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Gem of Immediate Defense


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

Gem of Immediate Defense
Aura Moderate Conjuration and Transmutation; CL 9th
Slot Neck; Price 5000 gp; Weight -
Description
When held against a suit of armor that is currently worn by the gem’s wearer for three rounds, this small quartz gem transmutes the armor into smoke, which the gem absorbs and stores. As a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity, the wearer activates the gem causing the smoke to billow out around him, solidifying into the armor at the start of his next turn. During the round the smoke is billowing out, the wearer only gains the benefit of the armors enhancement bonus and takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls as the solidifying smoke is cumbersome. When the armor solidifies, he is granted all of the bonuses inherent to the armor (armor, enhancement, etc.) Only one suit of armor can be stored at a time.
The stored armor is sized and fitted to the wearer who stored the armor. If the gem is activated by someone else, he suffers a -2 penalty to his maximum dexterity bonus and armor check penalty until the armor is readjusted (taking as much time as the “Don Hastily” column of table 6-7: Donning Armor on page 153 of the Core Rulebook). If the wearer is of a different size from the creature that stored the armor, the armor does not solidify (the wearer still takes the -2 penalty to attack rolls and gains the enhancement bonus to AC on the first round; the smoke is then reabsorbed). If the wearer is wearing armor at the time of activation, the gem does not function. If the gem is destroyed while storing armor, the armor is lost forever.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, gaseous form, secret chest; Cost 2500 gp

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

Gaseous form and secret chest. Nice requirements :)

Again, I was initially going to dismiss this. But I like it. I like how it includes some of the donning armor mechanics. I like the mechanics of this. Its more than just "crack it and you get a suit of armor". Those extra details make this good.

I'm inclined to keep.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

The armor on/off is fine and handy.

The weird thing is that it talks about fitting armor for a creature of the same size, i.e., armor sized for Wes won't fit Sean, who are both Medium creatures. And that fitting rule is not in the game (except for full plate, the only fitted armor in the Core Rulebook). Which makes me wonder why he introduced it--Wes and I can both wear the same leather armor, chainmail, etc., but this item means we can't just trade our armor through the gem.

Complaint: the item is called "of IMMEDIATE" defense, but it's not an immediate action to activate the armor.

Complaint: activating the item draws an AOO, which normally doesn't happen except for scrolls (which are spellcasting) and potions.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

I quite like this. I see your issues Sean, especially about the fitting aspect, but I'm cool with that. I mean, while you and I might be the same size category and should fit into about the same armor, think about say a dwarf and Jason - there might have to be a few moments of refitting and fastening. No it's not in the rules, but the rules also give you a bit to put on and take off armor so such adjustments would just be part of that.

I also really like the idea of the party finding this item with a suit of cool armor already in it.

Lets keep it handy.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Oh, I like what this item does very much. Armor check penalties being what they are, who wouldn't want a quick easy way to "smoke-ify" your armor before attempting a quick Climb check up a steep incline, whereupon you could click the armor back on before the onrushing barbarians try and push you back over the edge. Same goes for situations involving the Swim skill. Getting weighed down by your armor? Click this gem and no problem. Facing a social situation where you'd still like to carry your armor in with you and have a magic item that'll help you don it fairly quickly if a fight breaks out? This would be the perfect accessory for such an occasion. Heck, I'd want one for my weapon, too! Pair this up with the gloves of the deceiver and you should be good to go!

So, I like the mojo behind this idea a lot. The spell effects involved in the construction requirements (i.e., gaseous form and secret chest) are cool and spot-on. You've put together a really good presentation and used the template very well (except you should lower-case the "Moderate Conjuration and Transmutation" description for the Aura). Your pricing is reasonable. And about the only major quibble is the resizing element for armors of creatures of the same size. I could see a case for something like that if you allowed the armor to be magically resized (via enlarge person or reduce person or fabricate or something) for bigger and smaller creatures, if you wanted. But without that, there really isn't a strong need to get into the Don Hastily rules. In all honesty though, that's a minor thing.

