Wondrous Item auto-reject advice #5: Item Fails to Follow Game Rules


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

Contributor

(Last year I compiled a list of things that would instantly disqualify your item. I'm going to post them one by one as we approach Round 1 of this year's contest.)

5. Your item fails to follow the game rules.

This is a very broad category of mistakes. Examples of this:

5a) Item must be worn on a particular magic item body slot, but doesn't count as an item in that slot, allowing the bearer to wear a second item in that slot. If the item physically takes up a slot, it should count as an item in that slot, otherwise (1) there's no point in having the item in that slot, and (2) it creates silly precedents where characters can wear two circlets, two pairs of goggles, and so on. If you want to go through the trouble of doubling the item's price to make it a slotless item, actually make the item slotless (i.e., you can put it in your pocket or backpack), otherwise let it use the slot like a normal magic item.

5b) Item uses a "magic item slot" that doesn't actually exist in the game. "Throat" was a common incorrect choice for items last year. "Earring" is also a non-slot. The list of available slots is on page 459 of the Core Rulebook; if your item doesn't use one of those slots, it should be priced as a slotless item. In other words, do not create new magic item slots. It's okay to broaden the use of a slot, such as saying "this earring counts as one of the wearer's ring magic item slots," because that's not increasing the number of slotted items the character can wear, but the slots are already pretty broad and you should be able to fit your item into one of the listed slots—and if you can't fit it into one of those slots (like a tongue piercing), make it slotless and double the price.

5c) Item refers to skills, feats, class abilities, spells, or other rules that don't exist in the game anymore. Examples of this are referring to the Jump, Intuit Direction, or Use Rope skills, the Extra Turning feat, barbarian illiteracy, assassin prestige class spellcasting, bardic music (now called bardic performance), or even something as old school as making a "bend bars/lift gates" roll or a "system shock" roll.

5d) Item gets game terminology wrong. Creatures make "attack rolls," not "attack checks." Creatures make "Fort saves," not "Fort checks." Creatures make "Acrobatics checks" not "Acrobatics saves." Creatures make "Will saves," not "Wisdom saves." It's one thing to use these terms casually in your game, but when you're writing an item that's going to be viewed by hundreds of players, you have to remember that the terms have specific meanings and those meanings have baggage associated with them. If your item "gives the wearer a +5 sacred bonus on Wisdom saves," that actually doesn't mean anything because nowhere in the game does it define a "Wisdom save;" a player could assume you mean "Will save," but it's just as fair to assume that you mean "Wisdom checks" (i.e., 1d20+Wisdom modifier) or even "all checks based on Wisdom" (which would include Heal, Perception, Profession, and Survival checks).

Part of being a Superstar is showing that you know the game rules. Everyone makes mistakes now and then, and mistaken terminology or rules weirdness appears, but your wondrous item is your first chance to prove that you understand the game and you know what you're doing; review your item for these little mistakes so they don't hurt your chances in the competition.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

I just have to add one word.

Spoiler:
"amour"

That is all.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
5d) Item gets game terminology wrong. Creatures make "attack rolls," not "attack checks." Creatures make "Fort saves," not "Fort checks." Creatures make "Acrobatics checks" not "Acrobatics saves." Creatures make "Will saves," not "Wisdom saves."

And magic items are "enhanced," not "enchanted" -- but even the game designers persisitently get this one wrong.*

The term "enchantment" has a specific game definition: it refers to a school of magic. Enchantment spells are mind-affecting. For the most part, magic items are mindles. Hence, a magic item, almost by definition, cannot be enchanted.

* I lobbied for "imbued" during the beta playtest, to avoid confusion with the enhancement bonus type, but was rebuffed.

Contributor

Kirth, that's a pet peeve I've basically given up on. If the game can have six different definitions of "level," I suppose it can have one definition of "enchant" WRT crafting a magic item and a different definition WRT types of spells. ;)


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Kirth, that's a pet peeve I've basically given up on. If the game can have six different definitions of "level," I suppose it can have one definition of "enchant" WRT crafting a magic item and a different definition WRT types of spells. ;)

"Level" is another one I beat my head against a brick wall on. How many dozens of times did I and any number of others post during the playtest recommending a clarification of "class level" vs. "caster level" vs. "character level" vs. "spell level" -- as opposed to just "level"?

I seem to recall that Gygax originally wanted "character power," "spell order," and so on -- different terms for each, in other words -- but the word "level" got to be used so ubiquitously during actual play that no one remembered what the correct terms originally were.

At least skills have "ranks" now instead. One minor victory, five to go!

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I posted something in the "start thinking about it" thread that might actually sorta fit in this thread.

Quote:

I also have a good question I think. This may be covered in one of your "auto-reject" posts, but I think it bears a separate query, as I'm sure this is a reason for auto-reject in most circumstances.

