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Wondrous Items 2.0


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

For all of us who created items that were not Superstar ready. We submitted our items for feedback on the 'Judges, Please Critique My Item' thread. We were given lots of feedback and advice from the judges and our peers. Now hopefully we internalized that feedback and learned from it.

I enjoyed creating my wondrous item and wanted to share it in its improved state. I thought it would be nice to have a thread where those who wished could post their improved wondrous items now that they're automatic, they're systematic, they're hydromatic. Why they're Wondrous Items 2.0!

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Tiniek’s Talkative Tankard 2.0
Aura faint divination; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 6,400 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

This clay tankard has the caricature of a gnome’s face carved on its surface. When the tankard is held and filled with any type of alcoholic drink the face animates and begins to speak.

The tankard speaks in the language of its bearer, but regardless of the language spoken, always speaks with the unmistakable voice of a slightly inebriated gnome. The tankard will begin waxing lyrical about various topics while active.

Due to the tankard’s inebriation and tendency to drift off topic, the bearer must succeed on a DC 10 diplomacy check to focus the tankard on discussing the topic they wish.

If successful, the bearer gets a +5 competence bonus on a Knowledge skill check pertaining to the topic and can make the skill check untrained. The bearer must take 20 on this check to represent the time spent questioning the tankard.

Changing topic or asking additional questions of the tankard increases in difficulty as the tankard becomes more inebriated the longer it is full. The DC of the diplomacy check increases by +5 for each topic discussed.

This ability may only be used once per day. If the tankard is refilled with any type of alcoholic drink during the same day it simply snores contentedly.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, tongues; Cost 3,200 gp

Taldor

I like this very much- reminds me very much of an intelligent pair of drums I drummed up (awful I know i'm sorry...) for a player that liked to role-play the bard element of his Bard/Barbarian/Dragon Disciple- but had only a single bard level and a rather measly bardic knowledge modifier. The drums both had seperate personalities, and were working in concert to slowly corrupt anyone who carried them- but they had also been around for centuries and had knowledge to share.

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

This is a really awesome way to get your pc's to talk to a sage. One of the hardest things to get my pc's to do is use divination or seek professional help.

--Vrock solid

Cheliax

Hey Thomas, nice idea for an item, couple of questions/clarifications...

Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:
Due to the tankard’s inebriation and tendency to drift off topic, the bearer must succeed on a DC 10 diplomacy check to focus the tankard on discussing the topic they wish.

What happens if they fail? Can they retry? How often can they attempt it? 1/round ... 1/day?

Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:
If successful, the bearer gets a +5 competence bonus on a Knowledge skill check pertaining to the topic and can make the skill check untrained. The bearer must take 20 on this check to represent the time spent questioning the tankard.

Just to check I'm clear -- this is essentially giving you +25 on your Take 20 rather than +20. How does this sit with not being able to take 10/20 on knoweldge checks usually? Also most knowledge checks take no time/require no action.

Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:
Changing topic or asking additional questions of the tankard increases in difficulty as the tankard becomes more inebriated the longer it is full. The DC of the diplomacy check increases by +5 for each topic discussed.

Does the DC also increase for additional questions if the topic dosn't change?

Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:
This ability may only be used once per day.

How long a gap can there be between consecutive questions/diplomacy checks?

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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

A few thoughts on the tankard - mostly the same as Callum:


  • It needs a daily limit, say 1/day
  • Retry attempts need to be covered
  • The item is too good as it allows the user to take 20 (with a +5 bonus) on all knowledge checks, provided they make a DC 10 diplomacy check. If you want to represent time taken and balance it appropriately, I'd suggest this: "After conversing with the tankard for an hour and successfully keeping it on topic (a DC 10 diplomacy check that you cannot take 10 on) you may make one knowledge check with a +5 circumstance bonus. The knowledge check may be made untrained. The same topic may only be discussed once with the tankard."
  • Possibly the knowledge checks should be limited somewhat. Does the gnome really have knowledge on every topic in existence?
  • The cost, even for the revised version I suggested above, should be increased. I'd require probably 16,000 for it. For the original version 32,000

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Callum Finlayson, wrote:
What happens if they fail? Can they retry? How often can they attempt it? 1/round ... 1/day?

