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Crystal Chalice of Dawnflower Dew


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka deemshy

Crystal Chalice of Dawnflower Dew
Aura faint conjuration and transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot ---; Price 5,200 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Description
This fragile crystal chalice, cut into the form of many overlaying translucent petals, imbues the blessing of Sarenrae upon any who drink from it at dawn.
If placed on a flat surface for a minimum of four hours before the sun rises, the chalice will collect enough dew to allow a single person to drink from it and gain 1d8+3 temporary hit points until the dawn of the following day.
The dew will form under even the hottest and driest conditions, and it is not subject to evaporation. However, the liquid is susceptible to freezing as it forms.
The chalice is extremely fragile. If one or more of the crystal petals is broken, it will no longer function. Reparative magic, such as mending, will restore its magical properties but only if all of the original pieces are present.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create water, virtue (or aid), deity Sarenrae; Cost 2,600 gp

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

What is wrong with me today. I like the monkey item. Now I am not going to reject this spell in a can?

Sometimes simplicity is elegant and well done. Sometimes the stereotypical rejection just doesnt occur. This is one of those times.

This is, in my view, a great item. Simple. Low level. (granted, the passive voice is a big concern, but that is an editorial issue).

You could say this is aid in a can (or a cup). But its not. It changes aid and it has a good reason. Aid is 1/min per level. This is one day. Its tied to the theme of the item. It also has a restriction--4 hours before dawn.

Had this just been a cup that you drink from and it gives you aid as per the spell, this would get a spell in a can reject from me. But it takes aid and changes it and tweaks it to a use beyond what the spell provides. Now that is good design. That is what wondrous items do.

Well done. I really like this item. Good low level items are hard to do.

Watch the passive voice though.

KEEP

Top 10 for sure for me.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

I've kind of been waiting to see Sean pick this apart for being a SAC. :P

I totally agree with every one of your points Clark, it's simple, I get it, it does something I've seen but in an interesting way, the item itself is interesting, it uses Golarion (I especially like that it's a dawn flower for the Dawnflower), all good things. The last line is kind of confusing, as I don't really get why one of the petals would break, but I can even overlook that.

Contributor

Well, it IS a spell in a can, but it has style, and presents its effects in an interesting and thematic way. If this were just "once per day, this item gives you X temporary hit points" it would be boring and I'd reject it, but this takes it up a notch.

It's the sort of distinction that makes a cape of the mountebank a fun item and a cloak of dimension door a dull item. They're both spells in a can, but one has style.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

I like this item - to a point - because you do a good job in making a magic item seem special, even though its effects are mundane. You described the item and its particular ritual activation vividly, using well-known Golarion flavor, and wrapped the item's effect inside that sweet-tasting package. Underneath, however, you've got a 24-hour Aid spell in a can.

Last year, I learned real fast that it's not a good idea to just wrap something in vivid description. You can have tight, elegant prose but if what's under the hood has any trappings of "been there, done that," it's going to get called out for it. Style is key, sure, but you need to bring to the table something that is going to blow people away.

So while this item may not have the "WOW" factor for me personally, you've proven that you've got the talent to be part of this year's in-crowd. Welcome to RPG Superstar, and best of luck going into the next few rounds!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I really like this item! In just 174 words (way below the 300-word limit), you've adequately described an innovative wondrous item, given us some neat Golarion flavor, mechanically explained what it does, haven't over-reached by glomming on too many "extra" powers and abilities, and resisted the urge to get too flowery and explain too much backstory. So, your design and mechanical execution are definitely Superstar-quality to me.

