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RPG Superstar 2015

Vessel of the Deep


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Vessel of the Deep
Aura strong transmutation; CL 13th
Slot -; Price 40,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This vial contains black, inky fluid. When poured into at least a 20 foot cube of water, and the command word is spoken, the fluid transforms into a black crystalline vessel resembling a giant squid. The vessel is identical to a giant squid in size, hit points and defense. If reduced to 0 hit points, the vessel of the deep reverts to a cloud of fluid and cannot be used again for 24 hours.

The vessel of the deep has a 5-foot hatch at the top and can hold up to 6 medium or small creatures, with a capacity of 1500 lbs. The hull of the vessel appears opaque, but is transparent to those within; however, there is no line of effect through the hull. The vessel of the deep can be commanded from within to move along the surface or underwater through liquid at a swim speed of 60 feet, traveling 2 miles per hour, or 48 miles per day.

Once per day, the vessel of the deep can be commanded to do one of the following as a standard action:
Grab. The vessel of the deep can make a single tentacle attack, as a giant squid. If it hits, it can use the grab and constrict abilities as if it were a giant squid.
Ink cloud. The vessel of the deep can emit a 20-foot radius ink cloud in a square adjacent to the vessel. The ink cloud grants concealment and persists for 5 rounds.
Jet. The vessel of the deep can move at a speed of 260 feet for one round.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster VII, animate object; Cost 20,000 gp

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

This is awesome.

Keep.

Contributor

Well, it's a squid version of the apparatus of the crab, but I have a fondness for that item, and this one's fun, and the author put some thought into game mechanics (like line of effect).

Keep!

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Neat. Though how long can you use this daily? Any limit? Unclear.

Aside from that, pretty cool.

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

We all like this one.

Talk about walking a fine line. This is very similar to a really cool old school item--the Apparatus of Kwalish. (now in 3E "of the crab"). If you seem to be copying, then your item is lame. But if you are riffing and your riffing is inspired by the original source, its cool. You wound up on the cool side and it really worked for you. I have to tell you, I started by seeing this as a copy cat item but I warmed up to it big time because in the end it was not copy cat.

Contributor

FYI apparatus of the crab is unlimited-use, too.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Ahhh...I LOVE this one. The apparatus of Kwalish (yes, I still call it that...stupid crab name) has long been one of my favorite wondrous items. I always felt like it bordered on artifact status and it just felt truly wondrous. Your vessel of the deep hits a similar chord.

I see you've done something a bit more unusual with this version of such an item, though. By having it exist in "liquid form" as a black, inky fluid in a vial before it's poured out and commanded to form the opaque crystalline version of the vessel, that's kind of a nice touch. Makes it far more portable. However, I note that after you pour it into the ocean (presumably) and you go gallivanting about on your underwater adventure, at some point, you'll want to revert it back to liquid form and put it back in the vial so you can go on your way. How's that happen exactly? All I see is that once it's reduced to 0 hit points, it reverts to a cloud of fluid (again, presumably in the ocean), but how do you separate that substance from the salt water and get it back in your vial? And, after you wait 24 hours, can the possessor of the vial simply command it to reform the vessel again? I think your language could be tighter to clean up this part of how the item is used...and re-used.

Aside from that, everything else appears mechanically-sound to me. I love that the ship can grab opponents like a giant squid, jet away to leave behind any pursuit, or use an ink cloud like a typical squid or octopus would do. That latter ability does give me pause with regards to one thing, though. It says the ink cloud covers a 20-foot radius, beginning with a square next to the vessel. Is that enough to cover the vessel?

In fact, how big is this thing once it forms the opaque, crystalline shell? From a spacing perspective, you'd need to define that. I mean, it holds 6 medium or small creatures (which should be written as Medium and Small, by the way)...so it has to be at least Large or Huge or something, right? A giant squid is Huge, so I'm guessing that's its size and that would require a Space of 15 ft.

