Judges, Please Critique My Item

RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7 aka Draconas

Band of the Slithering Swarm
Aura moderate abjuration, conjuration, and transmutation; CL 11th
Slot wrist; Price 70,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This bracelet is carved from a single piece of jade and resembles a curling serpent swallowing its own tail. When worn, the eyes of the bracelet shimmer with an internal glow. The bracelet has two charges per day with each ability requiring one charge to be expended and causes one of its eyes to go dark. Only one effect can be active at a time.

As a swift action, the bracelet can summon forth a living dome of tiny venomous snakes to completely encompass the wearer. The vipers slither upon one another in a semi-solid wall, sharing the same space as the wearer and providing her with concealment (20% miss chance). Area of effect attacks function normally against the wearer with the dome regenerating immediately from damage. Any adjacent creature that makes a melee attack against the wearer is swarmed by the snakes (2d6 swarm damage plus poison). The venom of the snakes’ bites is similar in potency to the spell poison (DC 16). Once summoned, the snakes’ exist for 10 rounds or until the wearer moves from that space.

As a standard action, the wearer can command the bracelet to cover her body in snakes as protective armor. The serpents crawl along the wearer’s skin, merging with flesh to form a flexible, scaly layer of protection and giving her the appearance of a humanoid swarm of snakes. This extra armor grants the wearer a +4 enhancement to her natural armor bonus, a +2 resistance bonus to all saving throws against poison, and a +5 competence bonus to Intimidate checks for 5 minutes.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, barkskin, poison, resistance, summon swarm, swarm skin; Cost 35,000 gp

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

Okay I am definitely coming to this party late, but here is my item. Any and all comments and criticisms welcome.

I do have one specific question; Do people think this item would have been better if the charms were not weapons and instead adventuring gear like a lit torch, rope, etc.?

Weaponcharm Bracelet
Aura Faint Transmutation; CL 5th
Slot Wrist; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 0.25 lbs.
From this bracelet of ornate steel chain hang five charms, each a finely crafted weapon wrought in miniature. As a swift action the wearer may activate a charm and cause it to transform into a masterwork weapon of the appropriate size and magically appear in his hand. A charm may only be activated if the wearer's hand is empty or holds another of the weaponcharm bracelet's weapons, in which case the currently held weapon is returned to the bracelet as a charm. The weaponcharm weapons may also be returned to the bracelet as a swift action. The bracelet contains five charms from the following list of weapons; battleaxe, dagger, heavy mace, longspear, longsword, short sword, rapier, warhammer, shortbow or light crossbow. Ranged weapons include one arrow or bolt each time they are called from the bracelet. The weaponcharm weapons are masterwork quality and can be further enhanced following the normal rules for creating magic weapons.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, shrink item; Cost 1,500 gp

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

Azmahel wrote:


Thanks for doing your critiques again this year. You had a lot of insightful comments last year from what I remember.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Vic Wertz wrote:
Seth White wrote:

Hey Vic, or any judges who may happen to pop by:

Do you think we will see any more comments on remaining items? Or do you think it's all done, now that Round 2 has started?

I suspect that more comments will continue to flow over the coming weeks, whenever folks have time and inclination.

I intend to keep going through them as I can, but whenever we have a new round of actual submissions, those will occupy most of my time that would otherwise be able to cover items on this thread.

I hope I'm not too late to get some feedback :) (This isn't the submission version, but the last version I have stored, so there may be typos/discrepancies.)

Link Prisms
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 7th
Slot --; Price 14,000 gp; Weight --
These 2-inch clear crystal tetrahedra are always created in pairs, for they share a ninth face in extradimensional space. As long as the prisms are within 700 feet of each other, on command both prisms will flicker for a moment before exchanging the images contained therein. Anyone viewing one of the prisms sees the surroundings of the other in its facets, though the effects of refraction impose a -5 penalty on all Perception checks made through the prisms. Another command deactivates both prisms, as does separating the prisms beyond 700 feet, moving one onto another plane, or placing one in a dimensional locked area. A pair of link prisms can function for up to 7 minutes a day, though this time does not need to be continuous.
Furthermore, while the prisms are active, anyone with line of effect to one prism may fire a ray effect at a target with line of effect to the other prism, so long as the combined distance from the user to one prism and from the other prism to the target does not exceed the effect's range. Such a usage of the prisms overloads them, however, immediately deactivating them for the remainder of the day. The user suffers a -5 penalty to her ranged touch attack when using the prisms in this manner; if she misses by 5 or less, she hits (and therefore overloads) the prisms but still misses the target.
A user may use multiple sets of link prisms in a chain, but each additional set of link prisms imposes an additional -5 penalty.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, dimension door; Cost 7,000 gp

Shaman's Rain Stick
Aura Strong Transmutation ; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 14,700 ; Weight 3 Lbs.

This rain stick, made by driving a cactus' needles back through a hollowed out section of its husk, filling it with beans, and capping both ends, makes a soothing rain sound when tilted on end. The rain stick may be used as an instrument with the Perform Percussion skill. Also, once per week the wielder can change the weather for 1 hour within a 1 mile radius to a rainfall of any strength less than a storm by repeating the command word and continuously tilting the rain stick for three minutes.

Its true power may only be released once per month, and only by those competent in performing a rain dance. With a DC 15 Perform Dance check, the wielder may create a Control Weather effect as the spell, except he may only create a thunderstorm or torrential rain. This dance takes five minutes to complete, and cannot be attempted twice within the same 24 hours if the dance is completed. If the performance is interrupted through a failed check, a magical sleep or paralysis effect, or other similar means, it automatically fails, but may be attempted again after 1 hour. Additional dancers may attempt an Aid Another action to assist, up to a maximum of four total dancers.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Control Weather ; Cost 7,350

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you for the feedback, Az. It was indeed originally going to be a puppeteer item but as I kicked that around it just seemed like a can of worms that couldn't be adequately addressed in 300 words... Or else it just started to look like dominate person in a can. Plus, I was worried a more literal puppeteer item would violate the whole "item is a toy" advice. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Coin Spider
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight -
When the owner speaks the command word within 20-feet the coin animates, sprouting spider-like legs and mouth awaiting any of the eight commands from the owner.

  • Alert: The coin remains where the owner places it, on "alert". While the owner remains within 100-feet of the coin he receives a crawling sensation on his neck whenever a creature moves within 10-feet of it.
  • Listen: While within 60-feet of the coin, the owner hears any conversation being spoken in a 10-foot radius of it.
  • Record/Speak: It records the next 25 words spoken within its listening range, which is replayed on command and remains in the coin until the owner attempts a new recording.
  • Restraints: It uses its bite to destroy any non-magical inanimate restraints on the owner.
  • Retract: It retracts its legs and head to appear as a simple coin, but remains animated.
  • Return: While the owner is within 100-feet of the coin and it's animated he can give it a mental command to return. It takes the quickest path to return to the owner.
  • Spin: It creates a thin 10-foot long non-magical trip wire once per day.
  • Track: While within 10-miles of the coin the owner can sense what direction its in

To use a coin spider you must become bonded to it, which requires possession for one full week. A coin spider can be animated for up to 4 hours per day, but the duration need not be continuous. Unless stated otherwise it must be within 20-feet of the owner to receive a command. The coin spider has the statistics of a Scarlet Spider (see the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary) without poison, but with construct traits.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate object; Cost 5,000 gp

ACK!!! I forgot to post this! and now there are 561 posts in front of me. I Know the judges won't get to this (they didn't get to my item the last 2 years either, and I was MUCH earlier on the thread the previous years). So if anyone else wants to critique this, I'd like the input, good and bad....

Songbird of Suppression
Aura Moderate Necromancy; CL 9th
Slot --; Price 14,000 gp; Weight 5 lb.

This small brass cage contains a shriveled, mummified canary with a gilded beak. Once per day, as a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity, a living creature may remove the canary from the cage and breathe into its beak, causing the bird to animate and begin a constant chirping. While the bird is active, the user begins to suffocate, as per the suffocation rules in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. All other creatures within 30 ft. of the canary are immune to the effects of harmful gasses or suffocation, but are unable breathe or utilize breath related abilities, including speech, scent, verbal spell components, and breath weapon attacks.

The canary takes no actions unless the user spends a move action to mentally control the canary. The canary has the same statistics as a bat, but lacks the blindsense ability and is immune to effects that require Fortitude or Will saves. The bird remains active until returned to the cage, and immediately reappears inside the cage if it is slain or the user falls unconscious. Damage or effects that destroy the cage also permanently destroy the canary.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Suffocation; Cost 7,000 gp

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

BQ wrote:
Coin Spider

I see the theme here, but I also see a few things that likely contributed to this one getting knocked out.

1. It's a figurine of wondrous power, albeit a coin-shaped one.
2. It needs a lot more additions in the construction area: alarm, clairaudience, knock, sending, summon monster (for the spider part), and web (for the tripwire).

Considering all the abilities it has along with its neglected construction requirements, it's underpriced.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Marley Gable wrote:

I am ever eager to acquire critique old and new from the judges on my entry. Being familiar with the considerable time and effort invested in providing such editorial insight, I would be remiss not to take this excellent opportunity. Thank you all.

Gallowsrope of Sacrificial Wisdom
Aura moderate divination; CL 12th
Slot neck; Price 12,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Woven with the gnarled white locks of witches and black bristles of wolves, this 9 foot runic rope ends in a cruel noose. The wearer may as a swift action determine one of five things about any target he can sense: name, whether alignment has a neutral component, strongest necromancy aura on the target, primary profession, and whether/where the target has died.

