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Besmara

mplindustries's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Marathon Voter. 5,018 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Marathon Voter 2015

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I barely made my vote in time, but I picked Barca's Haven (the guy that made the monster I hated the most made the encounter I liked the best using a monster I was totally ambivalent about! Nice job) and Darkblight Fallow.

The Hanging Gardens gets an honorable mention. If I were voting on the entire competition and not just this round, I would have voted Darkblight Fallow and Hanging Gardens.

However, I'm pretty sure nobody else liked Barca's Haven, so, oh well. It is interesting to me, however, that Chris Wasko has made my second favorite entry in each round so far.


UMDing a Ring of Revelation works. The srd has a note about a developer saying it doesn't, because UMD lets you pretend to be another class, but can't let you pretend to have the powers of a class.

Except, one of the UMD options is Emulate a Class Feature, and the mystery you select as an oracle is a class feature, so, uh, yeah. It works by RAW.


Verzen wrote:
I kinda want to get heavy armor proficiency and rock 23 AC as a water based kineticist

At level 6, my Water kineticist is rocking 27 AC, and I'm in light armor (well, water armor, now, but I would be in light if I wasn't using water armor). When you're a dex based class, why would you want heavy armor?


I had another session. Nothing happened once again. We had one "fight" and by "fight" I mean the GM just wanted us to grovel with a monster we couldn't touch (we're level 6, a 28 to hit missed, and the thing was rolling against us in the 40s), even though we spent the previous session preparing to fight it and buying weapons to hurt it. That was...horrible...but, it still shows a weakness of the class:

I'm getting more and more frustrated by the lack of narrative power--since this game is, bizarrely, not including many fights, there's basically nothing I can do to contribute to the game beyond roll my lousy skills. I hate that I basically need magic spells for my class to meaningfully interact with this campaign.

The game is going Mythic and, well, nothing in the Mythic rules meaningfully interacts with my SLAs. My only option is Guardian, which would add even more unnecessary, irrelevant toughness to my "diamond cannon."

At this point, with a heavy heart, I am trying to maneuver the GM into letting me rebuild as a different class or switch characters completely. The math on the class works totally fine, but, I'm effectively just a more different fighter that doesn't need a piece of equipment to fly (eventually) or get special senses. :(


Can we just lift Thundercall straight from the Thundercaller archetype and give it wholesale to the Sound Striker? That's the bardic music based attack everyone wants, and Sound Striker would let you get it without the weird animal/survival business, or those worthless Call Lightnings (Thundercall outdamages it easily anyway).


Feats, in magic item terms are worth about 5,000gp. Slotless items (Ioun Stones, weapons, rods, etc.) are twice as expensive.

So, adding Vital Strike to a weapon should probably cost about 10,000 gp. I don't think this is underpriced--Vital Strike is a weak feat for weapon users anyway (only natural attacks with massive base damage, like a T-Rex's bite, really benefit from it). I do think the Ioun stone that gives Alertness, however, is drastically overcosted, as even though it is a feat, it is one of the least useful feats in the game, and I've never seen anyone take it for any reason.


Isn't Stinking Cloud 3rd level? It's awesome for its level, but not that awesome.

And no, since it doesn't say you can hold your breath to avoid it, you can't. Nothing about it suggests it's actually an inhaled effect. Tear Gas, for example, works even if you hold your breath because it screws with your pores and eyes.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Quote:
high damage (not archery level, but still), no mobility.
Once iteratives and haste appear, you likely trade away the least amount of damage if you move, though. Most characters lose more than 1/3 of their damage for moving. That makes you more potentially mobile with less of a loss.

You're definitely right about that. Except for spellcasters. I guess this complaint is mostly about 3rd edition in general, then.


Hargert wrote:
Sounds like it has some of the problem that the 3.5 Warlock has in that you are very bursty and a string of bad rolls can completely take you out. It also sounds like you DM needs to work on challenging you. You should have some threat to your safety from time to time.

Yeah, I hit like a truck, but, I basically have zero options that are worth using over said truck.

Kinetic Cover is actually awesome, but I'm not going to spend actions foiling enemy attacks when I'm the party's only heavy hitter. Maybe when the Barbarian and Fighter come back, I don't know. I can move MASSIVE quantities of water around, but, well, there just aren't huge bodies of water around. The caves these robots were in weren't sloped down, either, so I couldn't flood them anyway. But moving water around or creating a tiny wall is 100% of my non-blasting ability.

I'm looking at the future here:
Next level, I get Composite, which will let me hit harder if I have to.

Before 10th, my only real options are Entangling (which only works on cold blasts, and I've found them severely lacking--the near guaranteed hit doesn't compensate for the lost damage in my DPR calculations), Snaking (which adds no options, just removes penalties), a increased speed + a swim speed (there's already no water and I don't move because I have to gather energy), tremorsense in water (again, not much water), and the Mobile Ball thing Mark previewed. The Mobile thing looks weak, but it might be interesting enough to justify trying it out--hopefully, it'll feel like a different option.

Then, at 10th, I can Air Walk, which is awesome, but since I don't move in a fight, it's more like just a useful utility than a real option. I can also get a permanent miss chance--very cool, but, again, not expanding options. The only thing in the near future that does expand options and tactical depth is Spark of Life, which also kind of sucks as is.

So, I'm getting concerned, I guess, is my point. The class's power as a blaster feels fine. End game DPR spreadsheets I ran suggested they keep reasonable pace with two-handed Barbarians (though, neither are close to archers or gunslingers)--I guess blasting just isn't as fun as I hoped.

As for the GM challenging me, I'm a Hydrokineticist with a relatively high starting stat array. Because the game is going Mythic (soon?), the GM has given us all Max HP. I have the same HP as the barbarian now--90 at level 6 (though I have 12 nonlethal worth of burn all the time). The fighter has 78. I think the Monk has 66, and the rest of the party has 60 or less.

I also have 26 AC, the highest in the party. The monk, cleric, and hunter's tiger pet have 22. Everyone else has 20 or less. I also have the best saves overall in the party (+13/+13/+8, though the Cleric and Monk have more Will).

I didn't mention it in the account above, but when it was clear the other members of the party couldn't get through their Hardness, the murderballs just ignored them, ate AoOs and charged me. Nothing could connect except their touch attacks, which did no damage, but nauseated on a failed fort save that I never failed. I don't think he could threaten me without wiping the rest of the party.

The class is built strong. It's really good at being a near-literal tank turret. Amazing defenses (except Will! I have invested so much in covering that weakness because burning myself to nothing and launching Empowered Composite blasts at my own teammates is probably the party's worst case scenario), high damage (not archery level, but still), no mobility.

I'm not concerned with power, here, just boredom.


I played again today. There were actually two fights! So action packed...

This time, we were short players--it was only the buffing Gnome Cleric, Magus, Monk, and I at the game.

I rolled horribly this time. I missed constantly, but, I was rolling so many 1s and 2s, you can't go by that. After acquiring a +2 Dex/Con Belt, I now have the highest accuracy in the party (+14 to hit at level 6 if they're within 30') and I definitely hit he hardest (I was averaging about 40 damage a shot when they landed). Though, I was stunned to see how much I was ahead by--the Magus could only get up to a +12 to hit with every bell and whistle on, while the Monk only had a +8 (he gave up flurry, that's unpenalized). I always knew they were weak, but damn, +8 at 6th level is awful--they're even worse than I thought.

We fought a pair of mutated orc things, which had lots of HP and dealt heavy damage. I went first and opened up on them from far away with an Empowered Extended Blast, rolled a 2, and missed, obviously. The Gnome (with Fire domain) threw a Fireball for 27 and one saved. The melee couldn't reach them this round. Round two, I connected for 45 damage and the Magus finished him off with a Shocking Grasp. The Cleric Shattered the remaining creature's Greataxe, but it just pulled out a Great Club anyway.

I rolled a 1 and the Magus and Monk softened it up. Turns out it wasn't an orc, it was a Care Bear because it abandoned the Monk trying to tank (who had connected for like 8 sad damage with failed Stunning Fist Attempts and could not survive another hit) and turned to the Magus, landing two blows that ate half of his (maximized!) HP.

Finally, round four, I hit again (on a roll of a 6!) and finished it with 42 damage.

Later, we fought a pair of "murderballs" as the GM called them. Small robots that SUCKED to fight. Not because they were especially dangerous--they crit three times during the fight and only did a total of about 45 damage to us over the 8 or 9 rounds it took--but because they had Fast Healing Shields, Hardness 10, and the Magus had to hold back a little because we were expecting a Boss Fight next.

Over the course of the Fight, the Monk couldn't beat the Hardness at all, and the Magus only could when he twice used Shocking Grasp (critting both times and killing the murder balls he hit that I had taken the shields off from). The Cleric is an Iron Priest and so, could pitifully channel 3d6 that bypassed Hardness, but, eh, not super effective. It didn't help that they had 23 AC, too, and constantly sickened everyone with nanites. In the end, the last one lasted so long, the Gnome threw a net on it and the Monk was grappling and trying to pin it just so I could land the final blows.

