Honest Critiques of the Top 32 by an RPG Designer and Publisher


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

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For those who don't know me, my name is Justin D. Jacobson. By way of credentials: I am an RPG designer and publisher under my company name, Blue Devil Games. I've written Poisoncraft, Passages, and several others. I've published the critically acclaimed Dawning Star line. My publications have been nominated for seven ENnies. I've won a game design award (for my traditional-style game Golem). I've had material published in Monte's Year's Best d20. I'm an attorney by trade (where have we seen that before?) and a very experienced writer.

By way of full disclosure, I did submit an entry and (obviously) was not selected among the top 32. I confess, I was personally disappointed with the quality of the writing of some of the finalists, which was exacerbated by some of the judges’ comments. It's pretty clear that creativity was the top priority and actual writing was a pretty distant second. I don’t begrudge the judges for using their own criteria for selecting the top 32; this isn’t a manifestation of sour grapes. I hope it is taken in the spirit in which it is given: an opportunity for growth and development.

I’ve decided to go through the top 32 and offer my critiques. This will be unexpurgated criticism. I won’t be intentionally mean or dismissive, but I will not pull punches either. These critiques will focus on the writing, which is comprised of two components: (1) fundamental writing issues such as grammar, spelling, etc. and (2) presentation of the game elements, including mechanical flaws, omissions, and proper word usage. I will NOT be engaging in criticism of the underlying concepts, game balance issues, costing, etc.

Why am I doing this? Mostly for kicks. But I also think it can be helpful to potential freelancers to see some honest criticism of their work. I’m doing this from the perspective of a game publisher. These are things I’d be concerned about if I got these submissions for publication myself. I confess I’m a bit of a stickler about these things, and I don’t like to see them glossed over.

By way of standing offer, if you entered the contest and were not selected for the top 32 and would like me to critique your entry, feel free to post it here and I will do so.


I find this an interesting development. I'll bite. In full disclosure, I've written for Justin before, but I've also written for Erik and a brief bit of work for Wolfgang [that he may well no longer recall ;) ]

I'm not really active in RPG writing like I was a couple of years ago and have banished myself to writing about the development of web journalism and online communities in the snooty scholastic world. And sports. Sports journalism on the web can tell you exactly were feature writing and political reporting is heading. Um, sorry.

Justin's torn apart some bad ideas of mine before, so here we go.

Mirror of Retrieved Events: This item appears to be a simple hand-held mirror with an iron setting. A character holding the mirror can use it for scrying, as the spell (Will DC 17 negates), with these alterations:

• The character sets a condition for who the mirror will attempt to record based on a single event tied to a specific person, place, or item (ex. whoever next speaks to the king; the first person to leave the Dark Catacombs; or whoever opens the Abyssal Gate). The person fulfilling the condition becomes the spell’s target.
• Once the condition is fulfilled, the mirror tries to scry on the target exactly as if scrying had been cast at the moment of the triggering event. If successful, a viewable recording of the scry attempt remains until a new condition is set.
• The message spell does not function through the mirror.
Moderate divination; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Items, contingency, scrying (plus any additional spells put on the item); Price: 54,000 gp; Weight 1/2lb.

Mirror Type Market Price

Base Mirror
54,000 gp

Mirror with see invisibility
62,000 gp

Mirror with detect thoughts (Will DC 14 negates)
63,000 gp

Mirror with true seeing
92,000 gp


Summoning Dust

Originally created by the priests of Lamashtu to bring more horrors into the world, this small bag of powder is made up of dark metal shavings and tiny slivers of candle wax. A handful of this substance flung into the air will float gently to the ground, forming a spell caster’s summoning circle as it settles.

Once the circle is formed (requiring 1 full round) it acts as a Monster Summoning Spell for the user of the powder. The user may then choose from the appropriate IV-IX spell lists of summoned creatures to call forth her monster, but may only choose creatures of evil alignment.

This powder comes in varying degrees of strength (monster summoning IV-IX), and has only a single use per bag. The powder can be thrown 10ft in any direction of the user. It is rumored that the Spherewalkers of Desna have created Summoning Dust, which summons only good aligned creatures, in response to Lamashtu’s evil designs.

Moderate or Strong Conjuration; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, monster summoning (IV-IX); Price 1,400 gp (IV), 2,250 gp (V), 3,300 gp (VI), 5,550 gp (VII), 6,000 gp (VIII), 7,750 gp (IX)


Mine is pretty marginal but I am curious. =)

Guardian's Amulet
The amulet was originally created by a human paladin who served as a bodyguard to the head of a local clerical order. However, the complex enchantment created for the original version has since been duplicated by clerics, paladins and blackguards of many religions so they may protect their faithful. The Guardian's Amulet is usually in the form of a holy (or unholy) symbol of the wearer's religion on a gold chain.

The Guardian's Amulet provides a +2 sacred bonus on all saving throws (Fortitude, Reflex, and Will) as well as a +2 sacred bonus to AC. The item also grants any individual with the same religion as the wearer who is also within ten feet the same AC and saving throw bonuses. An evil version of this amulet provides profane bonuses in place of sacred bonuses.

If the holy version of this amulet is worn by an evil character, they do not gain the benefits of this amulet. If the unholy version of this amulet is worn by a good character, they do not gain the benefits of this amulet.

Moderate abjuration; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, Resistance, Shield Other Price 40,000gp; Weight 1 lb.


I'll take you up on that offer Justin, thank you.

Brooch of Social Grace

Originally designed with the socially inept wizard in mind, these items of jewelry have also been commissioned by wealthy families or adventurers for special occasions. This eye-pleasing accoutrement can be used to clasp a cloak, sash, or similar piece of formal wear. The brooch persistently grants its wearer a +2 competence bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Gather Information skill checks.

Upon activating the brooch, the wearer will subconsciously speak, gesture, and conduct himself in a manner that any person who converses with him for 5 rounds or more will find most pleasing. This may manifest itself by, for example, having the wearer take on a regional accent that the listener shares, or by having the wearer gesticulate with his hands in a manner that puts the listener at ease. Once 5 rounds of conversation have passed, the listener's attitude will improve one category (see Diplomacy skill). The listener’s attitude is subject to change as normal, and any person can have their attitude improved only once per 24 hour period.

