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RPG Superstar 2015

9 Blazing Months


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Congratulations Mike!
You Tom, Steve, James, and the other Top 32 gave us a great show and did some truly outstanding stuff. Hopefully this practice will put us into your league soon!

Sadly the banner on the left disappeared today. This means the dedicated (certainly sounds better than 'the obsessed' :) are the only ones likely to find this thread. So welcome to you if you are interested in practicing items for next year's competition.

Some suggestions:

Spoiler:
1) Pick a day and post a new item every month by that day. Do that from now until December & you will have 9 items.
2) Do a rewrite a week or two after that. This requires comments so please critique others.
3) Focus on formatting. It is the one part I feel even marginally qualified to comment on, and then only because of the practice. Practice formatting so you can focus on mojo with your submission.
4) Do not put an actual submission up. That will DQ it from the contest. :) But because it is not an actual item feel free to craft non-wondrous items.

In essence practice deadlines, rewriting, and formatting. As Sean has said this is the part that can be taught.

Spoiler:
I hope to find a group of RPGSS fans who can help me proof my submission. My local group tends to make suggestions that fall into the auto-reject categories. I also miss the SuperStar mojo factor and need someone to help me recognize it (or its absence :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

I figure a link to the round 1 rules can be useful, as it's got the template.

(And is my excuse to dot the thread.)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Also the break down of the magic item stat block by SKR may help. While not int the blog, Neil pointed out that spells need to be alphabetized.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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

I can wake Template Fu up on a monthly basis (give or take a few days either way) if you would like?

If anyone does post an item but would prefer not being eaten by that dreaded meanie, just say so and your wishes will be respected.

For those interested, my attempt at consolidating much of the last 5 years explaining the Round 1 template and linking to other useful posts can be found here.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Let's not forget Sean's consolidated advice thread

And the PaizoCon RPG Superstar panel recording - required listening for anyone serious about the contest.

Finally, let me add from personal experience - practice and plan for ALL the rounds of the contest, not just round 1. Read up on how to do a monster stat-block, how to make a memorable villain, how to make a fun and challenging encounter and the five important elements of adventure design. Because once you see your name among those 31 others, your brain will implode, and if this stuff is not second nature to you, you will be at a serious disadvantage going forward. Trust me, I know.

Good luck, everyone - bring out the awesome.

Also - dot.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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

Dang, I need some sort of google docs login to access that important elements link - is there not a read only public view option?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Anthony Adam wrote:
Dang, I need some sort of google docs login to access that important elements link - is there not a read only public view option?

Neil Spicer's advice on adventure design:
I think really good adventures (and hence a designer's pitch to a publisher for an adventure idea) often breaks down across five key areas. These are all points that Paizo's Erik Mona and James Jacobs cited during their own "Writing for Dungeon Magazine" seminar at GenCon a few years ago.

First...make sure there's a memorable, interesting, and unique villain. Avoid cliches. Mad wizards, vampires, dragons, and cult leaders often get overused. Look for something different, if you can, but not so different that it's "crazy" different, because that can turn a publisher off to your idea pretty quickly, too. If you do wind up using one of the more cliched villains, make them interesting in a way that hasn't quite been seen before. But don't go overboard. Weird is still weird. So you have to make a villain different without making him silly. Most of all, however, make sure the villain and his goals are a legitimate threat. Because this leads into developing a compelling plot (and hence, story) for your adventure. And that's what's going to catch a publisher's eye and grab the attention of those who eventually play your adventure.

Second...make sure the adventure takes place in a memorable, interesting, and unique set of locales. This gets back to location, location, location. You can't do anything run-of-the-mill here and really attract someone's interest. If you're going to do an urban adventure, make sure the city or town has some interesting quirk about it. If you're going to do a wilderness adventure, make sure the forest, jungle, desert, plains, or mountains have something unique about them that enhances everything in the players' minds. Feature the terrain. It's there for a reason. And, lastly, if you're going to do a dungeon crawl, make sure the rooms, traps, and encounters all have some memorable element to them. Basically, imagine the adventure playing out like a movie. Put together various scenes or "cool moments" that could take place at each of the locations in such a movie. These will be the locations you need to include in your adventure proposal and writeup. Because these are the locations where your most memorable encounters will take place. As a result, your players will enjoy themselves more if the location somehow impacts their use of skills, magic abilities, etc.

Third...make sure there's a compelling and interesting plot. Again, avoid cliches. Rescuing a kidnapped princess, fighting off a humanoid invasion, or putting down an undead uprising are overused plots. You can still borrow certain elements from those situations, but you want to make them different and interesting enough in ways that haven't been done before. Make sure the villain's goal is something the heroes will want to oppose. Provide a variety of hooks for getting the PCs involved and keeping them involved over the course of the adventure. Look for any interesting situations where the plot can twist back and surprise the players. Structure your encounter setup so they build off one another and aid the storytelling. And, most importantly, make sure every encounter serves a purpose in the plot. Otherwise, it's just wasted space.

Fourth...give the villain some interesting and memorable minions assisting him with carrying out the plot. This can be anything from a new monster to shaky allies the heroes could turn against their master. Just make sure they have a credible reason for being in the location where the adventure takes place, associating with the memorable villain you have in mind, and somehow help move the plot in a logical way. Avoid including minions that fail to make sense in relation to all those factors. Otherwise, they just come off seeming out of place and very arbitrary. That being said, it's sometimes a great idea to use monsters or NPCs that are "off the beaten path" or a bit underused in adventure designs, because this can add to your "wow" factor and make your idea "pop!"

Fifth...make sure there's an interesting reward at the end of the adventure. What's the pay-off? Is there a unique and memorable treasure the heroes can acquire? Do they earn some kind of recognition or gift from those who hire them? Are they awarded lands, titles, or commendations that help improve the heroes in the eyes of everyone else in the world? These are the things that players and GMs have fun incorporating into the lives of their characters and future gaming sessions. Just make sure it's something that fits with everything else...i.e., the location of the treasure, the villain's attachment to it, and the plot's dependency on it. A good "reward" can sometimes serve as the entire springboard for why your adventure takes place. So don't underestimate it.

Other elements you might consider when designing an adventure proposal or manuscript include:

* Great scene ideas for art and illustrations...something to inspire the imagination beyond the mere words of the text.
* Great maps...something that inspires a tactical analysis of encounters, or that GMs might be able to re-use or raid for other adventures.
* Great NPCs...something that could live on in a GM's campaign beyond that single adventure.
* Great new monsters...something a GM could pull into his own adventures or campaign setting.
* Great challenges...something that lets each character archetype have a chance to shine at what they do best.
* New rules or rule interpretations...something that introduces a new feat, weapon, spell, magic item, etc. Or, a new way of using an existing feat, skill, spell, or ability.
* New world-specific information...something that builds onto an existing campaign setting, providing more history/background etc.
* Scalability...something that provides guidance for how to run the adventure for differently sized groups or different character levels.
* Integration...something that can stand well on its own, play as part of a series of adventure modules, or be easily dropped into a homebrew game.
* Great production values...i.e., the cosmetic packaging of the adventure, including special sidebars, GM advice, player handouts, puzzles and riddles, and making sure everything's in the proper format consistent with every other adventure you've seen a publisher produce.

Neil has also pointed out how the various rounds of the contest is designed to test a specific skill needed to be a good freelancer.


