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Silver Skein


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Silver Skein
Aura Moderate Conjuration; CL 7th
Slot None; Price 1500 gp; Weight 1/2 lbs.
Description

The silver skein is a translucent ball of coiled thread. When tied to an object with a fixed location, such as a door, tree, or dagger planted in the ground, the skein turns ethereal, remaining visible only to the holder. The skein spools out on the ground behind the holder, leaving a trail she can follow back to the original location where it was tied down.

As a standard action, the holder can pull on the silver skein to teleport herself and any touched objects or willing creatures to the location where the skein was originally tied (as dimension door). Once used in this manner, the skein fades from existence.

The silver skein is functionally infinite in length as long as the holder remains within 650 ft of the location where it was tied. If the skein is severed or the object it is tied to is moved, the skein returns to the holder undamaged.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Dimension Door; Cost 750 gp

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

A single 4th level scroll of dimension door will run you 700 gp...which is nearly half what this item costs. And this thing is a one-shot item, as well. But that last part about it being severed or the item being moved makes the skein return to you, which I guess means you never activated the dimension door effect, so you can use it again. In that way, I suppose you can always use it to retrace your steps and roll it up again. As long as you don't teleport back to where you tied it off, it's reusable.

I kind of like it. It's sort of like spooling out something as you go through a maze so you can find your way back out...but the skein is only visible to you (and ethereal creatures, which I think the designer should have pointed out--and I'm left wondering what might happen if such a creature chose to interact with the skein on the Ethereal Plane).

But, it's kind of a cool idea.
Mechanics are mostly solid (i.e., would like to know its hardness, hp for severing).
Writing is decent.
Presentation still has some holes in using the template correctly (i.e., lower case aura and spell name, needs a comma in the price, etc.).

I'm a Weak Keep on this one.

CEO, Goblinworks

I like this, because it's not revealing anything - you have to explore, this just helps you find your way back to a start point. And if you get yourself in too deep, it's got a built in escape hatch.

Keep.

Paizo Employee Developer

I'm confused by the "infinite in length" description right before the "within 650 feet" limitation. Which is it? If I've got an ethereal string behind me and I'm walking through a maze, wouldn't it pull taught behind me and start moving through the solid walls and obstacles blocking my path?

I wanna use this to steal dragons' treasure hordes; go in there and touch all of it at the same time, then instantly teleport back with no weight limit to outside its lair without it ever knowing what happened.

But what happens if I walk too far with it (meaning beyond 650 ft)? Does it stop following me? Does it rip off? Does it return to me, or do I have to go back and get it?

In the end, I can overlook these questions for the designer's execution of a timeless idea (Ariadne's golden thread) with a new twist.

Weak keep

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Not bad, not bad.

It's hard to actually get lost in a game where you're looking down at a map on the tabletop, but this item is good for dealing with situations where your characters actually can get lost... or if you get in a tight spot (like everyone in the group is knocked out but you and other enemies are approaching) and you need a quick retreat to a safe place to heal and buff up.

I think it's neat that it has an infinite length but a limited radius from its origin point. That means you can loop across yourself in a maze infinite times, as long as the start and end point never are more than 650 feet apart.

Keep.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

The nod to Greek myth is a plus, and I like the powers fairly well, but I don't know that it really grabs me... And, while I got the meaning of last sentence, it isn't as clear as it could be, and does distract.

Good but not great.

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

Your classic maze solving item. Good reinvention of something from mythology. I like that monsters can’t cut or follow the thread, that’s a good improvement. You probably shouldn’t have used ‘ethereal’ because it has a lot of baggage in the d20 system. I would have gotten over it if you had simply said ‘intangible’.

There could be some limits on how much you can return with, your maximum load and a limit on the number of willing creatures. I didn’t mind the ‘functionally infinite’ part, but I would have like to know what happens if you try to move beyond the 650 feet.

Elegant and simple effects make this a very useful item. As Neil said, at only double the cost of a scroll of dimension door (which is a spell completion item), I get good functionality, but the limitations make the price fair.

Welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! Work on the things the judges mentioned, the small formatting things and the slight mechanical holes, and give us another solid concept next round. Best of luck!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

This instantly had me harkening back to the silver cord of 1st Edition Astral Travel. The Grecian reference actually came to me second. :D

I like this item, but there are problems. The problems are not with what is here, but what is missing. I feel like a broken record when I say that there are details missing but you have lots of word count remaining. You’re given an allowance to make your item clear and complete and you’re not using all of the resources allowed. Don’t take that personally, a great many of your Top 32 compatriots have done that as well.