Also, a Huge creature with the swallow whole ability can typically handle 4 times as many Small creatures as Medium-sized ones. So, I might recommend such a vessel accommodate up to 6 Medium or 24 Small creatures, as a result. The appartus of the crab doesn't mention that kind of distinction, because it states the apparatus provides seating for two Medium or Small creatures. So, if you want to define only the number of seats, I'd recommend you copy how that item defines the interior.

The only other nitpick I'd mention is that you should italicize your spells in the construction requirements, but you nailed every other aspect of using the template for a wondrous item design.

So, in summary, welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! Your concept gives us a riff off a known item, but with a different version with unique abilities and effects of its own. It's got imagination and punch. Job well-done! See you in the next round, and best of luck!

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

What sells this item to me is the containment and "liquid form" of the vessel. If it had been just a squid-shaped Apparatus of Kwalish, I would have been ambivalent. But it's portable, it sort of acts like a squid, it's got style all over the place. My players would love to traverse the ocean depths in one of these.

I think cribbing the vital stats off a giant squid doesn't quite work for me. I think you need to go the object route (with hardness and hit points based on material), or else make this creature into some kind of construct complete with size-based bonus hit points. The designers of the Apparatus chose to go with hardness/material hit points and I think that's probably the way to go and still keep this an item (as opposed to a creature/construct)

All that said, this thing is just plain fun. I want one. I think it shows some solid creative mojo and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you can come up with.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 aka K. B. Carter

Ah ha, a magical submarine. I'm not familiar with the crab version of this item, so I'll refrain from comment, but based on the other replies in this thread, it seems you have done well extending the item in new directions, and done so in a way that shows intuition and an firm grasp of the rules mechanics of the squid MM entry. I tend to stay away from underwater adventures myself, but I have to admit that this item looks like a lot of fun and it's tempting me to introduce it as a means to get to a magically sealed underwater city. Good work.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

I can hear it now, “That drunk dwarf just drank my submarine!” For that joke alone this is awesome. I do think you need to comment on the setting/creature placement inside the squid. If you don’t go the designated setting or chairs, I would allow more small size creatures within, because 12 halflings in a submarine are more awesome then just six. What happens to the PCs if the squid is destroyed with them inside? You might want to address that. In your entry when you said “The vessel of the deep can be commanded from within to move along the surface or underwater through liquid…” does surface mean surface of the water, surface as in dry land, or surface of the ocean floor? I think the item works better if it only works underwater. Anyway, good job. It’s good to see that there are more people out there thinking about underwater adventures. Welcome to RPG Superstar 2010 and good luck on the later rounds.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I agree with the others that the final form of this item is similar to the AoK, which falls into that odd-contraption "not gonna use" category for me.

I really would like to see the math for the prices for this item's creation. Is that allowed? It just seems that this thing would be a lot more expensive with a 7th level and 5th level spell cast into it.

thanks

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Oh wow!

I'm surprised and thrilled to make the Superstar top 32! I haven't had a chance yet to check out the rest of the superstar class of 2010 as I'm still cranking on a deadline at work. I can't wait to see the other wondrous items.

Thanks for all the comments and the vote of confidence. I'm not sure yet how much I can address questions, but I wanted to say I'm really excited (and a bit shocked) to have made the first cut and to thank everyone who has commented so far.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

Mactaka wrote:
I really would like to see the math for the prices for this item's creation. Is that allowed? It just seems that this thing would be a lot more expensive with a 7th level and 5th level spell cast into it.

"Spells used" is not the same as "spells cast." Wondrous items are all about retooling effects, and sometimes you don't need them to be as powerful as the original. My own submission pulled the same trick, priced as a 2nd level item but requiring air walk. Among other things, it's a way to make an item appropriate as treasure before the party crafter can easily make one. For a canonical example, see folding boat.

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

I've got one question.

What attack bonus does the tentacle use? It's completely missing, and that puts this item from "I like" to "frustratingly unfinished" for me.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
What attack bonus does the tentacle use?

"The vessel of the deep can make a single tentacle attack, as a giant squid."

From the Bestiary pg. 259, a giant squid's tentacle attack is +12.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Madgael

Congrats on hitting the Top 32!

I love this one... Lots of cool flavor and lots of flair. And I cannot stop thinking about what would happen to passengers inside when the vessel is reduced to 0 hp. (Cackle, cackle, cackle...)

