However, I will admit, that while every character I've played in Pathfinder so far had UMD maxed, and I see tons of builds with it maxed and posts recommending it, I will also say that I've never actually seen anyone roll it in actual play.
A Cavalier specific item? One for being OR fighting them? Very strange niche. I see lots of "ZOMG LANCES ARE STRONG!" builds on the forum, but I've literally never seen a player in real life that had even the slightest interest in Cavalier (well, actually, the finesse archetype does have me interested, but that's it).
It always gives me a smile when you say something like this, because pretty much always I have a story to prove the opposite. My friends are rolling UMD constantly, especially in PFS. Those wands of cure light wounds need activating after all and you're not going to have a cleric in the party all the time. My players are also wrapping up Kingmaker's fourth book pretty soon, one of them a nobleman halfling cavalier riding a battle boar.
It's kind of awesome that we play Pathfinder so completely differently. It'd be interesting to see your scene sometimes.
156) Staff of Infiltration:
It's a working idea for a magic item, and both of the spell lists are just fine in my opinion. I don't think your original spell list would have been that overpowered at all. I also really like the fact that it makes no sound upon impact. That's a neat minor power that fits the theme and is something that can be used to enhance roleplaying and to build atmosphere. The problem here is the fact that this is too expensive for its intended use. By the time someone can afford this one, they're already capable of teleporting, phasing through walls, traveling to other planes of existence. They're not going to really need a staff that makes them better at sneaking around. Plus having it be a staff is a touch weird choice. I suppose I could see a rogue-like sorcerer wanting something like this, but even still I get the feeling that these kinds of powers might be more thematically appropriate in boots, or something like that. Actually, it would be kind of amusing if you could silence your opponents by kicking them. All in all this is not a bad item, I could see something like this existing. It's just not functional in terms of economics and it also lacks that spark of mojo and memorability. Leather-wrapped black staff is about as basic as staffs get.
Congratulations on making it to the Top 16!
I don't like the wheels, to be honest. The way I'm imagining this creature, it seems more like a Pokémon than a Pathfinder monster. And for a Pokémon it would be a cool one, and some of that bleeds into Pathfinder, but it still doesn't match the rest of the game.
Aside from that, I do like it. A hunter insectoid race is a solid concept and making them furiously fast and maneuverable is suitably terrifying. I just wish the actual mechanics would reflect this. Like I wish it had Mobility feat or the ability to charge along the walls, as RJGrady suggested. That would have made it far more suitable for the cramped spaces of Nar-Voth.
The silent image feels odd to me as well. It's mostly cosmetic change, but I think it might have worked better if you had given this creature an extra special ability that would have worked similarly to the spell but with some changes towards making it more suitable for hunting specifically.
All in all there is mojo here, but I'm not convinced the execution is what I want to see in Pathfinder. I'll go with maybe.
Congratulations on making it to the Top 16!
I've gotten a really strong Final Fantasy vibe from your work, and this is no exception. In fact it's the most blatant yet. I instantly thought about those floating bombs that will self-destruct if you hit them too often. That's not a fatal flaw, per se, because you've given this enough identity to make it separate, but I'm definitely sensing a theme here.
Unfortunately what makes this monsters problematic is that its mechanics are not that strong. The blow away ability is a cool one and I've always liked monsters that punish people who hurt them as it forces the players to be creative, but here I wouldn't know exactly what happens when the creature is wounded. The direction of the cone and the mechanics of the flight away need to be explained precisely enough that I don't have to make stuff up during combat, for example.
Plus the little touches like the curiously high movement speed or the lackluster AC make this seem like the first draft of a monster, not the finished product. It's also curious that it has a language even though it's barely smarter than an animal and it doesn't really reproduce so it has no parents to teach it to speak. Is the language instinctual somehow?
I like the idea and I could definitely see something like this existing in the game, but as it is, it's just not polished enough.
155) Bonewarp Chain:
Unsettling and fantastic idea with a lot of dramatic flair. This is definitely something that would be memorable to encounter in a game. Unfortunately the actual mechanics are not as impressive. The rotating head is phenomenal, but the rest not so much. Logic dictates that if you can position your limbs however you see fit, you should get bonuses to more than just your CMD. It would have increased the price, but it would have made more sense if you would have gained, say, a +2 bonus to both attacking and your CMD. It's also risky to include anything automatic in your item, and in this case automatically freeing yourself from pinned just doesn't jive that well. A demigod might have you pinned down, but this measly 12k item can somehow set you free? The sickening ability, on the other hand, is problematic to me because while it's a creepy item, it's really not THAT creepy. Wording it in such a way that this being disturbed is somehow magically assisted would have made more sense and allowed you to keep the ability. All in all you have a good gem of an idea here, but it needed more oomph in the mechanics department to be truly Superstar.
Very nice details, though I'm not too fond of the rift.
First of all, I love the long and narrow corridor leading to the inner courtyard. I can already imagine the combat possibilities and I'd like the run a scenario where the players are defending this place against an assault. I also like that you shied away from typical square room designs and as a whole the place has a nice flow to it.
Aside from that rift, which I just don't get. Is the left side of the map meant to be substantially higher or lower than the right side, or is the whole place just shifted horizontally. Why is the shift so large on the first floor rooms when compared to the basement rooms? I guess the additional text would give us answers, but the map needs to be able to speak for itself as well.
I also would have liked to see a map key and numbers explaining the rooms. Now I have no idea what half of them even are. It's also somewhat of a tradition to not include them, but the so called non-combat functional rooms can add a level of detail and realism to your map. Things like bedrooms, storerooms or even a privy.
All in all this is a good map, definitely better than almost half of the actual Top 32. Had it had a good map key, I wouldn't have been surprised if it had advanced, had it been included. As it is, I'd give it a weak maybe.
