Bad Item Stereotypes


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

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Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

ancientsensei wrote:


Arquebus of Pillows (Arquebus of Pillows)

Haha!

A good name is a good name is a good name.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Thanks. I can't believe I missed it the first couple of times, but having run ToH four times and RTH twice (and shaking Bruce's hand and telling him he's going straight to hell at GenCon), it is pretty much me.

Plus, Acererak's skull clearly gives a little boost to the notion of an 'ancient' sensei. : }


Clark Peterson wrote:


As judges Erik and I had an issue with the automatic improvement of one level without a die roll of any kind. We thought some kind of Diplomacy bump would be better. Wolfgang liked the approach you took but got outvoted by Erik and I.

Noted. I had suspected it was a balance issue but wasn't sure. I appreciate your feedback as I'm sure everyone else does with regards to their items. Cheers!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Erik Mona wrote:
Last time I watched that movie [Gigli] I barfed.

"Last time?" You didn't learn your lesson from the first time?!?


Names are a difficult part of any submission. All names are important. I agonize, sometimes I think too much, about names in my submissions. My results? Well, I got specifically noted for having a cool name for my submission, even if they didn't like the item itself!

In retrospect, I probably should have named it simply "witch's spoon" or something similar. But then it might have been seen as so generic that it wouldn't have even generated discussion.

On the other hand, having a cool name isn't always associated with items of great power, as a look at Eric's list will certainly show. Many are simply utility items that happen to be associated with their inventor.

- Ashavan

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Koldoon wrote:

Names are a difficult part of any submission. All names are important. I agonize, sometimes I think too much, about names in my submissions. My results? Well, I got specifically noted for having a cool name for my submission, even if they didn't like the item itself!

In retrospect, I probably should have named it simply "witch's spoon" or something similar. But then it might have been seen as so generic that it wouldn't have even generated discussion.

On the other hand, having a cool name isn't always associated with items of great power, as a look at Eric's list will certainly show. Many are simply utility items that happen to be associated with their inventor.

- Ashavan

I think one of the problems was the jarring combination of "spoon" and "witch-queen." Witch queens are awesome. Spoons are, well, spoons. They dont really go together. So that increases the "hey, this better be good" expectation you have when you see "...of the witch queen." So what I am saying is anything "...of the witch queen" better be rad. But in particular, the SPOON of the witch queen needs to really be killer.

I dont think "witch's spoon" would have stood out very well. I think you were on the right track, you just went perhaps a bit further down the track than you should have and missed the turn off for "good name-ville". But I think you had the right idea. And, in my humble opinion, I'd suggest that it is better to miss while swinging for the fences, which is what you did. So take comfort in that. You went big. And that is important.


Clark Peterson wrote:
Witch queens are awesome. Spoons are, well, spoons.

Darn right. Now, "Spork of the Witch Queen."

Hellllooooo winner!


Clark Peterson wrote:


I think one of the problems was the jarring combination of "spoon" and "witch-queen." Witch queens are awesome. Spoons are, well, spoons. They dont really go together. So that increases the "hey, this better be good" expectation you have when you see "...of the witch queen." So what I am saying is anything "...of the witch queen" better be rad. But in particular, the SPOON of the witch queen needs to really be killer.

I dont think "witch's spoon" would have stood out very well. I think you were on the right track, you just went perhaps a bit further down the track than you should have and missed the turn off for "good name-ville". But I think you had the right idea. And, in my humble opinion, I'd suggest that it is better to miss while swinging for the fences, which is what you did. So take comfort in that. You went big. And that is important.

I appreciate the comments, Clark, and thanks. It's true, I'd rather be trying for superstar than settling, and if it failed in the end at least I tried.

I think part of my problem is the current baggage of witch queen. The name in D&D is associated with Iggwilv (greyhawk) and the Witch Queen of Aglarond (FR) - but I was going for who it was associated with in Golarion (Baba Yaga, the Witch Queen of the North). I wasn't really thinking of all the other witch queens when I made the item, I'm afraid.

Baba Yaga, for all her power, is still a bit of a peasant, associated with both fantastic and very ordinary things, that's part of her charm. When I cut out the flavor text I used a hacksaw rather than a scalpel, and it might have been better if I'd left at least some of the fluff in. But then, I probably would have been over 200 words.

Anyway, thanks again for the comments.

-Ashavan

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Steven Townshend wrote:


Anyway, Erik, it's my honest feedback so take it or leave it. I'm not whining about my item not making the cut, I'm trying to offer my experience with your contest here, and the things I had trouble with. If this isn't useful to you, forget it.

Fair enough. I appreciate the feedback and I appreciate your point of view. Sorry if I came off as a little snarky in my last response to you.

Most of the bad names Clark's citing were things with puns in them or names that had nothing to do with the item or names that tried to be funny but just ended up stupid, a la the oft-cited iBard.

Head's up for next year: Try to make your item's name as cool as possible. In fact, try to make every element of your item as cool as possible. :)

--Erik

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Tuck wrote:


I had this same issue with my item -- should I try and give it a more interesting name, and cause issues with needless fluff, or go for a more bog standard name (like the majority of items in the SRD, I hasten to add)? I went for the rather plain "Gavel of the magistrate", after I'd also removed the flavour/fluff (pick one!) from the actual item description. Possibly to my detriment?

