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Goblin Strand of Ears


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka MythrilDragon

These gruesome braids of horse hair are ornamented with the gnawed upon severed ears of Goblin kills. Strands typically have 1d4 ears when found and grant a +1/ear to listen checks when worn as a necklace. Adding newly crafted ears or removing ears adjusts the bonus check. A strand requires one attached ear for the bonus to function and holds a maximum of five magical ears at one time. As a standard action the wearer can remove and eat an ear to gain the effects of casting a silence spell as a 5th level caster [PHB 279]. If an ear is eaten while not wearing the strand the effect fails and the eater suffers from ingesting poison (DC 15, 1 Con/ 1d6 Con).
Faint Illusion; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, silence; Price: 720gp/ear.

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

Now this is a sound item with some spark to it. It is more interesting than the earhorn I was just capping.

However, while I like the idea that the owner can, essentially, recharge the item by adding ears I'm not sure that is a mechanic that we should embrace. I'd love everyone's thoughts on that.

I guess I dont totally understand what this means: "Adding newly crafted ears..." How do you do that? How do you craft new ears? Are they simply new ears from recently killed goblins? This mechanic needs more detail.

But in the end, I'd rather keep an item like this with some spark and coolness that has a mechanical flaw than one that is mechanically there but blah.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Yeah, I'd agree this has more excitement and flavor, and that may outweigh a small mechanical flaw.

Although the designer never openly sucks up, I can totally see the Pathfinder goblins having these as standard items.

It's looking pretty good as a possible keeper.

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

Kept.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Kept.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I didn't get a look at this the first time around, but I really like it.

Keep.

Osirion

I like it. Gobbos need something like this to be more than a one joke threat.

Now I need to work it into my campaigns...

Taldor

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

I'd call it more of a mechanical omission than a mechanical flaw.

Cheliax

Clark Peterson wrote:

Now this is a sound item with some spark to it. It is more interesting than the earhorn I was just capping.

"Ouch" says the earhorn guy (unless there was more than one earhorn in 850+ entries), but the criticism is duly noted and I'll learn from the experience. Great item thematically though. It's odd, I'm normally a fluff guy who erred on the side of crunch and I think it cost me in this case.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yay!

Might add it to one of the bad guy's possessions in Burnt Offerings!

(2nd cool item found, btw)

Taldor

Meh. Nice, but not superstar.


cappadocius wrote:
Meh. Nice, but not superstar.

I disagree strongly with this. For me, this is one of the best in the 32. It oozes with flavor and has an interesting method for getting one of its effects. It's one of the few that I've seen so far that made me say, "Yeah, I'm using this one!" I'll be looking forward to this author's country.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

A perfect, atmospheric item! This is the perfect magical accessory for a goblin shaman, just "off" enough to be interesting. Some horsehair and a few bits of grue: How could anyone not like it?

I would like more information about preparation of additional ears.


This one gives me warm fuzzy recollections of Diablo 1. :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

Love this item, though I'd have either spelled out the recharging mechanism or left that out entirely. As is, it seems it can be used an arbitrary number of times over the course of a campaign - which isn't, in and of itself, bad, but it doesn't match the price.

Hildane wrote:
[...] It oozes with flavor [...]

I bet the goblin who made it thinks so, too.


This is totally my idea of a great item. It has a lot of flavor without annoying back story. It has several functions, but none of them are terribly powerful and are only useful in certain situations. It has charges, but can be recharged through interesting means.

I really love the connection between the Listen bonus and the number of ears while giving the user a reason to expend ears. And the poison for eating the ears without wearing the strand is icing on the cake.

Other than the aforementioned vagaries, I love this item.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I like it as long as the "recharge" follows normal rules (in other words, crafting new ears is a 360 gp task for a CL5 dude with CWI and silence).

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Its great to think of the first time a character reacts to a goblin eating a ear and suddenly everything goes silent. It would be a great item for Gogmurt in "Burnt Offerings"

Osirion

I love this idea. I think eating an ear shouldn't really poison you--sicken or nausiate, yes. In fact I would make the person roll before he eats the sun dried goblin ear. It's like Fear Factor meets D&D. Eat the goblin ear and get the silence effect, or stand there puking out goblin ear parts as the guard comes around the corner. That'd be my tweak for it.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Awesome Andrew - first one of 32 I looked up! Of coarse, tha cobbla is biased!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
William McNulty wrote:
Its great to think of the first time a character reacts to a goblin eating a ear and suddenly everything goes silent. It would be a great item for Gogmurt in "Burnt Offerings"

That's what I was thinking...or better yet..Ripnuggets since he ain't a caster.

Andoran

(lol) who would use it fully besides a nutjob or a goblin? That's what I dig about it...

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Grimcleaver wrote:
In fact I would make the person roll before he eats the sun dried goblin ear. It's like Fear Factor meets D&D. Eat the goblin ear and get the silence effect, or stand there puking out goblin ear parts as the guard comes around the corner. That'd be my tweak for it.

I read it as the ears of enemies the goblin kills not the ears of goblins - I don't perceive the pathfinder goblins as cannibals per se


Heathansson wrote:
(lol) who would use it fully besides a nutjob or a goblin? That's what I dig about it...

Yeah, me too. It's a pretty cool item, but your average heroic PC would definitely take some flak for using it. After finally reading through all 32 finalists, I've decided I like this one best.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Locke1520

Congrats Andrew! Good luck in round 2!


Extra points for style... RPGs need more magic items that are gross to use, and I don't mean vile and evil things like grafts...