Needless to say, yes, I was essentially all of this encounter's damage (except for the two Shocking Grasp crits) and it was frustrating as hell because I kept rolling under 5 or less. It would have been a breeze with the Barbarian and Fighter also contributing big hits, but with just me and no AoE yet, ugh...painful.

I still haven't been hit yet, so, I still feel like I'm wasting all my AC and HP--I have 6 more AC and 50% more HP than the "tanks" we were running with today--but my melee options are not exactly appealing, since I'd have to give up empowering that round to close the distance.

I didn't think this would happen because I love the concept so much, but, I'm getting bored as an armored turret, even doing as much damage as I do...


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So, here's the thing. The original ruling was ridiculous. It just was. I hated that certain races and class choices enjoyed such a huge advantage over any other.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want Mystic Theurges, Arcane Trickers, or Eldritch Knights to be useless again or anything like that--I just hated that they were almost all Aasimar, Tieflings, or Scrying Subschool Diviners or whatever.

The real problem is not, "ZOMG! My Aasimar should be able to be an Eldritch Knight as his 3rd level because of daylight." The real problem is that Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickers, Mystic Theurge, and others are crappy in general and not worth the pre-requisites they require.

Ultimately, they should not allow SLA tricks to give you entry into Mystic Theurge at 3rd level, they should just allow everyone entry into Mystic Thuerge at 3rd level (or insert whatever junky prestige class you're talking about here).


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mourge40k wrote:

So, after about 7 years of being the DM for about every tabletop group I've been a part of, I have finally found a group where I can put up my feet and actually be a PC for a while. I have to say, it's fun to actually be on the other side of the table for a while, and to not actually pay that close of attention to every single part of combat. And I have to say, I'm more than loving the fact that I don't have to go for a serious character, and can actually make as many jokes IC as I want (Because Bards are awesome like that).

That being said, this DM I'm working with has recently asked me to tone down my "zaniness" because he likes a more serious game. And this led me to wondering: When you DM a game, what level of humor do you find acceptable IC? Do you want a completely stone-cold fantasy game, or do you not mind things devolving into Monty Python and the Holy Grail level antics?

Myself, I find that I like having characters who aren't afraid to joke. That's not to say that you can be silly all the time, but that part of me that loves Spiderman, Terry from Batman Beyond, and Harry Dresden knows that humor is a great thing to have as a hero.

I think there's a disconnect here. Your GM accused you of being zany, yet, while those characters are all witty and sarcastic, none could be called zany.

I think the tone of the Dresden Files or Firefly is probably my ideal. Life is funny sometimes, and characters say and do funny things, but nobody loses sight of the seriousness of what's happening just because they're laughing. Monty Python, meanwhile, would not work for me at the table.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Among some other things, Vital Strike is going to be called out not to work with blade and whip, so there's that.

That definitely fixes it.

Normal ranged blasts can be Empowered for a move action, adding 50% damage for a full round spent attacking.

Meanwhile, taking a second iterative, theoretically doubles damage, but in reality, misses 25% more often, meaning it's about a 75% damage boost for a full round spent attacking.

Later, when you get a third iterative, you can safely move action to use a composite blast at range, which does actually double damage, while a third iterative misses 50% more often, and so adds another 50% damage for a total of about 125% more.

Melee, in this case, basically stays 25% damage ahead of ranged, which I think is perfectly reasonable and desirable, given the risk involved. It also can never do less than ranged, because at the very least, you can just spend the same exact kind of actions. So, if you had a bad enough hit chance such that the third iterative would almost certainly miss, you can just spend your move to gather energy then kinetic blade/whip a composite instead, just like the ranged guy is doing.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Heladriell wrote:

I suggest that just "not working" would be changed to working within reason. For the purpose of feats, the base dice in the basts could be the first one, so a vital strike would deal just +1d6 damage.

Remember that the blades and whips are physical weapons being wielded. There is no reason the movement involved would simply not work.
As with the similar ruling for alchemist, that would have deleterious effects on other multipliers, such as critical hits.

Thank you for recognizing that! You continue to be awesome.

Verzen wrote:
Could we get options to increase crit rate or crit multiplier with these blasts as well?

Improved Critical works for kinetic blasts. Raising the multiplier, though, is not only excessive (in three months of playing, all of my confirmed crits have been deathblows--the damage is VERY high), but something that very, very few other classes get as an ability, and most of the time, it's a capstone.

Marathon Voter 2015

One of my favorites didn't get through, but I did accurately predict the top 8. I guess that's something.


Tels wrote:
If you have 3 melee attacks, and your ranged attack does X amount of damage, then that means your melee attacks have the potential for 3X damage.

It's actually worse than that because, normally, iteratives would be really difficult to hit with, but at the moment, you can Gather Energy for Empower (pre-11th) or Composite (11th+) and then Vital Strike.

At level 9, my water blast will likely be doing 5d6+17 (34.5 average) or so. At range, if I move action to empower, that becomes about 51.75 average.

But if I Vital Strike with Kinetic Whip, I'm dealing 10d6+22 (57 average). If I move action to empower first, that becomes about 85.5 average.

It's so much worse at 15th when you can Improved Vital Strke. Normally, I'd be Gathering Energy and throwing Empowered Composite Blasts for, roughly, 16d6+35 (91 average) empowered to about 136.5 average.

But the same routine with improved Vital Strike would drop 48d6+67 (235 average) Empowered to about 352.5 average.

There's no way melee should do that much more than the focus of the class, which is at range. And don't forget that a Pyrokinetic can throw (not quite) this much damage around as a Touch Attack!

Marathon Voter 2015

RJGrady wrote:
You can roll it, but each observer only opposes the roll when they try to perceive you.

Right, but you're saying I can't take 20 when I'm alone and hiding because I'd be failing over and over, but if there's nobody there to observe me opposing my roll, how can I fail?

I feel bad at this point, derailing this thread based on one, super minor ability of this creature...

Marathon Voter 2015

RJGrady wrote:
Thus, when a character uses Stealth and attempts to take 20, they fail repeatedly against the observer's Perception check. The rationale works fine for freeze (they take extra time) but normally characters cannot take 20, effectively. They take 10.

What you're suggesting seems like you can't roll Stealth unless someone is looking for you. Like, even if you're totally alone and hide in some bushes, you don't actually roll Stealth until someone walks up and could potentially observe you. Is that what you're suggesting? Because that seems very cumbersome and strange to me.

I am not above admitting I may be doing it wrong, but the way I have always handled Stealth is that the "hider" rolls stealth when they hide. Then, if someone could observe them, they roll Perception against that previously established Stealth roll.


I love the concept behind the Eldritch Scion, too (I vastly prefer spontaneous to prepared casting), but the actual execution is so bad as to be almost unplayable.

Marathon Voter 2015

RJGrady wrote:
Quote:


Since taking 20 assumes that your character will fail many times before succeeding, your character would automatically incur any penalties for failure before he or she could complete the task (hence why it is generally not allowed with skills that carry such penalties).
So, no, most creatures cannot take 20 on Stealth checks, else they would fail before they succeeded.

There's no penalty for failing Stealth because you actually can't fail Stealth. Stealth has no DC to roll against--it essentially sets the DC of opposed Perception checks. You can hide as part of a move action, so you can take 20 to hide as part of 20 move actions. You just can't normally do so in plain sight while pretending to be some other object.

Look at it like this: you're spending extra time finding the exact perfect place to hide, how exactly to pose to maximize it, etc.


Set wrote:
mplindustries wrote:

That is very true--we only really know how this works thanks to this four thousand plus post thread.

Kinetic Blade and Whip have huge problems, though, because they currently vastly out damage ranged blasting (thanks to Vital Strike and move action gather energy for Empower or Composites). I'm expecting a nearly complete rewrite of these abilities to further clarify them and to make sure they don't so ridiculously out damage the main focus of the class (i.e. ranged blasting--these are supposed to be emergency melee backups after all)--a little bit more damage is reasonable for increased risk, but not the amount it currently adds.

An Archetype that focuses on the melee option and eliminates almost entirely the ranged option might end up being a way of bringing that back, if it's cut from the core class.

Yeah, I think that sounds cool and likely.


That is very true--we only really know how this works thanks to this four thousand plus post thread.

Kinetic Blade and Whip have huge problems, though, because they currently vastly out damage ranged blasting (thanks to Vital Strike and move action gather energy for Empower or Composites). I'm expecting a nearly complete rewrite of these abilities to further clarify them and to make sure they don't so ridiculously out damage the main focus of the class (i.e. ranged blasting--these are supposed to be emergency melee backups after all)--a little bit more damage is reasonable for increased risk, but not the amount it currently adds.


Inlaa wrote:

Alright, I'll keep all that in mind. That's interesting. If this is the case, the text is misleading and should be changed.

Quote:
You create a non-reach one-handed or light weapon in your hands formed of pure energy or elemental matter, or for telekineticists, you transfer the power of your kinetic blast to any object held in one hand.
If this doesn't let the Kineticist use any weapon-based feats / abilities associated with the weapon he/she forms, then it shouldn't read that way. It's confusing. I know it makes it clear that the weapon deals damage as per your Blast, but that doesn't make the text any less misleading.