When the command word is uttered, the gallowsrope uncoils and rises into the air as if affixed at its upper end, hanging its wearer. While the wearer is hanging, the gallowsrope may be climbed, though it may not be moved, except by a weight exceeding 16,000 pounds. The wearer is wracked by nightmarish visions and suffocation he becomes nauseated, and takes 3d6 points of nonlethal damage every round.

While hanging, the wearer may retry any previously failed Knowledge, Wisdom, or Intelligence check, with a +5 insight bonus added to the check. Only one new attempt may be made for each previously failed topic. When a hung wearer becomes unconscious the gallowsrope gently lowers him to the nearest surface, and re-coils around his neck.

Upon awakening, the wearer is haunted by the ceremonial whispers of the patrons of the dark wells of knowledge that lay beyond life and death; he makes a Will save (DC 20). Success indicates the wearer, can speak with dead, as the spell, though each round thus spent deals him 1d6 bleed damage; failure results in him being unable to speak, as though affected by a silence spell (CL 12th) for that period. This effect lasts 4 hours.


Dude, way to get your odin on!! Definately going to have to give this a proper read when i get home from work.

Mark Moreland wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Seth White wrote:

Hey Vic, or any judges who may happen to pop by:

Do you think we will see any more comments on remaining items? Or do you think it's all done, now that Round 2 has started?

I suspect that more comments will continue to flow over the coming weeks, whenever folks have time and inclination.
I intend to keep going through them as I can, but whenever we have a new round of actual submissions, those will occupy most of my time that would otherwise be able to cover items on this thread.

Thanks for the update, I will be checking back intermittently to see if mine is given feedback.

Star Voter Season 6

Throbbing Orb
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 10th
Slot —; Price 17,000 gp; Weight 1-2 lbs.
A throbbing orb is a crystal sphere the size of a human heart that is cold and translucent in its inert state. When held in hand, the orb confers immunity to bleed damage to its possessor and the wounding property to any slashing or piercing melee weapon he wields. Moreover, each time bleed damage is taken by a creature in a 5-foot radius, a charge is added to the orb. When the maximum number of charges (20) is reached, the wounding property is lost. As the orb absorbs blood vapors, it takes on a carmine hue and its wielder can feel it beginning to pulsate on its own, gradually growing softer, warmer and heavier. As a swift action, a throbbing orb can be activated; it can then be thrown to sprinkle enemies in a 5-foot radius with a powerful anticoagulant that only affects creatures at less than full hit points. Treat the orb as a thrown splash weapon with a range of 20 feet. All charges in the orb are expended on impact. On a direct hit, an orb inflicts 1d4 points of bleed damage for every 4 charges spent (maximum 5d4). Splash damage is equal to the orb's minimum bleed damage (maximum 5). Once discharged, a throbbing orb becomes inert, losing all abilities until 24 hours have elapsed.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bleed, cure light wounds, creator must be an alchemist; Cost 8,500 gp

Here's mine--thanks for the feedback!

Astral Tear of the Lonely Wyrm
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 10th
Slot neck; Price 20,500 gp; Weight -

When worn, this finger-length crystalline tear shimmers softly on a thin chain of fine platinum. If the astral tear is removed, its glow fades away and its chain dulls to gray.

Mournful whispers in Draconic echo through the wearer’s mind, and he gains a +5 competence bonus on Knowledge checks related to dragons.

However, the astral tear reveals its true power when worn by a summoner of at least 5th level. While he is summoning his eidolon, the whispers grow louder, begging him to infuse the astral essence within the tear into the summons. If he chooses to do so, his eidolon arrives in a pillar of white flame as a magnificent dragon with brilliant platinum scales. The eidolon uses the serpentine base form instead of its normal base form and receives the following evolutions instead of its normal evolutions: Claws, Flight, Limbs (legs)x2, Skilled (Perception). If the summoner is at least 11th level, the eidolon additionally gains the Large and Blindsense evolutions. Finally, if the summoner is at least 15th level, the eidolon also gains the Spell Resistance and Wing Buffet evolutions. This ability is use activated and usable at will.

Fleeting glimpses of ancient memories, feelings of loneliness, and twinges of despair flicker through the mind of an eidolon summoned using the astral tear. These memories grant it Skilled (Knowledge (arcana)) and Skilled (Knowledge (history)) as bonus evolutions and allow it to make Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (history) checks untrained.

If the astral tear is removed from the summoner’s neck, or if the tear is dispelled, the eidolon infused with the tear’s essence is immediately banished.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, transmogrify; Cost 10,250 gp

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Gio

I would just like to thank everyone for their great advice, i just took notes on everything you guys said, and i plan on following your advices so i can improve ^^. I will start by reading a lot, and once I'm done with my university exams, i will have enough time to write and exercise a lot too. It will be hard to find a workplace here on Greece, but i will take Neil's advice and join one here in the forums, is there a special sub-forum for that?

Again, Thanks a lot everyone!, This is a great community!

Man this thread got big. Coming in late, but would like feedback on my item - there is a big gap in terms of items that enhance "pet" class abilities, so I created this - essentially you're treated as one level higher for purposes of animal companion bonuses while you hold the leash:

Harness of the Hero's Helper
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9
Slot neck; Price 35,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
This leather animal harness resizes to fit any kind of beast in a form appropriate for its type. When the owner keeps the harness lead in at least one hand, which requires them to be mounted on or in an adjacent square to the animal, the animal's base statistics increase as if the owner were one level higher for purposes of serving as a bonded companion or familiar (including a druid's or ranger's animal companion and a paladin's or cavalier's mount). Bonuses granted are treated as morale bonuses, and extra hit points disappear when the effect ends and are not lost first like temporary hit points. The effect ends immediately if the owner releases the lead.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animal growth; Cost 17,500 gp

Also coming in late, but would really appreciate some feedback.

Death’s Burnt Offering

Aura strong necromancy; CL 17th
Slot neck; Price 10,470 gp; Weight
The wearer of Death’s Burnt Offering must be able to cast divine spells and have access to cleric domains. This small leather pouch of ashes must be worn for 24 consecutive hours before its magic can be used. The necklace grants the wearer access to the Repose domain, in addition to the domains she already has access to. The necklace provides both the available spells and granted powers of the Repose domain, but does not give the wearer any additional spells per day. The wearer gains the granted powers and spells as she normally would; Death’s Burnt Offering does not give the wearer access to granted powers or spells before she is the appropriate level. In addition to this, the wearer can channel energy by emptying the ashes into her hand and tossing them into the air. This functions as the cleric ability, but can only be used to channel positive energy. Unlike the cleric ability, this power heals or deals damage equal to 1d6 per level of the wearer (maximum 20d6). Removing the ashes to wield this power renders Death’s Burnt Offering useless.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, creator must have access to the Repose domain and the ability to channel positive energy, (special material component) the ashes of any undead creature destroyed by positive energy; Cost 5,235 gp

Here is mine. I really had to slash the description section to try to get below the word limit. I also used Open Office's word count rather than the one that was apparently available on the submission window (didn't even see that). I think I should have probably clarified that it cannot be put inside an extra-dimensional space and the purge effect should have been worded to include the possibility of damage based on situation and contents.

Arcane Antechamber
Aura Strong Conjuration; CL 13th
Slot None; Price 40,000 gp; Weight 25 lbs.

This item appears to be a normal wooden door with a brass ring in the center. When placed flat against a solid wall vertical surface and knocked upon three times, the door integrates with the wall and alters its appearance to match surrounding architecture.

Opening the door reveals an extra-dimensional 20'x20' room with a 10' ceiling. The room is dimly lit and has an ambient temperature of 65 degrees. When the door is open creatures may be targeted by spells and attacks that cross the threshold. Otherwise, creatures in the room are beyond the reach of spells as per the rope trick spell.

The door may be locked and unlocked from the inside. Unlocking from outside requires a DC 30 disable device check. The door has a hardness of 15, 60 hit points, and break DC of 30. The door is affected normally by most spells but is unaffected by warp wood and wood shape. If destroyed, the contents spill out into the space the door occupied but are undamaged by the purge.

The door may be removed from the wall by closing the door, knocking three times, and pulling the top of the door away from the wall but only if there are no living or animated creatures inside. Inanimate objects may be left in the room when the door is removed from a wall. Time passes normally for objects left within. Placing or removing the door is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, mage's magnificent mansion, a masterwork door; Cost 20,000 gp

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

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
gbonehead wrote:
Diadem of the Spider
(Note: this one was in consideration for a very long time, but missed out on the top spots in the final evaluation)

I'm pleased that this was in consideration for so long; as I said previously it made my year.

I'm guessing I missed out on the window where Neil will comment on my item, so I thought I'd talk about what these comments taught me. It's interesting because there's things that I put in there for a specific reason for which the judges came to an opposite conclusion - perhaps the most important lesson of all.

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
  • Ok; it doesn't create a swarm so this is a villain item I think.
  • Not necessarily. This is an item designed to take control of a spider swarm, including those that might have been summoned by a spellcaster or various monster summon swarm abilities.
  • This seems like a villain/campaign item to deal with a player or NPC who's build depends on summoning and controlling spider swarms, otherwise it's pretty much useless for a PC.
  • Stick to the spider theme, don't let it affect other kinds of vermin.
  • The last sentence kind of mars the item. Keep it spider specific, IMO.

