Question for you superstars out there


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion


I have a problem. I came up with a cool item I am really in love with. Then taking some advice from you guys i went back and read last year's entries and realized that an item similar to mine made it to the top 32 last year. Now my item is similar in theme and presentation but offers very different abilities and game mechanics. I'm torn because I love my idea, but i don't want to get disqualified for copying. I was wondering should I reference the other item "this item is similar to blank however offers different abilities", should I not mention it at all or should I scrap it even though I love my idea? What do you gusy think?


If you think it is so similar that it requires a disclaimer, you shouldn't use it.

Contributor

Is your item different enough that it won't look like a knockoff or variant of the other item? Then go for it. Otherwise, I'd come up with a new item.

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

And this might feel like spinning your wheels, but try to avoid an item type that is going to get hammered by a hundred other entries. Makes it harder to stand out, and aside from just competing as a superstar item by itself, the judges are likely to only take a handful of one item type to allow other types in, so you end up competing for one of three or four entries instead of 32, becasue there are so many items like yours that they are oly gonna choose a couple.

Past examples, I believe, include, augury items, chalk items, camping items, etc.


Guess it's back to the drawing board. I really loved that item idea though.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Good luck with predicting what sort of item will be popular this year.

My fear, once I make an item, is that my subconscious is recycling an idea I've seen somewhere else but just don't remember. ^_^

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

do you have a local group you game with?

Make two or three items then, and let them edit you. You can't ask the boards for feedback, but you can ask friends. (You do have friends, right? ;-))

As to your other question, if you do use an item that's similar to an existing one, then don't reference the other item. I say this for two reasons.

1) You have 300 words, choose wisely.

2) If it is too close to an existing item, then others will point it out. (Heck, look at the Tankard of the Cheerful Duelist and compare it to the Tankard of the Drunken Hero; completely different power sets, but people thought it was a knock off.) No need giving them ammunition.

3) Of course you're not making another tankard...


Steven T. Helt wrote:
And this might feel like spinning your wheels, but try to avoid an item type that is going to get hammered by a hundred other entries.

Damn. There goes my magical nail-that-can-be-hammered-by-a-hundred-things item.

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

Wicht wrote:

Good luck with predicting what sort of item will be popular this year.

My fear, once I make an item, is that my subconscious is recycling an idea I've seen somewhere else but just don't remember. ^_^

I'm predicting Alchemical items myself.

As long as no one makes DexStarr's Alchemical Lab...

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka KissMeDarkly

Jay,

DO NOT REFERENCE SOMEONE ELSE'S WONDROUS ITEM. EVER. Paizo wants originality. Reminding others of a similar item will just make them ask: Was this original?

You may want to check out the thread for Matt Goodall's SPELLSTRIKE VAMBRACES. My Spell-Catch Guantlets (2009) & Matt's Spellstrike Vambraces (2010) are two examples of a similar theme. Each item got us into the Top 32. You'll notice the thread for Matt's has multiple posts that refer to mine. In other words: Other people will point out how much alike the items are. You don't have to. Don't waste the word count.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Matthew Morris wrote:
Wicht wrote:
Good luck with predicting what sort of item will be popular this year.
I'm predicting Alchemical items myself.

My guess too. Possibly something that uses the Oracle curses or base class archetypes. If anything, sticking to the core book will probably make your item stand out.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Jay wrote:
...should I reference the other item "this item is similar to blank however offers different abilities", should I not mention it at all...

You shouldn't reference *anything*. We're asking for a Wondrous Item. If your submission includes any text that is not part of a Wondrous Item, you will probably be disqualified in short order. A winning item needs no disclaimers, no footnotes, no explanations, no mathematical calculations—nothing that's not 100% Wondrous.

Owner - Emerald Knights Comics and Games

Thanks guys, this is tough work but i guess thats why it's called RPG SUPERSTar and not RPG kinda interesting star.

Contributor

Emerald Knights Comics and Games wrote:
Thanks guys, this is tough work but i guess thats why it's called RPG SUPERSTar and not RPG kinda interesting star.