So, to summarize, I can double the amount of damage any creature takes by making a successful grapple attempt and then hoping the target fails a fairly high Will save. As many times per day as I want as long as it's always a different creature. That's both way too powerful and a little underwhelming, given the buildup. And by buildup I mean that the visuals are actually very good here. It's a vivid, unique-looking armor and the way the mechanic works fits the visuals and would be memorable to describe in a game. Though the power and the soot don't feel very Calistrian to me. Cursing someone, yes, but the double damage, not so much. Alas, the power itself is not all that visual - just double the damage taken - and is also very powerful in any game. It being tied to a +1 chain shirt is also somewhat disappointing. The other big problem here is the grammar. The first sentence of the second paragraph, for example, could mean that the wearer gains the mark. Of course everyone gets what you meant instead, but the language needs to be exact enough for there to be no confusion or chance for misinterpretation. Also, for example, we're supposed to say 10 ft. instead of 10'. Small things, but it's expected that we do our research. All in all you have potential. The visuals are nice and I like that the delivering mechanism is physical instead of a pointed finger. The problems to solve and improve upon are the grammar and the fact that this should have been a bit more versatile. A weaker curse as the main power and perhaps some armor special abilities. Now it's too much of a one trick pony to be truly Superstar. You spent fairly large amount of words describing how the curse can be lifted, most of which are not truly needed. Still, do keep on designing. Just remember balance and use existing magic items as reference.
150) Catapulting Full Plate:
We shall start with an obvious joke.
*clears throat* OH, YEAAHH!
The obvious joke has concluded.
That being said, I actually do like this item. It has great cinematic potential and I know at least a couple of my players would love to have this, even though it is a bit cumbersome, especially for a non-mithril heavy armor meant for higher levels. Unfortunately it has some balance problems, like the ranged touch attack. That's rather powerful for that amount of damage, and when I think about catapult stones, I don't think pinpoint precision. Plus the one per day is a bit of a letdown. Personally I'd prefer a version, which is usable three times per day, but with less reliable hits and perhaps lesser damage. Also, I'm sure that it being an item that can potentially kill you instantly cost you some votes. I'm not a huge fan of that addition either, although it would be very unlikely to happen. All in all it has potential, but it's a bit rough around the edges.
151) Staff of the Beast Within:
I like the visuals here, although making it feel hot makes me think it should have the flaming quality. But the pawprints are very cool. The actual spell list is also nice, though nothing special. Then again, I didn't see any staff this year where the spell list caused me to go wow. Unfortunately the additional abilities here all both kind of meh. The latter is actually a drawback, though I enjoy its logicality and tie-in to the theme. Still, drawbacks are rarely popular and always a huge risk. And the other one is just a new way to charge the staff, which is thematic, but not exactly all that interesting. All in all this was a mid-quality item to me. It has good visuals and a nice theme, but its abilities are lackluster and don't cause me to want to play with it.
152) Scales of the Scarab:
Ah, my honourable rival, greetings. I love the visuals and the theme here. I'd love to have something like this on my villain NPC in any campaign taking place in Osirion or its neighbors. That being said, the mechanics are not explained clearly enough for me to be able to use this without some heavy assuming. First of all, the time spent as beetles doesn't count for the restrictions in any spell that brings people back to life. Yet you mention that the transformation takes 1 round and you specifically mention breath of life, which has a time restriction of 1 round, so the time is up before you've transformed. I assume the transformation round is supposed to be included, but the wording doesn't support this. It also doesn't mention what happens if the swarm drops below 0 hit points. It's also unclear whether or not the armor reforms if the wearer is brought back to life directly from the swarm form, which I assume is possible based on the last sentence. People also tend to shy away from items that only work after you've died, but I think this has a lot of potential as an NPC item. With some mechanics tinkering this could work really well. Kudos.
153) Staff of Duergar Enslavement:
Something of a niche item and I'd never allow my players to use any kind of effect that forcibly changes alignments. Especially to evil. I can imagine players turning innocent peasants into Neutral Evil and then chucking paladins at them. Not cool. I'd even hesitate to use such power as a GM, and certainly not like this. Changing alignments is supposed to be a huge thing in games, not something that can be done daily through magical mumbo jumbo. The actual transformation to duergar is a bit odd, especially because this is meant to be used against slaves - is the wielder rewarding obedient slaves with this power, or what - but not necessarily gamebreaking, especially for that price. The visuals and the spell list are both fine, however, but they alone are not enough. In the end not something I could see myself using, but points for a gutsy design choice.
Taylor Hubler wrote:
I really liked that there was a map round, and I thought making it round 2 was a great idea. 32 written entries are tough to read all the way through without feeling burned out by the end, and maps are something I can gain a feel for with just a quick glance. I knew my top 16 votes in about ten minutes and top 8 in a half hour.
I think this is an extremely important point. Last year was the first Superstar I followed all the way to the end, and I remember how exhausting it was to read through all the monsters. I felt that the entries near the bottom of the page suffered a lot because my eyes simply started skipping. Sure, I did return to them later to give them their due chance, but my initial impression was still at least slightly coloured. I felt for those guys, especially because I would have been one of them, seeing as how my own last name is near the end of the alphabet.
But this year I could simply open up all the maps and compare without it taking hours and hours.
Pretty nice map, certainly better than some of the actual contestants, so you would have had a shot at advancing.
I like the idea of a druidic village build in trees and I could certainly see this as a central village in a campaign. You've added some nice touches with the druid circle and all the sacred things in it. Makes me interested in finding out the story behind that.
Unfortunately, aside from that, the village is a touch generic. We don't get to know what those bigger platforms with multiple treeforts are meant for, we don't know how high that hill is and all around this would have benefited from some names, aside from the main one that is. It would have allowed you to add some character and specifics. Names can be very evocative.