Dedicated Voter 2014

I will say that the name is working for me and I could certainly include this in an underwater adventure to make things exciting. However, I'm not sure how I feel about this one. This entry was obviously influenced by AotC, though it does do things a little differently. My problem is that it is essentially a slightly modified giant squid you can ride in with various issues that would come up in play. For example:

-What happens if someone severs a tentacle (a very popular tactic for destroying giant squid)?
-What are the hit point totals for those tentacles?
-Do enemies get attacks of opportunity if the squid uses the Jet ability?

I completely understand the appeal and the flavor of the item, but I'm finding that every question I have is going to be answered with "refer to the giant squid entry." Therefore, there's nothing really unique or exciting to it, other than the fact that you've turned what was once an animal into a machine (with very similar stats).

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

I have never been a big fan of "the crab", but there is something about how you describe your item that makes me really like it. Good luck on the next round.

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

This is one of my top 3 favorites among this year's entries.

Seriously, Seth, this is So Cool. I want one.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is cool. Sure, there are some unanswered questions mechanics-wise, and like everyone else I immediately thought of the Apparatus of Kwalish, but I still think this is cool. It’s got that quirky factor, old-school factor that the AoK does, but being far more portable than a big iron barrel, it ends up being more functional and likely to be used.

Very nice work, and good luck in future rounds.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Madgael

While not disputing the Apparatus of the Crawlish/Kwab inspiration - after sleeping on this one it occurred to me that while I was reading it I was far more reminded of the Nautilus from LXG. Which is definitely cool for me.
pic

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Super job, Seth. The method of carrying this around is terrifically evocative! I can imagine the players' faces when the command word is pronounced for the first time. (I assume that, at a price like this, it fits back in the bottle somehow? Can anyone inside the ship trigger its actions? These nitpicks come to mind because the vessel has got me hooked so thoroughly.)

The next time I'm up at the Source, we should get together and say "hello"!

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

Okay this thing would make a great excuse for me to finally run an underwater campaign. And I can imagine a flying version of this that soars the skies, a black squid that terrifies villagers below, the cries of "It's swallowing the SUN!" as it passes overhead. Happy.

Congrats on getting this far and I'm looking forward to the next round!


I do like this, but I have the same question as NSpicer above: when it turns into an inky cloud under water, then what? Can a strong current disperse it? Do you just command it to flow back into the vial?

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

While this needs a quick development pass, it is my favorite item of this round. It's flavorful and cool, and manages to stuff a lot of gae mechanics into a little space. It's not -perfect-, but personally I think the author shows the creative talent to be a superstar. All that is required is more experience, which will come during the contest.

Added to my files for homebrew games.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

This is the sort of fantastical magic item I love. This is one of those items that as a GM you tend to ignore the price on and drop it in for the players anyhow. Not a piece of the players everyday toolkit this is an item that inspires storytelling.

Excellent work, I look forward to your future entries.

Good luck

Star Voter 2013

Great, flavorful item and congratulations. All my Cthulhu NPCs will have one of these, please!

Just one question: how do you get out while underwater? If my character's going to get into a ship with one attack/day, I'm going to want to know if my PC can get out and attack without drowning everyone or sinking the submarine. 'Cause without a way to get out and fight, this Vessel of the Deep spells death trap to any surface dweller ... and those people without swim speeds are pretty much the target market for this item.


As with other posters, I have concerns with 'how do you get it back in the vial afterwards?' if it gets too damaged (or presumably once you've finished with it and want to take it back hom to keep in your treasure-room for use at another time). And Matthew Stinson in fact raised a serious point, 'what does this do to a character that drinks it'? Granted, such a character is not usually likely to have sufficient water in their gut to activate it in the regular fashion, but does it destroy the item, does it poison them and/or induce vomiting, or do they 'pass it' with the course of time? And what happens if the item gets split whilst in liquid form (possibly even before use) with half in one place, and half in another (although there could be an interesting adventure idea here somewhere)?

