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Sean has definitely been one of my favorite designers over the years. All my success in RPG Superstar is arguably from reading his blogs and posts. My favorite memory of Sean was the time I visited the old paizo offices back in 2009. He gave me and my gf the grand tour of the place, introduced me to the staff who recognized me from my now infamous Vrock puns (proof the staff pays attention to the community). He also gave me a stack of fiction that they didn't want to move to the new offices! Still have a few of those to read.
Good luck Sean and Jodi! You Vrock my socks off.
Congratulations Top 16. This round is key. Encounters are the building blocks of every adventure. Its the encounters where we spend hours of real time to determine minutes of game time! Make your locations dynamic. Utilize the terrain, traps, events, and secondary monsters/NPCs to make the Round 2 monster you chose shine!
--For those about to Vrock... we salute you!
Steven Helt wrote:
I saw a couple of mythic items during voting, but this was my favorite. In fact, this might be my favorite item in the top 32. Congratulations and keep thinking "cinematic"!
It certainly brings to mind the scene in the new Hercules movie where he uses a bolt of lightning that strikes his sword like a whip.
--Vrock and Awe
Welcome to the big show Top 32 class of 2014! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us over the neex few weeks. I'm really looking forward to the monster round (its always my favorite).
Be sure to go fill out your profiles so we can know a little more about you.
--So you wanna be a Vrock Superstar...
That's why they post the schedule for the entire contest my friend. You need to commit to participating on the blind faith your item has the mojo to move you into the Top 32. An hour a day working on your monster shouldn't be too hard to set aside. Use downtime like driving to brainstorm ideas. You've got a weekend between now and next tuesday as well. Plenty of time!
Well this Detroit Lions fan made it to the Top 16 on his first try in 2011, then I made Top 4 last year. I didn't even begin designing my items until the contest started, though my experience from 2011 told me to absolutely get to work on ideas for the following rounds immediately. That 3 day turn around is no joke! Just be prepeared for possible twists in later rounds. Look at past Superstar years and you'll have a good chance of guessing what those twists might be ahead of their reveal.
--If you wanna be Vrock Superstar...
So, maybe a silly question: would it be possible to farm panache points by critting or killing creatures summoned by an ally, assuming they had enough HD? They wouldn't be helpless or unaware, they just wouldn't retaliate.
That's just the worst kind of cheese dude... don't be that guy.
For those of us with groups larger than four I know I'd like to have some additional powers to grant them with their own Terendelev's Scales.
Cloaking Mists: Three times per day as a standard action, a scale can be used to cast obsucring mist. While concealed in the mists the scale grants the effect of the Blind-Fight feat to the bearer.
Graceful Movement: Three times per day a scale can be used to cast feather fall. Alternately as a standard action, a scale can be used to grant the target a +4 competence bonus to Acrobatics and Fly checks for 1 minute.
--We will, we will... VROCK YOU!
You can hone an item for months and still not have any mojo in it. What could be a great idea today could be stale by the time Superstar comes around again. Both times I made the Top 32 my items were conceived mechanically about 2 weeks before the deadline, polished up and submitted with only a day or two to spare. In reality making an item now for next year does a great disservice to the contestant as you won't really be ready for the grueling pace of the contest. As a freelancer getting an assignment you won't have 9 months to do your assignment you'll have a deadline to meet.
I think the Wondrous Item is a perfect initial test. Its far easier to design than a new spell or feat and they tend to be something usable by almost any character. Every class has a feet or hand slot to fill, not every class can use Combat Patrol or Starlight Summons.
--Vrock, Paper, Scissors
Wow this is it... the Big Show! Thanks for the words of encouragement all. It's been a pleasure to compete with you and see what Pathfinder is through your points of view. I can tell you I've learned a lot from you and our comraderie has been fantastic in the 2013 Guildhall. Even the extended community has really stepped up their participation this year, especially in the early rounds with great comments, critiques, and discussions.
Wow, just wow.
--Vrock and Awe
My group will be recreating our favorite fiendslaying party from Planescape. We loosely ran through a planar version of Savage Tide from 10th level and stopped around 23rd level trying to stop Obox-Ob & an army of obryths from spreading throughout the multiverse via Yggdrasil. I see a lot of parallels in Deskari and this AP. This is one of our most long awaited campaigns from Paizo.
