Eye of Thrice-Returned Malice
Ignoring for a moment that spell turning exists (as others have already mentioned) I like this one. It's tight and focused, with solid mechanics (although you probably need to cover what happens when an eye reflects to another eye). And the flavor fits well (plus I have a new word in my vocabulary: "apotropaic"). Thanks.
I want to thank you Azmahel for your critique and insight.
were the links included in your submission? That might be bad, because it's not proper format.
Good point. They were indeed included. I've got to admit it didn't even cross my mind that links might be risky. The Migrus Locker did it back in '08, but we have 2 new judges since then.
Your guess is pretty much right on. In retrospect, the effect I was trying to communicate is that you can see the evil thoughts and deeds in the creature's past swirling around them. That's what I was attempting to communicate with this:"Whenever the wearer looks at someone, disturbing glimpses of the subject's past flood the wearer's vision."
"These two crystal fragments fit over the user's eyes, revealing the darkness in people's hearts."
I wasn't as clear with it as I thought I was being. Thanks.
Creatures that are good incarnate don't have any evil in their past (heh, in theory) so no disturbing glimpses show up when you look upon them. At least, that's what I was thinking, but evidently failed to communicate clearly.
I was impressed with this one. It's got a nice flavor and a really tight theme. I don't have much to add to what others have already mentioned. I'd say there are a few areas of style where the language could be tightened up a little, but this is all nitpicking now -- nothing worthy of a reject by any means:- ferryman's toll's wearer: Note the missing apostrophe. Also the double possessive reads a little awkwardly here. I'd suggest just "If the wearer is dying..."
- You've got a fair amount of passive voice: i.e. is bolstered, is placed, be removed, are returned... Readability suffers when there's too much passive, so personally I'd try to convert some of those.
- I did have to read the sentence about 'archaic symbols' a couple of times before I understood it. My mind immediately went to the 'runes and wizard marks' definition of symbols, rather than the 'symbolism and representation' definition which you were going for. I can't think of a replacement word that fits well here, but changing the order of the sentence would have made it clear for me:
"Some pouches also contain animal bones, salt or scarabs, or other archaic symbols of life, death and passage..."
Thanks so much for providing feedback again this year. Below is my attempt. Please don't feel that you need to pull any punches. (And if anyone else has comments, I'd be delighted to hear them too.) Thanks!
Shards of the Devil-Mirror
The shards grant a +10 profane bonus on Sense Motive checks, and a -2 penalty on saving throws against charm and compulsion effects created by evil creatures.
Once per day, the wearer can see more than a fleeting glimpse of the past. This acts as the vision spell, but it can only target a person in the wearer's line of sight. The vision must relate to an act of evil. If the target is overwhelmingly evil, this may stun the wearer (per the detect evil spell).
Only good outsiders appear unchanged through the shards of the devil-mirror — they are immune to the shards' effects. Both shards must be worn, and creatures must be visible to the wearer, for the magic item to have any effect.
Thanks for the feedback JP. I really appreciate it.
Katharan al-Zawree wrote:
1-I would've gone with the alchemist of your own creation instead of Skule. Having Joe alchemist (who might be a protege of the "real" Skule) would give you freedom.
The protege idea's a good one. (The irony that my villain was actually a troll laden down with alchemist's fire was utterly lost on me.)
Katharan al-Zawree wrote:
2-The minotaurs should not leave Absalom at the end. Instead mention some increasing tension between them and the merchants/thieves. (This sets up a future conflict between the two factions)
I evidently didn't communicate this clearly enough. My intent was actually to return Absalom back to its pre-adventure, (largely) minotaur-free state. My introduction was supposed to imply that a lot of minotaur slaves were being brought into Absalom.
Katharan al-Zawree wrote:
3-That one I don't know...
Yeah, I really should have addressed what happens if the PCs fail.
Katharan al-Zawree wrote:
All that said. Outside of PFS, I think the idea is solid, interesting and above all, fun to play and run. I would have liked to play/run that as a home campaign. I just don't think it fits PFS.