The trees are also somewhat far apart from one another, though the walkways are of proper width for that scale. Some indication that this is an actual forest, and not just a loose collection of trees, would have helped.
I'm also missing colours. Now you're using a lot of symbols that look a lot alike, meaning that the map can be hard to read. I wouldn't be surprised if someone thought that those triangular platforms are the elevators, because the small symbol in the key is not very clear.
Nevertheless, not a bad map. It would have needed some finishing touches and something to add more character to it. As it is, it would have been a weak maybe for me.
Jeff Lee wrote:
The uppermost levels of the Darklands. A fine place to brew monsters. I speculate that we'll see a mix of aberrations, oozes, and monstrous humanoids, with a handful of other types in the mix. Perhaps someone will try their hand at a new gremlin.
Don't know about oozes. Hard to be truly creative with those. Then again, this is Superstar, so if you can pull off an ooze that feels fresh, you have certainly proven your worth. At least in my books.
I think that undead might turn out to be rather popular. Though personally I too am hoping for some dark fey.
And of course, congratulations to the Top 16!
So far I've given seven votes:
Gabriel Almer - Caverns of Steam
So I have one vote left, but I have three or four maps that are about equally good. Some are better designed, some have better idea, some tell better story. Honestly, at this point I'm feeling that I cannot lift one of them above the others. Even the magic items can't work as a tiebreaker, because they're all kind of meh to me.
We shall see if I change my mind, but at least these seven have more than earned their votes from me.
143) Soulfire Band:
Now that is heavy metal description. Although I want to know who's mad enough to hunt balors to harvest them for their horns. Trapping souls, on the other hand, not so heavy metal. I'd call it rather evil, actually, making this ring absolutely useless for players. Not a huge problem, but a problem nonetheless. The mechanic is also problematic because it's so easily exploitable. Even small forest critters have at least one hit dice, meaning that you can just snuff farm animals to fill up the ring and then spam fire damage all over the place. And as you slaughter your way through dungeons filled with level-appropriate monsters, this becomes all that more powerful. I'd call this a minor artifact based on the power levels. Still, the description is evocative and I do like the imagery as a whole. Soulfire as a term is something I'd like to see attached to an actual ability or perhaps a spell. Possibly a high-level spell that can be cast as a swift action after you've killed someone in close combat?
144) Ring of Retrospection:
Anything that grants free XP would get automatically banned in my games. This is the sort of item that every party would pool their gold to get as soon as possible because it means quicker level-ups. And that's just bad gaming in general if there's only one clear choice above all others. That being said, the idea itself, dreaming of past events to learn something from them, has potential and I could see this as a conduit for some knowledge checks,legend lore spell or anything really that dealt with actual in-game concepts. Yes, it would probably be just static bonuses or spells-in-a-can, meaning that it would still not be Superstar, but it could be good for a book of magic items, which is its own honour.
145) Ring of Adaptive Weaponry:
This is more of an item type than a single one item. Meaning that while it could certainly be useful, it doesn't leave a very vivid image. I fell to a similar trap last year. So don't call your item plain, because then the voters will think it's plain all around. Spruce up your item. The other problem is that this is a "make adventuring easier" item, which are frowned upon. This completely removes the need to have an extra weapon with you, taking up weight and space. Instead you just carry a bunch of rings in your pocket. The more I think about it, the more this resembles my item from last year. Mine gave weapons weapon special abilities, like flaming, this gives them special materials. So points for what at least I believe is a good idea, but yeah, in retrospect it has problems when it comes to balance. Still, this shows promise to me. Next year you have to make a swarm item to follow in my footsteps. Keep that in mind. Then again, I didn't advance, so perhaps you should consider doing something else. *smiles*
146) Rod of Bounding Flame:
Nice visuals. You appeal to my inner need to watch the world burn. Or at least hear the GM describe it burn. The standard action ability is a good one. Not overly powerful, so it doesn't need a daily limit, but it's something that would be useful throughout the game. I might have added fire resistance as well, as clichéd as that is, but it wouldn't have required many words. The main ability on the other hand, the bread and butter, is a bit problematic. First of all, it looks goofy, or perhaps like something an anime character or a video game character might do. I do like the the carrot with the need for consecutive bounces. Gives the player a nice dilemma about whether he should keep going or not. But it would have worked better as a dilemma if he had needed to bounce a certain distance for it to work. Now he can just jump up and down. But if it was a choice of jumping away one round, doing damage only to a few creatures and then jumping back for the ultimate blast, then it's a dilemma. I also think this might be a touch underpriced. But all in all a nice item and it fell just short of making my keep list. Do keep on designing, because you have good eye for mechanics and design ideas.
147) Campaign Staff:
I upvoted this more often than not, because I like the theme and the utilitarian nature of the staff. The spell list is not very damage oriented, but it would definitely come in handy during a siege or similar situations. The elementals, on the other hand, feel superfluous. You could have replaced them with summon monster (earth elementals only). Had this done something more unique and battlefield control oriented, it might have fared a lot better. Perhaps ability to man a siege weapon or two alone. Or some kind of distance mapping ability to see behind enemy walls. Come to think of it, the spell list could have used a scrying spell of some kind. So, not a bad item, but I don't think the theme is properly utilized.