--Like a Vrock
The Pools of Iridescence
The strong, supple, and well-practiced hands of the Pools’ attendants are second only to the ministrations of its most recent addition, the “Aromamancer” Majet. The gnome sorcerer claims her prescriptions of mineral laden mud baths or sessions of leeching draw ill humors from the body and restore tranquility with the application of exotic, essential oils. Many of Lackthroat’s most prominent citizens frequent the Pools of Iridescence to socialize, trade gossip, and receive daily treatments from Majet.
The truth however is always more sinister than idle rumors let on. Majet hails from the capital of Starfall where her family of perfumers had fallen in vogue with the Black Sovereign’s court. Exposed to the bizarre, addictive serums and tonics by members of the Technic League the impressionable youth soon manifested sorcerous abilities and the manipulative arcanists indoctrinated her into their cabal. Piqued by multiple addictions, Majet’s intrinsic gnome curiosity fixated on the pursuit of the “perfect” drug. Auspiciously she happened across reports of an ooze-like creature encountered near the Egelsee River whose mere touch brought about symptoms of withdrawal within hours of contact. Intent on finding, capturing, and studying the creature she needed a suitable location for her research and hired on at the Pools of Iridescence. Majet quickly assembled an alchemical laboratory and quarantined the unusual amalgam creature in a cistern below the facility.
Majet has since translated her research into a drug made from denaturing newly split cocktails in a series of alchemical baths and distilling the result. While not as powerful as direct contact with the ooze, the drug produces an effect only the Aromamancer’s special treatments are able to sate. Bribing the lax authorities of Lackthroat with the coin, influence, and secrets she pries from the subjects of her secret experiments, Majet has yet to arouse undue suspicion in a town where living in excess is the norm.
Taking advantage of her short stature, the gnome inconspicuously observes potential victims from within the heated open spaces of the bathhouse’s interior walls using bars of seer’s soap (R1). Majet uses spells to take the forms of several distinct human bathhouse attendants to eavesdrop, leave the Pools unnoticed, or even recommend the Aromamancer’s treatments as the answer to any or all mental or physical maladies. Chosen victims receive exclusive invitations to the Aromamancer’s suite where she subjects them to drug laced balms, incense, and oils beginning a slow cycle of dependence intent on siphoning off more than just impurities. Majet also employees strong handed enforcers (LE male monk 2, Initiate Gamemastery Guide 274) posing as masseurs to keep troublemakers away. She feeds persistent addicts unable to afford her remedies to the ooze in order to produce more young and more of the drug.
Majet’s latest mark is Yala of Aramor, daughter of the Battle-Chaplain of Gorum's holy citadel. Sent to the Pools of Iridescence for pampering before her journey to Starfall, her scheduled arrival in the capital is far overdue. The battle princess is fated to become one of the Black Sovereign’s many concubines. If she is not presented as tribute to Kevoth-Kul in the next fortnight, the barbarian king threatens to withdraw his troops from the citadel. The Battle-Chaplain and his faithful would then be left to fend off the foul demons of the Worldwound with only the Lord in Iron for support.
The Boiler Room (CR 8)
The door leading to this room is locked (hardness 5, hp 15, Break DC 16, Disable Device 20). The ceiling rises 10 feet above the platforms and the wet masonry walls require a DC 25 Climb check to traverse. The pipes overhead (hardness 10, hp 10, Break DC 24) are held by iron rods in the ceiling’s mortar requiring a DC 20 Climb check to hang from and support up to 250 pounds before falling. The filthy water in the room acts as a deep bog. The iron sarcophagus (hardness 10, hp 60, Break DC 28) is secured with an average quality padlock (Disable Device DC 25) and can be lowered into the water as a move action and raised using two full round actions on the chain winch along the wall.
Creatures: The gnome sorcerer Majet along with two of her water mephit minions have Yala of Aramor (N female human aristocrat 4, Noble Scion Gamemastery Guide 288) unconscious and locked in the iron sarcophagus preparing her for immersion with the egelsee cocktail. Should intruders enter the room Majet orders the mephits to delay them with their ranged spell-like abilities. She moves to the boiler controls and readies an action to trigger the trap when the PCs get into range of one of the nozzles along the ceiling. The egelsee cocktail moves to attack any creature in or on the water, surfacing to bring its stench aura to bear. If no creatures enter the water, the mindless ooze waits 1 round before using its glob attack against the nearest creature. If the PCs make it across the water, Majet or any surviving mephits drop the iron sarcophagus into the water where its occupant immediately begins to drown (at initiative count 0). They then attempt to escape out the secret door (Perception DC 20) behind the boiler leading to area 4.