There are some great items on this thread. If these are the rejected ones, I'm:
A few standouts:
Sir Ophiuchus wrote:
Idol of the Apostate
This one really caught my eye. Great title, and I love the first power: "it whispers the name of the site's patron deity". Very cool and original. (Detect evil at will risks trespassing on turf that rightfully belongs to the paladin though.)
I liked this one a lot. All my PCs want one of these. I get to create lava? Awesome.
Fax Celestis wrote:
Great title, tight theme.
The Map of Unseen Ways
Original concept that really caught my attention. As you say though, 300 words would have been tough.
Minimus Locker of the Breaching Legion
A Minimus summoned by the locker is not considered summoned for purposes of its own summoning abilities. A summoned Minimus has its own Minimus locker of the breaching legion which it may, in turn, use to summon its own Minimi (eventually, after college), and so on, ad infinitum.
The Minimus has the attributes and type of its summoner (although ocassional variation is inevitable). The summoning has a casting time of months and an instantaneous duration. The locker is invisible, intangible, and undetectable by any normal means. The Minimus refuses to obey any commands that its summoner dictates. Nevertheless, the Minimus fills its summoner with utter and inexplicable joy.
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
This is a great example of the canon issue I'm talking about in the other thread. (Not to pick on you!)
On the contrary! I truly appreciate the feedback Josh.
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
The Bensi Skule that you seem to be using here is, in fact, dead...
Ouch, I apologize. I was indeed working from the Guide to Absalom. (I had originally created my own alchemist, but smartly decided it would be better if I tried to weave my submission more tightly with existing canon.) Glad I could provide such a compelling example of what not to do!
In an item category as broad and perennially popular as 'Monkey Pants', it's not surprising there are many:
Boomer's Pants of the Many Monkeys were my favorite moment from RPGSuperstar yet.
Below is my rejected submission for #45. I'd appreciate any feedback you might spare. (Don't hold back, I can take it.) With thanks in advance.
The Untouchable Murderer
Alchemist, Dr. Bensi Skule, has murdered with impunity for years. He uses Puddles residents as both test subjects and ingredients, abetted by a corrupt magistrate. His latest concoction, “Bullmeek”, pacifies minotaurs, generating a supply of docile, muscular slaves for Absalom's dockyards.
All of which is a red flag to the Minotaur Prince. He must find a way to stop his people’s enslavement, even if it means sacrificing his own freedom. The prince’s plan relies on an obscure privilege. He bears the right to trial under the First Lady of Laws herself. If he and Skule could somehow commit a crime together, the alchemist would finally face justice. Moreover, if the prince were under the influence of Bullmeek, would anyone hold him responsible?
The prince starts his plot rolling by arranging his own kidnapping.
The characters start their search at the site of the kidnapping, the Grog Pit. The tavern brims with ex-longshoremen venting their frustrations on a passive minotaur (not the prince). The PCs’ investigation triggers a brawl. A stray bottle strikes the minotaur, freeing it from Bullmeek’s grip and allowing it to punish its tormentors. The party discovers that Grandmaster Torch witnessed and perhaps masterminded the kidnapping.
The PCs row out to Flotsam Graveyard where Torch reclines in a sinking palatial barque, attended by skum. Any suggestion that Torch kidnapped the prince flusters him. He observed one of Skule’s minions leading the abduction. Nevertheless, Torch hears persistent rumors that a royal beast will assassinate Skule at midnight. Someone is evidently manipulating the prince. Torch abhors Skule (the alchemist burnt Torch almost to ash), but if Skule dies, everyone will suspect him. The PCs must beat time and tide to get ashore before the situation explodes.
Skulking locals and cowled thugs crowd Puddles’ central square, watching Skule make a public example of a disloyal minion. The prince, disguised as one of Skule’s thugs, uncloaks and charges, his horns dripping poison. He targets the tortured minion, not the alchemist. Skule’s shock turns to anger, and the cringing Minotaur Prince pretends to have misunderstood his “master”. The PCs must intervene to save the prince and prevent the victim’s death. Guards finally arrive in force, arresting the prince, Skule, his thugs, and the PCs.
