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

RPG Superstar 2015

Chris Nichols

Round 1: Deadstring Shears
Round 2: Iolandis

Deadstring Shears


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka CNichols

Deadstring Shears

These shining silver shears are 18 inches long and decorated with a finely wrought design of crescent moon, stars and twining vines. Sometimes called Camilla's shears after the sorceress Camilla Yvervale, who is credited with first making them, these shears "cut the strings" of the undead. Yvervale is said to have been inspired to create these shears after watching marionettes in a street festival puppet show.

By taking these shears and snipping them in the direction of an undead creature, the wielder can cut the bonds of necromancy and negative enery that bind and animate the undead, returning them to true death. This effect is similar to the spell undeath to death, but targets a single undead at a time, much like a wand. Deadstring shears may affect up to 48 HD of undead per day.

Moderate necromancy; CL 12; Craft Wondrous Item, Maximize Spell, maximized undeath to death; Price 57,000 ; Weight 1 lb.

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

It's a cool effect but seems to have no saving throw and a massive power per day (48HD!).

The flavor seems meh as well.

Inclined to reject.

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

Oh man this really is a super cool item, if I am understanding it right--it severs control of animated undead from its controller one undead creature at a time. Just imagine facing down a necromancer and his batch of evil undead servants, whip these out and round by round snip them and destroy them. Oh that is sooooo coool!!!!

I am not sure that it has no save, but i will agree it needs more detailed mechanics.

When it says it works like undeath to death, i would use the mechanics from that spell--in other words it grants a will save.

and 48 hd per day seems fine to me, since you can only do them one undead at a time.

I really really really like this item.

BIG keep from me.

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

Kept.


I also like this item.

Works like Undeath to Death:

Spoiler:

Undeath to Death
Necromancy
Level: Clr 6, Sor/Wiz 6
Components: V, S, M/DF
Area: Several undead creatures within a 40-ft.-radius burst
Saving Throw: Will negates
This spell functions like circle of death, except that it destroys undead creatures as noted above.
Material Component: The powder of a crushed diamond worth at least 500 gp.

Which works like Circle of Death:
Spoiler:

Circle of Death
Necromancy [Death]
Level: Sor/Wiz 6
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: Several living creatures within a 40-ft.-radius burst
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
A circle of death snuffs out the life force of living creatures, killing them instantly.
The spell slays 1d4 HD worth of living creatures per caster level (maximum 20d4). Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first; among creatures with equal HD, those who are closest to the burst’s point of origin are affected first. No creature of 9 or more HD can be affected, and Hit Dice that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted.
Material Component: The powder of a crushed black pearl with a minimum value of 500 gp.

It would be cool to see a variant of this item that can cut the control of undead but not it's "life" if so chosen. And that also brings up that some angry necromancer would make a pair of shears that can cut your strings of fate (killing living creatures).

Oh and the will save for the undead would be DC 19.

Spoiler:
Base 10 + SL 6 + min 16 stat needed to cast a 6th level spell is a +3 stat bonus = 19

Edit: Reminds me of the kids in the hall sketch with that character that crushes peoples heads.


I can't stop thinking of the Weaver from Perdido Street Station.

That's a good thing. :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

CNichols wrote:
but targets a single undead at a time, much like a wand.

Huh? What does a wand have to do with targeting?

(I like the effect. I'm wondering if I'm missing something.)


Reminds me of a Stephen King book where the narrator sees everyone's life lines like glowing threads sticking up from their heads and that is how he knows who is about to die (their thread energy gets discolored or blackened) and have their "thread" cut by the grim reaper.

Darn it! I can't think of the title . . . what book is that!!!???

Cool flavor to this one and very useful for anyone needing to fight of hordes of undead.

Snip snip! Who is next?!

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

Erik hated this, I absolutely love it.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Still do, Clark!

Scarab Sages

It's clever, but I wonder if it doesn't make too many assumptions about how undead exist. Certainly there are some--like vampires, that have clear connections, "strings" as it were, to the Negative Energy Plane--but the idea that magic forms strands to sustain their effects certainly is a new one to me.