Now, your writing on the other hand does rely alot on passive voice. And you'll really need to start training yourself on how to avoid that. Here's some advice: whenever you think you're done writing something up, go back through it and look for the word "will" and try to eliminate it. For instance, when you say, "The dew will form under even the hottest and driest condition..." just say, "The dew forms under even the hottest and driest conditions..." That way, it's not so passive anymore. It isn't "The dew will form..." and instead it's "The dew forms..." The former is kind of loosey-goosey. The latter is direct action involving the dew. Other ways of eliminating passive voice include watching out for the use of the verb "to be" in all its forms: is, are, was, were, etc. So, when you say, "The chalice is extremely fragile...." there really isn't an active verb there. The chalice isn't "acting" on anything. If you wanted to change it, look for ways to swap out the subject of the sentence with something else like, "Followers of Sarenrae always craft these chalices from extremely fragile glass." That way, the followers of Sarenrae are "acting" on the chalices via the active verb "craft." That's how you generally go about looking for ways to revise and eliminate passive voice.

Now, aside from that, I don't take issue with the spell-in-a-can tag so much with this item. You've based it around virtue or aid, but it's really much more clearly applying aid than virtue and you could save a couple of words by just sticking with one over the other. And, as Clark points out, the application of the aid spell's 1d8+3 temporary hit points via this item lasts all day, not just 1 minute per level. So you've made a wondrous item that allows a spell's effect to be modified in a way that no spellcaster can achieve (even with the Extend Spell feat). That's Superstar thinking in my book. I also like how you wove in the 4 hours before dawn limitation for invoking its power. That adds a mechanical nerf to attempts to abuse the item while weaving in a flavorful connection to Sarenrae at the same time. Well done.

Lastly, though Wes doesn't seem to like the last sentence that much (regarding the crystal petals breaking), I appreciate what you were trying convey. The item is fragile. If the chalice breaks (which is a fairly likely outcome over the course of an adventuring career), it's nice to know that mending can put it back together...as long as you have all the pieces. That's a natural question that could come up, and I like that you gave us an answer for it. And I really like your professional presentation here. You've demonstrated really great attention to detail.

So, with all that on the table, welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! Congratulations! I'm really interested in seeing what you do next. This simple, elegant wondrous item indicates that you may have lots of potential as a designer. So let's see what you have next. Best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 aka K. B. Carter

Congrats on making it to RPG Superstar 2010! I asked myself the same three questions for each of the top 32 items. Here are my responses to your item:

Would this wondrous item unbalance or over-complicate my game if my PCs were to find it and use it?
I can't think of anything unbalancing about this item. There are some adventures, such as those set deep in the underground, where keeping track of day/night cycles becomes more of a chore than a storytelling device, and I'm worried this item would make meticulous time-tracking a necessity in those instances. Still I like the idea, although I wish it did something a bit more interesting than just grant temp hit points every day. As I've said in the feedback on a few other items as well, some mechanics add an extra layer to the bookkeeping of a play session without really following through on the payoff. I’m probably coming down on you too hard here, because this really is a cool item, but every time, the game advances to a new day, one of my PCs is going to roll and die and say, “I have X temp hit points today” and it’s a small thing but small things add up over time.

Would my PCs be happy with this item if they were to find it during an adventure?
Yeah, definitely, but something that's a daily boon, they would quickly take for granted. Instead of seeing the daily boon as a bonus, they would instead start to see the absence of a boon as a penalty on the days when they couldn't activate the item for whatever reason. This is largely an oddity of PC psychology (the absence of benefit is often perceived as a loss), but this is something the DM has to work with on a number of issues.

Do I like the mojo? Does the item spark other ideas for my campaign?
You weave an interesting, yet simple, concept through this item--the renewing power of dawn—and I really enjoy that. All things considered, I like the Crystal Chalice of Dawnflower Dew and it certainly delivers on the mojo front.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

Eh. The flavor is nice, but it is just aid in a can. I agree that the daily boon can easily become mundane in some games, but I also agree that that's just how PC psychology works. With your prose talent, though, I do look forward to your monster description.

Taldor Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the concept and the flavor of the item is very nice, but I can't see my character hauling this item around on an adventure. The fragility of the item is the biggest drawback in my eyes. A mending spell would need to be a constant must to keep this item intact during the course of a campaign.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Alex,

Congratulations!

