Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Pharasma’s Death Sacrament


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

Pharasma’s Death Sacrament
Aura faint necromancy; CL 3rd
Slot --; Price 300 gp; Weight -- lbs.

Description
Created by the followers of Pharasma, this unleavened wafer is blessed with the power of the Lady of Graves. When placed within the mouth of a deceased humanoid, it binds with its dead flesh, rendering the corpse incapable of rising as a member of the undead. This holds true for all forms of undeath: whether the deceased died of ghoul fever, blood draining from a vampire, or the use of necromantic powers to create a skeleton or zombie, this prevents the corpse from rising as one of the cursed undead.

A death sacrament must be used within one hour of death for its power to be of any use. It does not impede resurrection or reincarnation, both of which are viewed as acceptable within the tenets of the Fateful Church of Pharasma. If a corpse treated with the sacrament is later raised or resurrected, there is no lingering protection from becoming an undead creature.

Construction
Requirements gentle repose, must be a worshipper of Pharasma; Cost 150 gp

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I like this item a lot. It helps adventurers get past the double-whammy of losing a party member to an undead which creates spawn in 1d4 rounds. As long as you can reach your fallen friend in time to administer one of these wafers, at least they don't rise up and further complicate things by giving the bad guys an extra ally while depriving you of one. And, later, you can hopefully resurrect them and save their life. Very thematically appropriate for a priest of Pharasma. I think this shows good design insights as well as potent innovation on the part of the designer.

That said, they still have room for improvement. For instance, they still need to specify Craft Wondrous Item in the construction requirements. And, you don't need "lbs." when you have a weight of "--"...

Still, I'm voting Keep!

CEO, Goblinworks

Concur.

Keep.

Paizo Employee Developer

I'm not sure Pharasma and her followers would be all hunky dory with resurrection either, though I guess they're better with that than undead. 300 gp seems really low a price for this, even as a single use item that still leaves the creature dead. I'm also curious what happens after the body is resurrected regarding returning as undead. If I kill an evil wizard who I know wants to be a lich and I feed him this, then his minions resurrect him, can he still become a lich down the road?

Certainly, as Neil says, room for improvement, but it's a useful, flavorful item that I could see people using in all sorts of situations.

keep.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

This is a simple item. The design is smart, and the price is about right. It's not a very exciting item, but it certainly is useful.

Keep.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

Other than having to double check the effects of rest eternal from the APG to make sure that wasn't a better spell to use as a requirement for this, I'd say this item is quite likable. The price seems about right for characters who are the level to start facing the threat that the item is designed to protect from. Clear cut and easy to understand, with good grasp of world flavor.

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

A good simple low-level item, fills a niche, and the fluff is good. You certainly have enough word count to put it in. The sacrament stops the body rising up as undead, but what about someone killed by a shadow or wraith? It isn’t their corpse that rises up. You may have to work on tightening your wording in future rounds where you won’t have the word count to play with.

I was going to say that listing the action needed to shove one of these in a dead person’s mouth might have been good, but after thinking about it I don’t feel it’s needed.

Welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! As you noticed from the other judges comments, you will want to up the excitement level in future rounds. Go a little gonzo. Best of luck!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I might like this item more than some of the other judges, if only because my players are always blessing and praying over the fallen to discourage them from coming back from the dead. They did that this weekend in fact. They even pray over enemies, not that I constantly have old enemies come back to haunt them. These would see immediate use at my table.

Mark Moreland wrote:
If I kill an evil wizard who I know wants to be a lich and I feed him this, then his minions resurrect him, can he still become a lich down the road?

Yes he can. The text actually addresses this, there is no lingering protection (or if you will, prevention) from becoming undead.

It might not be exciting to everyone, but this is one of the low level items I really like. It fills a niche I have seen while GMing, that hasn't been filled prior.

