Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Michael Kogan

Round 1: Tinnil's Stirring Rod
Round 2: Calidune

Tinnil's Stirring Rod


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Michael Kogan 74

Tinnil's Stirring Rod (NOT in Rod Category)

This item appears to be a ordinary glass stirring rod, typicaly found in any alchemy kit. However, when used to stir any liquid found or placed in a small container, its true properties become evident. When placed in a liquid with magical properties, this glass stirring rod changes color indentifying the strongest school of magic contained therein. The person identifying the color must have at least 4 Ranks in either Craft:Alchemy or Knowledge Arcana.

Faint divination; CL 3rd; Craft Wonderous Item, detect magic; Price 900 gp; Weight 1 lb.

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

Not bad. Simple. Good low level item. The mechanic is solid. Well written.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Neat! And makes sense both for both flavor and mechanics.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Yeah, I like this one. I wonder how many of the final 32 will be simple items like this.

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

Mind if I hit "Keep"?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I'll do it for you.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Kept.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

This is a cool, visual effect, but is massively overcosted: A simple Detect Magic + Spellcraft check is enough to ID the school of magic.

The second issue is that, even at a low cost, there is no reason to ever purchase one, since a cantrip can get the same effect.

(This would make an AWESOME flavorful bit of found loot, but I'd never ever want to buy one.)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Kogan 74 wrote:

Tinnil's Stirring Rod (NOT in Rod Category)

Heh. I like the disclaimer... although I'd also argue that the Immovable Rod should not be in the rod category ... but it is.

It's a neatly written item, but its use seems a little narrow - basically a detect magic spell but only usable on potions and similar. A single casting of detect magic would be much more versatile. I suppose the caster level and price does reflect this.

On caster level though - shouldn't it be 1st? (I realise that 3rd level caster is a requisite for Craft Wondrous Item, but there are wondrous items in the srd with caster level less than 3rd).

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Mothman wrote:
On caster level though - shouldn't it be 1st? (I realise that 3rd level caster is a requisite for Craft Wondrous Item, but there are wondrous items in the srd with caster level less than 3rd).

You'll note this was an alternate. It shows some real strength in simplicity, though.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Mothman wrote:
On caster level though - shouldn't it be 1st? (I realise that 3rd level caster is a requisite for Craft Wondrous Item, but there are wondrous items in the srd with caster level less than 3rd).
You'll note this was an alternate. It shows some real strength in simplicity, though.

Ah, I did not note that (the tag now reads top 32), but thanks for pointing that out. I don't mean to disrespect the judge's choice on these things, but this one didn't quite shout superstar to me ... it's got good flavour though.

I suspect that my own submission had some of the same problem - good (well... ok) flavour but not mechanically that useful to a PC in most situations.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is exactly the kind of thing I like!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Good item! No critique!

Osirion

I like it! Very nice and I would argue highly useful for two reasons--if you're a non-magic user you have something handy to test potions and whatnot with. If you are a magic user, then this thing will allow you to save your spells for other things and that is always handy.

But yeah, it costs too much for what it does.

Andoran

Sweet item. Simple and packed with flavor.


I seriously remember an item in an Adventure that I read that did this almost exactly. May have been a really old Dungeon adventure or something, but I am sure I have seen it before. Odd to say the least.

Other than that, its an ok item I guess. Not really high on my list for votes though.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

It's true that the item is not greatly useful if you can already cast detect and have good spellcraft, but if your party doesn't, it could be handy. Plus, it's an auto-detect and can be used as often as you like. I think it's a decent low-level item.

I might add to it that it gives a bonus to Spellcraft checks to identify a potion (not just school but actual effect).

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

I like this item too.

If you think its overpriced or not useful for PCs to purchase, which I agree, you could House Rule to allow its use in an alchemist's workshop should grant a +2 circumstance bonus to Craft (Alchemy) checks. That would bring it more in line with its cost, and if a PC should ever wish to maximize his Craft (Alchemy) skill, he might purchase an item such as this.

All in all, I definitely give this one a thumbs up.


Ross Byers wrote:


(This would make an AWESOME flavorful bit of found loot, but I'd never ever want to buy one.)

I've seen the same kind of criticism about some of the other items. "Why would I buy this when I can buy something better." This where playing (DMing)style comes in. My players don't get to buy a lot of magic items, they take what they get (for the most part).

I think this item should have more powers, I like what someone suggested about a bonus to alchemy checks, opens up the scope a bit.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I like it. Its simple.

Plus its made out of glass, so could easily be broken so PCs need to take care of it when travelling.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Michael Kogan 74

This item was designed to be a simple item, usable at low levels. I figured that most people would enter the most spectacular item they could think of. I was interested in a more practical approach. I often have a group of three gamers who sometimes don't play spellcasters. This item allows them to at least try to identify some of the potions they find.

I see that most of the negative comments come from the item's cost. That was a tricky issue. I first looked at the cost of a detect magic for wands. Then looked at items like Myrlund's Spoon and such. The price is actually on par according to the DMG because it is not an item with expendable charges and can be used at will. And yes, it requires a caster of third level or higher to create the item because you need to meet the prerequisite for Craft Wondrous Item. I know there are other items in the book with CL lower than three. Those are misprints in the DMG book.

