should get spell storing armor. Get another ally with spell storing armor and your chosen buff inside. Stand next to each other. Make sure neither of you have Improved Unarmed Strike. Whoever moves first provokes from the other. Take the AoO with an unarmed strike. Making an unarmed strike provokes in return, so, the guy that moved gets to hit back. Assuming both attacks hit, you guys can both spend immediate actions to get your chosen buffs for minimal, nonlethal damage.


No.

Threatened Squares:
"You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you're unarmed, you don't normally threaten any squares and thus can't make attacks of opportunity." (emphasis mine)

Enemies need to take actions to provoke opportunity attacks. Feats like Greater Trip and the like are special exceptions to this general rule.


A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
I think the specific fallacy being employed is that for any one situation, there is another character that _could_ do that specific job better (especially when the character or the situation is designed post-hoc to prove that very point and the sample rogue isn't), but whether that character class's representative is equipped and spec'd to do that job on this adventure at this moment is pretty important variable.

The issue is present at character creation. Why MAKE a rogue when you could make another character to do it better? That's the issue.

If they can't do much damage (and by the way, this is a huge stumbling block for most people because rogues in video games are ALWAYS high damage dealers) and someone else can be just as good or better with skills, why bother?

Actually, let me add that in "olden times" Rogues were high damage dealers, though casters were actually the damage kings. Everyone's HP were much, much lower, and weapon damage didn't scale much if at all (and you also got far fewer attacks), so a 10d6 Fireball was REALLY significant. Thieves, meanwhile, multiplied their damage with Backstab, so after blasting spells, they generally did the most damage per hit (they were less accurate than clerics, though, so, they still had issues). Blast spells have not scaled up in damage, but HPs and other melee damage scaled up significantly, so, blasting is now worthless.

Looking ahead, as well, Rogues in 4e and 5e are premier damage dealers (yes, ok, Rangers outdo them in 4e and Paladins in 5e, but they're definitely high damage), so it's really ONLY in 3rd edition/Pathfinder that Rogues aren't deadly and dangerous.

Further, in earlier editions, Thieves, Bards, and Rangers were often the only classes that had ANY skills at all (non-weapon proficiencies were not commonly used in my experience), so they were unquestionably the best choices for that. Spells to replace skills were actually necessary because you were screwed without a Rogue (or if the Rogue failed their check). And using a spell slot on a skill check was a huge cost because spell slots were extremely limited. Looking forward again, 4e basically neutered everyone's out of combat options, while 5e made sure Rogues (and Bards) are unquestionably better with skills than anyone else (and spell slots are again very limited).

So, you have to realize that Pathfinder (or rather 3rd edition) is weird, then, in the grand scheme of things. It is the only edition were Rogues are lousy damage dealers and where the Rogue's other niche, skills, are essentially worthless by midgame.


If you are using a dagger, Lead Blades is utterly worthless for you. Why cast a spell to deal +1 damage a swing? That's a waste of even a free action.


Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier for every character every time.


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Enhanced Cures is absolutely worthless. It adds very little and is never worth it. Safe Curing is also of questionable value. The trifecta of awesome that makes Life Oracles one of best pure healers in the game (tied with Hospitaler Paladins, in my opinion) is Channeling, Life Link, and Energy Body.

See, the trick is, you'll only very rarely be using actual Cure spells. Your spell slots are mostly going to go towards buffs/control spells (which prevent damage before it happens) and removal spells to end annoying conditions (curses, diseases, etc.). Most of the actual HPs you heal are going to be via your mysteries, and the name of the game is Efficiency.

You life link EVERYONE. Yes, you will be taking damage. No, that's not a problem, that's the point. See, Channeling seems like crappy healing because it's so little at a time, but it's amazingly efficient because you heal everyone at once (ps, take Selective Channeling and Quick Channel asap--I would also recommend Fey Foundling for you and your main tank--hell, everyone in the party if they're willing). The trick is just to take advantage of that efficiency by spreading damage around. With Life Link, at the very least, two of you will have damage. Heck, I would even go a step further and Shield Other your main tank.

That way, your whole party is spreading damage around and you're taking most of it. Now you can take advantage of Energy Body. See, with that, you can heal yourself as a move action and then also Channel and heal everyone (including yourself) as a standard.

Hospitaler paladins can do even one better and heal themselves with Lay on Hands as a swift, so you can Channel, Quick Channel, and then LoH, but they miss out on the great removal, control, and rez spells that you get as an Oracle.

