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Spellblight Cage


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Spellblight Cage
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 7,500 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
Constructed of twisted bands of iron with a hinged door on one side, this cage appears sized to hold a Diminutive creature. If either a minor or major spellblight targets the cage possessor, the spellblight cage automatically captures the affliction instead. The cage holds one spellblight at a time, and it can capture only one every 24 hours. An imprisoned spellblight resembles a miniature will-o'-wisp, shedding light equal to a candle. Whether occupied or not, the cage grants the wielder a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws against spellblights and their effects.

As a standard action, the wielder may open the cage and release the trapped spellblight. The affliction immediately flies from the cage and attacks the nearest enemy spellcaster or creature with a spell-like ability within a 50-foot line of sight. If two eligible targets are equidistant from the cage, the spellblight attacks the target with the fewest spellcaster levels. Much as if the targeted creature cast a spell or used a spell-like ability in an area of spellblight, it must make a saving throw (DC 14 Will saving throw for a minor spellblight, or a DC 22 Will saving throw for a major one) or gain a random spellblight affliction of the appropriate strength (Ultimate Magic 95).

If a target successfully saves against the affliction, or if no eligible targets are within 50 feet of the cage, the released spellblight dissipates harmlessly.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bestow curse, remove curse; Cost 3,750 gp

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Well, this one feels really niche to me. I mean spellblights are very much an optional subsystem to introduce in the game, right? They may not be for everyone. And, this item is so focused on them that it has very limited appeal and won't see much use in a game that doesn't prominently feature them. I mean, how often are they really going to come up? To me, that makes this more of a plot device item.

That said, the designer is obviously trying to stand out by pursuing one of the new rules subsystems from Ultimate Magic. Personally, I wish they'd included at least some other aspect to this wondrous item that would make it useful beyond just spellblights. Just granting some kind of increased save vs. curses in general would help sell it more. Nevertheless, I'm looking at the mechanics of this item. They work. I'm looking at the attention to detail in using the provided template. It's flawless. They've taken great care to research spellblights and give us an item that involves them. That's proactive and innovative. Given all that, I'm going to say...

...Weak Keep.

But, if this item makes the Top 32, I really want to see this designer buckle down and improve over the course of the competition. It's one thing to have this kind of attention to detail. But you also need to search for ideas that will have applicability and usefulness across multiple aspects of the game and not just a single, rarely used subsystem if you really want to create something Superstar.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

This is a keep from me.

Tight design. Great use of an unused design space. This is very well crafted. Is it a 10 in the mojo department? Nope. Maybe just a 7. But this may be one of the best on a purely technical sense and that matters. We so often excuse the technical things this does well I think we should reward technical excellence when we see it. But I do sense this is a tad safe.

Still, big Keep from me.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I like it. Spellblights may be a niche space, but even a GM who doesn't use spellblights could easily tweak this into an "X/day, afflict a target with Y spellblight" item.

Keep!

CEO, Goblinworks

This item is effectively taking a hazard (a spellblight) and allowing the players to transport it and use it at a time of their choosing. That's effectively a monster-in-a-can.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Jatori

Welcome to the Top 32!

You've provided us with a perfectly template-compliant wondrous item. You took a risk when you decided to reference a niche subsystem. It looks like it paid off though, since you made it through to round 2. The item is mechanically solid and easily understood.

Unfortunately, this item doesn't make me want to explore spellblights in more detail. I think that your item should have championed spellblights, inspiring both player and GM to make use of the subsystem.

Good luck for the next round. You've certainly got the technical skills. Now, show us Superstar.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka DankeSean

What I like:
It turns a disease into a cute, tinkerbellish pet!
What I love:
It turns a disease into a cute, tinkerbellish pet! Okay, I just like that part a LOT. I think this is pretty cool. It's got really neat description & visuals working for it, plus playing around with new rules that, while a little bit esoteric (I'll admit, I haven't reread the spellblight section of UM since I first bought it...) are ripe for development.
What needs a little sumptin' sumptin'...
I'll admit that I'm not an expert on the topic of spellblights, but why does the trapped spellblight inflict a random one on whoever it targets? Wouldn't it make sense to have it be the same type as the one that was trapped to begin with? (Okay, was confused enough about this that I looked them up in UM just to be sure, and I see that most spellblights are randomly inflicted on the victim in the first place, but it is possible to inflict specific ones via curses and other means.) I just think this would be a little bit neater if the trapped spellblight was a specific kind (i.e., the 'random' roll was made when it was trapped rather than when it gets used...) and the owner knew what its effect would be before inflicting it on someone. But that's just my preferences, nothing major.
All in all...
I don't care if it's niche, it turns a disease into a cute, tinkerbellish pet! Any qualms I have with this item are really minor. I would LOVE to have a caster toting one of these around and reading his books at night by the light of a spellblight candle. And if I were a DM likely to be making spellblights a recurring part of the game, I'd have no real issues with letting the party get one of these at some point, just so they can give back what they'd been getting. This is fun and, in my book, definitely superstar-worthy. Congratulations and welcome to RPG Superstar!

RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

This is a cage that traps a weird optional rule and lets you release it. Probably doesn’t belong outside the book that published the spellblight rules, but that doesn’t make it a bad design – after all, people will get a lot more out of an optional rule if there are cool ways to interface with it available.

It’s another catch-and-release item, which I’m favorably disposed to, although it’s a boring one because you can’t vary the effect by varying what you charge it with beyond the binary major/minor distinction. Writing is solid and the mechanics are precise. I appreciate that the empty cage still grants a bonus.

Star Voter 2013

I like this item a lot. It's interesting, visually cool, and especially that it does something with some more obscure rule that I like but doesn't get used much. Props on all that.

I do agree that the spellblight in the cage should be the same as the one drained from the caster in the first place. Give the player the option to find a spellblight cage, full with a specific (maybe a particularly nasty) spellblight.


Very niche.

Very very niche. However, for the niche it covers it does so in a very precise, tightly worded, and elegant way.

While I would never purchase this item as any of my characters, ever, nor have I ever seen any spellblights in use, I still think that what you set out to do, you did very well.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Many, many thanks to all the judges for their wonderful, helpful comments and feedback. I truly appreciate this opportunity to enter the next round of the contest -- especially when surrounded by so many talented individuals.

I knew the spellblight rules were very niche, but I couldn't resist the chance to play around with them when creating my wondrous item.

Again, many thanks to the judges for their time and effort.


It may be niche, but it would make a villain memorable if he introduced spellblights to an unsuspecting PC caster who never heard of them. Nasty way to introduce a new set of rules to a group of players.

Curses would be a cool edition and would make it more versatile for a player to use. The item is easy to envision and is interesting, great job.


First of, congratulations on making the top 32. Seems that there's a lot of "save x hazard for later" ideas around. I can see this one being more useful than most though, and I rather like the Spellblight system myself, so despite myself, I really like your item more than I expected to after the first read.

Best of luck further on.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ant Health Warning: this year, I really worked hard on technical execution of my item, so these reviews will likely reflect template use. Brace yourselves for the template fu - it can sting.

Template Use: 9.5/10

Very well done. basics are all good.
template fu says "gotcha, lose a half point for quoting book and page references and italicising book names". Ohhh, fu harsh!

Slot affinity: 8/10

Slot doesnt apply, so this is a gut reaction score in this instance. It has the ying yang thing going for it, so my reaction is 7 (tempered by desireability for my campaign/players - see below)

Abuseability: 7/10
With use of remote opening spells from beyond 50 feet, the item could be used as a spellblight destroyer.
Could two of these contest capture of a spellblight, i.e. cage 1 releases it, can cage 2 capture the released spellblight?

Desirability: 6/10
Unfortunately we don't use spellblights in my game, in the same way we shy away from psionics. This kind of drags down some of your scores purely from a personal perspective. I wish you well in the contest and hope your nicheness doesnt come back to bite you.

Originality: 9/10
This one pulls up your scores as you were trying to "fatten" sparse item collections for a specific market so to speak. Props for that.

Ant Score: 39/50 (78%)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Anthony Adam wrote:

Ant Health Warning: this year, I really worked hard on technical execution of my item, so these reviews will likely reflect template use. Brace yourselves for the template fu - it can sting.

Template Use: 9.5/10

Very well done. basics are all good.
template fu says "gotcha, lose a half point for quoting book and page references and italicising book names". Ohhh, fu harsh!

I vacillated on including or excluding the source reference and page number -- whether this was appropriate or not. In the end, I included it for completeness sake, although I suspected someone was going to view it as unnecessary (and differing from the Pathfinder standard). However, I'd disagree regarding the italics for the book name, as that is how the Pathfinder books do it, unless I'm missing something.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Anthony Adam wrote:


Abuseability: 7/10
Could two of these contest capture of a spellblight, i.e. cage 1 releases it, can cage 2 capture the released spellblight?