You don't make a specific light or one handed weapon, you just give your kinetic blast the qualities of that class of weapon.


Inlaa wrote:
Can Kineticists using Kinetic Blade or Kinetic Whip use those abilities with feats specific to a certain weapon?

No. Kinetic Blast is its own weapon. Near as anyone can tell, you don't make a "scimitar" you make a "generic light weapon" or "generic one-handed weapon" that still counts as a "kinetic blast."

Inlaa wrote:

Biff has four feats: Weapon Focus (scimitar), Weapon Finesse, Piranha Strike, and improved critical. He has a high CON and high DEX. When Biff attacks with with an icy scimitar that he's conjured up with his hydrokineticist powers, does it benefit from

A) Weapon Finesse
B) Piranha Strike
C) Improved Critical

Weapon Finesse applies.

Piranha Strike applies if the blast is physical (Aether, Earth, Water, Air), but not if it's energy (Fire, Electricity, Cold) because Piranha Srike doesn't apply to touch attacks.

Improved Critical would apply if he took Improved Critical (Kinetic Blast), but not if he took Improved Critcal (Scimitar). Same for Weapon Focus. He'd need Weapon Focus (Kinetic Blast), not Weapon Focus (Scimitar).

Inlaa wrote:
while still dealing his blast damage + CON? I know he doesn't gain any bonus from a high strength.

Yes, the damage would stay the same as his blast. For cold, it would be 1d6 + 1/2 Con as a touch attack, while for water, it would be 1d6 + 1 + Con

Inlaa wrote:
Also, let's say that Biff had Dervish Dance because he took a drawback for a feat. Would Dervish Dance not work because it replaces his STR-based damage, or would it work because it's not STR-based damage?

It wouldn't work both because it's not a scimitar and because there's no strength damage to replace.

Inlaa wrote:
What if Biff is a rogue and he wants to make sneak attacks with a full attack action with his shiny ice scimitar? Does it work?

Yes.

Inlaa wrote:
Finally, if Biff has two-weapon fighting, can he wield the shiny ice scimitar in one hand and a normal weapon in the other and make a full attack action using both?

Yes.

Keep in mind, for usability purposes, you're going to be eating Burn for using Kinetic Blade unless you spend a move action to gather energy every round or you make it to 5th level for your first infusion specialization.


No, both change the way you Arcane Pool works.

Why would you want to combine two of the worst Magus archetype?


Athelgar wrote:
So as a player having started playing tabletop rpg's in DnD 4e,(ya ya, yell and mock me now, I'll wait)

4e is a fine game.

Athelgar wrote:
The way I am understanding it Lvl 1 Geokinetisist[I like it better that way too] using Earth Blast(Sp) would be attacking with D20 + BAB0 = 1d6+1+CON(+2)

It would be d20 + BAB (0) + Whatever your Dex is. The damage looks right, though.

Athelgar wrote:
If I were to infuse it with Pushing Infusion at Lvl 1 it would still be the same attack as above, but have the secondary attack of the bull rush on each target hit.

Correct, but, since it's level 1, you'll need to Gather Energy or it will cost you 1 point of Burn.

A Bullrush is a special Combat Maneuver, so you'd roll CMB, with Con in place of Str. CMB is BAB + Con (in this case) + a special size modifier (+0 if your medium, -1 if you're small). You compare this to the enemy's CMD. Normally, you push them back 5 feet if you meet or beat their CMD, and another 5 feet for each 5 by which you beat them (so, if their CMD was 15 and you rolled 21, you'd push them 10 feet, if your rolled 33, you'd push them 20'). However, the Pushing Infusion has a special limitation in that it can only push a maximum of 5' no matter how high you roll.

I really hope that restriction is getting removed in the final version.

Athelgar wrote:
If I were to add Burn to the Pushing Infusion they would be pushed an additional 5 feet for each point of burn?

No, I'm not sure where you're getting that. The infusion costs 1 Burn to use at all--there's no further ability to enhance it. If spending Burn will boost a power, it will explicitly say so, like the various defenses, or Spark of Life.

As a final note, seriously, don't take Pushing infusion. It's a waste. I'd take Extended Range, personally. Kinetic Blade and Kinetic Cover wouldn't be awful first choices, either.

Oh, and you definitely want more Con than that. Unless you're dealing with a really low Point Buy (like 15 or less), you're going to need it.

Marathon Voter 2015

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I see, so, the ability is not "take 20 faster," but "hide in plain sight as this thing and take 20." It didn't affect my vote, but it's always good to learn something new.

Marathon Voter 2015

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
But this is not a creature for an enchanted ball. This is a creature that sneaks up on people in underground tunnels and ambushes them...with a surprise waltz! It's absurd and ridiculous. Fey are awesome, and the high noble fey enchanting you with a dance is awesome. But not as an ambush in a dark tunnel!
Where do you see that? The first line of the write-up is "In the elegant, darkly beautiful Court of Ether, the coryphae (pronounced KOR-i-fay) entertain and protect the nymph-queen Frilogarma."

"Usually encountered in groups, stealthy coryphae often approach unnoticed; a sudden burst of frantic music is the only warning that the coryphae have arrived. They gracefully sweep enemies up in their unearthly frolic, bewitching the weak-willed and turning them to their dark Majesty's service."

They are from the court, but they encountered as stealthy, dance ambushers. You're walking around, when--Bam! You got served!

I can only imagine the sudden burst of frantic music as "let's see you dance, sucka you got nothin' on me..."

Marathon Voter 2015

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I voted for:
Deeplit
Dwarf Agaric
Gloomwasp
Narrik

It's interesting, because even though I never based on who the designer was, these four designers have been consistently among my favorite. Monica and Chris had my favorite items of the 32 (and the other two were just outside of my keeper list). Charlie and Chris had my 2nd and 3rd favorite map, I voted for Gabriel's, and Monica's would have been vote 9 for me if I had it. It's interesting how these have shaken out.

The above were the clear best in my mind. However, if I had 7 votes, I'd go with:
Labyrinth Weaver
Spiroskek
Blightbore

I don't like any of the others enough to vote for, even if I had 8, but if I had to guess which 8 will win (rather than which ones I like best), I'd say: Coryphae (even though this is one of my least favorite in the whole competition), Deeplit, Dread Glutton, Gloomwasp, Geomaw, Narrick, Occularictus, and Spiroskek

Marathon Voter 2015

Yeah, I think other people's games have a much different tone than mine.

To clarify, I agree that elegant dancing is a thing the fey would do. I can very much imagine the PCs attending a Fey party, and having it be a tense affair where they have to fit in and mingle to get a boon or accomplish some other goal, but there are harrows at every turn, including food/drink that enchants you, dancing that sweeps you away and makes you susceptible, etc. In that context, the idea is solid gold.

But this is not a creature for an enchanted ball. This is a creature that sneaks up on people in underground tunnels and ambushes them...with a surprise waltz! It's absurd and ridiculous. Fey are awesome, and the high noble fey enchanting you with a dance is awesome. But not as an ambush in a dark tunnel!

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I really don't understand this "wheel" thing at all. And aren't elk large size?

Monstrous Momentum is a nice shock tactic that can catch people unawares with a 120' charge. I still don't understand how the wheel works, physiologically, but you have now convinced me that it's cool enough to just go with it.

I love the Silent Image edition, because it makes the fight much more dramatic and interesting. They are ambush predators, but with interesting twists. I can definitely see charging in from hiding, bleeding the target, then running away at 6x speed through pre-setup illusionary walls or over illusion covered pit traps. That simple addition (silent imge) makes them much more dynamic in battle than a normal creature like this would be.

Their motivation is, well, a little lacking, though. They're just murderous nasty things that do murderous nasty things because. They have 9 Int, 17 Cha, but no meaningful culture? That's kind of a misstep for me, but a minor one.

I like this one, in the end. I have a harder decision than I expected, as the last few I read were all vote worthy.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I really like this. It has a cohesive purpose and agenda (see the surface, eat light, punish those who have light/have seen the surface). It has interesting abilities that make the fight more interesting, especially when paired with other creatures, as it eats PC light, then projects deadly light, forcing people to choose the darkness (possibly full of other monsters) or slowly taking damage. The Pattern Susceptibility is a cool touch, though, I wish all of its immunities were removed for the purposes of Pattern spells, because a few blind (Colorspray and Scintillating Pattern) and another nauseates (Loathesome Veil).

Still, I like this and I think it has my vote.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I think I like this creature. It's creepy and cool. I am a big fan of disease, poison, and spore type creatures, though, admittedly, having all three at once might make this slow to run at the table. I probably would have done the Spore Swarm as a movable AoE effect, rather than an actual swarm, especially one I have to reference elsewhere. But this stuff is pretty minor.

What I especially appreciate is that these things have a clear and obvious reason to attack PCs: reproduction. They actually fit into a realistic ecosystem because they are also edible (and apparently delicious).

