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RPG Superstar 2015

Laurens de Haan

Round 1: Orb of the Ocean
Round 2: Cumavea

Orb of the Ocean


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The orb you’re holding is cold to the touch, and water constantly drips from its surface. You can’t look through it; its depths go on forever.

This item is only useful to characters who prepare spells. A spellcaster can sacrifice prepared spells to the Orb, giving it a number of charges equal to the sacrificed spell’s level. These charges can then be used to generate the following effects as a standard action:

Children of the Ocean (1 charge): To use this power, the orb must be fully immersed in water. You create a small water elemental which understands your language and fully obeys your commands. It lasts for one hour; only three elementals can exist at any given time.

Breath of the Ocean (2 charges): Allows one creature to breathe underwater for ten minutes.

Tidal Wave (3 charges): A 30 ft cone of water erupts from the orb. Any creature caught in it is pushed back to the extend of the cone and takes 5d6 subdual damage unless it succeeds on a DC 16 Reflex save.

At the start of each day, any remaining charges on the orb disappear.

Moderate Conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item; Control Water; Water Breathing; Price 18,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

More interesting than it first appears. What I like is the spell charging on a daily basis, forcing a caster to burn a few spell slots (low-level ones, most likely) to use the item.

Very interesting mechanic. The powers and flavor are just average.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Yeah, I agree, but that puts it well above most of its peers I've read tonight. I'm interested to hear what Clark thinks about it. I could definitely be convinced to move it to the Keep folder, even if I am not wholly blown away by it.

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

I actually think this is pretty cool. I like the sacrifice slots idea. I like that it can be used differently. I like the water elemental (limit 3) and the breathing and the cone with pushback and subdual. It isnt uber, it is focused and tied to a theme and pretty tightly designed.

I'd keep it.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Kept.


Interesting item but I really don't understand why it made the Top 32 just based on the mechanics a RPG Superstar is supposed to know.

Based on the rules of the contest this item really seems like it merited a pass or discard not a triple keep.

It's over 5 hours after the announcement of the Top 32 and I'm the only one who has made a comment.

Seriously what makes this tightly designed and a keeper?

The mechanics are all wrong:

Control Water and Water Breathing don't summon small water elementals for an hour and neither create a tidal wave that damages other creatures. Control water specifically states it slows water based elemental creatures and has no effect on others.

SM3 at CL9 only summons a small water elemental for 9 rounds not an hour. The Horn of Valhalla use a SM6 for an hour but is only usable once every 7 days. The Bag of Tricks is limited to 10 minutes 10/week with a random summoned monster.

Maybe I'm missing something but wouldn't spells like summon monster 3, create water and Shrink Item or something similar be needed to do what this item requires for crafting?

How can the costing be right without the base spells?

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

CastleMike wrote:
Interesting item but I really don't understand why it made the Top 32 just based on the mechanics a RPG Superstar is supposed to know.

I agree it doesn't excite me much. The Tidal Wave is cool, but the water breathing seems to come at too high a cost (2 spell slots). The water elementals...eh. The whole thing seems to add up to more or less standard-issue, no real surprises. I think it gets points more for the charging method than the effects of the thing. I'd be willing to go with that if the charging was somehow woven into the concept itself.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Speaking for myself I thought the idea of an orb of water whose "depths go on forever" was interesting, as was the idea of summoning little water elemental servants. The other powers fit the theme admirably, and I thought it made for a fun little item.

I also think breathing underwater can be a pain in the ass, and this offered an interesting way of taking care of it.

The swapping out spell levels just seemed like a novel mechanic that would be fun to try out in play.


The water breathing spell is 3rd level but last 2 hours per level. So I think the water breathing mechanic of the item is too weak. You can't really do much in 10 minutes so it's not like you can use the orb to go on an underwater adventure.

This to me seems like something an npc would carry for flavor. Like a merman prince or something or some master of a watery domain.

Looks like English is possibly a second language here so I'm afraid what the longer writing is going to be like.


