Ultimately what i want from this contest is someone who can think fo a great adventure and present it in a way that the powers at Paizo don't need to spend 3 days editing it to make it publishable.
So I think that it is totally viable to vote for the best adventure idea regardless of what came before.
I would not say that, it is not the tie in that weakens this proposal, it is the fact that the second part of the adventure is too grand for the group. That there are just too many NPCs around to marginalize anything the PCs could do is just adding injury to insult...
We had a GM once that did this in most of our weekend long sessions. In the end the PCs would be shoved aside to let "the real powers" handle the problem. Powerful angels, archmages and even deus ex machinae were invoked because the final villain/encounter would easily have killed the whole group...
Everyone hated it and we had a long talk after a especially nasty Level 20 adventure.
This adventure reminds me of it and that is simply bad...
However I think it is nevertheless a great success to advance so far as a (presumably) non-nativer speaker. Well done!
Big congrats on advancing so far as all your former entries have been favorites of mine.
Alas you chose to include a huge element of railroading that will never work with any of my groups. I simply have too many players that would rather stay and die than to flee into the stinking sewers, especially at 1st level, when a character is still "cheap" to replace, especially that early in the adventure when they don't have the goal almost in reach to force them going.
I feel that you wanted to do an adventure that plays with expectations but imho you chose the wrong expectations to play with. Hellknights are LE and I can see them breaking up with the "L" for personal gain, but never with the "E" yet imho you place your hellknight traitors firmly in the CN region of the alignment scale by helping to free slaves.
The role of the crime lord in there is equally vexing. Isn't he simply a middle man between Sorenia and the Hellknight Traitors? If so why do you suggest Sorenia contacting the Hellknights and not the Crime Lord? And why do we need the Crime Lord after all?
So all in all I see too many holes that my PCs would scoff at for being strange or "unrealistic".
My favorite this year, though I had to read the introduction twice to discern who is who ("I am your father Luke").
The only flaw for me is that it will not be easy to design ways for the PCs to learn all of what lead to the current situation.
The Phiam is my favorite new addition, incredibly useful as family curses happen to be a pet peeve of mine.
......players have been trained to want experiences that they don’t actually want...
When you ask the players what the new best MMO should be like they say "totally different to WoW".
If you do something totally different to WoW everyone complains that this is not WoW.
It is time to teach the players to stop worrying and love the bomb that is meaningful player interaction!
I like what you did with the Guttersnipe. Using the rotting breath to sink boats is a nice idea. The encounter setup is a bit on the "play it safe" side but that seems prudent as many favorites have fallen by trying to do too much.
The encounter itself is very nice and cinematic.
So after doing my favorite monster you follow up with a very solid entry.
Will vote for.
Ok, thanks for your time.
However, have you thought about the fact that by the time save or die magic (already greatly weakened in PF) becomes a factor the save to avoid being affected by the Lens is negligible? The occurance you state would likely be very rare (it's a once per day item) and the stuff of legends ("remember how we once managed to...").
The other feedback that I got was that not too many people thought the Lens to be even USEFUL because they didn't get what it actually can do (so clunky wording and burying the most important sentence are spot on, I guess).
So, I guess you already noticed it, calling my item cullable among the sea of mindless "+5 to a skill" creations because it now and then could be a bit strong, if all the dices align, seems a bit hard.
Thanks for the reply, I feared as much.
Though this item has multiple combat uses: Pull opponents into a Black Tentacles, affect them all with a single target spell like Flesh to Stone, line them up for a maximised Fireball. Provide flanking to all targets while preventing them from moving. The combat uses of this item are manifold, but I obviously put too much trust in the imagination of many voters as my explanation was lacking. I guess I buried my key sentence ("if one target is affected by a spell or effect, all of them are").
The item works defensively as well. Buff yourself and have all allies receive your buff. Rescue allies from bad positions by teleporting them to another square.
WAR had some of the best PVP I've ever engaged in...
Really, that astounds me a bit.
WAR PvP was okish up to level 10 but was seen by many (me included) as taking the worst aspects of WoW PvP while not building on any of DAoC PvPs strengths and then season it with horribly unbalanced classes and balancing decisions ON TOP of broken PvP end game.
I remember when they introduced easy to get magic resist gear because ONE mage class was very OP which resulted in this:
You deal 23 (-517) damage to Iron Breaker. You explode from your backlash, you deal 152 damage to yourself.
You deal 23 (-517) damage to Iron Breaker. You explode from your backlash, you deal 226 damage to yourself.
Matt Firor also stumped hard on his first big job: DAoC Trials of Atlantis. This does not give me huge faith about the direction of ESO.