I don't think "gavel of the magistrate" is bog standard, and I distinctly remembered this item getting a fair amount of support from the judges because the idea of a gavel was so novel. It was the only one submitted in the whole pack, and that's only true for a small number of item types.

My recollection of your item tells me that you made the right choice. I don't think adding dwarf-flavored fluff would have helped it. Quite the opposite, I suspect, so again I think you made the right choice here.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Vic Wertz wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Last time I watched that movie [Gigli] I barfed.
"Last time?" You didn't learn your lesson from the first time?!?

You do me wrong.

I have never seen Gigli. I was watching the MST3K edition of Manos the Hands of Fate when I upchucked.

What do you take me for, sir?


Alas, I fear that my Tabards of the Master fell into Item That Doesn't Live Up to the Name, Swiss Army Knife, or perhaps it suffered from too much fluff (though it might've been because it teetered on the edge of all three).


I know my Quill of Translation wasn't superstar material. It was the first wondrous item I ever created to follow standards. Was I close to the standards, or just a bad stereotype of a few certain movies about a young wizard that I'm sure you've seen?

Spoiler:
Quill of Translation

This common feather automatically translates the spoken language of the last creature touched or the writings of the last document touched. Simply touch the creature or writing with the quill, then dip the tip of the quill into the ink and touch the quill to the paper. The speaker must be within earshot of the quill or the document must be near the quill. The language the quill translates on paper is decided during its creation. The quill can be utilized to dictate while the user paces or multi-tasks.

Ink, paper, and a solid flat surface, or their equivalent, must be provided. The quill dips its tip in ink and turns pages without assistance. When either supply of ink or paper is exhausted, the quill stops translating and rests itself next to the ink jar. Once the provisions are resupplied the feather continues translating the spoken language from that point on, but does not remember what elapsed. Document translations continue from where it stopped. Verbal spell components and magical writings cannot be translated.

Faint Divination; CL 1st; Craft Wondrous Item, comprehend languages; Price 1,800 gp.


You know, I really love this list. The cool thing is, I'm looking at the list, and I can't think of falling into any category (except for maybe the "underpriced" or "suck-up", though I doubt that really works, since it's already been stated that no item that catered to Pathfinder was seen as "Suckuptidute").

The funny thing is, a few days after submitting, I had a bunch of other ideas that were probably cooler. Ah well, c'est la vie.

So, I'm thinking maybe my item fell into one of those "special categories of dislike". Woot for being special, I guess. :)

Spoiler:

Varisian Cat Anklet
This is a golden anklet set with one or more semi-precious stones, often inlaid to form the image of a cat. Worn by Varisian dancing women, the anklet allows a skilled dancer to evoke magical powers.
Anyone wearing the anklet can spend one use of their daily bardic music attempts to inspire courage as a swift action, though the wielder dances instead of making music. Because of this, the courage effect functions whenever the dancer can be seen, even in magical silence. The bonus from the inspire courage effect is one point higher than it would normally be (so a +2 bonus for a 2nd level bard, instead of the usual +1). This effect functions in all other ways similarly to the Bard’s inspire courage ability.
Each round, the dancer must make a Perform (dance) check (DC 15). If she fails the check, the inspire courage effect ends. The effect also ends any round in which the dancer does not move at least ten feet.
In addition, the anklet grants a +2 competence bonus on all Perform (Dance) and Tumble checks.
Faint Transmutation; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Cat’s Grace; Price 4,000 gp.

Liberty's Edge

mwbeeler wrote:

Darn right. Now, "Spork of the Witch Queen."

Hellllooooo winner!

Hellllooooo Kindgom of Loathing!


I have browsed through the boards and I personally would like to know from the judges there honest opinion of my item.

I tried to let it go, because if I had submitted through normal venues all I would get in response was a rejected e-mail anyway.

But somehow, I can't seem to put myself at ease, maybe its because of the forum here. At any rate, if any judge would care to comment on their thoughts on the Diviner's Chalk item

Spoiler:

An amorous bard found himself desiring a way to spy on the husbands of his paramours. He developed this chalk, and used it to mark their belongings. To his shame, it has found deep popularity with assassins.

Appearing as a normal piece of chalk of any color this item has a unique ability. As a standard action you may inscribe a personal rune or mark upon any object. The location of an object marked by you is considered to have been studied for the purposes of Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, and other spells that rely on location familiarity (including Dimension Door and Teleport). In addition, if you cast Scrying or Greater Scrying on a creature carrying the object, your knowledge of that creature increases by one category (from none to secondhand for example).
The marks made by Diviner’s Chalk are nearly invisible and remain potent for 1d4+1 weeks, though they can be identified, detected, dispelled and disabled in the same manner and difficulty as a Glyph of Warding. Diviner’s Chalk can be used fifty times before its magic is expended and it crumbles to dust.

Moderate Transmutation; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, Clairvoyance, Modify Memory; Price 9,450 gp.