Good work, you've laid this round to rest! You might want to spice it up next round however. Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

OMG ... this is an amazing surprise to come to when I am home sick today! Thank you for all your kind words and constructive criticism. :)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Get well soon. You've got 3 days to submit an archetype for Round 2. But go ahead and take a moment or two to celebrate first. ;-)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Amen! I had to have an infected tooth pulled in the middle of last year's contest. No fun when you're trying to write. By all means take care of yourself, you got some work to do!

And by golly, I really did like your item. ;)

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

I love nice, simple, clean items that your characters want to own. Congrats on not succumbing to the impulse to over-write. When I talk on Paizo chat about how good items don't need to be lengthy, this is what I mean. Tying it to Pharasma's belief system (rather than just her name) was a nice touch.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Russ Taylor wrote:
I love nice, simple, clean items that your characters want to own. Congrats on not succumbing to the impulse to over-write. When I talk on Paizo chat about how good items don't need to be lengthy, this is what I mean. Tying it to Pharasma's belief system (rather than just her name) was a nice touch.

Agreed. I often found myself writing, "Why didn't you use more of your wordcount?" This item was an exception to that. That's because the mechanics were clean and straight forward, just like Russ says above.

That is the downside of tinkering with new concepts, as much as that is praised. You also need to be able to explain them.

Even after I've judged it, this item continues to grow on me even more than my initial remarks. As a guest judge you don't get the opportunity to 'live' with them more than 3 or 4 days.


I like this item, it's very useful.

Was it necessary to state "this prevents the corpse from rising as one of the cursed undead" after stating the corpse was incapable of rising as an undead creature?

Silver Crusade

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

Great item, my second favorite of the bunch. Go Grrrl !

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

And now comes the "fun" part of answering without overtalking ::chuckle::

Thank you all for your comments, and I do realize the errors I made (Neil, I was face slapping myself over that omission within a day of submission LOL! One of those real "D'oh!" moments)

I think, given more professional criticism and advice, all of us would turn out finer tuned products, but that's what editors are for, right? :) Now to tighten my own skills up for the coming rounds and try to avoid any more D'ohs.

I would like to say a very personal thank you to all the fine folks at Paizo for creating such a wonderful world to ramble around in. I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons since those little pink books in the white box came out, and was a completely devoted fan to the Forgotten Realms for years. And I must say that with the appearance of Pathfinder and the World of Golarion my enjoyment of the game has been completely revitalized! Thank you for your inspiration.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Sect

Ooh, useful! I bet people in places like Ustalav love this item.


Sue, this is wonderful wondrous item! I can really see my brother's cleric using it for just about all of his allies (he lost a number recently). I think making a low-cost, low level good item is harder than making a more expensive one. You did great there!

Hope the excitement is enough to get you over that cold asap! Congrats on winning!


Awesome job.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
It's not a very exciting item, but it certainly is useful.

I completely agree. It doesn´t make you jump out of your seat, but show me ONE party who wouldn´t go "Oh man, why didn´t we get a Pharasma´s Death Sacrement before raiding this vampire lair" as their fighter starts growing fangs.

Having one of these around just gives you that warm feeling of protection from undeath.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Sue Flaherty wrote:
I think, given more professional criticism and advice, all of us would turn out finer tuned products, but that's what editors are for, right? :)

Always remember, you are your first editor. And if you turn over something you've tightened into B+ or A- material, it makes it all the easier for your actual developer/editor to crank it up to A or A+ material. So don't skimp on fine-tuning your own stuff. Learn and educate yourself as you go through this competition. Observe how others do things. Review the judges' commentary, even on designs other than your own. And start stockpiling all those lessons so you can draw on them when you need to again.

Just my two cents,
--Neil


With this as a template item, I want to see what Iomedae would do...

...and that's the first item that's made me ask a creative question like this so far. I've never made Mac and Cheese straight out of the box; what interesting spin can I apply to this thing to make it work in my campaign? I really, really like this item. I can see these wafers being mandatory traveling accompaniment for priests of Pharasma (and, with adjustments, many other deities).