The imageryof this item is really evocative item and gives it a rich flavor that ties in quite well with Sarenrae (or any sun god actually). The mechanics of the item are a little disappointing and I expected a little more after the really rich description.

Again, congratulations and I look forward to seeing your entries in the coming rounds!


How much liquid collects? Is this enough to be significant to someone in a desert with no other water supply???
This one reads to me exactly like an item from an item book. A well written item, but...
However, congratulations on making the top 32.

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

Great job making the top 32! I like the twisting a existing spell around via the magic item, and great use of imagery. I have to agree with Neil about the use of virtue or aid though. It's fine for a magic item to have alternate requirements, but generally, that's done with spells from different class lists - allowing spells from the same spell list as alternates when they're different levels just makes it easier for a lower level crafter to create the item by using the zero level option. With the craft check to create your magic item, I'd make sure you keep your requiremenent to require a caster of a certain level to get it easily, while lower level crafters will need to take the +5 to the DC to craft.

I was a little confused by the mention of that it won't work if broken, but that it can be fixed with a mending spell. There's already rules in the game that cover breaking and repairing magic items, and this doesn't really seem different from those rules. Also, by tying it's activation to the dawn, what happens if it's on another plane and there is no dawn, does the item not work?

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka deemshy

Thank you all for your generous feedback and comments.
My family is so happy! This has made my day... no, my year!
Again, thank you! :)

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

Great inovation on such a simple idea. Good luck on the next round.


For those worried that this item is fragile and easily broken, why not put this in a handy haversack/bag of holding, or even just a protected carrying case. I've done a lot of field work with delicate instruments, and a proper carrying case is how you avoid breaking your delicate gear.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

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

Thematically, I like this item. Crystal Chalices are a dime a dozen, but you managed to put some uniqueness into this one and give it a solid Pathfinder theme.

You had plenty of words left, and I, for one, would have appreciated a mechanical explanation of the fragility (0 hardness, 1-2 hp, something, other than "very fragile." Same thing regarding the dew freezing as it forms. What would cause that? Cold environmental hazards? Area effect cold spells? Those are the kind of details I would look for to improve this item.

Also, I think this item gives the GM too much power to screw with its effects. Between the four hours,the fragility, and the freezing, it's an easy way for nasty GMs to wipe out a 5200 gp item.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I love the imagery of this item more than I love the item. It's a neat idea, but the prose is excellent. Good job and I look forward to your monster!

Star Voter 2013

Congrats on the win! You made it to the next round, where the stress, tears, recrimination and, hopefully, joy are to be found. Seriously? Enjoy the ride. And I second the affirmation of the flavor here.

But I have a question. If your PCs were going shopping, would this be worth 5K to them? As a DM, I evaluate things based on flavor and cool, but as a player, I evaluate things based on mechanics. And I'm not convinced that I'd spend 5K on 4-11 temp HP per day, if only because the description seems to make buying a bag of holding mandatory to keep this item safe. Still temp HP is LIFE, so it's tempting. I don't know.

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

roguerouge wrote:

Congrats on the win! You made it to the next round, where the stress, tears, recrimination and, hopefully, joy are to be found. Seriously? Enjoy the ride. And I second the affirmation of the flavor here.

But I have a question. If your PCs were going shopping, would this be worth 5K to them? As a DM, I evaluate things based on flavor and cool, but as a player, I evaluate things based on mechanics. And I'm not convinced that I'd spend 5K on 4-11 temp HP per day, if only because the description seems to make buying a bag of holding mandatory to keep this item safe. Still temp HP is LIFE, so it's tempting. I don't know.

Well, if you mentally equate this to a potion of false life, which costs 300, gives 1 more temp hp on average, but only for 3 hours, then at 5,200 gp, this item pays for itself after 18 uses. When you then factor in that the temp hp last all day, I think it's well worth the money. You probably wouldn't be affording one until 6-8th level though, depending on your spending preferences.


roguerouge wrote:

But I have a question. If your PCs were going shopping, would this be worth 5K to them? As a DM, I evaluate things based on flavor and cool, but as a player, I evaluate things based on mechanics. And I'm not convinced that I'd spend 5K on 4-11 temp HP per day, if only because the description seems to make buying a bag of holding mandatory to keep this item safe. Still temp HP is LIFE, so it's tempting. I don't know.