I'd say that this could happen -- it would look rather amusing! Fortunately, given how niche the item already is, it would be pretty rare for more than one to appear in a fight at the same time.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

speed66 wrote:

It may be niche, but it would make a villain memorable if he introduced spellblights to an unsuspecting PC caster who never heard of them. Nasty way to introduce a new set of rules to a group of players.

Curses would be a cool edition and would make it more versatile for a player to use. The item is easy to envision and is interesting, great job.

I like the idea of adding curses to the cage -- wish I had thought of that!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

speed66 wrote:

It may be niche, but it would make a villain memorable if he introduced spellblights to an unsuspecting PC caster who never heard of them. Nasty way to introduce a new set of rules to a group of players.

Curses would be a cool edition and would make it more versatile for a player to use. The item is easy to envision and is interesting, great job.

I'm hoping that the spell blight rules get a bit more exposure now, and maybe some people try them out.

Thanks for your comments!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Mark Hart wrote:

...unless I'm missing something.

That's why it was only half a point, because I knew from posts this year that page numbers aren't normally quoted as they can change with errata and reprinting.

(I did the same thing in my entry before finding that out of course).

You are in a high position in my scores thus far, but more to do.

I'm catching up on other posts at the moment, so you others, dont think template fu is resting, he will get to you all over the next few days. :D

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I pretty much agree with the feedback so far. It's a super-niche item, but technically proficient and flavorful. Honestly, if I were judging this item, I might have passed on it. My reasoning might be helpful to you going forward into public votes, so here goes:

If you're going to explore new and obscure rules content, I think you've got to ground it deeply in the main body of the game. As it stands, this item is for people whose games contain loads and loads of spellblights, and I don't think that those people exist. What I would have loved to see (and what this could have been) is an item that seamlessly brings the spellblight rules into a game that doesn't otherwise include them, showing off the new content and giving players a handle by which to bring that material to the table. For example, you could use the ASF means of acquiring a spellblight as a trigger to charge the cage -- i.e., when you roll below 5% on a spell failure roll, your spell turns into a mischievous little wisp in the cage on your belt. Later, you can release the wisp to turn a 30-foot radius temporarily into a major spellblight area as the wisp zips around and emits high-pitched laughter. The point is, you could have created an item that actively adds spellblights to the game, rather than relying on their preexistence. That fine distinction is what makes this an item not just of narrow usefulness, but of limited usefulness.

Honestly, that's a teeny little criticism, but I thought it might be a useful one. Congrats and good luck.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Anthony Adam wrote:

That's why it was only half a point, because I knew from posts this year that page numbers aren't normally quoted as they can change with errata and reprinting.

That is VERY helpful to know -- I hadn't thought about the issue of page numbers changing with future reprints of source materials. (I have wondered if any of the page numbers of info have changed in the Core Rulebook, since it has now gone through five different printings already!).

Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

OwlbearRepublic wrote:

If you're going to explore new and obscure rules content, I think you've got to ground it deeply in the main body of the game.

...The point is, you could have created an item that actively adds spellblights to the game, rather than relying on their preexistence. That fine distinction is what makes this an item not just of narrow usefulness, but of limited usefulness.

Honestly, that's a teeny little criticism, but I thought it might be a useful one. Congrats and good luck.

Excellent and intriguing feedback, and it gave me helpful food for thought. It echoes something that Neil brought up in another thread, and is worth repeating. Thanks!


Between being a cage and focusing on spellblights it's kinda gimmicky but I still like it. You don't even have to keep track of which blight you captured because it releases a random spellblight. Well written.

Good luck

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congratulations Mark,
Nice job in tackling new rules/options. It paid off and I hope you continue to grasp the mechanics with a the decent fluff you have going here (tinkerbell pet? I wouldnae call it that but ok I see it :) Nice job and good luck! :)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Curaigh wrote:

Congratulations Mark,

Nice job in tackling new rules/options. It paid off and I hope you continue to grasp the mechanics with a the decent fluff you have going here (tinkerbell pet? I wouldnae call it that but ok I see it :) Nice job and good luck! :)

Thank you for the kind words and well wishing. With so many talented people vying for those 16 spots, it is going to be challenging (but in a good way).

(I didn't even think of Tinkerbell until it was mentioned by Sean McGowan!)


I've said it before, but it can't be said quite enough, can it? Congratulations and good luck (organization is sooo soooon now)!