Annoyed that I'm only getting into PF now, as in my years of D&D I'v written a lot of homebrew items/monsters/adventures/etc. I'd love to take part in next years Superstar contest, and a thread or mini-forum dedicated to practicing for the contest would be fantastic; sort of a high critique version of the homebrew forum.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

I agree with Jacob T. I'd definitely suggest using this thread not just for magic items, but for other rounds of the competition. Pitch an organization (even though it probably won't be the Round 2 challenge next year, it's still good practice), a monster or even an adventure pitch. I'd done lots of homebrew stuff in my years of gaming, but I never had to worry about presenting it for other people, and that takes a completely different level of skill.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

OK, I figure I'll get us started with a fetching stick. Obviously this is a joke item (and thus not Superstar), but I thought it was amusing and the effects were kind of neat. It is of course, inspired by my beloved canine, who wishes I were outside using one of these instead of sitting at the computer.

Fetching Stick
Aura faint enchantment (charm); CL 1st
Slot none; Price 1,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
Almost always made from a broken branch about a foot long and several inches think, a fetching stick is beloved by dog owners.

The owner of a fetching stick can throw it up to 30 feet as a standard action, forcing any canine with an intelligence of 3 or less that sees it to make a Will save (DC 11) or be forced to retrieve the stick. If the user throws the stick again, the canine will continue to fetch it; otherwise, the canine may act normally the next round. The effect ends if the canine is prevented from reaching the stick or attempting to do so would harm it (for example, if it is thrown on the other side of a chasm or wall of fire) or if it is attacked.

After 20 rounds, the canine becomes fatigued, but will continue to fetch. If a user throws the stick for one hour, the canine becomes exhausted and will wander away to rest. Each time the stick is retrieved by a canine, the item takes damage as if it suffered a bite from the animal. A fetching stick has hardness 5 and 20 hp.

If multiple canines try to receive the stick, they may fight if the first one to retrieve it does not succeed at an Intimidate check (DC equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier). They will fight until reduced to half hit points, at which point the winner will stop and begin chewing on the stick, potentially giving it the broken condition or destroying it. A fetching stick has hardness 5 and 20 hp.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, call animal; Cost 500 gp

The lesson? Always reread for one last proof! I just almost hit submit without a weight and the wrong cost: I reduced the stick's price from 2,000 to 1,000 in "development" and thus reduced the cost as well. Was about to hit submit when I noticed that I'd accidentally "reduced" the cost to 5,000 instead of 500 gp.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

The homebrew threads are the best place to practice the later rounds, though I agree that some practice should be made. Personally I will wait to practice those items when it is announced as to what they are. It helps dull the edge of the wait between the contest closing and the Top 32 being announced. :)

Those items are a little bigger and can be used in Wayfinder as a complete article. I suggest if you do practice them, submit them to Wayfinder! If you dinnae want to lets start up a round two practice thread. Oh yeah, there is the open call for PFS which you should be submitting to 'for practice' :)

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

OK, I figure I'll get us started with a fetching stick. Obviously this is a joke item (and thus not Superstar), but I thought it was amusing and the effects were kind of neat. It is of course, inspired by my beloved canine, who wishes I were outside using one of these instead of sitting at the computer.

Fetching Stick

Actually this could be quite a useful item, and not necessarily a joke if you wanted it to be. Broaden it from canines to animals/magical animals and it could work. For example, I can see it being a useful niche item to distract the hordes of critters a druid or summoner throws out to distract you. If it allowed familiars, animal companions, pali mounts, and eidelons to be distracted it would have more game appeal, but then you are walking into broken territory. Balance would be key to turning that into superstar. (I should point out I think you are more qualified than I for what superstar means Mr. Top 16 :).

As far as the item's write up. You repeated the hardness/hp gaining some repetitiveness. You repeated the hardness/hp gaining some repetitiveness. (just kidding) Confusion might be a required spell (for the non-joke version) The save DC scales with the critter, which makes the item hard to price. 'Almost always' and 'much beloved' weakens the description a wee bit (backstory?). Likewise 'potentially' giving it the broken condition weakens it (if an item has 1/2 hit points it IS broken) the question becomes does the magic still work if broken (which you need clarify). What is the range of throwing it and what is the action of a 'retrieve' (move to pick up? and move to get there? full round? ) Nice job on the bite damage harming it and a good call to include multiple critter guidelines, preventing an argument at the table. The fatigue/exhausted is a nice touch too. :)

I know you meant this as a joke, but it has potential so I gave it the full critique :) Besides it is fun :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

Thanks, Curaigh. Thanks, Curaigh. : ) (Like I said, you can never proof these too much, even if I just whipped this one together quickly.)

You're right that it could certainly have some applicable uses if you wanted to treat it as less of a jokey item than I did (I tihnk I debated making it all animals at one point). I stuck to canines, as I thought it would be a little odd having a horse play fetch, but I suppose that could be the magic part of it. I do like the idea of something similar targeting eidolons, though I don't know if that'd make it that useful.

For the rest of your much-appreciated critique:
I was going back and forth on the spells required. I considered control animal and then had charm animal at first. Confusion could certainly have been considered, and I was debating looking for something with a rage ability considering the animals might fight over it. There are a couple UM or UC spells that might also have fit in (reckless infatuation?).

I'm not sure whether I'd really agree the save scales with the creature, the Intimidate check to avoid a fight does, but that seems less of an issue to me. I actually just went completely with gut feel on the price for this one, so I'd be curious to hear what people think in terms of what I picked. (I'd had 2,000 as a price, but figured that was a little too high, especially since it can take damage.)

I knew the first description graf was a bit weak, but that's because it's really just a plain ol' stick. I probably would have tried to change that if I'd spent more time (my problem with the practice threads is I get an idea and I just want to get it up, instead of spending the time developing it that I would with a real submission). I don't think calling out who uses it is usually appreciated but I also don't think it's really considered back story (this past year's scent of the savored sting and elixer of resurgent flame both link it to gods/their followers).

I don't think "potentially" hurts, since I think it is a required word (as they might not actually break/destroy it). You're right that I need to clarify what happens when it's broken. I did include a range, however (30'). Probably wouldn't hurt to call out the exact definition of retrieve, though I'm not sure it's required since it should work under the normal rules of going somewhere and picking something up.

And, thanks for the fatigue/exhaustion praise. I definitely liked that part (and the potential fight over the stick). I actually started liking this more and more as I wrote -- I ended up having to do a bit of editing to get under word count at the end. *shakes fist at repeated 8 words!*

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

oops so it is 30' sorry. :)

for those of you wanting to practice monsters...
King of the Monsters is up.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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

Here is my first contribution, starting with something that's naughty & nautical in possibilities... enjoy.

Corsairs Marque of Passage
Aura faint divination and moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight -
Description
This rolled parchment purports to be a Letter of Marque issued by the local ruler. It gives rights of passage, rights to bear arms and rights to operate as a corsair on behalf of the ruler indicated by both closing seal and signature.

When challenged to present papers, the Captain presents the rolled parchment as proof of safe passage. When the Captain and the challenging official are both touching the parchment, the Letter changes its seal and signature to match the official’s affiliation.

The Letter may change itself once per day.

When the investigating official unrolls the letter, it is found to be a valid Letter of Marque for the waters the ship and Captain are currently travelling. The Letter can make mistakes and be discovered as a falsification because it only knows about and able to present lands, waters, seals and rulers that existed at the time of its creation.

To attune the letter to a ship and Captain takes one hour. The Captain must remain in the Captain's cabin with the letter resting between his right hand and the ship's log book.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, augury, fabricate; Cost 5,000 gp

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:


A fetching stick has hardness 5 and 20 hp.

You had this line in there twice. Could have saved yourself 9 words.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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

My feedback for the Fetching Stick...

I am starting to practice non passive writing to some extent, but I'm no expert yet, so do let me know if I am wrong on any of this.