Nice item, but it looks to me like you ran out of word count when you were trying to explain it. Fortunately the judges liked it anyway...

Congratulations on reaching the top 32.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Sweet! This is the first item I've looked at, but if it's indicative of the overall quality of the top 32, I can understand why the judges had a hard time choosing.

Congrats and best of luck in the rest of the contest.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

very nice. Good imagery, great execution.

I can see an adventure for low to mid level characters featuring this itme. Perhaps something involving the exploration of old Azlanti ruins? I like it.


Seth White wrote:

Vessel of the Deep

Aura strong transmutation; CL 13th
Slot -; Price 40,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This vial contains black, inky fluid. When poured into at least a 20 foot cube of water, and the command word is spoken, the fluid transforms into a black crystalline vessel resembling a giant squid. The vessel is identical to a giant squid in size, hit points and defense. If reduced to 0 hit points, the vessel of the deep reverts to a cloud of fluid and cannot be used again for 24 hours.

The vessel of the deep has a 5-foot hatch at the top and can hold up to 6 medium or small creatures, with a capacity of 1500 lbs. The hull of the vessel appears opaque, but is transparent to those within; however, there is no line of effect through the hull. The vessel of the deep can be commanded from within to move along the surface or underwater through liquid at a swim speed of 60 feet, traveling 2 miles per hour, or 48 miles per day.

Once per day, the vessel of the deep can be commanded to do one of the following as a standard action:
Grab. The vessel of the deep can make a single tentacle attack, as a giant squid. If it hits, it can use the grab and constrict abilities as if it were a giant squid.
Ink cloud. The vessel of the deep can emit a 20-foot radius ink cloud in a square adjacent to the vessel. The ink cloud grants concealment and persists for 5 rounds.
Jet. The vessel of the deep can move at a speed of 260 feet for one round.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster VII, animate object; Cost 20,000 gp

I do not buy the construct in a vial even though the ink is thematically sound.

Also it doesnt mention a method of retrieving it when it turns to an inkpool for 24 hours, does it just jump back in the bottle ?

The once per day grab seems to be an odd limit for a physical attack action. I'd be content to leave it as a permanent option.

It seems to be a construct, but doesnt follow construct rules.. I think, I think it should.

A completley arbitrary complaint, is animate object and summon monster as required craft, making it a cleric item, the flavour seems unsuitable for clerics.


Cool idea.

Guess I'm the only one who thinks it's 'interesting' that this item does not allow you to breathe while underwater? No mention of making air or anything about protection from the pressures of the deep?

Better keep that necklace of adaptation on when riding!

MSG

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

Goatlord wrote:

Cool idea.

Guess I'm the only one who thinks it's 'interesting' that this item does not allow you to breathe while underwater? No mention of making air or anything about protection from the pressures of the deep?

Better keep that necklace of adaptation on when riding!

MSG

Clever catch - it sure doesn't. I wonder if it was intentional.

Overall, I think this item is very cool. The visual of pouring out the vial and watching the squid take form is awesome. There are some mechanical issues in how you could have done it (things like hardness, hp, etc.), but really aside from how many creatures fit inside, whether they have seats, and whether they have air, they are all solved by defaulting to the creature's stats, and there is ample precedent for this:

Figurine of wondrous power, anyone?

This item is really a better comparison than the apparatus of Kwalish, since the item doesn't work like a construct at all. If the AoK loses its hp, it's destroyed. If a FoWP or this item loses its hp, it poofs back into its magic shape until the next time it's able to be used. Only if it's destroyed in its item form (and yes, I'd include being drunk in that category, or getting dumped out on land) can it be destroyed.

In sum: This item rocks!

Scarab Sages

Super evocative, and much more portable (and therefore usable) than the Apparatus.

It's already been noted that questions will need answering (does it provide air to its passengers?), but I'm willing to overlook a few missing details because of how cool this item is.

That being said, it's very 'niche,' and while aquatic items have me at hello, they aren't exactly something everyone is going to be busting down the door to get.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

how do you get it back into the vial after you make it into squid form? Can you even do that or do you just have a squid shaped submarine that you have to keep docked someplace after the initial pouring? I am just not really feeling this item, though I will say has good evocative imagery and useful functions, so even though I personally don't care for it I think it certainly deserves its top 32 spot.

