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Nightingale's Tongue

Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Nightingale's Tongue
Aura faint illusion; CL 3rd
Slot --; Price 300 gp; Weight --

This small, pink confection is shaped like a nightingale's tongue. A nightingale's tongue allows the user to vocalize normally in an area of magical silence. Vocalizing includes typical speech, casting spells with Verbal components, the use of Perform skills that are primarily vocal (such as Perform (sing) or Perform (oratory)), and the use of Extraordinary, Spell-Like, or Supernatural abilities dependent upon vocalization or vocal Perform skills. Each tongue is use activated and is consumed when placed upon the character's own tongue (standard action, as per potion activation).

All characters both inside and out of the area of magical silence can hear the user normally, up to the typical range of the user's vocalization. The effect of a nightingale's tongue does not dispel the magical silence effect, nor grant others within the silence area the means to vocalize. The effect does not extend to musical instruments played by the user (including woodwinds), or to other activities such as clapping, walking, or ringing a chime.

When the user is not in an area of magical silence, a nightingale's tongue doubles the distance range of the user's vocalization. This doubles the range of vocal Bardic Performance and Perform skills as well. Spells cast by the user are unaffected, including those with the [sonic] or [language-dependent] descriptors.

The effect of a nightingale's tongue lasts for 15 minutes.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, ventriloquism; Cost 150 gp

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

This begs the question: what does a nightingale's tongue look like? Are they known for their vocalizations? I guess.

And its a confection? Like, a magic bit of pink fudge perhaps filled with choclatey nougat? I wonder if there is one with nuts and one without, like Almond Joy vs. Mounds.

I like the concept--lets you ignore magic silence but just for your vocalizations. It works. Its neat. But its magic candy.

And then on to my pet peeve--bad requirements. Ventriloquism? I dont think so. I dont know of anything better, though. Perhaps also dispell magic?

I know somewhere there is a feat or something that does this. Who can help me with that? What was it we used to use to get around the old silence 15 ft. radius spells that evil clerics always cast? Its been so long I dont remember anymore. All I can think of is the silent spell feat, which clearly should be a requirement. There has to be something else. Wasnt there a "vocalize" spell or something?

The cost does seem kinda low to really get around a pretty nasty condition that is a favorite of every DM to use on PCs--evil clerics with silence. Come on!

That said, this is kinda neat (mmm, and chewy).

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

I think this is actually the first one I like that doesn't have any game breaking issues.

Aside from the price being low and the effect perhaps going on for a bit too long, it follows format and word count, it does something new, builds off of established conventions, it's balanced by its single-use nature, it focuses on a single user, it's appealing to multiple classes, and it's not silly, wahoo, or an easter egg.

I feel like this person is thinking like a game designer, not a PC, GM, novelist, or fan boy.


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

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
I feel like this person is thinking like a game designer, not a PC, GM, novelist, or fan boy.

Amen, Wes. You are dead on with that.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Nightingale tongue, eh? Interesting. And, to Clark's comment about it being a confection, nightingale tongues used to be a favorite snack of ancient Romans at one time. I'm not so sure this item (as described) is an actual nightingale's tongue, but part of me wants to imagine it so.

In addition, I very much like the mechanical effect of what this item can do. Having a magical option similar to, but different (and better in some ways) than the Silent Spell feat makes this something more than a feat-in-a-can magic item. I do agree with Clark that ventriloquism seems like the wrong spell effect, though. I'd probably recommend the 3rd level bard spell sculpt sound instead. That way, it would seem to more properly "sculpt" the impeding elements of magical silence to allow "sound" to once more issue forth. Or, perhaps the spell helps "sculpt" the sounds issuing forth from the user to ensure they weave their way past any silence effect. Also, the item in question is very much something a bard would probably want...or pursue crafting. So, having it require a bard-only spell like sculpt sound seems more fitting to me.

