Hammer's Bane Torc


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

Hammer’s Bane Torc
Aura: Moderate Abjuration/ Evocation CL 7th
Slot: Throat Price: 73,750gp Weight: ½ lb

Forged by Dwarven battle mages during a secret schism between the Arcane Order and the Church, these black iron and smoky quartz torcs allowed the Wizards’ allies to turn the Clerics’ favored weapons against them.

When donned, the wearer’s body is surrounded by a field that absorbs impact, (providing DR 5/ Slashing or Piercing) as a continuous effect. The torc stores the damage absorbed with each blow to a maximum of 50 points. This pool of damage can, at any time, be unleashed as a blast of Force that strikes as a ranged touch attack dealing the amount of damage currently stored and emptying the reservoir.

When 50 points are absorbed, the crystals begin to glow and the entire torc vibrates with potential. The next blow the wearer is protected from triggers an overload, causing a violent explosion dealing 50 points of Force damage to all creatures and objects in a 20ft radius, (DC 15 Reflex save for half), including the wearer (no save.)

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, stoneskin, magic missile; Skill Craft (Jewelry); Cost: 37,000gp

The Exchange Kobold Press

I really sort of like this one, though I think the 50-point limit is too high for the money here (magic missile, after all, never does that much, so a smarter limit might have been 25 points).

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Again, could have cut that first sentence. And I agree that less damage--perhaps 20 or 25, no more than 30--would have been a better choice.

But I like them. They do something fun and cool and they have a neat negative effect.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Kept.

Contributor

I like ablative items, and items that overload. I'd prefer converting the damage to dice instead of 1-for-1 to points (say, 10 points = 1d6 for the burst), but there's a good idea here.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Congratulations on making RPG Superstar 2009!

I like the basic concept of the item. It is similar to the kinetic control psionic power from 2nd Edition Dark Sun in The Will and the Way, though not quite so brutally hardcore.

The DR is nice enough to be useful without being super-awesome. The limitation to DR vs. blunt weapons is also interesting, even though in PF dwarf clerics are equally as apt to use picks or axes as hammers (since they have racial proficiency in all 3). Still, it fits your theme and that's all to the good.

I'm not sure I agree with Sean, Wolf, and Clark that 50 points is too much. Sure, when you finally unleash it, it's better damage than magic missile, but is it necessarily that much better as a standard action* compared to what else a creature high enough level to have a 70+ thousand gp item would do? I don't think so.

* I'm assuming for the moment that releasing the energy is a standard action. If it's a freebie, that might change it a bit.

While the CL of the item is only 7th, realistically speaking, based on wealth by level PCs aren't going to be finding an item like this until the early teens. Come on, this item is the same price as a +1 holy keen flaming burst greatsword and it's most of the way to the cost of a +6 headband of mental prowess - it should be pretty frickin awesome.

I do have an issue with it, though, in that you state the blast of force can be released "at any time." What does that mean? Is it an immediate action? If it is, the feedback property is irrelevant because you can just blow it off whenever you get hit. Still, the wording leaves it open to that interpretation. You should specify what kind of action it takes to use in a situation like this, where it's somewhat ambiguous.

By the way, this item has an interesting and perhaps unintended use vs. incorporeal opponents; allies could attack the wearer with small-time attacks and build up the reservior, and the wearer could then use the force bolt vs. the ghosties.

This also brings up the side question - does it convert nonlethal bludgeoning damage into stored power, because that would be the obvious method. Heck, the wearer could punch himself in the face a half-dozen times in between combats just to go into battle powered up and ready to shoot.

Spoiler:
Years ago I gave out a magic item somewhat similar to this, and the PC would routinely keep it charged up about 2/3 of the way in between combats.

Summary: I like it. It's a game effect that is fun and useful without being crazily overpowered. I would heed Clark's advice in another thread to always think when creating an item to think not just about how you would use it, but how any PC could use it, and for that matter how a total evil jerk of a villain might use it, because those might be different things. I think the torc is a little more complicated than you've addressed in the description, but this is a good item.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar aka Leandra Christine Schneider

Finally something that can blow up with a big explosion!

Seriously, the loading property of this item has potential and it is clearly stated when it overloads. The price might be slightly too high (this is negligible) but the lack of stating the action required to discharge the device stumped me.