Ironically, this was intended to be a PC item from the outset - I have seen many parties (and not just low-level ones) struggle with swarms. GMs who always say "oh, yeah, just use area of effect spells ... no problem" have never watched a level 1 party try to deal with a swarm (or watched a high level party who doesn't have enough fireballs - monk+druid+fighter vs. ruin swarm = very long combat).

Also ironically, it was the additional types of swarms part that was meant to make it more usable for PCs (and thus a better item). And this is where the fact that this is a contest and not a magic item book makes all the difference. To me, an item that is limited only to spiders is clearly either a super-niche PC item or a villain item - yet as the judges observed, it does make it cleaner thematically, and thus a better contest item.

As a real PC in a real game, I'd take the item that lets me control any vermin swarm over one that just controls spiders. Some of the flaws of the diadem were efforts to reduce the price to something that a relatively low-level party could afford, at the expense of item simplicity. I didn't want a 50,000gp-100,000gp item to control swarms, I wanted one that much more affordable.

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
  • I'm also kind of bothered by the auto-success of influencing even non-intelligent spider swarms. Normally they're immune to mind-affecting effects, one of the benefits of a swarm. If this item is going to make a spider swarm susceptible to such a mind-affecting effect, I'd like to give them a save.
  • What's an "intelligent swarm"?
  • Some swarms (rarely) have intelligence. A hellwasp swarm, for instance, can think. With the new Advanced Player's Guide for the Pathfinder RPG, there's a spell called swarm skin where someone can turn all their flesh into swarms and send them crawling off their bones to go scout, explore, etc. with their intelligence controlling them. So that would count as an intelligent swarm, too. The description for this item is saying that those kind of swarms get a save vs. the diadem's control. And, they get another save if they're damaged while being used to protect the wearer.
  • I also don't understand what exactly an intelligent swarm is, nor why a swarm (treated as a single creature in the rules) only gets a save if someone already controls it.
  • I'm a bit annoyed that this lets you steal a swarm from someone else's control (mind you, you need creeping doom, a drd 7 spell, to actually have a swarm under your control), and presumably someone else couldn't use another item just like this to steal it back from you.

Absolutely right that all swarms should get a save. I was more concerned with someone with one of these things taking over a creeping doom (hence the controlled swarm aspect) or someone under the effect of swarm skin or controlling one of the intelligent swarms out there - it was really meant to be a low-power item for handling things like spider swarms, not something a high-level party would use to attack a druid in swarm skin or a mummy swarm shifter.

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
  • "The spiders attack all creatures as normal, except the wearer, who gains a +4 circumstance bonus against the swarm's distraction." ... I don't get this. Is this a template issue I'm not familiar with? "swarm's distraction"? Shouldn't the wearer just be immune to the swarm?
  • Swarms carry with them a distraction ability that makes spellcasting and concentration difficult. Basically, anytime a swarm ends its movement in your square of terrain, you face a saving throw to maintain your concentration as they distract you by swarming over you. This item is saying that it doesn't preclude the wearer of the diadem from that distraction, just that they get a bonus against it.
  • The core element to this item is that you get to surround yourself with a blanket of swarming insects ... and unlike most spellcasters caught within a swarm, you don't suffer as difficult a concentration check to keep hurling your spells.
  • If this summoned a swarm, maybe, but at the moment it just takes an existing swarm and brings it to you. It crawls all over you but doesn't "attack" (which is exactly how a swarm attacks) and you could still end up with it messing up your additional spells and actions?
  • You may as well make the wearer immune to the swarm's distraction and spare them an easy save every round.

Unfortunately, another pricing issue, and ironically not even one that directly affects the price. It was a conscious decision to not make the bearer immune, to reduce the power of the item. In hindsight, an obvious mistake, as this was one of the parts of the item that I wrestled with a long time and was never quite happy with.

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
  • Another item that requires record keeping. :(
  • The description does leave me wondering what happens if you're facing more than a single spider swarm. Can you control more than one? Do they all collectively use up the 13 rounds?
  • I'm also not a fan of the 13 rounds per day mechanic which don't have to be used consecutively. You're right. That just throws more recordkeeping at the GM and the players. There are other class specific abilities that function this way in the Pathfinder RPG. I don't know that we need to keep adding more effects in the form of wondrous items that perpetuate that mechanic.
  • Allowing you to break its uses into a per-round basis is just a way to cheese more use out of the duration.

Another costing issue, unfortunately. 1/day seemed too limiting (but then again, maybe not - how often do people run into swarms?), but 3/day would make it three times as expensive.

The split duration thing not uncommon - it's very useful information that the judges don't like it and/or view it as cheese.

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
  • I didn't like the concealment effect. I mean, it's not that hard to see stuff inside an insect swarm. And with spiders, it's not like a blanket of them isn't still going to highlight exactly where you are.
  • I can buy off on the damage reduction since it specifies it only absorbs damage that could harm a swarm. Most melee weapons can't harm a swarm, so there's no protection from swords and arrows. Instead, it protects against area effect damage like alchemist's fire or a fireball by absorbing 5 points of damage for the guy wearing the diadem. And, that makes sense, since such damage ought to boil off some of the spiders before the flames or whatever can reach you. So that's cool.
  • I don't see how a layer of spiders is going to absorb incoming damage against you. If ten unconscious guys in the same square can all take damage from a fireball, how can this swarm protect you against that?
  • Allowing you to break its uses into a per-round basis is just a way to cheese more use out of the duration.

The concealment thing was an attempt to allow the bearer to get some of the benefits of the 'you can't use targeted spells against a swarm' mechanic - in hindsight a mistake.

I completely stand behind the DR, as I picture exactly that - when a fireball drops on you, a bunch of the spiders burn away and reduce your damage - but it's not free, as it also reduces the hit points of the swarm. And it looked cool in my head.

RPG Superstar Judges wrote:
  • And the whole thing requires there to be an existing swarm within 100 feet. If there isn't, you lose!

Yeah, something that was in the back of my mind the whole time. Originally it would let you both summon and control a swarm, but I couldn't fit those mechanics into the wordcount so I dropped the summon. The ability to take control of a swarm in the heat of battle was what I viewed as the core concept of the item - another reason why I worked so hard to keep the price low; I could have gone the limited use item route, too, but as a player I hate items that run out and I wanted it to be a player item.


Anyways, the important lesson I take from this is that the price of an item isn't really important - don't ruin a cool item to make the price more appealing, even if it doesn't necessarily end up practical.

Ignoring cost, it would have been a 3/day item letting you either summon or control one swarm at a time. It would have been way easier to write up, but would have cost 98,280gp - and since I wanted this to be a low-level item, that was way too expensive. When I showed an early draft of this item to my son, he immediately wanted one (then again, they just barely avoided a party wipe due to the giant spider/spider swarm in Crown of the Kobold King) - and a 65,000gp item (which is how it was priced at that time) was wayyyyy beyond anything they'd be capable of getting.

As a contest entry, however, the price is less important (so long as it's correct) than how the item comes across.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

hdevries wrote:
Standback wrote:
Reciprocity Coin
I really like this item - like, so much that I'm thinking about using it in a home campaign I'm running. But maybe I'm just missing something - what is up with the partially negates? There's no save for the suggestion, so what is the partially negates for the demand?

Yay! I'm really glad you liked it, and I'd love for people to make use of it.

"Partially negates" is somewhat awkward terminology, but it's taken directly from the spell description, and it's because basically demand = sending + suggestion. So you can save to negate the suggestion effect, but you still receive the sending and hear the words of the demand - you can't save to avoid receiving conact, just to negate being compelled to obey.

Azmahel wrote:

Cool item. Maybe a bit of a plot device. It begs one important question: How aware is the target of the effects of the coin and his ability to issue a counter-demand?

But aside from that it is pretty cool, but I'm not sue if it does enough to overcome the plot device pitfall.

Kudos for doing all the reviews again - as a first-time submitter, I can tell you it's been marvellous having this homegrown peer-review forum. Thanks for all the effort - it's realyl great :)

I'm glad my item caught your eye :) To answer your question, nothing explicitly tells the target about what the coin can do; I do assume, though, in an in-game context, that the initial demand, an odd coin, and the compulsion resulting in the demand scroll are clues enough to let PCs know something's up, or justify an NPC figuring out the reciprocity within his one-week limit.

Standback indulges in discussing his design considerations:

This was a point I debated about a lot in design, because obviously it affects the likelihood of the item being used as-intended. I didn't see a good way to tell the target outright without involving identify, and that didn't seem to fit in very well. An earlier version had a more obtrusive nudge - the original demand was whispered back to the target every time he woke up. I figured that'd get 'em moving - and nice and angry, more than likely. :) In the end I opted for this, because it nicely solved another issue that I had - the reciprocal activation, which couldn't assume the target still had the coin. I also liked the imagery of agreements and contracts that I think this version added.

Regarding the plot device issue, it is a plot device, but in a somewhat unusual sense - because it's not tied to any one specific plot (can be used in pretty much any situation where a demand would be helpful), and it's completely within the PC's control. It's basically a semi-generic plot-creator (as opposed to an item tailored specifically for a single story, necessary for that story and not useful outside of it). It's a drama generator!

...that's how I intended it, anyway :P

I'm very pleased with the concept (it's certainly something I, and several players I've spoken too, would love using), and that I managed to pull off the mechanics pretty well (reciprocal activation where the item switches hands and the receiver isn't aware of the item...), though it's certainly got its share of problems (RonarsCorruption touched on a few more in the peer-review thread), and, more severely, I completely misjudged its appropriateness for this contest.

Jason Rice wrote:

ACK!!! I forgot to post this! and now there are 561 posts in front of me.

