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Hourglass of the Insightful Conjurer


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

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

Hourglass of the Insightful Conjurer
Aura Moderate (no school); CL 9th
Slot none; Price 25000 gp; Weight 20 lbs.
Description
This one foot tall crystal hourglass is surrounded by an ornate wrought brass cage. It allows you to cast up to 3 spells of any level from the conjuration school into it. These spells take their regular casting time to cast, but do not take effect immediately. When the glass is turned over (a standard action), it takes one minute for the sand to drain completely to the bottom. Once it does, all spells that have been cast into it immediately take effect. Spells stored in the hourglass function exactly as originally cast, at the caster’s level, modified by any metamagic he used. If the sand is stopped (such as by tipping the hourglass over), the process is interrupted. It must be righted within one minute, otherwise the spells are lost. If the hourglass is destroyed (hardness 5, 10 hp), there is a 50% chance the spells go off immediately, otherwise they are lost.

All area effects are centred on the hourglass, touch and personal range spells affect one or more random characters holding the hourglass (up to the spell’s usual limit), other effects emerge into the hourglass’s square or the nearest empty square(s) as needed. No spell effect can originate further than 30 ft from the hourglass.

The hourglass can be reset once its spells are cast by turning it back over. It takes one minute for the sand to return to the top. This process must finish before any new spells can be cast into the hourglass.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Extend Spell; Cost 12500 gp

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Huh, this is kind of neat. It's like a time bomb for conjuration spells. I'm not quite sure why it's limited to conjuration spells, and I'd probably put a few more restrictions on what spells you can cast into it, but the basic idea is pretty cool. And as it's awkward to use, it doesn't feel particularly busted, acting like more of a trap and runaway kind of deal - casting a few summon monster Vs into this and leaving it to stew for the enemies you know are coming sounds fun. Just might be tricky with some of the details on this.

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

I sense their is an abusability here I'm not seeing.

3 spells of any level is pretty powerful. But not horrible.

I guess you could put 3 cloudkills in it, set it discreetly and leave the room. Nasty.

Not really sure how this would work with maze or trap the soul. Clearly the spell most ready for nuking is cloudkill (or a summon monster).

Can you move it after you place it? So long as it isnt broken, it appears the answer is yes.

I have this question:

how long can the spells sit in there before you turn it over to let the sand run? In otehr words, can you cast 1 cloudkill a day in there for 3 days then walk around for weeks with an un-flipped hourglass with 3 cloudkills in it? The item as written seems to let you take as long as needed to "fill" the hourglass.

I have a problem with that.

I think it is a keeper. I am not 100% sold though.

Sean I really need you to chime in on this. I want to hear what you have to say. I was going to just hit keep but I want your comments first.

Contributor

I see this as the way a conjurer can have some summoned monsters "stockpiled" for a big fight; cast the spells into it, activate it, wait 8 rounds, and open the door to the next room... partway through the fight, the summoned monsters appear and help you and the conjurer hasn't had to spend full-round actions. And for that, I think it's a smart item.

I agree with Clark's concern about how long it'll hold cast spells. If I were developer on this, I'd ask the designer what he intended, and verify that it matched the price. Or fix the price/uses--this item is smart enough that I wouldn't just discard it for that mistake. Hopefully this writer can be trained to be a little more thorough in answering all of these corner questions.

Keep.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

That issue is pretty serious, so that dings it down a few points in my regard. I still think it's pretty novel, though.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I really like this item! Awesome stuff!

A conjurer's time-bomb. Kind of like a delayed blast fireball for conjuration spells. But, it seems best suited for summon monster spells rather than acid arrow and such. In fact, outside of the summon spells, it starts to get a little wonky on how to adjudicate the effects...though a cloudkill or incendiary cloud would probably work out fine. Still, it could get particularly vicious if an overturned hourglass invoked teleportation circle, gate, maze, or trap the soul. Some of those spells (like trap the soul) require an additional spell component that plays a key role in the effect...and that leaves me wondering how the hourglass would duplicate or carry those spells out in the absence of the original caster. The summon monster spells are just much easier to tag as benefitting from this device. But, regardless, I really love the concept. And the kinds of spells you can include in it keep changing as a spellcaster goes up in level anyway. So, it's an item that lives on in its usefulness through an entire adventuring career.