148) Ancestor’s Breastplate:
Very cool idea and something that could lead to some roleplaying situations, especially if this armor happens to be looted. Would it even work, would the player have to bargain with the family to be accepted? Unfortunately the actual abilities are rather disappointing. They're useful, certainly, but feel utilitarian. Plus the bonus to Dexterity is potentially huge, which is not so good because it encourages minmaxing. This really needs a hook. It needs to be able to do something you cannot replicate with existing class powers, spells or feats. Plus it's annoying that if you're a fighter, you barely benefit from this armor. I'd probably house rule that a fighter gets the next level of his armor training, but that's house ruling. Though, there are some rules that could be read that if you gain an ability like this, it might actually stack with existing ones - like if you gain uncanny dodge if you already have one - but I'm not sure if that would apply here. Nevertheless there is potential here, because the visuals and theme are both good ones. You just need to figure out something that makes the mechanics stand out. So with that, see you next year!
149) Shield of the Eye:
Vastly overpriced and basically a cleric-in-a-can/shield. Nothing extraordinary. Though I like that it's a tower shield that does something if you use it for its cover capability. Shows that you took it being a shield into account when designing. Though the wording is a bit vague, needing to be more precise about what happens and how long it will last. Also, do you expect to encounter liches daily? Because if not, that ability is extremely superfluous, although it gives the shield some character. All in all what this shield needs is something that cannot be easily replicated by existing powers, spells or abilities. The lich one is too situational to count. I like the visuals though. Red makes it seem a bit evil, but perhaps the mold needs some cracking.
With a scale this small I would have expected to see the interiors of these buildings as well. Most of them would probably be underwater, but there should be options to swim into them, or possible even enter an upper floor that has stayed above water. Especially because I see windows over there.
All in all a good idea, possibly even a start for a campaign - shipwrecks are always in season for campaign openers. If only it had a grid, some room for maneuvering in combat and a better hook than a sinking ship. Also needs more wreckage and floating planks.
Unfortunately it seems you didn't want to bother with details being only alternative, and this time that cost you. It's human, but regrettable. Nevertheless, the best of luck.
Even though it's such a cliché, I actually haven't seen that many elven treeforts before, so points for that.
At first, this looks great, but the more you look at it, the more you start to pick up on the minor mistakes. Like the fact that it is a bit hard to read after all. It's also pretty confusing why there's webbing between those two branches, or why alchemist's lab of all things. I also have no idea how that ballista is supposed to work through all those branches and leaves. Through sheer inertia? How are you supposed to aim at anything unless it's an especially sparse tree, but in that case you're plainly visible.
But, I do like it just the same. The different levels seem logical, are smartly not on top of each other more than they have to, it seems to have all the necessary spaces for it to be functional as a guardpost and I could definitely see myself using this. Perhaps it's not as awe-inducing as some others, but it shows promise. I'll give it maybe.
Once again very familiar looking textures. Do we all have the same map elements package?
Anyway, yeah, it's a bit utilitarian. Definitely something I could see myself using, but there's no hook to it, aside from the fact that we usually don't adventure in breweries - although we should. It's also very small for a brewery, even though it doesn't have to be, you would have had room for much more. There's plenty of grass to expand over.
I do like there's more than one way to enter the building, although it needs windows and that the basement seems suitably creepy. Though once again a bit odd that the basement seems to have barrels in it, but there seems to be no winch to lower them in or haul them up. Or is that just for empty barrels?
All in all nice photoshop skills, but your imagination is lacking.
At first I was like "A battleaxe? Uhhuh, that's cute."
But the more I look at this map, the more I'm starting to like it. The asymmetrical room design, the fact that the upper and lower floors are not just mirror images of one another, all the minor details, the fact that it for some reason has an amphitheater in it. This is definitely a place I'd like to explore.
Then again, the mention of haunts is a bit disconcerting because there's no other indication that this place isn't still in use. No ruins, no crumbling walls, no fallen bookshelves, no spider webs. Why not leave the haunts out and let this be a fully operating dwarven stronghold? A small one, sure, but as I said in the other dwarf stronghold thread, not all of them have to be metropolises.
And yeah, there are some rooms missing for this to be fully realistic and functional, but there are more of them here than normal, so at least this is better than average in that regard.
All in all, way to turn a cliché on its head. Not one of my favourites, but I do love that you took the risk and made it work for you. A weak yes.
The face of that treant. Cracks me up every time. Definitely could have used a bit more inhuman design to avoid hilarity.
Aside from that, this is probably my second favourite map. Very cool idea, clear layout, nice use of space and as a whole this will make for a memorable encounter. I also like that you're not too specific with the encounters, allowing for the idea to shine above others.
To nitpick a little, I'd say that the walls in the treant don't have to be so thick. Making them thinner would give the party more room to maneuver and allow for more varied encounters within the treant, which is the main thing in this map. The rift is also superfluous and prevents me from using this map in certain settings. Now I'd have to somehow explain that rift or photoshop it out. The rest of the elements fit into many different settings and themes.
Nevertheless, a fantastic map and a clear indicator of your ingenuity and skill. Definitely worth voting for.
I'm sorry about the DQ as well. But, you already made Top 32 once, meaning that you're in good position to repeat that feat next year. Hope to see you then!
As for the map itself, yeah, it's a bit clichéd and offers nothing really new to the game. The hidden storage rooms and the chandeliers are nice touches and I do like that there are two levels to have combat in, but this would have needed something more to make it interesting. A shrine in the basement, a kitchen connected directly to the slaughterhouse for some reason - or better yet, the morgue. A dog vs. goblin fighting arena, underwater rooms ready for renting, anything really.
Still, it's nicely drawn, is very functional and I'd definitely use this if I needed a good inn map. Next year remember to include a hook.
The text is simply too small to read. Seems like you drew this much bigger and then shrunk it down to fit the demands, but forgot to make sure it was still readable. And that's just careless.
Still, the idea is excellent. I'd love to knock my players out during this adventure - perhaps as a result of one of those explosions probably resulting from lava - and then throw the second map open in front of them and watch them panic. I can see it already.