I have placed my version of the description (sans italics etc), to show how I might have reworked and regrouped the various points.

One thing you will notice is I have broken the paragraphs differently and tried to keep themes together, all damage, hit points and hardness in one paragraph, continued throwing in another, effect ending in the next.

I also removed the DC calculation as this is very clearly stated in the Initimidate skill entry in the core rules and the prd - again, not sure about whether this is encouraged or discouraged - It is handy in the item description, but eats words.

Fetching Stick - Word Count 297 - ohhh close.

Template Fu - thumbs up - nothing obvious.

Paragraph 1

- "Almost always" may be tripping passiveness possibly

Paragraph 2,

- first line is definitely passive - it has "can" in it.

- We know it's a fetching stick now, so I reduced the occurrences of this a bit with my reworking

- you can dispense with the "an" before "intelligence of 3 or less", as it is referring to the stat, you might need to Alphabetise and remove "of" too - not sure on that bit, but it would look like... "...canine with Intelligence 3 or less..."

- More passiveness - starting sentences with "if"

- I would probably say this is more complusion than charm, but one has to go with the spell auras, however I think "compulsion" instead of "effect" reads a little better, and I think the example isn't really needed - it's pretty plain what you are getting at.

Last paragraph - "may fight" - passive alert

Questions (some tongue in cheek) -

Could a hell hound on retrieving it and dropping it at the throwers feet (move action, free action) then breathe (standard action)? :P

This question arose because you didnt cover what retrieval consisted off, fetch and drop or fetch and place in throwers hand for example?

I would also consider some sort of save for each throw, possibly more difficult after the first failed save, because my dog will make the save sometimes and run off with the stick :P

You mention the stick taking damage but didnt say what would happen if the next fetch bite breaks it. Does the dog go loopy and mean on the thrower? :D

What happens if 3 dogs are affected, the first dog succeeds against dog 2 on the initimidate check but fails on dog 3? - my experience says dog bundle when dogs start fighting :D

If your stop throwing and then restart, can a canine that was affected the first time be affected the second (i.e. you allowed it to start acting normally)?

Should the thrower need an intimidate check to get the canine to release the stick after fetching it? I usually do - god my dog is wilful at times :D

The text my version of the revised description would look like this...

A fetching stick, beloved by dog owners, is made from a foot long, inches thick, broken branch.

Throwing the stick up to 30' forces any canine with Intelligence 3 or less that sees it to make a Will save (DC 11) or retrieve the stick.

Throwing the stick every round requires affected canines to continue to retrieve. After 20 rounds the canine is fatigued. After one hour the canine is exhausted and wanders away to rest.

Stopping throwing allows affected canines to act normally. The compulsion also ends when the canine is prevented from reaching the stick, or attempting to do so would harm it, or it is attacked.

Each time the stick is retrieved by a canine, the item takes bite damage from the canine. A fetching stick has hardness 5 and 20 hp.

When multiple canines are affected by the throw, the first to retrieve it must dominate all challenging canines with an Intimidate check versus the highest DC of the competing canines.

On a fail, the canines fight until reduced to half hit points, at which point the winner will stop and begin chewing on the stick causing automatic bite damage every round.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Anthony Adam wrote:
Here is my first contribution, starting with something that's naughty & nautical in possibilities... enjoy.

Ok, let's see what we got...

Quote:
Corsairs Marque of Passage

Name gives off pirate vibes right away. I'm expecting some sort of nautical-related deception or stealth item. Should it be "Corsair's Marque of Passage"? Not sure.

Quote:
Aura faint divination and moderate transmutation; CL 9th

Seems ok for the spells used. Not certain it's the right spells, but I'll get back to that.

Quote:
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight -

Price seems high for what the item does. And that is perhaps the main problem of this item. It solves a problem that can be solved cheaper through non-magic means.

Quote:

Description

This rolled parchment purports to be a Letter of Marque issued by the local ruler. It gives rights of passage, rights to bear arms and rights to operate as a corsair on behalf of the ruler indicated by both closing seal and signature.

Describe what the item looks like, not what it appears to look like. That is tricky in this item, though, since it looks like something else. "Rolled up" is a state. Once you unroll the parchment, it is no longer a rolled parchment. (did that make sense?)

Quote:
When challenged to present papers, the Captain presents the rolled parchment as proof of safe passage. When the Captain and the challenging official are both touching the parchment, the Letter changes its seal and signature to match the official’s affiliation.

Several problems here. You mention "the Captain" - it's apparent that you mean the user of the parchment, but you have not indicated that it can be used exclusively by the captain of a ship - for that matter, Captain is also a military rank. Does it function for other crew members? For passengers?

But most importantly, you describe what the user of the item does, not what the item does. It seems a bit clunky and backwards. This is something I have noticed as a general problems in the items I have seen from you. You get caught up in the specifics of exactly how to physically handle your item, and that really hurts your ite,

You use the capitalized Letter all the way through - not sure that is correct. Also, remember to put italics around your item if you mention it.

How about this:
"When presented rolled up to a challenging official as proof of safe passage, a Corsairs Marque of Passage changes its seal and signature to match the official’s affiliation."

Quote:
The Letter may change itself once per day.

Ok limit, but really...how many different warships is going to hail you in a single day? I'd move this line down past the next paragraph.

Quote:
When the investigating official unrolls the letter, it is found to be a valid Letter of Marque for the waters the ship and Captain are currently travelling.

Misspelled "traveling".

Quote:
The Letter can make mistakes and be discovered as a falsification because it only knows about and able to present lands, waters, seals and rulers that existed at the time of its creation.

I don't like this. Not only does it create lots of work for the GM, it also limits the usefulness of an already expensive item.

Quote:
To attune the letter to a ship and Captain takes one hour. The Captain must remain in the Captain's cabin with the letter resting between his right hand and the ship's log book.

Ok. Not sure this is necessary, but no biggie. Already mentioned the "Captain" bit.

Quote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, augury, fabricate; Cost 5,000 gp

Ok to fabricate, but why augury?

Overall, my main beef with this item is this: why would I spend 10K for it, when I can sink some ranks into linguistics or hire someone to create convincing forgeries, or bribe an official to get me a fake Letter of Marque. How many different versions would you realistically need?

Picture this:
Crewman: "Captain, a Chelish warship off the port bow."
Captain: "Right..." Pulls out fake letter #3

Anyhow, hope it helps - not sugarcoated, but hopefully constructive.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Anthony Adam wrote:

...

Could a hell hound on retrieving it and dropping it at the throwers feet (move action, free action) then breathe (standard action)? :P

This question arose because you didnt cover what retrieval consisted off, fetch and drop or fetch and place in throwers hand for...

I just realized WHY this is a problem. It caught me (and others) the first time even if I dinnae know why. As written the retrieve happens on the thrower's turn and is a part of HER standard action. Multiple canines implies multiple initiatives and multiple actions especially when intimidate/fight/chew get involved.

Out of combat I would love to pair this with unseen servant to sneak into the enemies lair :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

You're definitely right, and I think I was thinking about it happening on the thrower's turn as well. Definitely will try to take that into consideration in a rewrite. Sadly, I think that might mean it will have to become more targeted at a single canine foe (or ally!), but we'll see what we can come up with.

Anthony, I think most people would use Handle Animal, but I figure that's part of the magic, getting the vicious mutt to drop/give/out/whatever your command is. Of course, I suppose I do sometimes threaten to beat my dog with the stick if she doesn't give it to me, so I suppose that would be an Intimidate. Still need to look at the rest of your critique more closely, but I appreciate the feedback so far.

