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RPG Superstar 2015

Erinyes Braid


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

Erinyes Braid
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot head; Price 12,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description
This four-foot long braid is composed of dark, greasy hair, lashed together with bits of sinew. The prickly base of the erinyes braid can be pressed to the back of the skull, where it quickly attaches to the scalp, changing color and consistency to match the wearers natural hair. Once it is attached, an erinyes braid functions continually, and can only be removed by cutting it free. An erinyes braid has hardness 0 and 10 hit points.

When the wearer of an erinyes braid engages in combat, the braid animates, lashing at nearby foes with its iron-hard tip. Creatures flanking a character wearing an erinyes braid suffer a -2 penalty to their attack rolls against the wearer.

An erinyes braid helps its wearer press an advantage against weakened opponents. On a successful melee attack against a frightened, helpless, nauseated, panicked, stunned, or staggered creature, the braid rips at the target's face, dealing 2d4 points of slashing damage. Creatures that take damage from an erinyes braid must make a DC 13 Fortitude save, or be blinded permanently. Creatures larger than medium size, or having more than two eyes are immune to the blindness effect.

While anyone can wear an erinyes braid, good creatures do so at great risk. Each week a good character wears an erinyes braid, she must make a DC 20 Will save or the item becomes cursed. A cursed braid no longer functions, except to attack the wearer each time she is struck while weakened as described above, possibly blinding the wearer. A cursed braid cannot be removed without remove curse.
Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate rope, blindness/deafness;
Cost 6,000 gp

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I'm not entirely bowled over by this one. In some ways, I was expecting the braid to duplicate an erinyes entangling rope...only you wouldn't be able to throw it, since it would stay connected to your head. As it is, the item does some entirely different stuff. I think having it lash out at nearby foes to disrupt potential flanking attacks is kind of cool. It basically negates the flanking bonus without negating the flanking effects...i.e., someone won't have a +2 flanking bonus on the wearer of an erinyes braid, but they'd still be considered as a flanking opponent for the purposes of sneak attack, etc.

I thought the added rake damage of the braid against someone you strike in combat who's suffering from that long list of possible conditions feels a little overkill. I'd have prefered maybe to see it apply to only helpless creatures that have been pinned, entangled, paralyzed, etc. That way, it would dovetail with the erinyes ability to entangle foes with her rope and have her way with them. The 2d4 extra damage from the braid in this situation isn't all that overwhelming and provides good flavor. I think the DC 13 Fortitue save is too low for the permanent blindness possibility, though. By the time you can afford a 12,000 gp item like this one, very few of your opponents are going to fear a DC 13 Fort save.

I also thought the caveat of not affecting creatures larger than Medium-size or with more than two eyes is a little weird. Why? Because the braid just can't rake that many eyes or reach the face of someone larger than the wearer? Can this braid be worn by a Large creature...and, if so, why wouldn't it be able to affect creatures its own size? Can it only be worn by humanoids or can even magical beasts and monsters have such a braid as long as they have a head and a skull?

Lastly, I kind of dig the cursed item possibilities if a good creature tries to use this thing. Having an erinyes braid spite them as well is a nice twist (ha! I pun!) of fate.

And that brings me to my final assessment. Despite some of these quibbles, I find myself liking this thing. It's got flavor and mojo. It's a little shaky mechanically here and there, but the writing and presentation is decent. I'd enjoy seeing what this designer could do down the road if given a shot.

Vote to Keep.

CEO, Goblinworks

I love this item. Keep!

Paizo Employee Developer

I think this one's fairly solid. I agree with Neil that the blinding and additional damage to adjacent foes who suffer from status ailments is a bit much, but that's a small complaint compared to the otherwise cool flavor and effects the item grants. I, too, really like the possibility of it becoming cursed on good users.

Keep

Contributor

Does cutting the braid free destroy it? Unclear.

-2 penalty to flankers just because this is attacking from the back of your head? We have many creatures with attacks on both ends that don't give that sort of penalty.

I would have liked this to be more erinyes-themed, perhaps with an entangle like Neil said.

Mechanics are solid.

Keep.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

You had me at Erinyes!

Then you lost me at "greasy."

You sort of got me back with the attaching and the helping out with the flanking, but then...

Neil Spicer wrote:
I think the DC 13 Fortitue save is too low for the permanent blindness possibility, though. By the time you can afford a 12,000 gp item like this one, very few of your opponents are going to fear a DC 13 Fort save.

