Clark, Please Give Me Feedback on My Item


RPG Superstar™ 2010 General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Christine Brockley-Blatt wrote:
Spectacles of the Student

The main issue the judges had is that it changes too many of the restrictions that make a wizard a wizard—essentially, it gives the wizard the flexibility that is the main reason for the sorcerer's existence.


Azmahel wrote:

Ok, one last time:

Sphere of Seven Ghosts
** spoiler omitted **...

Thank you Azhamel. I apologize that I never noticed your response. Your points were very good and I will take them into consideration this year.

Ken

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Tetujin

I wonder, is it too late to make a request in this thread?

I've started to think that the reason I thought I was rejected last year might have been wrong.


I'm still here and might give you feedback,
but I don't know if Vic or any of the judges is still watching this thread

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I'm still watching. And, as part of having access to the judges' chambers, I can also look back at the stuff from prior years. What specifically did you need to know about your item submission, Casey?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Tetujin

Neil Spicer wrote:
I'm still watching. And, as part of having access to the judges' chambers, I can also look back at the stuff from prior years. What specifically did you need to know about your item submission, Casey?

Ah, thanks!

I was just looking at my ideas from last year and with last year's submission I assumed it was as simple as it was rejected because it was one of the items that altered the way die rolls were made (Which appears to be part of the "Encourages Metagaming" category). But now I've realized that a few of the other ability ideas I had for the item could be used instead if that was the only issue. Of course, I could imagine a number of other reasons it would be rejected like: The theme was too silly , The item was unheroic, the item's function was unclear or problematic to implement, or even just some yet to be discovered typo.

But if it was just the die roll altering mechanic that could be easily fixed. Thanks again.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Casey Smith wrote:
...I assumed it was as simple as it was rejected because it was one of the items that altered the way die rolls were made (Which appears to be part of the "Encourages Metagaming" category).

That was part of it. You had three different charged effects your item could do. And, although it didn't get cited for Swiss-Army-Knife, the judges agreed that the first two mechanics would be really annoying to adjudicate...i.e., you were making the GM's job harder. The third charged effect drew some interest, but not enough to keep it around. It was also cited as being pretty confusing (in how certain parts were worded) to useless (in that it gave an ability score bonus, but only to the lowest ability score of the wearer...which is usually a dump stat that no one cares about raising anyway). A single judge cited these issues. Another judge agreed. And someone pushed the Reject button.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Tetujin

Neil Spicer wrote:
A single judge cited these issues. Another judge agreed. And someone pushed the Reject button.

OK, I think that's enough of a sign that the item can't be easily fixed, so I will move to to a brand new item. I find it amusing that one of the abilities I thought earned me the auto reject was actually one of the better parts. And I guess since I'm almost certainly not using it this year I have no reservation in posting it (since Azmahel mentioned he might be interested):

MANTLE OF MODERATION
Aura moderate transmutation CL 11th
Slot chest Price 7,000 gp Weight -

DESCRIPTION
This gray garment, of decent but unremarkable quality, serves the wearer as much by its direct magical benefits as it does by the lesson it represents: the value of consistency.

The item has 5 charges which are renewed each day. One charge can be spent to give the wearer a +6 competence bonus to a single skill check or ability check but the check can have no more than a +0 overall resulting modifier. Two charges can be spent before making an attack roll or saving throw to roll three times and take the middle result. Three charges can be spent before damage is rolled either by an effect created by the wearer or an effect with affects the wearer to average the damage.

Additionally, the cloak provides a +2 enhancement bonus to the wearer's lowest ability score. This ability is always active and requires no activation. In case of a tie the wearer chooses which ability score to raise and cannot change this choice for another 24 hours.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, transformation, creator must be partially neutral; Cost 3,500 gp


Casey Smith wrote:


MANTLE OF MODERATION

Spoiler:

An item that helps you being more mediocre? well that's something new, but is it sexy? I'm kinda "meh!" on this one.