This item has a lot of cool factor going for it. I could totally see a bunch of dwarven nobles storing their armor in these types of gems. And I've got adventure ideas popping off in my head just contemplating its potential use and discovery by a group of PCs. That's what a cool Superstar item does.

So, welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar, my friend! You earned your way into it with a cool concept for your wondrous item. You handled the mechanics of how it works reasonably well. Your presentation values were also pretty good. And, if you keep up that trio of skillsets going into the future rounds, it will serve you very well. I'm interested to see what else you bring us. Best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

You know this item just kept tumbling through my head last night. And, though the original author didn't include an ability for resizing armor, it occured to me that it would be a really neat effect to include. For instance, say you find a suit of magical chainmail but its sized for a Small creature and you're Medium-sized. If this item let you store the chainmail in the gem...and then allowed the gem's magic to automatically resize it for you when summoned so that it fit you...now that would be some extra, extra awesome sauce!

Just an idea. And now I'll go back to daydreaming again...but not before I point out that I raise this idea purely because the item has really inspired me. And again, that's the mark of true Superstar potential. And you've got it. So best of luck!

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

This is a cool little utility item that answers an often annoying problem - donning armor quickly. I like the core idea behind this item, and I think the visuals are far more interesting than the "called" armor property we had in 3E. It's definitely got flair, it's priced right and the construction elements are appropriate. I can imagine lots of scenarios where this is a highly useful thing to do. It certainly inspires me to imagine what sorts of troops, etc. might make use out of these items.

The mechanics for me are a little clunky. I get what you are trying to do but I think the resizing bit is trying to fiddle around too much. I don't want to look up another table to be able to work with this item.

But nevertheless, I think the item's got style, and you've definitely proven you've got what it takes to move forward. Welcome aboard, and good luck in the weeks ahead!

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 don't think this item is unbalanced. Good job here.

Would my PCs be happy with this item if they were to find it during an adventure?
Definitely. I've noticed one thing that heavy armor wearers hate is being caught off guard and ambushed while they are sleeping, or in a city, or any other situation in which they are not wearing their heavy armor. From a player's perspective, it's a very uncomfortable prospect going into combat when your AC is effectively half what it normally would be. Some classes, like rogues and mages, don't have this problem, others, like paladins and warriors, do. It makes it very hard to effectively balance an "ambush" encounter. That's why I like this item; it removes a meta game balance concern and plate-wearer anxiety at the same time, all without being overly powerful. I'm not sure I like the encumbering smoke (does smoke ever really encumber?) but that's my only real gripe with the item.

Do I like the mojo? Does the item spark other ideas for my campaign?
Yes, pretty good mojo. I think you could have better connected the smoke-armor-gem motif. For example, naming it the "Emberforge Gem" instead would have done the trick for me since a forge both generates smoke and is used to create armor, but this is really a minor gripe. All in all, I really like the idea behind this item. There's something cool about fighter tapping a gem on his chest and suddenly having his heavy plate armor coalesce around him out of nothingness. Good job.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Sean K Reynolds wrote:


The weird thing is that it talks about fitting armor for a creature of the same size, i.e., armor sized for Wes won't fit Sean, who are both Medium creatures. And that fitting rule is not in the game (except for full plate, the only fitted armor in the Core Rulebook). Which makes me wonder why he introduced it--Wes and I can both wear the same leather armor, chainmail, etc., but this item means we can't just trade our armor through the gem.

I think this might be because other armor is adjustable- it is fitted to the wearer AS he buckles it on.

It's not that Wes and Sean can't wear the same armor. It's just that, if Wes was wearing it, then all the straps and ties will be adjusted to fit Wes, so if you magically translocate that armor onto Sean (without going through the multi-round process of taking it off and then strapping it back on) it will fit funny.

Love this, by the way; very utilitarian without giving up the cool-factor. My cleric wants one.

Cheliax

Feedback for this one is actually simple. It's a change of one word.

Immediate to Rapid.

In the positive feedback column, I have to say that this reminds me in a VERY GOOD WAY of a charm from Exalted.