I still have two more to read, but I'm thinking this will probably get one of my votes.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I really like this creature's abilities. The radiation is cool (I actually like the tech guide, even though other voters seem very opposed to it), I like the teamwork abilities (Corrupt Light and Target of Opportunity), pretty much everything.

My only complaint, and it's a big one that might cause you to lose my vote if the last three I have to read are great, is that this creature doesn't seem to have any goals or purpose. You gave it a backstory, but beyond calling them "aggressive," I don't know how I'd use these. Why do they attack? Do they eat people? I have nothing to go on here, meaning it seems like their purpose is, "you are randomly attacked by these cool bug monsters...uh...because." I hate that--natural creatures don't behave like that, and I see no reason why supernatural ones would, either, when holding a similar position in local ecology.

I'm going to have to weigh my vote carefully here, but you might get it.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I almost like this one. I am intrigued by the idea of this thing being an engineered species designed to dispose of hazardous materials. But, unfortunately, it doesn't really deliver, as it apparently will attack the PCs for random metals and gems they are carrying even though it doesn't actually consume them for nutrients. If these only went after Blightburn and other hazardous materials, I'd like it a lot more.

It's also kind of a boring fight and its abilities seem more oriented towards making sure the whole party has disease before it dies than actually winning. I mean, it gets literally no benefit from using its breathweapon. It doesn't do enough to kill people as an opening move, and since it's a disease not a poison, it won't keep delivering the initial damage once you're infected (you can be more poisoned but not more diseased, you just have it or you don't).

Otherwise, it's a typical swallow whole monster. The worst part of that, though, is that it also has a burrow speed, so, it could swallow someone, then just burrow into the rock and wait. Anyone escaping its gullet would just be trapped in the earth and probably die anyway. That's too dangerous for CR 7.

Like I said, I almost like this. I would not call a vote a sure thing, but, I guess I am really unreasonably picky here because there are only two creatures I've liked more so far, and only four more to read, so, there's real chance I will vote for this.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

Contents Under Pressure is cool, but sloppy. It creates a cone and then gets blasted in the opposite direction, but it seems like the creature gets to choose the directions--the angle of attack means nothing here, and I would have liked the ability to direct its movement by attacking from certain directions. 21 damage also seems like a very low threshhold. It's pretty easy to deal 21 damage at 6th level--a nonmagical Greatsword with Power Attack and a 20 Strength behind it is doing 2d6+13 (20 average) after all, before any kind of class abilities, feats, magical buffs or enhancements, etc. This even has a lower AC than usual, so you can Power Attack without much fear. I feel like it'll be unleashing its jet and getting thrown around pretty routinely. Does the movement provoke AoOs?

Overall, the Contents Under Pressure's low damage threshhold kind of ruin it's main tactics--it can't hold on to people if it's taking 21+ damage, and well, it's going to be, because that's the amount of damage the most common beatstick PCs deal at 6th level. Instead of a cool fight against this weird balloon creature grabbing people and eating/constricting them until someone cleverly identifies it and deals a bunch of cold damage to shut it down, you're just going to get a goofy balloon deflating effect as it takes too much damage every round and just blasts around, unable to do anything but hope its feeble 4d6 cone kills the party in the 3 hits it can survive.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I really don't have a clue what this thing looks like. Your description is deliberately confusing to engender fear of the unknown, but, well, I still need to know and have a more solid description for the end when it's dead or otherwise stops moving.

Blood Gorger feels tacked on. It doesn't feel like it makes sense with the creature's biology, just like you needed a way to prevent a worse case, way-above-CR scenario in which this thing would swallow someone and then burrow away where the PCs couldn't help and the swallowed guy had nowhere to escape because he'd be buried in rock when he did so. Don't get me wrong, I am glad you added it to prevent just such a problem, but I wish it felt more logical and consistent.

Using Fascinated is a tricky choice for Blood Lantern. I get the idea is to make it harder and more frantic to try and save your swallowed friend, but I feel like knowing your friend is currently being consumed might be enough to count as an obvious threat. It's a gray area, I think.

Anyone can take 20 Hide, so the Freeze ability is missing something. I think the intention is that taking 20 doesn't take extra time.

This is 15' long and almost as wide, but it's Large (10x10), not Huge (15x15)?

Anyway, I don't really care for this at all. First, it has no purpose in the world other than to randomly attack the PCs because, reasons. Just another predator that doesn't act like a real world predator at all (i.e. it attacks groups of heavily armed and armored adventurers even though it is intelligent enough to know better, rather than single easy targets, or the weak links in non-aggressive groups). A fight with it would be very straightforward. It's a typical "swallow whole" fight except it also drains con from the one inside and fascinates those on the outside. Eh. Nothing special--we already have swallow whole monsters and what this adds is not enough to make it feel special.

And yeah, I still have no idea what this thing looks like at all. So, no, not for me, sorry.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I don't like this creature for two reasons:
1) it's just another "gotcha!" ambush monster, which D&D has too many of already (mimics, piercers, darkmantles, lots of different plants...the list is huge)
2) it's core ability requires excessive metagaming.

On the second point, you can't know a PC's deepest desire without asking the player. So, you ask your player what the PC's deepest desire is, then, uh, they see their deepest desire. After rolling a will save (or seeing you roll in secret). They are not going to be surprised that it's actually a trick. The only way it would work is if they deliberately play into it (in which case, they'll feel unwilling to be dubious, even though it may make perfect sense to be). It's a meta-disaster of a monster. The only way you could maybe pull it off is if you routinely ask your players what their PC's deepest desires are every session, just to set up potentially using this creature, but then, you'll also need to have them encounter those desires sometimes, so they don't just assume it's always a trick...no, this is too messy to use, sorry.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I can see how this monster works--you climb up a wall out of reach, throw funguous snares to cover people in spores, then sap their Charisma by growing mushrooms, hoping you can drain them of Charisma before they ranged attack you to death. That's just not especially dynamic or interesting. I mean, this thing's melee damage is a joke, so its only chance is the Charisma damage--it has no other way to win.

I do like the little touch in the Dread Burst that fear effects spread to nearby targets, but, I wish three things:
1) it spread all emotion effects, not just fear (rage, for example)
2) it had a way to reliably infict a fear and/or emotion effect to spread (no, cause fear is not sufficient)
3) there was some mechanical backing for the idea of these things feeding from the mushrooming emotions--a heal, a morale buff, something that suggest the dread glutton wants to be in the radius of the burst to feed

Without #3, their placement in the world just makes so little sense to me. They could maybe be the villains in a story about the PCs trying to bust up a slave trade (like, they bought some slaves and the PCs found a "garden" of the slave corpses), but this bizarre city and fey queen are just totally uninteresting to me.

I'm not a fan, but it's not exactly bad--just more of a taste issue, I think, and disappointment that the idea was not carried out to its logical conclusion, rather than wasting words on some disconnected nymph queen.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

I'm sorry, this is ridiculous. This thing dances me into servitude? Really?

And beyond that, it's not even well set up to do so. The Dance is poorly explained. You give both the grappled condition, but give no procedure for continuing the dance on an already grappled target. Moving, for example, is totally different in a grapple. The nonlethal damage is also counterproductive here--it's actually somewhat likely that you'll knock an enemy out before they take enough Wisdom damage to dominate, and there's also no provision for dancing with an unconscious opponent.

I also am not sure what makes this especially suited to Nar-Voth beyond you saying it lives there. No, I really don't like this creature at all. Too silly, sloppily written, no place in the world beyond "they randomly sneak up on parties and dance battle them for, you know, reasons." Sorry, but no.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!

Right off the bat, the "read aloud" description contains words most players will just blink in confusion at (cephalothorax!) and a non sentence (the second one needs to either be a subordinate clause of the first, or it needs a verb).

It should just have DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning, not two separate DRs. It's very odd, in my mind, for a Spider to have more Strength and Con than Dex. I might be wrong, but I feel like all the giant bugs still have more Dex than Str because of their relative light weights for their sizes (given the way exoskeletons work).

The Camouflage ability is very strange--DC 15 is pretty low for 6th level characters, and the ability to use other checks also seems unusual--maybe that's a common thing and I just don't look at enough monster stat blocks, I don't know. It's also unclear as to whether or not those rolls are automatically given or if they need to be asked for--and why this extra layer of perception defense separate from its own Stealth skill? Why not just let them hide in plain sight in rocky environments?

An 8 round poison is really strange--aren't the vast majority 6 rounds, with a few less? I've never seen one more than 6 rounds that I can recall. I hate the fact that the "cumulative fear effect" (which is not how you should word this) is based on random chance, not on the normal save, or even a separate Will save.

I love Stone Tunnel + Wall Weave, though. I may adapt that specific ability myself for a separate creature. I wish you expanded it, though--could it be used to trap victims that were helpless, for example?

I like the ecosystem set up by these things, though, well, I always wish they made more sense from a world building standpoint (what do they usually hunt that they have to be so elaborate? In a way, I wish they had some other goal, other than just hunting for survival. I also wish their venom actually did what your flavor text suggests--i.e., hallucinations, disorientation, and confusion, rather than just wisdom damage and fear. But yeah, a fight with these things would be very interesting and outside-the-box fun.