Ha! :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Gerald Andrews wrote:

Jay,

DO NOT REFERENCE SOMEONE ELSE'S WONDROUS ITEM. EVER. Paizo wants originality. Reminding others of a similar item will just make them ask: Was this original?

I wouldn't recommend submitting something is too close to an existing item. I felt that my item having a similar theme to Gerald's did not help me in later rounds where the voters were making the decisions.

Also check out this thread, if you haven't already.

Item is a variant of an existing item.

My advice, submit your best item. If two are equally good, submit the one that has more originality.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

I had the same problem last year before the contest. I had what felt like the perfect item, but upon closer inspection it had a very similar effect to an entry from the '08 superstar. It was a pure case of parallel development, no plagiarism intended, and the way the items actually worked was vastly different, but in the end I balked just out of paranoia and submitted another, completely different, item.

Given the advantage of hindsight, I really think I was overly critical of the similarities between the items; I posted my reject in one of the other boards (along with the reasons for not using it) and got good feedback, which included people saying that they didn't think it bore too overwhelming a similarity to the original item. In retrospect, I agree; in a lot of ways I feel it was a stronger item than my substitute entry that got me into the contest. Of course, I have no way of knowing what would have happened otherwise, and I certainly can't complain about my substitute entry, but I'm still second guessing myself a year later.

My point is- having an item that you really, really feel strongly about, that actually excites you, is, IMO, one of the most important qualities your wondrous item can have. The flipside of being excited about it, though, is that you also can get a lot more paranoid and critical than you would of any other item. It's good that you have that, and that you're looking to spot potential pitfalls beforehand, but bear in mind we're our own worst critics and you might be seeing more of an overlap than was there. Or maybe not; but you do have over a month still to mull this over. If you find yourself coming up with an even more exciting concept, then go for it, but otherwise, don't dismiss your first favorite idea out of nerves.

On the other point, I'll chime in with everyone else that no, you definitely shouldn't use a disclaimer or anything similar. You have precious little word count, to begin with, and I believe it's been said by the judges in the past - items that require explanation aren't superstar. Let it stand or fall on its own merits.

Liberty's Edge

This may be a stupid question but noticing things has peeked my curiousity...with the entry into this competition do I need to create a new post avatar with my actual name?

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

Azoun The Sage wrote:
This may be a stupid question but noticing things has peeked my curiousity...with the entry into this competition do I need to create a new post avatar with my actual name?

IIRC, Ross & co will 'change' your nickname to show your real name and then AKA 'nickname' which is how it will show in only the RPG superstar forums.

Clearly, that was never an issue with me. :-)

Liberty's Edge

Sweet thanks for the answer, it was names like your that threw me off to ask the question. Didn't want to get disqualified for not submitting it with an avatar with my real name. Would suck to get rejected based on that. lol

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

As the rules state, your Paizo account will provide everything we need to track your submission.
People who make the Top 32 will have their real names appear in the Superstar forums. (Which, you'll notice includes contestants from previous years.)

If your avatar name is not the same as your real name, you get the 'aka' notice so people who know you by your board name can still identify you.

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

Ross Byers wrote:
If your avatar name is not the same as your real name, you get the 'aka' notice so people who know you by your board name can still identify you.

Out of curiosity, is there any way for one to get the 'aka' notice when posting outside the Superstar forums?

That would be swanky.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Jay,

My best advice to you, which I will note is worth EXACTLY what you paid for it, is to get the flavor and the rules and the coolness and the WONDROUS-NESS exactly where you want them and then tweak ever so slightly during the rounds upon rounds of editing in your future.

Por Ejemplo: you've got a super-cool item that is ever-so-slightly similar to a previous winning entry ... like, I don't know, greaves of the awesome monkey or something. Well, that will never do - even if YOUR item gives bonuses to dodging and throwing improvised weapons instead of Balance and Climb. So, change the part that's too similar, and then re-approach it.

Do they have to be greaves? Maybe they can be bracers. Or gauntlets. Or a hat. Or a crown! Or something slot-less, like ioun stones but way cooler because it's a floating halo or something.