This.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

This thing has a weird style to it, but I do like it. Magical hair extensions for everyone. First thing I stumbled on was the bit about the iron-hard tip. That wasn’t in the description, and shouldn’t it be ‘tips’? The braid seems to be a weapon, but not a weapon, it doesn’t get to make attack rolls but does do some fun stuff. I was imagining all of the hair spraying round you lashing at people. I would also like an entangle effect with this item. It seems a bit like the BBE gal in ‘Forbidden Kingdom’ the Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie. This item is way overpriced for its effects, and as others said, the DC of the blindness should be raised. I would have preferred the blindness to be more temporary, a more like the eye rake of some crow monsters.

The curse is a great touch, perhaps if you had had the words left you could have also mentioned how much damage someone takes from cutting or ripping the braid out of their own scalp. :-)

Welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! In the next rounds, make sure the form of your ideas matches up with the game abilities that you give them. The archetype round will be a good time to show this, I’m looking forward to seeing yours. Best of luck!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Aside from the blindness DC (which is too low as you have been informed), I think of the biggest issues you’re encountering is the erinyes theme. It is just slightly off. I almost want to suggest a kyton braid instead. Same evil, same curse, but no baggage or preconceptions. In fact, the idea of something whipping around and slashing at you fits nicely.

The bit with the flanking is inspired and is tapping a new concept, so that’s gold. No, the anti-flanking hasn’t been done a lot before with creatures, but for me, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you using it. Especially when this item has been crafted for that purpose.

As Neil suggested, perhaps limiting the rake effect to creatures that are actually restrained in some way, as opposed to including those that are suffering fear effects and what have you.

This is a solid idea that could be easily reworked and improved. Plus you’re bringing something new to the table.

Congratulations! Now whip your next idea into shape and make us beg to see more.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2015 aka Sect

The anti-flanking bit is a tad odd, but it works. The permanent blindness bit concerns me, though the low save helps. Also, I love the bit about good aligned characters wearing it, though it's odd that that save's higher than the blindness save.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

The name was close to an item I’ve on the hard drive but they’re nothing alike. I like the concept, and the protection from flanking is nice…
…but, I’m unclear if the braid attacks on its own “on a successful attack roll’ or if it automatically adds that damage when the wearer hits. What about multiple hits in a round?
The cursed nature is a nice touch though. Deidre would approve. (Hmm, another Dresden inspired item?)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The time has come for magical extensions!

I like it, though the long list of conditions that the rake procs on is way too fiddly. I'd want to boil that down to one clear situation.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

Man, I am so excited! I had completely forgotten the results came out today, and was gobsmacked when I got the email saying I was one of the Top 32! I'm really blown away that I made it.

Oh man, I gotta get to work. I've got a deadline to meet!

Thank you to the Judges, and congratulations to everyone who made it to the top 32!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Erinyes and greasy hair..hmm. Don't really go together for me :) The best part of this item for me is the risk of a curse if a good creature wears it. We need more of that sort of thing. It's better than the binary "this item is rubbish for you, awesome for your foe" sort of item.


remove the -2 penalty against flank, keep the rest. The attack against weakened creatures is nice, and sets the theme of the item. Lastly I love cursed items.

KEEP


Liked this - magic items with potentially nasty side-effects are always good.

Plus it also made me think "Wig of Vecna", which is a good thing.

EDIT: or probably an evil thing.


I'm still on the fence about this one. It doesn't really grab me by thematics or description alone, so it is mostly defined by its mechanics for now. There I see some reasons I should like it ( how the curse is handled, and how it aids specific attacks) and some why not ( Flanking penalty for all flankers, permanent blindness, how the curse activates).
All in all they kinda even out and I'm left with an item thats fairly well written and designed, but doesn't really provoke any strong reactions ( like or dislike).

For me this falls somewhere in the middle field. I hope your Archetype grabs me more than this and is still as well developed and clean in execution.


James Olchak wrote:
Erinyes Braid

I agree with the criticisms about the DC 13 save for the blindness effect being a little low. Beyond that, though, I like this item a lot.


This is another item for which I am not a fan. As has been mentioned, more of an entangle effect would've been better. This falls into the category of the consequence outstripping the benefit.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka John Benbo

I can totally picture this in action. Like the flavor. Congrats!