That being said, I'm not a huge fan of maps where numerous tunnels crisscross like this. It's a natural phenomenon and this map is a good representation of that, but it makes it harder to run games if you're using printed maps and not redrawing it yourself. Now I'd have to photoshop the dashed lines away to avoid spoilers. Or, more likely I'd claim that the ice is see-through and that the players can vaguely see the underlying tunnels. But you can only do that here because it's ice.
I also would have liked some indication about what the actual adventure would have been like. Now the caves are numbered, but no explanation is given. At least I think so.
One of the best ideas this round, but the rest of the design is a bit too open to wow. I'll go with maybe.
Nice details and I actually see two roads leading into the town. One from south, one from west. I'm more confused about there being no buildings on the other side of the river. The town feels so clustered that you would think someone would want a bit of their own space to stretch their arms properly. Then again, there's only one entrance into the upper town that looms over the poor so it just might be that no one has permission to build on the other side of the river. Who knows.
All the names are very evocative and especially The Pilgrim's Stairs and The Witch's Watch are good adventure hooks. All except the town's name itself, which is clichéd, but sometimes that's not a bad thing. At least it's easy to remember.
I could have used a bit larger map key and more explanations about where the important locations are. And if you're going to name one street, name all the major ones at least.
All in all I do like this and think it's the best non-encounter map we have this round. Very strong maybe from me.
This looks less like a map and more like an unfinished schematic for Iron Man's arc reactor.
That being said, I thought it was fairly obvious that the rooms were underwater. If some part of map is painted blue and no other explanation is given, I will assume it's water, especially with the swamp symbols assisting with that association. Though some elevation markers would have been useful to confirm this.
It's the layout in general I have problems with. Everything here seems randomly scattered around. There's no rhyme or reason to why these rooms are arranged like this, why some trap doors are at the end of seemingly empty corridors or what any of these rooms are meant for. There's plenty of space for elaboration, but the designer chose not to use it, which is baffling.
I can see potential, especially in the arena, but as a whole this just doesn't feel professional enough.
I actually like the shape this has. Gives us a break from squares and crosses these kinds of buildings usually utilize. Does it make absolute sense? No, but then again neither does building a house into a glacier, or a village in the middle of quicksand swamp, yet we've seen those and weirder stuff in our gaming careers. Style over function, to a point, I say.
That being said, it is rather mundane in its execution. I'd definitely use this if I needed an abbey that wasn't painfully clichéd, but I don't see anything in it I'd be interested in exploring. This is the kind of building you make interesting through the people that inhabit it. And while that is utilitarian, it's not exactly good map making, though it is not bad either.
Still, I do appreciate that this has given a lot of thought to living arrangements and actual functionality of the place. There's even outhouses. Sure the outside could have used a bit of work, but the inside seems well thought out.
A weak maybe from me, as there just isn't a lot of creativity to be seen.
Hands down my favourite map. Crisp drawing, fantastic location, interesting details, excellent theme, elevation, enough room for combat, the whole nine yards.
Though yes, I too would have liked to see the interiors as well, although I think this could warrant two pages, one for the exteriors, one for interiors. There's enough here that I wouldn't have wanted for you to shrink it to make room for the interiors as well.
Some of the details, like the floating sphere, are also a bit odd, but I'm more intrigued than bothered by them, so I'll give it a pass. The path also seems kind of narrow to me. A cyclops can use it, but only just. Then again, some of the details are awesome, like the snow shelf or the crumbling bridge.
All in all this is an excellent map. It could be improved, yes, but there's enough quality here for me to definitely vote for this.
So it's a 60 ft. drop into the water? That seems excessive. Begs the question of why someone wanted to dig a pool that deep to begin with. Plus is the water surface at -20 feet, or is that the bottom of the pool?
Aside from that, I do like the location. The aquarium and the sacred pool are good evocative details, I like that it's so interconnected and as a whole it has enough variations and differences to make combat and exploration interesting. I have some questions about how one moved around in this before it fell to ruin - there seem to be no bridges or their leftovers to move over the whirlpool. Plus, was there really only one priest living here or are the cells really living spaces? Because if you use the word cell, I'm going to think prison.
I do like this. It's an interesting mixture of temple, luxury resort and prison while still maintaining functionality and ease of use. I kind of wish it had been a bit more tightly designed, what with most of the round rooms seeming to have been drawn in a hurry, but all around I see potential. Strong maybe.
The Glassfire Eye? Which is a tower? Uh huh... Oh hi, Sauron!
Joking aside, there are some good things in this map. It's a gutsy move to go with Darklands location - though we got more of those than I would expected - and this has a suitably cavernous feel to it. It actually took me back to good old Menzoberranzan, always a nice thing. The names are also evocative for the most part, though they're pretty heavy on the "could be the name of a death metal band" department.
But, as others have pointed out, this is way too huge to be practical, there's not enough detail and it seems somewhat uniform despite having as many locations as it has. Plus, if you're going to use that shade of red, I'll always think of lava before anything else.
And it actually seems there are two ways to exit this cave. Or there was. The Fallen Stairs and the Passage to the Sightless Sea. So I don't see that as a problem.
All in all I'm not just seeing enough creativity here. The names work, but the rest of the map shows nothing we haven't seen before.
I see some good potential for creative combat here. Unstable platforms, ziplines, deep deep water, a hut, a sunken ship with multiple levels. Yes, definitely some potential.
That being said, there are some minor tweaks that would have made this more interesting. Like I wish the west and the center platforms were a bit closer to one another, so that you could try to jump from one to another. It's feasible now as well - if only just - but not something I'd be willing to risk without a significant Acrobatics score. Boats floating in the middle of the canals would also have sufficed. I also wish the sunken ship was a bit closer to the surface, allowing you to walk on it halfway submerged. Having the center mast intact would have allowed you to include some ropes and sails to climb on, adding another level.