Lens of Forceful Concordance
Once per day as a standard action the wearer of the lens may cause a 5 foot image of the lens to appear on the ground of a square within 100 feet, transforming it into a so called concordance. Medium or smaller creatures within 30 feet of the forming concordance must succeed at a DC 16 Will save or are instantly teleported to it.
The square of the concordance may be occupied by any number of creatures at the same time but creatures of larger than medium size cannot enter it. Creatures in the square are dimensionally stacked upon each other in a confusing display of seemingly fused limbs and bodies which acts as a blur spell for as long as the stacking persists. Stacked creatures are incorporeal in regard to each other and can’t move or be moved from the concordance.
If a stacked creature is targeted by a spell or effect, use the statistics of one randomly determined stacked creature instead, if necessary, to resolve the spell or effect. All stacked creatures then suffer any results equally.
The concordance lasts for 1d6 rounds after which stacked creatures are free to move from the square one by one. The stacking effect persists indefinitely for creatures remaining in the square but no new creatures may enter it during this time.
I really thought that this year I had a chance at top100. However only a single item from my personal top32 actually made it, though most (but not all) are in the top100. So I guess my tastes are somewhat not that mainstream (which means I don't know whats actually good).
Steven Helt wrote:
"It's such a shame that rogues are a useless class. Everyone agrees. Better design a wondrous item that let's our party be stealthy/deliver sneak attacks/maneuver for flanking/find traps/lie to NPCs,"
This bugs me too. So many would be designers who haven't got the slightest idea about the meta game and design items that give out a plethora of skill boni (make skilled classes obsoluete) or give out the only unique class boni of Rogues.
Also I never understand the "play it safe" items. You either win this or not and it is unimportant if your item is at rank 100 or 300. All or nothing, really. Playing safe will get you nowhere.
Yes, I received one item 10 times (and upvoted it every time because it is actually quite good). I received my item 3 times, once after the cull, so pretty much average.
I get new items all the time now but don't see old ones any more (as tehse seem to have been voted upon in sufficient numbers).
Alas most new items are either +n to x items or storing devices of obviousness...
Eric Hindley wrote:
...give me a reason to vote against you and I will...
Yes, this is actually much easier than the other way round.
But I also found that flaws are forgiven much more if you are short and concise. If I need to skim over a lot of unimaginative rules text to find a good effect hampered by a slight flaw I am much more inclined to vote it down than having the good effect handed plus flaw to me on a platter.
I am describing my judging process to help you understand what goes on during the minute that you have my attention.
Hopefully this will allow you to compare this to your own and likely discover how different people can be.
I fully expect others to chime in sharing their own methods which would help setting priorities especially to novice submitters.
So without further delay:
Phase A: First Contact
This is actually an important question because the first item I skim over is the one with a head start. If that item wins me somehow (more on this later), the second one must be better to regain momentum.
But what can you do to let me read your item first? Well, that much is easy. I read the titles of both and the title that seems more promising in an evocative and slightly mysterious way usually gets me. The exception is the very concise title that promises something thematically fitting, yet still interesting.
If none of this can be applied to both titles I skim over the shorter entry first.
Phase B: the skimming
And now for the SHOCKING TRUTH:
If you are using more than one sentence, think WHY. Do you use your precious words because you want to cover every single if and when? If yes, you risk cloaking an uninteresting effect in explanations, which is bad. Your effect must stand alone and be cool. Identify the absolutely necessary specifics and nothing else. I don't want to read that your boots only work when being worn.
The best effects are the ones that let me think "oh, I ALSO could use this to do that" even after I thought about the effect the third time your item came up.
Phase C: skim deep
And, yes, up to this time I don't care whether your item confuses your opponents with butterflies or with cucumbers. This comes now.
Be evocative and, above all, use fitting fluff. "Arrows of healing" that you must fire at your allies make for some nice very long range healing effect, but here the fluff simply does not fit, regardless of any wordy explanation you tack on.
Also don't be too obvious. Candles that shed light are fitting but are also boring. Some types of items are limited, such like scabbards, scroll tubes and quivers, and thus my attitude towards another "Scabbard of Storing" is usually very bad.
This also is the place to judge the balancing. This is a funny one. During the first contests the trend was to under balance items, many were very powerful and even game breaking. Now the opposite is true more often than not. Either the effect is underwhelming or it is overbalanced. Imho it is much better to shoot for the stars than to play it safe here. Playing it safe will 100% not get you anywhere, shooting for the stars, if done right, will.
Phase D: you really got me now
I will now, and only now, read it word by word. Only now will I pay attention to the pricing, aura, caster level and to other details. This is (imho) superstar level, the only question left is just how superstar it is.
First and foremost I try to think of an effect that is not only cool and useful but that is also unique in that it can't be done with an existing spell or effect.
Imho too many items fall in this trap, they duplicate things that are already there and just seek to recombine or reflavor them.