Yeah, ain't it fun to speculate on the "what ifs"? I have a whole bunch of ideas, but I think in the end, mine got canned because of the "Just isn't cool enough" category, or maybe it was "too complex". Or too much of a niche.

All things I should've considered, but didn't. Hindsight 20/20, and all.


I sure have learned a lot from reading this thread and the "Losing Items" thread.

I really didn't think I'd get into the top 32, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I hopped what I did come up with wasn't just "run of the mill"

Gossamer Shirt

Spoiler:

Fashioned of an iridescent gossamer material with veining reminiscent of a dragonfly’s wings, this shirt grants its wearer damage reduction 5/cold iron.

3/day, when the command word is spoken, the wearer becomes the size of a pixie (small) and iridescent pixie wings sprout from his shoulders. The wearer can now fly at a speed of 60 feet (good maneuverability) and use greater invisibility at will. This effect lasts up to 10 minutes or until deactivated but after a use of any duration it cannot be reactivated for a like period of time.

Equipment worn or carried also changes size by the same number of size categories as the wearer. Weapons deal damage according to their new size. Any item that leaves the wearer’s possession (including a projectile or thrown weapon) instantly returns to its normal size so thrown weapons deal normal damage and projectiles deal damage based on the size of the weapon that fired them. Magical properties of items are not modified by this effect.

To craft this item, the caster must obtain a pair of undamaged pixie wings.

Moderate varied; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, enlarge person or reduce person, fly, greater invisibility; Price 125,000 gp.

I'm going to hazard a guess that it probably suffered from being a "Swiss Army Knife" - DR, size change, flight and greater invisibility - although they do link to a theme.

It was also really close to being a "Creature in a Box" (it doesn't actually change you into a pixie, but it was specifically intended to mimic key abilities of the race).

I suppose it might also "Solve A Problem That Heroes Don't Have"
What!? Who hasn't wanted to channel their inner pixie at least once in their life?!? ;-)

:-j(enni)

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:
I suppose it might also "Solve A Problem That Heroes Don't Have"

Yeah. Even without the SRD problems I had (I'll admit it, I was just so excited to enter that I submitted it within an hour of reading the contest, and then went "oh crap! Spell Compendium spell!"), how many people really need an orb that lets them travel on one of the elemental planes safely?

Not really the most exciting item in the world.

I'll be curious to see if:

  • (a) this ends up being an annual contest.
  • (b) they always stick with the Wondrous Item motif.

Frankly, I hope (a) it does and (b) they don't. It'll be a lot better if it had to be more spontaneous, so that people don't spend the next year working on "their cool item."


A couple of notes.

First, I'd made a couple of small purchases (.pdf versions of classic modules) at Paizo, but had never gotten involved in the community. Since I started keeping track of RPG Superstar, I've noticed that commenters here seem almost universally smart, polite, and genuinely supportive--and that's a rare thing!

Second, I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has on my item. It was the favorite among my gaming buddies, although in hindsight it has a hint of Bad Travel Item about it. Also in hindsight, I would have used arcane eye as the prereq, and bumped the price up to 750-1,000gp.

Spoiler:

Cartographer's Vellum

This piece of calfskin parchment appears faded and worn, and faint
traces of old ink are visible, as if it had been scraped and re-used
many times.

In order to activate a cartographer's vellum, the user must
concentrate for ten minutes. During this time, ink rises to the
surface of the parchment, creating an accurate map of the surrounding
area. The map can be at any scale the user wishes, but it is unable
to show any feature more than 500 feet from the spot where it is
activated.

The map shows only visible features of rooms or terrain; elements such
as traps and secret doors do not appear. It shows only features that
are at approximately the same elevation as the user (so a small valley
or single level of a wizard's tower could be mapped, but an entire
dungeon complex could not).

Once a piece of cartographer's vellum is successfully activated, the
map is permanent, and the parchment becomes nonmagical.

Faint divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance; Price 500 gp.

Finally, I'm finding that my thoughts on submissions have tended to mirror (at least one of) the judges', and I also tend to see a lot of places I'd rewrite a mechanic for clarity or smooth out someone's grammar or word choice. I've considered trying to get into editing before, but never really seriously... how would someone get a start as an editor in the RPG industry? How might that process be different from trying to get started as an RPG designer?

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

After reading several of these posts, I think my item fell into "The Food Item" (it was a fortune cookie) and it probably required too much work on the part of the GM to implement it. Additionally, I looked it over again and a mechanic that seemed obvious, well, maybe wasn't. 8-) Having said that, I'm using the item at KublaCon 2008.

I'll do better next year.

However, losing in the first round wasn't all bad. I pretty much knew that even if I made it to the 2nd round, I wasn't going any further. Countries are not my strong point, and given the time schedule, I doubt I would have created a good country.

So, by losing on Wednesday, I had time to prepare a short story for another contest (albeit a small one) and I actually got third place.

So, I've learned a lesson here. The only bad thing that can happen in these situations is to not try.

I look forward to entering next year.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really hope everyone reads through this thread. It is really informative.

