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Rennie Saunders

Round 1: Beacon of Hope
Round 2: Idalia of the Twisted Lands

Beacon of Hope


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka darthfrodo

This delicate amulet is crafted in the form of a beacon lantern. Through a simple divine ritual the amulet is attuned to the bearer’s deity so that when the bearer falls unconscious or is dying, friendly creatures within 600’ can sense their location without error.
Faint Divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Price 3,000 gp

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Very simple, very easy.

I like this one.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Not a spell effect or skill bonus in sight, but an effect I definitely want to have. Awesome for rogues and rangers who go sneaking alone, but also just plain useful to any party that splits up often.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

All the people griping about word count take note:

A name, two sentences and a line of crafting info. That's it. And this thing is a slam dunk keeper in my opinion.

Its fresh and new, its interesting, useful without being uber. This is a great wondrous item.

My only gripe is " 600' ". Feet should be spelled out.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Kept.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

darthfrodo wrote:

This delicate amulet is crafted in the form of a beacon lantern. Through a simple divine ritual the amulet is attuned to the bearer’s deity so that when the bearer falls unconscious or is dying, friendly creatures within 600’ can sense their location without error.

Faint Divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Price 3,000 gp

A testament to the power of simplicity.


Clouds Without Water wrote:
darthfrodo wrote:

This delicate amulet is crafted in the form of a beacon lantern. Through a simple divine ritual the amulet is attuned to the bearer’s deity so that when the bearer falls unconscious or is dying, friendly creatures within 600’ can sense their location without error.

Faint Divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Price 3,000 gp
A testament to the power of simplicity.

No doubt! Very simple, clean, and elegant. Beyond that -- what PC (but esp. the guy on point) wouldn't want this?

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Tales Subscriber

Very evocative name - very nice item.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

You know what is funny--I was reviewing this item just as I was reading posts on the message board about how there is no way possible that anyone could ever convey their full artistry and design skill in less than 400 words.

Yeah, well, meet the beacon of hope. i will admit that really influenced my position on this item.


Love the name and the idea. At first I thought it WAS a lantern and then when he said amulet I was confused. 600 feet seems kind of random, I think I would have said a mile, I mean if your in the wilderness a mile's probably not going to help either but 600 feet seems like it should be called Spark of Hope. Unless "the friendly creatures" are only the rest of the party. If not, then maybe some mechanics on how the DM determines if any friendly creatures are within range and whether they are forced to come to the user's aid?


This one gets my vote as "best item" so far. I've read about 20...

Very nice.

Mark


What really grabs me about this one is that the name is very evocative, and is still a simple & accurate description of the item. Well done.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

I like the beacon, but I think it should have status as a required spell.

Andoran

Dark wrote:
Clouds Without Water wrote:
darthfrodo wrote:

This delicate amulet is crafted in the form of a beacon lantern. Through a simple divine ritual the amulet is attuned to the bearer’s deity so that when the bearer falls unconscious or is dying, friendly creatures within 600’ can sense their location without error.

Faint Divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Price 3,000 gp
A testament to the power of simplicity.
No doubt! Very simple, clean, and elegant. Beyond that -- what PC (but esp. the guy on point) wouldn't want this?

I'm wanting to ask our dungeonmaster to let us have one for our poor skulking scouters.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2nd item I've seen where the function isn't substantiated by the design. I can go with forgiving proofreading and formatting- but this is a mechanical flaw.

Yes, the Beacon is simple. It's elegant. It's a great idea. But the spell mechanic ingredients doesn't support the function.

Does that make a difference? Absolutely when there are actually better choices that readily available. If there weren't hands down a better choices, I would be more lenient in my opinion.

Clairvoyance/Clairaudience is a poor basis for the function, when you've got Find a Path and Discern Location that pretty much fit perfectly with what the item is actually supposed to do. Clairvoyance/Clairaudience would more likely just show the friendly creature an image without necessarily the means to locate them. Go read the spells.

There's nothing wrong with the idea, or the presentation, but nobody (i.e the Judges) picked up a Player's Handbook and flipped to the Knowledge Domain.

I wish Rennie good luck in the next round, and I promise to give his Country submission a fair shake.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Watcher, I think you're missing the bigger picture. A cattle call (and let's face it, the first round of these competitions is always a cattle call) is about standing out.