The first ability is kinda weird, mostly because more often than not it helps you do that are hard,rather then of medium difficulty, because Skill modifiers rarely get deep in the negatives, unless you rack on some negative modifiers, like Armor check penalty.
So if Bob the Cha dumping fighter (Cha 8) without ranks in Bluff wants to do an easy bluff, he'll most likely get a +1 bonus from the cloak.
But for Sly the rogue (overall Bluff +10) it will give him a +0 Bonus if he tells a far fetched lie ( overall +0), but a +6 bonus if the lie is impossible to believe (overall -4).
So the the mantle will actually encourage more extreme behavior instead of moderate ones. (it doesn't matter if my swim is -4 or -6, so strap that shield on while your swimming, the mantle takes care of it)

Why not help in succeeding at moderately difficult tasks, by setting the final result of the skill check instead of "moderating" the modifier. Say 15, because most "moderate" difficulties are at 15.

The roll 3 times - take average is new, but a variation of roll 2 times, take best/worst. I'm not the biggest fan of these mechanics, except for a few thematically appropriate cases. But it seems to have been quite popular in this(last) years contest. I don't see it causing DM headaches, because it's the player who does all the rolls.
I would probably simply have said, take 10 for that attack or saving throw(your slightly below average result) and be done with it. It's faster and more elegant, even if it may make the item too tactical ( As in always trying to calculate when a 10 will be good enough to succeed with low chance of success with rolling)
I didn't do the exact math on this, but i did a test run with a sample size of 5000, and rolling normally was slightly (about 5%) better than using the cloaks options. I understand that extreme results were much less likely, so thats the only benefit this option gives you: a lower chance of failing at a task that you have a low chance of failing at anyway.

The third option is quite interesting, but in my eyes way less valuable than the second option, because rolling to hit determines if you deal damage at all. Rolling damage is way less random, except for many damage dealing spells.

The ability bonus is a nice addition and even with this your not bordering on Sak territory, because you are still thematically focused.

Overall it is kinda a nice item, but being more mediocre, and not being able to do something new just isn't cool enough for me. It's definitely one of the better items in this thread, even if it has its issues. But missing the wow effect all issues kill an item.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Azmahel wrote:
Casey Smith wrote:


MANTLE OF MODERATION

** spoiler omitted **...

That was my initial reaction, too: "Really, this is Superstar and your item is an item to help people be more average?" It didn't really set the right tone for an advancing item.

An interesting idea. But not all interesting ideas are Superstar-worthy. This is an example of one.


Clark,

Does this mean you'll be reviewing more items from last year and giving thoughts? I'd still like to hear your thoughts on my item from last year, the "Pipe of Contemplation." If you are, I can repost the details.

Thanks!

Ken

Clark Peterson wrote:


That was my initial reaction, too


I'll just post it here, with high hopes. I realize now many of the mistakes I made, but I'd really value your input.

Pipe of Contemplation
Aura: moderate transmutation CL: 7th
Slot: none ; Price: 27,000 gp ; Weight: - ;
DESCRIPTION
This smoking pipe’s bowl is carved from the bone of a dragon to resemble the wizened face of an ancient sage. Its dark wood stem is encircled with finely burned runes. Filling and lighting a pipe takes a full round action, and any herb within will burn for ten minutes before being expended. Imbibing smoke from a Pipe of Contemplation as a full round action gives the character a temporary +2 to both intelligence and wisdom for the next three rounds. There are also rare combinations of herbs that, when imbibed using this pipe, grant other extraordinary powers (in addition to the attribute bonuses). Knowing the correct herbs to use requires a Knowledge, Nature (plants) check (DC varies). Finding the herbs in any region requires the same check. Only 1d4 uses of any such herb can be found in any one-mile radius location. These benefits are gained in only the three rounds immediately after a full round of imbibing the smoke of these precious herbs. There are eight known herbal effects:
Herbs of Perception: the character gains a +2 to all skill checks requiring perception (DC 14);
Herbs of Enhancement: the character’s caster level is increased by +1 (DC 16);
Herbs of Power: the DC for a saving throw check to overcome a caster’s spell is increased by +2 (DC 18);
Herbs of Iron Will: the character is impervious to mind-affecting spells and abilities (DC 22);
Herbs of Concentration: the character cannot lose concentration when casting a spell (DC 20);
Herbs of the Diviner: divination spells have twice the range and twice the duration (DC 24);
CONSTRUCTION
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, owl’s wisdom, fox’s cunning, command plants; Cost 13,500 gp

Thanks,
Ken

Kenneth.T.Cole wrote:

Clark,

Does this mean you'll be reviewing more items from last year and giving thoughts? I'd still like to hear your thoughts on my item from last year, the "Pipe of Contemplation." If you are, I can repost the details.