In jail, if the PCs persuade the prince of their trustworthiness, he discusses his plans for the trial. He stresses his desire for justice, and feigns amnesia if asked whether a rival crime boss, dock gang, Torch, or he himself engineered the kidnapping. The party may also notice a fawning magistrate meeting with Skule.
At court, Skule appears smugly confident until the Prince proclaims his right to trial under the First Lady of Law. The PCs may try to persuade her of the prince’s innocence if they wish. Skule tries to escape, showering his attackers with alchemist’s fire. The PCs can capture or destroy him.
- Saving the intended murder victim
If Skule still lives, he and his gang suffer the full wrath of the law.
Doubt over Bullmeek’s safety spreads due to the carnage at the Grog Pit and in Puddles. Within a week, all minotaurs have left Absalom, save one.
...My pleasure, if you have time, i would love to get some more feedback on my version of The Decline of Glory.
The Decline of Glory
I liked the backdrop you described in your first paragraph. The idea of a society honing itself through conflict caught my imagination. The storyline that cuts through it is a good one, and all of your encounters pertain directly to the hook. Arguably encounter 3 is an exception, but it quickly becomes part of the storyline again when Katallin tries to escape.
You cater to a lot of different play styles, and this could run very differently depending on the group. That's great. There's a lot more room for player choice in this scenario than in your other submission.
The individual encounters are again imaginative and fun. This was a real strength of both your submissions I thought.
Like taig, I wanted to know more, particularly about the last two encounters. Is Act 4 actually several minor encounters, or just a handful of skill checks? What happens if the PCs fail? How are you going to ensure that all the players get involved in the climactic encounter? If I'm reading you correctly, you're doing some fairly ambitious stuff here with encounter 5, and I think you need to do more to demonstrate that you've thought through the issues, within the constraints imposed by a 4-hour scenario.
For the price of a finger,
Nice flavor, but I suspect you need to expand on that if you're going to mention it. (Side note: while D&D has mechanics for regenerating body parts, it oddly doesn't have mechanics for losing them.)
Drawn into the fracas by their factional ties, the PCs...
You might need to state why/that this can't become PvP.
Can the family rift between Katallin and Leianna be healed or will Maheto's blood-stained streets decline further from glory...
I was hoping to hear exactly what the PCs' consequences of success and failure were. I suspect the place for tantalizing, flavorful hints is in the intro, and the conclusion is not the place to be holding back information from the editors. I could be way off base though.
The bard and his bird.
Personally, I'm not a fan of the encounter subtitles. I don't think this one works so well in U.S. English (although the omniscient editors probably got it anyway). Love the encounter itself though.
On to the (even more) niggly stuff:
All are driven
passive (though not sure this one needs fixing)
teachings...teachings...teachingsto find...to find
His vogue teachings that steel sharpens steel and that conflict breeds excellence blended well with the Taldorian mindset to create a situation where the rule of law no longer holds sway and the only rule is do what though will to be excellent and succeed.
he is no longer able to get it for them himself, due to having had a falling out with...
subdued the battle
these read awkwardly to me
missing or misplaced apostrophes
do what thou will
The Roman-style name felt a little out of place to me, though maybe that's just a culture of Golarion I haven't read up on yet. There are a lot of proper names in your submission, and, like taig, I got a little lost who was who on a first reading.
It's in Maheto, yet there's not much dwarven stuff. The macguffin has a dwarf tie-in, and you hint at dwarf-on-dwarf action in the intro but I didn't catch anything the PCs would experience.
Finally, are all the potential adversaries human? Humanoid?
Overall, another really solid submission. I preferred the adventure here to your other scenario, although I think the writing sparkled a little more in the other.
Trying again -- the server ate my last post :-(
Chris Mortika wrote:
This is a great story Chris -- enjoyable to read. The events flow logically and all pertain to the main storyline. I couldn't find grammar or spelling errors despite trying.