Thanks for the questions, Callum.

They fill the tankard and try to get it to discuss their topic. If they fail the first diplomacy check, they can try again while the tankard is still full, but it is more inebriated and the DC is now 15. They fail again, they can try again for the same topic, but the tankard is cross-eyed drunk and the DC is 20. If they try to empty the tankard and start over, they will have to wait till it sleeps it off and try again tomorrow.

Callum Finlayson, wrote:
Just to check I'm clear -- this is essentially giving you +25 on your Take 20 rather than +20. How does this sit with not being able to take 10/20 on knoweldge checks usually? Also most knowledge checks take no time/require no action.

The idea of taking 20 on the knowledge check was to represent time spent interacting with the tankard, not for the +20 to the actual skills check. I used the information from the untrained section on knowledge checks as it refers to using a library to help and another wondrous item, a book of sayings and quotes which I cannot find now, that allowed the bearer to take 10 or 20 on knowledge and profession checks, which usually isn't allowed.

Callum Finlayson, wrote:
Does the DC also increase for additional questions if the topic dosn't change?

Yes. The idea is they spend some time asking a number of questions on the topic and then they get to add the +5 bonus to their roll for that topic. They would have all the answers the tankard had on that topic, so there would be no need to continue on that line of questioning.

Callum Finlayson, wrote:
How long a gap can there be between consecutive questions/diplomacy checks?

This is down to the GM's desecration on how long a take 20 lasts.

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

Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:


Due to the tankard’s inebriation and tendency to drift off topic, the bearer must succeed on a DC 10 diplomacy check to focus the tankard on discussing the topic they wish.

This is my favorite part of your item. This is a fantastic opportunity for a little light-hearted role-playing. I may have to steal this for my current Serpents Skull campaign. It's gotten a bit gritty and could use a little injection of humor. Nice job!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:

Changing topic or asking additional questions of the tankard increases in difficulty as the tankard becomes more inebriated the longer it is full. The DC of the diplomacy check increases by +5 for each topic discussed.

That's a great change. It's entertaining, and it also does what you want mechanically.

However, the 'must take 20' rule still does't make sense to me; non-bards CAN'T take 20 here (and bards do it as a standard action), assuming I'm reading the rules correctly. You can't retry knowledge checks, so there's no way to 'keep trying until you get it right' (I don't think non-bards can take 10 on knowledge either, but I'm not as sure about that). If your item grants the ability to take 20 then I think it should be worded quite a bit differently.

Speaking of penalties for failure, you should also say what happens if you fail that diplomacy check. Can you ponder another subject (with +5 to your diplomacy DC)? Can you ponder the same subject again (with +5 to your diplomacy DC)? Or is the session over because your tankard is rambling and there's no way to stop him?

Edit: Sorry, I stopped to answer some things on my play-by-post and in the interim several posters already raised the same issues.


Nicolas Quimby wrote:
You can't retry knowledge checks, so there's no way to 'keep trying until you get it right'

The advanced rogue talent Thoughtful Reexamining allows one reroll per day of a Knowledge skill check. I would use this as a guide and limit. Reading the original item there is no retry mechanic, and the only retry I see in the discussion is for the diplomacy check.

I happen to like gnomish items so I will be adapting it for my own use. I'd change it to a once daily item with two abilities. After a reasonable time in discussion it either:

1. allows you (upon a successful Diplomacy check at the end of an hour) to make a single Knowledge check, even previously failed checks and untrained Knowledges, at a +10 insight bonus.

or

2. allows you to consult on a single subject (dungeoneering, local, arcana, etc.) A successful Diplomacy at the beginning gets your choice of Knowledge skill. On a failure you can ignore the tankard for no gain or listen to the Knowledge it chooses to impart for a +5 insight bonus for the rest of that day, allowing checks even if you are not trained in that Knowledge. To keep this power in check I'd probably make it either 1d4 hours of conversation or only usable once per week.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

A great concept, I love the visual here.