Mechanically-speaking, there are still questions left unanswered as Clark and Sean pointed out. You'll likely need to work on anticipating (and playtesting) those things in your future design work. Looking across the other aspects of your item, I'm a little curious why there's a moderate aura of "no school"...what does that mean? With such a heavy focus on conjuration (it's in the item's name, for Pete's sake!), why wouldn't it be moderate conjuration? That's the only type of spell it will accept into it. So, where's the problem with indicating it to anyone who's appraising the item?

In addition, your construction requirements don't list a single spell necessary for this item? That, too, seems really odd to me. The Extend Spell feat requirement is definitely needed...and it's a nice touch to include it. But there are spells capable of storing or passing on other spells.

Take a ring of spell storing, for example. It relies on imbue with spell ability and that would seem a perfect pairing with your hourglass (and would probably create an Aura of evocation about the item or at least take on the auras of the spells it stored). Additionally, a greater glyph of warding can contain a spell glyph of 6th level or lower. So you could even go with something like that (particularly if you wanted to cap the storing capabilities of your hourglass so it can't delay the invocation of the really high-level conjuration spells).

But, for me, I'd go with imbue with spell ability and leave it at that. Even a major ring of spell storing relies on that and it can contain up to 10 levels of spells. In fact, I'd probably suggest you base the hourglass's storing capacity on total number of spell levels rather than just 3 spells the caster knows. Personally, I think that would cut down on some of the concerns around abusing the item in actual game-play.

For instance, as a 9th level spell, time stop can let a caster invoke multiple spells so they all take effect as soon as the clock starts up again. And, with a duration of 1d4+1 rounds, it lets you get off 2-5 additional spells during that time. That averages out to 3.5 spells (or just 3, rounding down), so your item is in line with that. But, if you limited it to 10 levels of spells, at least it couldn't invoke 3 spells with highly variable casting times all at once...even time stop wouldn't work out for that...as instaneous and single-target spells get wasted...and other spells too if they don't have a duration long enough to make it through the entire time stop effect. Your item doesn't carry those restrictions. And that's why my gut tells me it has abuse potential woven into it.

Regardless, I still would have looked to price this item as a reusable time stop because it's able to achieve the same sort of thing...but does so with the added requirement of everything having to be cast in advance...and then waiting an entire minute before the sand runs its course and the spells can go off. That gives it some off-setting nerfs to get the cost back under control a little bit. As it is, you've priced this item at a cool 25,000 gp? And, because of that, I think you may have way underpriced it. Granted, at low levels you can't exactly pack in the high-level spells a caster of time stop would have access to...so that may help offset it some more. And I do like the fact that the item can grow with a caster as he gains levels. I'd be really curious to hear any of the other judges' comments on pricing. I didn't see anything where they had assessed it along those lines.

But anyway, I've gone on and on (again!) when the only thing that really matters is that you've just joined the ranks of RPG Superstar! And you did it with a really cool idea around an item I can absolutely see a fantastic use for in the game. If I've gone on and on, it's not because I dislike the item. It's because I'm quite enamored with it and motivated to think it through from every possible angle. Also, it conjures up really cool imagery and situations where it would come in handy. Whether in the hands of an evil NPC villain or one of the heroic PCs, this thing makes an immediate impact when its stored spells go off. And that's going to create cool gaming moments for everyone. Well done! Now, tighten up your rules-fu and the written presentation of your mechanics. You'll need to demonstrate further mastery of those things the deeper you go in the competition. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next. Best of luck!

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

This is a great item, and easily one of my favorites of the round. I love devices that allow a clever player to make impromptu traps. This has all sorts of creative potential, so well done on bringing this vision to life.

I think the judges have already listed off the mechanical and construction problems with this item. In this area you are a little lacking. 20 pounds for a 1 foot tall crystal hourglass seems a bit off. The lack of spell in the construction and school type is a glaring omission. In future rounds you need to think through these aspects of your designs. Your competitors certainly will.

However, this item shines due to its visual appeal and its potential for fun. It's something that extends spell-storing in a unique and innovative way. It's something that, as a DM, I can build interesting encounters around, and as a player I can use to turn the tables on my opponents in a pretty fun way.

So welcome to the competition! Hopefully this sort of innovation is just the beginning of what we can expect to see from you.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 aka K. B. Carter

Hmmm... good mojo here, but this item is really a modified ring of spell storing that specializes in conjuration magic. I'm having a hard time envisioning how a PC or NPC would really use this item in an encounter. I guess it could work as a James Bond style trap, with the PCs bound and gagged and the hourglass running out.

Actually, that might be kinda cool. I don't know though, I’m on the fence here.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Y'know, as a gag on another thread I wrote up a spell canister item. It was disturbingly similar to this in general execution. The timed-release part of this one is pretty neat, though.