Chris Mortika wrote:
the lore of the Petroglyphs (carved by priests of ancient barbarian tribes, the runes recount the lineage of those kings, each with a poetic epitaph).
Nice atmosphere. This has a great Mayan/Tik'al feel.
While the petroglyph hook is good, it feels like bait-and-switch to me. You do a great job of getting the PCs to the site of the action, but then tempt them with some (initially unrelated) save-the-day heroics. Even with a successful resolution to the adventure, the PCs may be none-the-wiser about the glyphs because the story is more about preventing the dastardly plot against Bellis. Others have commented that they liked the link to PFS though, so I may be off base here.
Chris Mortika wrote:
a great bough breaks through the window and tears Branas to pieces in front of the party
I didn't realize this on my first read through but I suspect this is the treant using its animate trees ability rather than acting directly. (The editors live and breathe this stuff more than me, so they may have picked it up straight away.) Either way though, this feels too deus ex machina to me.
Is there a plot reason to ensure Branas dies (I'm not sure what his story is -- maybe a betrayed patsy)? If so, you need to be careful of Speak with Dead at the higher tier. It's a potential scenario breaker. If not, then just let the PCs deal with Branas and foreshadow the treant's deadly strength elsewhere.
Like taig, I had a hard time initially envisaging the first encounter.
A couple of minor niggles:
Chris Mortika wrote:
The weather-worn engravings are all but indecipherable --even magic produces nothing more than random phrases-- and while each of the stones sounds a chime as the first rays of dawn strike them, they have otherwise faded from the concerns of the townsfolk, who have more urgent concerns these days, with both the town druid found murdered and a lumber crew gone missing in the forest.
Whew, that's a long sentence. Also, it suggested to me that the townsfolk were interested in the glyphs until recent events, which I'm not sure is what you intended. "concerns...concerns" -- rapid repetition of words.
Chris Mortika wrote:
But the Pathfinders, ah, their concerns are loftier than mere logging accidents.
As taig commented, this is risky. The editors may love it, or might hate it. It's a slippery slope from 'ah' down to 'gentle reader' ;-)
Overall, a strong submission Chris. I'd be happy playing or running this.
(If you feel like getting revenge and have time to glance at my rejected submission, I'd truly appreciate any feedback you might have.)
Thanks so much for your critique Zombieneighbours. You make some great points I'd totally overlooked. You evidently read my submission in quite some detail -- thanks!
Here's my review in return. Thanks again.
Taig, this is very clearly written.The event flow is excellent -- it's a very tight serial adventure, but with plenty of options within each encounter. That's ideal for a convention adventure.
All the encounters pertain directly to the story. I particularly liked Encounter 2 -- sounds like fun.
Also, great use of the given elements. This really is a morning tide.
the abduction dealt a blow to the Pathfinder Society, because Frisch had trained some of his bees to act as spies on their behalf
I like the general idea of insect spies. However, I couldn't quite envisage it as appropriate for the Society (as Montalve also commented IIRC). Both spying and making friendly contact with new races seem more appropriate to a nation state, than to a loose society of vagabonds, sages, and treasure hunters. Maybe that's a failure of imagination on my part.
You've got 3 encounters with bees, 4 that include vermin (or ex-vermin I guess). I'm not sure if 'not enough monster variety' is an issue for Josh.
Just the minor nitpicky stuff left:
Bees are the archetypal matriarchy so this just hit me the wrong way. I guess others might consider a queen bee to be cliched whereas a king cleverly breaks the mold. YMMV.
passive voice (though I'm not sure I'd change all of them)
discover the process by which
a little awkward. Perhaps 'discover how'
Unbeknownst to anyone
Unbeknownst feels to me like a $20 word where a 10c one ('unknown') does fine. And more importantly, I'm not alone:Mr Baur's comment
wand of repel vermin, which he used as a bargaining tool against the king
I'm not sure that'll work against verminoid creatures because of their type change. Or is the king worried about its effect on his non-intelligent cousins?
Starglim already mentioned the issue with the mysterious fog.