You made this very difficult for me, because you have a lot of little errors throughout, but, the real "meat" of the creature is conceptually awesome. I don't know if I'll vote for this or not, but it's at least in contention in my mind.

Marathon Voter 2015

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!


Ew, no. First, this is an absolute nightmare to fight. An intelligent Diminutive Swarm with a paralyzing multi-gaze, improved iron will (practically removing its susceptibility to mind affecting effects), above average perfect flight, truesight and a huge vision range and Perception check so there's no escape...this is like a collection of all the worst traits to have to deal with, and only at CR 7? This would suck to fight, as much as almost anything else I can think of.

The worst part about this seemingly perfect predator is that, well, it doesn't actually seem dangerous and I can't imagine why you'd ever engage one. It's goals seem to create "eye spies," but, being an eye spy costs the victim, uh, absolutely nothing. You get your eyes ripped out horrifically, yes, but then, you get normal new eyes and get to go on your way. Who cares? What is this mass of eyes going to do with your sight besides, you know, enjoy it? It doesn't harm or affect you in any way, nor can it excercise any control over you. In fact, that's another reason not to engage them--killing it blinds all of its victims that are off just living normal lives unaffected by the thing.

How would you use this? What are its goals beyond seeing stuff? What makes it worth engaging and killing given how horrible it is to fight? This is a very creepy monster, but it needs something else--some goal, or dark master controlling them, or, I don't know, anything it can actually do with its network of spies other than enjoy their senses for it to really work.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!


I'm not a fan conceptually, as this is just another monster that will randomly attack the PC for "reasons." There's no underlying goal or agenda that makes them compelling beyond a random encounter in the dark. It's also so bizarre looking that, I can't help but find it a bit silly.

I like the way it tastes fear and how that interacts with its other powers. I kind of wish it didn't also have Darkvision, though. I'd have liked it a lot more, from a world building perspective, if it could only see fear.

I don't like Alien Anatomy, which makes it immune to precision damage, screwing swashbucklers and Rogues (two classes that definitely do not need screwing) but not critical hits. And Erratic Demise just feels bizarre for the sake of being bizarre.

Saliva is good, but it's not clear how it's delivered. Will a bite do it? Can it lick its claws to pass it on? Is it carried in the ensnaring venom? Speaking of Ensnaring Venom, what does "increases the accumulated fear effect" mean? Or rather, I know what it means, but that's not the proper way to word that at all.

Where it scores big with me, though, is how fun it would be to fight these. They are adequately dangerous (maybe a little bit light on damage) when played typically, but if their full abilities are utilized (ensaring venom to glue people down, then spring attack in and out until they are panicked but unable to run), the fight becomes very dynamic. They'd be really dangerous without being frustrating, as counters exist (readying attacks, pinning them down somehow, having good enough saves, etc.).

I'm torn on this one. I don't like its place in the world as, essentially just a combat waiting to happen, but its actual combat abilities are really well thought out. There are some errors, but nothing unforgivable. It's the best I've seen so far, but it's only the fourth I've seen. It's not sure thing but I may end up voting for it if nothing else impresses me more.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!


I really dislike this one. A tiny greedy dragon is just weird and silly to me. I can't imagine how I'd use this. The PCs get stalked by a tiny greedy thing? The PCs...trade with a tiny dragon merchant? I can't see this not being ridiculous.

Its tactics don't even make sense. If discovered, it makes a single attempt to nab the goods, but, uh, it has no special ability to do that whatsoever--not even Improved Steal.

When played be a typical GM, this thing is a joke, with really low stats for a CR 5 monster. When played optimally, this thing is impossible to fight because it wouldn't ever engage directly, just use its burrowing to create ridiculous hazards. I mean, as the description even says, it can drown the PCs with easy in subterranean tunnels, but that's not even the only possibility.

This is the second creature in a row that I've seen like this--a joke when fought straight up and impossibly frustrating when used to the best of its abilities.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc.). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.
Now, on to the monster!


So, it's nice that this is an intelligent creature whose first response is stealth that has its own society, meaning its interactions with PCs won't necessarily be automatically violent. It's not so nice that this society is not explained at all beyond the fact that they create art only they can meaningfully interact with. I think you wasted words trying to give backstory that justifies them as Nar-Vothian, rather than expanding on how they'd really be used in play.

Why would the PCs interact with them? What would happen when they do? This feels like a disproportionate amount of words devoted to making them a combat threat despite obviously not being strictly meant to fight the PCs.

The worst part is that, while they are barely a threat when played by a typical GM, they would just be awful to actually fight when played by a highly tactical GM.

Can you imagine PCs of the level that would face CR 5s running into Walls of Force? I mean, that's ridiculous. The Dispel DC is really high, and even that assumes both that you have at least 5th level full casters and that they prepared Dispel (in my experience CR 5s face 3rd and 4th level parties--APL + 1 or 2 is the real baseline, not APL). I would absolutely hate to run into a couple of these things that popped an impassable wall of force across the tunnel, shaped a tiny hole in them, and then unerringly threw force javelins at us until we gave up in frustration. They could even counter false retreats by just forming force walls around corners. They'd just be a guerilla nightmare.

So, intelligent, social creature that manipulates force: good. Intelligent, social creatures with basically nothing about their society or potential reasons for interacting with PCs: bad. CR 5s that make at-will force walls and higher damage magic missiles: very bad.

Marathon Voter 2015

How I Judge/Disclaimer:
I'm probably not your "typical" judge of monsters. When I GM, I tend not to use pre-generated creatures and statblocks, preferring instead to build custom foes for the PCs (this is partly because my houserules remove, most significantly, magic items, excessive wealth, and instant, permanent debilitating effects, like instant death, ability drain, energy drain, permanent curses, etc. and partly because I just like doing it). However, I do, occasionally mine extant creatures for ideas, and adapt them to suit my needs.

I would say that at least 75% of the foes my PCs face are intelligent, social creatures with class levels, as I always prefer it when, 1) there is a logical reason for an encounter (I dislike illogical filler encounters when 1d4 darkmantles drop on you just for the hell of it) 2) there are multiple ways to overcome a challenge (such as parley, escape, manipulating the environment, etc.). So, for an actual, legitimate monster to interest me, it needs to have logical reasons to interact with the party beyond "they're close by and it attacks for reasons," and ideally, it needs to create a memorable interaction thanks to a strange ability or behavior pattern.

From the PC side of the table, meanwhile, I'll be judging on how fun it would to encounter this creature. Now, I don't mean "how easy it would be to defeat," I mean how dynamic and exciting facing it would be. There are tons of filler creatures already that you just beat on until someone falls over. I want something involving unusual tactics, but that wouldn't just be frustrating.

Oh, and always remember that my comments are never meant to be hurtful. They are only intended to help draw your attention to problem areas. Learning from criticism is an important part of any creative endeavor.

Now, on to the monster!

So, it's a rooted plant that moves as fast as people, earthglides, has DR 5/adamantine against 5th level (or lower) PCs, annoying immunities, and constantly heals itself while dealing you Dex damage. That just, frankly, sounds awful to deal with.

This is kind of the worst of all worlds from my perspective. This is a barely intelligent plant that will attack the PCs because, uh, that's just what it does (even though it normally hunts vegepygmies, which are much easier game than heavily armed and armored adventurers), but it's annoying to fight because:

1) Played by a typical GM, it's just a tedious slog through its HP and excessive defenses (given the level of PC facing it) and pseudo self healing.

2) Played optimally, it's a tedious slog through its HP and excessive defenses while it effortlessly glides through walls, floors, and ceilings, attacking from angles the PCs cannot effectively fight back from, constantly pseudo-healing itself and whittling down Dex before escaping again because PCs at this level have few, if any options for dealing with tactics like that when traveling around natural earthen caverns--even stone shape will have minimal application, assuming the PCs even are 5th level and have a Druid/Cleric with them.

There is something interesting here, however--I do like its ability to Leach Nutrients. I may incorporate that somehow into a different sort of creature. Otherwise, sorry, I did not like this creature at all.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
Remember, 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? Well, my crtique is going to be a little different than most others because 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.

What I am generally not looking at is flavor text. Descriptions of your item will only hurt if the item evokes imagery I dislike. I care about theme, of course, but a crow item that blinds and has pilfering hand in it is thematic enough--I don't need to read about what different kinds of dark wood were used and how many crow parts are sticking out of it. Honestly, I'm just going to describe your item however I like when I run the game anyway.

Finally, know that I did not read any other 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 it!


151) Staff of the Beast Within:
This is a collection of "eh" spells. Beast Shape II is pretty good for non-casters to get, but, Animal Aspect is pretty worthless, bites are the easiest natural attack to acquire, so Savage Maw is less than impressive, and Aspect of the Wolf is almost certainly going to be obsoleted by belts (and since this staff is priced for 11th level characters, the trip is probably obsolete at this point, too).

A bigger question, though, is who is this staff for? Using Rage to refill charges isn't bad, but, it's kind of bizarre. No spellcaster will naturally have the spells in this staff AND Rage without multiclassing, so, the most likely outcome is either UMD or handing the staff off to the Barbarian to recharge. I also don't see a super strong connection between "animal powers" and rage.