I love stuff that is associated with devils. This is a neat item.

What happens when the braid is cut off? Is the item now useless?

Rather than stating that flanking creatures get a -2 to their attacks, I would prefer to see it say that the wearer cannot be flanked. I realize that there is a difference that might have made you want to implement it like this. Your implementation allows rogue sneak attacks while mine does not. However, if it's functioning autonomously then I don't think I should be flanked while wearing it.

Contributor

I want one of these, like in real life. Too useful. If only my hair could attack people I didn't like. It's long, but not greasy, and not tipped by iron bits.

However, that said, I'm confused by what connection the item has to the namesake erinyes in its name. I would have wanted some flavor connection there, and I normally think 'hot and evil' when I think of erinyes, not 'needs to wash her evil hair'.

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

James, congratulations on joining this year's top 32! Like others have mentioned, it's hard to see the connection between this item and its namesake. The theme seems somewhat convoluted. It seems like the braid should have its own attack roll, like a lion's shield or dancing weapon. Without this, the braid heavily favors those with many attacks. This item could be a flurrying monk's best friend, with a monk's ability to inflict many of those status effects.

What sells this item to me is the cursed property. Wear at your peril. Looking forward to seeing your next entry!


Yeah, I totally want one of these... in fact, I want this as a bloodline ability for an aberrant (or something) sorcerer.

EDIT: Maybe Medusa's Braid? Kyton's Braid? Uhh... something else?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

I'm kicking myself for not calling it the "Blinding Braid," now. A lot of people are thrown by the name.

My thinking was that it was made from a severed piece of Erinyes rope, which, in Pathfinder lore, is made from their own hair. That was the whole reasoning for the name.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congratulations James!
Strength (Overall): 12
Dexterity (see time in my campaign): 10
Constitution (long-time keeper): 10
Intelligence (mechanics): 12
Wisdom (writing craft): 12
Charisma (flavor/visuals): 14
An animated braid? That is a palm-to-forehead moment :) That being said it is too meta-gamey for my game. Undo flanking...? OK. Blind 'condition x-ed' foe.... well OK. Except that you have characters who make it their character to give these conditions. If conditions happened rarely or even randomly this would be stronger, but as it is this item create an opportunity for any one who can 'sicken' a foe also blind them. The curse was brilliantly done, both in mechanics and reasoning--nice.

EDIT: blinding braid? that is another palm-to-forehead moment :)
Congratulations! :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Bats Kabber

Congratulations James!

My two cents:
I like the theory, but I find the mechanics a little hard to digest. I wonder what it would have looked like if it was designed as a purely defensive item. Negating flank was a nice touch, I like it. Perhaps also have it grant the effect of the dodge feat and have it stack with the characters own dodge feat - you and the braid could select the same or different targets.
I also like the curse effect although I would have went with "tries to choke you in your sleep". I may be a wee bit biased, however, because my ex-wife's hair used to crawl down my throat in my sleep.
*shiver*
(I still have nightmares about the tentacle hair). And because of that, your item creeps me out.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

This is a neat item with lots of great ideas. I love the curse, that's really cool and the fact that it is 'pro-evil' is enough for me to accept the name you gave it.

I like your idea for flanking penalties but the big problem I see is that it takes two to flank. I understand you were trying to say that the enemy 'behind' the user takes the penalty since the hair faces them but technically the guy in 'front' is considered flanking too and should also take the -2, which means the hair is whipping around the head.. or in two places.. and it starts to lose me. Since there is no facing in Pathfinder, it's hard to get these concepts across mechanically.

oh.. and I cannot resist: your item gives new meaning to having a 'bad hair day'

Great Item!

Liberty's Edge

Just picking up where I left off yesterday. I think a strength for you, James, is that your writing is very well-polished. This has more words than some of the other submissions, but at no point did my head want to explode. Everything rolls right off the tongue. Keep doing that, and I think you'll find success.

The item itself is pretty cool, but I think the real strength here is in the writing. Great job, and congratulations!

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really like the fact it essentially negates the flanking bonus. Essentially giving you Uncanny Dodge 2. This is a very creative way, I think, to skirt the rule about giving someone a class ability. I think you just got away with something on this one.

On the other hand, I disagree with Sean, in that this is a ding because no other “double ended” creatures or items. I think it makes it innovative and unique that it does this. I thought that is what Superstar is about, and that is what makes this superstar to me.