I actually think it should have a hardness and hp for interaction with creatures on the ethereal plane. The fact that it is an object that could theoretically be interacted with helps keep it from being a SIAC. Unless of course you mean it has no hardness and 1 hp? I have no problem with it returning to the owner if the anchor is moved, but I think if it’s severed it should be destroyed. Items that return to their owners undamaged when severed or sundered with seem kind of ‘safe’, in a world that patently isn’t safe.

You also need to seal that loophole with the amount of material carried. The munchkin guild would have a field day with that.

All that being said this is a clever idea that led you on a path to success. I look forward to what you have for us in Round Two.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

A keeper for both the silver cord and labyrinth reasons. Could use a touch more detail, but the core rules do tell us rope is hardness 0, 2 hp, so it's a safe guess the the thread's 1 hp (like in the APG for string and twine) barring notation otherwise.

I'd like to see "and then what?" for exceeding the range limit, or for dragging the thread into a dimensionally locked area. I do like that you've covered the thread being able to stretch infinitely far within the radius, it's a nice visual.


Quote:
The silver skein is a translucent ball of coiled thread.

So while i am sneaking around I have a glowing ball of twine? Can I turn the glow off like I can turn the glow of swords off?

Quote:
When tied to an object with a fixed location, such as a door, tree, or dagger planted in the ground, the skein turns ethereal, remaining visible only to the holder. The skein spools out on the ground behind the holder, leaving a trail she can follow back to the original location where it was tied down.

I like the use of an example of what constitutes a fixed location.

How are you holding something that is ethereal? (really that's probably being a bit nit picky) I think the whole ethereal bit was a good idea but then you failed to address the rules issues of something being ethereal (this has been said already though). My first thought was what Mark Moreland said, as this pulls taunt it should just go through the walls and doors.

I really like this as a GM so I can have monsters who can see invisible objects follow the silver thread to the PC feast.

Quote:
As a standard action, the holder can pull on the silver skein to teleport herself and any touched objects or willing creatures to the location where the skein was originally tied (as dimension door). Once used in this manner, the skein fades from existence.

I hate one shot items because its a waste of treasure, and if its going to be a waste it could have at least have been an immediate action so I could actually get out of trouble. However getting out of dodge is one of the few times a magic item can get away with a standard action activation cost and still be useful.

Quote:
The silver skein is functionally infinite in length as long as the holder remains within 650 ft of the location where it was tied. If the skein is severed or the object it is tied to is moved, the skein returns to the holder undamaged.

I like that you deal with what happens if someone comes along and picks up the dagger example.

One question did come to me thinking back to the World's Largest Dungeon and the Desert of Desolation series how would this deal with something like a Teleporation circle that served as a map maddener, asssuming it kept you within the 650 ft of the location (most do as they simply make you walk around walls.)

I like the thematics, I am just not sure this item would see much actual use due to the use of miniatures and drawn maps. What makes me truly dislike it is loosing the item after I dimension door rather than that being a once a day ability.

Steve Russell

Qadira RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Sect

Unfortunately, you're the last one that I've read, so you get to deal with the tired me.

Anyways, the infinite length with a finite radius is an interesting touch. It's obviously most useful in mazes, though it does serve purpose as a last resort. So, pretty cool.


As a PC I wouldn't buy this item. I would sell it if found in loot -- but as a player I love it, which is impressive to me. Congrats!


The Ethereal Cord thing is cool, but then it`s apparently still limited to same-plane travel (per DD)... What happens if you do any plane-shifting in between activating it and Teleporting back (i.e. plane-shift, but return before activating it)? I guess thematically I don`t get how the item could function in that scenario (which seems legit per RAW), but otherwise doesn`t allow for `zipping back` from across planes. Keeping the power low, I`d probably specify that any magic barring contact between plane severs the Cord, or something to that effect.

I do think the item works well, basically a long-range DD with destination visited by you previously... Before you have access to higher level stuff like Teleport this could be really useful. Nice writing, and good luck!


A very simple, but cool item. I like how it has infinite length but limited range.


I take it back -- I do have a character that would have used this -- my empty hand monk would have used it as some sort of garrote or something I'm sure.


Victor, ignore the confusion evinced by some of the judges- I understood your intentions without any problems (unlike some of the other, less well-worded, items). Obviously, an ethereal string that cuts through walls would be no use in finding your way out of a maze!