I still really dislike the Orb of the Ocean design mechanics but when I step back and disregard them your originality and creativity really shines through as one of the brighest entries. I am really looking forward to what your country will look like when you are not hampered by any mechanical design contraints. Good luck and best wishes.


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

I like it; interesting and utilitarian.


First, i really like this. It's falvorful and themed enough for a low-level character who gets it to start building a character aroudn it.

Second, the mechanics are really neat.

third -- folks pricing is not always based on any speciifc spell. In fact, it is much more important it be matched to items of similar value. That's been made clear by the people who invesnted the game. Thus it doesn;t matter exactly what spells are prerequisites for creation, as long as the final price is in the same utility range.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I like it, although the flavor text could use some polishing. I'm very interested in seeing how far a fellow dutchman can make it as an RPG Superstar.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Darkjoy

Chef's Slaad wrote:
I like it, although the flavor text could use some polishing. I'm very interested in seeing how far a fellow dutchman can make it as an RPG Superstar.

Just received the winners mail from Paizo and saw that Laurens is Dutch, just like me.

My advice would be to preview before you post, those euro signs are going to cost you votes if they appear in your country description.

Good luck!

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

Dungeon Grrrl wrote:
folks pricing is not always based on any speciifc spell. In fact, it is much more important it be matched to items of similar value. That's been made clear by the people who invesnted the game. Thus it doesn;t matter exactly what spells are prerequisites for creation, as long as the final price is in the same utility range.

That is an excellent point. In fact, on thing I learned from this is just how hard pricing is. In the end, we judges would do the math but then we usually wound up comparing prices of comparably powered items, usually starting with a scroll or a potion that did the same thing and said--"ok, this item lets you do what the potion(s) do three times per day, so at the very least it should cost XXX." And then compare it to another item that had similar powers.

Excellent observation.


Dungeon Grrrl wrote:


third -- folks pricing is not always based on any speciifc spell. In fact, it is much more important it be matched to items of similar value. That's been made clear by the people who invesnted the game. Thus it doesn;t matter exactly what spells are prerequisites for creation, as long as the final price is in the same utility range.

I agree this is a very valid point there are "exceptions" to magic item creation mechanics however "most" of the time they are based on the spell level and caster level effect mechanic formulas to get an idea of pricing. There are other magic item creation formulas you can also compare the effect you desire against to to get a ball park cost figure for an effect you want utilized in creation of a custom wondrous magic item.

The game is also based on balance with magic item creation rules, suggested wealth by level rules (which suggests limiting magic items to 25% of suggested character wealth) and overcoming appropiate CR challenges and that "most" wondrous magic items in game require the spell effect the wondrous item produces to be included in the creation of the item or something very similar like the Horn of Vallhalla using Summon Monster 6 a conjuration spell to summon non standard outsiders from the standard summoning effects for 1 hour 1/week?

The Orb summons a water elemental based on other wondrous items you would normally expect to find a conjuration spell that will do that as one of the crafting spells include as a item creation spell. Control Water and Water Breathing do not produce conjuration effects and summon water elementals according to the SRD.

IMO it is overpriced for the effects it produces in game but the designer and the judges have set the bar at 18,000 gp based on the Water Breathing and Control Water (level 4) spells at CL - 9.

It's a great magic item concept but I'd prefer to see it in the 8,000 gp range. To do that using the SRD and other spells (Alter Self, Summon Nature's Ally 2 and Ice Storm) at Cl- 7 instead of basing it on Water Breathing and Control Water at Cl - 9 because then a player would really hesitate before considering selling it and making it a keeper item since it is really interesting and has some nice utilty at this price range.

At Cl - 7 using Alter Self at Cl -3 for 30 minutes of Water Breathing and limited to Water Breathing only to fit the theme, using Summon Naure's Ally 2 for summoning the water elemental using the Bag of Tricks SRD cost mechanic for 20 - 30 minutes since it is spell fueled daily by the caster and using Ice Storm for the Tidal Wave Subdual attack since Ice Storm is a water based damaging attack in the SRD instead of Control Water. IMO the way the item is fueled in game with PC spells it should warrant the standard 10% amd 30% item crafting creation discounts IMO. That's my 2 cents although I have to admit I'm curious if this pricing based on using lower level spells would have gotten it rejected by the judges based on the suggested wealth by level standard.