There are a couple big points to pull out:

1. This is RPG-Freaking-Superstar, people! Dont come at us with another version of a figurine of wondrous power.

2. Nearly every item submitted would have made a book of magic items if this was an open call for magic item submissions. It wasnt. Please understand what we are doing here: we are using a wondrous item submission to help us parse the contest down from everyone in the world who submits (over 800 if I recall) to 32. We have to use something, and it better be short or all the judges will lose their minds. Designing a wondrous item fits the bill nicely. The goal is not to get published in a magic item book. The goal is to advance in RPG Superstar.

3. Names. Good names are important. Dont overdo them ("spoon of the witch-queen") and dont underdo them either.

4. Make us want to see more from you.

5. Remember what a wondrous item is--it isnt a swiss army knife that solves every problem, it isnt uber (those are artifacts), it usually has a tight theme and is well designed to that theme, it usually is a common item that does something uncommon, it usually addresses a heroic (or evil) need as opposed to a practical problem or a problem that heroic PCs dont have, it is not an excuse to bypass class restrictions or other restrictions built into the game (artifacts do that), and it should be within the power range of wondrous items in the SRD (that means from the low end to the high end; if all it does is keep you warm that probably isnt wondrous yet on the flip side if it does more than a cube of force or a helm of brilliance it probably isnt a wondrous item any more).

6. No joke items. This is serious.

7. I'm sure you love your back story and your amazing quotes and interesting campaign comments, but dont give use 5 sentences of back story on how the item came to be. That is an essay on your campaign, not a wondrous item.

8. We got some real bad items. But we also got a whole slew of good items--C+ to B+. But we are looking for As. In the end, it didnt prove to difficult (other than the time it took). Again, we had lots of B items, which would have been great in a big book of magic items. But that is not what this contest is. It is NOT an open call for magic items.

9. Go read the winning entries again--the 32 items. You will see a real wide range of items. From a stirring rod to the crown of the breaching legion.

10. Oh, and make sure your item is actually a wondrous item. We got lots of weapons and armor. Those arent wondrous items. We mean that literally.

11. For those many folks who submitted and who said in this thread that they dont see where their item went wrong. It was most likely that they submitted one of the many "B" items--one that was really good. It just didnt have the special flavor. Which leads me to the final point and the one I am most worried about for this year's competition: dont confuse "gonzo" with the special spark or flavor that makes a B item into an A item. I know the cry of "the judges loved gonzo" was heard alot. I dont happen to agree that is true.

Hope that helps.

Clark

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Clouds Without Water wrote:
ancientsensei wrote:


Arquebus of Pillows (Arquebus of Pillows)

Haha!

A good name is a good name is a good name.

I liked that item in a way and I thought the name was cool. Heck, how many magic arquebuses are there? It would have made a good item in an item book. It was a bit on the jokey side and doesnt really address an epic heroic fantasy gaming need. I thought it was creative and I expect that you will enter again this year and I hope you will really knock us out :) You've obviously got the creativity.

I'll fess up. I killed this one. Erik never even reviewed it. Wolfie and I both thought it was too silly. Wolf noted that strange items do have a long history in the game but we both felt this clearly wasnt right for RPG Superstar. So there you have it--proof that gonzo isnt always the best way to go :) But again, I respect your creativity and sure hope you submit this year.

Clark

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:

I sure have learned a lot from reading this thread and the "Losing Items" thread.

I really didn't think I'd get into the top 32, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I hopped what I did come up with wasn't just "run of the mill"

Gossamer Shirt
** spoiler omitted **

I'm going to hazard a guess that it probably suffered from being a "Swiss Army Knife" - DR, size change, flight and greater invisibility - although they do link to a theme.

It was also really close to being a "Creature in a Box" (it doesn't actually change you into a pixie, but it was specifically intended to mimic key abilities of the race).

I suppose it might also "Solve A Problem That Heroes Don't Have"
[smaller][i]What!? Who hasn't wanted to channel their inner pixie at least once in their...

I liked this item too, on a couple of levels. But it was a bit of a creature in a box, which was another design problem in our view. It also does alot. I liked its them and its focus. It was tightly designed to that theme, which to me is a big plus. This was one of those items that might have made the cut into a magic item book. It is not run of the mill. It was better than that. But I think we all felt it did a bit too much and was a bit overpowered. I recall Wolfgang saying something along the lines of "Damage reduction pixie polymorph? With flight and greater invisibility?" I think we all had that same reaction. Plus, we all kind of read it and said--ok, this person just wants to play a faerie. Maybe that is an unfair critique. Please remember, we had over 800 of these to read and first impression matters.

That said, I sure hope you submit again this year. It is clear to me that you have the creativity to get this done. Good luck this year!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Midrealm DM wrote:

I have browsed through the boards and I personally would like to know from the judges there honest opinion of my item.

I tried to let it go, because if I had submitted through normal venues all I would get in response was a rejected e-mail anyway.

But somehow, I can't seem to put myself at ease, maybe its because of the forum here. At any rate, if any judge would care to comment on their thoughts on the Diviner's Chalk item

** spoiler omitted **

This was another of those B items that would have been awesome in a book of items. I am not a huge fan of the italicized text at the beginning, but that is a personal thing. That said, I actually was the one judge who wanted to keep your item around. Its not clearly a bad item at all. I would love to put it in a book. But this is RPG Superstar. There were simply a few more items that we felt were better. Plus, both Erik and Wolf had issues with its abusability. I know that is frustrating and it is subjective.