Also, for 300 gp, I think this item might be a little undercosted by allowing 15 minutes of silence-breaking power. Scaling it back to a more limited number of rounds (i.e., enough to last for a single combat) would tighten it up, I think. And again, going with sculpt sound over ventriloquism might also help raise the price a little to bring it more back in line with what it can do.

Lastly, I really like the attention to detail that went into designing this item. The author has described exactly what it can and can't do within the rules of the game. Mentioning the [sonic] and [language-dependent] spell descriptors, examining the Extraordinary, Spell-Like, and Supernatural abilities, and distinguishing between voice-based Perform skills and those using musical instruments really clears up a lot of potential questions in just a few words. Well done! That's Superstar design-mojo at work.

So, welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! You're well on your way. Keep up the creativity and the rules-mastery and you should be able to showcase enough of what you can do to start really grabbing the voters' attention.


I think 300 gp is a pretty low price for an item that counteracts the silence spell, one of the best low-level caster-destroyers in the game. I like the idea of it, but I think the cost is too low and/or the duration is too long.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

This is a tightly-designed item that does its thing and does it well. It's a spellcaster's consumable answer to silence. It doesn't try to be a grab-bag of effects. It's certainly underpriced for what it can do, but not by a huge amount. We're still talking maybe 600-1000 gold a pop, equivalent to what a 3rd level potion might cost.

What I like the most, and what makes this item SUPERSTAR for me, is that the designer chose to walk through this item step by step and answer questions about it that people might ask. What constitutes "vocalization" is very clearly laid out. What effects this can have are well defined. The author seems to have spent some solid time on the quality assurance of this item. It shows, and you have my appreciation for doing it.

I like this item, and I'd be happy to use it in my game. Welcome to RPG Superstar!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

This is a great item for wizards who, if they don’t know they are fighting Clark’s evil clerics ahead of time, rarely use the Silent Spell feat. So it has a niche and a consumer base in Golarion. I could also see this coming to be used by some monsters such as Harpies, high level Half-fiends, or Vrock. After the other judges’ comments, it seems you need to choose between raising your price and lowering your duration. Lowering your durations seems the better answer to me. However if you change the construction spell from ventriloquism to sculpt sound as Neil suggested, that should nicely having you meeting in the middle of price and duration. Over all, good job, the meat candy got you in! Welcome to the RPG Superstar 2010.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Clark Peterson wrote:
I know somewhere there is a feat or something that does this. Who can help me with that?

Joyful noise, a 1st-level(!) bard spell from Complete Adventurer. Suppresses silence in a 10' radius, and is explicitly a bard spell with no verbal component.

Notably, under 3.5 rules that would have been a 100gp item if canned in a single-use form. (Now it would be 50gp, but something tells me Sean would never let it see print at 1st level!)

This item reduces a game with spellcasters in it to one where everyone has to have one or more of these items, because let's face it any party with PC spellcasters of mid to high level is going to start toting these and scrolls of silence even if the NPC villain casters don't start doing it first.
I think I've just seen this year's mongoose claw.

Congratulations on reaching the top 32. Please think more about what effect on the metagame your entries will have in future rounds.

There was a vocalize spell in 2nd edition Forgotten Realms; I'm not sure if it transitioned to 3rd edition though.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Judges, thank you for choosing my item. I'm still fairly stunned, but let me address some of the commentary to date.

Well, yes it's magical candy. I know, I know magical food isn't at the top of everyone's list. I just liked the thought of (conceptually) replacing one's tongue to overcome a silence effect. A confection seemed to be a nice way to get that across. Clark, you are welcome to have yours with or without nuts ;) I was thinking marzipan, myself.

I liked ventriloquism for this since it appears on both the bard and wizard list. It directly affects the caster's voice, so it seemed pretty close. Sculpt sound would certainly work as well.

I was primarily riffing off of elixir pricing and duration for this. I think I just overthought it and came in underpriced. One use of this that I was originally targeting was by an accomplished performer in a paid performance setting. Ultimately, I should have scrubbed the long duration (the last vestige of that aspect) and gone from there. 1 minute duration is probably where this needs to be, with a 600 - 750gp price.