Once per day, the wearer can charm someone, as per the spell charm person.

Faint enchantment; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, charm person, Price 6,500 gp.


Alex Handley wrote:


Talisman of Whispering Souls

Spoiler:
This amulet is made of rune-carved bone with two inset rubies like eyes on a fine silver chain. The amulet grants the wearer a +1 bonus on Turn or Rebuke checks. While worn, the talisman may be activated as a standard action three times per day for ten minutes each time. When activated, the user is surrounded by motes of spectral mist which circle constantly and a continuous sound like the whispering of many indistinguishable voices just on the edge of hearing is audible. While the amulet is active, the user gains the following powers: they can communicate magically with any intelligent Undead regardless of language, even if the Undead creature cannot normally communicate. The wearer is invisible to mindless Undead, but this effect ends if the user attacks any Undead creature. The wearer can see any incorporeal or ethereal Undead within 120’, even through walls or solid objects, as they are silhouetted as if with blue faerie fire visible only to the wearer (as the spell, but the effect is not blocked by magical darkness).

Moderate Divination and Necromancy; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, Detect Undead, Speak With Dead, True Seeing; Price 50,000 gp

-The first sentence is awkwardly written. “Rune-carved” is an ambiguous phrase as to whether it implies that the bone is carved with runes or by runes. “Inset” is improperly used as an adjective. “Like eyes” is ambiguous; indeed, I’m not sure how to correct that as I don’t know what the author was intending to convey. “On a fine silver chain” is a floating prepositional phrase; it is unclear what it is referring to.

-The +1 bonus is unspecified. Presumably it should be an enhancement bonus.

-“Turn” and “Rebuke” are improperly capitalized.

-The fourth sentence (“When activated...”) is a mess, principally the result of overwriting. “User” should be “wearer” to keep consistency with terminology from the second sentence. You can’t realistically have “motes” of “mist”. And this is a run-on sentence with “user is surrounded” and “whispering ... is audible”.

-The fifth sentence introduces “the following powers” but then only introduces one. The successive sentences should have been combined and separated by semicolons, or the wording should have been changed.

-“Undead” is improperly capitalized.

-The nature of the “communication” is unspecified. Is it speech? Telepathic? What is the range?

-The last sentence (“The wearer can see...”) is a mess. 120’ should use “feet” instead of the apostrophe in keeping with SRD formatting. The effect suffers from too much ambiguity by both trying to shorthand in referencing the spell while still carving out exceptions. In what way is it like the spell exactly? The range, area of effect, and duration are all different, and faerie fire doesn’t work through walls. The silhouette effect seems unnecessarily complicated when the ability to see them alone works well enough.

-“Divination” and “Necromancy” are improperly capitalized. The spells are improperly capitalized. There is no period after "gp" (because it is the end of the sentence).

Here’s how I would rewrite the entry:

Justin D. Jacobson wrote:


Spoiler:
Talisman of Whispering Souls

This amulet is made of bone, carved with runes, inset with rubies, and strung on a fine, silver chain. The amulet grants the wearer a +1 enhancement bonus on turn or rebuke checks. The wearer may activate the talisman as a standard action up to three times per day for ten minutes each activation. When activated, motes of spectral energy circle the wearer, and a thousand indistinguishable voices whisper constantly. The amulet grants the following abilities when activated.
-The wearer can communicate telepathically with any intelligent undead within a range of 120 feet.
-The wearer is invisible to mindless undead. This effect ends when the wearer attacks any undead.
-The wearer can see incorporeal and ethereal undead within 120 feet, even through walls or solid objects.

Moderate divination and necromancy; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, detect undead, speak with dead, true seeing; Price 50,000 gp.


Hmm. Any idea why my quote tags aren't working?


Justin Jacobson wrote:
Hmm. Any idea why my quote tags aren't working?

No ending /quote tag?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

Quote tags need a source name. 'quote=<some guy>'. Just 'quote' doesn't work.

Also, can you spoiler the source items and your re-writes? Just to keep things shorter? (And do me next!)


Thanks for the help with the quirky BB tags. Spoiler tag is a good idea. Yoink!

Dark Archive

Thanks for doing this Justin. Here's mine:

Spoiler:
Syringe of Retribution
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 7th
Slot – (held); Price 20,160 GP

Description

This antique syringe appears as a foot-long piston pump consisting of an ivory plunger that can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical glass tube covered with fine arabesques of iron and tipped with a wickedly sharp needle of the same metal. It is filled with fresh blood and replenishes itself magically after each use.

Once per day, an injected target (requiring a melee touch-attack in combat situations) can be affected by a single magical effect which varies depending on the loyalty the target feels towards the syringe’s holder. If the target is faithful, dedicated or otherwise devoted to the holder, she receives a +4 enhancement bonus to Charisma and a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls for the next seven minutes. If the target is not loyal to the holder, she receives instead a -6 penalty to Charisma. This curse can be removed if the target is subjected to such spells as limited wish, miracle, remove curse or wish, as appropriate under the circumstances.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, eagle’s splendor, bestow curse; Cost 10,080 GP, 806 XP.


Justin Jacobson wrote:
Thanks for the help with the quirky BB tags.

You might also go through and remove the smart quotes from your post--they appear fine in IE, but they're not properly encoded for HTML, and Firefox displays an ugly <?> symbol for them.


Handy potion bottle
This bottle is typically fashioned of a hard metal and designed to have negligible weight. It is usually about three inches in length and one inch in diameter with a hinged stopper. Inside the bottle is a nondimensional space allowing it to hold up to six doses of a potion, each dose must be of the same kind of potion. When it is empty the bottle can be refilled with either the same or another kind of potion.
Drinking a dose from this bottle does not provoke an attack of opportunity and is considered a swift action, refilling the bottle is a standard action for each dose.
If the bottle is placed inside a bag of holding or portable hole then a rift to the Astral Plane is torn in the space, both items are sucked into the void and forever lost before the rift closes.

Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, secret chest; Price 2,600 gp (Price is for an empty bottle)

(Second attempt at posting)

Honestly curious with the hope of learning something.

Thanks


Crafter’s Toolbox
This 12”x12”x16” box is a craft-based character’s best friend. It can be opened in several different ways, and each configuration reveals all the necessary artisan’s tools, with an enhancement bonus of +5, to perform three specific crafts. The particular craft skills are decided when the toolbox is created, and the available tools are not limited by the initial size of the box, as it opens to whatever size is necessary to accommodate the tools needed. The tools are part of the enchantment and disappear whenever the box is closed.
Common skill sets found in crafter’s Toolboxes are: blacksmithing, weaponsmithing, and armorsmithing; sculpture, painting, and pottery making; trapmaking, locksmithing, and finesmithing; and bookbinding, calligraphy, and leatherworking; but a particular box could just as easily have shipbuilding, cobbling and basketweaving. Crafter’s toolboxes found as randomly generated treasure should have their skills determined in advance.

Moderate conjuration, Caster level 9th, Craft Wondrous Item, fabricate, secret chest, Price 10,000 gp, Weight 10 lbs.


propeliea wrote:

Mirror of Retrieved Events

Spoiler:
This item appears to be a simple hand-held mirror with an iron setting. A character holding the mirror can use it for scrying, as the spell (Will DC 17 negates), with these alterations:

• The character sets a condition for who the mirror will attempt to record based on a single event tied to a specific person, place, or item (ex. whoever next speaks to the king; the first person to leave the Dark Catacombs; or whoever opens the Abyssal Gate). The person fulfilling the condition becomes the spell’s target.
• Once the condition is fulfilled, the mirror tries to scry on the target exactly as if scrying had been cast at the moment of the triggering event. If successful, a viewable recording of the scry attempt remains until a new condition is set.
• The message spell does not function through the mirror.
Moderate divination; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Items, contingency, scrying (plus any additional spells put on the item); Price: 54,000 gp; Weight 1/2lb.

Mirror Type Market Price

Base Mirror
54,000 gp

Mirror with see invisibility
62,000 gp

Mirror with detect thoughts (Will DC 14 negates)
63,000 gp

Mirror with true seeing
92,000 gp

-I’d probably go with the simpler "changes" over "alterations", but this is a true nitpick.

-The wording of the mechanics is a little awkward. I’ll make an attempt at clarification in my version below.

-"When" is preferred over "once" since the conduct will be repeated, but this is a minor nitpick.

-Reference to "the spell’s target" is inaccurate, since it is the mirror that does the targeting.

-The reference to the message spell seems gratuitous. I would have omitted it, but if included it should simply read "Message does not function through the mirror."

-"Craft Wondrous Items" should be "Craft Wondrous Item".

-Spells should be italicized.

-Missing space between "1/2" and "lb."

-The formatting for the alternate versions is handled poorly. I know I said I wouldn’t comment on flavor or content, but I should note that this item is awfully similar to a standard crystal ball. I only note that because creating similar items practically demands tracking the language used in the original item, which this did not. Tracking the crystal ball language would have alleviated this problem.

Here’s my version:

Justin D. Jacobson wrote:

Spoiler:
Mirror of Retrieved Events

This item appears to be a simple hand-held mirror with an iron setting. A character holding the mirror can use it to see over virtually any distance or into other planes of existence, as with the spell scrying (Will DC 17 negates), with the following changes:
• While holding the mirror, the character sets a trigger condition, describing a specific event and a target or class of targets, e.g. "the next person to speak to the king", "the first person to leave the Dark Catacombs", "whoever opens the Abyssal Gate", etc. The condition persists until changed.
• When the condition is fulfilled, the person triggering it becomes the target of the mirror’s scrying effect. If the scrying succeeds, the triggering event is stored within the mirror and can be viewed by anyone holding the mirror. The image is stored until it is replaced by a new triggering event.
Message does not function through the mirror.
Mirror Type – Market Price
Mirror of retrieved events – 54,000 gp
Mirror with see invisibility – 62,000 gp
Mirror with detect thoughts (Will DC 14 negates) – 63,000 gp
Mirror with true seeing – 92,000 gp
Moderate divination; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Item, contingency, scrying (plus any additional spells put into item); Weight 1/2 lb.


Okay, now get on to some winners! In my poor, poor defence, the actual submission was more appropriately formated regarding italics, paragraph form, and the table (though just barely on the table).

What I really regret here was the choice to avoid too much flavor, which could have highlighted its difference from a crystal ball.

Now that was pretty fun and painless. ;)


Thanks for the offer, Justin. It would be great to get feedback from a pro. It didn't bother me that the judges basically said they would dump rough drafts (those written poorly, those which omitted 'Craft Wondrous Item,' etc.) That just motivated me to rewrite my entry several times and revise and edit until it was squeaky clean. What bothered me was that at least one of the winners was a rough draft. Obviously no one is perfect, but between rough draft and absolute perfection in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, there's a lot of quality material fit to be published. I'm not trying to put anyone down, but I thought my submission would have a shot because it was a final copy; and as such would be preferred to entries whose authors clearly didn't put their work through extensive revision and editing (even if my idea wasn't blowing anyone away). Anyway, I'd love to hear your opinion on my submission. Anyone else who might have serious constructive criticism for me, please feel free to weigh in as well.

Bedroll of Efficacious Recuperation

This apparently ordinary bedroll is a boon to those recovering from injury and is prized by adventurers: its enchantment accelerates the natural healing process. Spending one full night of sound, uninterrupted sleep in a Bedroll of Efficacious Recuperation produces a restorative effect equivalent to that of one entire day of complete rest, to a maximum of 40 hit points regained at 20th level. A Bedroll of Efficacious Recuperation is not capable of upgrading a dead, dying, stable, or disabled character’s condition, nor does it restore hit points to such a character; it can only nourish the life force of a healthy, living person (at least 1 hp).