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I see where Clark is coming from as far as abuse potential goes. If the spells can remain in the hourglass indefinitely, that poses a power issue for me. I think the biggest issue is this translates to a more powerful item than a ring of spell storing, major (as it has the potential to hold almost 3 times the spell levels), but for 1/8 of the cost. Granted, there is the time delay, there is the limit to a single casting school and it is a wondrous item and not a ring, but I'm not sure that makes up for the massive price differential.

However, I really like the flavor. It really says "major villain item" to me (and I will probably use it as such at some point) and could become a PC spellcaster's hard won power item after such an encounter.

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

tejón wrote:
Y'know, as a gag on another thread I wrote up a spell canister item. It was disturbingly similar to this in general execution. The timed-release part of this one is pretty neat, though.

Yeah, this is literally a can to put spells in, isn't it?

Well, I like it anyway. The way I read it, once the spells are put in, they need to be discharged within a minute or they're lost (the sentence about the "the hourglass must be righted within a minute"). I think it's better suited to storing summon spells only, otherwise there's some weird issues with who gets targeted with acid arrows or mazes.

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

Wow, I'm stoked to be a part of this contest! Are we allowed to comment on our items? I'd hate to get disqualified, but would love to chat about some of the concerns (among other things...)

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Demiurge 1138 wrote:
tejón wrote:
Y'know, as a gag on another thread I wrote up a spell canister item. It was disturbingly similar to this in general execution. The timed-release part of this one is pretty neat, though.

Yeah, this is literally a can to put spells in, isn't it?

Well, I like it anyway. The way I read it, once the spells are put in, they need to be discharged within a minute or they're lost (the sentence about the "the hourglass must be righted within a minute"). I think it's better suited to storing summon spells only, otherwise there's some weird issues with who gets targeted with acid arrows or mazes.

See, I read that as if the flow of the sand was interrupted once it began you had 1 minute to correct the flow or the spells were lost.

Item Text wrote:
If the sand is stopped (such as by tipping the hourglass over), the process is interrupted. It must be righted within one minute, otherwise the spells are lost.

This does not seem to place a upper limit to the duration of spell storage if the hourglass is not inverted initially.


A (major) ring of spell storing has a market price of 200,000 gp and holds only 10 levels of spells. This item holds upto 27 levels of spells, keeps them 'primed' indefinitely, and fires them all off at the same time, yet has a market price of only one eighth the cost of a ring of spell storing. At the current listed market price, if I'm planning a well-timed commando raid where I can afford to incorporate a one minute delay for those spells to go off I'd rather have half a dozen of these and 50,000 gp change than a (major) ring of spell storing. (Don't forget conjuration is the school of heal spells and the ilk, so this can be primed to blitzkrieg undead too...)
This item is innovational, but should be considered an artifact, and is not a wondrous item in my opinion.

(As an aside what is it with hourglass items in this contest? The Withering Hourglass last year was overpowered too.)

Congratulations on making the top 32, but please try to maintain some semblance of game-balance in future rounds if you wish to progress further.

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

I like that you took a fairly mundane item and turned it into this. Good luck on the next round.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013

I'm glad it isn't a "count down to death" hourglass. And the fact it is for Conjurers(oh, okay, conjuration spells only) helps a lot. Yay Conjurers!

Contributor

Boxhead wrote:
Are we allowed to comment on our items?

Yes, anyone (including contestants) can comment on all of the Top 32 items. :)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Really nice item Eric. I see some balance/ abuse issues with this the hourglass but I think some simple constraints could be an easy fix. I guess the big thing is it can be used effectively as a metamagic rod of quicken if the caster uses it right. The classic Scry and Die becomes even crazier with this item in hand. Teleport in, out come your three highest level spells... it's almost time stop in a bottle.

All that aside... it's a clever item and well worth the Top 32 spot. Congratulations, it'll be fun seeing your entries in the upcoming rounds!

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

Yeah I'm not sure about how it balances with other items, but part of me really doesn't care. I have to admit I'm a sucker for a good hourglass item, and this very much one of them.

It's something nice to give the new Summoner in your party as well :D

The Exchange

Didn't you make top 32 last year? If so then kudos for that consistency.

Well done either way, I like the way this works, although I would probably restrict it to summoning spells for my games, just to simplify things.

Cheers

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

I could completely see this on the desk of some nefarious summoner. In the middle of speaking with the PCs he reaches over and casually resets his hourglass. Exposition, exposition, exposition, BAM, summoned creatures! Roll initiative!