OR: does it have to be monkeys? Other creatures jump around and throw stuff. Maybe another OGL monster is more appropriate! Something else with ranged attacks and high dexterity.

Now that they're called slot-less bracer-gauntlets of the awesome drow-sniper riding a trained basilisk, take another look at your rules.

ALSO NOTE: the name of your item will be MUCH better!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

Eric Morton wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
If your avatar name is not the same as your real name, you get the 'aka' notice so people who know you by your board name can still identify you.

Out of curiosity, is there any way for one to get the 'aka' notice when posting outside the Superstar forums?

That would be swanky.

Become a Venture-Captain? Then you'll get it in PFS forums too.

In seriousness, not really. We use that for the specific purpose of avoiding confusion in the contexts were we force people to use their real names. If it were to apply to the whole board, we'd just use the real name, because there would be no source of confusion.


Billzabub wrote:
Steven T. Helt wrote:
And this might feel like spinning your wheels, but try to avoid an item type that is going to get hammered by a hundred other entries.
Damn. There goes my magical nail-that-can-be-hammered-by-a-hundred-things item.

Jay I would say post away! Gaming groups aren't always reliable for editing purposes, and good friends aren't alway the best people to ask. What do you have to lose?

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Matthew Morris wrote:

do you have a local group you game with?

Make two or three items then, and let them edit you. You can't ask the boards for feedback, but you can ask friends. (You do have friends, right? ;-))

As to your other question, if you do use an item that's similar to an existing one, then don't reference the other item. I say this for two reasons.

1) You have 300 words, choose wisely.

2) If it is too close to an existing item, then others will point it out. (Heck, look at the Tankard of the Cheerful Duelist and compare it to the Tankard of the Drunken Hero; completely different power sets, but people thought it was a knock off.) No need giving them ammunition.

3) Of course you're not making another tankard...

Remember that a picture paints a thousand words. Think about it... ;)


On the original topic: it would be nice to rule out anything that another artist has done already too, such as items from fantasy novels or fantasy movies. I'll grant you, that's neigh to impossible, but at least try (if you borrow the effect, change the vehicle, or vice versa). I don't want to lose to an item R. A. Salvatore invented.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Matthew Morris wrote:


Clearly, that was never an issue with me. :-)

Riiiight. Of course, we're assuming Matthew Morris is your real name. ;-)

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

Tom Phillips wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:


Clearly, that was never an issue with me. :-)

Riiiight. Of course, we're assuming Matthew Morris is your real name. ;-)

Funny Story

Spoiler:
There was a Matthew Morris in the Mickey Mouse Club (same generation as Ricky Martin, IIRC). I used to get e-mail all the time asking if I was him. (He's actually a musician and drummer, I think he holds matthewmorris.com domain name.)

I kept politely replying 'no', until I got sick of it and started repling "That was before all the drugs and gay-sex, I don't like to talk about those days." Funnier in afterthought given Ricky Martin.

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

Greyhorn wrote:
On the original topic: it would be nice to rule out anything that another artist has done already too, such as items from fantasy novels or fantasy movies. I'll grant you, that's neigh to impossible, but at least try (if you borrow the effect, change the vehicle, or vice versa). I don't want to lose to an item R. A. Salvatore invented.

disagree. "Nothing is new under the sun." My bracelet and the Binding chalk were inspired by Harry Dresden, my tankard was inspired by the Marx brothers; Leaves of the Autumn Dryad owes some its inspiration to Narnia. They all were strong enough to stand on their own. Where do you draw the line. If something is a direct enough 'port' of an item, then it runs into the IP issues, and should not survive natural selection.

BTW, if you 'recognize' an item's origins, be polite in commenting. I've no qualms about admitting that I borrowed the idea from Harry, but I got my dander (rightfully) up when accused of stealing the item from whole cloth. There was a 2008 monster entry that I didn't vote for because I saw too much of the inspiration in it, but I made a point of not accusing him of plagerizing it.

(Amusingly, going back and re-reading, I'm sorely tempted to incorporate them in a RotRL or Irresen campaign.)