Bags of holding do not exist in the real world and people can still take fragile objects with them when they go hiking/backpacking. I can picture something similar to a traveling wine bottle/glass case being used to deal with the fragility.


I don't know the whole mechanics thing, but I really like this item. My party will really enjoy this item. I have a player who is a fighter who is dedicated to Sarenrae. He took Traits that we tied into a religious context and plays them well. I can totally see him adoring this item, and lots of role playing potential. It might be an item he gets gifted to him from the local church but I like the idea that it's a religious item that is stolen or missing and he needs to quest for it. It isn't super powerful but just adds a neat flavour. I can so easily find a picture of this and print out and give to the player as well as we use the spell cards. I just like it a lot.

Thanks a bunch and good luck

Star Voter 2013

Caedwyr wrote:

Bags of holding do not exist in the real world and people can still take fragile objects with them when they go hiking/backpacking. I can picture something similar to a traveling wine bottle/glass case being used to deal with the fragility.

Ah. See, I've broken wine glasses in those traveling thingies before. I failed to latch it properly. That's where my lack of faith in anything but extra-dimensional luggage comes from.

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

This is the kind of item that really gets me thinking of how I'd use it in a game. Lots of fun flavor to be found. Nice job!

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

This item is elegant in its simplicity. Of course, I'm not sure how many characters would ever keep their temporary hit points until the following dawn. :)

Congratulations and best of luck in the next round.

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

I like this one okay but I don't love it. The description is lovely, the background detail just enough of a touch and not too much, and the effect is handy and enough different to make it not just a SIAC, but it's just not grabbing me the way some of the others have done. Good... but you might need to kick it up a notch in the later rounds.

Best of luck in Superstar 2010!


deemshy wrote:
Crystal Chalice of Dawnflower Dew

This is a good item. The description keeps me reading even though it's very basic and straightforward. I think the tankard did the cure-in-a-can schtick better, though.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

Your description of the chalice immediately makes me want to put it in a treasure hoard, because I know that all of my players would make a bee line for this and try to figure out what it does. I think the beauty of the item would quickly be overshadowed as players just roll their temporary hit points at the start of each day.

Your writing draws me in and makes me want to read more stuff from you, so I am greatly looking forward to your Round 2 submission.

TM

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

Very, very nice. Not 'wow'-ish, but simple, lovely and elegant. And the fact that you pulled off such an evocative description without coming anywhere close to the word count is impressive- you didn't even broach 200 words. This could have made it unaltered into last years more restrictive contest. Which, to me, says you can resist adding unnecessary padding and fluff like other people (i.e., me, for one...) did when we saw we had an extra 100 words to play around with. Good job.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Boxhead

The imagery on this item is fantastic, the more this rounds items I read this year, the more I think this really is what counted. This really is just an all-day aid-in-a-can with an irritating activation method. It really has to sit undisturbed for 4 hours before dawn before I can use it? That's annoying. It also doesn't scream Sarenrae to me, but to each his own.

I do look forward to your monster, though, and hope it lives up to the promising prose shown here.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Very nice imagery. I think this works best as lore to flesh out the backstory of the clergy of Sarenrae and possibly as a sacramental item used in her open-air temples. Carrying one these around by an adventurer would probably be frowned upon by her priesthood. But that's OK. It adds more texture to the world and a detail like this can really elevate a scene.

Nicely done! Good luck next week!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

It bugs me a bit that this is the item doesn't need to be under the sun, or even outdoors to collect dew... I know it's a silly side issue but I would kind of like... dew and sunrise to be involved in the magic.

Yeah, it is a nitpick but there it is.


I like the Chalice but I feel it needs more !Oomph! still good, Looking forward to seeing your next offering. Way to go dude.

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