The Calm Emotions part was interesting and showed thought, though, so that was a plus.

Overall, it just wasn't good enough. There are some good things, but there was no clear user for this, and well, a staff that just recharges differently still isn't very Superstar.


152) Scales of the Scarab:
I remember that this was the very first item I saw when voting, and, I remember my thoughts: "What?"

There are some minor issues throughout. The line about directing the swarm into letters is weird. Becoming a swarm without swarm traits is odd (DR 5/- instead of half from weapons). You refer to the scarabs as if they were someone other than the wearer, so who is in control of them is in question. It's very unclear what happens whan the scarab swarm dies (can it?) and how many HP it has.

But the biggest issue I have is that this armor's only power (besides being druid-wearable Scale Mail) only works when you die. I absolutely do not want to invest gold (especially so much of it--this appears to be something like 29k) in what happens when I die. I'd much rather be preventing that death instead. I hate death as a revolving door as a trope in D&D, and I would not want to vote for an item that encourages and assumes it.


153) Staff of Duergar Enslavement:
What the heck is this? Staff of unfairly ruin any character ever? No thanks!

The spells themselves are fine. All are logical choices for the theme. It's ridiculously expensive (it's priced for 15th level characters), but that's because you have a completely insane final ability.

Turn someone into an evil dwarf forever and they assume they've always been an evil dwarf, and only extremely poweful magic can break it! Further, it works like Polymorph, so, the save (you should list the DC. It's unclear whether or not it should work like a normal item with minimum stats assumed--DC: 17--or if it's like a spell coming from the staff and the caster uses their own stats) is Harmless! A harmless save means that, if you can catch someone asleep, you automatically ruin them (because consent is implied while unconscious).

I really hate permanent, character ruining effects. A bad guy with this staff could destroy a game in one round with this, and evil PC witches will be Slumber hexing and converting minions left and right. It doesn't really even make sense. Why would a Duergar turn slaves into other Duergar? That seems like they'd be willing allies, then, not slaves anymore. No, I do not like this item, sorry.


154) Blackmail:
It's a chain shirt that makes you look like a bumblebee? Really? I know Wasps are Calistria's thing, but, that's a little heavy handed and silly, no?

So, you leave marks when you grapple? That's, weird. Why grappling? And does it only apply when you initiate a grapple? Or each time you make a successful grapple roll of any kind?

WHOAH, WHAT?! You basically make someone take double damage forever unless they make a relatively difficult Will save? That's really crazy powerful--way too good for sure, never mind for only 40k.

It also creates weird issues like, what happens if your target is undead? I do not ascribe to this, but there are lots of people on the forum who believe undead heal from any source of negative damage. If they're right, could I just get a friend to wear this and curse me if I'm undead so that I always heal as much damage as I take?

No, this should be beyond the scope of anything in the game, magic item or otherwise, and there are lots of little writing/formatting issues, too.


155) The Vengeful Scribe's Penknife:
Yikes, 53k? This better be amazing for 12th level characters.

Why is this Small? Is this meant for halflings and gnomes, or were you just trying to more accurately represent a penknife being smaller than a dagger and make it less wieldly as a weapon? Since a dagger is already light, I don't think medium creatures even can wield it as a weapon...

"Five times per day, once per round..." is really an awkward mouthful. You should know that when it comes to pricing, 5 times per day is actually considered the same as unlimited times per day. Fights don't last very long in Pathfinder. For the most part, you'll be able to use this every meaningful round of combat most days. The really frustrating part will be the rare times you can't, and you have to either ration uses or you run out when there's another unexpected fight. It might as well have been unlimited. Or 3/day. 5/day is just a bad idea.

The penknife is a small dagger, but you have it striking as if it were a medium greatsword (dealing 2d6). You should make the size change more clear. Actually there's a lot that's unclear here. It strikes as a greatsword--does that include needing greatsword proficiency? Can you/must you wield it in two hands for 1.5x Str and Power Attack? If you enhance it further so that it becomes Agile, would you still deal Dex based damage when it acts as a greatsword? It's just too vague. Why not just change the base damage, rather than specifying it became like a greatsword?

Ignoring DR is a little crazy, but, I guess ok. Ignoring fortification is really weird, though. I've not seen anything that does that.

This is getting out of hand. You get the Critical Focus feat, too? Why not just give the +4 without connecting it to the feat? I mean, what happens if you already have the feat?

I don't know, I understand what you're going for, but I really don't like the design space you're working with here. The "surprise, this crappy weapon is actually a really good weapon because I made a knowledge check!" thing is just, not compelling to me. Now, I do like knowledge is power as a theme, and I really wish there were more ways to use Knowledge checks to get combat benefits, but, I'm looking for stuff like bonuses to hit or damage, not "my entire weapon changes int something else, sort of!" I do appreciate that you removed the "Only a Bard can do this" thing. There are at least quite a few classes who can take advantage of this, now.

Compared to the last attempt, this is on a whole different level. Honestly, huge improvement. I still don't like it, and there are still lots of issues, but, the amount of progress shown in a single draft is really promising for your design future.


156) Bonewarp Chain:
This started out interesting. Contortionist armor is an interesting idea, and the All Around Vision is very superstar. Then we get to this weird description of the limbs bein unanchored and that gives an "amazing" +4 CMD. That's just really disappointing considering what this should be able to do.

I dislike the ability to auto-free yourself from being pinned. Not only is automatically defeating anything not a good idea, but it's extremely specific (you can escape pinned, but not grappled or other kinds of binding) and vague (if you break the Pin, are you still grappled?).

I really dislike the sickened thing. It's so minor (DC 12 is a joke and 1 round barely matters). Why bother? I get you were trying to drive home how creepy it is, but I think this was just a little hamfisted.

Overall, it's an interesting idea, but one you fail to capitalize on. There are so many cool things you could have done with this. What about the Compression ability? I think you missed a great opportunity.


157) Staff of Infiltration:
Really expensive staff (priced for a 15th level character). Ok, better be something great. Gyah, only CL 8! Not very promising. What is my level 15 character going to do with 4th (or lower) level spells?

The spells are ok, but, well, just as I suspected, kind of pointless for a level 15 character. Then, the special power...

Silent table? What the heck is that? Wow, what a terrible spell. I honestly can't figure out why anyone would care about this spell, especially at level 15. Oh, and it can be a +1/+1 weapon, too? At level 15? I don't think you paid any attention to how this price range would affect usability.

The alternate version is, well, 11k for Disguise Self and Clairaudience/Clairvoyance. They really make the Infiltration theme land much more strongly, which helps, but well, the problems above remain. It's still more expensive than it's worth, unfortunately.

Wow, I actually caught up. Cool! I guess I'm done!

That was actually a fun experience, though, it did drag at the end. I hope my reviews helped, even if my opinions are apparently on the unusual side.

Marathon Voter 2015

Disclaimer:
Remember, 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? Well, my crtique is going to be a little different than most others because 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.

What I am generally not looking at is flavor text. Descriptions of your item will only hurt if the item evokes imagery I dislike. I care about theme, of course, but a crow item that blinds and has pilfering hand in it is thematic enough--I don't need to read about what different kinds of dark wood were used and how many crow parts are sticking out of it. Honestly, I'm just going to describe your item however I like when I run the game anyway.

Finally, know that I did not read any other 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 it!


141) Scimitar of Dancing Lightning:
Ew, Shocking Burst. Even on a keen 18-20/x2 or x4 weapon, the Xing Burst weapons are still traps--they just don't do enough damage to justify the +2 equivalent.

Whoah, wait, what?! Ranged touch attacks that do your full melee damage (including power attack and whatnot) is just too much. This would be the weapon of choice for, well, literally everyone. It's way too good--probably no matter the price. Just look at how much people complain about Gunslingers for getting to make ranged touch attacks. Take a look at something like a Great Wyrm Red Dragon which has 39 base AC, and a Touch AC of 0. ZERO!

Brilliant Energy, which also lets you make touch attacks, actually sucks, because it has too many limitations on it (doesn't work on undead or constructs, for example), but this just works on everyone unless they are immune to electricity and it costs less than Brilliant Energy would.

The haste thing is interesting but doesn't really do much. How often are you saving against electricity effects during a normal game? Realistically, by the time you can acquire this, your party has someone casting Haste for the party already.

Overall, no, I'm sorry, this is way too crazy strong. If the ranged attacks had just been against regular AC, however, this could have been one of my favorite items, as I like the concept of a melee weapon shooting power at the bad guys.


142) Ring of the Champion #2:
First, this is boring, and I hate that it makes duplicates of itself other people have to wear. This eats three party ring slots at once. No, thank you. The real problem, though, is that it's useless for its intended purpose (i.e. for three members of an actual adventuring party to wear the rings while adventuring together), but it's way too abusable thanks to the lack of range on the effect.