1% of these items are actually cursed Bedrolls of Agonized Repose. Detect Magic reveals these to be the beneficial sort, but a character spending a night in one is wracked by horrifying nightmares; arcane spellcasters spending a night in a Bedroll of Agonized Repose are unable to refresh their minds for spell preparation the following day.

Moderate conjuration; CL 8th; Craft Wondrous Item, Cure Moderate Wounds;
price 3500 gp; wt. 5 lbs.

Moderate illusion; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, Bestow Curse, Nightmare;
price 4000 gp; wt. 5 lbs.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

Can you do mine?

The Kraken Crown appears to be a headband of metallic blue tentacles braided around the wearer's head. The tips of the tentacles bend upward, forming eight points of the crown.

The Kraken Crown has three powers. First, the Kraken Crown can stretch out one of its tentacles up to 20 feet long, allowing the wearer to make melee touch attacks, including touch spell effects, up to 20 feet away. This ability is activiated as a free action, lasts for 1 round, and can be used up to 5 times per day.

The second power of the Kraken Crown allows the wearer to use Black Tentacles twice per day. Activating this ability is a standard action.

The third power of the Kraken Crown allows the wearer to Dimension Door up to 800 feet away, leaving behind a region of inky darkness centered at his point of origin. The region of inky darkness is 40 feet in radius and provides total concealment to all within it. It persists for 10 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action. It is usable once per day.

Moderate conjuration; CL 10th; Craft Wonderous Item, Reach Spell, deeper darkness, dimension door, black tentacles. 32,000 gps.


Wow, thanks for the offer. I hope you're ready to look over a TON of items, because i think everyone is going to take you up on this.

I'm always looking for input:

Portable Portal

Spoiler:
This item appears to be an ordinary brass doorknob, with a four inch spike protruding from the back. When pressed against an appropriately-sized inanimate surface, the spike will sink in up to the knob and anchor itself. The material forms into a door (6’tall, 3’ wide, 3” thick, with hp and hardness appropriate to the material) which opens onto a passage to the other side of the surface, or ten feet deep into the surface, whichever occurs first. The door or passage is now permanent. Although the Portable Portal includes no locking mechanism, the door can be locked, braced, or trapped by normal magical or mundane means.
Transmutation; CL9th; Craft Wondrous Item; passwall; Price 2,250 gp; Weight 1 lb.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Aotrscommander

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-The first sentence is awkwardly written. “Rune-carved” is an ambiguous phrase as to whether it implies that the bone is carved with runes or by runes. “Inset” is improperly used as an adjective. “Like eyes” is ambiguous; indeed, I’m not sure how to correct that as I don’t know what the author was intending to convey. “On a fine silver chain” is a floating prepositional phrase; it is unclear what it is referring to.

Noted. I think some of the English is a casualty of me trying to compress my normally voluable wording up tight, something I've not really had to do before, and I could have done a better job of it than I did. (With round two, I'm getting people to look it over. I didn't bother with round one, seeing as I didn't think my chances were so good as to be worth kicking up a fuss about.)

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-The +1 bonus is unspecified. Presumably it should be an enhancement bonus.

I intended it to be untyped. Considering the lack of items which add to turn/rebuke, I didn't think typing it was necessary.

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-“Turn” and “Rebuke” are improperly capitalized.

The capitalisation comes from the fact that I automatically capitalise any game terminology when I'm writing any sort of rules myself (I've often felt that it was a failing of D&D not to do so.) I forgot when doing this to decapitalise. The same reasoning applies to use of ' instead of 'feet'.

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-The fourth sentence (“When activated...”) is a mess, principally the result of overwriting. “User” should be “wearer” to keep consistency with terminology from the second sentence. You can’t realistically have “motes” of “mist”. And this is a run-on sentence with “user is surrounded” and “whispering ... is audible”.

Noted; again, problem arising from my tendacy for long, rambling sentences.

I stand by motes of mist, though, from a purely artistic standpoint.

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-The fifth sentence introduces “the following powers” but then only introduces one. The successive sentences should have been combined and separated by semicolons, or the wording should have been changed.

Your re-write was much clearer (although personally, I'd have used the extra word count you saved to add some more flavour text); again, that point is taken on board.

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-The nature of the “communication” is unspecified. Is it speech? Telepathic? What is the range?

Good points; casualty of me trying to squeeze to much in, I think. It should specify the communication is verbal. You unlive and learn.

Justin Jacobson wrote:
-The last sentence (“The wearer can see...”) is a mess. 120’ should use “feet” instead of the apostrophe in keeping with SRD formatting. The effect suffers from too much ambiguity by both trying to shorthand in referencing the spell while still carving out exceptions. In what way is it like the spell exactly? The range, area of effect, and duration are all different, and faerie fire doesn’t work through walls. The silhouette effect seems unnecessarily complicated when the ability to see them alone works well enough.

I was least happy with that myself. I think I confused things by referencing the spell, when what I really meant was it looked like faerie fire.

I appreciate your input, especially since this is the first time I've actually cut my teeth on such a project.

(Just out of interest, did you do mine first because you thought it was the weakest entry or just becuase it was alphabetically first?)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hello, Justin. Thanks for your time and effort. I lost my original submission, but this is my reconstruction. Criticism would be appreciated.

AERIAL PIPE

Spoiler:

These instruments are made from the deep-red Celwynvian oak, and bound with simple brass fingerings. When played skillfully and with intent (requiring a DC 18 Perform (wind instrument) check), the flute can enchant the very air.

Individuals within 120 feet of the flautist can attempt to Balance themselves in midair (DC 20 + 1 for every 5 feet distance to the flautist). This effect is similar to the enchantment of Horseshoes of the Zephyr, save that the individuals may choose to ascend or descend 5’ for every 10’ of horizontal movement.

There are both an elven and Varisian troupe of air dancers active on the performing circuits.

Faint transmutation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, levitate; Price: 7500 gp, weight: 1 pound.