Can't wait for your archetype!

Star Voter 2013

The simplicity of this item just sells it. Good work, this is probably my favorite item of the bunch so far (and I'm nearly done). I can see a cleric toting around a little dispenser of these whenever a vampire or something comes up in a rumor.

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

Wow! This is so cool, I got "coolbumps" on my goosebumps. (I live in CO, and it's chilly here).

Halfway through my initial reading, I wanted a dozen of these. And, more to the point, I wanted to play a cleric that could make these. I don't typically play clerics. :D

Thank you for creating an item that encourages me to broaden my roleplaying horizons. I really want to take a gander at your archetype.


What's "exciting" about this item to me is this:
in a world where fighting undead is a definite possibility, this is precisely the type of item that would necessarily be invented. It just makes instant sense that some cleric came up with this. I think it bolsters the verisimilitude of the setting.
And what's exciting to me is that something so necessary, so logical in its inception, was still floating around out there in potentia waiting to be imagined.


I really like this one.

In previous years (I haven't given all of this year's a good read yet, so I'm going to categorically exclude them from this comment), most of the single-use RPGSS items struck me with the feeling of, "I think this has a lot of style, and I'd love to give this out as a GM, but there's a 99% chance my players would try to sell or barter it instead of actually using it."

The thing I really like about this item is that while I still think it has a lot of style, I feel like even from a player perspective it's a keeper. Here's hoping that blend of style and substance takes you far this year!

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

This is ace: elegant simplicity, clever effect, easily understood and nice flavour.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka primemover003

Way to go grrl! This item would definitely work well in any horror themed campaign, Carrion Crown I'm looking at you. Simple & elegant.

--Vrock you like a hurricane!

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

Sue, congratulations on your first round of Superstar! As others have said, it's a simple and incredibly handy low-level item. Tightly designed and carries enough Golarion flavor to add to its theme without making it difficult to use for campaigns not set in Golarion. I predict this item unofficially seeing a lot of use in Carrion Crown. Welcome aboard!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

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

The core concept behind this item is interesting, but the item itself bothers me a good deal. It appears to prevent the execution of several relatively high level spells at an extremely low price/cost, animate dead and raise dead, just to name a couple. The item needs to specify all of the spells and effects it prevents too. As written, this item would cause some player arguments since there's a lot of wiggle room for interpretation.

Vampires are also formidable opponents, yet this item stops a victim from rising cold, which for me is a plot buster, again, at way too low a price/cost. The within "one hour of death" requirement isn't all that much of a restriction since any cleric in the party can just slip a wafer to a dead party member on the spot. The only other spell in the core rulebook that prevents raise dead is soul bind and that's a 9th level spell. This item just doesn't seem to play fair for the price/cost. Frankly, every good temple in the land would be baking these bad boys up and handing them out free, with a good chance of wiping out one of the more horrifying key abilities of many undead monsters.

I see no real reason why these would be restricted to Pharasma. I'm sure they'd share the recipe with other good faiths wanting to keep undead permanently at bay. The construction requirements are way light.

Overall, I like the core concept but not the item itself. :(


It's a very focused item, a little too focused. I could see this item as a way to spread the faith of Pharasma in a public, albeit passive fashion. All in all, nice concept, a little let down in it's strong focus to one particular group.


Sue Flaherty wrote:
Pharasma’s Death Sacrament

Simple, cheap, and useful. Nice work. I use a lot of undead in my games, and I can think of many occasions that my players could have really used something like this.

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

I like it, short and simple and to the point. I might even have removed 'death' from the title, though with her portfolios, that's a good choice to keep it in.

This also shows you don't *need* 300+ words to make the item work.

And because it begs for a joking tribute:

Spoiler:

Well, I knew that man was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew those dice in his hand and his GM's eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!
Now roll for initiative!!"