And what is the purpose of these ziplines? Are they there only for fun, because now it doesn't seem too hard to simply walk instead of hazarding a zipline. Sure they will be fun during combat, but what is their everyday use?
A maybe map for me. It has potential, but I don't think that potential is fully realized.
A ship. I'm sorry, but that's all this is, a ship. I apparently have the same map-making package as you have, because I recognize these textures, and I could make this in ten minutes. Nothing Superstar about that.
The idea is a good one. A ship meant to sail a fallen king into the afterlife, probably specially built for this mighty king. I can see a ship with no main deck, the dead king lying in the hull that has been opened to the skies, I can see black sails, honor guards chained to the ship so they will go down with it, heaps and heaps of treasure, some kind of trap meant to sink the ship, anything but this.
And sure, the cursed circle and the library are nice touches, telling a story, but you had a full page to use for this. Take us a bit closer and show us some details. Plus, where are the lower decks? You had room to draw them.
All in all I cannot like this map, even though I kind of want to. It's simply too much wasted potential.
There's a story here, waiting to be told. The names are all very evocative and this is exactly the sort of map where I mull over the names and want to go and find out what's the story behind them. Troll Mirror Pond especially tickles the adventurer in me. The hexed pathways seem interesting as well and I'd imagine unhexing them would be the goal of the adventure, which sounds fine to me. As a whole this has a very good Kingmaker vibe to me with a large area full of encounters ready to be explored. And that's great, I love Kingmaker.
Unfortunately the execution here leaves a lot to be desired. As Browman said, it feels more like Settlers of Catan than Pathfinder, what with the way everything is perfectly hex-shaped and even the cultivated areas are just symbols in the middle of a hex. You're leaving too much in the hands of the cartographers, forcing them to either make up their own shapes or to ask a lot of questions. And that means this doesn't fulfill the expectations of this round. In some places the use of "symbols" works great, like differentiating between two types of forest, but most of the time it makes this look like an early video game.
I'll have to go with maybe for this one. I like the idea and the place you've come up with, but you didn't really think this from the point of view of the rules or what was expected of you and that costs you a lot of points.
Killer idea and definitely something I'd want to use as a major location in a campaign. The names are also evocative and keeping with the Shoanti theme, telling a story of their own.
That being said, the scale is weird. Now it seems that most buildings are just about the size of a small dorm room, which is tiny even by medieval tribe standards. Sure there are multiple floors, but that just means that they have to make room for stairs. And speaking of stairs, I don't see any means to get to the top of the hill. There are some winches to the cliffside houses, but none to the highest guard tower. Are the stairs or paths merely outside the picture, or within the cliff itself? Also, why have a net curtain there and not at the top of the waterfall as well?
There's a lot of potential here, but more time should have been spent on the logistics of a village like this. With some development this could be awesome, but as it is, it feels like a work unfinished. I'll go with maybe.
The colours are way too close to one another for me to make any sense of this map. It took me a long time to realize that the Creeping Vale was in fact light forest and not marsh. At first I thought that the whole east side of this map was covered in water. Might be a scanning issue, as Feros pointed out, but you should have realized the fact and fixed it before sending the map.
But even that out of the equation, I have a hard time reading this map. I have no idea what Needle's Eye Rock is supposed to contain, I'm not sure whether that line near the Hall of Destroyer is supposed to be a bridge or a dam, Salvation Hold seems to be humongous in scale, whereas the light forest seems kind of small.
I do like the addition of tidal plains, nice detail there, and boggards are always a favourite of mine and all in all the theme of flooding lands is something I'd be willing to explore.
Nevertheless, this map leaves me rather cold. It's hard to read and its individual elements don't seem to come together to tell a story. It has some interesting things going for it, but unfortunately not enough.
I do like the elevation thing going on here, I can see lot of jumping into the water in my players' future, which is a definite plus for this map. Hypogeum is also an idea we don't get to see too often, and after reading Neil's post, I'm in love with the vampire possibility.
But I do think there could have been a bit more to this map to really sell it. Wooden docks crossing the water, a more elaborate tomb, multiple levels - it's a weird enough sewer already, why not make it more weird.
Then again, there are possibilities here. There's a lot of room for flying monsters, and if this is a low-level encounter, I could imagine the players suffering as they try to descend the stairs while being pestered by flyers. If only there was something in the water to make jumping less ideal an option. Perhaps the water could have been so low that you can only climb up in certain places. True, you can add those in the actual text, but an indication on the map itself would have been a good thing to tide you over this round.
All in all a nice base idea, but it's not spruced up enough to make this truly Superstar. I'll give it a weak maybe.
The main problem here isn't the idea, which does show some ability to go for the unexpected, or the theme, which is a bit common, but perfectly serviceable. It's the fact that this would be so annoying to run or be part of. Tunnels after tunnels, most of which you had to squeeze through, no room for maneuvering, no real choice for in which order you tackle the challenges, not much elevation, no sense of grandeur. Just tunnels after tunnels. Sure it looks interesting for the GM, who can see it as a whole, but I bet players would be full of this after the first two rooms.
Now the end chamber, that's more like it. Sure, it's the most clichéd of these, but it also works. I like that the players will start with a elevated position and can jump straight into the fray, probably even literally. I like that the stand extends over the ghoul pit.
Alas, as it is, it's just too little. I appreciate the unique look and the willingness to take risks, but this time those risks didn't pay off.
Probably the most well-drawn map this year, which is a nice plus and helps with understanding the map. To talk about the design itself, I do think it has a lot good qualities going for it. First of all, I love that it's so interconnected, allowing the players to tackle the encounters however they see fit. Depending on how you present this map to them, they might have no idea which way they are supposed to go, inducing a random element to it that's bound to keep it interesting and surprising for the GM as well, always a nice bonus.