Based on a 18,000 gp valuation, suggested wealth for level 11 is 66,000 gp. That is the standard I play by and I judge the magic items by cost to utility. At level 11 that normally means 3 big ticket magic items in the 15,000 - 18,000 gp and several lesser magic items. In "most" games I have generally witnessed or played in that use suggested wealth by level rules character Attack and Defense concerns usually take up at least 2 of the 3 big ticket magic item slots in some form and this would not normally fill the third big ticket slot except temporarily in an a themed adventure to overcome adventure obstacles.

This could be a great magic item in a game that doesn't use suggested wealth by levels or as a temporary adventure plot magic item for the pcs to acquire during an adventure to overcome an obstacle before selling it for half price at it's current costing and getting to keep the fond memory of having acquired the Orb in game for many more years in a campaign using suggested wealth by level IMO.

I am really expecting to be wowed by the country submitted by this item designer.


Shazam! I love the concept behind this orb, even if some of the mechanics of use, creation and pricing as given might be "off". At the moment this is the second item in my top three, just because of the creative flavour behind it.

I do like the suggestions that CastleMike made with respect to required spells, effect durations and the pricing. Bringing it down into the 8,000gp range would certainly make it more of a keeper for PCs.

:-j(enni)


Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:
At the moment this is the second item in my top three, just because of the creative flavour behind it.

Like Tinnil's Stirring Rod this item got pushed down by the two items that ended up in the 2nd and 3rd spots of my personal favourites list. Still, it just squeeked into my top five and I can't wait to see how Laurens' creativity comes out in his country submission.

:-j(enni)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Thanks you all for your reactions! I never thought I would make it to the top 32, and I'm currently working very hard on my next submission.

On the pricin issue: I agree it is very hard to get the pricing of a wondrous item right, and i've struggled some time before I took a decision.

I'm also very annoyed with the euro signs appearin in my text, and I really hope this isn't goin to be a problem for future submissions.

Well, going back to work, it's sunday evening here and tomorrow i'll be working in the lab all day. Good luck to the other 31 and may the best writer win!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

By the way, I noticed some comments on a lack of flavor. I have to say I came up with more flavor intially, but this caused me to go over the word limit. I really shortened the mechanics as much as possible, but still some of the flavor had to be cut out.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Darkjoy

Laurens de Haan wrote:


Well, going back to work, it's sunday evening here and tomorrow i'll be working in the lab all day. Good luck to the other 31 and may the best writer win!

Don't forget to post / submit on time.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Well, I'm ready to submit, if I can gather the courage to do so. I'm still reading it again and again, looking for points to improve. But I'm sure I will only think of improvements when I push the submit button.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Darkjoy

Laurens de Haan wrote:
Well, I'm ready to submit, if I can gather the courage to do so. I'm still reading it again and again, looking for points to improve. But I'm sure I will only think of improvements when I push the submit button.

Have you read it out loud for yourself? This is a tip that really works well.


Good luck submitting I am expecting to be wowed.


I really like the third power

Laurens wrote:
"Tidal Wave (3 charges): A 30 ft cone of water erupts from the orb. Any creature caught in it is pushed back to the extend of the cone and takes 5d6 subdual damage unless it succeeds on a DC 16 Reflex save."

It's a great counterpart to fireball, but in liquid form. I'm surprised I haven't seen something like this before. The fact that the Orb has other applications as well makes it even more interesting- it reminds me of the Orb of Water in the Heroes of Might and Magic games.

One small quibble though, the part where you approximately wrote: "Its depths go on forever"... That really seemed unnecessarily verbose. It did not seem to add much to the description, and actually was a vague descriptor.

Best wishes in the next round.
-LD

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The initial idea was a watery fireball. Then I came up with the pushing effect, and decided to change the burst into a cone because it was easier to formulate.

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