One of the things I saw in the "hey look at my item Clark" threads where Clark, Sean, and others critiqued (gave judge feedback on) items that did not make the top 32, is that the item didn't fit the new location/power theme. Such as, movement abilities/powers/spells being in footwear, and ability bonuses being in belts.

But I have an item that feels way cooler based on the name and what it does if it doesn't exactly fit the power to the location of the item.

Would this be an auto-reject simply because it doesn't fit the mold, so to speak, or would it just have to be even extra cooler to get past auto-reject?

Contributor

I'm more likely to ignore somethings "slot affinity" (which isn't really hard-coded into PFRPG like it was in 3.5) if the item is cool and makes sense. "This helmet gives you +2 to Strength and +10 feet of movement" is not cool and does not make sense. ;)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Item gets game terminology wrong.

Here's one:

"Dungeon Master" is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast. "Game Master" is open content. The Pathfinder RPG has GMs, not DMs. If you get *that* term wrong, you may actually be violating two *different* rules—not conforming to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and using material not owned by Paizo or in the public domain.

Contributor

"Using someone else's intellectual property" is on the list, and is another broad topic. :)

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

(Last year I compiled a list of things that would instantly disqualify your item. I'm going to post them one by one as we approach Round 1 of this year's contest.)

5. Your item fails to follow the game rules.

This is a very broad category of mistakes. Examples of this:

5a) Item must be worn on a particular magic item body slot, but doesn't count as an item in that slot, allowing the bearer to wear a second item in that slot. If the item physically takes up a slot, it should count as an item in that slot, otherwise (1) there's no point in having the item in that slot, and (2) it creates silly precedents where characters can wear two circlets, two pairs of goggles, and so on. If you want to go through the trouble of doubling the item's price to make it a slotless item, actually make the item slotless (i.e., you can put it in your pocket or backpack), otherwise let it use the slot like a normal magic item.
...

A quick and related question I asked in a different thread. Can a wondrous item take up the ring slot? the armor slot? the shield slot? To me something strapped to the wrist & not used to deflect blows would be within the rules. Rings are a little harder to fathom, but brass knuckles aren't really gloves/gauntlets anymore than they are rings.

I think all the other craft item feats ignore slots.

Also, thanks for creating these threads Sean. They are fun :)

Contributor

If it uses the ring slot, it's probably a ring. If it actually uses the shield slot, it's probably a shield. Brass knuckles are a weapon.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

Curaigh wrote:

A quick and related question I asked in a different thread. Can a wondrous item take up the ring slot? the armor slot? the shield slot? To me something strapped to the wrist & not used to deflect blows would be within the rules. Rings are a little harder to fathom, but brass knuckles aren't really gloves/gauntlets anymore than they are rings.

I think all the other craft item feats ignore slots.

Also, thanks for creating these threads Sean. They are fun :)

I'm not a judge, so grain of salt...

Ring slot, maybe (Sean's example above of earrings), but it's probably a Ring, which is a Ring, and requires Forge Ring, not Craft Wondrous Item.

Shield slot, no. Then it's a shield. An item strapped to your wrist and doesn't occupy your hand is a Wrist slot. If it does occupy your hand, then it's just a slotless held item.

Armor slot: No. That's what the Body and Chest slots are for. It's is actually armor like, then its armor and isn't eligible for the competition.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If it uses the ring slot, it's probably a ring. If it actually uses the shield slot, it's probably a shield. Brass knuckles are a weapon.

Translation: Don't put it into the slot if it is not using the slot.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

If you don't know the terminology, rules, etc related to your item, then research it - read up similar abilities or rules. There are lots of words that have specific game terminology attached to them, check that you are using these correctly.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And if all else fails, pick your nose and hope that it increases your Sleight of Hand ranks!

:P Excellent series, Sean. This is so helpful it hurts. If people miss these (and they will) their blunders will seem ever more foolish. I know this has kept my mind in check. :D
-will

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

xidoraven wrote:
This is so helpful it hurts. If people miss these (and they will) their blunders will seem ever more foolish.

All of this information was pretty much available to everyone in years 2 and 3 of RPG Superstar and plenty of people didn't do the research or review prior stuff to learn these things. And, as Vic pointed out earlier, if you don't take the time to review those threads, you really do yourself a disservice. Meanwhile, anyone who does take the time to learn and pick up on these things, really gains an immediate advantage. Their item submission will be that much more polished and Superstar-ready. And sometimes, that's what makes the difference between an item that's "good enough for a book of magic items" vs. "great enough for RPG Superstar!"

Liberty's Edge

I have some minor questions on this. Sometimes ideas come up that don't fit exactly into an item slot. So what about situations like those?