Sweet. Congrats!

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

Just a few quick words- I had three specific types of spells in mind for this item:

Summoning was first and foremost. This was a fun "stop the item before it brings in the big bad guy's favourite pet" sort of deal.

Healing was next in my mind. Turn it over, start fighting, get to the hourglass for a huge buff part way through. Not terribly practical, but a fun image.

Teleportation was my third thought; either as a trap, or an escape device.

Honestly, I occasionally forget that conjuration has as many offensive spells as it does, they just seem so out of place to me.

As far as the power level goes, it's a strange item because it scales with a PC. A powerful PC can certainly store some great spells in it. With hindsight, I would probably have three versions of the item- with max spell levels of 3, 6 and 9, each with a different price. I ballparked where I thought it would be useful, but not overpowering and probably landed a little low.

The lack of spells needed to create the item was partly intentional- the only spells I could think of to do it were not conjuration spells, which made them strange choices for creation (at least to me). There is some precedent for items with no spell requirements, so it wasn't too out of line to me. I suppose that imbue with spell ability would have been a solid choice, though. I just really didn't jive with a conjurer's item having an evocation aura...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love this concept. A item with both strong role playing and in game uses. An amazing item for villains, and still a great player item.

I can definitely see me using this to create some fun and interesting encounters.

Great Work!

Star Voter 2013

I have some mechanical questions about this item:

1. What order do the spells go off? Is it simultaneous? Order of casting? Reverse order of casting? That's pretty crucial to know if you're going to mix AoE, summoning and travel spells.

2. Where these effects end up is pretty crucial. If many effects are centered on the hourglass or emerge from its square, that's going to make many wall, summoning and damaging AoE spells pretty worthless with this item. The last thing you want to do is summon a fire elemental that starts in the same space as a glass object. The second to last thing? Summoning a fire elemental and having a wall of stone go off in front of it because that space is now occupied by the elemental. The caveat listed, "as needed" needs more detail. Is that in the caster's judgment (who may or may not be there) or the DM's?

3. Do the spells affect those summoned or me? If I use this to do mage armor and a celestial lion, does lion get the mage armor if it starts in the same space as the hourglass? Whose commands will the unseen servant obey? The pixie I summoned or mine, even if I've run 300' away?

4. Some conjuration spells target creatures, such as Acid Arrow. There is no guidance provided on adjudicating that issue.

I think these kinds of questions are pretty inevitable when you stuff this many potential spell effect combos into one item.

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Martin wrote:
I could completely see this on the desk of some nefarious summoner. In the middle of speaking with the PCs he reaches over and casually resets his hourglass. Exposition, exposition, exposition, BAM, summoned creatures! Roll initiative!

Yep, great villain item ... would make for an interesting twist to a final confrontation with an evil wizard ... potential blindside to the players that they would not soon forget. Definite stuff for epic tales to be told around the gaming table for years.

I still think the pricing is waaaaay off though. The minor, standard, major versions could be better served for this type of item (with the current pricing for the minor version).

Star Voter 2013

To put it more briefly: If a conjurer uses this item to summon a Huge Fire Elemental, shoot an Acid Arrow and create a Wall of Stone, what happens? Does the arrow hit the wall while the elemental stands on the puddle that once was the magic item? Or does the arrow hit a particular opponent and the Elemental attacks the nearest creature while the wall protects the item from harm? Or any variation in between?

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

Great job making the top 32! I really like the concept of the item - I see it a bit more like a delay metamagic feat in a can than a time stop or other spell in a can type item, and since there isn't a delay metamagic feat (at least in PRPG). However, as pointed out, this item is pretty abusable and unclear as written.

When I first read it, I simply thought summon monster spells, but as others have pointed out, there's lots of conjuration spells out there. I think the best fix would be to rename it as the Hourglass of the Insightful Summoner, and have it only accept summon monster or summon nature's ally spells. Then, the only thing missing is how the summoned creatures act. Do delayed summoned monsters simply attack the nearest creatures? If the original caster is in the area, can he give them orders still? What if he's not in the area, do they just sit there?

Finally, while the item seems to work best as a trap left behind, it's a pretty expensive item to leave behind like that. I almost think lowering to price and making it a one shot item might work better.

Keep up the good work - the core idea is a gem!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Woot! Congrats on making the cut, Eric and good luck on round 2! This item is very likely to make an appearance possibly even in my next session!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

James Martin wrote:

I could completely see this on the desk of some nefarious summoner. In the middle of speaking with the PCs he reaches over and casually resets his hourglass. Exposition, exposition, exposition, BAM, summoned creatures! Roll initiative!