I know I have been tempted to tell players that Cure X Wounds potions taste of saccharine and artificial cherry flavor thinly disguising some bitter revolting flavor that nonetheless remains as an aftertaste for a good five minutes.

Anybody with kids will know what I'm talking about...


It's an interesting item but if it the casting was lowered to CL - 3 the ears would only cost 300 gp each and the silence would last 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes at 750 gp (double for a comparable equivalent level scroll effect).

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

What I like about this one is that it makes complete sense given the intended creators of the item. Flavor and all.

Top five (if I have any slots left. heh)


I have to agree with the others. This item oozes with flavor and has just the right crunch of a well thought out item. It virtually drips with style and I love that it can be easily explained or incorporated into almost any campaign's understanding of goblins and goblin culture. Well done. I look forward to your country write up!

Qadira

Wow what a great Idea. My only problem being....I don't see goblins making them. Though I coudl easily see a gninja hobgoblin with this item a goblin in golarion just seems to ADHD to spend the time to create something that functions well. that being said with some small mechanical changes this a great item...or is it items since the ears coudl be used to poison someone......hmmm gninja item for hobgoblins indeed.


I'm still trying to figure out what a goblin has to do with a Listen check skill(they only have +2) or a silence spell (okay they do have +5 to moving silently). Wouldn't some other sneaky creature or one with exceptional hearing make more sense? Kind of like the old days when you wanted to create a magic item you had to hunt down components to create them that actually made sense rather than just casting a few spells on something.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka MythrilDragon

Clark Peterson wrote:


I guess I dont totally understand what this means: "Adding newly crafted ears..." How do you do that? How do you craft new ears? Are they simply new ears from recently killed goblins? This mechanic needs more detail.

First I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words, I am glad you liked my item. Congrats to all the top 32, there are some real great ideas in the bunch and look forward to seeing the next entries.

Since Clark asked I wanted to explain. Newly crafted ears is intended to mean that as a goblin kills more victims (elves, dwarves, humans) and collects the ears for a trophy they could be added to the strand to improve its skill bonus effect. Any character that meets the requirements to create the Item could then add more ears to the strand (using the standard item creation rules each time) which is why I put a limit of five ears working together magically. Since adding more ears requires make a new item each time it gives the wearer of the strand status in the Goblin's society. By having the use of the spell effect a one shot deal I wanted the mechanics of recharging the item to add the flavor of the item representing a Goblins continual search to add more trophies. I think I should have changed the name to A Goblin’s Strand of Ears.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka MythrilDragon

Grimcleaver wrote:
I love this idea. I think eating an ear shouldn't really poison you--sicken or nausiate, yes. In fact I would make the person roll before he eats the sun dried goblin ear. It's like Fear Factor meets D&D. Eat the goblin ear and get the silence effect, or stand there puking out goblin ear parts as the guard comes around the corner. That'd be my tweak for it.

I am glad you like my idea, and I like the tweak that you have come up with to incorporate the item into your game. I thought you would like to know why I chose to add the poison element to my item. There were two reasons.

First was flavor, I decided early on that eating an ear was just creepy enough for a Goblin based magic Item that I had to have it in the final entry. What didn't make my final edit was some flavor text about the way the items were created by soaking them in brine and spices to mummify them before the actual magical creation could be done. I felt that since eating them was the way the magic spell would be released and since it was a gruesome item that the poison would be a "nice" surprise for any PC who was brave enough to try the item out. I did want to make the item useful so anyone wearing the strand wouldn’t be effect by the poison.

The second reason is more a practical one for the PC. As a DM I wanted something cool for my monsters that added a bunch of flavor as well as improved their threat status, but I knew eventually the item would end of in the hands of the party. By giving the Item a poison quality I have given the PC group with a "weak stomach" an alternate way to use the Ears. By making it a poison effect the Good alignments still have to deal with the moral dilemma of using the poison or eating the ear of some past fallen hero.

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

I love this item. I'm always on the lookout for items or spells which have multiple effects and thus have increased versatility. The 'flavor' elements on this item definitely take it over the top. I look forward to seeing someone realize that the poison ability can be used offensively instead of using the silence ability. Even better, the wearer can use an ear to poison a meal, which they are immune to as long as the keep wearing the necklace. I think that the price per ear is high if it were simply a one shot item, but the multiple uses makes the price seem right to me.


Kobolds and goblins are my favourite way to threaten PCs, and they've actually become accustomed to being mildly threatened by them at high levels. The silence effect is an excellent ripple which my players will not enjoy. :)

Well, they won't say they like it... But they'll be happier having to take other elements into consideration when ambushing goblin guards after they've seen the strands used a few times.

I agree with this Keep.


While I don;t know that this item fills any needful emchanical slot, it does fill a conceptual slot for a pathfinder game (which I run one of). It's also oozing flavor, and has solid enough mechanics for me not to fear it causing confusion.

Strong approval.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka exile

I'll second what Dungeon Grrrl said...strong approval.

Chad


The first time I read it just thought "Yuck, what is this?" Then after a while it made me think of Glen Cook's Black Company, fetish type magic items.

The only PC's I picture using this would be some kind of jungle savage or barbarian and actually I can see this being very useful for a barbarian because he's got the kicking ass part covered just not the dealing with Will saves.

Eagerly awaiting a country from this guy.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Congrats Andrew! Will you autograph my strand?


Hehee, love the item (despite some of the mechanic confusion discussed above). This will show up in my games.

Osirion

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

Snagged for the guy with a strand of goblin ears in PF14.

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