I hear ya Jason. I was watching the thread, waiting for it to unlock and it didn't before I had to leave for church. Came back and found hundreds of posts!! LOL Oh wells. :)

Liberty's Edge


I suffered from the same problem. Wanting to design in the low-level item space is not even remotely as important as designing something cool. In fact, next year, I am staying the holy hell away from the low-level item space entirely. It just doesn't pay.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Azmahel, you are a crazy person, and your insights are as appreciated as ever. Thanks. Also thanks again to the judges (who got to my item a couple pages back). For the Eyes of the Time Thief I think I hung everything on a 'high concept' ("steal time with pickpocket skills") that just wasn't as cool to everyone else as it was to me.

I've just now finished paged 2 (which means I've reviewed about half as many as Az). I don't know if I'm going to keep going, however; I'm beginning to realize how much my own opinions differ from those of the judges on some points. And I feel like this thread is for people to learn how to improve their chances of getting into RPG Superstar, so, it just feels wrong for me to sit here giving 'advice' that could actually run contrary to that. But if anyone wants to hear what a layperson thinks of their item I'll still be hanging out in the 'peer review' thread. Ditto if you would like to respond directly to anything I've said about your item.

The Not Lost Box

darth_borehd wrote:

The Not Lost Box

Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot —; Price 9,000 gp; Weight 15 pounds
This wooden chest has a nacre moon emblem on the lid and mystical symbols carved into all sides. It is big enough to hold anything 9 inches wide by 10 inches tall by 6 inches deep.
The first person who turns the moon emblem clockwise three times becomes the new owner. The owner can place any objects that will fit into the box. When he closes the lid, the items vanish so they do not appear to any one else and add no weight to the box. Only when the owner opens the lid do the items reappear. For all others, the Not Lost Box works only as a normal box.
Should the Not Lost Box be abandoned, stolen, or lost, it mysteriously reappears 1d100 minutes later within reach of its owner.
The box returns to unowned status upon the death of the owner or if the owner turns the moon emblem three times counter-clockwise. The same person, or a blood relative if the owner is deceased, can retrieve items left inside by becoming the owner again. A Not Lost Box can have many such previous owners, each with their own contents inside.
If the box is destroyed, owners can retrieve their contents if another box is constructed using more than half of the remains of the old one.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Secret Chest; Cost 4,500 gp

So, this is basically Secret Chest at-will, but roughly twice as cool. By the books this should probably cost considerably more, but in my opinion Secret Chest is overpriced (in both spell level and focus cost). Still, with no limits on how many objects you can store, and with it being impossible to separate from you (that's crazy-useful, and possibly disruptive, depending on which DM you ask), even I would never peg it at less than 25k. Also, trouble with the name I take it? Yea, I can't think of anything better. Edit: I usually write these before reading judges comments, but I will concur with the "series of extradimensional footlockers" issues. There doesn't seem to be a limit on how many "owners" can share this at one time and I'm not sure if that's what you wanted or intended.

I don't really have any other complaints though. Everything else seems well-considered; I like the significance of blood relation, and the fact that you can get your items back by building a new one if the old one is broken, which is a VERY real possibility if someone arrests you and can't seem to keep your wandbox out of your sight. That multiple "owners" can leave their contents behind (which only they can retrieve) is a very clever move which turns this into a powerful plot device. If I were a judge, that last bit would be what pushed me to keep this. Extradimensional storage has been done before, and it's very hard to make a plain utility item that screams "Superstar", but in my opinion this one is useful, flavorful, AND has great plot potential.

Clay of Flesh Crafting


Kerney wrote:

Note: This is a very slightly different version of the item entered. Due to unfamiliarity with Microsoft 2010, I saved over that version. Obvious pricing mistakes and leaving out two words (single use) in the original version explain why I didn't make the top 32.

Clay of Flesh Crafting
Aura strong transmutation CL 10th
Slot--- Price 3800 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Description The Clay of Flesh Crafting resembles fine potters clay, moist to the touch, with a light brownish tinge. Applied to the skin of a target humanoid, this single use item makes the flesh malleable, allowing another person to reshape the target’s physical appearance including apparent sex, race, weight and height with a Craft: Sculpture check. Unwilling targets must be physically or magically restrained throughout the process. DC’s on the Craft: Sculpture checks are:
Same race and sex DC 10
Different race or sex (or both) DC 15
Specific person: DC 30, +5 circumstance bonus modeling off a painting or statue; +10 if modeled on an actual model.
A successful role allows the character a +15 circumstance bonus to disguise checks. The clay does not change hair color, eye color, or the target’s size category or grant racial abilities.
Alternately, the clay can be used to cause blindness, deafness, or silence without a skill check by covering the ears, mouth, and eyes or any combination thereof. Silence also removes the ability of the target to eat, leading to eventual starvation. Effects are permanent unless removed by break enchantment, limited wish, wish, miracle or reapplying the Clay of Flesh Crafting and making the appropriate skill checks.
The original clay originates in Arcadia, which some tribes of the continent use in adoption ceremonies for children captured to replace slain relatives. Wizards in Cheliax and Andoran have mastered the art of mixing the clay. It is used by both nations’ intelligence services and in Cheliax for artistic endeavors.
Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, alter self, permanency Cost 3800 gp

No real surprises; this pretty much does exactly what I expected based on the title. It's a nice, creepy way to make alter self permanent, and I quite enjoy your ending notes on which cultures use it and how, but I find myself struggling for anything else to say beyond that. Maybe it's that 'fleshcrafting' isn't a new thing conceptually to D&D or Pathfinder (or RPG Superstar), and that 'clay' isn't exactly the creepiest approach I've seen. I would certainly use this though, and even if I didn't there are creative elements (like that freaky "adoption" ceremony) that are worth stealing to use elsewhere.

Gauntlets of the Chittering Delve

Effigy wrote:

Gauntlets of the Chittering Delve

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot hands Price 22,500 gp Weight 2 lbs.

Description These crude gauntlets are crafted from segmented chitin and poorly cured hide with tufts of fur still attached. Spiraling Aklo runes are burned into each, extolling the powers of the Rough Beast. Upon activation, the gauntlets warp your hands, enlarging grotesquely and elongating your fingers into jagged obsidian talons. These claws allow you to dig through solid rock as if it were soft clay, burrowing through it at a speed of 5 feet/round. You do not leave a usable tunnel behind you unless you choose to, and any such tunnel is filled with rubble and counts as difficult terrain.

Once so transformed, you cannot wield hand-held weapons, cast spells requiring somatic components, or perform any tasks requiring fine manual dexterity. However, you gain two primary natural claw attacks, each of which does 1d6 points of damage. If Rovagug is your patron, you can attempt to sunder items in combat with the claws as if you had the Improved Sunder feat. Additionally, your claw strikes can ignore object hardness of 8 or less. If you already possess the above feat, checks made to sunder gain an additional +2 bonus.
Activating or deactivating the gauntlets is a swift action, and both gauntlets must be worn in order to function. The gauntlets can remain active for 9 rounds, plus a number of extra rounds equal to your Constitution bonus, if any. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous item, shatter, beast shape III Cost 11,250 gp

The biggest and coolest thing these do is the new movement mode (digging), and I think that part was executed fine, but the Rovagug angle kind of falls flat there. Some of his spawn have burrow speeds, I'm sure, but I still don't exactly think of him as a "mole god", which is what your item most evokes. All the sunder details (ignore hardness but not too much hardness, Imp Sunder but only of Rovagug is your patron, +2 to the check but only if you already have Imp. Sunder) feel a little too clunky for not enough payoff in my opinion, and I don't think the uses per day should be based on your ability score.

Spaulder of Forlorn Hope

Varthanna wrote:

Spaulder of Forlorn Hope

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 7th
Slot chest slot; Price14,000 gp; Weight 7 lbs.
This over-sized spaulder is typically stylized to represent the shock troopers it was designed for. Most commonly found in Mendev and Lastwall, these items help aid elite soldiers when significantly outnumbers by multitudes of lesser foes.

After the required 24 hour attuning, the spaulder may be activated by command word once per day. Upon activation, the spaulder creates a replica perfectly overlapping with the wearer's own form. It then splits from them to occupy an adjacent square and solidifies as a spiritual ally, except as noted below.

The replica lasts for 7 rounds. If the wearer does not spend a swift action to direct the replica, it attacks the closest enemy. Furthermore, without direction, it always move to flank with the wearer if possible. While the replica's weapon visually matches the wearer's, the damage is 1d8+2 and scores a critical only on a natural 20. It uses the wearer's base attack bonus (gaining extra attacks if your base attack bonus is high enough) plus their Charisma bonus when it makes a melee attack. Furthermore, if they possess any teamwork feats, the replica is considered an ally who also has those feats.

Lastly, in the face of swarms of overwhelming foes, the wearer may dismiss the replica early as a move action. Doing so triggers the replica to perform a great cleave, per the feat, before dissipating. If the replica has already attacked this round, this ability is wasted. Attempting to identify the replica from the wearer requires a DC 25 Perception check.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item feat, any one Teamwork feat, spiritual ally; Cost 7,000 gp

"Cheesy" and "not-quite-appropriate" isn't a good combo for names (I think you CAN get away with being this hammy, but only if it's a really good fit, and this isn't). I'm also beginning to think that flavor text or in-world notes are a good way to end an item (leaving the reader by stirring some in-game images) but a bad way to begin it (delaying the actual item description, with imagery that doesn't yet have context). I wonder if anyone else feels the same way? In any event, your last-man-standing imagery definitely strengthens this and I wouldn't cut it completely.