The nonlethal damage exploit Jason mentioned is a bad thing and hopefully unintended. It would’ve been better to write that out though :-S

Positive:
The base mechanic is good and considering that the price is already at a certain height, choosing 50 points of damage is fine.
The flavour also fits (but it may be slightly overdone).

Negative:
Not mentioning the action type and allowing for exploits leaves a good concept marred with lacking mechanics.

After reading all entries:
This is a close one. I’d like to see what you can do in the next round, but the mechanics in many other items were tighter. Good luck in the RPG Superstar 09!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Dude ... it turns hammer-blows to the face into force-lasers.

Of-freaking-COURSE I love it!

This is also one of those items that clever DMs are going to design a way around: a PC gets a big DR/bashing (for example), and suddenly all of the enemies are carrying clubs, mauls, flails and hammers. Slap on this torc, and watch the sword-wielding vampires come out to play.

Honestly, I hope that the "I punch myself in the face to charge my super-blast!" work-around was intentional - it's hardly less goofy than the obvious "I command all of my minions to whack me repeatedly with their quarterstaves, and then I fire a beam of pure force into the dragon!" system.

This is a cool item, and explosions are neat. Okay, YES, there are some design issues (already well-covered by the Judges) ... but at the end of the day, it's a throat-bracelet that will explode and kill everything in a twenty-foot radius if you get hit with 11 individual bricks, each dealing 5 or more points of damage (before DR).

And it was made by dwarven wizards to help them in a secret war against dwarven clerics.

THAT'S fun.

Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing more as Superstar! continues!

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Minus for backstory right out the door. Plus for dwarven item right off the bat. There's been a dearth of those this year, and I like dwarves. It's certainly an interesting idea, but I wonder about it's overall usefulness. It only works with bludgeoning weapons - great for dwarf-on-dwarf battles, but you get out into the wider world of adventuring, and you've got a whole lots of bites, claws, swords, and axes. Making absorbing power to release later a relatively uncommon proposition, unless you can punch yourself in the face to power it up, and to be honest, I don't like that work-around. That's basically handing your PCs a free 50-point force bolt whenever they like. Beyond that, the mechanics are (mostly) sound, though I, too, would like to see a lower limit than 50, and like Sean, turn the damage taken into dice for the force attack. But you do cap it with a no save overload, so that's something.

Boomer sums up the coolness factor nicely ("hammer-blows to the face into force-lasers!"), and you get full marks for originality too. But really, how useful is it going to be at that price? I'd only spend the money on this if my campaign world somehow developed into a world where bludgeoning weapons far outnumbered edged ones. Which might be true for the real medieval world, but not for most D&D worlds, I'd argue.

Congratulations on joining the ranks of RPG Superstar!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

Thank you guys it's an honor. The comments/improvements have definitely not fallen on deaf ears.

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

Not too many torcs in the world, and this is a welcome addition!

[nitpick]I don't think force is supposed to capitalized[/nitpick]

This is one of my favorite items.

Congratulations!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

Dwarf item = good, torc = good, 50 points = a bit high ... but I do like the flavor and feel of this, expecially the oops it overloaded, you probably die feature :)

Dark Archive

I love this item. Since it only provides DR 5, and easily overcome DR at that, there's no risk of it absorbing too much from a single 50 pt. fall or something (although that could be funny. "Ha ha! I survived the 200 ft. fall!" BLAM! "Owie.").

The conversion of damage into force blasts is just awesome. It's less like a D&D magic item and more like a super-power! A Dwarven super-power, of all things!

Very cool.

Turning, say, every 5 pts. into a d6 blast might be better for a Force effect that has no saving throw to mitigate or avoid damage.


Congratz Vulcan! I like the item and I'll be cheering you on!


As a Torc needs to be flexible to put on, how does the wearer do this? If you researched these items you would have found that they are generally made of softer, more malleable metals, such as: Copper or Gold. This does not work, unless the crystal is a component of the item, in which case it would fall out anyway.


I like this item a lot. One thing I would like, however, would be for the absorbed damage to fade after a certain amount of time so that it couldn't be kept in reserve and had to be unleashed or lost.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Clandestine

While the flavor text at the beginning might seem too unflexible (hinting at a conflict that might not be suitable for the tone of every campaign), the rest of the item is pure awesomeness. The opportunity to unleash a vengeance on the very people that hurt you - using their own damage - is something that would make every player smile ear to ear.