Thanks again, everyone. Now to shift gears into critter mode.

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

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Clark: There was a vocalize spell in 2nd edition Forgotten Realms.

Ah yes! That's it! Thanks, Charles.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka MythrilDragon

I think this is another great example of taking an unusual item and turning it into a magic item. Great Job, and good luck in the next round.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I don't know how I feel about this; it's cool, but it also cheaply and easily negates one of the best tactics for countering spellcasters.

If I were playing a caster in Joe Wells' game, I couldn't imagine being caught without five or ten of these on hand.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Hey Joe, congratulations.

You have a nicely crafted item, other than the price it is well laid out and well written. I do feel the idea is a bit generic but the execution of this item is very well done.

Looking forward to seeing your upcoming entries.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Mmmmmm tongue.... Wait, whereami? Oh yeah, I could definitely see my PCs wanting these. Now I just have to figure out how to make them not work... Darn you Phoebus! Curse you for having a good idea! Curses!

Scarab Sages

I like what it does and how it does it.

There is room for quibbling on the requirements to create and the cost is mighty cheap, but the single use seems to balance that some. None of which distracts from the cool effect.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka Benchak the Nightstalker

Its a fun idea, and I really want to know what it tastes like. I also like that you considered uses for the item outside the domain of adventurer types (ie this being used by high-paid performers and the like).

Well done!

Star Voter 2013

Phoebus the JustFortunateEnough wrote:
I know, I know magical food isn't at the top of everyone's list.

Actually... there's a 3PP product entirely devoted to chocolate items and magic, including a punny version melding Melf's Meteors and M&Ms. I had my campaign go to Goodman Games' fairy tale module after a TPK and I really did need all the candy and desert themes I could find.

There's a niche there, especially for parent DMs.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

Congratulations Joe!

I like the idea a lot, but mostly because I like throwing silences as a GM. Depending on the campaign (GM?) this will either be omnipresent or non-existent, but what items aren't?

As mentioned you walked through and thought about the various aspects of the item, which I think worked, but I felt like I was *being walked* through it. I think a few key sentences might have worked better than the length (I could be wrong). Keep that in mind for future rounds.

but. MAGIC CANDY? How awesome is that? I think a large part of that Harry kid's fame is beholden to chocolate frogs, jelly slugs and those every flavor beans. It adds a sense of realism to ground our fantasy in. Excellent choice and reason why you are in the top 32! Congratulations.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I like the idea and the magic candy aspect, and I love the way you went through the description and clearly and succintly described what it did and what it didn't do, including what it would do if you ate it outside of a silenced area. (although I don't recall - did you specify what kind of action it took to eat it, and whether it provoked like drinking a potion does?)

That said, I think it's wayyy undercosted. Sure, it will occasionally come up that you'll use this for just regular talking or some other effect, but the primary function for adventurers with this item will be to get off spells while silenced.

Compare your item, then, at 300 gp for 15 MINUTES (or even 1 minute, which is about as long as a PF battle is liable to last), letting you cast spells in silence EVERY ROUND, to a lesser metamagic rod (silent).

It costs 10 times as much and only lets you do 3 silent spells per day, and only 1st-3rd level ones at that. The ones for higher-level spells are appropriately more expensive, and still only 3/day. Yes, there are some unusual occasions when you want to make a spell silent for reasons other than to avoid a silence spell (casting something while being sneaky and invisible, for example), but not very often. Also, the MM rod ONLY lets you cast spells with silence; it gives you none of the other vocalizing options.

My thought on this item would be:

Make it last 1 round and cost around 750-1000 gp. It still lets you do a boatload of things the metamagic rod doesn't, as well as working on any level of spell, not just 1st-3rd. The MM rod is much less versatile (and much more expensive if you want to do higher-level spells) but has the advantage of not being expended.