Glad to see this in the top 32 as it's super nifty. Congrats!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

I like this one. It's very simple, but very useful. Utility, not firepower. It just makes life easier for the adventurer on the go. My only real nitpick is that it's a neck slot item... so to get convenient armor, you have to give up a natural armor bonus. Hard sell for front-liners. I'd probably have gone with bracers.


If modified slightly it could be useful offensively in the right situations. It seems to only be meant to function in the hands of the the person wearing the armor, I could see someone making a modified version that effects any armor its held to for 3 rounds, such as the armor of the person you are grappling. I could also see a version that allows you to put the armor on an unwilling target such as a spellcaster, though this could be to greatly abused.

As it stands though this it an extremely handy item, I too have noticed many players who will shy away from heavy armor simply because of the time needed to don/remove it, having these available would make it more likely for those that can afford one.


Failure to use a possessive apostrophe if I'm nitpicking (...armors enhancement bonus...), but at least one judge is erratic in their apostrophe use, so that's not too serious at this stage. ;)
A solid item in my opinion.
Congratulations on reaching the top 32.

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

I've gotta say--I'm a fan. This item is flavorful, utilitarian and fun. And a good way to introduce an awesome suit of armor in a smallish treasure hoard.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
And a good way to introduce an awesome suit of armor in a smallish treasure hoard.

Oooooh, good thinking.

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

A very practical item, good luck on the next round.

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

Is it wrong that part of me wants to give one of this to a cleric of Shelyn and watch them Magic-Girl out at the start of a fight?

Very cool item with lots of fun utility!

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka KissMeDarkly

Orange Toque wrote:
When held against a suit of armor that is currently worn by the gem’s wearer for three rounds, this small quartz gem transmutes the armor into smoke, which the gem absorbs and stores.

I like this for the possiblity of getting it around someone else's neck. Jump on someone's back, get this over their neck, hang on tight and in three rounds there goes their armor! SCORE!

My only questions are these:
What counts as being held? In hand & pushed into the armor? Just lying atop the armor?

Must they be three continuous rounds?


I love the Ring of Arming (Magic Item Compendium),so i should like this item too, but i don't know. I like the added FX, even if it makes the item less useful ( the ring is more immediate) and it's execution but i don't like the non-fitting part, and that its limited to armor, two more points where the equally priced Ring of Arming outshines this.

if this item has the power to transform a suit of armor into smoke and back in my eyes it should allow for the convenience of fitting it just that little bit.

So while I don't think the item per se is superstar material (its nothing really new) it shows that you have mojo. I'm exited what you present us in Round 2

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

Any item that gets the armor off a cleric of Shelyn wins my approval. And I could easily see including this in a horde or as treasure for a creature that doesn't recognize its value. Good job!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

This is a good solid, well executed item, congratulations on your win.

Good luck in the next round.

Star Voter 2013

Meh. This only works for campaigns which are Pathfinder-only. Otherwise, the Called property is just 2K in 3.x editions. I'll grant you that Pathfinder-only is your audience here, but it's mechanically worse and more expensive for those of us with hybrid campaigns. Still, it's solidly written with little chance of misunderstanding how it works. That sets you above a few other contestants in my book. Congratulations on your work and good luck next round.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I find it funny that a lot of folks are using the word "solid" to describe the item. :)

Seriously, though, this is a great item. It's definitely something a character can use to keep from advertising to everyone in town that he's an adventurer, and it comes in handy when the fighting starts.

I'm not sold on the resizing element, but overall this is quite nice.

Congratulations and good luck on the next round.


It's tough to make a utility item sexy. But this IS sexy. Top 5.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
Is it wrong that part of me wants to give one of this to a cleric of Shelyn and watch them Magic-Girl out at the start of a fight?

Ha!

The Earl of Sandwich wrote:
It's tough to make a utility item sexy. But this IS sexy.

My thought exactly.


I find the AoO provoking move action a bit weird,I'd like to know HOW it is activated at least if such an unusual requirement / penalty is included.