I was originally going to have this item basically identify the potion outright, but I thought that flavor was more important and more fun. Plus, don't forget this item was not invented by Tinnil for adventurers, but rather as a shortcut for his own alchamical needs.

Please feel free to post any other questions.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

Michael Kogan 74 wrote:
Those are misprints in the DMG book.

No, they're not. The CL isn't just a pre-req. It's the spell level the item works at, it's magic aura, and how difficult it is to supress with Dispel Magic.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Michael Kogan 74 wrote:

And yes, it requires a caster of third level or higher to create the item because you need to meet the prerequisite for Craft Wondrous Item. I know there are other items in the book with CL lower than three. Those are misprints in the DMG book.

Caster level lower than 3 on Wondrous items are not misprints. This is true for two reasons. One, you do not have to create a wondrous item at your own caster level (if that were true all Cure Light potions would be 1d8+3 and 3 times as expensive). Two, the Caster Level listed on items is the typical caster level, not a prerequisite. It may often match the effective prerequisite based on spells required, but is not in and of itself.

I like the item, I like the price. Automatic success on a skill check, at will, is quite decent - would require a +14 on the check otherwise.


those that dm in my group start at 1st level because it gives the players a chance to grow into their characters and eases us into running adventures again. our players hate it becuase 1st-3rd level is so strait forward, this adds GREAT and needed flavor to low levels. people should focus more on low cost items that allow you to tweak character personalities


Very clever item and really like the mechanics although I'd probably lower the caster level to 3 in a regular game primarily due to needing to meet the crafting feat requirements or 2 in an ECS game with Artificers who could pick up the feat at level 2 since the crafter should be able enchant the Rod at caster level 1 minimum strength.

Believe this would would mostly be used in a party without casters but a party of caster who have their spell slots monitored and tracked closely might really like the utility of this item so an occasional caster or caster party might get one to save a spell slot for something else on an adventure after acquring a little wealth for a quickie potion test in the field.

Tinnil's Stirring Rod is something I could really see a specialized party of Rogues taking to have on hand after stealing potions from someone. Inexpensive way to identify common potions with a pretty good probablity of being on the money in some schools: Conjuration probably a healing potion. Illusion probably a potion of invisibility. Divination probably a potion of Detect Thoughts. Transmutaion could be tricker.

One question: Does Tinnil's Stirring Rod glow in two different intensities to identify the really valuable potions like the Detect Magic cantrip determines aura intensities? Things like a level 4 Polymorph Self potion.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with your country.


Oooohhh, this I like. It just bumped the second item in my top three down to third place.

I don't have much of an issue with the cost but I do think I'd take a couple of the other suggestions and apply them if I added it to a campaign: the +2 to alchemy checks and using distinct brightness levels as an indicator of "aura strength".

:-j(enni)


Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:
Oooohhh, this I like. It just bumped the second item in my top three down to third place

This did end up in the top five in the end, but two items that came almost immediately after it in the list pushed it down from 2nd to 4th position. It's by far the best low-level, low-cost item in the bunch and I'm much more likely to throw this into my game immediately than two of my top three which are much more expensive and thus aimed at much higher levels.

:-j(enni)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Michael Kogan 74

Thank you for your compliments on my item. It was originally designed to only radiate one school of magic changing color to indicate the STRONGEST school present. It would then give players a likely guess without completely giving the item away. I like the addition of a +2 circumstance bonus to Alchemy Checks.

There is nothing to say that more powerful versions of this item couldn't have been created. The stirring rod could glow back and forth between multiple schools of magic found. It could be made to glow jet black if poison is detected. The stiring rod could be shapped differently for flavor, such as a "T", where you could have the two sides change to a solid color representing the school of magic and long handle glow for strength indication. You could also make it a kit with a stirring rod per school of magic found in the kit. After dipping each one into the potion, only a few would glow, better helping in a more clear identification. This kit could also come with an instructional parchment to compare colors, like litmus paper. Good for non-spellcasters.

The point is to have fun with it.


Very creative, excellent design. Agree the Rod would definitely be fun to use in game. Potions are normally based on a single school of magic with unusual potions the Rod description clearly describes that the strongest school of magic would be indicated. The Rod glows in different colors to indicate the schools of magic.

Does the Rod only glow in a single constant state with a different color aura or do the aura colors have a graduated intensity?

Would it indicate the difference in aura strength between two potions of the same school like Alter Self and Polymorph Self?

Looking forward to seeing your country.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Michael Kogan 74

CastleMike wrote:

Very creative, excellent design. Agree the Rod would definitely be fun to use in game. Potions are normally based on a single school of magic with unusual potions the Rod description clearly describes that the strongest school of magic would be indicated. The Rod glows in different colors to indicate the schools of magic.

Does the Rod only glow in a single constant state with a different color aura or do the aura colors have a graduated intensity?

Honestly, its up to the GM. I think the item could glow red for an evocation potion and the glow could pulsate at a speed related to how strong the caster level is.

Would it indicate the difference in aura strength between two potions of the same school like Alter Self and Polymorph Self?

Please see my post earlier today. Simple items are easy to house-rule to tailor it to your group's fancies.

Looking forward to seeing your country.

Thanks, it was challenging with the word count restriction.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2008 / Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item / Tinnil's Stirring Rod All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item
Torch of Solidity

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.