I agree with most of the issues raised. Assuming you have a +0 on your Diplomacy (meaning no charisma and no ranks), as written this thing gives you a better than 50% chance of scoring a 25 or better on any knowledge check provided you have two minutes. This sorta makes Bardic Knowledge obsolete. This is broken.

If you don't intend to have the auto 20, you need to extend the activation time without mentioning "take 20". Also, consider having different versions for different knowledge skills, greater versions may have two or even three skills. This will help to keep the cost of the item down.

When designing something which directly affects a characters numbers you need to consider the minimum possible results as well as the maximum. If I have no knowledge I reap a huge benefit, perhaps even more than if I have the appropriate knowledge. Also, you need to be aware of which rules your words evoke. When most players see "must take 20" this means they take 20, it does not mean they spend 2 minutes to get the item's benefit. It's very important to consider how, and how easily, something is going to be misinterpreted.

Another concern: How loud is this drunken discourse? If I want to know about the horrible tentacle monster in the next room of the dungeon, can still get the drop on him or does the item ruin or penalize my stealth?

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Nicolas Quimby wrote:
Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:

Changing topic or asking additional questions of the tankard increases in difficulty as the tankard becomes more inebriated the longer it is full. The DC of the diplomacy check increases by +5 for each topic discussed.

That's a great change. It's entertaining, and it also does what you want mechanically.

However, the 'must take 20' rule still does't make sense to me; non-bards CAN'T take 20 here (and bards do it as a standard action), assuming I'm reading the rules correctly. You can't retry knowledge checks, so there's no way to 'keep trying until you get it right' (I don't think non-bards can take 10 on knowledge either, but I'm not as sure about that). If your item grants the ability to take 20 then I think it should be worded quite a bit differently.

Speaking of penalties for failure, you should also say what happens if you fail that diplomacy check. Can you ponder another subject (with +5 to your diplomacy DC)? Can you ponder the same subject again (with +5 to your diplomacy DC)? Or is the session over because your tankard is rambling and there's no way to stop him?

Edit: Sorry, I stopped to answer some things on my play-by-post and in the interim several posters already raised the same issues.

Appreciate the posts. In hindsight using the Take 20 to represent elapsed time was probably not the brightest of ideas. I should have used some other rule for the measurement of time. The untrained section in the rules for the Knowledge skill states, "The time to make checks using a library, however, increases to 1d4 hours."

Maybe something like 1d4 turns and avoid the use of taking 20 altogether.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:

Tiniek’s Talkative Tankard 2.0

Spoiler:
Aura faint divination; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 6,400 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

This clay tankard has the caricature of a gnome’s face carved on its surface. When the tankard is held and filled with any type of alcoholic drink the face animates and begins to speak.

The tankard speaks in the language of its bearer, but regardless of the language spoken, always speaks with the unmistakable voice of a slightly inebriated gnome. The tankard will begin waxing lyrical about various topics while active.

Due to the tankard’s inebriation and tendency to drift off topic, the bearer must succeed on a DC 10 diplomacy check to focus the tankard on discussing the topic they wish.

If successful, the bearer gets a +5 competence bonus on a Knowledge skill check pertaining to the topic and can make the skill check untrained. The bearer must take 20 on this check to represent the time spent questioning the tankard.

Changing topic or asking additional questions of the tankard increases in difficulty as the tankard becomes more inebriated the longer it is full. The DC of the diplomacy check increases by +5 for each topic discussed.

This ability may only be used once per day. If the tankard is refilled with any type of alcoholic drink during the same day it simply snores contentedly.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, tongues; Cost 3,200 gp

About the writing, you need to present the benefit of the item much earlier in the description. With every word people read they are wondering, "So what does this item do for me?" The longer you postpone telling them, the more frustrated they become and the less positive their attitude toward it.

So many of the entries I've read over the past week have this problem that it's probably worth some focus. A statement of the item's benefit should come immediately after the item's physical description. The item should start with the briefest of physical description.

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