The name doesn't speak to me much, I'd have liked it more representative of what the item does.

The smoke seems mechanically a bit clunky, might have been better to smooth it down a bit for easy use without refering to the item description.

The crafting requirements are well thought out and I like the style of the item.

Osirion

A super-useful item, which would be 'logical' for someone to have crafted at some point. Various games (and editions) have come up with variations on this 'instant armor' or 'instant weapon' theme, highlighting the concept's popularity.

I like that it isn't instant or too convenient, with a round of inconvenience before the armor solidifies. That sets it apart and helps to ensure that the precense of the item doesn't *completely* negate the disadvantages of being caught unarmored.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Easily one of my favorites so far. Very awesome item.

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

NSpicer wrote:

You know this item just kept tumbling through my head last night. And, though the original author didn't include an ability for resizing armor, it occured to me that it would be a really neat effect to include. For instance, say you find a suit of magical chainmail but its sized for a Small creature and you're Medium-sized. If this item let you store the chainmail in the gem...and then allowed the gem's magic to automatically resize it for you when summoned so that it fit you...now that would be some extra, extra awesome sauce!

Just an idea. And now I'll go back to daydreaming again...but not before I point out that I raise this idea purely because the item has really inspired me. And again, that's the mark of true Superstar potential. And you've got it. So best of luck!

That was actually the first thing I thought about - that the gem would allow you to resize the armor to another size CATEGORY (small to medium to large, etc.), not just Jason N size to Jason B size (which, as Sean said, only applies in the rules to full plate).

That would be pretty sweet. Even without that, I like it as a quick method for taking armor off and on when you need to swim, climb, sneak or do anything else where you don't want that pesky ACP, but where you might not be able to spend a whole minute getting armored back up on the other side.

Plus, the visuals are just flat-out cool. Wes also has a great point with the idea of finding a gem with neato armor already inside (might be an interesting bit of treasure to find in a hoard where the owner doesn't even know what he has - he thought it was just yet another 50 gp smoky quartz and didn't know it had +1 heavy fortification full plate inside!).

Overall: Nice job! Integrating the little-used "don/doff armor" table is a fun quirk, though some might find it tedious. I like finding little-used parts of the rules and highlighting them, and this item fills the bill.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

I don't know how to say this enough, Wow! Wow! WOW! Thank you judges for putting me in the top 32. Thank you to all who have posted praise and especially those who have posted criticism. You can't grow if you don't know what you're doing wrong.

As soon as I finish my creature (and clean up the stains of my brains exploding all around my apartment) I will answer the questions in this thread.

All of you have already made 2010 a good year for me, and I thank you.

TM

Qadira

Absolutely one of my favorites from the top 32. This is a fun, flavorful item that could see heavy use in future campaigns of mine. Well done!

Dedicated Voter 2014

When I first read the name of the item, I felt compelled to dismiss it right away because I thought there was going to be some cheesy way to gain +X to AC as an immediate action. I just want to say that I'm happy you did not go that route.

I agree with everything said here already. It's a cool item that can really help a party if they are ambushed somewhere. I immediately thought of adventures where characters had to leave armor behind because of certain events (i.e. weddings, fancy parties) and how cool it would be to pull this out and be able to use armor in that situation. Full plate is very hard to hide, but not if I put it in this little gem!

Also, I like that you included a really dangerous idea in this item: if the gem is destroyed, the armor is lost forever. I don't think it's been pointed out yet, but I appreciate that you included that sentence. That little sentence could certainly create big trouble for an adventurer that places his magic (or worse, artifact) armor in the gem and has it broken. That event right there could springboard into a whole (side)adventure.

Congrats and I look forward to your work in the coming rounds.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I like this item, and even like the time to resize rule. I agree that the name is somewhat misleading, and immediate makes me think of immediate, but all in all I don't think that is too large of a blow (very minor, in fact).

Great Job on making it through the first round, and best of Luck in the future!

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

I love the imagery of this item- it doesn't just "snap" your armour in place, but instead coalesces it slowly around you- that's great! I can't help but feel like this is better served as an armour property, but then I couldn't see it in this contest, so I approve of the necklace idea.