The encounters and caves themselves are also varied enough to keep things interesting. I'm not crazy about the dragon addition, but all of the other things seem interesting. I also do think that the mushroom cave is a bit cramped, though at least there's enough room in between the mushrooms for the players and NPCs to have some room to change positions amongst themselves or to try and get into flanking positions.
And as others have stated, it would have been nice to see some signs of habitation in the form of bridges and the like. Not essential, but they wouldn't have been unwelcome either.
All in all I do think this has possibilities. Its story is not as apparent as in some other cases, but superior design and exciting possibilities make up for that splendidly. I'll definitely vote for this one.
Definitely a place I'd want to run an adventure in, although as others have already told you, it would have been so much more with extra details.
A couple of questions. The lighthouse in the creature's stomach is a good addition, but why is the top of it floating in the water. Assuming that it's made of stone - I don't think a lighthouse that big can be made of wood - it really doesn't have that much buoyancy. What are the markings in the southernmost room? The map doesn't explain. Can you exit or enter through the gills? They're drawn in, but there isn't a connection to the air bladder. How is this staying afloat? If it was beached somewhere, I wouldn't have any problems, but normally a corpse will sink sooner or later. Or in the case of humans, it will first sink, then rot and bloat, rising to the surface and then sink again. Assuming CIA hasn't lied to me year after year.
Nevertheless, I do like this. It is a creative idea and definitely tells a story. Could have been more with some extra work, but even still I'm giving it a weak yes.
I'm not a huge fan of dinosaurs, skeletal or otherwise, in Pathfinder, but I have used them occasionally so it's not a huge problem. I just wish the map had something more than Here There Be Dinosaurs going for it. Now it's very Flintstones-esque to me.
There are some good touches. The addition of swamp makes for a good final area, the plateau is also nice and will make for a good miniboss area. And the individual encounters might very well be really cool, but I cannot tell that looking at the map alone. But there should be more. I want rocks, gorges, vegetation, man-eating plants, possibly even a cave for that supposed treasure this place is meant to hide. Though that last one might be behind the waterfall.
Nothing really wrong with this one, it just doesn't grab my imagination like some other maps have. I'll go with weak maybe.
Those are some pretty cramped living spaces, especially for the lower class. Were you a single they might not be all that bad, but I don't get any indication that there's room for a family. Including different sized apartments would have meant you had taken different kinds of families into account. Aside from that I like the scale. Not every dwarf fortress needs to be a huge metropolis. I rather like the idea of a small independent dwarf clan trying to make a living in a place where most would be too afraid to build anything permanent. A small clan of five or six families and some loyal retainers. I just hope you had given the retainers their own individual quarters instead of going with the copy paste method. Dwarves are systematical, but even they understand variety.
The rest of the details are great, however. I like the temple, and the mushroom cave. I like that all the disgusting and smelly jobs have been given their own space in the lower dungeons. I like that it explains where this place gets its water. There's even some communal areas in the form of tavern, the dining hall and the kitchens. I could have used a bit more of those, but that's a minor quibble. And the kitchen could have been its own separate place. I wouldn't want to make food right next to the place where they forge metal and thus use chemicals. Though, medieval fantasy society, so they might not.
This map is on the right track. It showcases a lot of practical thinking and clever solutions, but it's also a bit too uniform to be quite real. It's head and shoulders above most of its peers, but it could have been more with some minor changes. Still, I do like it and I'm going to go with a weak yes.
At first I was unsure why the lake didn't just flow into the basin, but then you named it Impossible Sinkhole Wall, neatly explaining the oddness and arousing my interest. I want to know what has happened here and why nothing has been done to this before.
Unfortunately the rest of the elements are disappointingly bland. There's a forgotten temple, because of course it is, some buildings, a rectory - nice word choice, by the way - but nothing really connects or gives me clear idea about what this place has been before. It's pretty hard for a temple to be forgotten if it is right next to a road. Especially if the road is probably still in use, because you could easily circle around that basin. If this had text accompanying it, you could explain those oddities away, but the map alone leaves quite a few questions unanswered, which wasn't the point of this round.
I like the general idea I can sense behind this one, some sort of religious community ravaged by a natural disaster, but it feels like the individual pieces are still searching their places, blurring the image as a whole.
The purpose of this tower is a bit vague, but I get the sense that it might have been a guard tower of some kind, based on the what I assume are prison cells and the anvil. What happened here is an interesting mystery and one I'd like to find out.
Very clear map and good detail for both adventuring possibilities and all around utilitarian use when not being used to house encounters. I could definitely imagine something interesting in here. Although, I do wish it was a bit bigger, because now I get a really cramped feeling when looking at it. Putting a full party of five in the sleeping area takes almost half of the total floor area, making for some uncomfortable battles. Though sometimes that's half of the fun, so I don't think that's a dealbreaker. I also wish the big open space in the south side of the tower would have been used for something or that at least part of combat could have happened near its borders in the upper floor. I so wish I could push someone into the sinkhole from the upper floor, but now there's limited chance of that happening.
Plus, what's the purpose of the chains? Everything else I can grasp, but that's confusing. Oh well, one minor detail while everything else is crystal clear. Although, the map doesn't indicate where the water ends before the trees at the top of the map.
All in all I like this, but I wish it had added more than the sinkhole to make the encounter differ from every other ruined tower encounter. Love the details though so I'm gonna go with strong maybe.
An Abyssal rift certainly looks and sounds cool, though this is an odd placement for one in Golarion. Aside from that this map would definitely need some sort of explanation as to what has happened, who has been fighting whom and why is temple so damn big.