There actually is a "shoulder" slot (usually for capes), which I would have used instead of "chest", assuming I properly understand what a spaulder is (I'm pretty much at the mercy of Google on that one). I don't know if it was necessary to restate the duration, attack or damage of the effect, since everything you say is standard for a spiritual ally at CL7 (aside for being keyed to CHA). The bit about teamwork feats is a nice tweak which makes this more interesting. However, the real thing that makes this different from the spell is the fact that your ally is a mirror-image of you, and I think it would have benefitted from more attention to this aspect. Reading the spell you reference I see that the spiritual ally is a semi-invincible force effect, so as a DM I have to wonder if a perception check to tell you appart is really necessary once you start taking damage. Comparatively the great cleave feels a little clunky (why is directing it a move action this time?) and unnecessary. It's a nice image, but I think it comes off kind of like "Oh, uh, and it also does THIS!" This is tricky because sometimes it really pays off to have a "lastly" or "once per day" effect that's more dramatic but more limited (several Top 32 have done this in some way or another), but in this case I think it pulls your item down.

Contract Collar

vip00 wrote:

Contract Collar

Aura faint enchantment; CL 4th
Slot neck; Price 16,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Originally forged by inquisitors of Abadar, these simple collars are now only known by the moniker given to them by the merchants that spread them through the lands. The collar fits tightly around the neck of a humanoid creature. The collars are as sturdy and difficult to escape as masterwork manacles bound by a superior lock. Once put onto a creature, it can be activated by any individual by speaking a unique command word as a standard action. When activated, it casts hold person (DC 13) on the creature that is bound by the collar. The range for this function is 140 feet. Frequently, the command word is etched on the inside of the collar.

The collars are frequently keyed to their owner. To do this, the owner places an invisible arcane mark on it. Only the oldest arcane mark placed on an item has any effect. Once keyed in this fashion, the collar will only activate for the owner who placed the arcane mark on it. Additionally, once keyed, the collar allows the master to create a 20-ft. radius ward centered on the collar as a standard action twice per day. If the collar leaves the warded area, the owner receives a mental alarm as if using the alarm spell. The range for this ability is 35 ft and the ward persists for 8 hours.

Any attempt to escape, either by using an Escape Artist check or by attempting to break the collar results in automatic activation of the collar each round that the efforts continue.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, alarm, hold person; Cost 8,000

I think this is another item which does its concept full justice, but still isn't much of a superstar candidate because the concept just isn't "sexy" enough (I mean, not that there aren't people who find this kind of thing sexy, but- well, lets just move on now). This is a well-crafted slave/prisoner collar, and I would use these stats if I needed something like this in a game, but slave/prisoner collars aren't very new or exciting, and also suffer from lesser relevance to what most PCs do (though that's something a new/exciting item could overcome).

One comment on craftsmanship I will make is that this looks way too expensive. It almost looks like you started with hold person at will (with some other reductions or mods to reach the final price), but unless you can throw it on someone in combat it isn't NEARLY that powerful.

Cloak of the Pride

Witty Phantom wrote:

In the word of the Constructive Criticism club I used to be a part of on an art site. "Hurt Me".

Cloak of the Pride
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 8th
Slot shoulders; Price 59900 gp; Weight 1 lb.
A mane of long, dark brown fur lines the upper quarter of this cloak, while the rest of the drape is the tawny pelt of a lion’s body. Tidily trimmed into the shape of a traveler’s cloak, the pelt grants a +2 bonus to Stealth checks(+4 in undergrowth) much like the lion it once belonged to.
The enchantments on the cloak offers enhancements to combat much like a lioness hunts. A +1 competence bonus to flanking applies for anyone who wears this cloak; this bonus increases by +2 for every other flanking ally who is wearing a Cloak of the Pride. The flanking bonus cannot be stacked higher than +5(+7 counting standard flanking bonus).
Once per day, the wearer can wrap the cloak tightly around himself and take on the form of a lion(as per Beast Shape II). This effect lasts for 8 minutes, but can be dismissed early as a standard action, consuming any unused minutes afterwards.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Beast Shape II, a freshly skinned lion pelt; Cost 29950 gp

The third sentence ("The enchantments on the cloak offers enhancements to combat much like a lioness hunts.") is unnecessary at best and textual hesitation at worst. You've said it's a lion-cloak, you're about to say what powers it gives, that should be enough for the reader to get the idea (and if it isn't then your mechanics just aren't lion-ey enough).

Watch out for passive voice.

I love that you're trying to get the whole party to wear these (becoming a 'lion pack') by offering improved flanking bonuses. Great vision there. However, making the bonus improve after the first one (+1 for one cloak, +3 for 2) might be going a little too far; I would have probably just have it stack 1-for-1. There are also issues with the technical wording here (you can't get a 'bonus to flanking', but you can get a bonus to attack while flanking). It doesn't help that someone can normally only flank with one other person, so you had to word your way around that to get a real lion-pack-gangup...

I would have probably said that creatures you flank take a -1 penalty to AC, and that this penalty stacks if multiple cloak-wearers flank the same creature. That way it helps everyone even if not everyone can get into a proper flank. That's just my take, though, and might not do quite what you want.

I know a lot of items let you split duration up, but that's actually the exception to the rule, so if your effect can be dismissed early it goes unsaid that any extra minutes are wasted.

Smoking Crock of the Vengeful Beekeeper


Rhys Grey wrote:

I'm pretty sure why this didn't make the cut; I just didn't bring "the awesome" (and is too much of a spell-in-a-can). That said: what do you think? Thanks for assessing! :)

Smoking Crock of the Vengeful Beekeeper
Aura faint enchantment; CL 5th
Slot —; Price 24,050 gp; Weight 9 lbs.
This is an unremarkable baked clay pot affixed with a cord handle, of the sort used by beekeepers to smoke beehives. When the crock is filled with smoke-producing fuel—such as twine, burlap, pine needles, sumac, or rotten wood—and lit (both are standard actions), it produces a hazy smoke in a 15-foot radius that causes docility in vermin swarms. The smoke reduces visibility by half, resulting in a -4 penalty on Perception checks.

Vermin swarms within the smoke are rendered docile, as though under the effects of calm animals. This effect persists as long as the smoke occupies at least one square of the swarms' space. Any action taken that would end the effects of that spell immediately causes the smoke to disperse, ending the effect. Creatures within the smoke can move through spaces occupied by vermin swarms without ending the effect, so long as they move no faster than their base speed.

Once per day on command, the crock's bearer can direct one of the affected swarms to move toward and attack any creatures outside of the smoke. This effect is similar to dominate animal cast by a 5th-level caster, except the swarm will attack creatures two or more size categories larger than it. After this effect's duration ends, the swarm reverts to its previous behavior.

The crock produces smoke for 5 minutes. After this time, or if the crock is extinguished, it no longer affects the vermin and they behave normally unless it is fueled and lit again.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Vermin Heart, calm animals, dominate animal; Cost 12,025 gp

Yea, this doesn't exactly blow me away, but I think it's good. It's cool and makes sense, and no, it isn't something that non-magical smoke can do (perhaps against normal bees, but not against demonic howler-monkey wasp creatures [actually, I think those particular ones were outsiders, but you get the picture]).

At first I questioned the list of flammable materials, but then I realized you were specifically listing things that smoke up well when burned, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that's worth the words. If you can't burn just anything then a list like this is helpful. I also dig that you have an organic 'recharge' time (the time it takes to refill and light it) rather than a hard limit on duration-per-day. I think these are the kinds of details that make wondrous items feel different from spells. Not like you're REALLY trying to simulate anything, but just enough concessions to give the item some character.

That said, it looks to me like two people could walk right through the middle of the Bee Dimension with this without ever being in danger (as long as you have someone to take a standard action and fill it for you there shouldn't be a delay in the effect); was this intentional? You also never mention saving throws, and I'm not sure if that's because you just forgot them (not good) or because this is an auto-win against the given type and subtype of creature (also not good). And as a final nitpick I'm not sure how much control the dominate animal gives (can you JUST command them to attack, or does it fully duplicate the spell? It cold be read either way).

Tiniek's Talkative Tankard


Thomas Miller aka tqmillerusa wrote:

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Tiniek’s Talkative Tankard
Aura faint divination; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 29,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

This clay tankard has the caricature of a gnome’s face carved on its surface. When the tankard is held and filled with any type of alcoholic drink the face animates and begins to speak. The tankard speaks in the language of its owner but regardless of the language spoken, always speaks with the unmistakable accent of a slightly inebriated gnome sailor of the floating settlement of Gogpodda. The tankard will begin waxing lyrical about various topics while active. Due to the tankard’s inebriation and tendency to drift off topic, the owner must succeed on a DC 10 diplomacy check to focus the tankard on discussing the information they wish. If successful, the owner gets a +5 competence bonus when taking 10 or taking 20 on all Knowledge skill checks, and can make those skill checks untrained. Once per day, as a standard action, drinking the liquid in the tankard grants tongues on the owner for 50 minutes.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, tongues; Cost 14,500 gp

Okay, that's pretty fantastic. I'm sure many will feel that it's too silly but I like it. I think that the diplomacy check to keep it on topic is what makes it for me. However, it feels just a little half-baked in that regard; as in, if I can interact with it at-will (so that I in fact gain the bonus on ALL knowledge checks), then can't I just keep rolling until I get it? So, isn't a DC10 check pretty trivial? As much fun as it is to imagine this thing being left with a splash of ale in him and making conversation with the other tankards all night long, I think limiting the duration (and thus giving the diplomacy check some urgency) might have been a good idea.