I agree with what Sean and Jim said about it, overall. It's a wonderful entry. It has a few holes, for which you should've used more of your allotted words. As for severing it, I thought being ethereal, obviously only ethereal creatures (or those capable of affecting the ethereal plane) could sever it. For that you definitely need to include a hardness, hps, and a break DC. (Unless one assumes the standards Russ mentions- which I don't, as magical items can certainly have enhanced durability.)

Victor, I really like your entry on the whole. You did a great job reinterpreting a very old idea. Many congrats on making the 32 this year!

For Steve Russell: translucent does NOT mean "glowing!" It means light dimly passes through it without it being fully transparent as glass!! Oh, and magical swords' glow can NOT be turned on and off (at least, not in the Pathfinder Core Rules!).

As for being able to hold onto an ethereal cord, if I were GM'ing this in game, I'd rule that the tiny bit of cord the character's holding remains "physical" - until he loses his grip, then it's "I hope you have an ethereal jaunt prepared" time! Or else, rewrite the description slightly to read "...remaining visible and tangible only to the holder." Oh, and monsters able to see invisible things won't be able to follow the cord to the PC feast- but monsters able to see ethereal things will, assuming they have the intellect to realize someone's at the far end! (I imagine phase spiders would figure this out, even if they don't technically have the brainpower- lines and etherealness just come naturally to them! Ooh, my devious GM hindbrain is beginning to froth with wicked plots!)

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Victor Miller, Minotaurs all around the world hate you.
I noticed this didn't have a uses per day, so you can keep starting over that the start of a maze agian and agian.


Makes my top five. Lot of flavor and utility to cost since item seems cheap for what it does. Hard to image a lot of parties trading away this item if found adventuring. Nifty item for crafting parties.


CastleMike wrote:
Hard to image a lot of parties trading away this item if found adventuring.

That's interesting to me, because this is exactly the kind of item that I look at with my DM hat on and think, "This is really cool" but my players would for 100% sure sell instantly.

(This is, if anything, a frustration of the general pricing rules of the game or general PC treasure assumptions and how hard it is for niche or cool items to compete with boring static bonuses, not a knock on Victor or the Skein.)

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

Victor, congratulations and welcome to Superstar! You've definitely got a fantastic item here, probably wanting another pass to address the comments above. But its theme it tight. Your melding of the Silver Cord with the classic string-in-the-labyrinth is really creative. I really like what I see here and can't wait to see what you give us in the later rounds.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
CastleMike wrote:
Hard to image a lot of parties trading away this item if found adventuring.

That's interesting to me, because this is exactly the kind of item that I look at with my DM hat on and think, "This is really cool" but my players would for 100% sure sell instantly.

(This is, if anything, a frustration of the general pricing rules of the game or general PC treasure assumptions and how hard it is for niche or cool items to compete with boring static bonuses, not a knock on Victor or the Skein.)

I think part of the reason it would get sold so fast is due to the fact that its a specific type of item for situations that rarely comes up (mazes) and if they do come up the GM is unlikely to allow such a "simple" thing to "foil" their maze.

It's a neat item -- I really like it, but it fails in the "Makes GMing harder" (due to the, "I designed this maze it's not going to fall to a five minute magic item!" syndrome) and "So specific I won't use it" Thought process on a PC side.

Which would you rather have eating up your wealth? This which you might get to use once in a campaign (and the GM might stymie then), or a hat of disguise/necklace of fireball(type 1)/ broach of shielding?


Probably depends on your campaign record keeping requirements and whether canned adventures are used in the campaign. Old school I'm used to mapping.

So many campaigns use some type of dungeon delving on some kind of regular basis even if you had to do some investigating and travelling to get there. It seems like the BBEGs are usually headquartered or encountered in a large lair of some sort cavern, dungeon, csstle or other lair the PCs need to explore.

In most but not all of my canned adventures the dungeon is rarely larger than 650' from the entrance.

The Skein allows fast party exits without getting lost with a party just running away from an encounter they probably wouldn't survive possibly due to injuries and lack of healing resources by simply following the bearer of the skein.

Particularly nice if you tie it at some point after entering cavern, dungeon, lair which really extends it's "dungeon" range at 650'. The party only gets 750 GP if you sell this and it has a lot of utility for entering dungeons. Lot of utility for a party for the price compared to what they could sell it for and then purchase for 750 GP.