Looking at it, there are some good elements. The primordial ooze, while poorly explained, still gives us a striking visual and something to describe as the players walk in. The sacrificial pools and demon corpses are classic imagery and the rift itself could certainly be something interesting. Kind of wish that the rift was old and people had tried to build bridges across it - now that would be a cool combat location - but it's fine as it is.
Unfortunately the map is lacking in detail. What are the buildings along the shore, what's around the temple aside from them, what do the basement and the rooftop look like, is the entrance hall really just one big empty space, and so on.
Vivid idea, but the map doesn't call me to adventure in it, because it lacks a clear identity and the scale really is a bit too big for a typical encounter for a party of four or five.
Very nice idea. I can definitely see someone standing on one of the aqueducts, raining death on those below, making this a very dynamic and interesting map to have an encounter in. The scale is also very good, being tight enough to keep the combat hectic while still allowing enough room for maneuvering. Yes, I can definitely see an encounter in this.
But yeah, it's a bit blocky and then there's the library mistake, which I don't as much as it is an easy fix. But I wish the aqueducts and the cliff edges were curved. That would immediately give this a much more interesting visual appeal. The rectangular pools are iconic so I'm not sure I'd change those, especially because they could create some contrast if the walls and cliffs curved. It might also be interesting if the aqueducts were connected with a bridge or a smaller aqueduct.
Very nice details, very understandable and it tells a story. I'm gonna go with weak yes.
The way I'm reading this map is that the area called The Lifts is the only area near water level and the rest of the city is elevated, with the citadel towering over the bay and the city both. Though the addition of docks wrapping around the citadel detracts from that, so I might very well be wrong, but I like my image so I'm going with it.
Unfortunately the map is so confusing that all of our guesses are pretty much valid, meaning that this doesn't fulfill its basic function. First of all, what are the red and grey buildings scattered around the city, the map key doesn't tell. I got the two different temples, though I don't see any reason for them not to be named just in case. Why are the academy and the tavern lifted above else, probably more important locations? Okay, academy seems important, but a single tavern?
I like that you did your research and included the hellknight citadel, but now that I checked the wording again, it was supposed to be near Remesiana, not in it. Still, a minor mistake and I appreciate the effort.
In the end there just isn't enough detail here to convince me to adventure in it. The bare bones are alright, but it seems you ran out of time or trusted the cartographer to fill in the blanks, which just isn't Superstar.
Okay, you need to collect all the runes, if I'm not terribly mistaken. And that's a really cool idea, I want to run a game like that. Unfortunately the map itself supports this idea poorly. First of all, I would have liked the goal to be more visible. Perhaps it could have even been the center stage of the whole map, with a magical barrier keeping the players out as John suggested. Now it's behind an earth barrier, making they players think it's just an empty corridor. Savvy players will naturally realize there's a secret door, but it's not very tantalizing.
Plus, the dungeon needs to be more complex with numerous ways it can be gone through. There's some of that here, it's not just a corridor of rooms, but... more. Multiple elemental challenges at the end of which there's a rune.
Though even the elementals are kind of boring. That's the very first idea one thinks about when he's building death traps based around the elements. The suffocation trap sounds interesting, but the rest are just blasts of the element in question. There might be something in the water, but you could have named it chuul swamp or something else more evocative.
Neat idea, but the map itself never evolves beyond blocks and straight edges making it very boring indeed.
I really like the story this map is trying to tell. The PCs get captured and somehow they have to get out of the city without being detected or stopped. That's definitely an adventure I'd want to be part of and the map serves the purposes of that story very well. All the essentials of a slave harbor are there, down to the gnolls and the masters.
I also like the look of this map and the fact the buildings differ greatly from one another. The scale makes no sense, making most of these buildings appear to be rather large in size - is this a city for giants or something - but that's a minor tweak to make. I like all the names for the places that have them and although the huge empty space is a bit odd, I get that it is meant as a huge parade and training ground for the slaves. The map just doesn't convey that very well, if that's the case.
This is a maybe map for me. I love the story behind it, but the story is conveyed through the extra info you give me through text. If I removed the text, this would be rather boring, though with a few interesting details.
Nice idea and I have a soft spot for these kinds of coastal cities with most of the huts build on top of the water, with creaky bridges and docks making up most of the streets and living space. Unfortunately I get the sense that you trusted the cartographer to do most of your work for you. The houses are nothing more than white squares, the docks don't go around them and the buildings are unnaturally aligned with one another.
The map also lacks anything to do in it. Well, okay, the lighthouse might be fun, and like that you have to cross some water to get there. Church of Aroden is also something we don't see every day, so that could be fun. And the gillmen are a logical addition. But are there taverns, shops, smithy on top of the water, local sheriff's office - probably not because of the smugglers, but if there was, it could be a source for an adventure - other temples, rotting houses ready to fall apart... Anything. With so few houses you could have named and identified them all.
It really seems that you either ran out of time or weren't clear on how much room you had to leave for the cartographer. And unfortunately that's not Superstar.
On the technical level, this map is just fine. It reads easily and the symbols serve a purpose. Plus I like the little sea drake addition, evokes some good memories.
Unfortunately I'm not all that thrilled by this. It doesn't really differ from every other island map I've seen in my life and geographically there are some oddities in here. For example, there are two separate mountain ranges, but they're only 15 to 20 miles apart? With the individual mountains apparently being about two miles wide, if that. I'd call those hills, honestly.
As to the details, I like the troll dens as it's immediately something I could imagine doing on this island, but the other names are not very evocative. Who or what are Goboru or Rezza? Those are just generic fantasy names that tell me nothing. Sure, in an adventure book they might gain meaning, but by looking at the map alone, I get nothing. Also, in an island this small you could have given the different settlement their own names.
All in all this is perfectly serviceable, but falls short when compared to others.