Quote:
BTW, if you 'recognize' an item's origins, be polite in commenting.

Course -- I would never call anybody out. There's a good chance they may have come up with it independently, and highly possible the published author borrowed it from somebody else anyway. As the competition goes on, similarity will matter less and less because the projects require more and more of a broader range of creativity.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Matthew Morris wrote:
Greyhorn wrote:
On the original topic: it would be nice to rule out anything that another artist has done already too, such as items from fantasy novels or fantasy movies. I'll grant you, that's neigh to impossible, but at least try (if you borrow the effect, change the vehicle, or vice versa). I don't want to lose to an item R. A. Salvatore invented.

disagree. "Nothing is new under the sun." My bracelet and the Binding chalk were inspired by Harry Dresden, my tankard was inspired by the Marx brothers; Leaves of the Autumn Dryad owes some its inspiration to Narnia. They all were strong enough to stand on their own. Where do you draw the line. If something is a direct enough 'port' of an item, then it runs into the IP issues, and should not survive natural selection.

BTW, if you 'recognize' an item's origins, be polite in commenting. I've no qualms about admitting that I borrowed the idea from Harry, but I got my dander (rightfully) up when accused of stealing the item from whole cloth. There was a 2008 monster entry that I didn't vote for because I saw too much of the inspiration in it, but I made a point of not accusing him of plagerizing it.

(Amusingly, going back and re-reading, I'm sorely tempted to incorporate them in a RotRL or Irresen campaign.)

I agree with you on this thought.

I think there are a lot of people who immediately assume plagiarism, who don't really understand what plagiarism is actually.

Plagiarism is not using an idea as inspiration.

Plagiarism is using another person's IP directly without reference.


It's hard to say. In a contest for ideas, it goes farther than IP. I wrote an analytical essay on Porphyria's Lover and used J.T. Best's interpretation that Porphyria was sick and it was a mercy killing. I copied nothing word for word. My English professor called it plagiarism because the idea was not my own. True. Would I have come up with that if I didn't read Best's article? Probably not. Once I did, it was hard to get out of my head, though. I should have given him credit. In this contest, I think it's good advice for anybody who is inspired by something they've seen elsewhere, to change it enough to be difficult to pinpoint, which takes a lot of creativity too. Mine was definitely inspired, but then morphed into something quite different. As with any contest, it's emotional. We all want to win. I'll shut up now.

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

Greyhorn wrote:
It's hard to say. In a contest for ideas, it goes farther than IP. I wrote an analytical essay on Porphyria's Lover and used J.T. Best's interpretation that Porphyria was sick and it was a mercy killing. I copied nothing word for word. My English professor called it plagiarism because the idea was not my own. True. Would I have come up with that if I didn't read Best's article? Probably not. Once I did, it was hard to get out of my head, though. I should have given him credit. In this contest, I think it's good advice for anybody who is inspired by something they've seen elsewhere, to change it enough to be difficult to pinpoint, which takes a lot of creativity too. Mine was definitely inspired, but then morphed into something quite different. As with any contest, it's emotional. We all want to win. I'll shut up now.

Your English Teacher was wrong. :-)

I did an essay on WW II armor, I cited heavily one work while using others. The primary work I cited agreed with the others except on the T-38. I noted that the author of the primary work was Polish and might have a bias against Russian tanks. I did agree with him that the German tanks were the best overall. That doesn't mean that I plagurized his theroy that German tanks were best over all. It means that I looked at the data and came to the same conclusion.

Your approaching Porphyria's Lover from the same direction as JT Best doesn't mean you were plagurizing his work, any more than Matt Goodal plagurized Jason Schimmel's Chaitrakhan (Or Jesse Benner plagurized my Lahamu stats)

and by all means, get emotional. Just stay polite.