Edit: To further clarify why Enhanced Cures isn't worth it, it adds very little to spells you'll basically never be casting when they're actually enhanced. Cure Light normally caps at +5, but after level 5, you're not really going to be casting it much at all. Same with Cure Mod at 10, but again, why case it after 10th? Not worth it.

Safe Curing is slightly better, but still not amazing. See, if you have to cast a cure, you can do so out of reach of the bad guys, then move up and deliver the cure. And defensive casting is super easy anyway.


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The point of the spell is to explain how holy water is made. The implication is that normal clerics sell holy water at cost. It is a world building spell, not necessarily something PCs are expected to use.

Marathon Voter 2015

The Movable Rod and Rod of Iron Rose were the items I liked the best. I run games with no magic items in them at all, and those two were interesting enough to me that I would consider including items like them in the future--specifically, very useful, sideways-puzzle-solving items that are NOT math bumps, and that won't ever feel "necessary" or like you character's core schtick.

Frankly, I didn't like much of the top 32--only two weak keeps on my list made it, plus the Iron Rose Rod is an alternate. I also didn't like any item mentioned in this thread so far except the Medic ring, though, so, my taste is clearly off from the rest.

Marathon Voter 2015

Two of my weakest keeps made the top 32. My 2nd favorite item in the whole competition is an alternate (my favorite didn't make it at all). Another 8 were on my "maybe" list. Everything else I considered to be "eh" at best, with some I actively disliked. Guess I did horrible. 14%, I believe, until/unless they post the top 100.


Even if you could become Bokrug, you'd only get:

50' Speed, 120' Speed, Darkvision 60', Low Light Vision, Constrict, Grab, Poison, Fire Resist 20, Acid Resist 20, a 10' space and 10' reach, and bite/claw/claw/sting/beard attack routine that does 4d8/2d8/2d8/3d6+poison/4d6 plus grab.

It's pretty good, but its hardly game breaking. I bet you can easily find better forms. Hell, I'd rather be a Megaraptor or Allosaurus anyway, for Pounce. Or a druid that gets plant shape for Quickwood or a Tendriculos. Considering only Magical Beasts, though, the Catoblepas gets an amazing Con poison breath weapon, has more reach, and only gets one fewer attack, the Cytillipede has a poison that dazes, the Kamadan has a breath weapon that puts people to sleep and pounce with its four attacks, Raggoth has five attacks, pounce, grab, and rake, the Sand Kraken has 10 tentacle attacks with 20' reach, grab, and constrict, the Spider Eater gets four natural attacks and paralysis poison, Tetrolimulus has pounce, three attacks, and a paralysis poison...I realize the base damage on Bokrug is high, but base weapon damage is a lot less valuable than some of the other things I mentioned (pounce, more reach, better poisons, etc.).


Well, yeah, your AC sucks because you're wearing light armor with 13 Dex. You're pretty much just going to have to suck that up. Though, I suppose eventually you can get Medium Armor Proficiency and a Mithril Breastplate.

Actually, with only +1 Dex, why bother getting a Mithril Chain Shirt? You'll never hit that Dex cap anyway. Just make it a +1 Chain Shirt instead, and get the extra AC.

I agree that in a typical party, polearms are safer than having more AC, but using a shield will allow you to double dip enhancement bonuses to AC, which are the cheapest bonuses to AC.

Oh, and while it won't help your AC now, it will eventually when you can get a Jinghasa of the Fortunate Soldier--the fate's favored trait will bump your Archaeologist's Luck feature, an I highly recommend it.


I played a super healing Paladin, but I was just a straight Hospitaler without multiclass. I took Fey Foundling, the Tiefling FCB, and Shield Other'd the other party members when I could. I tanked it up and with Quick Channel, I could heal three times per turn for absurd amounts (Standard to Channel, Move to Channel, Swift to LoH myself). Nothing could do enough damage to phase me. The GM actually asked me to never play a healer again (I had, in a previous game, caused him similar issues as a Life Oracle).


Magda Luckbender wrote:
I don't get the people who turn their noses up at low-stat & low level play. Then again, I play as much GURPS as Pathfinder.

GURPS is a game designed around that sort of play, though, while Pathfinder definitely is not. For example, a large number of classes give bonuses based on your stat modifiers--Monk gets Wisdom to AC, Paladin gets Charisma to saves, etc. If none of your stats are better than +1s, those class features lose their purpose and differentiation. It makes characters significantly more generic, and the majority of the appeal of a game like Pathfinder over, say, GURPS, is that it's not generic.

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