I do love the idea of being able to cut through magical control with them though. It would almost be fun to make it less about undead and more about severing any form of magical control--whether it be controlling undead to dominate or charm person.

Granted a lot of the appeal is the likening of animated dead (skeletons in particular) to marionettes--which is an evocative image, but the idea that undead have any kind of magical "strings" seems to be going over the line and making blanket statements about very prevalent stuff in the D&D setting, that are well beyond the sorts of calls that should be made within the context of a magic item.


Dark: That King book is Insomnia.

The item is kinda neat.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Steven T. Helt

Clark Peterson wrote:

Oh man this really is a super cool item, if I am understanding it right--it severs control of animated undead from its controller one undead creature at a time. Just imagine facing down a necromancer and his batch of evil undead servants, whip these out and round by round snip them and destroy them. Oh that is sooooo coool!!!!

It doesn't sever control, right? It destroys them.

I think severing control would change the cost on this item, and also make it unique and fun and spooky to add to your game.

I think acting as a high level spell, and instakilling powerful undead (how many of those do you fight a day? 48 HD might as well be 480) is not a good mechanic. Either you don't need the scissors, or the bad guy is an important character and a) isn't gonna fail the save or b) is gonna be 'immune' to it until your DM has a few rounds to get his punches in.

Yeah...I don't generally like items that instant-kill a creature type. Why not a whistle that blows out cold air and instant-kills creatures with the fire subtype?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

ancientsensei wrote:
(how many of those do you fight a day? 48 HD might as well be 480) is not a good mechanic. Either you don't need the scissors, or the bad guy is an important character and a) isn't gonna fail the save or b) is gonna be 'immune' to it until your DM has a few rounds to get his punches in.

The cap needs to come down, but it's not an auto-kill. Undeath to death says that will negates.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Now see, I really like this flavor text. It's flavor seems inherent to the item, not tacked on names of a world I'll never see.

It's a nice idea too, creating all sorts of mental pictures of what's "really happening" when it's used.

This would be one of my top 5 or so.


I actually like the item, but I think it would be more fun as a weapon, maybe a sickle. Perhaps created by a druid that was frustrated with all the undead in his/her forest.

Just imagine the scene, a sickle weilding druid runs screaming through the forest. Several zombies turn to face the maddened naturalist, as the druid closes in he strikes one of the zombies, completely severing all its ties to the living world. It collapses in a pile of rotting flesh, giving off a sigh of relief almost as it falls.

Might modify this and use it in my game. ;)


Congratulation for moving on to round 2 and good luck.

My game mechanics issues say this is all wrong because that is not how the spell description describes it's effects:

Undeath to Death functions like Circle of Death.

1D4 HD of undead creatures per caster level maximum of 20D4 before being "Maximized" to 80HD total according to the designer, however No Creature of 9 or more HD can be affected by the spell and Hit Dice that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted.

IMO as a single undead killer, using this spell, it should be limited to 9HD or less undead as per game spell mechanics which are not changed by the Maximize feat so it does not require being maximized which only increases the cost mechanic from a level 6 spell effect to a level 9 spell effect normally unless something is buying those extra levels down.

IMO based on the current spell design mechanics this item should be costed as a level 9 spell effect because of the meta effect to the base spell which only increases the cost of the item without reason since the spell is still capped at 9HD and the other 71 HD effect are lost.

IMO based on the Undeath to Death spell the item should be designed as a CL - 11 item using the current level 6 spell which is capped at 9HD Undead which has a Will save.

IMO it should be based on a different base spell like Disintegrate which has a higher HD cap than the 9HD creature cap provided by Undeath to Death with a Fortitude save if it will only be effecting single targets.

Those are my two cents.


Clive wrote:

Dark: That King book is Insomnia.

The item is kinda neat.

Thanks for that title!