Overall, a clearly-written submission with room for a lot of player choice. As you say, competition for PFS #23 must have been fierce.
taig, I think you really hit the nail on the head here. Many of your points I didn't see until you pointed them out, but you're right on all counts. Thanks!
Delivering a confusing introduction means instant death, so I'm going to have to work harder at that particularly next time.
Thanks for taking the time to critique -- much appreciated!
I hope to review more later, but in the meantime I'd be delighted if anyone would like to critique my effort. And feel free to hit me with both barrels. I deserve it. :-)
The Decline of Glory
Aducia, a Taldan Pathfinder long presumed dead, has recently resurfaced. For the last four years, she has insinuated and beguiled her way into the House of Pentague, slowly winning its leaders' trust. Her report to the Decemvirate boasts that she can guide a team of raiders to the hidden vault. The Society covets those relics.
Aducia has indeed infiltrated the House of Pentague, but her loyalty lies with its nemesis, the House of Margraive, not with the Pathfinder Society. Her sole intent is the utter annihilation of the House of Pentague. Secretly an Aranea sorcerer, her talents and pleasure lie in loosening tongues and manipulating the pliable. She plans to use the PCs to discredit a perceptive Pentague rival who rightly suspects her of betrayal. Aducia has preemptively accused the rival of treachery and arrested her, predicting that the Margraives will soon try to liberate their agent. If her plan succeeds, she will pierce the trusted inner circle of the House of Pentague, finally in a position to destroy it from within.
As darkness falls, the sounds of explosions echo through Firaga as the Margraives launch a sortie against a Pentague stronghold, drawing many guards away from the vault. The PCs enter via a sewer where they must defeat, trick, or sneak past an Otyugh. Inside the vault, the PCs find chambers laden with astonishing antiquities and lethal traps.
At the vault's center, the PCs discover a bound woman. Despite appearances, this is not Aducia, but her rival. The Pentagues springs her ambush, sending an Ogre and archers against the PCs. Aducia and a witness escape unseen but the PCs recognize her distinctive voice from earlier.
Aducia hunts down the PCs as they escape Firaga, unless vengeful PCs find her first. While she thanks the PCs for cementing her trusted position, they now know too much to live.
Sewer: fight, roleplay, or sneak
Vault treasures: trap
Vault ambush: fight
Confrontation with Aducia: fight and potentially roleplay.
Until the Clouds ClearYou grab my attention right from the first sentence. Great atmosphere. E.g. this:
knowing the harshness of winter and the pang of hunger
I like how the PCs start in media res. The hook feels very appropriate to PFS -- nothing forced about it.
Your first and last encounters, are great set pieces and sound like a lot of fun. Blowing up a bridge before the cannibal horde descends on us? Plundering relics before the rising waters drown us? Sign me up! In fact, all of your encounters are well written and inspiring.
You tell a strong story. I don't necessarily mean that as a compliment :-). Survival horror is hard to do in D&D I think -- not because of system limitations, but because of some of the expectation baggage D&D brings. At least, it's hard to do when you don't know what kind of players are going to sit down at the convention table. Many players will go with the flow and help to tell a fun story. I'd be very happy playing this with my home group for instance. Putting on my convention DM hat though, I'm a little worried that Mr. Buttkicker pulling out the barbarian character sheet will try to fend off the plot hammer. Will he chafe against his PC being drugged, and will he try to take on the horde and get the party TPK'd? Or what if the party doesn't go with the suggestion of the Andoran scholars that they make a run for the bridge? It's hard to dictate the PCs' actions. (Just my 2cp though.)
Finally, a few editing nitpicks (like Taig, it seems, I just can't stop myself):
borderline cliches perhaps?
used the sight
used the site
will they become a grizzly meal.will they become a grizzly meal?
The expedition’s guide advices
The expedition’s guide advises
near by village of harrow
nearby village of HarrowAlso, Harrow's not a great name here unless it's canon. Reminds me of Harrow deck, and also the public school :-).
details of their discovery leaks out
details of their discovery leak out
the taverns staff
tavern's staff or tavern staff
Overall Zombieneighbours, I think this was a great submission, with very strong writing. It's whetted my apetite for Skeleton Moon.