Taking 20 on knowledge checks isn't even possible for most characters; it's worth noting for those who can, but there might be danger of someone misreading this.

This is just an idle though, but I probably would have had the tankard roll his own knowledge checks rather than providing a bonus to yours. If you are already very knowledgeable on a subject it's not going to tell you more, but it will fill you on on the basics for something (possibly something surprisingly obscure) that you aren't familiar with yourself. Breadth, not depth. Anyway, thanks for sharing this, it's a cute idea and I could totally see myself using it some day.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Witch's Promise

I am a schmuck. I have checked at work, home and various thumb drives and I cannot find the text of what I submitted for the life of me. If it is possible to throw up the comments given the name I would very much appreciate getting a chance to review some professional feedback. If that isn't doable I understand.

And huge kudos to all. There is a lot of really, really interesting stuff!

I'm still curious to see where this ended up and how to improve on it.

Kyreth’s Amulet of Musical Accompaniment
Aura varies; CL varies
Slot amulet; Price 1000 gp (basic), 89500 gp (heroic), 77100 gp (frightening); Weight 1 lb.
This is a circular silver amulet with a small hole in the middle; when light hits its surface, multicolored rays of light play on its surface. It has a simple premise for those of a flamboyant nature: it continuously provides a musical accompaniment to every action made by the hero wearing it. This grants the wearer a +2 competence bonus to all Diplomacy and Intimidate checks, but causes a -10 penalty to all Stealth checks. Faint illusion; CL 1st; Craft Wondrous Item, ghost sound, creator must be a bard
Kyreth began to see the popularity of his creation and began to craft more powerful versions of the item with additional powers in addition to those mentioned above; each new amulet corresponded to a form of bardic performance. A popular variation is the amulet of heroic accompaniment. With this amulet, the wearer is continuously affected by the inspire heroics bardic performance as the music accompanying him constantly infuses his being with hope, courage, and optimism. Moderate enchantment; CL 15th; Craft Wondrous Item, ghost sound, greater heroism, creator must be a bard

Another popular variation is the amulet of frightening accompaniment. With this amulet, the wearer can cause fear in his enemies on command like the frightening tune bardic performance. Any enemies within 30 feet of the wearer that can hear the music must make a Will save (DC 19) or be frightened and must flee for as long as it can hear the music. A target that makes this save is unaffected by this amulet for 24 hours. Moderate necromancy; CL 14th; Craft Wondrous Item, ghost sound, fear, creator must be a bard

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Azmahel wrote:

Thank you very much for your review comments.

I definitely should have spent more time on the pricing. I am particularly kicking myself for only looking at wondrous items for comparison, and so overlooking the Ring of Water Walking. I wound up using Horseshoes of a Zephyr as my "baseline", and as the deadline approached, I simply used the same price.

My original design concept did not include being able to travel on the surface of liquids, so I discounted the water walk spell at that point, and never looked back. I should have rechecked the list of spells after adding the feature, and included the spell in the requirements and pricing.

Similarly, I will try to avoid adding features at the last minute - as I was getting ready to submit, it occurred to me that a player might ask whether their reduced weight would affect traps triggered by stepping on a pressure plate, and so added text without giving proper consideration to the idea.

Again, thank you. Your feedback will help me improve for next year!

Spider Key
Aura weak, conjuration; CL 3rd
Slot --; Price 450 gp; Weight -- lbs.
This decorative broach carries the device of an arachnid, often prominently, but appears otherwise mundane. When held, the broach sprouts eight spindly legs, and awaits the owner's command. The spider can then be placed on a door, chest, or other locked item, where it immediately crawls inside the cracks and crevices of the object. The item can also be thrown up to 20 ft.; the user must succeed on a ranged touch attack against the object. Any mundane, mechanical lock or trap of up to DC 20 can be detected and thwarted by this small but able creature. The spider scans, disarms, and unlocks the door within 1d3 rounds, adding one additional round for each lock or trap past the first. The item is delicate, and suffers a 75% break chance on a missed throw or during the disabling process, even if the door is unlocked/untrapped. If the item survives, it returns to its owner after completing the task.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, summon swarm, knock; Cost 225 gp

Huntsman Whetstone of Blood

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 2 lb.

Rumored to be the latest creation from the forges of the Steel Eaters clan, this 15-cm long, dark brown whetstone can endow weapons with the bane special ability.
Pressing the stone for 5 rounds against a recently slain creature (one that has been dead for under 10 rounds), charges the stone with a semblance of the creature’s life-force. Anyone using a charged whetstone to sharpen any slashing or piercing weapon for 5 rounds will endow that weapon with a lesser bane special ability. This lesser bane is identical to ordinary bane, except that the weapon gains only +1 enchantment bonus and only deals an extra 1d6 points of damage. The dead creature type, or subtype if applicable, then becomes the designated foe.
However a ranger using a charged whetstone to sharpen a weapon against a favorite enemy, endows the weapon with both bane and keen abilities against the designated foe, as long as the weapon is being used by a ranger with the designated foe as a favored enemy.
Any ability gained from the whetstone is always active and disappears after 7 days, or after scoring 7 damaging hits with that weapon, on a creature that is the designated foe.
The stone holder can use a charged whetstone to sharpen up to 2 weapons or up to 14 units of ammunition. Units of ammunition lose all abilities according to the normal rules or after 7 days. After sharpening the maximum amount of weapons or ammunition units, the stone becomes inert for 7 days. An inert stone cannot be charged. A charged stone emits a very faint pulse.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, keen edge, summon monster I; Cost 1,500 gp

Azmahel wrote:


Shroud of Necromorphosis...

Thanks Azmahel.

Yours and the judges critique has been noted and taken to heart.
I will remember it for future submissions.

Being my baby I of course think the SoN has the coolest flair and drama-potential of any item ever to enter RPGSS :)
But I guess I will have to revise that thought and do even better next year ;)

Many thanks to anyone who has time to comment on:

Boots of the Unexpected
Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot feet; Price 7,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

These ordinary looking black boots are used by athletes who turn every surface into their playground. 

The boots activate if the wearer moves 10 feet or more along horizontal surface or a surface whose slope is less than 45 degrees. 

Once activated, the boots allow him to continue his move this round as if he was the subject of spider climb except that the wearer does not require his hands to be free, and cannot traverse ceilings; rather he performs impressive feats of vaulting and wall running. 

Once activated, the boots allow rapid changes of momentum such that the wearer may perform a charge despite this usually requiring the charging character to move directly toward the designated opponent. 

If the wearer uses the boots to reach an opponent, at the GMs discretion he may attempt a feint as a free action. 

Examples of maneuvers that may qualify for the feint check include the wearer:

  • running up a tree and leaping backwards over his pursuer
  • running up the wall of a fort to drag a sentry from his post
  • vaulting onto and off a table

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, cat’s grace; Cost 3,500 gp

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

"Duncan Forsyth wrote:
Boots of the Unexpected

You've got a neat visual effect in mind here, but I think you've got some serious flaws in your execution.

The name, to begin with, doesn't tell us much about the item, so that's a poor intro. They're "unexpected," fine - they're magical boots, so anything beyond keeping your feet dry will be extraordinary. Your visual is of a guy suddenly running right up a wall; you want a name that will give that image or hint in that direction. Here are some awful names I'm coming up with off the top of my head; they're awful, but they say things your name doesn't:

  • Stunt-Stepping Boots
  • Boots of the Wall Runner
  • Boots of Flamboyant Feinting
  • Boots of Startling Stunts

...I did mention they're awful, right? :)

Point #2 is the trigger, which you describe as "if the wearer moves 10 feet or more along horizontal surface or a surface whose slope is less than 45 degrees." That seems like it would be, pretty much, all the time. Is that what you meant? You just need a running start, is what you're saying - but it sounds like every time the guy moves, he activates the boots. Including, I should say, when he's just running at an opponent - so does he get a free-action feint? (No, no he does not.) So this trigger is confusing.

Which brings me to the last point, which is that this item gives two powers - wall-running, and free-action feint attempts - and of these, the second is left entirely to GM fiat. That's homebrew design, leaving the GM to figure out each and every time if this maneuver qualifies or not, which is More Work For The GM.

Oh, and one tiny construction quibble (I didn't look at the costing): I don't think it's reasonable to let someone literally walk up a wall using only cat's grace. I'm pretty sure spider climb should be in the requirements, particularly when you've referenced it.

I hope this is helpful :)

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

Neil Spicer wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:
I omitted the other fear conditions (frightened and panicked) as opponents with that condition should not be able to attack you in the first place.

But, if you corner them, they'll still fight back. So, you've still got to think through that situation.

Correction: panicked characters cower when unable to flee.

I'mmmmm Mister Rules System... :)

Thank you in advance for taking the time to give feedback...

Shroud of Undeath:

Aura strong necromancy; CL 13th

Slot ---; Price 7,000 gp; Weight 1 lb

This sturdy white shroud may not be soiled by anything other than blood and glows softly when within 10 feet of undead or a corpse. But its primary magical property remains dormant until used in the proper ritual.

This ritual entails wrapping a naked dead creature ("the subject") in the shroud while a living creature ("the sacrificer") offers a blood sacrifice by bleeding itself onto the wrapped corpse. The sacrificer controls the amount of blood sacrificed, taking X points of constitution damage where X is a number chosen by the sacrificer. The sacrificer may not take any other action during the ritual,and no one else may intervene or else the shroud is destroyed without having any effect.