Andoran 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 this item. It's a utility item that can be desireable from when you find it at low levels all the way up to 20th. I've played many heavy armor characters who would have loved this, especially for sleeping, but also for swimming, climbing, etc. as has been pointed out. The 2 round delay makes it so these situations still provide some inconvenience, and the item doesn't become an "I win" item that completely negates those situations, which is good, plus, as has been said, the armor coalescing out of smoke is far cooler than teleporting on.

I think Mikhaila has a perfect suggestion for fixing the only minor little flaw with the item. I like the quirks of the stored armor not being adjusted for a new wearer right away, and using the armor donning rules to adjudicate that. Bravo!

Osirion

Minorelementx wrote:
When I first read the name of the item, I felt compelled to dismiss it right away because I thought there was going to be some cheesy way to gain +X to AC as an immediate action. I just want to say that I'm happy you did not go that route.

Seconding this. The name did not make me want to read the item, and I was picturing some 'swift item to get AC' or perhaps even a cooler 'swift item to block one attack' feature.

This 'armor in a can' is much cooler, and the name kind of lacks zip.

Something funky like Crystalline Armoury might be more evocative, and also end up more representative of what the item does.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Orange Toque

I'm going to try to address all of the points brought up in this discussion, so if I miss something, please point it out to me.

Refitting armor: I hate "hot potato" items. As in, one character uses it and passes it to another character, who uses it, and passes it, etc. The refitting is my way of trying to combat this. I didn't want people to grab a couple of these and store armor for every situation. Hopefully, the refitting helps keep this down. I'm not sure that that would be the case, but that's what I was going for. Also, as Jason Nelson said, I like utilizing rules that don't get used much (at least at my table), so using the Don Hastily rules makes players look at sections of the rules that they may not focus on. However, I can totally see how flipping to another chart to use a magic item can be a pain.

The name: Sigh. No, I wasn't happy with the name either. But, I had a brain fart and couldn't decide on something evocative that I really liked. I went with the old "what does the item do" name. But I love the suggestions that people have given on this.

Draws an AoO: Total mistake on my part. Don't know why I threw that in there. Please disregard.

Doesn't resize armor: I actually thought that I would get dinged for putting a resize element into this. The problem is the difference in cost between armors of different sizes. So you make tiny armor, use reduce person on someone small, they store it, switch the gem to someone large and have them activate it. Then sell the bigger armor. Profit.

Offensive uses: This was something that I didn't even think of, but I like the application. I would probably throw a saving throw into the mix if someone tried that at my table, but pulling the armor off of an enemy is a very cool idea.

What counts as being "held": I meant that you had to physically press it against the armor for three consecutive rounds.

Similar items and item properties: I'm not that familiar with a lot of 3E books, so I didn't know these things existed. And yes, my audience is Pathfinder and that is how I will enter everything for this contest.

Overall, everyone picked up on why I made this item in the first place. My players tend to shy away from heavy armor, especially in games that take place on the water, in a place with lots of climbing, or in social situations where it is not encouraged to wear heavy armor. I like throwing players a bone every now and then.

I hope that answers everything brought up here. Thank you for you compliments and criticisms. If you liked this, please check me out in the next round and I hope I can provide you with more. If you didn't, please check me out in the next round so I can perhaps change your mind about my work.

TM

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Of all the items in the contest, this one seems the most practical, with enough flavor to make it not sound boring. It is filling more than just a niche, but a commonly talked about situation where heavy armor seems an ill choose; more a need than a niche. This item has a real chance of becoming a staple in a fanasty gaming setting like a flaming longsword or a flying carpet and that makes it RPG Superstar. Good luck on your monster and welcome.

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

Nice effect, nice flavor. Very useful to all. My first thought reading it was that it was good for social-type games, where wearing full plate to a ballroom dance is less than practical, and didn't even think about the adventuring applications, which make it even more valuable. Just goes to show that people have different playing styles, and creating an item that can appeal to multiple ones is pretty impressive.

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