Congratulations on making it to the top 32, and Good Luck in future rounds!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Ok, I submitted my monster late last night, and it looks like I can comment on my wondrous item design, so I'm gonna go through and address some of the comments, questions and critiques people have. I'm gonna try to get through all the comments and questions to give my thoughts on them.

First of all, I'd like to say it's a real honor to be in the RPG Superstar top 32. I sent in an item for the first year of the contest, a crown of the rat king that lets you control rat swarms and such, but it didn't make the cut. I didn't expect to make the cut this year, but I made myself work on a submission just for the practice of it. I'm glad I did because it ended up getting me through to the first round!

I really appreciate all the comments everyone has, and I'm really glad, most of all, that people like it enough to include in their games. That's the highest compliment ever, and I'm very humbled that people like my item.

Clark Peterson wrote:

We all like this one.

Talk about walking a fine line. This is very similar to a really cool old school item--the Apparatus of Kwalish. (now in 3E "of the crab"). If you seem to be copying, then your item is lame. But if you are riffing and your riffing is inspired by the original source, its cool. You wound up on the cool side and it really worked for you. I have to tell you, I started by seeing this as a copy cat item but I warmed up to it big time because in the end it was not copy cat.

I was really surprised to make it because I was aware that my item might come across as derivative, as it was inspired by, or similar to, a lot of stuff. It's similar to a Spelljammer squid ship, League of Extraordinary Gentleman Nautilus, apparatus of the Kwalish/crab, and figurine of wondrous power. That's a lot of things that already existed, but I really liked my vessel of the deep and felt it held its own, so I bit my lip and hit send. I'm really glad I managed to walk that fine line.

I had some other ideas I also liked, but I ended up going with the vessel of the deep for a few reasons.

Some background:
I had 4 ideas I was fleshing out: a paralysis chain item that was used by the duergar, a mouthpiece/bridle item created to turn the wearer into an aberrant slave with a lashing acidic tentacle in its mouth (which would have been yet another tongue item if it had got sent), a cloak that you can command to transform into a swarm of bats, and the squid submarine.

I felt the paralyzing chain, as cool as it was, was too closely tied to duergar and some story ideas I had, and too close to becoming a weapon. The mouthpiece seemed too gonzo weird and gross, and it really hurt your will save. In the end, it too was a story item that minions would use, but not that much fun for any but the most twisted PCs. And the bat swarm cloak just seemed too obvious and spell-in-a-can. Plus Neil Spicer had commented that something like a cloak or necklace or whatever is seen a lot, so I axed that idea.

In the end, what convinced me to go with the vessel of the deep is that it's something I really would want to have as a PC. It's cool and it's portable. As a GM, I think it's important to make it easier to do underwater adventures. I've played in only one underwater adventure the whole time I've played D&D, and I think I'm not the only one.
So in the end, I went with the item I thought was coolest, would make the best drawing, and would hopefully make underwater adventures cooler.

Neil Spicer wrote:
I see you've done something a bit more unusual with this version of such an item, though. By having it exist in "liquid form" as a black, inky fluid in a vial before it's poured out and commanded to form the opaque crystalline version of the vessel, that's kind of a nice touch. Makes it far more portable.

Thanks Neil:
That part actually came to me at the last minute, and I'm glad I did that. It was originally going to be a fist-sized orb of black crystal you dropped into the water, but I forced myself to come up with a more unique item than that because that was too close to the figurines of wondrous power.
Neil Spicer wrote:
However, I note that after you pour it into the ocean (presumably) and you go gallivanting about on your underwater adventure, at some point, you'll want to revert it back to liquid form and put it back in the vial so you can go on your way. How's that happen exactly? All I see is that once it's reduced to 0 hit points, it reverts to a cloud of fluid (again, presumably in the ocean), but how do you separate that substance from the salt water and get it back in your vial? And, after you wait 24 hours, can the possessor of the vial simply command it to reform the vessel again? I think your language could be tighter to clean up this part of how the item is used...and re-used.