I sure hope you submit this year. Like the other items that didnt make the cut, you clearly have talent. Good luck this year.

As an aside, though I dont think this applies directly to your submission, we are very sensitive to what is hot or current that people are ripping off. We had a good number of submissions that used chalk a la Pan's Labyrinth. I can tell you that issue didnt come up in addressing your submission, but it is something to look out for. Goodness knows we had some door chalk and we had a map making item that was basically a Marauder's Map and we had some other items that really felt lifted from current movies or other sources. Again, this didnt impact your item but now that I think back to the chalk I do remember a few others and that inspired me to mention this.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Lord Iriam wrote:

I know my Quill of Translation wasn't superstar material. It was the first wondrous item I ever created to follow standards. Was I close to the standards, or just a bad stereotype of a few certain movies about a young wizard that I'm sure you've seen?

** spoiler omitted **

We all agreed it was useful and conceptually interesting. It didnt really address an epic heroic need. It was well designed and very tight to its theme. This is a good example of my "this is RPG-freaking-Superstar!" comment. Bring it up a notch. But your design mojo is good. You write well. Nice tight design. It just didnt grab us. Another solid B item. I sure hope you try again this year.

Liberty's Edge

Darkjoy wrote:
Found it: Bad Items
Clark Peterson wrote:
The Travel Item (for whatever reason, we got lots of items that tried to make wilderness travel and camping no longer an issue for heros; to us that is part of the game and shouldnt be "fixed" by a magic item)

Do you mean items that completely remove the hindrances of travel in general or do you mean items that provide a way around a specific kind of obstacle?

Sam

Marathon Voter Season 9

just a quick question: You say no magic weapons. Thats cool and well, makes sense, what with them not being wonderous items. But is it possible to make wonderous items which also, insidently happen to be weapons. For instance; one might want to make a plane shift item, that was based on Richard Mayhew's dagger from Neverwhere, which worked by scratching the shape of a door into a surface, would that be possible, given that it works entirely outside of the function of a magic weapon and the fact that it is a dagger is all but insidental.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Zombieneighbours wrote:
just a quick question: You say no magic weapons. Thats cool and well, makes sense, what with them not being wonderous items. But is it possible to make wonderous items which also, insidently happen to be weapons. For instance; one might want to make a plane shift item, that was based on Richard Mayhew's dagger from Neverwhere, which worked by scratching the shape of a door into a surface, would that be possible, given that it works entirely outside of the function of a magic weapon and the fact that it is a dagger is all but insidental.

I'd say you'd be taking a 'rejected' risk.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Darkjoy wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:
just a quick question: You say no magic weapons. Thats cool and well, makes sense, what with them not being wonderous items. But is it possible to make wonderous items which also, insidently happen to be weapons. For instance; one might want to make a plane shift item, that was based on Richard Mayhew's dagger from Neverwhere, which worked by scratching the shape of a door into a surface, would that be possible, given that it works entirely outside of the function of a magic weapon and the fact that it is a dagger is all but insidental.
I'd say you'd be taking a 'rejected' risk.

Hence the desire to clarify. I'd personally prefer it wasn't the case, not because i am planning on making that item, but because i am sure there are a lot of cool wonderous items that could be made, which just happen to be weapons at the same time.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Hence the desire to clarify. I'd personally prefer it wasn't the case, not because i am planning on making that item, but because i am sure there are a lot of cool wonderous items that could be made, which just happen to be weapons at the same time.

I'd agree you'd be more likely to wind up in the reject pile if your "wondrous item" took the form of a weapon, any piece of armor, a potion bottle, etc. For what you're describing from Neverwhere, I don't see any reason you couldn't make the item a stonemason's chisel or something more tool-related as opposed to a weapon. Basically, look for ways to recast your item as something "wondrous" rather than "weaponized."

My two-cents,
--Neil

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Zombieneighbours wrote:
just a quick question: You say no magic weapons. Thats cool and well, makes sense, what with them not being wonderous items. But is it possible to make wonderous items which also, insidently happen to be weapons. For instance; one might want to make a plane shift item, that was based on Richard Mayhew's dagger from Neverwhere, which worked by scratching the shape of a door into a surface, would that be possible, given that it works entirely outside of the function of a magic weapon and the fact that it is a dagger is all but insidental.

If it is designed to be used as a weapon, then it is a weapon. Now, a small bejeweled ornamental dagger that did that would be a wondrous item.

Now that said, your example is a close call. And I am only one judge. But I would challenge it as not being a wondrous item and we would discuss it.

In my view, why would you give us a possible reason to reject your item?

Remember the judging process. We are reviewing nearly 1000 items. If an item gives us a reason to cut it, we are going to cut it. Part of being a superstar is following the rules. We want a wondrous item. Not an item that may or may not be a wondrous item.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How about items that give a bonus and a disadvantage at the same time (for example an item that made you more resistant to energy type A but at the same time more vulnerable to energy type B?)