Grimcleaver wrote:

It's clever, but I wonder if it doesn't make too many assumptions about how undead exist. Certainly there are some--like vampires, that have clear connections, "strings" as it were, to the Negative Energy Plane--but the idea that magic forms strands to sustain their effects certainly is a new one to me.

I do love the idea of being able to cut through magical control with them though. It would almost be fun to make it less about undead and more about severing any form of magical control--whether it be controlling undead to dominate or charm person.

Granted a lot of the appeal is the likening of animated dead (skeletons in particular) to marionettes--which is an evocative image, but the idea that undead have any kind of magical "strings" seems to be going over the line and making blanket statements about very prevalent stuff in the D&D setting, that are well beyond the sorts of calls that should be made within the context of a magic item.

Good points . . . I wondered about this too - who says this is how it works? And also, it makes sense for the "mindless" undead, but it starts to get tricky with the higher free-willed ones.

The magical control cutting would be a nice tweak.

The Exchange

Needs to be some very specific spelled out way for a higher lever undead to resist this ability. with my initial reading I'd say this is the perfect Lich fighting item just point and cut and go get your loot.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka CNichols

Looks like I was one of Clark's "Golden Tickets". I'm glad the image I was trying to evoke of snipping the "strings" of an on-coming undead horde one-by-one sparked his imagination. The deadstring shears have been bouncing around my Ravenloft notes for years.

Chris Nichols

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

(yeah, you were)


This is another item where I don't like the mechanics, and the description doesn;t match my wn campaigns, but the core diea is cool enough I am glad I read it anyway.

QAn item with that name is likely to show up in my campaigns, it'll just work totally differently both in-game and as mechanical terms.

I also begin to see what the golden ticket process is s critical to this round of compitition. All our campaigns are different, and apparently that's true even at Erik, Calrk and Wolfie's level. So something that sparks the imagination of one bigtime might leave the other two cold, but still be just right for 33% of gamers.


I like this item.

I would have liked it better had it severed control of the undead instead of their unlives. If worded properly it could even serve to break rebukes and turns.


Love the visual, definitely sounds like something out of a novel. Seems over-powered. I don't like instakills even with a save. I like the max hd limit someone suggested (not over 9).

Again has the feeling of an artifact, I can't imagine seeing more than one in any given campaign world. It's too cool to be common.


This is one item I would keep as far away from the Expedition to Ravenloft adventure as possible-it seems like it would destroy the real challenge of a high level vampire like Strahd.

Dedicated Voter 2015

From a pure RP perspective, it would make for an interesting encounter with a necromantic villain. Villain: Bwahahaha! Your silly little tailor tools can do nothing agai.. lol wut? whut r u doin? HAY! STOP IT! U GUYS! SRSLY! D:<

BUT... I can't see any of my players using it. It strikes me as simply a re-flavour. It's weird to see division among the judges like that... Erik, how "hack-n-slash" would you say you are? My players wouldn't use it because they don't get to roll an attack. Same for you?


It may needs some adjustments IMO, but in general I like its flavor. I would like to see it in one of the campaigns I play.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka CNichols

Ragwaine wrote:
Love the visual, definitely sounds like something out of a novel. Seems over-powered. I don't like instakills even with a save. I like the max hd limit someone suggested (not over 9).

As the effects of the deadstring shears are "similar to the spell undeath to death," this includes that spell's Hit Dice limitation (no effect on undead of 9 or more HD) and Will save.

Chris Nichols


...so it's a wand then, only with no charges?
As a weapon might have been fun too. And I would have been so much more interested if it indeed had severed the control of the necromancer over undead, as it is now I simply don't like it.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

I too would argue for the control severance, and would broaden it to any summoned/controlled critter.
Evil Fire Mage: MUWAHAHHAHAH! Your party of five must now face my Fire Monolith!
Me: *snip*
Evil Fire Mage: Your party of five must now face my Fire Monolith 5 out of 6 rounds *splortch* uhmm... 4 out of 5 *splortch* uhm 3 out of 4... uh oh...

still great visuals and a definite yoink!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2008 / Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item / Deadstring Shears All Messageboards

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

©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.