Congratulations, get well and wow us with the archtype.


I too think that protection from spawning effects is something that is still missing from the game, and I really love the idea. After all last year i submitted something that suppressed spawning too.
You item is tightly focused, neat and polished. That, coupled with a great idea makes an item superstar.
Maybe not quite in my Top, but definitely close. I really look forward to your archetype.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 aka The Leaping Gnome

"Aw man, the halfling ate all of the holy wafers again!" "What? I have low blood sugar!"

Great item, possibly a bit under priced though. Single use, use activated: 4 (rest eternal spell level) x 7 (minimum caster level for 4 level spell as a cleric) x 50 (single use, use activated)=1400.

Granted this is a lot more focused than rest eternal.

Love the idea though.

Good luck round two!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

A low cost item is nice to see. I haven't used too many undead that killed PCs so they could come shambling back but maybe I should. Certainly in games with lots of undead (like the upcoming AP) this item would be helpful.


Sue Flaherty wrote:

Pharasma’s Death Sacrament

Aura faint necromancy; CL 3rd
Slot --; Price 300 gp; Weight -- lbs.

Description
Created by the followers of Pharasma, this unleavened wafer is blessed with the power of the Lady of Graves. When placed within the mouth of a deceased humanoid, it binds with its dead flesh, rendering the corpse incapable of rising as a member of the undead. This holds true for all forms of undeath: whether the deceased died of ghoul fever, blood draining from a vampire, or the use of necromantic powers to create a skeleton or zombie, this prevents the corpse from rising as one of the cursed undead.

A death sacrament must be used within one hour of death for its power to be of any use. It does not impede resurrection or reincarnation, both of which are viewed as acceptable within the tenets of the Fateful Church of Pharasma. If a corpse treated with the sacrament is later raised or resurrected, there is no lingering protection from becoming an undead creature.

Construction
Requirements gentle repose, must be a worshipper of Pharasma; Cost 150 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?
No.

Does the item help a demonic seductress to keep a paladin house pet?
No. Not unless you're trying to train/keep undead servants too (and putting a paladin and undead servants under the same roof is like putting a fire elemental in a military warehouse packed with alchemist's fire)...

Is the item otherwise useful?
Not usually.

Other Comments? (including World Domination potential on the evil laughter scale, where appropriate)
There isn't a lot to say about this item, other than at least it's cheap. That means that if you are one of those eccentric 'adventuring succubi' (like one certain Jaysundra Golvane) you can afford to have one or two around 'just in case'.

Gollum Rating:
Complete lack of interest.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congratulations Sue!
Strength (Overall): 14
Dexterity (see time in my campaign): 16
Constitution (long-time keeper): 14
Intelligence (mechanics): 14
Wisdom (writing craft): 12
Charisma (flavor/visuals): 12
Simple, necessary and but not fool proof, thanks to the time limit. Nice play. Oddly, the lack of spark in this item should not make me think superstar. However the sheer simplicity has a spark of its own.

My apologies for being such a slow reader and not getting you feedback sooner. Again, congratulations and good luck! :)

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Bats Kabber

Oh yeah. This one goes in my top 5 bin. Simple and highly useful.

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

My current campaign has a plethora of undead that would make having this item successful. Though, surprising, my group had more trouble at 4th level with two CR2 Skeletal Champions than two CR4 Cairn Wights that could drain their energy. Congrats!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

Super cool. This has great flavour and utility without going overboard on power or scope. I think it's perfect.

I will use this, again and again and again.

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

I'm not sure if this has been said before, but I can't believe this hasn't been created yet! It's awesome and extremely useful. It's a definite sign of Superstardom that you can create a brand new item that feels like it has been with us all along.

The writing is clear and concise, and the design is very efficient. This is expert work. I will steal this item for sure. Kudos!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2011 / Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item / Pharasma’s Death Sacrament All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item
Shadow Falconer's Glove

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.