Flavor and original design do that. Correct mechanics are a plus, but not sufficient. And honestly, some of the future rounds will do a much better job of sorting out the mechanical superstars from the also-rans.

Anyone who hoped to make an impression on the judges with a spell mechanic ingredients line, well, that's too late in the entry. And it's not what weighs most heavily to a judge (or to an editor reading a slush pile).

In other words, item mechanics are easier to fix in the editing stage than a weak concept is. An item is all about the name and the premise.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka darthfrodo

I am pleased that folks appreciate the simplicity; it is a guiding principle of my design philosophy.
Ragwaine, the 600 feet is because that is the distance limit of the spell for a 5th level caster.
Watcher, I didn't go for Find the Path because I didn't feel it was appropriate to the function and while Discern Location would be perfect, it is an 8th level spell which takes it way beyond the accessibility I wanted for the item.
Thanks for the feedback everyone, I'm at work on my country!
Darth Frodo

Andoran Star Voter 2014

Mark Brehob wrote:

This one gets my vote as "best item" so far. I've read about 20...

Very nice.

Mark

I've read them all now, and the Beacon of Hope is my personal favorite. I plan to use this item in my campaign ASAP.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Watcher, I think you're missing the bigger picture. A cattle call (and let's face it, the first round of these competitions is always a cattle call) is about standing out.

Flavor and original design do that. Correct mechanics are a plus, but not sufficient. And honestly, some of the future rounds will do a much better job of sorting out the mechanical superstars from the also-rans.

Anyone who hoped to make an impression on the judges with a spell mechanic ingredients line, well, that's too late in the entry. And it's not what weighs most heavily to a judge (or to an editor reading a slush pile).

In other words, item mechanics are easier to fix in the editing stage than a weak concept is. An item is all about the name and the premise.

I don't contest anything you said. It all sounds perfectly reasonable. You're the judge.

And I hesitate to say anything, because some defender will chime because I'm quesioning authority.. but, be that as it may...

When I look at back at it, several criteria were laid out, and over the course of weeks, each one was reinforced repeatedly.
*Gotta adhere word count
*Gotta follow SRD
*Gotta price it right, consistant rules be damned, you get it right!
*Gotta have a cool name
*Gotta be mechanical correct
*Don't do a single one of those things and you're not a Superstar. You aint got what it takes.

Ask a question, people tell you that you don't have what it takes.

Clark is paraphrased, "Wolfgang is the penultimate at game mechanics!"

Wolfgang says, "Original idea + Solid Mechanics = Win!"

Now Wolfgang says, "Sorry kid. You didn't understand how this works didya? Those things are of lesser importantance, because we editors clean up everything anyway. Mostly all you had to do is get our attention. And if you spent too much energy on doing anything else but that, well sorry- you screwed up. But hey- those things really will be important next Round. Doubly more important the Round after that."

You spoke the least of the three Judges, I realize. However I think all three of you judges sent some mixed messages at times. I;ve no doubt you meant everything you said, but I think the emphasis and priority on what was really important was skewed at times, and the final judging reflects it.

And this is the killer, you probably won't be able to tell what any of these people are really capable of. I should have seen that too.

Thanks for the reply. Sorry to Rennie for saying this in his thread.

I'm going to cut my losses now, and just go back to being a subscriber. Take a break from hanging around the boards so much. James Jacobs can just mail me Pathfinders and that will be cool.

Seeya Wolfgang.

Andoran

The simplicity and originality of this item are unbeatable. I love that.

This would play well in my group - only two players consisting of a Ranger and a Rogue. Quite a useful item.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Hey, Watcher, I'm not Wolfgang, but I hope you'll stay around a bit. I can definitely see why you think Wolf was talking down at you, even though I am sure that he was not.

All of the things that you listed in you post, and all of the things that judges emphasized in their posts to the forums, played a part in our selection process.

From 855 we narrowed the field to 71 items we thought rose above the pack in one way or another. Some had very strong mechanics. Others had interesting flavor, or a novel form. Very few items were perfect in all regards. There are a lot of finalists with excellent game applications for their items but useless, superfluous "lore" sections. Others have great names and everything going for them, but are undercosted.