Oh good question:
This was something I didn't think of. I assumed you could just scoop it back up into the vial when it was done. I didn't think through the fact that it would mix with salt water and possibly become diluted. I agree I could clean that up by saying you can command it to refill the vial or something similar. I think this is a result of the last-minute change from crystal orb to ink.
Neil Spicer wrote:

Aside from that, everything else appears mechanically-sound to me. I love that the ship can grab opponents like a giant squid, jet away to leave behind any pursuit, or use an ink cloud like a typical squid or octopus would do. That latter ability does give me pause with regards to one thing, though. It says the ink cloud covers a 20-foot radius, beginning with a square next to the vessel. Is that enough to cover the vessel?

In fact, how big is this thing once it forms the opaque, crystalline shell? From a spacing perspective, you'd need to define that. I mean, it holds 6 medium or small creatures (which should be written as Medium and Small, by the way)...so it has to be at least Large or Huge or something, right? A giant squid is Huge, so I'm guessing...

Size matters:
I decided on an ink cloud of 20' radius just to cover enough space for the ship to move away. I purposely put in the description that the vessel "is identical to a giant squid in size, hit points and defense." So its space is 15 ft, just like the giant squid. So the 20' radius ink cloud should be adequate to cover the vessel and surrounding squares.
Eric Bailey wrote:
I think cribbing the vital stats off a giant squid doesn't quite work for me. I think you need to go the object route (with hardness and hit points based on material), or else make this creature into some kind of construct complete with size-based bonus hit points. The designers of the Apparatus chose to go with hardness/material hit points and I think that's probably the way to go and still keep this an item (as opposed to a creature/construct)

Fair enough:
I really struggled with this. I wanted to give it hardness and hit points, but I loved the simplicity of using only the giant squid's stats for the item in combat. The GM could just flip to that page in the bestiary and have everything they needed to know. I wanted to add material hardness and hp, but I couldn't find an elegant way to do it that retained that simplicity. In the end I just left it with the giant squid's stats since it wouldn't be destroyed if reduced to 0 hit points. It just dumped the PCs into the drink without a ride. "Just."
Kevin Carter wrote:
I tend to stay away from underwater adventures myself, but I have to admit that this item looks like a lot of fun and it's tempting me to introduce it as a means to get to a magically sealed underwater city. Good work.

Thanks Kevin:
THIS is exactly what I designed this item for. A cool ride that lets the whole party go underwater
Matthew Stinson wrote:

I can hear it now, “That drunk dwarf just drank my submarine!” For that joke alone this is awesome.

This comment wins the thread.
Matthew Stinson wrote:
I do think you need to comment on the setting/creature placement inside the squid. If you don’t go the designated setting or chairs, I would allow more small size creatures within, because 12 halflings in a submarine are more awesome then just six.

12 halflings:
VERY good point. I really should have done that because NOTHING good can come from 12 halflings in a submarine.
Matthew Stinson wrote:
What happens to the PCs if the squid is destroyed with them inside? You might want to address that.

You sunk my battesquid:
I think that if the submarine is reduced to 0 hit points it "reverts to a cloud of fluid," which means the PCs are alive and unharmed, but underwater and probably vulnerable to attacks by whatever sunk their squid. Neil brought up a very valid design flaw about getting the squid back into the bottle, and I agree that needs to be addressed.
Matthew Stinson wrote:
In your entry when you said “The vessel of the deep can be commanded from within to move along the surface or underwater through liquid…” does surface mean surface of the water, surface as in dry land, or surface of the ocean floor? I think the item works better if it only works underwater.

A great day comrades, we sail into history!:
It's intended to work both on the surface of water, or underwater, but not on land. It's not as cool on the surface, and there are better and cheaper ships that do that, but it seemed like an unnecessary handicap if it can't ever go along the surface.
Minorelementx wrote:

-What happens if someone severs a tentacle (a very popular tactic for destroying giant squid)?

-What are the hit point totals for those tentacles?
-Do enemies get attacks of opportunity if the squid uses the Jet ability?