I like this item from start to finish. I'd love to see what you do next!

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

I like that this is something of a dodgey item to wear - it could backfire on you in a tough fight. I'd probably tweak the design to get it into play at lower levels, since at the cost I don't think many would risk an item that could get get destroyed in a fight with bruisers.

Nitpick: the misuse of capital letters was very jarring to read. Obviously it didn't hamstring you in the opening round (and congratulations, by the way), but it could come back to haunt you. If you're unsure what gets caps, check the PF RPG. It will rarely steer you wrong.


I'm not clear on what happens if the torc is currently loaded up with 46, 47, 48, or 49 points of damage*, and a bludgeoning attack hits that has the potential to push it past 50? Is the damage reduction effective for the full 5 as normal, and does 'extra damage charge' get stored, dissipate, or cause an instant overload?
For that matter, if the torc is at '50 points stored', and another blow comes in, does the torc provide the damage reduction against that 'overload' blow (small consolation for the wearer, given the no save force he or she is about to take, but still it might make a difference in a small number of cases to whether they end up conscious or not).

Edit:
Hmmm. Congratulations on getting into the next round, however.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

Now that I can comment I can definitely say that, I did omit the fact that activating the blast is supposed to be a standard action (a mistake I'll be sure not to make next round).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

Jason Nelson wrote:


By the way, this item has an interesting and perhaps unintended use vs. incorporeal opponents; allies could attack the wearer with small-time attacks and build up the reservior, and the wearer could then...

That was actually one of the ideas that led to it. I envisioned a party facing undead and the fighter having a nasty little suprise for spectres after they've dropped the cleric considering him their main threat.


Congratulations Dude!!!!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Isn't it supposed to be "Neck" slot, or am I on too much cold medication?

I don't like the backstory part.

The concept is decent, a bit more "sci-fi" than most of the steam-powered flavored spellpunk items thus far, which I suppose serves to stand out from the crowd a bit.

I don't think D&D needs more book keeping however, and the decision to have to keep track of the damage absorbed probably wasn't a good one.

The writing is good, though.


How do you put the bloody thing on? Iron does not bend easily enough, it either takes a great deal of force (if mild enough) or simply snaps, which is why swords are such buggers to make

Star Voter Season 6

Why craft jewelry as a prereq? I don't see any other wonderous items requiring craft jewelry.


Pretty cool. Congrats. Is the item destroyed if it gets overloaded?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

This is a pretty cool item, although I think the potential for serious abuse exists. I know that the group I DM for would play 'whack-the-torc-wearer" between battles to build up 30-40 points of charge which could be let off on round 1 of every battle. Other than that, I think this is a nice item. I like how there's the possibility that during a long fight you might have to waste actions bleeding off the excess power from this thing or suffer the risk of 'sploding yourself.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I kind of like the notion of granting temporary DR and the absorbed blows go somewhere else, but they can eventually overload and create a huge backlash. But something about how this one is written up, well...it took me a few reads to "get" it. Now that I've "got" it, I understand it and it's a cool item. So welcome to the Top 32 and good luck in future rounds.

My two-cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

Finally, a reason for a high-level character to panic when a contingent of sling-wielding kobolds enters the room!

Plus, it lets you turn facepalms into force blasts. How cool is that?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka NChance

I like this item as well, and I'm annoyed at myself for not getting around to commenting on it sooner. Formatting aside, I thought the price was a bit high (we calculated a shirt that gave DR 8/lawful at 40k for a cleric in our one game), but then I realized that the extra cost was converting that back into attack power. While 50 point does seem high, it also has the potential to backfire for the wearer and those around him. I would have let the wearer fire off controlled blasts instead of the whole reservoir, but that's the only minor quibble I have as the non-lethal question has already been posed. Nice job.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka eotbeholder

I agree that something needs to be done about the potential for friendly flagellation. Not letting nonlethal damage power up the retributive blast would be a good start, but other than that... I dunno, maybe the damage reduction is higher but it only works half the time? Except that would mean an extra die roll every time someone hits you. Hm... yeah I have no idea what I'd do differently. But congrats on making it in and can't wait to see your villain.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

James Waterfield wrote:
How do you put the bloody thing on? Iron does not bend easily enough, it either takes a great deal of force (if mild enough) or simply snaps, which is why swords are such buggers to make

My logic was that being a magic item it's fit customizes around the wearer's neck when it is put on.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

eotbeholder wrote:
I agree that something needs to be done about the potential for friendly flagellation. Not letting nonlethal damage power up the retributive blast would be a good start, but other than that... I dunno, maybe the damage reduction is higher but it only works half the time? Except that would mean an extra die roll every time someone hits you. Hm... yeah I have no idea what I'd do differently. But congrats on making it in and can't wait to see your villain.