Random out of the air example: A charm, like the one attached to cell phones, on a weapon. I would think that tying it onto the weapon hilt would be fitting and make it solely attached to that weapon until removed. Would that be a weapon slot or no slot with the requirement of a weapon? Or just slid it down to the wrist slot? For the theme of the item I'd think that it'd be no slot with a need for a weapon but I'd rather ask and not look silly.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
gregg carrier wrote:

I have some minor questions on this. Sometimes ideas come up that don't fit exactly into an item slot. So what about situations like those?

Random out of the air example: A charm, like the one attached to cell phones, on a weapon. I would think that tying it onto the weapon hilt would be fitting and make it solely attached to that weapon until removed. Would that be a weapon slot or no slot with the requirement of a weapon? Or just slid it down to the wrist slot? For the theme of the item I'd think that it'd be no slot with a need for a weapon but I'd rather ask and not look silly.

Sounds similar to a weapon/armor crystal from MIC.

In any case, I'd price it as a non-slot item (x2 cost) with the limitation that you have to attach it to a weapon in some fashion.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I think it's important to remind everyone not to talk about their item submission. As long as you're just using hypothetical examples, that's fine. But the submission process needs to remain anonymous. Don't post anything hinting at (or asking questions about) the item you plan to submit. Otherwise, the judges might associate that item with you and that would defeat the anonymity...

I'm not saying anyone has been doing that with some of the questions you're all asking. I'm just throwing that out there in case anyone gets the wrong idea and thinks it's okay to talk specifics about their potential item.


Regarding intellectual property: I think monsters trip people up because they are usually common nouns and feel like common property, public domain, because we all know the old favorites and have used them for a long time. But be sure any monster you mention doesn't belong to someone.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Yea, if it doesn't use an existing slot it's slotless. There should be nothing to keep you from attaching two fuzzy-dice to the same weapon (though even if there is, it should still be priced as slotless).

Also, happy halloween to those who celebrate!

Liberty's Edge

Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Yea, if it doesn't use an existing slot it's slotless. There should be nothing to keep you from attaching two fuzzy-dice to the same weapon (though even if there is, it should still be priced as slotless).

Also, happy halloween to those who celebrate!

Happy Halloween! (belated)

And thanks, that specific inquiry was just a passing thought cause i saw some guy with way to much on his phone and thought it'd look funny on a sword. Still, figured it may come up if, if in a campaign I want to belt something onto a shield instead of giving it spikes or some such.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

A lot of advice in this thread, so I'll be brief!

If you're 3.5 veteran and have been since 3.0.. take a careful look at the Core Rulebook; because there a handful of major changes and ten thousand little changes.

Slots are a good example, because Paizo did review and adjust them. However that is not a big sexy change like the grappling rules and channeling energy. Revised slots don't jump right out at you.

The cool thing about Round One is that is NOT a dinner table game of trivia! It is an Open Book Test.

So do yourself a favor and open the book! Check your "answers"! In this test it is *not* considered cheating.


Vic Wertz wrote:

Here's one:

"Dungeon Master" is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast.

Hmm it's also a widely used and accepted term in certain 'recreational circles' that predate D&D and WoTC... how'd they manage to IP THAT!? :p

(Not to mention some bad 80's video games)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

That's... a pretty good question, actually.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shifty wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Here's one:

"Dungeon Master" is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast.

Hmm it's also a widely used and accepted term in certain 'recreational circles' that predate D&D and WoTC... how'd they manage to IP THAT!? :p

(Not to mention some bad 80's video games)

Trademarks are limited to specific "goods and services." Wizards' current trademark registration G&S for the term "Dungeon Master" is listed as "fantasy role-playing games and board games, and game accessories; namely, booklets containing role-playing game scenarios, and computer game programs."

If you want to try to use "Dungeon Master" as a trademark for your robot vacuum cleaner that's specially programmed to work around the chains and troughs in the floors of your castle's prison, you might just be able to do that.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Vic Wertz wrote:
Shifty wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Here's one:

"Dungeon Master" is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast.

Hmm it's also a widely used and accepted term in certain 'recreational circles' that predate D&D and WoTC... how'd they manage to IP THAT!? :p

(Not to mention some bad 80's video games)

Trademarks are limited to specific "goods and services." Wizards' current trademark registration G&S for the term "Dungeon Master" is listed as "fantasy role-playing games and board games, and game accessories; namely, booklets containing role-playing game scenarios, and computer game programs."

If you want to try to use "Dungeon Master" as a trademark for your robot vacuum cleaner that's specially programmed to work around the chains and troughs in the floors of your castle's prison, you might just be able to do that.

I was wondering how to get those troughs clean...


Hnnh. This may have been the trouble with my item from last year, although I understand it may have been eaten by the server. Maybe I should retool...?