Calamari:
I agree with you that much of it refers to the giant squid description, but I think that's necessary to avoid 1) a full-page item description write-up, 2) completely new rules on many of the possible questions, and 3) game slow-down of flipping between the item description and bestiary too much.

- I didn't give much thought to severing a giant squid's tentacles because I thought the only monster in 3e that still worked on was the hydra's many heads. If you use that in your game, you could decide how many hit points each tentacle has, and whether the vessel regrows them when it gets bottled back up.
- If you left a threatened square using the jet ability it would still provoke an AoO as normal, since the ability doesn't say you won't.

Brian Hoffman wrote:

While not disputing the Apparatus of the Crawlish/Kwab inspiration - after sleeping on this one it occurred to me that while I was reading it I was far more reminded of the Nautilus from LXG. Which is definitely cool for me.

pic

YES! The Nautilus:
Very good observation. I mean who doesn't want their own Nautilus? I'll confess that was way more of an influence than the aotk/c.
Chris Mortika wrote:

Super job, Seth. The method of carrying this around is terrifically evocative! I can imagine the players' faces when the command word is pronounced for the first time. (I assume that, at a price like this, it fits back in the bottle somehow? Can anyone inside the ship trigger its actions? These nitpicks come to mind because the vessel has got me hooked so thoroughly.)

The next time I'm up at the Source, we should get together and say "hello"!

The Source:
Yeah, it needs to be addressed how you get it back in the bottle. That is probably the biggest design flaw I've seen so far.

I feel that like most items that can be commanded, only the owner of the item can command it. I'm a little uncertain if I should have used clearer language to say that. Maybe "the vessel's owner can command. . . " It might be a problem if the captured sahuagin the PCs brought along could command the ship. . .

And I was just at the Source last week. We definitely should!

FaeBriona wrote:
I do like this, but I have the same question as NSpicer above: when it turns into an inky cloud under water, then what? Can a strong current disperse it? Do you just command it to flow back into the vial?

Sending out an SOS:
Yeah, it really needs language that says how it gets back in that bottle. I'm kicking myself for overlooking that because it seems so obvious now.
roguerouge wrote:
Just one question: how do you get out while underwater? If my character's going to get into a ship with one attack/day, I'm going to want to know if my PC can get out and attack without drowning everyone or sinking the submarine. 'Cause without a way to get out and fight, this Vessel of the Deep spells death trap to any surface dweller ... and those people without swim speeds are pretty much the target market for this item.
Goatlord wrote:

Guess I'm the only one who thinks it's 'interesting' that this item does not allow you to breathe while underwater? No mention of making air or anything about protection from the pressures of the deep?

Better keep that necklace of adaptation on when riding!

Hmm good question:

You should be fine as far as any water pressure would be concerned because you get the "defense" of a giant squid. They can survive the pressure fine, so the vessel can.

I assumed you could breathe since you're inside the thing, and you enter it while it's on the surface. That was my general assumption, but maybe it could be spelled out clearer -- or not, depending on how generous you feel toward the PCs. :)

But the part about entering and exiting the ship while underwater is tricky. I can see that this is another omission, along with "how the heck do you get the squid back in the bottle?"

I made sure you could see where you're going, and I made sure to block line of effect, but I never stated whether you could open the hatch while underwater. That's a very valid point, and like the dispersion/bottle issue, one that I wish I'd thought of when I wrote it up. As it is now, I'd say the vessel doesn't really allow you to come and go underwater, or if you do, then you risk the vessel getting filled with water.

I think something could be added along the lines of "the hatch operates as an iron door, which can be opened, closed, and fitted with a lock, but the magical seal around the hull prevents air from escaping or water from entering the vessel."

Jason Nelson wrote:


Overall, I think this item is very cool. The visual of pouring out the vial and watching the squid take form is awesome. There are some mechanical issues in how you could have done it (things like hardness, hp, etc.), but really aside from how many creatures fit inside, whether they have seats, and whether they have air, they are all solved by defaulting to the creature's stats, and there is ample precedent for this:

Figurine of wondrous power, anyone?