I think I'd definitely limit it to lethal damage, so while your monk friend could slap you around to charge it up, it wouldn't be too easy to abuse.

New reason for a character to take improved unarmed strike though.


I'd make the attack do only half the damage stored. It's still a little bit broken, seeing that it can be "charged" by one's allies so that the first action of the wearer would be to unleash a powerful blow to an enemy at range.

I'd add that after releasing the stored energy it becomes dormant for 1 hr per 10 points of stored damage. This would lower its cost.

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

Range of the attack should be defined, as well as number of times per day. Could you take the Leadership feat and have a few weak halflings pelting you with skiprocks? Cause then you could unleash force damage every round as written and the overload never matters.

This is the second item that seems better when a villain gives it to a minion. I can't remember the price, but I'd put a couple of these bad boys on skeletons (who already have DR 5/piercing and slashing) and let them wade into units. Ultimately, one of the guys in the second rank of skeletons explodes, which wins the war against the good guys, as well as pleasing Boomer aesthetically.

I do like things that give small DR, and things that absorb damage to deal some out later. It just needs more design work to control those variables.

This is a solid item and I'm happy you advanced. Good luck next round.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

Steven T. Helt wrote:

Range of the attack should be defined, as well as number of times per day. Could you take the Leadership feat and have a few weak halflings pelting you with skiprocks? Cause then you could unleash force damage every round as written and the overload never matters.

This is the second item that seems better when a villain gives it to a minion. I can't remember the price, but I'd put a couple of these bad boys on skeletons (who already have DR 5/piercing and slashing) and let them wade into units. Ultimately, one of the guys in the second rank of skeletons explodes, which wins the war against the good guys, as well as pleasing Boomer aesthetically.

I do like things that give small DR, and things that absorb damage to deal some out later. It just needs more design work to control those variables.

This is a solid item and I'm happy you advanced. Good luck next round.

Thanks for both the congratulations and the advice, both are greatly appreciated. I retrospect I'd probably specify a 30ft range for the force attack but as a standard action emptying the resevior I don't think I'd limit the number of times per day.

The skeleton bombs would be pretty ruthless, I like!

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

This is a pretty nifty item. While I don't really like the backstory (or the fact that it has backstory) a defensive item made by dwarves is cool. As long as the non-lethal loophole is closed, I don't have a problem with allies pre-charging it. If you want to start a combat with say, 40 points in it, you have to be pretty careful that you don't lose initiative against 2 attacks that do bludgeoning damage. Also, pre-charging it is likely to do some hp damage to the wearer, unless you have a weak guy that can't do more than 5 damage with their hit.

I like the unlimited use but danger of overload as a way to limit the item. It reminds me of the amulet of coal from the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play game, which was a lot of fun. It was even more fun when it overloaded the party wizard.

The price does seem pretty high, and it's an odd amount. Once you hit 10K, prices should be rounded to the nearest thousand (that's my rule of thumb at least.)

Good luck with your villain!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

JoelF847 wrote:

This is a pretty nifty item. While I don't really like the backstory (or the fact that it has backstory) a defensive item made by dwarves is cool. As long as the non-lethal loophole is closed, I don't have a problem with allies pre-charging it. If you want to start a combat with say, 40 points in it, you have to be pretty careful that you don't lose initiative against 2 attacks that do bludgeoning damage. Also, pre-charging it is likely to do some hp damage to the wearer, unless you have a weak guy that can't do more than 5 damage with their hit.

I like the unlimited use but danger of overload as a way to limit the item. It reminds me of the amulet of coal from the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play game, which was a lot of fun. It was even more fun when it overloaded the party wizard.

The price does seem pretty high, and it's an odd amount. Once you hit 10K, prices should be rounded to the nearest thousand (that's my rule of thumb at least.)

Good luck with your villain!

The material component for stoneskin is what makes it oddly priced.


Not a fan of the backstory, but I like the charging part. Very useful.

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