Last thing. I think at the very least you could have made the blindness DC 14 (caster level 5 requires 15 Int, which is +2) but could easily have bumped it to 17 or 21 or something to make it worth even having the effect a part of an item worth 10k.

As a matter of fact, because it is a pet peeve of mine, if the DC saves would make that power meaningless except for 5% of the time (a roll of 1) then I’m going to majorly ding the item.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! It's definitely helpful. It's also been remarkably consistent, from person to person, so the design elements I need to work on are pretty clear.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

These are my comments before reading the comments of the judges or others:

I can't help but think of the symbionts and grafts from the D&D 3.5 Fiend Folio, so I'm on the fence about seeing this item as monster or magic item. That aside, your description of this nasty little thing is vivid and clear. I'm not crazy about the flanking penalty, which nets out at -1. I'd rather it just negate the flanking bonus, which is easier and seems more reasonable. If the braid had multiple tentacles or something like that I could see imposing a -2, but not as it stands.

I like that the braid takes advantage of the weak since that befits it's devilish nature, but "rips at target's face" seems like a targeted attack, which also seems sort of harsh/unfair since there really aren't any targeted attacks in the Pathfinder RPG. Combat is abstract. I see no need to make the blindness permanent; again, seems harsh, though I realize the blindness is curable. I'd just have the braid whip the target and cause temporary blindness.

I like that the braid does some harm to the wearer and that it takes advantage of the same weakness. As written, the costing/pricing seems too low for permanent blindness. I also like it that this item uses a head slot, which is kind of uncommon.

Overall, the description of this item is compelling and it's actually well thought out. A lot of my criticisms are more personal preference than flaws and with some re-pricing this is a good, solid, nasty thing. I can even accept it as a magic item rather than a monster or graft. :)


Congrats, James!

I didn't have a problem with the "greasy" line. I thought it added both character and clever detail, and was actually realistic for the wandering mendicant role that RPG characters tend to be in. Not everyone keeps their hair sparkling clean as they travel from adventure to adventure. ;-)

Keep!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

While the name doesn't exactly fit (I know the feeling!) I like the effects. Nice couple of defenses in combat.


Personally I LOVE this concept, and wish I had thought of it so I could have applied it to a Tiefling Monk (reoccurring villain) in an old game. It seems perfect. Not only could she fling out a billion attacks per round, but with this, she could have negated the flanking bonus, stunned her opponents then attempted to blind them. Of course, I would have upped the DC for the blindness to 20, but it would have been perfect!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013 aka Shadow-Mask

This has really cool, creepy flavor. Also, as a player who prefers rogues, I like that it leaves my sneak attack damage alone.

Very nice item. Congratulations. :)

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

Well-conceived item, and not just because I'll be palying a LE fighter with a meddling erinyes mother in the next several months! :b

I do agree that if you're going to call it an erinyes braid, you ought to have the entangling ability. I also think the design choice to resist flanking smacks less of 'good design choice' and more of 'one of my recent characters had a bad experience with flanking'.

So, there are some execution issues, but this is the sort of item that creatively replaces standard wondrous items with something fun and new. And the scenery of a whipping braid savagely acting to injure the opponents of it wearer sort of underscores that erinyes are creatures of war in their very essence. Well done and good luck in round 2.


James Olchak wrote:

Erinyes Braid

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot head; Price 12,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description
This four-foot long braid is composed of dark, greasy hair, lashed together with bits of sinew. The prickly base of the erinyes braid can be pressed to the back of the skull, where it quickly attaches to the scalp, changing color and consistency to match the wearers natural hair. Once it is attached, an erinyes braid functions continually, and can only be removed by cutting it free. An erinyes braid has hardness 0 and 10 hit points.

When the wearer of an erinyes braid engages in combat, the braid animates, lashing at nearby foes with its iron-hard tip. Creatures flanking a character wearing an erinyes braid suffer a -2 penalty to their attack rolls against the wearer.

An erinyes braid helps its wearer press an advantage against weakened opponents. On a successful melee attack against a frightened, helpless, nauseated, panicked, stunned, or staggered creature, the braid rips at the target's face, dealing 2d4 points of slashing damage. Creatures that take damage from an erinyes braid must make a DC 13 Fortitude save, or be blinded permanently. Creatures larger than medium size, or having more than two eyes are immune to the blindness effect.