Just a notion.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Benjamin Bruck wrote:
Its a fun idea, and I really want to know what it tastes like

They're sweet, but not cloying. It's also possible that they taste you as well. I'm not certain, though.

Jason Nelson wrote:
did you specify what kind of action it took to eat it, and whether it provoked like drinking a potion does?

I just said "as per potion activation", so standard action, AoO, AoO can be targeted at the tongue rather than the user, etc.

That said, I think it's wayyy undercosted.

I agree, and I tweaked it a bit up thread. This is a one-shot item, though and lacks the stealth capability of the Silent MM Rod.

Thanks again for the feedback, everyone!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka JoelF847

Great job making the top 32! I thought this was a nifty item, but agree 100% with Jason's comments that it should probably be just 1 round. I'm fine with the price for a 1 round use though - it costs the same as a 2nd level potion, and it basically lets you get around a 2nd level spell. Plus the item requires a standard action to activate, and then the following round you get to cast your spell in the silence, so there's an additional cost when you use it.

As for the crafting requirements, I thought ventriloquism was a good choice, but I would have also required the silent spell feat, since that's really what the item does - it's a single use version of the feat, simlar to the metamagic rods.

Liberty's Edge Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Simple and effective. I agree about limiting the amount of time, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.

Congratulations and I can't wait to read your monster entry.

Sovereign Court PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

Well, now I know why I didn't make the first stole my TONGUE!!


Congrats, Joe! I'm looking forward to seeing your monster.

Dedicated Voter 2014

Hmm. This is a neat one. You took the strategy of silencing spellcasters and gave them a way to fight back. There's nothing too new about the idea; I feel as though I've seen feats and spells in various books that counteract silence in one way or another. However, you keep it interesting by making it a magical candy. It does run the risk of having players meta-game, but it also gives the opportunity for easy role-playing. I can imagine bringing mints to a game and actually popping one in my mouth every time I use one of these items. As a player that really enjoys role-playing, it's that little extra that helps make the game come to life.

Nice job. Good luck in the future.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015 aka Boxhead

I see this one as a counter-tactic. Someone uses silence, so the wizard pops one of these. The wizard then develops improved silence that ignores this, which results in an arms race that somehow culminates in the anti-pastry shell spell being developed. And that path leads to madness, I'm sure...

Well, I'm done ranting. Very good item with a tight design that just needs subtle tweaking. Very well done.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka DankeSean

So as promised, here's your membership invitation to the round 1 Bard Item Club. So these are cool; I like the idea of an edible magical candy, and the effect provided is soemthing it's hard to imagine any spellcaster NOT wanting enough to keep a small bag on their person at all times. What really brings this into the 'love' category for me is the non-spellcasting stuff. Yes, we've established that I have a weakness for all bardy type items, and I'll admit I may be judging them from that perspective, but it's even the non-bard specific worldbuilding applications that spark my interest. I'm imagining a concert hall or opera house draped in a permanent silence effect, or at least one that goes off when the curtains rise, with the entire cast onstage popping these in between scenes to keep the vocalization effect running. Why on earth would anyone build such a place? Well, we've all been to a movie where someone in the audience just WON'T SHUT UP. Admitedly, in a Cheliaxan opera house there's less likelihood of someone having a screaming baby or blabbing on a cell phone in the audience, but still, the idea tickles my fancy.

Scarab Sages

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roguerouge wrote:
Phoebus the JustFortunateEnough wrote:
I know, I know magical food isn't at the top of everyone's list.

Actually... there's a 3PP product entirely devoted to chocolate items and magic, including a punny version melding Melf's Meteors and M&Ms. I had my campaign go to Goodman Games' fairy tale module after a TPK and I really did need all the candy and desert themes I could find.

There's a niche there, especially for parent DMs.

What is the name of the 3PP product? Sounds useful.

Clark Peterson wrote:
Wasnt there a "vocalize" spell or something?

The bardic spell joyful noise comes closest.

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