As for the Corsairs Marque of Passage, I think I agree with a lot of my esteemed fellow Jacob's comments. To add to it, I think you use a lot of capitals you don't need. Why is captain capitalized, for example? It doesn't need to be. The bigger problem, though, is mojo.

My suggestion would be, before you fully write up your items, break it down into a single sentence of what it does. Make sure it's something BIG.

With your down-to-earth tendencies (which I understand; I fight those as well), I might try to come up with a list of 10 just really cool core concepts and post them here for feedback to make sure you're getting "big" enough. Just give us the very core of the idea: I want something that turns the ground around me to difficult terrain to hamper my enemies; I want something that will create invisibility for tremorsense; I want something that will let me make it difficult to fly in the space above me. Just get very basic in terms of concept at the moment so you don't get bogged down in some of the details, but try to make it as gonzo as you can. Let us workshop those and then turn them into full wondrous items.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Anthony Adam wrote:

Here is my first contribution, starting with something that's naughty & nautical in possibilities... enjoy.

Corsairs Marque of Passage
... augury, fabricate; Cost 5,000 gp

OK this did send buckles swashing through my mind, nice job. :)

We never see a description of the item, or if we do it is buried later. It is not necessary to have a description but the best (SS?) items do. In fact they have evocative descriptions. It gives the reader something concrete to mentally grasp while reading the rest of the text. My Golarian-fu is weak: do all rulers have corsairs? Would this work in a place where piracy is illegal or in a coast with no authority? What if the pirates are the authority? "sorry Blackbeard, this ship is under protection of Redbeard..." Can it be used by other "criminal" elements such as an assassin or a spy? I agree 'captain' should be replaced (in many ships the mate or someone else might present papers). A one shot item would reduce the cost (though any PC with a ship is probably not strapped for cash :)

The spells you chose are problematic for me. I kennae if this is an issue or just something I notice. Augury is a cleric spell, fabricate is a wizard spell. Aye, items can be created by faking/outskilling the requirements, but to me the requirements should never require faking (at the least the caster level would need to be +1 for multiclassing into a level of cleric :). Again I kennae if this is just me or not. YMMV

I suggest bringing the spells closer together in level. If you have to go all the way to 5th level for the transmutation couldn't there be a better divination than 1st level? Detect thoughts and make whole are both 2nd level spells, where the 'broken' "...seal and signature [are repaired] to match the official's affiliation." Just a thought and there are probably betters spells outside the core for this. I do like the idea of the marque and if it can be made to fill other roles this could go much farther.
Nice work, Keep 'em coming :)

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Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
...My suggestion would be, before you fully write up your items, break it down into a single sentence of what it does. Make sure it's something BIG. ...

I am torn on this. On one claw the BIG item should be saved for the competition. On the other, practice making BIG and we will get better at making BIG.

I guess if you are confident you are what Clark calls the young adult or mature dragon, 'tis time to practice on the BIG (or mojo or great wyrm)*

Spoiler:
*Clark did not use these terms. I messed with his post to add flavor, but I want to give him the credit :).

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

Oh, if you think it's big enough to be Superstar, don't post it here (as you've already noted), though either way I think the breakdown into the one-sentence summation is a good design technique.

I meant that suggestion more for Anthony specifically (I hope he doesn't mind), who's talked during the competition about how he can get caught up in mechanics (with his folding pouch, or more recently his horned helmet in one of the other practice threads), and I think he'll really benefit by paring it down to what the core idea of the item is. He's talked about needing more "mojo" as well, and I think for him going REALLY over the top might be good practice. Obviously I'm an amateur too, though, so please take this with a grain of salt.

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My first attempt is actually a rewrite of my submitted item. I figure if I cannae improve with the judge's critique what hope have I of learning anything :)

One critique led it to being two items though :)

Rime Trap Amulet

Spoiler:

Aura moderate conjuration and transmutation; CL 6th
Slot neck; Price 33,400 gp; Weight — lbs.
Description
Feathery, white crystals flow from the diamond center of this amulet. Each forms a unique frozen shape, trapping brief flashes of white light.
When activated the rime trap amulet’s crystals grow across the wearer’s body coating him in an icy rime. The feathery crystals trap cold energy, growing to stitch wounds closed and slow the loss of blood. These ice crystals absorb up to 12 points of cold damage each round (to a maximum of 60 points). These points are trapped in the coat for the user to cure 1d6 +5 points of damage to himself as a swift action. This curing can never heal more points than the amulet has currently trapped. Activating the amulet is a standard action that lasts six rounds. Any cold points trapped at the end of six rounds are lost, when the icy coat melts away.
When not active the amulet functions like a minor ring of cold resistance.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, cure light wounds, draconic reservoir, resist energy, Cost 16,700 gp

Rime Bind Amulet

Spoiler:

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 11,000 gp; Weight — lbs.
Description
Feathery crystals flow from the blue ice center of this amulet. Each forms a unique frozen shape, trapping brief flashes of white light.
When activated frost-covered tendrils spread along the wearer’s arms and cover his body in an icy coat, reducing his move by half. Each round the tendrils grow an additional 10 feet giving the user a reach attack. Frost-ferns flow across an opponent’s body if the wearer succeeds on a touch attack with the tendrils. These opponents move at half normal speed and gain the staggered condition. An opponent’s ice effect ends at the same time as the wearer’s. Activating the amulet is a standard action that lasts six rounds. It can be activated once per day.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, slow; Cost 5,500 gp


Critique:
Rime Trap Amulet:

  • Your selection of spells makes this item unique to alchemist crafters only, and while that's fine, the description of the item has more of a wizardy vibe than an alchemical feel. Very nicely written, though.
  • There's no real transmutation effect going on here, so I can't see where you got that from in your aura. The item's primary effect is evocation (the energy absorbing), followed by conjuration (the healing).
  • You forgot to mention how often the item can be activated.
  • Other than that, it seems pretty decent. I think the price may be a little high, but otherwise not bad

    Rime Bound Amulet:

  • I think the caster level of this should be 6th, but thats probably just me.
  • Seems kind of expensive for something that is, in essence, a weaker version of slow with a downside. But then, I'm still getting used to PF prices as apposed to 3.5 prices
  • "Frost-ferns flow across an opponent’s body if the wearer succeeds on a touch attack with the tendrils." I think this sentence is backwards, and should read "If the wearer succeeds on a touch attack with the tendrils, frost-ferns flow across the opponent’s body."

    Your layout is spot on. Personally, I like the Rime Trap Amulet more than the Rime Bound amulet, but I like the imagery of both. I'd have given a better crit, but it's late and I have (insert excuse here) tomorrow.

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    Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

    My suggestion would be, before you fully write up your items, break it down into a single sentence of what it does. Make sure it's something BIG.

    With your down-to-earth tendencies (which I understand; I fight those as well), I might try to come up with a list of 10 just really cool core concepts and post them here for feedback to make sure you're getting "big" enough. Just give us the very core of the idea: I want something that turns the ground around me to difficult terrain to hamper my enemies; I want something that will create invisibility for tremorsense; I want something that will let me make it difficult to fly in the space above me. Just get very basic in terms of concept at the moment so you don't get bogged down in some of the details, but try to make it as gonzo as you can. Let us workshop those and then turn them into full wondrous items.

    I will do this - many thanks for the kind offer of help - I do appreciate my biggest problem is my real life job involves technical documentation rather than creative so I have a big tendency on how things work.

    I will come up with a list and post up next weekend.

    The augury was there to account for the scroll knowing the current rulers, lands and waterways at time of creation. I did go back and forth on that one quite a bit and probably would make it disappear on a re-write - thus reducing the price some.

