Gath Morian

Standback's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32. RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter, 7 Season Star Voter. 552 posts (612 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 3 aliases.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

It's late November, and I'm starting to get that annual tingling feeling... and checking in with my very favorite forum far more frequently than is in any way appropriate...

It's been a while (it always is!), and I'm looking forward to another great contest!




:sensibly unbates breath:


RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Opening the discussion thread.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32


I opened a thread.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

The Top 4 have fielded an exceptional batch of adventure pitches, but what I found odd was that every single one of them seems to have gotten a minor ding on the "bonus location" requirement:

Judges Re: bonus Locations wrote:
  • It’s frustrating that the first truly interesting sounding adventure site, Blackdamp Hollow, is indicated to be a “bonus location.” A place like this deserves to be a main location of an adventure! I would rather have one of the cities in the adventure be the bonus location and have Blackdamp Hollow be a fully-detailed encounter area.

  • I would have liked to see the bonus location, the awesome mine dungeon, worked more into the adventure. I think you missed an opportunity there.

  • This adventure’s bonus location should be the girtablilu campsite the PCs visit early on, not “the Stray Archway.” The Stray Archway is a place the PCs have to pass through, after all, and serves as the main adventure site’s front door. It’s not bonus at all.

  • Hope’s Hollow is cool, but I’d rather see a place like this feature as a non-optional location in the adventure. If this adventure’s set in Cassomir, its “bonus location” should be a short gazetteer about that city that summarizes the information from “Cities of Golarion” while also providing new info, such as new rumors or the like.

  • The bonus location for this adventure needs to be associated with the adventure somehow. If we do end up setting it in Nex, a great bonus location would be a gazetteer of Quantium itself... but that’s a can of worms I’m not sure I’m ready to open. One obvious nomination would be some notes on what the Seventh Veil actually is. Another possibility is to present the Material Plane manor as this location.

I'm not cherry-picking here; that list is every single judge comment with the word "bonus" in it. That's zero-for-four, leading me to conclude that We Do Not Yet Grok Bonus Locations.

Can judges and/or developers expand on what a bonus location "should" be - what they were expecting, and why the R5 pitches didn't meet that? (Or do some judges think they did, and just not mention it?)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

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Brinebinder (Druid)
A brinebinder walks on land, but draws upon Outsea magic to bring the ocean with her wherever she goes.

Natural Swimmer (Ex): At 3rd level, a brinebinder gains a swim speed equal to half her land speed. This ability replaces trackless step.

Bubble of Brine (Su): At 4th level, a brinebinder can summon a bubble of seawater as a standard action. The bubble's center must within a 100-foot range and on the ground, and its area is a 10-foot radius sphere. A successful Reflex save (DC 12) allows creatures in the area of effect to escape to a square adjacent to the bubble’s edge. The bubble automatically quenches any nonmagical fires and functions as dispel magic against magical fires as long as those fires are size Large or less. Creatures may enter the bubble freely; leaving (and movement inside the bubble) requires a DC 10 Swim check.

Combat within the bubble uses the underwater combat rules. If attacked from land, creatures inside the bubble gain cover (+4 cover bonus to AC) against foes that do not have have freedom of movement effects. This cover does not enable the target to make Stealth checks or prevent attacks of opportunity. Magical attacks from land into the bubble are unaffected, unless they require attack rolls or state that they do not function underwater.

As a free action, a brinebinder may select any willing creature inside the bubble (including herself) as a focus. The bubble becomes mobile, remaining centered upon the creature, who may move at its base or swim speed. Any other movement severs the focus. When swimming, the focus swims up to five feet above the ground. Absent a focus, the bubble remains stationary. Creatures in the path of the bubble’s movement make a Reflex save (DC 12) or are engulfed, as above.

Each bubble persists for one hour, after which its water drains away into nothingness. A brinebinder may use this ability once a day.

At 8th level and every 4 levels thereafter, a brinebinder gains an additional use of this ability per day (multiple bubbles may be active simultaneously), and the radius of the bubbles increases by 5 feet. This ability replaces 4th level wild shape progression.

Wild Shape (Su): A brinebinder gains this ability at 6th level, except that her effective druid level for the ability is equal to her druid level – 2.

Ocean’s Pilgrim (Su): At 13th level, once daily, a brinebinder may polymorph one human into a merfolk, or one merfolk into a human as though using polymorph any object, transforming him into a level 1 warrior. This effect is permanent until dismissed by the subject. This ability replaces a thousand faces.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

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I think the actual voting mechanism is confusing some people. I'm seeing a lot of people saying they vote "neither" when they don't like the items much, which isn't very helpful. And I can see, from the phrasing of the voting page, how people might be getting confused.

Consider: nowhere on the voting page does it say "vote for whichever of these two items you think is better than the other." The phrasing sounds much more like "vote for whichever of these two items you like." The system's much clearer in the voting rules, but let's not kid ourselves here :P

Here's a suggestion for phrasing I think would be better:


To vote, read both of the submitted entries below. Your vote is for which of these two items should be ranked above the other. When voting, there are plenty of considerations to take into account: Think about the design of each item, how well it follows the magic item format. If you think it's broken, and if it's an item you'd want in your game.

When you've made your choice, vote for the item you'd rank highest. If you think both items are equally good or bad, vote "neither." You can vote as many times as you like. Each time you refresh the voting page, you'll be shown a different pair of items.