That said if someone is able to present such an item with a cool imagery and tight writing, kudos to him/her.
I think that this year there are much fewer items that are utter trash.
Most items still are simply not very imaginative, some have a very good wording, but not much effect at all, some have an interesting effect but are worded in a bad or confusing way.
Imho I have so far not seen a top100 item.
On a second thought I also wonder how strange my gaming groups must be!
They usually kill monsters and take their stuff. The amount of bread baking, basket weaving, crop and lifestock raising is so non exisatnt that I simply can't appreciate the abundance of magical helpers that I've seen in this competition so far.
I think you should rename this game to Cropfinder or Harvester or something like this ;-)
It all started to get difficult when skills were introduced. Suddenly there were "out of combat" rules when before "out of combat" ment pure roleplaying (and sometimes "in combat" too).
I would have liked it more to have broader skill categories, archetypes, like artist, scholar, craftsman, atlethe, trickster and whatnot instead of craft (basketweaving) or perform (wind instruments).
And as we are at it, Perception should never have been a skill but rather something like Initiative because in 99% of all games it is much more useful than everything else, skillwise.
Being absent from the boards for a few weeks and the first thread I see on my return is one that (falsely) states that Fighters suck...
Feeling at home at an instant :)
To the topic:
Fighters are fine, its just that GMs tend to favor spell casters with things like the 15 minute workday.
I am a recent WoT addict. Being interested in WW2 stuff since I was 10 I checked the game over a year ago but wasn't hooked. They pimped it since then and also added fairer matchmaking (you can't be paired with much more powerful/weaker tanks now) and this got me hooked, to say the least.
Finding a game in random is very fast (usually under 5s), random is often chaotic, sometimes your team has an unspoken coordination that makes you grin and waste the opponents like no tomorrow, and sometimes you just get rolled. The various tanks are quite different to play and even similar tanks have enough differences to like one and hate the other. The difficulty level raises steadily from tier 1 to tier 10, just as it should be. The balance is pretty good, mostly.
So how does MWO compare to WoT?
Beats quitting the game because it is so boring because nothing ever breaks or is lost.
There are a plethora of multiplayer solitaire games out there, try these. If you want to be big in EvE or in PFO you need to work with other players against other players. Period.
I'm not asking for them to prevent friendly fire, I just want things treated equally...
This will surely happen (though there will be not eb that many skills that allow you to make AoE attacks with arrows or swords).
The thing is that AoE offers great advantages IF you look beyond damage!
Spells like Sleep or Power Word: Stun need a distinct disadvantage and having them to use carefully is one of these.
True. AoEs need to be powerful (though Fireball is less important than Color Spray or Sleep in this respect) but should not be a no brainer at all.
The reason for this is that you this serves to soften the impact of strength in numbers. A highly mobile and fast and well coordinated small team with a powerful alpha strike can hope to make it worth their while when attacking a chaotic zerg.
When my players are... I no longer feel bad for DMs who hate on whiny players, also i have results about the entire party of wizards thing
"100% ok and possible" meaning "if they don't do that, I kill them".
As I already said, it's obvious that your players do NOT want and are NOT able to play a tournament style game where wrong decisions usually end in death. Like so many other players they simply want to be heroes!
Especially because they seem still a little wet behind the ears you should go easy on them. Gaining levels does not only cover the character it also covers the player experience. If they start to grasp their characters a little more it is usually ok to gradually remove the stops and cushions.
So you should adjust your expectations accordingly or at least inform the players that this is how you will play the game or your campaign could be quite short lived.
When my players are... I no longer feel bad for DMs who hate on whiny players, also i have results about the entire party of wizards thing
...but they still should have made a decision other than "oh well, we move forward."...
"After foolishly pressing onward you encounter waves of Kobolds that eventually kill you because you did not rest long enough last night. Time to make new characters and stop the whining or I will make a post at the Paizo boards."
Yeah, I see, that totally was the only way you could have handled this situation.
15 minute workday ftw.
As I GM I would have problems with this because the pit is an extradimensional space. if you earthglide through the space below the "entrance" to the pit you will not find the pit but rather undisturbed earth.
Also note that the pit is sloped and that anyone wanting to throw/summon something inside the pit at an opponent will have a chance to fall in (so spider climb would be very useful). Randomly chugging things into the pit from father away would follow the rules for targeting the ground so you would greatly benefit from the Throw Anything feat. Summoning something at the rim of the pit and commanding it to throw itself into the pit might lead to resistance by the summoned creature if falling would damage it, so swarms are likely your best bet as are Shadows, if you can summon them, as they make it hard to escape the pit with their strength damage.
But I'd say that aqueus orb is a great suggesting as it fills your need of getting more opponents into your pit and preventing those inside from getting out. Leave the mundane damaging to your party members.