It was an attempt to design an item that player characters would want to learn to use. I suspect there might be potential abuse issues I didn't pick up on in playtesting.


If I'm not mistaken, Justin was going to be reviewing the 32 actual *winners*, before doing random other entries.


To clarify a few things:

1) I'm doing the Top 32 in order as they appear on the winning entry page.

2) I'm planning on alternating between a Top 32 and a non-finalist entry.

3) I will do the non-finalist entries in order as they appear in this thread.

4) I'm happy to keep going as long as I can, but I reserve the right to call it a day if 700-odd people post their entries here.

5) I want to clarify my motivation. I've seen some people react pretty negatively to the Top 32. I have no bad feelings for Paizo, the judges, or the finalists. I'm glad they had it; I had fun entering; and I certainly appreciate all of the hard work they put in. I have a very specific gripe, in that I feel like the actual writing part was discounted too much by the judges. That just means we have different criteria--not that mine are better. I'm doing this because I think clarity in writing is critically important to freelancers and something of a dying art. I was disappointed in that I felt the focus on creativity over technical writing merit exacerbates this problem.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I think we've found our Simon. :) Which is great, since he's by far the most entertaining part of American Idol.


Sure then. I wasn't going to post mine, but I will now! :)

The Toy Golem

A long time ago, an archmage decided that her young daughter needed protection. She wove potent magic into her child’s doll to defend her when there was trouble. Other magicians since followed suit. The wise know not to harm the child of a wizard, especially when they have a small toy figure with them. A toy golem may have any appearance its maker wishes.

Once per day when commanded or when someone threatens their owner, these innocent looking size Fine or Tiny dolls change instantly (free action) into a Large size guard creature. The guard creature has statistics identical to an ogre except that its type is construct (giving it construct traits like no Con), it has Improved Initiative (+4 to Init), 4d12 HD, hp 56, wears a chain shirt, and has AC 18, Dex 10 and Int 10. It stays in guard form for 14 rounds. If slain or the duration ends, it reverts to normal doll form. When made for boys, creators call these magic soldiers.

Conjuration (summoning), CL 7, Craft Wondrous Item, alarm, summon monster IV*, Extend Spell, Price 18,000 gp, Weight 1/2 lb.

Design Note (not included in original submission): I chose summon monster instead of animate object due to the latter being a bard and cleric spell.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

I'll throw mine in here for some critiquing. Thanks in advance!

Tears of the Sun

Spoiler:
When the first undead creatures appeared on Golarion, Serenrae wept. Her tears fell to Golarion as bright crystals and became potent weapons against the powers of darkness. After Serenrae’s worshippers used the tears to combat the undead blight, they created, and still create to this day, lesser copies.

When carried or worn (taking the amulet slot), a tear continuously emits light as the daylight spell. When the possessor of a tear needs to, she can throw the fragile crystal as a grenade-like weapon. On impact, the tear shatters releasing a sphere of searing light with an 80-foot radius. Undead creatures, fungi, mold, oozes and slimes take 15d6 points of damage (Reflex DC 22 half). If the creature is specifically harmed by sunlight and the save fails, the creature is destroyed. Other creatures sensitive to sunlight take 12d6 points of damage (Reflex DC 22 half). No other creatures take damage from the burst, but any failing the DC 22 Reflex save are blinded.

Strong evocation; CL 15th; Craft Wondrous Item, daylight, sunburst; Price 36,750 gp.


I am willing to give this a try and thanks for the herculean effort...

Wheels of the Vagabond: This set of wheels consists of four iron-rimmed wooden disks, each about the size of a standard buckler. When the command word is spoken and the wheels placed on opposite sides of an unattended inanimate object no larger than a typical wagon (250 cubic feet; 400 lbs.) the wheels enlarge to 5’ diameter, lifting the object from the ground, to create a magical transport. The new “wagon” functions as if being pulled by two heavy horses but requires only the concentration of the user. The user need not ride on the “wagon” but must maintain line of sight. A second command causes the wheels to reduce to their normal size and be easily removed.
Moderate Transmutation; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Item; mending, animate objects; Price 20,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs (per wheel).

Scarab Sages

Armband of the Apothecary

This tarnished bronze armband, wrought in the form of two coiled snakes, is designed to be worn about the upper arm. This armband takes one week to attune to its wearer's alignment and provide any benefit. If worn by a good aligned character, the armband turns a polished gold hue and provides a +4 competence bonus to all Heal checks made by the wearer, and once per day cast Cure Light Wounds as a second-level cleric. If worn by an evil aligned character, the armband appears obsidian, though it retains metal properties, providing a +4 competence bonus to all Craft (Poison) checks, and once per day cast Cause Light Wounds as a second-level cleric. If worn by a neutral aligned character, the armband turns a silver hue. The neutral wearer must decide each day if the armband will provide a bonus to Heal and receive the Cure Light Wounds or Craft (poison) checks along with Cause Light Wounds as described above.

Price: 5200 gp
Slot: Upper arm
Faint Aura conjuration
Activation standard (command)
Weight: -
Prerequisites: craft wondrous item, cure & cause light wounds, know alignment
Cost to create: 2600 gp, 250 XP, 3 days.

Thank you for taking the time to do this, as I am sure this shall keep you busy for the next few days (or months LOL). I am very interested in what I have "done wrong" so that I may improve myself. I have refrained from post when I find something I do not like b/c I feel it is not proper, but I long to hear what you think and I would love to some how find out what the judges thought of my item. I must say tehy are going to miss out on my Island country, but I shall now enjoy building developing it for my own use, so from that point of view even if I am not top 32 thank you Paizo for inspiring me to keep on working.

Sean
SAbel@woh.rr.com


Hey guys, yeah if you can critique mine too please. I had a couple people go over it on the other thread.