Upon completion of the ritual (about half an hour), the subject makes a Fortitude check (DC = 10 + dead creature's HD - X) based on his condition (including uncured ailments) prior to death. Success means he is immediately affected as if by a resurrection spell. The sacrificer makes a simultaneous Fortitude check (DC = 5 + sacrificer's HD + X). Success means he survives the ritual. Otherwise, he dies from blood loss. In addition, failing either save causes the subject/sacrificer to immediately rise as an undead creature with an equivalent encounter level.

This item will not function for a paladin or good-aligned cleric (as either the subject or sacrificer) and is destroyed after the completion of the ritual.


Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, resurrection, animate dead; Cost 3,500 gp

Star Voter Season 6

Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Tiniek's Talkative Tankard: Okay, that's pretty fantastic. I'm sure many will feel that it's too silly but I like it. I think that the diplomacy check to keep it on topic is what makes it for me. However, it feels just a little half-baked in that regard; as in, if I can interact with it at-will (so that I in fact gain the bonus on ALL knowledge checks), then can't I just keep rolling until I get it? So, isn't a DC10 check pretty trivial? As much fun as it is to imagine this thing being left with a splash of ale in him and making conversation with the other tankards all night long, I think limiting the duration (and thus giving the diplomacy check some urgency) might have been a good idea.

Taking 20 on knowledge checks isn't even possible for most characters; it's worth noting for those who can, but there might be danger of someone misreading this.

This is just an idle though, but I probably would have had the tankard roll his own knowledge checks rather than providing a bonus to yours. If you are already very knowledgeable on a subject it's not going to tell you more, but it will fill you on on the basics for something (possibly something surprisingly obscure) that you aren't familiar with yourself. Breadth, not depth. Anyway, thanks for sharing this, it's a cute idea and I could totally see myself using it some day.

Thanks for the review. I agree with everything you said. The ability to take 10 or take 20 on the test was to allow for the time it would take to interact with the tankard. But, what is to stop the bearer from constantly using it.

The tongues addition from imbibing the contents is a SIAC, but the tankard is made of clay and had the ability to speak the language of its bearer. That and a clay model of a ziggurat is the material component for tongues. For some reason, I thought that all tied in nicely.

I am going to take all the reviews and redo the tankard and post it on a different thread later. I'm hoping to have an item that would have made it into the Top 32. I really enjoyed the whole process and feedback this contest generated. Of course, the stress of the competition isn't still looming over me. That helps. Thanks again.


My woundrous item :)

A problem with the forum, i can't create a correct table ( he doesn't want space ...)

wonderful vial of magical blood
Aura Moderate transmutation; CL 12th
Slot -; Price 4200 gp; Weight -.
Many mage try to create any potion with the power of a specific creature like the regeneration of a troll. The result of an error during the research about this potion is the wonderful vial of magical blood. The pompous title has been used to sell this imperfect object at ignorant client.

This vial can be used one time. Roll D6 on Table 1-1. The duration of this power is 13 minutes and each power changes a part of the user body.

D6 /power /Creature /Transformation
1 /Scent /dog /The nose of the user is a snout
2 /Regeneration /Troll /The skin of the user is green.
3 /Water breathing /Sahuagin /The skin of the user has scales
4 /Heat /Remorhaz /The body of the user becomes red
5 /Rust /Rust monster /The user has antennae and can touch someone like a rust monster
6 /Immune cold /Frost giant /The skin of the user is blue.

Requirements Craft wondrous item, Polymorph greater Cost 2100 gp

Dark Archive

OK, I know I posted late (how many people entered this contest?), but I wanted some time to roll around in my rejection sty a little while before coming back to this website.

Looking at the thing a 2nd time, I think I could have used less room describing things and that's what may have killed me, but I would like a judge or someone who actually matters in the contest to give me some advice on this thing. Anyone else, please feel free to, but since doing this type of thing is, like, what I want to do with my life, a professional opinion is desired above all else.

Conch of the Twisted Tide
Aura moderate divination and transmutation; CL 10th
Slot —; Price 26,600 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

Rumored to be an invention of the Mordant Spire elves, this strangely colored and irregularly spiraled conch shell is unnaturally light and hard as steel. Fitted at one end with a darkwood mouthpiece decorated with esoteric astrological carvings, the conch has three small holes drilled through one side and can be played like a horn or flute, creating eerie echoing notes.

As long as it remains in a character’s immediate possession, it grants the possessor a swim speed equal to half of their total land speed (rounded down to the nearest 5-foot increment) and the ability to breathe underwater via hidden closable gill flaps that open between their ribs. If they already have a swim speed, or are granted one by a separate spell or item, possessing the conch increases it by 50%. The possessor can also speak and understand Aklo and Aquan, and gains a +2 bonus to Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks regarding creatures with the aquatic subtype.

Twice per day as a standard action, by speaking the command word and blowing the conch like a horn, the possessor and all allied creatures within 20 feet gain a +3 natural armor bonus and damage reduction 5/bludgeoning, as abnormal chitinous barnacle-like growths with sharp-edged protrusions cover their entire bodies. Anyone striking a creature under this effect with a non-reach melee weapon, unarmed strike, or natural weapon takes 1d6 points of slashing damage. This effect lasts for 10 minutes.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, beast shape II, tongues; Cost 13,300 gp

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

I thought I had something really exciting this year. I need everyone's help learning why some of the successful items made it and I continue not to. Do I get magic items, or not?

Scabbard of the False Peace
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 18,100 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This handsome leather scabbard changes shape and size to accommodate any slashing melee weapon. Commonly, subtle decorations on the scabbard contain a command word, which activates the sheath's properties and reveals them to the new owner. The scabbard recognizes the last wearer to pronounce the command word as its current owner.
The scabbard of the false peace includes a thick, knotted thong for peace-bonding. A wearer who has spoken the command word at least once may draw any weapon contained within the scabbard as a free action, whether the peace-bond has been affixed or not. Anyone testing the peace bond by attempting to draw the weapon must succeed in a DC 25 Strength check. Untying the knotted thong without whispering the command word requires a DC 20 Disable Device check.
Once per day, the current owner of the scabbard may call the sheath (and any weapon contained within it) to his side from any location, so long as both owner and scabbard are on the same plane. Activating this ability is a swift action that requires use of the command word. The weapon may still be drawn as a free action in the same round it is summoned.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, arcane lock, teleport; Cost 9,050 gp

Steven T. Helt wrote:

I thought I had something really exciting this year. I need everyone's help learning why some of the successful items made it and I continue not to. Do I get magic items, or not?

Scabbard of the False Peace
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 18,100 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This handsome leather scabbard changes shape and size to accommodate any slashing melee weapon. Commonly, subtle decorations on the scabbard contain a command word, which activates the sheath's properties and reveals them to the new owner. The scabbard recognizes the last wearer to pronounce the command word as its current owner.
The scabbard of the false peace includes a thick, knotted thong for peace-bonding. A wearer who has spoken the command word at least once may draw any weapon contained within the scabbard as a free action, whether the peace-bond has been affixed or not. Anyone testing the peace bond by attempting to draw the weapon must succeed in a DC 25 Strength check. Untying the knotted thong without whispering the command word requires a DC 20 Disable Device check.
Once per day, the current owner of the scabbard may call the sheath (and any weapon contained within it) to his side from any location, so long as both owner and scabbard are on the same plane. Activating this ability is a swift action that requires use of the command word. The weapon may still be drawn as a free action in the same round it is summoned.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, arcane lock, teleport; Cost 9,050 gp

I think it is b/c you used the work "thong" in a wondrous item ....

just kidding.

I like the concept, but I had to read it several times to understand how it may work (that may be my own lack of knowledge however). For example, I do not know what "peace-bonding" means.
I was also not sure how it works in terms of sounding like it "stores" weapons in it, but at the same time takes the shape of any edged weapon placed in it. Again, I may just be obtuse. This item also seemed vaguely familiar, as if I read of another item similar to it over the competitions.

Anyway, sorry you didnt make it. I am sure that must be frustrating, even more so for you, since you have already proven that you are able to produce for Paizo.

Would you be willing to tell me what you think of my item? It is back on page 11 or so, but I will reproduce it here for you (hope you or no one else minds that). Even just a few words help. Thanks.

The Book of Beast and Brute
Aura; Moderate Transmutation CL 9
Price 25,000 gp Weight 1 lb.
The book of beast and brute is a small, leather-bound book with nine blank, almost membranous pages. Removing and crumpling one, and speaking the command word, allows the character to select any creature from the 1st level summon monster or nature’s ally charts, which grows from the paper in one round. The character must speak the words within 24 hours and 45 feet of the paper, but is not required to be within visual or aural range. The creature is parchment, but retains all the characteristics of its normal type. It obeys the character’s simple commands. Any fire or water related attack does double damage to it. Removing more pages allows for the creation of creatures from the higher-level summoning lists, one level per page crumpled together. However, for each level over the character, there is a 15% chance it attacks her. If the paper is in an enclosed space that would not normally accommodate the creature, it breaks through anything with a Break DC of 23 or less. Not meeting this benchmark means it becomes worthless paper. Each creature lasts for 20 minutes before returning to its original crumpled-paper state, now useless. As long as there exists in the book a number of pages equal to the total levels of creatures already created, they can be made permanent by breaking the book’s binding, thereby destroying its magical properties. Killed creatures explode harmlessly into confetti. One page is removed and crumpled in one round, two to five pages together in two rounds, and more than six pages in three rounds. Balled-up paper has a range increment of 10 feet.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, polymorph any object, permanency;
Cost 12,500 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I'm taking this one out of order. Just because...