Zombieneighbours wrote:
just a quick question: You say no magic weapons. Thats cool and well, makes sense, what with them not being wonderous items. But is it possible to make wonderous items which also, insidently happen to be weapons. For instance; one might want to make a plane shift item, that was based on Richard Mayhew's dagger from Neverwhere, which worked by scratching the shape of a door into a surface, would that be possible, given that it works entirely outside of the function of a magic weapon and the fact that it is a dagger is all but insidental.

You might want to go for some other item type which performs a same function...like making it a stylus or a chisel. Simple change and then you are clear on that.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Kevin Mack wrote:
How about items that give a bonus and a disadvantage at the same time (for example an item that made you more resistant to energy type A but at the same time more vulnerable to energy type B?)

There is nothing wrong with that. I like those because you they present a choice.

Marathon Voter Season 9

magdalena thiriet wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:
just a quick question: You say no magic weapons. Thats cool and well, makes sense, what with them not being wonderous items. But is it possible to make wonderous items which also, insidently happen to be weapons. For instance; one might want to make a plane shift item, that was based on Richard Mayhew's dagger from Neverwhere, which worked by scratching the shape of a door into a surface, would that be possible, given that it works entirely outside of the function of a magic weapon and the fact that it is a dagger is all but insidental.
You might want to go for some other item type which performs a same function...like making it a stylus or a chisel. Simple change and then you are clear on that.

I am not actually making the item, well not for RPG superstar anyway (my own 'Neil Gaiman fan boy complex however demands its existence). I wouldn't change the item, because the source concept is really cool, and I have too many other ideas to develop, and have already talked about it out here. I don't want to waste it

I asked out of curiosity I'm at like six items on my list of possible entries an while none of them are weapons, there is no guarantee that a cool dagger of pointing or broadsword of ritual magic aiding might not pop onto the list of possible before Christmas, when I aim to have selected my top three for final draft and mucho editing by friends and family. Thanks to Clark's answer, I now know that the ritual magic foci in the shape of a sword, probably isn't a good choice for entry.


Zombieneighbours wrote:

I asked out of curiosity I'm at like six items on my list of possible entries an while none of them are weapons, there is no guarantee that a cool dagger of pointing or broadsword of ritual magic aiding might not pop onto the list of possible before Christmas, when I aim to have selected my top three for final draft and mucho editing by friends and family. Thanks to Clark's answer, I now know that the ritual magic foci in the shape of a sword, probably isn't a good choice for entry.

Figured you wouldn't do that, but the recommendation stays...and if I am going with the best idea I have now, it originally saw light in a campaign as a weapon...but converting it to a wondrous item changes it to...intersting direction.

Or in case of, say, broadsword...it is mentioned in desc of magical staffs that they are too fragile to be used as quarterstaff, maybe something like that would work for other things too (eg. magical sword made from non-magical glass would be useless as a weapon).

Marathon Voter Season 9

magdalena thiriet wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:

I asked out of curiosity I'm at like six items on my list of possible entries an while none of them are weapons, there is no guarantee that a cool dagger of pointing or broadsword of ritual magic aiding might not pop onto the list of possible before Christmas, when I aim to have selected my top three for final draft and mucho editing by friends and family. Thanks to Clark's answer, I now know that the ritual magic foci in the shape of a sword, probably isn't a good choice for entry.

Figured you wouldn't do that, but the recommendation stays...and if I am going with the best idea I have now, it originally saw light in a campaign as a weapon...but converting it to a wondrous item changes it to...intersting direction.

Or in case of, say, broadsword...it is mentioned in desc of magical staffs that they are too fragile to be used as quarterstaff, maybe something like that would work for other things too (eg. magical sword made from non-magical glass would be useless as a weapon).

See, i come from having played Mage the Ascention almost exclusively through my early adult life, so i personally feel that wizards should have a reason why their magic works, a paradigm. usually for wizards that boils down to Hermetic magic. So to me, a sword and a stave are almost interchangable ritual items(there are difference, but both have a similier role.) To me, it is entirely natural to consider a long sword +2 of spell empowerment to be a reasonable item for a mage to be carrying. To the point where i have a 'Craft Synergistic Item' feat somewhere in my house rules folder.

I think we are probably going to miss some really cool items due to this, and i think that is a tragedy of sorts.


Hi folks! Kind of new to this forum. A friend of mine clued me in on the contest and I have to say it really piqued my interest. I have a few minor questions before I begin so let me get right to the point.

1. Is there any ruling on teams? My friend and I work very closely on many things and we would like to know if there are any rules against us collaborating on a project.

2. Could I get some clarification on the "The Plot Hook Disguised as an Item" stereotype? What if it is intended to be a general wondrous item but it has some underlying thematic elements that could be construed as plot hooks.

Any help on this would be great.


TheloniousMunk wrote:
2. Could I get some clarification on the "The Plot Hook Disguised as an Item" stereotype? What if it is intended to be a general wondrous item but it has some underlying thematic elements that could be construed as plot hooks.

On this...IIRC one of the best (worst?) examples of this stereotype was something like an amulet which records last thing the wearer sees before his death or something to that effect; pretty useless item except for DM to drop in an adventure to provide a plot hook.