This item is really a better comparison than the apparatus of Kwalish, since the item doesn't work like a construct at all. If the AoK loses its hp, it's destroyed. If a FoWP or this item loses its hp, it poofs back into its magic shape until the next time it's able to be used. Only if it's destroyed in its item form (and yes, I'd include being drunk in that category, or getting dumped out on land) can it be destroyed.

In sum: This item rocks!

[spoiler=AoK vs FoWP] That's a good catch. I was surprised at all the comments about the AoK because I was worried Clark would say "Another figurine of wondrous power. This time a squid. Pass." I tried hard to make it more than that, but I wasn't confident. I felt my item was so different from the AoK -- and more useful to a party -- that I didn't really consider the similarities there.

The FoWP is the underlying mechanic my item was built on, but I think it is very different from the existing figurines. In my mind the ink vial was a critical part of the design. I suspect I wouldn't be in the top 32 if the item was either a squid-shaped figurine or a large barrel you hauled around. I'm glad I refused to send it in as a black crystal orb, and brainstormed other mundane items I could use instead.

So now that I spent about as much time replying to those comments as designing the thing in the first place, I hope that can clear up some of my thoughts on the vessel. It's great to see all the feedback, and I have to confess that many of you have brought up things about my item that I wish I'd included from the beginning. This is a great learning experience, and I'm glad for all the interest.

I can't wait to see what everyone says about my monster submission. I suspect there will be some head-smacking moments on that too as you come up with things I never thought of.

Thanks to Paizo for this contest, thanks to the judges and the 2009 Superstars, and thanks to everyone for the great discussion and awesome items. I've been reading not only the top 32 items, but also the almost top 32's, and I've gotten all kinds of really great ideas for my game.

I hope that by going through and talking about what I did, or what I missed, that it will help someone else become a 2011 superstar. I know Neil Spicer's comments in particular, along with Clark's, were so incredibly helpful for me this year, and I'm sure I wouldn't have made it without reading them. I know I've got some work ahead of me to button up my design, and I'm looking forward to every opportunity to improve my game.

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

I think is actually my favourite item of the round! A Squidship-in-a-bottle? Sign me up!

You've addressed the mechanical questions as they spring up, and it doesn't detract much at all from the item overall.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Madgael

Seth White wrote:
Yeah, it really needs language that says how it gets back in that bottle. I'm kicking myself for overlooking that because it seems so obvious now.

Just a thought, but maybe it doesn't go back in the bottle? It could work as a one-time use item that - when "killed" - effectively reverts to ink and melts/diffuses away into the rest of the water, making the loss that much more tragic to the pcs (as if suddenly finding yourself drowning in the middle of a combat zone wasn't stressy enough).

It'd probably require a discount on the price as a result, but could end up making it that much more valuable to the players in the end. They would need to save it for a "special" occasion.

Although then one would have to determine the distinction as to whether being reduced to 0hp affected its reusability or not. And if so, you'd still be left with the question of how the thing gets back in the damn bottle if it takes no damage at all.

Wow. Just had a flashback to the jury scene in "Ernest Goes To Jail". Inky good fun.

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 like the fact that you 'fixed' the very cool apparatus of Kwalish by making it both portable and large enough to fit an entire party inside. But, I think the pricing is off because of this. The apparatus is a cool 90K, and yours is less than half of that. In addition the vessel is portable, has 3 times the passenger capacity, and a lot faster (apparatus is swim speed 20 only). True, the apparatus works on land also, but that's not such a big deal - the PCs can already get around on land.

Aside from that and some of the issues others have mentioned, you have a cool, thematic item, and I look forward to what you've cooked up for the next round.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Eric Hindley wrote:

I think is actually my favourite item of the round! A Squidship-in-a-bottle? Sign me up!

You've addressed the mechanical questions as they spring up, and it doesn't detract much at all from the item overall.

Thanks Eric! I'm glad you liked it. I'd love to hear if anyone has plans to use this item in their game.

Can't wait til next round! Based on what Clark and Sean have said, it looks like there will be some really great monster concepts.

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

This item makes me want to be Captain Nemo. I don't think I can say anything more succinct than that. :-)

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