No hard criticism here, as everything was explained succinctly. May need to do more research to make sure everything is up to snuff.


I'm still sad about the lack of a pants slot in 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Evil Genius wrote:
I'm still sad about the lack of a pants slot in 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Who wants a game in which people wear pants? If I don't have to wear pants when I play, I see no reason why my PC should have to.


Mark Moreland wrote:
Evil Genius wrote:
I'm still sad about the lack of a pants slot in 3.5 and Pathfinder.
Who wants a game in which people wear pants? If I don't have to wear pants when I play, I see no reason why my PC should have to.

I thought about bringing the "no pants" rule to the game we were in, but I didn't think it would fly. I'm glad to see that, for at least one person, I was wrong.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Mark Moreland wrote:
Evil Genius wrote:
I'm still sad about the lack of a pants slot in 3.5 and Pathfinder.
Who wants a game in which people wear pants? If I don't have to wear pants when I play, I see no reason why my PC should have to.

I don't know, I think the Kingdom of Loathing makes a good argument for a pants slot. But that's a totally different game and setting, so there is room for both pants-full and pants-free settings.

Sorry for going off topic.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Mark Moreland wrote:
Who wants a game in which people wear pants? If I don't have to wear pants when I play, I see no reason why my PC should have to.

I love you, Mark Moreland. That line made my day, and now it's on my Facebook.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Evil Genius wrote:
I'm still sad about the lack of a pants slot in 3.5 and Pathfinder.

You and Solomon Grundy...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Clinton Boomer wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Who wants a game in which people wear pants? If I don't have to wear pants when I play, I see no reason why my PC should have to.
I love you, Mark Moreland. That line made my day, and now it's on my Facebook.

Glad to oblige, Boomer.

Liberty's Edge

In the wash. #pantscheck


I have a question, and I think it goes along this rule's lines.

Being that most items in the game don't scale with the wielders level advancement, would something that did scale fail to follow game rules?

Without getting into the exact specifics, I'm thinking something along the lines of "a ring that grants a bonus to will saves when the weilder casts a spell into it, the higher level the spell the higher the bonus." and yes, I know a ring isn't a wonderous item...I'm asking about the effect.

Also, I'd like to thank Sean for taking the time to write these articles up, and all the judges for taking the time to answer questions.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Fraust wrote:

I have a question, and I think it goes along this rule's lines.

Being that most items in the game don't scale with the wielders level advancement, would something that did scale fail to follow game rules?

Without getting into the exact specifics, I'm thinking something along the lines of "a ring that grants a bonus to will saves when the weilder casts a spell into it, the higher level the spell the higher the bonus." and yes, I know a ring isn't a wonderous item...I'm asking about the effect.

Also, I'd like to thank Sean for taking the time to write these articles up, and all the judges for taking the time to answer questions.

"All that is not forbidden is allowed."

Longer opinion
Spoiler:
Pushing mechanics is allowed, and encouraged. breaking mechanics isn't. Again, I'm talking about myself, but look at the bracelet of shields. The item twists the metamagic rules and puts a new spin on them. It's a charged item, with an odd number of charges. Finally it can take a spell effect and do something else. (shield -> one round resilient sphere) I'm not aware of any d20 item that does that.

On the other hand, if the bracelet allowed a full strength resilient sphere for a first level spell shot, or turned shield into force cages or prismatic spheres, then it's breaking the rules. (small resource investment for a greater reward). Likewise a crown of the frigid ex-wife that converts fire spells to ice spells is ok, but if it converts ray of frost to polar ray, not so much.


Matthew Morris wrote:

I just have to add one word.

** spoiler omitted **

That is all.

I'm a little late here on this bump, but I'd like to add an additional pet peeve I'd rather never see again: by the unholy poop of Orcus, folks, don't mix up rogue and rouge. One is a picker of pockets and a master of daring do, and the other is a powdered pigment compound used to color the cheeks.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Power Word Unzip wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

I just have to add one word.

** spoiler omitted **

That is all.

I'm a little late here on this bump, but I'd like to add an additional pet peeve I'd rather never see again: by the unholy poop of Orcus, folks, don't mix up rogue and rouge. One is a picker of pockets and a master of daring do, and the other is a powdered pigment compound used to color the cheeks.

And which one is which? ;)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nazard wrote:
Power Word Unzip wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

I just have to add one word.

** spoiler omitted **

That is all.

I'm a little late here on this bump, but I'd like to add an additional pet peeve I'd rather never see again: by the unholy poop of Orcus, folks, don't mix up rogue and rouge. One is a picker of pockets and a master of daring do, and the other is a powdered pigment compound used to color the cheeks.
And which one is which? ;)

Hard to tell, they're usually both found all over women. ;)

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