Spoiler:

Bag of Scolding
This coin purse was created for a king whose children loved to frivolously spend the money from his treasury. The Bag of Scolding, originally named “The Conscientious Coin Purse”, follows the same rules as a bag of holding, except for as follows: It will only hold items the size of coins and small gems. Any time the owner (or anyone else) attempts to retrieve money from the bag, it will immediately start to berate them over the wasteful way they spend money. Only a DC 15 Bluff or Diplomacy check will make it stop badgering them.
Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, Secret Chest, Magic Mouth, Permanency; market price: 2500 gp
Bag weight: 3 lb. content weight limit: 125 lb. volume limit : 15 cu ft

Contributor

Forged Goo wrote:

I am willing to give this a try and thanks for the herculean effort...

Wheels of the Vagabond: This set of wheels consists of four iron-rimmed wooden disks, each about the size of a standard buckler. When the command word is spoken and the wheels placed on opposite sides of an unattended inanimate object no larger than a typical wagon (250 cubic feet; 400 lbs.) the wheels enlarge to 5’ diameter, lifting the object from the ground, to create a magical transport. The new “wagon” functions as if being pulled by two heavy horses but requires only the concentration of the user. The user need not ride on the “wagon” but must maintain line of sight. A second command causes the wheels to reduce to their normal size and be easily removed.
Moderate Transmutation; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Item; mending, animate objects; Price 20,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs (per wheel).

Are you THE Forged Goo...of Iron DM fame? If so email me! nflogue@hotmail.com

If you are not, you can email me anyway! ;-)


Justin Jacobson wrote:
I have a very specific gripe, in that I feel like the actual writing part was discounted too much by the judges. That just means we have different criteria--not that mine are better. I'm doing this because I think clarity in writing is critically important to freelancers and something of a dying art. I was disappointed in that I felt the focus on creativity over technical writing merit exacerbates this problem.

I am a teacher who does technical writing related to my profession and I teach writing, so I can understand your sentiments about the standards. On the other hand, when I am marking fifty papers I have to admit that my technical standards slide and the writer's thought and ideas begin to stand out. Only egregious usage or grammatical errors stand out and flaws of organization are such a headache to correct that I rarely give more than a disapproving nod to them in my comments.

As the judges had more than eight hundred submissions to read I can totally understand that they have relied on gut instinct and industry experience as their primary standards. They certainly don't not have the time to carefully nitpick each entry as you have begun to do.

That said, your work so far is admirable.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Justin,

While marveling at your audacity for starting this thread I checked out your Superstar entry.

Turned out it was one of my favorites.

I appreciate your attention to language in this thread, and I think it's especially interesting because your own submission was passed over for this reason exactly.

The final sentence in your entry read: "Hunter-gatherer societies often share a communal spirit cup for the benefit of the entire tribe."

Wolf and Clark both thought that the sentence (particularly the word "communal") contradicted your assertion that the cup worked only for the person who killed the animal.

I disagreed, interpreting the sentence the way I believe you intended it, but in the end a slightly different word choice or construction of one sentence of fluff switched off two of the judges and the rest is history.

The Spirit Cup really was one of the best RPG Superstar items, in my opinion. I think you should post it here and let other posters get a look at some of your mojo.

--Erik


My item was probably too dull, didn't seem magic enough with the required provisions, and though I hit the necessary mechanics I left the assumption of how quickly the quill writes based upon the spell reference.

Very useful for translating languages the characters haven't taken. Great for dungeons of ancient races. Please give me your honest constructive opinions and help me spice this wondrous item up for my next campaign. Thanks in advance!

Andrew Hinkle wrote:


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.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

Erik Mona wrote:

Justin,

While marveling at your audacity for starting this thread I checked out your Superstar entry.

Turned out it was one of my favorites.

The Spirit Cup really was one of the best RPG Superstar items, in my opinion. I think you should post it here and let other posters get a look at some of your mojo.

--Erik

I suppose it's as well that he didn't make it: He has cover credit on Dawning Star, available in hardcover here.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Eyebite

Yeah, what the hell, I'll post mine too. Any commentary is appreciated, even harsh criticism.

I'm well aware that this item is anachronistic, possibly a trap/spell in a box, and is potentially a plot hook disguised as an item. Anything else?

Sorrow Box

These eerie music boxes are usually contained inside of small, ornate iron chests. Upon opening the lid, whirring pins on a revolving cylinder strike the tuned teeth of a stamped metal plate inside. A long forgotten and melancholy tune often sounds from the box. Without warning however, the disturbing sounds of some recorded tragedy - a mother drowning her infant, the last gasps of an innocent man swinging from the gallows, etc., are replayed along with the melody to the unwitting audience. A permeating sadness inevitably creeps into the souls of those that listen.

The entire song takes 6 rounds to complete, and each round it plays its forlorn melody, each affected creature takes a cumulative -1 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls, up to a maximum of -6 after 6 rounds of play. These penalties last for 7 minutes. The entire melody need not be played all at once, but after the song has finished, a Sorrow Box requires one full day to rewind itself.

Moderate enchantment; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, crushing despair; Price 12,650 gp; Weight 5 lb.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I love the comments. And excellent editing, which is what is going on here, is a wonderful thing. However, this is RPG Superstar, not Editor Superstar. If you've worked in the industry long enough, you know that freelancers arent editors. So we judges certainly werent asking them to be. Just trying to explain our logic.

That said, I am all for someone coming in and working some editorial magic on the entries. I agree with many of your comments. Nice work.

I do join in Erik in finding it unfortunate and ironic that we judges rejected your entry because of what we felt was poor writing and lack of clarity in a key passage of what was, as Erik mentioned, a really good item.

Keep up the good work!

Scarab Sages

Justin, I appreciate the time you're taking to do this. Would you care to critique my item? I'd appreciate any insight you and others might share.

Eyes of the Sun
These clear crystal lenses are worn over the eyes, much like any similar pair. When worn, the wearer can see in normal darkness as if holding a torch. Upon command, the eyes of the sun can emit a glow equal to the light spell, for up to 50 minutes per day. Once per day, the wearer can use searing light against a target.
Faint Evocation; CL 5th ; Craft Wondrous Item, light, searing light; Price: 16350 gp

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I really liked the Toy Golem posted by varianor. I also submitted a toy with defensive capabilities, the "Stuffed Animal Toy of Security." I wonder how many toys were submitted.