The item I submitted had bit of this too, it was an item you could build nice adventure(s) around, but outside of that wouldn't see much use (unless the players are weird with evil tendencies).

I tend to have good amount of these, as I have a history of ambivalent what-the-heck-are-we-supposed-to-do-with-this? items...

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

After reading the winning entries and getting a little bit of feedback, I can clearly see that my item for RPG Superstar 2008 was sub-par at best.
It suffered from a number of items on Clark's list.
Here it is just so you can see:
Fangs of the Crescent Moon

Spoiler:
A set of joined Mithral teeth. To use the fangs a person must remove all of their teeth. Anyone wearing these fangs gains +4 Strength, but also has -1 Constitution due to them being in constant (dulled) pain. Undead wearing them instead loose a number of hit points equal to their hit dice. The wearer gains a bite attack as a +3 weapon, with damage based upon their size (MM p296 Table 5-10). If the wearer had a bite attack, the damage increases to the next die above their current damage.
If the fangs are removed, lost teeth cannot be regrown or regenerated in any way. The only way to regrow lost teeth is via a Heal (Harm for undead) or Limited Wish/Wish spell.
A Vampire wearing the fangs gains additional properties. If they successfully inflict any damage with a bite, they gain +5 on their next attempt to grapple the victim of this attack, as long as it is within 1 round. Also, if they are caught in sunlight they don’t get the initial round of disorientation before destruction, they are immediately destroyed.
Moderate Transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, bull’s strength, greater magic fang; Cost: 73,000gp; Weight 1lb.

This is the original and as you can see some of the reasoning behind the items powers makes more sense with this version. It had to be trimmed due to word Count.
Fangs of the Crescent Moon

Spoiler:
The original set of Fangs of the Crescent Moon were commissioned by a devout Monk of the Crescent Moon after he became infected by a Vampire. He was both abhorred by and ecstatic about the idea that he was both a foul abomination, yet blessed by the moon. He chose to create the Fangs so that he could both punish and reward himself for his continued existence, for he could not bring himself to end his life.
The Fangs are made of Mithral and constitute a full set (both upper and lower) of sharpened teeth and enlarged incisors, joined together to form what amounts to a set of trophy fangs. To use the Fangs of the Crescent Moon, one must first pull out all of their teeth and then place the fangs into one’s mouth and bite down. The Fangs resize themselves to fit into whatever mouth they are inserted into. The excruciating pain that ensues dies down to a dull ache after a while, but leaves the recipient in constant suffering.
A person who wears the Fangs of the Crescent Moon gains +4 Strength, but also has -1 Constitution due to them being in constant (if dulled) pain. They also gain a bite attack as a +2 Weapon, based upon their size:
Size Damage
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d2
Tiny 1d3
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 1d8
Huge 1d10
Gargantuan 1d12
Colossal 1d20

If the wearer had a bite attack before then their damage increases to the next level above their current bite attack damage.
If the fangs are somehow removed from the wearer, then all teeth removed cannot be regrown or regenerated in any way, even magically. The only way to regrow lost teeth is via a Heal (or Harm for undead) or Limited Wish/Wish spell.
An undead creature who wears the fangs looses a number of hit points equal to their hit dice instead of the -1 Constitution. In addition if a Vampire wears the fangs he gains an additional benefit and an additional weakness. If a Vampire wearing the fangs successfully inflicts any damage with a bite, they may drain 1 point of Constitution from their victim as if they had initiated a Blood Drain. The Vampire also gains +5 on it’s next attempt to grapple the victim of this attack as long as it is within 1 round. The Vampire’s weakness to sunlight also takes on a more pronounced curse. A Vampire wearing the fangs who is caught in sunlight does not get the initial round of disorientation before destruction. Instead they are immediately destroyed if they are bathed in sunlight.
Moderate Transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, bull’s strength, greater magic fang; Cost: 73,000gp; Weight 1lb.

If I were looking at it now I would say that it suffers from varying degrees of all of the following things:
* The Item of the Overdone Backstory
* The Swiss Army Knife Item
* The Item That Isn't A Wondrous Item. It acts like a Weapon, so therefore it can be taken as a weapon, not a Wondrous Item
* The Home Campaign Item. While not actually a Home Campaign Item (it was created for the Contest) I can see how it could easily have been seen in this light.
* The Item That Doesn't Deliver on an Awesome Name. Cool sounding name, mediocre item.

I have gone for simple this year. Added a cool little tweak to that simple, but my new item could quite easily be overlooked as a Wondrous Item because of it's simplicity.