Tide of Morning
Some great elements here. Your backstory is tight, and the storyline is very clear. You really hooked me at the end of the 2nd paragraph with Gerildo hiring the bandits -- clever twist. It was enough to drive my reading interest throughout. Having the party's contact betray them is way overdone in adventures, but here Gerildo's actions felt absolutely logical, and I think you pull it off well.
Also strong is your use of the Shadow Mastiffs -- I liked the image of this slavering, semi-tame pack commanded by a nobleman, and later hunting the party through the forest. The young bear with momma bear is also a fun encounter. The tie-in to Pathfinder Society is compelling and unforced.
Encounters 2, 3, and 4 felt too random to me, and not tied into the main plot.
I'm concerned there's enough foreshadowing early on that some more experienced (aka jaded) players might derail the adventure by not following Gerildo's plans. E.g. clues:
The rest I have to comment on is just nitpicky stuff:
The necropolis of Nogortha .... a small collection of barrow mounds
Confused. Are these one and the same? Necropolis brings to mind something impressive, but then it's just a few mounds?
the last living son of a former line of Andoran nobility ... Pathfinder Gerildo Borden
Again, are these one and the same? I wasn't initially sure.
That night Gerildo’s bandits attack. The following morning Gerildo calls the PCs in for a meeting and explains that he would like them to carry the recent haul of treasure away this very night
So it's night, then it's morning, then it's night again? The PCs are hanging around the camp for a long time. Not sure if this is what you meant, but I think you're better off having the meeting, and sending the PCs packing immediately after the bandit attack if possible.
the PCs' betrayalnear the PCs' feet
including the last living son of a former line of Andoran nobility
Two "of"s makes this feel awkward, perhaps a little run-on.
threatening to loose his pets... He looses the mastiffs on them
close repetition. Maybe he sets the mastiffs on them?
Overall though Elora, very impressive given your tight time limit. I only wish I write something like this in 2 hours!
I submitted for PFS #24, my first for Pathfinder Society.
I started off inspired for #23, but a better (a.k.a. less problem-ridden) idea for #24 arrived.
For some bizarre reason, I assumed I could only attempt one submission. (As it was, I barely found the time to write a single submission, so it wouldn't have made a difference.) Did anyone make multiple submissions for the same scenario, or is that frowned upon?
With sincere thanks Sean. Feel free to give me the unvarnished truth.
Leech of Lethe's Bliss
Aura moderate conjuration and enchantment; CL 11th
Thanks for doing this Clark. Here's my submission. Feel free to give me the unvarnished truth.
Leech of Lethe's Bliss
Aura moderate conjuration and enchantment; CL 11th
... or a grotesque “glove” of zombie skin carefully shorn from a zombie’s hand.
Oooh, great creepy flavor. That definitely caught my attention.
Viewing Porthole of Wai Cho Ling
That's awesome! The 'one layer of material of any thickness' might need a little clarification or limitation. (i.e. "Look mom, I see all the way through to Australia/The Hollow World.")
I wrote two, this is my reject.
Loved it: great flavor. (You're probably right though -- I wouldn't have imagined this as a PC item from a quick read through, whereas the plot hooks shine out all too clearly.)Still... If that's your reject I'm looking forward to reading your submission Core.
Unfortunately your item must be disqualified for lacking a price or creation information.
D'oh, so close.
This is my favorite part.
Thanks BV. My lofty goal was thread's 2nd-best francophone primate summoning item.
Clinton Boomer wrote:
And I'm honored to have been referenced!
The honor is all mine sir. Reading the Pants of the Many Monkeys was truly my favorite moment from many fantastic moments in last year's RPG Superstar.
Blue-Green Ioun Stone
Aura strong conjuration CL 20th
I was unable to change my payment method for my pathfinder subscription. There's no error message. In fact, I didn't notice the first time -- the system just didn't update with the new information.
Here's what I did:
Feel free to email me if you need more detail.