    The base price on spells alone was 20k, which I felt instinctively was way over, so with the restrictions managed to bring it down some.

    I forgot to mention the parchment must always be presented rolled so that the magic working the changes in the document is hidden from sight. Good catch.

    I also thought the once per day might have been better once per week bringing the price down to around 5k but I didn't want it so cheap that all pirates would have them too.

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    Fist I would like to start by offering two edits of items which I originally posted in the previous practice thread. Lets see if I actually improved them at all.

    Chthonic Aegis:
    Aura moderate necromancy; CL 7th
    Slot shoulders; Price 39,000; Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    This tattered and matted fur cloak is made of the fleece of a shadowy guardian creature of the Underworld, its head intact and staring from the shoulder with flinty dead eyes. The wearer gains a +2 profane bonus on saving throws against death effects and energy drain as well as negative energy resistance 5. Additionally, once per day the wearer may ignore up to 4 points of ability damage or drain as an immediate action. The wearer may then channel negative energy a single time for a number of dice equal to the number of points of ability damage or drain ignored (DC 14 to resist). This single channel attempt persists until used or until the cloak is again used to negate ability damage.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, death ward, creator must have the channel negative energy class feature; Cost 19,500 gp

    Leystone of Multiplicity:

    Aura strong (no school); CL 9th
    Slot none; Price 14,000 gp; Weight 30 lb.
    Description
    This waist high stone column is carved with an intricate network of arcane runes and formulae which seem to almost glow when the stone is in contact with the ground. When a Leystone of Multiplicity is in contact with the ground it can absorb arcane energy to add to the power of spells cast nearby. Any time that the Leystone is targeted or affected by a spell, any spell of the same school cast within 60 feet of the same or lower level as the spell which targeted the Leystone benefits from the Bouncing Spell metamagic feat. This does not increase the level or casting time of the spell. This aura lasts for two rounds per level of the spell which targeted the Leystone. If the Leystone is affected by another spell, any previous aura immediately ends. Placing the Leystone in contact with the ground is a standard action which provokes an attack of opportunity. If the Leystone is moved or picked up, any aura it is projecting immediately ends.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Bouncing Spell; Cost 7,000 gp

    And one new item which I came up with as I was copy/pasting the two old items here:

    Vanguard Caligae
    Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
    Slot feet; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    These sandals look ordinary except for the constantly moving lines of arcane writing wandering across their straps. They carry the wearer swiftly into combat, giving a +10 feet enhancement bonus to speed when charging or double moving towards an enemy. Additionally, three times per day, the wearer may use the sandals to smooth the way for his allies. As a swift action, for the next round, any square of difficult terrain entered by the wearer of the sandals becomes normal terrain. This effect lasts for two rounds after the wearer of the sandals moves through the square.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, expeditious retreat, feather step; Cost 2,500 gp

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    Curaigh wrote:
    We never see a description of the item, or if we do it is buried later.

    Yeah, I did rather struggle on describing a piece of parchment evocatively so went with the first line stating it's a rolled parchment - more gonzo in the description next time, promise. :D

    Yeah, I was again limiting it to a ships' captain and his ship, with requiring the attunement process because a Letter of Marque quite often states who / what ship or what shipping company that it is issued for. The limitation was again a way of bringing the awful spell price down.

    Curaigh wrote:
    The spells you chose are problematic for me.

    They are always one of my struggle areas - choosing the right spell that can be twisted in some way to explain the item effects. I guess I do avoid SAK though - grin.

    I had also considered make whole, but then the price became possibly too cheap, lol, rock - me - hard place :D

    I just got Ultimate Magic from my local gaming store, so I will be curled up next week with that - so hopefully I can pick more suitable spells from a wider selection going forwards.

    Curaigh wrote:

    I do like the idea of the marque and if it can be made to fill other roles this could go much farther.

    Nice work, Keep 'em coming :)

    I'm here for the duration this year, whether that's good news or bad we will see :P

    And thanks indeed - getting people to like your item seems to be a big part or the competition and design process, so that's a big improvement for me so far :D

    Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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    Curaigh wrote:

    ...

    Rime Trap ...** spoiler omitted **

    Template Fu squeaks -

    "Curaigh! Whats that 'lbs.' doing next to emdash on weight? If there's no weight, there's no 'lb.' or 'lbs.' just an emdash."

    That's Template Fu fed for today :D

    Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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    Saint Caleth wrote:
    Fist I would like to start by offering two edits of items which I originally posted in the previous practice thread. Lets see if I actually improved them at all.

    Looks to be pretty spot on for template use. :D

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    First few ideas as requested...

    I'm running a piratical campaign at the moment, so sorry for the current trend in advance... :D

    Some of these ideas are also big in size - I suddenly thought, why does a wondrous item have to be portable?

    Some sort of gravity well effect on a belt that pulls combatants to the wearer during combat and possibly slows any retreat from the wearer.

    Some sort of device that halts fly by attacks, grounding the airborne beside the user.

    A pirate / clipper ship that self propels

    A spyglass that sees what you state as the target for sighting.

    Something non weapon and rope use oriented using the Belaying Pin as the base item.

    A horseless carriage (ohhh Ravenloft alert :p)

    A device that affects/creates tidal/sailing effects (rip tides, fast moving currents in open water, etc).

    The self burying treasure chest :p - might be too Discworld :(

    Some sort of vine that allows you to Tarzan swing the jungle, swing from ship to ship when boarding, or even cross those pesky subterranean ravines...

    and finally, a monkey item... Monkey Grip on a Stick :p

    Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Anthony Adam wrote:
    Curaigh wrote:
    We never see a description of the item, or if we do it is buried later.
    Yeah, I did rather struggle on describing a piece of parchment evocatively so went with the first line stating it's a rolled parchment - more gonzo in the description next time, promise. :D

    If it helps, think of the other four senses. Writers tend to focus on the visual, but there are others that will make just 'parchment' more exciting. Frex: tang of sea salt, echoes of waves, conch shell blare, as smooth as octopus skin, warm-sea, exotic spice pungency. Or you can add something to the rod or case holding the scroll. Shark teeth, scrimshaw, ferns, royal seals to keep to the nautical theme. Now having said that you have inspired me: the octopus angle fits in nicely with your item considering their natural camouflage ability and the ink... it just got me thinking is all :)

    Anthony Adam wrote:

    First few ideas as requested...

    Some of these ideas are also big in size - I suddenly thought, why does a wondrous item have to be portable?...

    Their is an unwritten rule that an SS item has to appeal to the adventurer and therefore has to be portable. I say unwritten as SM's vargo, and even CS's anvil did not fit this guideline. For the sake of practice, though go for it :)

    Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Saint Caleth wrote:
    Chthonic Aegis...

    *"This tattered and matted fur cloak is made of the fleece of a shadowy guardian creature of the Underworld, its head intact and staring from the shoulder with flinty dead eyes." can be written stonger. At its most simple: "this cloak is made of fleece." While also a weak sentence this shows just how much has been glommed on. Details are necessary, glomming is not. Any one or two of the details you've written are strong enough for the description.

    **put your strongest ability first, (+2 bonuses to anything are sort of non-SS) , so lead with the catch and throw of the negative levels.
    ***the catch and throw of negative energy is currently written confusingly (more run on?) frex it only allows catch once per day but can be thrown anytime before you catch more. Also how does the resistance and catch work together or stack?
    Good call on 'profane' bonuses and limiting to certain effects only (shows game balance). The images, even if overdone are strong concrete pictures. Nice job.

    Saint Caleth wrote:
    Leystone of Multiplicity...