Shadow Lodge

Matthew Morris wrote:
Greyhorn wrote:
It's hard to say. In a contest for ideas, it goes farther than IP. I wrote an analytical essay on Porphyria's Lover and used J.T. Best's interpretation that Porphyria was sick and it was a mercy killing. I copied nothing word for word. My English professor called it plagiarism because the idea was not my own. True. Would I have come up with that if I didn't read Best's article? Probably not. Once I did, it was hard to get out of my head, though. I should have given him credit. In this contest, I think it's good advice for anybody who is inspired by something they've seen elsewhere, to change it enough to be difficult to pinpoint, which takes a lot of creativity too. Mine was definitely inspired, but then morphed into something quite different. As with any contest, it's emotional. We all want to win. I'll shut up now.

Your English Teacher was wrong. :-)

I did an essay on WW II armor, I cited heavily one work while using others. The primary work I cited agreed with the others except on the T-38. I noted that the author of the primary work was Polish and might have a bias against Russian tanks. I did agree with him that the German tanks were the best overall. That doesn't mean that I plagurized his theroy that German tanks were best over all. It means that I looked at the data and came to the same conclusion.

Your approaching Porphyria's Lover from the same direction as JT Best doesn't mean you were plagiarizing his work, any more than Matt Goodal plagurized Jason Schimmel's Chaitrakhan (Or Jesse Benner plagurized my Lahamu stats)

and by all means, get emotional. Just stay polite.

There are no more original ideas. Just original re-imaginings. Plagiarizing is not difficult to avoid, but coming close to an item already in existence is going to happen. It's all in the manner that you handle the information. For instance, if I created the "Bag of Holding a Bunch of Stuff" and it does just what a bag of holding does, then that's not Super Star material and comes close to plagiarizing. However, if I created the "Bag of the Walk In-Closet" and my bag could be stepped into a extra-dimensional pocket that is a large walk-in closet with multiple storage areas, that's unique. It does almost the same thing as a bag of holding, but puts a different spin on it. I feel (IMHO) that's what makes a Super Star. You'll be hard pressed to come up with an idea that is "not" inspired by something. That's how we create. "Hey! I keep cutting my finger when I cut vegetables with a knife. What if that knife was in a bottle and I just had to slap a handle!".

Basically, what I'm saying, is don't stress that there might be an item out there already close to what you created. You can't possibly know every item from every article in existence. Just don't copy the material verbatim from another source.


Lachlan Rocksoul wrote:
There are no more original ideas. Just original re-imaginings.

Yes! Spot on agree. All I'm suggesting is that if there already exists (that you know about -- can't sweat what ya don't know) an awesome "x" that has this totally cool effect of "y", keep one and toss the other, or combine two different items to make something unique, etc. Make an "xz" or a "zy," but making an "xy" and changing the font is too close for comfort. Like your suggestion of changing what the bag does, or, to keep the plain old "holding" intact, make it, I dunno... an orthopedic shoe of holding? (for character's who have one leg much shorter than the other).

*********************************************************************

GUARD: "Take all their equipment!"

HALFLING ROGUE (using the voice of an 18th century Irish urchin): "Oh, no! Please good Sirs, not me shoe! I neeeeds me shoe to walk, see!" (hobbles around the room, bumping into stuff, picking a few pockets in the process)

GUARD (raises an eyebrow)

DM (rolls bluff vs. sense motive)

GUARD: "Yeah, I guess ye can keep it."

Wait, I think this now violates the home-brewed campaign item rule...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Matthew Morris wrote:
Tom Phillips wrote:
Of course, we're assuming Matthew Morris is your real name. ;-)

Funny Story

** spoiler omitted **

The musician you're talking about is at mattmorris.net. I've seen him perform, and he's a fun solo act, though parts of his first album are overproduced to the point that you wouldn't guess that.

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

Vic Wertz wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Tom Phillips wrote:
Of course, we're assuming Matthew Morris is your real name. ;-)

Funny Story

** spoiler omitted **
The musician you're talking about is at mattmorris.net. I've seen him perform, and he's a fun solo act, though parts of his first album are overproduced to the point that you wouldn't guess that.

Glad to see he's still going.

Annoying story.

I've been getting junkmail at work, finally went to unsubscribe and saw the profile that had been set up. Another M Morris, Michael Morris, signed up and used my work address not his.

Michael's job? He's in our IT department.

I fear for my work computer.

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