Sweet. Congrats!

That's one issue with this item, it's perfect for NPCs but there is serious potential for abuse in the players hands. I'm not sure how you would address that.

Sovereign Court

I love that everyone looked at this as a time bomb... my first thought was a reset switch!

Load it up with Mass Heal. Flip it at the begining of combat. Nine rounds later if you are still standing, you stop it from going off. If the whole party has fallen... BOOM! Everyone is healed, and you have a second chance to fight. Either you learn from your mistakes and win the second time around, or you learn from your mistakes and run like hell!

I love the fact that used like this it would heal the bad guys too (most often) and the combat would repeat.

My favorite of the pack!


Top 5 for mojo. Well done! Yoinked for my home game....

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

roguerouge wrote:
To put it more briefly: If a conjurer uses this item to summon a Huge Fire Elemental, shoot an Acid Arrow and create a Wall of Stone, what happens? Does the arrow hit the wall while the elemental stands on the puddle that once was the magic item? Or does the arrow hit a particular opponent and the Elemental attacks the nearest creature while the wall protects the item from harm? Or any variation in between?

I'd probably have the caster determine something like when the spells are cast into the hourglass.


Eric Hindley wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
To put it more briefly: If a conjurer uses this item to summon a Huge Fire Elemental, shoot an Acid Arrow and create a Wall of Stone, what happens? Does the arrow hit the wall while the elemental stands on the puddle that once was the magic item? Or does the arrow hit a particular opponent and the Elemental attacks the nearest creature while the wall protects the item from harm? Or any variation in between?
I'd probably have the caster determine something like when the spells are cast into the hourglass.

In future rounds which involve game mechanics, what about running a quick playtest of your entry, even if the rules require that you do it on your own? If you had actually had a dry-run of an encounter with a wizard using one of these to fight something level appropriate, you might have seen that you would need some means to determine what order the spells come out in, and maybe thought to include that information in your entry.


kitenerd wrote:

I love that everyone looked at this as a time bomb... my first thought was a reset switch!

Load it up with Mass Heal. Flip it at the begining of combat. Nine rounds later if you are still standing, you stop it from going off. If the whole party has fallen... BOOM! Everyone is healed, and you have a second chance to fight. Either you learn from your mistakes and win the second time around, or you learn from your mistakes and run like hell!

I love the fact that used like this it would heal the bad guys too (most often) and the combat would repeat.

My favorite of the pack!

Can you imagine opposing parties that each have their own hourglass full of unknown surprises going head to head? That would be pretty interesting.

I think the minor mechanical flaws or oversights are outweighed by the originality and in-game potential of the item.

Good luck, Eric!

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congrats on making the top 32. I really like this item for a master villain to spice up combat. I read it and had this idea of a series of adventures in which the protanganist when confronted with his henchmen sets one going before retreating. I like the idea of the PCs trying to force their way through the minions to get to it and stop it going off. Sort of add that cinematic feel of trying to get to the ticking bomb before it goes off.

I'm a bit concerned about potential abusability given I'd be putting a few out there so I'd make some changes to safeguard game balance. I'd probably make it a one shot deal (consumed after goes off), put a spell cap, remove the school limitation and shorten the duration before the big bang (tie to level max)to make it slot in nicely for the idea I have.

Once again - well done, look forward to seeing what you come up with for round 2. All the best.

Star Voter 2013

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

In future rounds which involve game mechanics, what about running a quick playtest of your entry, even if the rules require that you do it on your own? If you had actually had a dry-run of an encounter with a wizard using one of these to fight something level appropriate, you might have seen that you would need some means to determine what order the spells come out in, and maybe thought to include that information in your entry.

+1

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I would like to have seen a mention of spell order when they come out and some sort of a limit to how long the item could hold the spells... but both of those are fairly minor in my book, ansd I otherwise think this item is wonderful.

Good job making it through to the next round, and Good Luck!

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

Strangely, this was one of the first items I read but I never actually commented on it. Short version: Fun idea and it encourages creative use of your spells. I could see some theoretical room for abuse, but the 1-minute delay on it makes it a bit challenging to calibrate and coordinate your actions with when the hourglass will "go off" unless you have tactical surprise and are able to arrange it just so. That is, I think the abusability is higher theoretically than it would be practically at the game table. I could be wrong, tho.

Some mechanical issues, sure, but the concept is cool and the execution is pretty good. Good luck in the rest of the contest!