As an aside:
One of the things I don't get is all of the people who seemed to be miffed that their item wasn't included in the Top 32. Sure I'm dissapointed that mine wasn't there, but I can see why it wasn't. You need to take it on the chin and roll with it, not get your back up because you perceive a personal slight against you. Rejections are gonna happen in this business and if you can't accept that then maybe this isn't the kind of business you want to be in.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

Flash, your item also has a few editing and templating problems. Try this version:

A set mithral teeth. In order to make use of the Fangs, a character much first remove their own natural teeth. Anyone wearing the fangs gains a +4 enchantment bonus to Strength, but also suffers a -1 penalty to Constitution due to the constant pain. Creatures that lack Constitution scores instead loose a number of hit points equal to their hit dice. The wearer gains a bite attack as a +3 weapon, with damage based upon their size (MM p296 Table 5-10). If the wearer had a bite attack, the damage increases as if they were one size category larger.
A Vampire wearing the fangs gains additional properties. If they successfully inflict any damage with a bite, they gain a +5 bonus to grapple the victim of this attack for 1 round. However, if exposed to sunlight, they are immediately destroyed (they do not suffer disorientation.)
If the fangs are removed, lost teeth cannot be regrown or regenerated in any way. The only way to regrow lost teeth is via a Heal (Harm for undead) or Limited Wish/Wish spell.
Moderate Transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, bull’s strength, greater magic fang; Cost: 73,000gp; Weight 1lb.

I'd also suggest striking the section on regrowing teeth: Heal and/or Regenerate already would serve to replace the teeth, and Limited Wish can imitate Heal/Harm. As it is it's just extra words that add potential rules baggage and make PCs less likely to use the item.


magdalena thiriet wrote:


On this...IIRC one of the best (worst?) examples of this stereotype was something like an amulet which records last thing the wearer sees before his death or something to that effect; pretty useless item except for DM to drop in an adventure to provide a plot hook.

The item I submitted had bit of this too, it was an item you could build nice adventure(s) around, but outside of that wouldn't see much use (unless the players are weird with evil tendencies).

I tend to have good amount of these, as I have a history of ambivalent what-the-heck-are-we-supposed-to-do-with-this? items...

Thank you very much, any little bit of input helps. I have a tendency to create off the wall items myself as well.

The item I have in mind for this, though, falls far short of being the center of attention and I do believe it dodges the plot hook disguise really well.

We will just have to see how it fares in the competition I guess.

Now if I can just get some clarification on teams I will be set.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

TheloniousMunk wrote:
Now if I can just get some clarification on teams I will be set.

Munk,

The word from last year (and I assume it still holds true this year) is that teams can enter together...but...

1) They can only submit one item together...not two items together.
2) That holds true in future rounds as well.
3) If they should happen to win the overall contest, they'd be assigned to write the module together and they'd split the compensation.

Someone from Paizo (Vic, probably) can confirm or deny. That's just my recollection from last year.

Also, if you're just going to have someone proofread your stuff...bounce ideas off...and otherwise just advise you while you write the final material...that's perfectly acceptable, and in fact, encouraged.

Hope that helps,
--Neil

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

flash_cxxi wrote:
After reading the winning entries and getting a little bit of feedback, I can clearly see that my item for RPG Superstar 2008 was sub-par at best.

Dont beat yourself up too bad. There was much to like. I like the idea of an item that is a trade off. I am also a huge 1E guy so a little "head of vecna" vibe doesnt bother me. You thought outside of the box and you "went big" and swung for the fences, which I respect.

Your "original" unedited version is definately too much back story. In fact, I think you really wanted to design an artifact not a wondrous item :)

Our main problem with your actual submission is that it is essentially a monster buff item and we didnt quite get the rationale.

Here are some of my comments: "I dont mind items that are normally for monsters. But the vampire special abilities dont work for me. Why are they immediately destroyed? It doesnt seem to have anything to do with the teeth. This just seems like an item to buff monsters with bite attacks."

Wolfgang agreed and didnt really dig the vampire buff abilites. He, too, felt it was a "tooth-shaped monster buff" as he put it.

Erik didnt make comments and Wolf and I had each already rejected it.

The name seemed interesting and I have to admit I dont think it really wound up doing what I thought it might do. Not really sure where the crescent moon connection is.

Clark


Hey Clark,

Got a favor to ask. Since I'm now ineligible to participate in RPG Superstar (hardback cover credit, full-time employee of Goodman Games), would you mind posting the comments you guys made for my item last year? Mr. Mona told me it was in the top 71, but it obviously didn't make the final cut. I think I know why it wasn’t in the top 32, and I just want to see if I'm right.

My item was Fulbert’s Fabulous Finger.

Thanks

BD

Dark Archive Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

How about why "The Boot Item" was so bad to do?


chopswil wrote:
How about why "The Boot Item" was so bad to do?

Apparently there were lots of boots submitted, and they were unspectacular all (or most) of them. I guess same went for food items and coins.

Which means that maybe this year lots of submitters shy away from boots and submitting a good pair would be a good idea. Or not. We'll see.

Marathon Voter Season 9

The point about the stereotypes is not that making something that fits one of them is a bad thing. You could make boots and get into the top 32.

However, last year, there was a trend that bad items tended to fall into similier groups or have similier traits.

There are some stereotypes which are probably best avoided, such as swiss army knife items, however even with clear cut best to avoids like that, we have examples of a well done ones having made it into the final 32.

If your item is outstanding, it will likely make it despite being a from one of these groups.

I suspect this year we will see a very different list of steriotypicial bad entries.


Yeah, Swiss Army Knife, Spell-in-a-Box, +6 Items and such are always bad ideas.
Well done boot, augury, food, polymorph and such items are welcome, there just was lots of those last year. This year we might have overabundance of boring crowns or tomes.

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