Qadira Star Voter 2013

Is it just me, or has this been almost done before? I seem to recall a phase spider web and a line that you could spool out. Which upon being cut teleported you to the snipped location.

Might this be a case of dejavu, or is this different enough to be okay?

EDIT: The item was Ethereal Tether from 2009, this is a cheaper and single use version with less versatility. I suppose that's different enough. Congrats!

Contributor

The turning ethereal thing keeps popping up for me as a bit much. If it's ethereal how does it stay connected to that original object it gets tied to? What if an ethereal creature decides that it's shiny and tries to run off with it?

Star Voter 2014

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

Very cool item. I had some of the same nitpicks as others did (ethereal opens a big, if potentially fun, can of worms), and I was also reminded of the Ethereal Tether. Overall, though, this seems like a fun item. The infinite length within 650 feet made perfect sense to me.

Rite Publishing wrote:
Quote:
The silver skein is a translucent ball of coiled thread.

So while i am sneaking around I have a glowing ball of twine? Can I turn the glow off like I can turn the glow of swords off?

I want to point out here that "translucent" doesn't mean glowing, it means "permeable to light." Basically I picture this kind of like fishing line.

Shadow Lodge

For a fun, neat little item I think the price is perfect. I think its a real trick to price magic items that don't have much in-combat effect to make it be both appropriate and also something that will still entice people to drop the gold on them.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

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

This is a very cool item with a great core concept--"bread crumbs" plus a one-shot, disposable dimension door. The fact that the skein is translucent rather contradicts the item's title though. Maybe the idea comes from the silver cord that trails someone on the astral plane. I'd change the title to drop the veiled, probably unintentional association with the wrong plane. I like the relatively low cost for a very useful one-time dimension door. As a GM, I like its disposablity. This could easily become a classic rogue babble, handed out by an employer before a big job.

This was little confusing: "The silver skein is functionally infinite in length as long as the holder remains within 650 ft. of the location where it was tied." My inner geek gets it now, but I think this could have been explained in simpler terms, with greater clarity and you had some word count left. I'm left wondering why the range is 650 ft. and not an even 500 ft. or something like that.

Since the item is mostly harmless and of one-shot use I'm comfortable with the price/cost, though I still think it might be a tad low.

Overall, this a solid item with a great core idea. You'll want to sharpen your formatting skills though (capitalization in the stats and construction requirements) for future rounds and try to avoid those nasty passive sentences.


Richard: I'm thinking he rounded down from 680 feet (the max range of a 7th caster level dimension door). But I agree, a nice even number like 500 feet works better for me too.


WOW!!! AWESOME!!! This is definately in my top 5 Superstar items. I'm old school when it comes to maps - as long as the adventure is taking place in a large building or underground, dungeon or otherwise, I don't just lay out a map for my players, they've got to draw a map based on what I describe to them...and I'm particularly fond of mazes.
Very nice. I can see my players adding this to their list of Standard equipment - Boots of Striding and Springing, Bag of Holding, Portable Hole, and now the Silver Skein. Looking forward to your archetype in round 2!!!


Victor Miller wrote:
Silver Skein

Good mechanics, useful item. More so for players than for a GM, but that's okay, sometimes. Doesn't blow my mind, but doesn't give me a headache like some other entries have. Step it up next round, though.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

Keith Savage wrote:
Richard: I'm thinking he rounded down from 680 feet (the max range of a 7th caster level dimension door). But I agree, a nice even number like 500 feet works better for me too.

Yeah you're probably right. :)

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

How ironic. My last item reviewed is an item designed to get you back to the start.

I do like the concept, though I think it would "short out" with teleporters and the like. It keeps it a low level niche, or a one shot 'teleport detector' Being a fan of mazes, my players would like this item. The 'unlimited length, 650' range' confused me too. On first read I thought it meant that you could go any distance away, but the teleport only worked withing 650' of the point of origin.

Neat concept just could have been a bit clearer I think.


Nice item, Nice theme, nice execution. Everything nice and shiny, with a little extra of Cool on top.