Stuffed Animal Toy of Security

This small stuffed animal toy has been infused with the safety and security a child feels while with his or her parents. Anyone holding this item may cast sanctuary on him or herself once per day as an immediate action (save DC 20). The effect lasts up to 5 rounds or until the user stops holding the toy in at least one hand, or until the user tries to attack someone. When used by a person under the age of adulthood, opponents are not entitled to a Will save to resist the sanctuary effect. This item can be made of leather or any cloth, filled with beans, cotton, or straw, and crafted to resemble any sort of animal.

Moderate abjuration; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, sanctuary; Price 10,000 gp.

After reading the judges' comments following the posting of the top 32, I see a lot of flaws in my item, not the least of which is that it lacks a gripping name, it's essentially a spell-in-a-can, and it's probably overpriced. I spent a long time wrestling with how to price stuff. I know sanctuary is a level 1 spell, but I really wanted a high DC, so I essentially invented a "greater sanctuary" which was a 4th level spell that has a way higher DC and shorter duration... but maybe that's bad design mojo.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

I'd be very glad of your opinion on my losing item (as edited for a couple of glaring mechanical gaffes). I certainly have plenty of criticisms of it myself and would be curious to know if a professional sees the same fatal problems, or entirely different ones.

Submission, edited
------------------

Elixir of Rejuvenated Mind

This sparkling, sharp-tasting cordial restores one already cast arcane spell slot of each level that the drinker can use. If the drinker manifests psionic powers, he regains 2 already used power points per manifester level.
If the drinker prepares arcane spells, the spell slots return as open slots. The drinker may prepare additional spells in these slots by studying his spellbook for at least 15 minutes.
If the character has drunk an elixir or greater elixir of rejuvenated mind in the past 24 hours, he also takes 2d4 Constitution damage.
Greater: As well as the above effects, a greater elixir of rejuvenated mind restores one additional already used arcane spell slot (a total of two slots) for each level at which the drinker gains three or more spell slots and restores an additional 10 power points.
If the character has drunk an elixir or greater elixir of rejuvenated mind in the past 24 hours, he also takes 2d8 Constitution damage.
Strong transmutation; CL 17th; Craft Wondrous Item, fox’s cunning (+mage’s lucubration); Price 5,700gp (11,400gp)


Erik Mona wrote:

I appreciate your attention to language in this thread, and I think it's especially interesting because your own submission was passed over for this reason exactly.

The final sentence in your entry read: "Hunter-gatherer societies often share a communal spirit cup for the benefit of the entire tribe."

Wolf and Clark both thought that the sentence (particularly the word "communal") contradicted your assertion that the cup worked only for the person who killed the animal.

I disagreed, interpreting the sentence the way I believe you intended it, but in the end a slightly different word choice or construction of one sentence of fluff switched off two of the judges and the rest is history.

Well that is ironic. As to the specific point, I recognize that writers are incapable of editing themselves, but I stand by the word choice. "Communal" means "shared by all members of a community". I envisioned a tribe where the communal spirit cup rests in a place of prominence at the center of the encampment. A hunter goes out and returns with a wounded quarry, delivers the coup de grace, and uses the cup. A few hours later another hunter from the same tribe can go do the same thing. But I get how that could have been clearer.

Erik Mona wrote:
The Spirit Cup really was one of the best RPG Superstar items, in my opinion. I think you should post it here and let other posters get a look at some of your mojo.

I was hesitant to do so, but since there is some concensus:

Spirit Cup

This simple wooden cup allows a hunter to absorb the spirit of her vanquished quarry. The hunter must fill the cup with the animal’s blood within two rounds of its death and must drink the blood from the cup within two rounds after that. The person drinking from the cup must have dealt the killing blow. Upon drinking the blood, she gains an enhancement bonus to her Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution equal to the animal’s Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution bonuses respectively, up to a maximum bonus of +6 to each ability. Additionally, she gains the low-light vision and scent abilities. These effects last for one hour per hit die of the animal whose blood is consumed. In order to work, the quarry must have at least three hit dice, must have the animal type, and may not have the aquatic sub-type. Favored by rangers, barbarians, and druids of a particular stripe, spirit cups occasionally bear the symbols of pagan nature deities. Hunter-gatherer societies often share a communal spirit cup for the benefit of the entire tribe.

Moderate transmutation; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, cat’s grace; Price 20,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.


Ross Byers wrote:
I suppose it's as well that he didn't make it: He has cover credit on Dawning Star, available in hardcover here.

Now this does raise an interesting point. I'll point out that the specific criteria was presented three different ways in three different locations.

From the Rules:

Rules wrote:
Anyone with a cover credit on a hardcover RPG book is ineligible.

From the FAQ:

FAQ wrote:
If you have received cover credit as an author of a hardcover RPG book, you are not eligible.

(emphasis added)

And then a third way on the actual submission page (which is no longer available for me to quote).

I do have a cover credit on Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch, but it is as editor not author. Lee Hammock is the author of OQL. I met the criteria as indicated on the FAQ and actual submission page so I felt it was okay for me to enter.

Erik, I'm curious if you think I should or should not have been eligible as a technical matter. You might want to firm up that criteria. (In fact, I meant to point this out earlier, but I forgot about the issue until now.)


Justin Jacobson wrote:
I was hesitant to do so, but since there is some concensus:

I think you mean "consensus". ;-)

Justin Jacobson wrote:
Spirit Cup

I really like your item, which has a rich vein of flavour running through it. A 20,000 gp magic item would be quite a centrepiece for a hunter-gatherer tribe, though, wouldn't it?

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

I like the spirit cup, but I feel like it is open for abuse and the effects of a powerful animal will stay with the hunter / drinker for a long time.


Spirit Cup

very cool idea, gaining bonuses based on the animal. BTW I have no problem understanding that the cup is communal, in the same way that say a magic weapon or a digging implement, or a plough would be communal--one person uses it at a time but it is available to the whole community- simple. This cant have been the reason for rejection.