For example, I'd just find a community of Halflings and let them "work from home." I'd set up a system where those with the Helpful trait take shifts wearing the rings, aiding me on attack and defense every round for however long they could reasonably do it before passing the ring off to someone else. It works even better at higher levels when ways to communicate with the outsourced office becomes possible via magic. I'm a super rich adventurer that can fund their entire town on a tiny fraction of my share and the work is super easy--it's too good not to do it. Theoretically, you might even be able to drop off benevolent suits of armor to the town to buff the bonus up.

Yeah, overall, useless for what you wanted it to be used for (nobody actually Aids Another without a build specifically to do it, and they wouldn't need this ring), but overpowered and abusable if you "play wrong."


143) Soulfire Band:
I'm very much turned off by items that manipulate souls in any way, so, that lost you points in my book, sorry.

It also seems like there's some tedious soul HD tetrising to be done--you can't realistically get to the 20HD cap because you can't go even 1HD over. And then, there's tedious book keeping about what souls you have and what their specific Hit Dice were. It's a lot of work to wear this ring.

Finally, the ultimate effect is, well, of fluctuating, almost random power. You're not getting this ring before 13th level, so, using Ogres was kind of a bizarre choice for an example, unless you're farming souls from low level areas or something. And yeah, at 13th level, a DC 17 is pretty stupidly easy. But, if all the pieces fall together correctly, a 20d12 scorching ray is kind of ridiculous (130 average damage).

Overall, no, it's too powerful when it works right, too tedious to bookkeep and use properly, and just doesn't sit well with me flavorwise.


144) Ring of Retrospection:
NO! Hell no! No items that give free XP! Absolutely not! I'm not even going to get into the weird recharge timer or anything else. Do not manipulate XP with items, feats, class abilities, or anything else. Ever. It is not a real thing in the world--it is a meta-conceit--so how could anyone in the world make an item to screw with it?

145) Ring of Adaptive Weaponry:
The basic idea is ok--adding properties to a weapon is useful. However, this is two lines of poorly written backstory (content, grammar, and general formatting) followed by a single sentence of actual effect. And even in that one sentence, there are mistakes.

First, it only specifies that the rings cause a weapon to function as if made of the same material. What weapon? One I hold? One on my person? Just one at some unspecified range nearby? You need to clarify this stuff. You also add this weird caveat about monks, specifically, getting a natural weapon. This is both unnecessary for what you intended (a monk's unarmed strike counts as a regular weapon just fine) and really bizarre because of what you didn't (Wildshaping Druids and Beastmorph Alchemists need a level of monk to affect their own natural weapons, and it has no effect for, say, animal companions).

The circumstances for when and how it applies its effect (all the time? Can I turn it off?) is important for a material such as Alchemical Silver, which actually reduces the damage dealt by slashing and piercing weapons. And does it fully work like the material? Does it change hardness? Would my Quarterstaff get 20 Hardness if I had an Adamantine ring? I also question several of your choices here. Blood Crystal is one of the most expensive and has the "amazing" effect of adding 1 damage to an attack against a bleeding target. That's really underwhelming for 4500gp. Elysian Bronze pretty much amounts to the same (though it's slightly easier to get the effect, since there are more magical beasts and monstrous humanoids than bleeding effects). Fire/Frost Forged Steel is probably even worse--only 1d4 damage after taking elemental damage (it is exceedingly likely that the one who dealt this damage is immune or resistant to it themselves).

The Living Steel ring is probably pretty useful to slip on when you have a damaged or broken weapon, but probably not 3500gp useful.

I also dislike, in general, the items that were actually several items pretending to be one.

Overall, it's an ok idea, but there's very little here and it's flawed.


146) Rod of Bounding Flame:
I liked this item. It has a cool theme and plays on it successfully with a solid, three tiered approach (flaming all the time, moving fire as an action, and the limited per day big jump ability), but I didn't have it on my keeper list becuase, well, it's not a rod, it's a weapon. This would all work very well on, say, a Scimitar of Bounding Flame or whatever. There's no reason for this to be a rod at all.

It's also really expensive--priced for an 11th level character, unfortunately, by which point, just about every element of it is hopelessly outdated. A +1 flaming weapon is super weak for 11th level, DC 15s are jokes, catching fire doesn't do enough damage to matter, nor does even 8d6 on a third consecutive jump.

Overall, almost awesome and great, but it's too expensive for too little effect, and, more importantly, it's the wrong kind of item.


147) Campaign Staff:
This is a regular staff that does regular staff things, but for some reason, the ability to summon Earth Elmentals was separated out, rather than using Summon spells. I mean, that's it, right? The only thing about it that stood out to me was that the most powerful and expensive spell effects cost the fewest charges.

Oh, and it's ridiculously too expensive for any reasonable use. You can't get this item until 16th level, and its most impressive ability is a 5th level spell--or maybe summoning a single CR 7 monster. That's way too little way too late.

Even if it were useful for its cost (I'm not saying that it's priced incorrectly, mind you--the "correct" price is often too high for the item's actual value), it still wouldn't be superstar, though, because, well, it doesn't really do anything special or unique. Anyone can make a staff that just contains spells.


148) Ancestor's Breastplate:
The idea of animating a breastplate to make it lighter and more maneuverable is really strange to me.

I also dislike items that only actually do anything once per day.

Giving the Armor Training ability was not a good way to convey the effect. What happens if a Fighter that already has the Armor Training ability uses the armor? You should have just listed the effects without tying it to the class feature so that it could stack with it.

I don't know anyone that wears armor with a lower maximum Dex than their actual Dex, so, the ability to function as if you had the maximum is most likely adding just 1. I know it theoretically could add upwards of 6 if you had a -2 Dex or something, from being a Dex dumped race, but that's just so unlikely and niche.... It's also very strange design for Pathfinder--they generally don't reward you more for having worse stats.

+1 to hit each round is not bad, but you should specify an action here, even if it's just Free. And it's not clear--when can I add this bonus? Only before I roll, or can it be added after I roll?

Overall, there are some issues, but the bigger, core problem is: this is special magic armor that is only special once per day for 1 minute. Eh.


149) Shield of the Eye:
This is a +1 Ghost Touch Shield for a level 15 character? There's only 16k worth of enhancement on this 107k item. I really think level 15 characters might want a bit more actual shield than that.

Detecting Undead is kind of interesting. Not especially useful or powerful since it only tells you that they're there, not where or whatever, but not a bad start.

Giving you Channel Energy is cool, but, 3d6 channeling for damage only with a DC: 16 save is a complete joke when you're level 15+. It wouldn't even be worth the standard action! Oh, now we get to the incomprehensible part.

What does "begins consecrating the ground" mean? Does it function as consecrated while it's providing cover? Or does it just create a Consecration effect at-will in response to using it for cover, and it has the normal duration of, for a CL 15 item, 30 hours? Is this a shield of infinite consecration, or a shield of "when you do nothing on your turn, undead very close by are slightly impeded?"

And I can't even begin to guess what that last sentence means or does. "Additionally once per day when the wielder causes damage to a lich, they are about to discern the current location and object of the lich's phylactery as though they had observed it firsthand." Lolwhut?

Overall, very sloppily written making the actual effects unclear. Not enough shield for the price, and at least one property (channeling) is a joke in the context of when you could get this. Another (Consecration) is either ridiculously too good or a total joke as well. You really need to go back to the drawing board on this one.


150) Catapulting Full Plate:
This is really way too silly. I can't take it seriously. I become a giant rock and can hurl myslf? WHAT?! I'm going to try and be fair, but, jeez, that's really a ridiculous image.

+2 Full Plate for 144k. This is 4k worth of armor enhancement and 138k+ of special ability. There's no way that's enough armor for a 16th level character.

Parsing this down, once per day, I can deal 6d6 (21 average) to someone at range, while simultaneously closing the distance. Then, uh, I just sit there as a rock unless I spend a Standard action to switch back (practically negating the benefit of closing that distance). Uh...that's horrible. Why would I ever care to do that? A typical martial can deal more than 21 damage per swing 10 levels before this armor is acquirable.

Your final line is also really silly--there's no way it'll come up. You'd have to take damage bringing you down to 181 (so as not to trigger the armor destruction), then, the full 181 + 8 for your hardness all at once to slay you. And further, that presumes you'll even stay a rock. Why would you stay a rock? It doesn't help at all. After you throw yourself once, you just sit there. Why even have a 20 minute duration?

I just don't get what you were going for at all here. Jeez, it's mostly useful as a turtling item to hide in when you're dying, not for catapulting.

Marathon Voter 2015

Jaragil wrote:
It always gives me a smile when you say something like this, because pretty much always I have a story to prove the opposite. My friends are rolling UMD constantly, especially in PFS. Those wands of cure light wounds need activating after all and you're not going to have a cleric in the party all the time.

This is probably because I never play PFS, and actually kind of hate the very premise of a living game. Though, it's not just a lack of a Cleric, you'd need to lack an Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Hunter, Inquisitor, Investigator, Oracle, Paldin, Ranger, Shaman, Skald, Warpriest and Witch. That's 14 out of the 29 possible classes. But, I guess with PUG groups, you never know--you could show up next to four Falchion wielding Barbarians, I suppose.

Jaragil wrote:
My players are also wrapping up Kingmaker's fourth book pretty soon, one of them a nobleman halfling cavalier riding a battle boar.