Egelsee Cocktail CR 5
Majet, Tainted Sorcerer CR 3
Water Mephit (2) CR 3
Trap: The steaming copper boiler (hardness 10, hp 20, Break DC 28) magically heats the pools and rooms in the bathhouse above. However, with a turn of the correct control valves it can release a limited number of steaming blasts each day from one of six nozzles along the pipes on the ceiling. A successful DC 27 Disable Device or DC 20 Use Magic Device check activates the trap remotely. A failure by 5 or more randomly activates the trap (roll 1d6 to determine the point of origin). A sundered boiler or broken pipe discharges the highest available burst and disables the trap until repaired.
Steam Pipe Blast CR 3
Kalervo Oikarinen wrote:
Kalervo that was me two years ago, keep it up and you'll definitely find success!
Its awesome and a little nerve wracking to make Top 8. If you slip up in this round you're done for good. I think they feed you to Treerazer or something. It has been quite a journey and I've enjoyed living it up among all the filigreed opulence of the guildhall.
Congratulations to my fellow Top 8 and to all this year's contestants. In my book you're all Vrockstars!
A long, mustard colored tongue lashes out from the maw of this enormous, amphibian horror. Its mottled brown skin undulates as hundreds of frogs burst forth from mucus filled pustules carpeting the ground at its broadly, webbed feet.
Yellowtongue Hulk CR 4
The yellowtongue hulk is a menace to any territory it invades. Its wide, flat back froths with spawning frogs that claw their way through the thick mucus of its pockmarked skin. This disgusting form of reproduction serves as a lure for smaller prey looking for easy meals. The spawn also act as a defense, nauseating creatures attacking the yellowtongue hulk. The thick mucus even provides a resistance to fire. The yellowtongue hulk is 8 feet long and weighs 1,500 pounds.
The yellowtongue hulk hungers for the flesh of goblinoids, infiltrating lairs to choke down whole tribes in gluttonous orgies. Those that escape often carry yellowtongue sickness, spreading it to neighboring lands as displaced goblins raid hamlets and coastal cities in desperation. Fortunately the yellowtongue hulk’s hundreds of diminutive spawn are simply mundane frogs or the forests and rivers of the world would be inundated with monsters. However, yellowtongue hulks do breed true in a gruesome mockery of barghests who often rule over lesser goblinoids.
In 4217 AR the yellowtongue sickness ravaged Avistan killing thousands. This disease was pivotal to the fall of the Empire of Zog, a goblin realm in the River Kingdoms. Today there are yellowtongue hulk sightings in all branches of the Sellen, the Conerica River in Isger, and even as far west as the Yondabakari River in Varisia.
Thanks everyone for their comments and feedback. I knew tackling anything time related was tricky and would be loved or hated. I do admit there were a few places I would like to have tightened up some wording and one where I flat out omitted a line.
Horology at its simplest is as Mikko Kallio put it reflavoring the Alchemist. In all other ways predictions are extracts minus the mixing and drinking. I copied and pasted the verbiage straight from Alchemy and changed the names. At its more complex end its a limitation on the forecaster's more powerful ability. By binding their predictions to their timepiece it gives a way to disrupt their casting as it's a (Sp) ability.
Summon Paradox is definitely powerful, but again it's (Sp) thus disruptable. Also when I say full round action I meant 1 round action, which are effectively the same thing in game terms. The Paradox does not appear until just before the forecaster's next turn like summon monster spells. I was originally thinking of only allowing the paradox to have mundane copies of gear but the duration it lasted and the amount of times per day it could be summoned were greater. I decided to go big. Giving up a full round then being limited to only a standard or move action afterwards should balance it out.
As it stands currently at first level with a 15 or 20 point buy you'd only be able to use this ability maybe 3-5 rounds a day. That's only a single combat on average if you go nova. That wouldn't leave much left in the tank for 4 to 5 more average encounters though. Looking back I think Intelligence modifier + 1/2 levels (minimum 1) might be more balanced for rounds per day.
The +1 insight bonus to initiative from Tightly Wound should have stated "at 2nd level."