Here comes my look over of your item.

First Impression Spellblight? Right, you have my attention, I thought of playing around with those very rules. Looks good, a little strange, but I could see players wanting to save a particular nasty one for an enemy spellcaster. Looks good, and I like you choice of theme.

Analysis
Name: It's not x of y. It's not overly imaginative either, but I like it. "Spellblight" catches my attention, and "Cage" tells me pretty much what it does. That's smart naming.

Template: Looks good, but I don't think the judges need book references?

Description and Clarity: I don't see any issues, so I'll keep it to saying that I like how you describe the similarity to a will-o-wisp. That gives me something to tell my players that's a little more fun than "Cage".

Effect and Originality: It's niche allright, and it's mostly transportable hazard. I wouldn't say that it's all that original on that count, but it tackles new rules well, you handle the mechanics neatly and the effect could easily find use in some games, especially if spellblight figure frequently.

Overall It looks solid, decently priced and the details and use of new elements are probably what really took you all the way. Well done. Continue this way (or better?)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Luthia wrote:
I've said it before, but it can't be said quite enough, can it? Congratulations and good luck (organization is sooo soooon now)!

Very soon indeed... I appreciate the pressure, though. It focuses my thinking. Thanks much for your well wishes -- that is one of the neatest parts about this contest, having so much feedback and interaction with other gamers.

Luthia wrote:
Name: It's not x of y. It's not overly imaginative either, but I like it. "Spellblight" catches my attention, and "Cage" tells me pretty much what it does. That's smart naming.

I struggled on the naming element, trying to find a name that was intriguing, yet not over the top, while still being informative.

Luthia wrote:
Template: Looks good, but I don't think the judges need book references?

No, they really don't, and this was a mistake on my part, since this isn't something usually done as part of Wondrous item descriptions.

Luthia wrote:
Overall It looks solid, decently priced and the details and use of new elements are probably what really took you all the way. Well done. Continue this way (or better?)

My sincere hope is to do much better going forward, to continually improve and learn from my mistakes/shortcomings. Thanks to feedback from other people, it feels like I have a chance to do just that.


Even though spellblights are an optional system, some spells from UM, such as steal voice, inflict spellblights - and that's reason enough for me to like this. Cool idea, bro!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Power Word Unzip wrote:
Even though spellblights are an optional system, some spells from UM, such as steal voice, inflict spellblights - and that's reason enough for me to like this. Cool idea, bro!

Thanks!

I would love to see some future items/spells involving spell blights for Pathfinder, but not sure there's a large enough audience to justify it.

Osirion

spellblights? We own Ultimate Magic and never heard of it. Granted I don't use the book much.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Deidre Tiriel wrote:
spellblights? We own Ultimate Magic and never heard of it. Granted I don't use the book much.

Heh, I've heard and read several people say something along those lines: "Spellblight? What the hey is that?"

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

Mark Hart wrote:
Deidre Tiriel wrote:
spellblights? We own Ultimate Magic and never heard of it. Granted I don't use the book much.

Heh, I've heard and read several people say something along those lines: "Spellblight? What the hey is that?"

I like any item that makes me go learn more about I system I really enjoy. This item is perhaps a too bit niche, but it works well and I like how it looks like a will-o-wisp rather than a boring light source.

Andoran Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Great work, Mark! You took something that I know I had to look up the rules for, and you owned it.

Congratulations, and good luck in the next round!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka motteditor

Mark, I like this item a lot -- perhaps not surprisingly since it reminds me of my own haunting glass, in that it introduces a less-used set of rules and has a similar recharging mechanism. I really like the cage as your choice for the item itself.

This made me look into spellblights a bit, something I haven't used, and I could totally see placing this item into some treasure to introduce spellblights and start incorporating them into a campaign. Could be a neat choice if you want to send a party into an area where magic's gone wonky for some reason.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Epic Meepo

Threat Analysis

You could be serious competition because.... you were very clever in choosing a mechanic to play with, and did some interesting stuff with it.

You could become an even bigger threat in future rounds if... as I suspect you already plan to, you move away from niche mechanics for the voting rounds.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Mike Welham wrote:

Great work, Mark! You took something that I know I had to look up the rules for, and you owned it.

Congratulations, and good luck in the next round!

Thanks for the kind words and good wishes -- I'm gonna need them!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Eric Morton wrote:
You could become an even bigger threat in future rounds if... as I suspect you already plan to, you move away from niche mechanics for the voting rounds.