I've heard that Kingmaker was one of the few APs that really allowed mounted combat to work. I don't now, the Pathfinder group I play with now did Kingmaker just before I met them.

Jaragil wrote:
It's kind of awesome that we play Pathfinder so completely differently. It'd be interesting to see your scene sometimes.

Yeah, I do appreciate that there's a lot of table variation--that's one of the reasons I dislike PFS, because, by it's nature, it needs to squash as much table variation as possible.

The group almost always has at least one Oracle or Druid/Hunter/Ranger in it. I'd say those are probably the most common and popular classes, actually. We've also had multiple Inquisitors. Nobody, in the two and a half years I've played with the group has ever played a Cavalier, Gunslinger, Summoner, or any ACG class that wasn't a Hunter. There was one Rogue and one Fighter but both abandoned their characters after frustration set in, and one guy tried Mystic Theurge, which accounts for the singular Wizard and Cleric. I'm the only one in the group that's ever played a Paladin, Sorcerer, or Witch. I probably wouldn't play Witch again--I hate preparing spells. And, the group kind of looks down on Paladin. They hate the LG thing and also consider it ridiculously overpowered (the latter is probably my fault).


No, since it deals piercing damage instead of fire damage, it is subject to DR, and it never specifies it counts as magic or anything else, so, it doesn't. The only kind of DR it would overcome would be X/Piercing.

Hint: It's not a very good bomb.

Marathon Voter 2015

It is really getting hard to keeping going on these reviews. I wish I had stuck to short and sweet ones like others. Almost done, though. The end is in sight...

Disclaimer:
Remember, 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? Well, my crtique is going to be a little different than most others because 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.

What I am generally not looking at is flavor text. Descriptions of your item will only hurt if the item evokes imagery I dislike. I care about theme, of course, but a crow item that blinds and has pilfering hand in it is thematic enough--I don't need to read about what different kinds of dark wood were used and how many crow parts are sticking out of it. Honestly, I'm just going to describe your item however I like when I run the game anyway.

Finally, know that I did not read any other 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 it!


131) Manticore Fist:
This is a cool idea, but, ultimately, ridiculously weak. The range is super short and the damage is terrible. There are very few ways to bump up this damage (or the range), too, so, it won't really ever be a primary weapon. It's not bad as a tool (pitons, door stops, etc.), at least.

The cone is actually pretty good, though. Not 11k for a once per day 17.5 average damage good, but pretty good.

I don't know, I appreciate the idea, and it seemed like you were also trying to solve the same issue I was with my item. But, you didn't specify that the +1 of the 1d4+1 was the enhancement bonus--I know that's what you intended, but you didn't say it, so, it's not, and you can't get an increased hit or damage or any special properties on the spikes, which kills its long term viability as a weapon.

If it did allow that, it would be an awesome idea that I very much appreciate. However, if that were the case, it'd be significantly underpriced. Not needing quickdraw or a blinkback belt is pretty significant, and should cost at least 10k or so--maybe more.

Overall, I like it, but, it's either too weak or too cheap.


132) Spanwhammer:
This name threw me off every time I saw it. I wanted it to be a Span Hammer or a Spawn Hammer, not a Span Whammer. Because it's all capitals and one word, its really ridiculously hard to read correctly. I don't think I'd have liked it with a better name, though, so, that didn't actually cost you.

Right off the bat, I'm not a fan of "throwing returning" on a weapon. This weapon is priced for 10th level characters, so, that tells me you want me to give up my extra attacks to make one sub-par attack (because I'm obviously not built for throwing when I'm using an Earthbreaker). Then, there's way too much description and story here.

The actual ability is sundering stuff better? No, wait, it's bizarrely counterspelling. That's...really odd. It should absolutely use the item's caster level, not the character wielding it's hit dice. It's also ridiculously that when you successfully counter something, you lose your weapon for the fight. It should probably return anyway--there's very little to be gained by removing those qualities in response. And it's weird that you can counter an area spell, but can't dispel it later, or duplicate Spell Sunder or something.

Your inspiration was something about Irespan, but, I've never heard of that, so, the "golem-like qualities" did not come across to me at all. I don't really like the idea of a sledgehammer you throw at area spells to counter them (but can't be used to dispel them once in place), so, even the idea kind of falls flat to me, sorry.


133) Blood Magic Dagger:
Yeah, no, taking damage is just never enough of a cost to balance free metamagic. This will never work. I mean, just look at how badly Blood Money is broken and you'll see--you can't boost spells for damage, you just can't. Not for any price.

There's also a lack of clarity here. The dagger is wounding. Do you start bleeding if you slash yourself? Also, you damage yourself as part of casting the spell. Does that mean you need to make a concentration check based on the damage you dealt to yourself? I guess it doesn't matter because those things could too easily be compensated for and this dagger would become a key part of every caster build.

The concept itself is too powerful, sorry.


134) Stormcrow Tomahawk:
This designer is totally awesome in every way!

135) Tormentor:
I'm not a fan of this item. It isn't because of the tech item thing--I like tech items--I just didn't like this one.

There's quite a bit of friendly fire on the shaken effect--the wielder isn't affected, but all of their allies still are. I'd rather it just give an Intimidate bonus or Dazzling Display type ability.

Then, you have an ability that frightens on a successful save? That's excessive. But then, it only lasts 1 round, and the panic on a failed save only lasts 1d4 rounds. That's not very much for a once per day ability.

Then the 10 times per day thing--it's kind of ridiculous when put that way. You are obviously referencing the fact that Chainsaws have 10 charges and use 1 per hour, normally, but instead of just saying that the chainsaw recharges every day and counting on people to know how chainsaws work, you create this confusion and probably get a lot of people wondering why you created a weapon with 10 uses per day, etc.

But yeah, a +2 Chainsaw is about 11k, and I don't think giving your friends the Shaken condition every fight is worth 36k.


136) Staff of the Imperials:
Every time I read this staff, I thought, "hey, this is really cool. Why isn't this on my keeper...what the hell, Petrification?!"

There are some other minor errors, too. Like, the Flight duration should be based on the item's caster level, not the user's level. And the Petrification DC should be based on the item, which means assuming minimum casting stat, for a DC: 19. I also think you just guessed at the price, because it would be extremely unusual for a staff's price not to end in 300 or 600. Oh, and there's no need for Craft Staff in there--it doesn't work anything at all like a Staff.

But mostly, yeah, it's just the total out-of-left-fieldedness of the Petrification. No matter how you think it's themed, it's not. Fire, water, air, TURN TO STONE?! Move under water, move through the sky, TURN SOMEONE TO STONE?! It's just so out of place--and worse than that, it's a save or die, which I hate on principle. I couldn't get past that, sorry. Why make such a great staff with a ridiculous, out of place save or die added on?


137) Rod of Brilliant Steps:
I almost loved this item, but well, it shouldn't be a rod, it should be a foot slot item. Well, that, and the first line feels totally disconnected from the rest of the item. Why is it a +1 light mace? Why are my clothes clean? What do either of those things have to do with my ability to step "brilliantly?" But yeah, no, it was a great idea, just not the right slot.

138) Ring of the Champion:
A morale bonus to hit is rare in an item, but you can get it from a feat (Flagbearer). Should be fear "effects" not "affects."

A Cavalier specific item? One for being OR fighting them? Very strange niche. I see lots of "ZOMG LANCES ARE STRONG!" builds on the forum, but I've literally never seen a player in real life that had even the slightest interest in Cavalier (well, actually, the finesse archetype does have me interested, but that's it).

The second power should be a different paragraph. Once per day, I get a moment of greatness? Not bad. Especially nice for Barbarians.

I don't like this bizarre downside thing. I don't want a cursed item on my finger. It's pretty excessive and fleeing from battle is often something GMs want to encourage, not punish.

Overall, it's a very "blah" item. It most benefits a single, rarely played class (or those that fight against them), and even then, it just gives a flat bonus to one of their class features.


139) Ghostspike Longspear:
The idea is cool, but it's not clear enough to judge properly. When fused, can I still make regular attacks? It never says I can't. What is the purpose of the CMD to do damage? In case CMD is actually lower than AC? I guess that would be common for ghosts.

It takes a move action to end the fusion, but could I just let go of th spear? What would happen then? Would the ghost be able to grab it and use a move action to remove it? If not, how could they remove the spear? There'd be no CMD to roll against.

Overall, there are some clarity issues. It's also kind of silly looking in my mind, for a ghost to get stuck on a spear and just, well, sit there.


140) Bodyguard Armor:
You don't need to detail the effects of Dark Leaf Cloth in the entry. Weird tie in to the Courtier and Noble outfits and the fact that it's studded with gems (thus allowing Druids to wear it). I like the idea of armor that benefits aiding another, but, as there's no type on the bonus, this AC bonus would stack. That will get out of hand very quickly for a Bodyguard character. I can get my Aid Another bonuses up very high, and allowing me to give those bonuses for entire rounds (and stack!) is really crazy. Good idea, poor execution--you didn't think it through to its logical conclusion.

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