All of the items, more than anything else, had to be interesting and cool in the minds of the judges. That's the first and most important criteria. If an items is mechanically brilliant but bone dull it is not the work of an RPG Superstar.

Perfection is a goal, but it is not something that is required in an amateur contest. People will get better and sharper as the contest goes on, or they will find themselves out of the contest.

Your concerns about prerequisites are valid. That is a good criteria by which to measure an item's quality. But it is not the only criteria, and some rank more highly when it comes to judging which item should advance over another.

That's all Wolf was saying, and I hope you understand our points of view.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hi Watcher, I don’t want to clutter this discussion, but if you’re reading, I just want to say, I hope you stick around.
Here’s why.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

ancientsensei wrote:
I like the beacon, but I think it should have status as a required spell.

Now that is a teriffic observation. I absolutely agree. I wish I had come up with that. See, we judges arent perfect :) (I'm sure CastleMike already agrees that we arent).

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hey folks who might be looking for a follow-up to last night’s discussion: we’re really not talking about the Beacon any longer, and Rennie shouldn’t have excessive negative attention when he has a contest to compete in. Who needs that action when you got a race to run?

Mothman had a good instinct when he shifted things away.

To give him space, I’m going to reply to Erik and Wolfgang and Others over at the thread Mothman started

And I won’t be trolling either.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

A lovely little item! Status should definitely be the prerequisite spell, though, which could potentially reduce the CL. I'd be interested to know how the cost was worked out, too. But a definite keeper!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka darthfrodo

I had considered Status as a core spell of the item, but it seemed as though that would make it a Cleric-specific item that you would attune to your party on a regular basis. The Beacon was intended to be a type of magical transponder, such as they have on lifeboats(except for the magical part), that anyone can make use of. And because it alerts *any* Friendly creature within range, the item may end up alerting a non-party member. I liked the role-play implications of that aspect.
Darth Frodo

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

Rennie, I envy your ability to produce a solid, pithy entry.

The beacon of hope is both original and concise.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool item by the way Rennie. I wish I could have written something so concise and yet useful and descriptive.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Spar

I really like the simplicity of this. Wish I had made it :) Congrats.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

darthfrodo wrote:

I had considered Status as a core spell of the item, but it seemed as though that would make it a Cleric-specific item that you would attune to your party on a regular basis. The Beacon was intended to be a type of magical transponder, such as they have on lifeboats(except for the magical part), that anyone can make use of. And because it alerts *any* Friendly creature within range, the item may end up alerting a non-party member. I liked the role-play implications of that aspect.

Darth Frodo

I was thinking about this aspect of it when I read it. It would make a cool start to an adventure to have the PCs suddenly know that someone was in trouble not too far away as they were traveling through the wilderness instead of another mysterious stranger hiring them in a tavern.


Clark Peterson wrote:
ancientsensei wrote:
I like the beacon, but I think it should have status as a required spell.
Now that is a teriffic observation. I absolutely agree. I wish I had come up with that. See, we judges arent perfect :) (I'm sure CastleMike already agrees that we arent).

I like the Beacon and the first thing that did pop into my head was: Nice idea but shoudldn't this be using the Status spell? so I refrained from posting.

Sorry my mistake I just thought the judges were bordering on super human and walking talking encyclopedic gaming sage gurus and that there would be a stronger emphasis on creativity tempered by costing mechanics for suggested wealth by level campaigns. Most of the items have engaged my mind.

Very interesting magic item. Congratulations on advancing to the second round. I'm looking forward to seeing your country design.


I almost can't believe this, but three of the last four items I've read jumped right to the top of my list and I only had one "right at the top" item prior to that.

The beacon of hope is simple, to the point and oh-so desirable - especially to that front-point scout character everyone else has mentioned. I'm definitely keeping my eye on Rennie's progress through the rest of this contest.

:-j(enni)


Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:
The beacon of hope is simple, to the point and oh-so desirable - especially to that front-point scout character everyone else has mentioned. I'm definitely keeping my eye on Rennie's progress through the rest of this contest.

Now that I've finally reviewed all 32, this stands as my number one favourite item. The simplicity and the usefulness together are a slam-dunk winner.

I am totally looking forward to seeing your country Rennie. :-)

:-j(enni)


Very nice (though an effect I have come across before, in one online computer game...).

Nicely low-level while having some interesting roleplaying possibilities...

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