That's an affirmative. Now, hopefully I didn't go the wrong direction with my organization...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Mark, I like this item a lot -- perhaps not surprisingly since it reminds me of my own haunting glass, in that it introduces a less-used set of rules and has a similar recharging mechanism. I really like the cage as your choice for the item itself

I loved your wondrous item; I enjoy the haunt mechanic, and I think you did a great job shining some light on that part of the game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So I’ll admit ignorance in terms of spellblights, but I like the flavor of this cage. Even if not using spellblights specifically I could see this being easily adapted to any prominent class of afflictions to feature in a campaign—which means I have a few campaigns where this item or a variant thereof could be extremely valuable.

Cheliax

Congrats on Top 32!

I had to look up the spellblight rules in UM after reading this and reading through the comments here, and I agree with the idea that this may have been better (more universal/powerful, less niche) if it captured curses instead (which would also probably raise the price of the item); however many kudos to you for taking a risk with an optional rule and making it to the 2nd round.

Looking forward to your future entries in this competition. Good luck, sir!


Mark Hart wrote:

Spellblight Cage

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 7,500 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
Constructed of twisted bands of iron with a hinged door on one side, this cage appears sized to hold a Diminutive creature. If either a minor or major spellblight targets the cage possessor, the spellblight cage automatically captures the affliction instead. The cage holds one spellblight at a time, and it can capture only one every 24 hours. An imprisoned spellblight resembles a miniature will-o'-wisp, shedding light equal to a candle. Whether occupied or not, the cage grants the wielder a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws against spellblights and their effects.

As a standard action, the wielder may open the cage and release the trapped spellblight. The affliction immediately flies from the cage and attacks the nearest enemy spellcaster or creature with a spell-like ability within a 50-foot line of sight. If two eligible targets are equidistant from the cage, the spellblight attacks the target with the fewest spellcaster levels. Much as if the targeted creature cast a spell or used a spell-like ability in an area of spellblight, it must make a saving throw (DC 14 Will saving throw for a minor spellblight, or a DC 22 Will saving throw for a major one) or gain a random spellblight affliction of the appropriate strength (Ultimate Magic 95).

If a target successfully saves against the affliction, or if no eligible targets are within 50 feet of the cage, the released spellblight dissipates harmlessly.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bestow curse, remove curse; Cost 3,750 gp

Disclaimer:

This post constitutes the views of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus. Being such, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is at complete liberty to change her mind on anything without giving any notice whatsoever. For those of you who missed last year (or as a reminder for those whose memories have failed) Ask A RPGSupersuccubus subscribes absolutely to balance, fairness, and logic in these reviews – in the sense that 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, fairness is a term applicable to assessing either hair colour or more general beauteousness and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.

Note:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus acknowledges the efforts of the ready supply of willing victims on the ‘Nine Blazing Months’ items thread, who inadvertently contributed to the development of weapons-grade questions for use in this round.

Fair is foul and foul is fair supposedly (trust a mortal to make up a piece of complete mumbo-jumbo – it is of course generally impossible to get anything much fairer in any context which actually matters than a succubus). Basically, though, does this item have any useful application in a spa?
No. Spas tend to be kept scrupulously clear of anything which might inconvenience clientele, beyond a certain socially acceptable quality of spy or assassin (which acceptability varies from spa to spa). Ergo this item is generally useless in spas.

Assuming for a moment that it’s more convenient to pay taxes than to circumvent the system, does this item look likely to be a tax-deductible business expense for a succubus art-dealer?
Succubus art-dealers generally worked from fixed location premises. Any areas likely to inflict spellblights on anyone attempting to cast spells are likely there by design of the proprietress, and one of these cages would be needless to counter such shop fixtures. And the item's too hit or miss to justify itself as a reactive item against occasional possible awkward customers who happen to be spellcasters, too.

Is the item useful in a strawberries-and-cream-tea context?
I was going to say 'not at all', but upon reflection, what sort of noise do contained blights make? Do they 'sing', and if so is it charming?
Possibly some potential, requires further investigation.

Other Comments?
Can you catch the strain of a muscle or the break of a bone (afflictions of the body physical as opposed to the essence magical) in a cage? This item would appear to suggest that one could. Interesting...

Gollum Rating:
Ratings of items are prosaic and unfashionably conventional this year. Although rules are there to be broken (so long as they do not involve the dread lord, Orcus) as a general rule no items will thus be rated this year.

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