    *No one would carry this around at 30 pounds making this a plot device or encounter instead of an item. I recommend a smaller version which grows into something larger (ala the tokens or SW's Vessel of the Deep.) Somewhate realted. why no spells in its creation? I think this is a metamagic rod (ok for practice, but switch the required feats :)

    ** passive voice issues. Frex: "Leystone of Multiplicity is in contact..." could be 'when the leystone contacts..." and "...the Leystone is targeted..." could be 'spells targeting the leystone...'
    (Related: italicize the item in its description. )
    ***The bouncing spell feat can only be applied to specific targeting spells, but as written, a fireball or lightning bolt could be bounced.
    Again nice imagery with the intricate network of runes. I like the idea of stealing a spell and using it to charge another, there is something in that. :)
    Saint Caleth wrote:
    Vanguard Caligae...

    *again, best image first (which maybe you did & we just disagree:),

    **how long does the terrain feature last? the next round or two? Is the wearer affected by difficult terrain? (as written yes, meaning everyone else in his party will pass him shortly after their first move.) also one cannae charge over difficult terrain, making the charge activation useless.
    Interesting idea in terrain smoothing, it could make escaping pursuit very cool.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

    MOTHERLESS EFF! Just lost about 30 minutes worth of writing by accidentally hitting ctrl-something or other and navigating away from the g-d page.

    Sorry, Curaigh and Anthony, you're getting slightly less feedback now and I'll get to the rest later. Gah, that's so fricking FRUSTRATING! The terseness is not reflective if your items, but rather my sudden annoyance:

    Anyway, Curaigh, the Rime Trap Amulet doesn't do much for me. I know there are cryo-techniques in modern medicine, but it just feels like an odd theme. I also think messing up the economy of actions, by letting someone effectively get a cure spell every round while doing other things, would be a no-go.

    I like theme of the Rime-Bind Amulet a lot more (I like using the staggered condition, since I think that's less used than, say, shaken or stunned), though I think there are some funky wording issues:

    * You never actually describe what the amulet itself looks like, though the rest of your description is good.

    * The way it reads now, it's not clear to me that the effect lasts six rounds once you use a standard action to activate it. You write it takes a standard action that takes six rounds, which just has me confused.

    * Am I correct that it gives a 60-foot reach by the end? Not sure if that's too much, though it does slow the user's speed as well.

    * With the reach attack, is it clear to everyone that the only attack you can do with that reach is the frost ferns? I'm wondering if I'm a monk, say, could I use this with my regular unarmed attacks, but with a 60-foot reach? Also, am I prevented from using my other attacks while this is active (whether those attacks get reach or not)? I'm not sure whether those issues are clear.

    Anthony, I think your note about the letter have to be rolled-up is you getting into that technical writing again. In my experience, players aren't going to really worry about those types of details, instead just saying that they're using the magic item. (Similarly, with augury, I think you can just accept that's part of the magic of the item, that it knows what it needs to emulate.)

    As for your list, I'll look through it when I've got more time (and am less irritated), but my immediate reaction is I like the idea of a device that affects/creates tidal/sailing effects the best.

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    Curaigh wrote:

    **how long does the terrain feature last? the next round or two? Is the wearer affected by difficult terrain? (as written yes, meaning everyone else in his party will pass him shortly after their first move.) also one cannae charge over difficult terrain, making the charge activation useless.

    Interesting idea in terrain smoothing, it could make escaping pursuit very cool.

    Thats a very good point about the wearer still being subject to the terrain, since you spend the extra movement to enter the square and then the sandals smooth it once you are in the square. I'm going to have to add that the wearer ignores difficult terrain for a round, since the smoothing effect is intended to keep up with him. I was leery of doing that before, since it basically directly poaches the travel domain ability, but the effect does not really work as intended otherwise.

    Vanguard Caligae V2.0
    Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
    Slot feet; Price 5,750 gp; Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    These sandals look ordinary except for the constantly moving lines of arcane writing wandering across their straps. They carry the wearer swiftly into combat, increasing the wearers speed by 10 feet when charging or double moving towards an enemy. This increase to speed is treated as an enhancement bonus. Additionally, three times per day, the wearer may use the sandals to smooth the way for his allies. As a swift action, for one round, the wearer may ignore any difficult terrain and not take penalties for moving through it. Any square of difficult terrain entered by the wearer of the sandals during this round becomes normal terrain. This effect lasts for one round.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, expeditious retreat, feather step; Cost 2,875 gp

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    Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
    As for your list, I'll look through it when I've got more time (and am less irritated), but my immediate reaction is I like the idea of a device that affects/creates tidal/sailing effects the best.

    Quite agree. Go have a whippy ice cream with a bowl of strawberries and smother the lot in chill me out chocolate sauce:D

    Funnily enough, from my first brain dump of ideas, my three favourites that I will probably work on are all to do with movement type effects.

    I'll probably tackle them in this order...

    1) A device that affects/creates tidal/sailing effects (rip tides, fast moving currents in open water, etc).

    I'm thinking for this making the base item a ships barometer (dont think I have seen any barometer magic items before), or possibly ships compass, ships wheel or rudder, or maybe a sextant - currently preferring the barometer as it's quite a unique item and hits that something different note quite well.

    2) Some sort of device that halts fly by attacks, grounding the airborne beside the user.

    For this I'm picturing two entwined monkey arms su entwined that the paws are at opposite ends - one holding a spike/anchor/hook, the other a lasso of chain. You throw it at the creature flying by and can work out the rest I reckon :P

    3) Some sort of gravity well effect on a belt that pulls combatants to the wearer during combat and possibly slows any retreat from the wearer.


    Caleth; My only critique on the Vanguard Caligae is that I think you're being a little too cleaver with the name. Most people will brows that item in a list and go "What the hells a Caligae?". On the other hand, Vanguards Sandals also sounds a little weak. I love the concept, though, and my barbarian would totally buy these in a second.

    Figured it was about time I threw in my item for critiquing:

    Argus' Explosive Gauntlets
    Aura moderate evocation; CL 7th
    Slot hands; Price 32,000 gp (lesser), 44,000 gp (greater); Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    These heavy leather gauntlets are scorched black at the fingers, and the backs are inlaid with a fine copper wire, twisted into the shape of a ball of flames. Whenever the wearer of these gauntlets casts a spell with the fire descriptor, he adds 2d6 (lesser) or 4d6 (greater) to the damage, and half of the total damage is considered sonic. Three times per day, the wearer may clap his hands together, creating a blast of explosive sound. All creatures within a 30ft radius must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or become deafened for 2d6 rounds.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fireball, shout; Cost 16,000 gp (lesser), 22,000 gp (greater)

    personally, Im not sure about the pricing. I think it may be a little cheap.

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    Ok, my barometer item

    I know what it is,

    I even know what I want it to do in brief,

    So this time, I'm starting with the name first - one of my big weaknesses is mojo full names, so I'm listing below the names I came up with and why I rejected / chose them.

    Now, i wanted a nautical name that fits a fantasy theme without being too obviously real worldly - so i decided that perhaps I should find a list of sailing terms that might be appropriate for my item name and/or terms that I just plain liked...