Temporal Burst is an effect the cavalier can give to the whole party via the Lookout (Teamwork) feat at 1st level. An inquisitor can do it at level 3. I don't think full round actions at 10th level in a surprise round is entirely inappropriate for that level of gameplay at the high end of the sweet spot.
You pay the cost moving into squares, so if you're at the edge of difficult terrain and stepping into normal you can 5 foot step. Note the bolded INTO under the difficult terrain entry.
So the site being up and down and up and down made submitting very exciting this morning. I think I spored, stunning screeched, and did a dance of ruin on my laptop. It was not pretty.
Oh there is definitely pressure each round. Time crunch, second guessing, agonizing over wording, if its broken, if its too gonzo, if its clear enough. I just say bang it out and throw it against the wall to see if it sticks. It's up to the voters really and the mob is fickle!
--Vrock the Vote!
Horology (Sp): A forecaster establishes a bond with an ornate timepiece such as a clock, hourglass, or sundial in which they store spell effects called predictions. A forecaster prepares spells by calibrating the timepiece and casts his spells by reading the device. When a forecaster prepares his timepiece, he infuses it with a tiny fraction of fluid time — this creates powerful effects, but also binds them to his timepiece. If a forecaster attempts to cast a prediction without his bonded timepiece in hand, he must make a concentration check or lose the prediction. The DC for this check is equal to 20 + the prediction’s level. A forecaster keeps a list of all of his predictions in a special tome called an almanac. This modifies the alchemy ability.
Summon Paradox (Sp): At 1st level a forecaster can call upon his own future to aid in the present creating a short lived paradox. As a full round action the forecaster summons a duplicate of himself with his full hit points, copies of his current equipment, and is treated in all ways as a summoned creature. The forecaster and his duplicate share all limited class abilities such as bombs and predictions as well as consumable magic items or items with charges. A forecaster can summon a paradox for a number of rounds per day equal to his level + his Intelligence modifier. When the paradox ends the forecaster is staggered for a number of rounds equal to the duration of the paradox. This ability replaces mutagen.
Better Late Than Never (Su): At 2nd level during any surprise round where a forecaster would not normally act due to a failed Perception check he acts last, regardless of his initiative result (acting in the normal order in following rounds). This ability modifies swift alchemy and replaces poison use and swift poisoning.
Tightly wound (Su): A forecaster gains a +1 insight bonus to initiative. This bonus increases to +2 at 5th level, and +3 at 8th. This ability replaces poison resistance.
Temporal Burst (Su): At 10th level the forecaster may take a standard and move action (or full round action) in a surprise round. This ability replaces poison immunity.
Discoveries: These discoveries complement the forecaster archetype: delayed bomb, eternal potion, extend potion, fast bombs, and spontaneous healing.
Vrock my world! You go vrock the base! Bonus points for being able to resist the lure of including your trademark vrock signatures in the item entry :)
Seeing the Wings of the Vrock in the voting round I chuckled thinking people might think that was my item. I do love playing up my shtick, but that would be a little on the nose.
Thanks everyone, I'm excited to be back in the competition again.
I do realize cold iron is usually an anti-magical special material but when I envisioned this item I saw the elves of Kyonin using it against the demonic and evil fey minions of Treerazer. I also saw it as a useful way to reforest devastated areas with trees that would be a visual border or boundary to the demons. Perhaps the tree's iron gray bark would protect them from being despoiled again?
Vrockin' around my laptop screen
Vrockin' around my CRB
You'll start work on archtypes and your monsters, but you'll fear
Vrockin' around the message boards
--Jingle Bell Vrock!
Verdant Crown of Oak and Iron
Honestly those who follow the competition really have a whole year. While I have thought about what design space to play in all year I typically don't start on my item until the announcement to simulate getting a job and deadline from a publisher. It really is what the contest is all about. Do you have the mojo to create content according to specific instructions and under a deadline? I love the pressure to perform! I'm hoping to get another shot at that damnable archetype again.
Your gaming group is probably the best resource you have to find immediate constructive criticism. I mean who else do you know that understands RPG rules at the drop of a hat?
Ask them questions like: Would they keep this item instead of selling it? What kind of character do you think would like this item? Would a character of yours try to buy this item? What other uses could you find with this item beyond what it does? Is it glaringly broken? Could you break this item in gameplay?
I take the feedback like a focus group and make changes where necessary or refine things that are confusing.