Similarly, I'd change the text on the voting buttons. Here are some suggestions:

  • (Item Name) is the better item.
  • (Item Name) should be ranked higher than (Other Item Name)
  • Of these two items, (Item Name) is better.
  • These two items should be ranked exactly the same.

You could also change the voting buttons to a more straightforward question:


Which of these two items is better than the other?

  • (Item A) is better.
  • (Item B) is better.
  • These two items are equally good or bad.

I've seen enough comments to convince me a lot of people aren't clear on this; since changing the text is usually pretty simple, I'd love to make things easier on the poor hapless voters :D

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

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A moment before I plunge into the community's finest creations, I wanted to thank the developers who wrote the voting system.

This is a huge change for the contest - and, I can only assume, quite a project for you. I'm a programmer myself, and while I don't know the details of what you've done or how you've done it, I can guess at some of the challenges involved. Implementing a complex voting system, integrating it into the existing forum site, tracking a month's worth of voting for each user - wow. It must have been a heck of a lot of work. I hope it was fun, too :)

RPG Superstar has always enjoyed tight tech support, with secret judging chambers and annonymized submissions and a dozen other corners you've always covered - all kinds of different ways it seems like you've made forums do things that forums aren't meant to do! But this time, it seems to me like an even bigger step up. I'm impressed with the amount of consideration, planning, design, and hard work that must have gone into something like this. Kudos to you.

I'm going to go now and start peeking at wondrous items, but rest assured, Condorcet's miraculous voting booth is gonna rank high up there...

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

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Many-Layered Veil
Aura moderate illusion; CL 11th
Slot head; Price 16,000 gp; Weight
This veil is composed of seven layers of fine gauze, tinted the color of ash. When the veil is donned, the wearer’s face appears only in silhouette, though his own vision remains perfectly clear.

When the veil’s wearer casts an illusion spell, he may, as a swift action, additionally create a phantasmal image – a mind-affecting illusion with effects similar to major image. At first, the phantasmal image cannot be perceived by anybody but the wearer. However, whenever a creature successfully disbelieves the caster’s primary illusion, it is immediately subjected to the phantasmal image. Effectively, the creature’s successful disbelief exposes it to a second layer of illusion. Any number of creatures can be thus affected.

Treat the phantasmal image precisely as a major image (Will DC 19 to disbelieve), except that it is a mind-affecting effect. The phantasmal image must be chosen by the wearer while casting the primary illusion, and the two must be visibly distinct. The phantasmal image's duration depends on the caster's concentration, as major image (concentration + 3 rounds). If the primary illusion requires concentration as well, the wearer can concentrate on both effects simultaneously.

When the phantasmal image expires, one of the veil’s gauze layers fades away into nothingness. When the final, seventh layer is consumed, nothing remains of the many-layered veil.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Heighten Spell, mad hallucination, major image; Cost 8,000 gp

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

Last year I promised I'd prepare some sort of FAQ document to deal with issues that seem to arise regularly - something that we can simply link to, instead of letting Neil feel compelled to write a 3-page explanation :P

I've written up a draft hitting the most memorable targets I recall. I'd be happy for feedback of any kind - particularly, whether the answers I provided work well, and suggestions for other topics I haven't written up.

Here's the draft; it's up as a Google Doc and comments are open - feel free to comment in the document or here in the thread. Before the contest I expect I'll move it over to some mini-site where it'll look more presentable, and where it'll be easier to link to individual topics.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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This thread might be better-suited for one of the rules or homebrew boards, but I know this board is full of people who'll be interested and who'll have good opinions to offer. :)

I came up with 5 or 6 different items this time around, and I came across some interesting issues in my pricing attempts. I think Superstar-oriented items naturally lean towards difficult pricing, since they're deliberately aiming to differentiate themselves from existing spells and effects. Now, I know that ultimately, you can always ballpark the price if you need to. But some of these seemed general enough to merit discussion - general enough to become questions of "how does doing this to an effect affect its value in the game," rather than "how powerful is my particular item in relation to all the others."

So, I'd love to hear what people think about the questions I post here, and I'd love to see if other people have interesting questions in a similar vein.

Thanks, all!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Ooooo! I like the sound of a Tournament arc... and I definitely want to see what Jerall's done with it :)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

A point in the rules I'd like clarification on, please.

Contest Rules wrote:
5. During public voting rounds, contestants are prohibited from any public discussion that could be considered as adding to, expanding upon, or clarifying the content of their current submission. This applies to (but is not limited to) interviews, personal blogs, and messageboard posts on or elsewhere, including the discussion thread for the entry itself. Any such discussion may result in disqualification, in the sole discretion of the judges and/or Paizo.

What I want to make sure I understand correctly is that it's only public discussion that's prohibited. In other words, as I understand it, it's all right for me to show my work-in-progress to friends, family, my gaming group, etc., to get advice and encouragement - yes? I just can't do that publicly - on a blog, Facebook, etc. - but if I were, say, to email my WIP to a bunch of friends, I'd still be within bounds. (Maybe it'd have to be a small bunch?)

So really I just want to clarify that I've understood correctly - the rules are no discussion in any public forums; not an NDA. I'm fairly sure that's correct, but this is a delicate enough subject that I'd like to be more than fairly sure :) I'd hate to try to thank friends who helped me when a round was over, and then get DQ'd for it...

Thanks much!