    Admiralty Law The 'law of the sea'
    Against the Sun Anti-clockwise, e.g Left Handed ropes are coiled against the sun.
    Anchorage A sheltered place where a boat can anchor safely.
    Auxiliary Commonly refers to a second method of ship propulsion - e.g. an engine on a sailing ship - possibly the oar slaves in fantasy terms.
    Backwinded When the wind pushes the wrong side of a sail.
    Bluewater Refers to open ocean sailing rather than being on a river, lake or sound.
    Brigantine a two masted vessel with a square rigged foremast _I Like this one_
    Buoyancy A measure/degree of how well something floats.
    By the Lee Sailing with the wind coming from behind and slightly to one side.
    Cardinal Points _wondered about using Cardinal in the name - not sure, so discounted in the long run_
    Catamaran two masted boat - discounted straight away as too modern for fanstasy settings.
    Spring Line A mooring line that stops boats from moving once berthed, the two types are known as After Bow Spring Line, which stops movement bow-wards and Forward Quarter Spring Line, which stops aft-wards movement.

    you get the idea... loads and loads of terms on sailing terms

    so after a good while browsing, I still liked Brigatine Barometer as a name... so

    I let this rest in my subconscious for an hour or two

    ... and realised that it would probably trigger another alliterative allegery attack (sic) from Neil (:P), and it also doesn't convey/hint at the inclusion of potential weather effects... so lets see what terms I can find on google to toy with...

    Baroclinic Zone - A region in which a temperature gradient exists on a constant pressure surface. They are favoured areas for strengthening and weakening weather systems. _Hmmm, kind of fits in with the underlying item function but too technical - rejected_.

    At this point, Im pouring through the terms in alphabetical order and having reached F, am already finding that the names and terms are too "real life"/technical in nature, so I start to skim looking for ones that jump out as potentially useable...

    Derechoe, Diurnal, Equilibrium, Metamorphism, Pelagic, Precipitation, Prevailing, Rainbow, Squall, Storm, Thunder, Tsunami, Turbidity

    Ok, some of those words sounded cool when I wrote them down, but reviewing the list, I now have that sinking naming feeling, but hey ho, that's what this practice is for...

    So my list narrows down to

    Pelagic Barometer of the Prevailing Storm --- eeek - almost as long as a certain leaves item >.<

    nope, next...

    Brigatine Tsunami Barometer --- hmmm, starting to "feel" like something now...

    Brigatine Equilibrium Barometer - yuk, what was I thinking

    Diurnal Barometer of the Bluewater Squall

    It's a start, it may change again, probably will from feedback, but I kind of like this one, and ended up not using Brigatine too - naming is so weird...

    I have a working name!

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    MattKatt wrote:
    Caleth; My only critique on the Vanguard Caligae is that I think you're being a little too cleaver with the name. Most people will brows that item in a list and go "What the hells a Caligae?". On the other hand, Vanguards Sandals also sounds a little weak. I love the concept, though, and my barbarian would totally buy these in a second.

    There are surprisingly few synonyms for sandals which also have a martial connotation. The only other one that I can think of off the top of my head is Tabi, but I can't really imagine a Ninja wearing this item. I do admit that I have a weakness for Latin sometimes though, but its such a great language for naming things :)

    MattKatt wrote:
    Argus' Explosive Gauntlets

    The idea of turning fire spells into detonations is awesome, but your hunch about them being under-costed is spot on for two reasons. First +4d6 damage on the most common energy descriptor spells is a lot. Second, I would buy these in a second for the sonic damage thing alone, and I shudder to think what a fire elemental sorcerer could do with these, essentially getting extra damage on all their spells and on top of that making it so that half of that damage is virtually guaranteed to get through resistance. Compare the how the thundering weapon enhancement only works on crits, where the basic enhancements for any other energy works continuously. Because it is resisted so much less than other energy, you need to be really careful with abilities involving potentially large amounts of sonic damage.

    If this were my item I would get rid of the second ability and have the damage bonus and sonic admixture work 3/day. My intuition is that items that enhance spells on the spot should work 3/day by analogy with metamagic rods. I think that the idea has definite mojo, but the execution wanders just past the line into gonzo if it gives its benefit to all fire spells cast.

    Just my (likely unqualified) 2cp.

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    Anthony Adam wrote:
    Diurnal Barometer of the Bluewater Squall

    I think that your narration of the process of naming is brilliant. Here are some things that I thought about hearing the final name:

  • What does Diurnal have to do with changing weather patterns? Unless it has a meaning besides "active during the day" that I just don't know. It just seems kind of a weird word to have in this particular name.
  • I personally dislike names more than three words long. I find that especially names that go [adj][n] of the [adj][n] ring a little flat when spoken. Of course YMMV.
  • For me, the most important part of devising a name is saying it over and over to make sure that it has a good rhythm, since it is the nature of the game that the names will be spoken.

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    MattKatt wrote:
    Argus' Explosive Gauntlets...

    one of the items on feedback on the description that seems to go down quite well with the judges is breaking the description for readability - it allows them to scan your item and pick the salient points much faster and helps keep them in a good judging mood.

    Based on this, my main feedback on this item is the old wall of text description - your evocative description, first and secondary powers all kind of merge into one block of text. All it needs is a few line breaks.

    Argus' Explosive Gauntlets
    Aura moderate evocation; CL 7th
    Slot hands; Price 32,000 gp (lesser), 44,000 gp (greater); Weight 1 lb.
    Description

    These heavy leather gauntlets are scorched black at the fingers, and the backs are inlaid with a fine copper wire, twisted into the shape of a ball of flames.

    Whenever the wearer of these gauntlets casts a spell with the fire descriptor, he adds 2d6 (lesser) or 4d6 (greater) to the damage, and half of the total damage is considered sonic.

    Three times per day, the wearer may clap his hands together, creating a blast of explosive sound. All creatures within a 30ft radius must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or become deafened for 2d6 rounds.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fireball, shout; Cost 16,000 gp (lesser), 22,000 gp (greater)

    All I did was add some line breaks, but I think the judges prefer this sort of layout as it helps them in their judging.

    One other bit of feedback just popped in my head - "Argus'" - who/what is it?

    "Names" in Wondrous Items can be frowned upon, depending on the mood of the judging when your item is reached - even Mordenkainen, Otiluke, Tenser, etc, have disappeared over time in the books.

    The judges have stated that names tend to require extra work on the GM if they don't have that reference in their campaigns, so try to avoid any form of creator name/ownership name in your Wondrous Item Name.

    It probably wouldn't ding you by having it, especially if you are heavily themed into the Pathfinder Setting, but you do have to balance that sort of thing with appealing to the voters, some of which may be running their own campaigns, so for them generic is better too.

    Each judge has pet hates, so you increase your chances dramatically by not hitting those peeves and/or making their judging life easier and more enjoyable.

    Hope this helps.

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    On the subject of "Names" in spell/item names. The somewhat tongue in cheek advice that I heard somewhere is "If your character was not in one of Gary Gygax's campaigns you can't name things after them."

    Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
    Saint Caleth wrote:
    Anthony Adam wrote:
    Diurnal Barometer of the Bluewater Squall

    I think that your narration of the process of naming is brilliant. Here are some things that I thought about hearing the final name:

  • What does Diurnal have to do with changing weather patterns? Unless it has a meaning besides "active during the day" that I just don't know. It just seems kind of a weird word to have in this particular name.
  • I personally dislike names more than three words long. I find that especially names that go [adj][n] of the [adj][n] ring a little flat when spoken. Of course YMMV.
  • For me, the most important part of devising a name is saying it over and over to make sure that it has a good rhythm, since it is the nature of the game that the names will be spoken.
  • :D

    Glad you found it useful - I'm probably going to suffer from the dreaded Neil-itis on posts for a while as I run through my processes to provide everyone both

    a) an opportunity to point out where I'm foo-bar-ing the design process, and

    b) by showing what I'm doing, if some of it is right and good, then I will know and learn where I'm doing ok and show the way for others.

    Either way, I hope both I and everyone else here can learn from my posts and improve our entries.

    Yeah, the more I look and let the name rest, the more I agree that Diurnal is not needed, the simpler Barometer of the Bluewater Squall is probably enough and ties the water and effects quite nicely.