While anyone can wear an erinyes braid, good creatures do so at great risk. Each week a good character wears an erinyes braid, she must make a DC 20 Will save or the item becomes cursed. A cursed braid no longer functions, except to attack the wearer each time she is struck while weakened as described above, possibly blinding the wearer. A cursed braid cannot be removed without remove curse.
Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate rope, blindness/deafness;
Cost 6,000 gp

James Olchak wrote:
...My thinking was that it was made from a severed piece of Erinyes rope, which, in Pathfinder lore, is made from their own hair. That was the whole reasoning for the name...

Disclaimer:

Ask A RPGSuperstar Succubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus – fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire above a drop of several hundred feet into a pool of molten basalt frantically try to do, and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.

Is the item Pretty?
At first I believed that you needed to kill an erinyes as part of the creation process, which boded exceedingly well. Then I saw the later clarification that, no, you don't have to kill an erinyes it make it. You just need a tress of their hair - which you can wager that Asmodeus has ordered them to trade to gullible spellcasters anxious to make this item, thus spreading the power of Hell. No: this is not a pretty item; It is an Exceptionally Ugly Item - a manifestation of Asmodeus' desire to oppress the whole multiverse. Well Some Of Us Will Not Be Suppressed.

Does the item help a demonic seductress to keep a paladin house pet?
No. And any responsible succubus would be insane to let a poor little paladin within five miles of one of these nasty vicious things.

Is the item otherwise useful?
It might be useful for the purposes of ceremonial 'desecration' and dissolution in holy acid as a manner of showing Asmodeus an emphatic finger - get a cleric of Cayden Cailean in to do it if you absolutely *must* involve a good cleric - but Asmodeus has probably thought about that happening and planned to try and take advantage of any such action, so Just Be Careful If You Do Try This.

Other Comments? (including World Domination potential on the evil laughter scale, where appropriate)
I am usually in favour of leaving people dumb enough to subscribe to notions of goodness to sort their own problems out, but I would go out of my way to shout 'Look out behind you!' (or words to that effect) to even the most obnoxious dervish of Sarenrae wearing one of these.
And of course, it's a combat item. It's designed to encourage reckless fools to get into situations where they might be in over their heads, so Asmodeus can no doubt attempt to snatch their souls if and when they fall.

Gollum Rating:
Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

James Olchak wrote:
This four-foot long braid is composed of dark, greasy hair, lashed together with bits of sinew.

Ewwww. You want me to stick this hideous thing on the back of my head? COOL!

James Olchak wrote:


While anyone can wear an erinyes braid, good creatures do so at great risk. Each week a good character wears an erinyes braid, she must make a DC 20 Will save or the item becomes cursed ...

The cursed aspect of the item (for good characters) sold me on it. Overall, the braid is a very evocative and interesting item. I can't wait to see what you submit in the coming rounds.

Good job!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

Very cool. I like the kick-'em-while-their-down flavour here. While I think this list of conditions under which the bread attacks is fine, I do agree that the DC to avoid blindness is a little low. There is also little need for a size or number of eyes restriction to this effect. Easily the best part about the item is the cursedness when used by good characters, it almost makes me want to stick them on my players.

At the risk of repeating myself, very cool.


James Olchak wrote:
Erinyes Braid

Not much I can say about this one that hasn't already been said. I'll add:

The imagery seems a little comical to me. I imagine a marvel mutant having this ability. But, given the right description in play it could come off ok.

It would probably have been easiest to just say it has a reach of 5', rather than limiting the size of creatures or # of eyes. Those types of determinations are usually made in game play by the GM.

I understand the DC 13 on the save. You were limited by the rules, and they didn't give us permission to alter the DC of spells. In fact, they made it pretty clear that all abilities of such magical items should be set at the minimum level to create the item. At least they didn't count you out for that.

Congratulations and good luck this next round :)

Ken

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

Ewwwww! Okay, I have a couple questions, and if they've been answered above, mea culpa :) I only read the first couple posts so far...

So, can this be attached to someone else? Does the person have to be willing? How much damage happens to the person if it is cut free, or is the braid destroyed instead?

I like the imagery of the thing, makes me think of far too many anime with tentacles and hair whipping around and smacking folks down :) Not sure I'd let it in my campaign, though. ::shiver::

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