I for some reason wasn't confused by the notion of infinite but within 650ft, it is kinda odd but I immediately got how it was supposed to work ( Or at least I think I got it, I might be wrong ;) )

This is somewhere in the middle for me. I would like it if you stepped up a little with your archetype.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

My thief could have used this item outside the moathouse near the village of Hommlet when the giant frog swallowed him. I wasn't sure if you could teleport out of a creature (a frog doesn't have teeth to except for those killer frogs to sever the skein) so I think this item could be very useful.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Serpent

My rating system: (++) awesome > (+) good > (+-) ok > (-) weak > (--) terrible

Core idea, innovation: (+-) Basically, just a SIAC, but one with a nice twist.
Flavor, description and name: (+) Nice visuals! It's easy to picture in my head what the item and its effect looks life. Also, I like the name.
Mechanics, balance and rules-fu: (+) It's a pretty "safe" item, but I like safe items better than ones that give the GM and players headaches.
Formatting and spelling: (+-) Mostly correct, but there are some minor issues as has been pointed out.

Overall rating: (+) Good, but not great. Perhaps a bit too "safe" to be truly Superstar.


Victor Miller wrote:

Silver Skein

Aura Moderate Conjuration; CL 7th
Slot None; Price 1500 gp; Weight 1/2 lbs.
Description

The silver skein is a translucent ball of coiled thread. When tied to an object with a fixed location, such as a door, tree, or dagger planted in the ground, the skein turns ethereal, remaining visible only to the holder. The skein spools out on the ground behind the holder, leaving a trail she can follow back to the original location where it was tied down.

As a standard action, the holder can pull on the silver skein to teleport herself and any touched objects or willing creatures to the location where the skein was originally tied (as dimension door). Once used in this manner, the skein fades from existence.

The silver skein is functionally infinite in length as long as the holder remains within 650 ft of the location where it was tied. If the skein is severed or the object it is tied to is moved, the skein returns to the holder undamaged.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Dimension Door; Cost 750 gp

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?
Mildly.

Does the item help a demonic seductress to keep a paladin house pet?
No.

Is the item otherwise useful?
Mildly.

Other Comments? (including World Domination potential on the evil laughter scale, where appropriate)
As a piece of general rambling before getting down to business, this item puts me in mind of an 'Ethereal Tether' which another merchant was touting around these parts a couple of years back... ;) Ah well, back to business.
The 'infinitely long within 650 feet of a fixed point' is of interest to me, as is the fact that once one end is secured the skein goes ethereal. Given long enough (assuming it can be overpowered for a bit in the first place) I assume that it's possible to very securely 'bind' a spirit or other ethereal creature with this item. Since in any case creatures that happen to be on the ethereal (such as any succubi who happen to be jaunting through the area for example...) will likely be able to see and interact with an 'ethereal' thread it would be useful to have some idea of the durability and toughness of the thread.
As a further query, I'm curious as to just how a holder on the prime material plane manages to hold onto one end of an otherwise ethereal thread? Or how the end supposed to be 'tied' to something remains secure? And can one 'holder' pass the part of a 'secured' thread which they're holding to someone else. There seems to be rather a lot which you haven't said...
I am interested in the item, but principally because I want to find out if you can tie a ghost up with a silver skein... ;)

Gollum Rating:
Fisssh.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Bats Kabber

Hmmm, I see this as a tomb raider/Indiana Jones item. Stake this at the door, get past all the traps, steal the idol and yank the cord before the whole temple comes down on your head.

Also extremely useful when you've inadvertently angered an entire tribe of cannibals and they are chasing you.

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

This item is pretty nifty. It lightens the requisite "map-making" piece of dungeon exploration for groups that would rather not deal with that bit of paperwork. It's also a one-time panic button, if I'm reading it correctly.

This aspect decreases the deus ex machina that sometimes is done to keep the story flowing or the characters alive. This is especially helpful when you have kids at the table - kind of a "reset" button so new/young gamers can learn to strategize without running through a plethora of characters.

I like it, and I'm going to pitch this item to the other adults at our family game on Friday nights. :)

Congratulations.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

This is really cool, and while only useful in some situations, it's almost a must have for them. I would however note how many willing creatures the holder can transport (I know dimension door will tell you this, but it saves looking it up, and it seems like you have the space for it) I agree with others regarding severing the item, and interacting with it from the ethereal plane. Since you had the room it would have been nice to see some detail here. These are really minor issues though, and don't truly affect the functionality of the item.

I would most definitely seek one of these out if going into a labyrinth or large unmapped dungeon, but I doubt I would buy one just in case.

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

OK, did anyone else have to look up "skein"? I'm embarassed to admit it.

Very clever item here. I can see it being used by a daring burglar as a very befuddling method of escape. I think one of these should be in the belt pouch of every rogue. Just not the rogues in my campaign. ;-)

Nice, well written item. Kudos! Best of luck going foward!

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