However this item is really open to abuse unless it is only useable once a day. I know my players would adventure around with a small herd of horses to butcher then buff up before each dungeon- they would be scouring the country side for poor beasties to kill.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Callum wrote:
Justin Jacobson wrote:
I was hesitant to do so, but since there is some concensus:

I think you mean "consensus". ;-)

Justin Jacobson wrote:
Spirit Cup
I really like your item, which has a rich vein of flavour running through it. A 20,000 gp magic item would be quite a centrepiece for a hunter-gatherer tribe, though, wouldn't it?

Smite the pun...

This however does always point out the need for DM Fiat in such things. Even if you put the 30% discount for some restriction of "Must be used by members of the Waziri tribe." an item that's flavourful and appropriate would be out of the system's reach of the tribes that would use it.


I really don't want this to turn into discussion of my item, but sauce for the goose....

As to the potential for abuse, I think that's subtly the best part of the item. It has a built in scaling system. You have to kill the animal to gain its benefit, and the benefit (in both magnitude and duration) scales with the power of the animal. If you don't look at actual numbers, I can see where the concern arises. Go through the animals in the SRD, and you'll see it actually works pretty well.

Killing a horse grants a +3 bonus to Strength, a +1 bonus to Dexterity, and a +2 bonus to Constitution. Now, keep in mind that these bonuses in turn will generally only translate to a +1 Strength and +1 Constitution bonus due to the quirk of odd/even attribute scores. And that's for only three hours--not exactly a full dungeon crawl.

It's a horribly inefficient item to try and abuse with these limitations.

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

Justin Jacobson wrote:

I really don't want this to turn into discussion of my item, but sauce for the goose....

As to the potential for abuse, I think that's subtly the best part of the item. It has a built in scaling system. You have to kill the animal to gain its benefit, and the benefit (in both magnitude and duration) scales with the power of the animal. If you don't look at actual numbers, I can see where the concern arises. Go through the animals in the SRD, and you'll see it actually works pretty well.

Killing a horse grants a +3 bonus to Strength, a +1 bonus to Dexterity, and a +2 bonus to Constitution. Now, keep in mind that these bonuses in turn will generally only translate to a +1 Strength and +1 Constitution bonus due to the quirk of odd/even attribute scores. And that's for only three hours--not exactly a full dungeon crawl.

It's a horribly inefficient item to try and abuse with these limitations.

Dire animals would qualify as is, but the rhino also gives quite the umph.


James Hunnicutt wrote:
I really liked the Toy Golem posted by varianor. I also submitted a toy with defensive capabilities, the "Stuffed Animal Toy of Security." I wonder how many toys were submitted.

Thank you. You had a neat item yourself. (I am a father of two. I wonder if there were more than two toys submitted and if so how many authors were also parents.) It had not occurred to me up until now that mine might also fall into the "too many of X" category.

James Hunnicutt wrote:


Stuffed Animal Toy of Security

This small stuffed animal toy has been infused with the safety and security a child feels while with his or her parents. Anyone holding this item may cast sanctuary on him or herself once per day as an immediate action (save DC 20). The effect lasts up to 5 rounds or until the user stops holding the toy in at least one hand, or until the user tries to attack someone. When used by a person under the age of adulthood, opponents are not entitled to a Will save to resist the sanctuary effect. This item can be made of leather or any cloth, filled with beans, cotton, or straw, and crafted to resemble any sort of animal.

Moderate abjuration; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, sanctuary; Price 10,000 gp.

Here's where some of the other judge's comments make me think that you ran into the "too close to a modern thing" problem from the get go. It's clearly a teddy bear. I note that your item is a lot closer to SRD norm in that it has one line of flavor text. So that's a good point.

Two problematic points from design in my view. The first is that the owner of the toy has to "cast" upon themselves. The item has a bit of schizophrenia in other words. Children don't have class levels, so there's no explanation of how they would know to use it.

The second is that you have an item that does not allow saves under certain conditions. That's breaking the rules in a way that raises questions. Can you polymorph into a five year old? Does the toy then work for you? I can hear the evil cackling now.

James Hunnicutt wrote:
After reading the judges' comments following the posting of the top 32, I see a lot of flaws in my item, not the least of which is that it lacks a gripping name, it's essentially a spell-in-a-can, and it's probably overpriced. I spent a long time wrestling with how to price stuff. I know sanctuary is a level 1 spell, but I really wanted a high DC, so I essentially invented a "greater sanctuary" which was a 4th level spell that has a way higher DC and shorter duration... but maybe that's bad design mojo.

Agreed on the overpricing. Had you put it as a 1000 gp item or a 2000 gp item, I think it would have been more in line with what it does in practical effect.

I also think that you hit the problem mine did as well. The item solves a problem that player characters don't have. They aren't children, they typically don't have them around to have to protect (course the judges probably haven't been in my games where this does happen), and it doesn't provide a clear benefit to an adventurer.

In retrospect, I've got ideas for several new items that would probably have gotten me a shot at winning. Isn't hindsight wonderful.

Sorry to threadjack. Back to the Spirit Cup. One neat aspect of this item is that it can be the basis for a lot of backstory while still being incredibly neat. What if the PCs take it from a tribe of orcs? Now the rest of the tribe wants it back. The orcs become constant, low-grade enemies seeking out the PCs. Maybe some of them get more powerful over time, make Big Bad Allies, etc.

Sovereign Court Contributor

To continue the thread-jack, I don't think the word "communal" was the problem. I think the word "share" created the ambiguity. If the last sentence had read "Hunter-gather tribes often keep a communal spirit cup for the benefit of the tribe" it would have been clearer, at least to me.

This thread is awesome. I may post my item here later. I had trouble finding wording that made me happy. It'd be interesting to see how it could be tightened up.

Dark Archive

varianor wrote:
Thank you.

For the record, V, I knew you were up to something cool, but man, the Toy Golem... that's awesome. :)

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