Dedicated Voter 2014

I think this one is my second favorite of the bunch. There are some obvious mechanical issues, but the item is innovative and doesn't feel like other items I've seen. This one immediately gets you thinking of creative spells uses for certain situations and that's really nice. Furthermore, much like the Waters of Transfiguration (my favorite this year), it's one of those items that will serve any spellcaster at any level.

I'd also like to point out that I'm glad this item's hardness and hit points are included. For me, that's a fantastic thing to include. I'm now imagining the neat encounters you could have with spellcasters who would recognize the hourglass and try to destroy/nullify it somehow before the spells went off; in a sense, try to diffuse "the bomb."

It's not perfect, but this is certainly unique and flavorful. You haven't (re)invented a spell-in-a-can item; you've created the can.

Congratulations! Good luck in future rounds.

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

I'm a sucker for hourglass items, and this one does not disappoint. You've covered all the bases for interrupting its use and answered any questions I might have had about how the spells operate when they are cast.

Congratulations and I look forward to your monster entry!

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

Thanks, guys. I really did spend a lot of time trying to cover my bases on how the activation of the hourglass would play out and answer most of the questions that would come up disrupting the item.

Apparently I needed more time on what would happen if it actually worked...


GO FLAMES!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

WOW..
WTF.. and I mean that in a good way!!

I'm a sucker for hourglass items too. However, as I go through and give my fellow contestants feedback, this is the first one that made me sit up and smile. And I don't always like what everybody else likes.

This is nifty.

I wonder about potential mechanical abuses and any spells that just wouldn't make a lot of sense. However, that aside, this items wins me over on sheer coolness.

I can just imagine a struggle between groups to either stop the time running out or to allow it to finish. Great visuals.

Can't wait to see your Round Two MONSTER... :D

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

The visuals really get me on this one. PCs bust in on the evil wizard who flips the hourglass. Now it's a race to stop that sand from emptying. Makes for a tense fight with players forgoing attacks on the wizard to stop the hourglass. I like it. Although, I'd really need to see it in action to figure out what spells could be potential problems.

Congrats on an interesting item. Looking forward to round 2.

TM

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

That's funny. Much like taig and watcher, I'm a cheap date when a hourglass magic item is doing the wining and dining. I never realized I wasn't alone in my weakness.

The problem with hourglass items is that they're so often badly done; people just have them cast haste when they flip and that's it, or some other vaugely 'alter the flow of time'ish effect. I always go in so excited and then get let down. Continuing my analogy of being a cheap date, my followup reaction to most hourglasses is like waking up hungover the next morning and finding that the hourglass has slipped out the door and left a 'that was great. I'll call you' note on the nightstand.

So anyway, that was a long preamble of saying that I like this. It's possible there are a few balance issues involved, but I'm always bad at figuring out how to abuse the rules so I 'm not going to look at it like that. This does what an hourglass item should do: make you look at the sands falling with a sense of dread (or anticipation, depending on your relation to the person who cast the spells into it.)It's fun, it's creative, and I like it a lot.


Awesome item, definately getting snatched for my own game.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I would compare this to a quickening rod of metamagic, except that instead of allowing you to quicken one spell, it lets you quicken three per hourglass. Neil wasn't out of line to compare it to time stop. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to use this correctly (and I like that), but that only goes so far. A high-level caster would buy at LEAST four of these, cast every summoning spell that he knows into them, get the help of friends/neighbors/party-members/mook-summoned-creatures to turn them all over on the same round, shove them all into his backpack and go out a-scrystriking. And I don't think you can even call cheese there because it's prettymuch what the author intended.

Big issues. But I wouldn't have finished reading the thread and posted if I didn't think your item was awesome.

This is an item for spellcasters (you have to cast spells to use it) yet it has a ton of style, is a lot of fun, and requires a lot of thought to use properly. That's very tricky to design. There are lots of items that take advantage of a character's attack bonus, proficiencies, and even skills in creative and fantastical ways, but the majority of caster items just revolve around casting spells without paying a spell slot (or by paying a lower-level spell slot, or paying the spell slot but then getting it back).

You've created something which gives spellcasters a big payoff for using their own class abilities in the most dastardly ways possible, and that's a GOOD thing. If a wizard is kicking ass by executing clever plan that involves his spells, his toys, and several rounds of planning, then odds are his player is having a blast.

Making up items that open new tactical avenues and reward creativity is hard to begin with, but (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) making ones that do that while also interfacing with spellcasting is REALLY hard. And you make it look easy.

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