    Tomorrow, I'm going to do that evocative opener in the description. I'm setting myself a description breakdown of this sort of order

    evocative intro - 40 words
    main power/effect - 100 words
    secondary power(s)/effect(s) - 75 words

    This leaves plenty of words for reworking and also sufficient word count to cover item name and the template sections prior and following the Description element.

    RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

    Saint Caleth wrote:
    On the subject of "Names" in spell/item names. The somewhat tongue in cheek advice that I heard somewhere is "If your character was not in one of Gary Gygax's campaigns you can't name things after them."

    That wasn't tongue-in-cheek. Ryan Dancey was quite serious when he made that assertion. And I can assure you the rest of the judges support his perspective.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

    As Neil points out, names (or back story) in wondrous items are a pretty major no-no at this point, I think in large part because they've been saying that for years. To me, it shows you've not looked through past years and all the advice the judges have given, and I think that even more predisposes them than it might otherwise. If you can't take the instructions that've been so clearly laid out, why should the judges think you'll take instructions if you were to advance to the point where you became a freelancer?

    Matt, I believe you've said you're new to PF, so probably haven't had a chance to go through all the critique-my-item threads. I'd definitely recommend doing that, even if you only look at this most recent year (plus both Neil and Sean's separate more in-depth critiques), though at 1,000 posts, that can take quite a lot of time. Looking back over the history of the contest, you can see the judges have become far more picky as the amount of feedback/instructions have piled up -- it's kind of funny looking at first-year items, where there's almost no attention to template, considering how most of the recent picks tend to show strong mastery of the template.

    Honestly, if people are serious about entering Superstar 2013, I'd go through all the rounds of all the previous years and cull information from both judges and other gamers, since there are tons of feedback you can use to enhance your game design (of course, you can also get caught up in the wrong aspects, as I did with my monster). I developed pages of notes over the course of the contest as I prepped for each round, and I might try to do it all again now that I won't have the time crunch.

    Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Thanks for stopping in Neil :)

    MattKatt wrote:


    Argus' Explosive Gauntlets

    *already mentioned about Argus... If this was named after a Golarian diety an exception might be made.

    *what does 2d6 extra damage mean when I summon a fire elemental? why would I not prepare maximized burning hands with with these gloves (and trade an average 10 points of damage to a guaranteed 44? :). If EVERY character wants this, design issues are likely inherent.
    **does the half-sonic damage apply to the spell's damage or just the item's bonus damage?
    *** Try switching the objects of some sentences into the subject position, specifically the first two sentences (to avoid passive voice). (Anthony and me too, could benefit from this :)
    Almost SiaC. By 'almost' I originally think it mimics A, B, or C item, but on closer look not quite. This is a good design niche (but not enough to counter the excessive damage.) I really liked the scorched black fingers too. :)

    Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Saint Caleth wrote:


    Vanguard Caligae V2.0
    Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
    Slot feet; Price 5,750 gp; Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    These sandals look ordinary except for the constantly moving lines of arcane writing wandering across-1 their straps. They-2 carry the wearer swiftly into combat, increasing the wearers-3 speed by 10 feet when charging or double moving towards an enemy. This increase to speed is treated as an enhancement bonus. Additionally, three times per day, the wearer may use the sandals to smooth the way for his allies. As a swift action, for one round, the wearer may ignore any difficult terrain and not take penalties for moving through it. Any square-5 of difficult terrain entered by the wearer of the sandals during this round becomes normal terrain. This effect lasts for one round.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, expeditious retreat, feather step; Cost 2,875 gp

    My emphasis, but they are in order for my comments so I left the whole thing intact.

    1 these are redundant, save word count and strengthen the writing by combining these two elements.
    2 straps? lines? sandals? which they is this? :)
    3 's
    4 see number 1, while not redundant I think this sentence can successfully be worked into the previous line (saving you words).
    5 Is this a game term? Not everyone uses grid maps and minis. The rules start out always saying "10 feet (2 squares)" or "5 feet (1 square) though later they just say 'a square' or '4 squares' ... IDK on this one, but thought I would throw it out there so someone smarter than me can clarify. :)

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

    Curaigh wrote:


    4 see number 1, while not redundant I think this sentence can successfully be worked into the previous line (saving you words).
    5 Is this a game term? Not everyone uses grid maps and minis. The rules start out always saying "10 feet (2 squares)" or "5 feet (1 square) though later they just say 'a square' or '4 squares' ... IDK on this one, but thought I would throw it out there so someone smarter than me can clarify. :)

    4. I also think that this is a clumsy way to say this, but most abilities which increase speed read this way, including expeditious retreat, the barbarian's fast movment and boots of striding and springing are written this way. I am just copying what seems to be the template for how to describe a speed increase.

    5. I first tried to define the smoothing ability in terms of "the wearer's path", but the language sounded too vague. The definition of difficult terrain never mentions feet, only squares, so I figure that it is kosher in this context.

    Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
    Jacob W. Michaels wrote:


    Matt, I believe you've said you're new to PF, so probably haven't had a chance to go through all the critique-my-item threads. I'd definitely recommend doing that, even if you only look at this most recent year (plus both Neil and Sean's separate more in-depth critiques), though at 1,000 posts, that can take quite a lot of time.

    For everyone, I had created a post pulling a lot of the older advice together in my round 1 template explanation thread - it may save you lots and lots of time and get you off with a head start. It is linked right near the start of this thread.

    Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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

    Ok, some creativity time now as my barometer item starts its life with an evocative description.

    This bit is a challenge for me as I do come from a more technical writing background (which is probably why I can proof read formats and templates so well, but struggle on the "flair").

    Ok, basics of my barometer will be the casing, the facing and the needles.

    To tie into the sea, I have the following basic options:

    a) wood from the ship or home port,
    b) chunks of coral and / or seashells. or, possibly stretching a bit,
    c) the bones of a rare sea monster.

    I do know that the item is going to be expensive as we are talking about affecting weather and tides, which tend to be high level spells, so this means I don't have to skimp on materials it is made from - so if I go for wood, we are now looking at ebony perhaps? Certainly marble could be introduced, and in fantasy times, glass for covering the face which would be quite expensive is now negligible when compare to the spell cost.

    Ok, attempt 1, here we go (italicised for the purpose of this post, it wont be in the final item formatting)

    A hinged glass front covers cursive ivory needles resting over an elegant marble facing held centrally within a hand carved, wooden miniature ship's figurehead. The wood used being an off-cut produced during the manufacture of a ship's main mast.

    OK, I pulled a lot in on this first go to feel my way through this initial description.

    At 39 words, it fits my target for this part of the description but only just, however on reading back, it has a definite too much feel to it.

    I like my association of where the wood came from to make the barometer casing, but the idea of a chunk of coral might fit better in the long term for affecting the weather and tides at sea.

    I'm not sure if I will stick with a figurehead shaped casing - it could affect the final item by tying it to a single ship which may be too much of a restriction - I think this may have to go for this reason.

    There is also the possibility of some sort of sea monster bones and the sea shells aspect - for example, a giant hermit crab shell with the barometer facing in the shell opening - but this example is probably to cliché to use, but I think you can see what I mean.

    By swapping from wood to ocean sourced materials, the figurehead analogy will likely disappear naturally, so I wont have to force it.

    I also may be able to add some golarion flavour by looking up if there are renowned clock makers in the source books, so that might enable me to merge the needle/facing description with something more elegant.

    Time to do some research for attempt 2.

    a) What sea creatures are there in the bestiaries? and,
    b) who makes clocks in Golarion?

    Attempt 2 to follow in due course.

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