Thanks!

Ken

Clark Peterson wrote:


That was my initial reaction, too

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Bet you all looked :P

Don't know about the rest of you but I am soooo looking forward to this thread again.


Kenneth.T.Cole wrote:

I'll just post it here, with high hopes. I realize now many of the mistakes I made, but I'd really value your input.

Pipe of Contemplation
Aura: moderate transmutation CL: 7th
Slot: none ; Price: 27,000 gp ; Weight: - ;
DESCRIPTION
This smoking pipe’s bowl is carved from the bone of a dragon to resemble the wizened face of an ancient sage. Its dark wood stem is encircled with finely burned runes. Filling and lighting a pipe takes a full round action, and any herb within will burn for ten minutes before being expended. Imbibing smoke from a Pipe of Contemplation as a full round action gives the character a temporary +2 to both intelligence and wisdom for the next three rounds. There are also rare combinations of herbs that, when imbibed using this pipe, grant other extraordinary powers (in addition to the attribute bonuses). Knowing the correct herbs to use requires a Knowledge, Nature (plants) check (DC varies). Finding the herbs in any region requires the same check. Only 1d4 uses of any such herb can be found in any one-mile radius location. These benefits are gained in only the three rounds immediately after a full round of imbibing the smoke of these precious herbs. There are eight known herbal effects:
Herbs of Perception: the character gains a +2 to all skill checks requiring perception (DC 14);
Herbs of Enhancement: the character’s caster level is increased by +1 (DC 16);
Herbs of Power: the DC for a saving throw check to overcome a caster’s spell is increased by +2 (DC 18);
Herbs of Iron Will: the character is impervious to mind-affecting spells and abilities (DC 22);
Herbs of Concentration: the character cannot lose concentration when casting a spell (DC 20);
Herbs of the Diviner: divination spells have twice the range and twice the duration (DC 24);
CONSTRUCTION
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, owl’s wisdom, fox’s cunning, command plants; Cost 13,500 gp

Thanks,
Ken

(edited, tidied up)

You say that there are 'eight known herbal effects' but list only six...
You don't make it clear whether utilising the item to gain the effects of any of these six special herb combinations also grants the regular effects of smoking herbs in the item.
You don't directly state if it's possible to smoke more than one special herb combination in the same pipe at a time.
You don't make it clear if it's possible to smoke multiple pipes at the same time. (If they can't get away with it by putting different combinations all in the same pipe and trying to smoke that in one go, as per my previous point, there are players out there who will have their characters smoke half a dozen pipes simultaneously if they think they can get an extra advantage that way...)
You don't assign a type (inherent/enhancement/circumstance/morale/etc) to the Intelligence and Wisdom bonuses granted by normal use of the pipe. The type of a bonus has implications for if and how that bonus stacks.
You don't specify how long the special combinations of herbs can be kept for and still retain their qualities for use in the pipe. Assume a character makes a DC 14 check, the player or GM rolls a d4, and comes up with four doses of herbs of perception that the character finds when they only need 1 dose for a task immediately in hand: how long can the character keep the rest for for later use? Do they need to undertake any special preservation measures?
You don't indicate any limitations on finding special herb combinations. Rules lawyers will argue that this means that they can use a Knowledge (nature) check to find Herbs of xyz, irrespective of whether they're in a forest, in a desert, on a ship in the middle of an ocean, or in a busy street in The City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire.
Why is it apparently a Knowledge check not just to know a combination of herbs but to forage for them too? It would seem to me that spotting herbs would be an activity better suited to a Survival or Perception check?

My overall impression is that you tried to do too much, which is unfortunate as there certainly are pipe-smoking spellcasters around in fantasy; it seems to me that this could have been a clever play to that theme if you had reined yourself in and focused a little more. (Sticking to just one 'special herb combination' might have helped you there, as it would have set an example and left it to others to imagine/develop more stuff.)
Matthew Morris demonstrated careful development of what I would think of as another 'archetype' item with his Tankard of the Cheerful Duelist in the 2010 contest and advanced on the strength of that after all...

Better luck with future contests! :)

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