Steven T. Helt wrote:
I thought I had something really exciting this year. I need everyone's help learning why some of the successful items made it and I continue not to. Do I get magic items, or not?

You certainly "get" magic items...even wondrous items. It's that fine line between a good magic item and something with an eye-popping or inspirational idea that makes it Superstar-worthy where you're finding your greatest frustration. Here's my feedback...

Steven T. Helt wrote:
Scabbard of the False Peace

An interesting name. You don't find magic scabbards everyday. And "false peace" implies it could be something equally deceptive and deadly at the same time. I'm intrigued.

Steven T. Helt wrote:

Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th

Slot none; Price 18,100 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Aura and CL are appropriate for a teleport-based item, however, I think you may have misfired on a more appropriate spell to base it on. I'll get into that later. Slot and weight all make sense for a scabbard. Price seems reasonable on a cursory examination. The judges rarely go in-depth on price checks unless something seems really out of whack...or the ability you're trying to define in an item more easily duplicates what an existing wand, scroll, or potion could achieve, in which case we price that and then compare it to your item. It's just a shorthand method of quickly deriving a reasonable price/cost assessment of the hundreds of items flowing through the judging chamber.

Steven T. Helt wrote:


This handsome leather scabbard changes shape and size to accommodate any slashing melee weapon. Commonly, subtle decorations on the scabbard contain a command word, which activates the sheath's properties and reveals them to the new owner.

Good initial description and at least a small hint towards one of its abilities (i.e., resizing itself for your favorite slashing weapon). That's good, because this isn't just useful for longswords...it can accommodate a lot more PCs and their preferred weapon choices. So that's smart design. You're appealing to more PCs that way.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
The scabbard recognizes the last wearer to pronounce the command word as its current owner.

This bit raises an eyebrow for me, because it could introduce some interesting situations involving multiple people who know the command word. And the GM might become bothered with having to track that bit of information. But no biggie...let's keep reading...

Steven T. Helt wrote:
The scabbard of the false peace includes a thick, knotted thong for peace-bonding. A wearer who has spoken the command word at least once may draw any weapon contained within the scabbard as a free action, whether the peace-bond has been affixed or not.

This is the part where I'm more concerned about who knows the command word or has ever spoken it in the past. Granted, you're using it as a safeguard mechanic like a gun-lock or something to prevent others from using it...or even removing the weapon from the scabbard so they can Appraise or identify it. But that could become equal parts annoying. It just depends. Again, no biggie...just something that crosses my mind as I'm reading the item's descriptive text.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
Anyone testing the peace bond by attempting to draw the weapon must succeed in a DC 25 Strength check. Untying the knotted thong without whispering the command word requires a DC 20 Disable Device check.

Kind of interesting. Not hugely innovative or anything. I don't envision this circumstance popping up all that often. In some ways, it comes across like the item for players who have grown frustrated by their GM (other players) stealing their weapons out from under them. Thus, it starts to head into plot device territory, because there are really only certain limited situations where this will come up. Hence, it's not inherently screaming Superstar idea!

Steven T. Helt wrote:
Once per day, the current owner of the scabbard may call the sheath (and any weapon contained within it) to his side from any location, so long as both owner and scabbard are on the same plane. Activating this ability is a swift action that requires use of the command word. The weapon may still be drawn as a free action in the same round it is summoned.

Nifty, but at least two of the judges agreed this is essentially instant summons-in-a-can. Again, nothing tremendously innovative about the idea or the mechanics involved in it. That said, it's workman-like quality and attention to detail. There's nothing mechanically wrong about it. This is one of those "good enough for a book of magic items" items, just not what we're looking for as a precursor for identifying someone who'll push the envelope (without pushing it too far!). Those who make the Top 32 in RPG Superstar are primarily rewarded for out-of-the-box thinking. That's not what we saw in this item.

Steven T. Helt wrote:


Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, arcane lock, teleport; Cost 9,050 gp

Well presented information. You used the provided template perfectly well. The arcane lock is appropriate. But, as I mentioned earlier, I think instant summons is a must for what this scabbard does rather than a simple teleport. If you were concerned about the hard costs associated with that 7th level spell, you didn't need to be. The pricing off the table isn't the be-all, end-all of wondrous item pricing. You would have easily seen that an item based on instant summons would cost more than one involving teleport, but the more important step in pricing wondrous items is comparing it to other stuff that's already in the game. And a simple scabbard providing these effects wouldn't warrant the full price, especially considering it wouldn't come into play that often.

I mean, are you misplaing your sheathed weapon all that often? Or is someone stealing it away form you a lot? Is your GM making you leave it behind, but you want it to come to you on a moment's notice even after you willingly part with it in order to see the king? Those situations mostly make this an "outsmart the GM" item. Or a "protect my hard won magical blade" item. Certainly a noble goal at times, just not a place that you would normally go and award someone for dabbling in for the purposes of elevating them into the Top 32.

Reasonably cool name.
Decent idea, just not tremendously exciting/innovative
Solid mechanics, but mostly a couple of SIAC effects
Well-written (you can write)
Flawless presentation (you've got the professionalism)

You need to work on your ideas and your mechanics. Don't play it safe here. Think outside the box. Come up with something no one's seen before or seen done a certain way. Don't just rely on mechanics and straight-out-of-the-spell effects to explain what your item does. Have it do something unique, something wondrous, something that inspires everyone to want it. You focus on improving/enhancing those two areas of your designs and your obvious creativity, writing skills, and professionalism will carry you through.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

I know that Mr. Sean K. Reynolds already summarized the judge's original evaluations of my item and I know that there are still so many items to critique, but Neil, if you could bless my item (the amulet of reverse incantation) with one of your in-depth evaluations I would be extremely grateful! I'm happy to have heard that my item had Superstar potential, but it sounds like there were errors in both execution and ambiguity regarding the item's abilities RAW vs. RAI.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Thanks for the feedback Azhamael.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

DigiGirlMimi wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:

Hopefully, no one begrudges me that. Especially to help out a lady gamer...which this hobby needs more of.
So do all of us lady gamers get priority? ;)

No. But the ones I've met in person and actually had in one of my games do. ;-)

And, aside from Dawn/Dark Sasha, I've already done my review for Megan/Elora on the first page.

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

Thanks for your feedback, Neil. I value it. I guess I thought of it as a scabbard everyone would want, and one that appealed to roleplayers who could hedge their bet when giving up weapons in a diplomatic setting.

My first year I had that stupid magic pillow and since then I've been trying combat items palyers would want instead of thinking out of the box. Should have gone with my SAK sandstorm in a bag.

Gonna try hard to NOT qualify for this contest next year, but if I fail, I'll try to develop something undeniably out of the box and useful.

I'll also be around for the also ran thread to show of my archetype. Worked too hard on it not to. : }

Crown of Deceit
Aura moderate enchantment and illusion; CL 5th
Slot head; Price 9,600 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
This platinum crown is encrusted with five gems, one large gem (keystone) in the center measuring three by two inches with two gems on each side of it measuring one by one inch each. Upon speaking the command word, the wearer of the Crown of Deceit can force all humanoid onlookers within a twenty foot radius to see the person they most desire, dead or alive. The wearer can target one, some, or all onlookers. All victims of the crown’s magic are allowed a will save with a DC of 16 to nullify the effect. The wearer is not aware of whether his onlookers are enthralled. While under the effects of the crown, the wearer gets +20 to all Diplomacy and Bluff checks with the enthralled victims. The effect lasts for five minutes (50 rounds). Also, any affected victims are more susceptible to suggestions from the wearer, giving a -4 penalty to will saves to resist any enchantment cast by the wearer.
When the crown is activated the large gem set in the center of the crown dulls for 24 hours when it returns to a brilliant state. If the crown is activated again while the keystone is dull, one of the remaining small gems shatters and is irreplaceable. If all of the small gems are shattered and the keystone is dull, the crown cannot be activated again until the keystone resumes shining. During that time, the Crown of Deceit is considered nonmagical.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Charm, Disguise Self, Suggestion; Cost 4,800 gp

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

Steven T. Helt wrote:
I'll also be around for the also ran thread to show of my archetype. Worked too hard on it not to. : }

Oh I don't know. Why not just hold onto it until next year? That's my plan - I'm hoping that third time's a charm for me ...

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Man, I feel like we are never going to see a review of my item. I have been enjoying the reviews though.

Star Voter Season 6

CalebTGordan wrote:
Man, I feel like we are never going to see a review of my item. I have been enjoying the reviews though.

Yeah I feel your pain but I agree with you, the reviews of the other items have been wicked helpful on their own. I just remind myself that they're busy with the winner's entries and there's plenty of time till next year's contest to get some feedback.

Protective Perambulator of the Paranoid
Aura strong abjuration; CL 15th
Slot -; Price 140,000 gp; Weight 150 lbs.
Inactive, the protective perambulator of the paranoid appears as a luxurious throne, carved from a single block of mahogany. Upon sitting upon the throne and uttering the proper command word, a hundred tiny roots sprout from its base like the legs of a centipede, lifting the throne off of the ground and providing stable, steady movement as the rider dictates using simple mental commands. The multitudes of tiny legs allow it to easily traverse difficult terrain and obstacles shorter than 5’ in height without penalty. The throne itself is equivalent in size to a standard riding pony for a medium sized creature. It cannot make attacks itself.
In addition, the throne projects a protective aura out to a 20’ radius that prevents all forms of extradimensial travel into or within it, such as a Dimension Door, Ethereal Jaunt and Teleport. Any creature attempting to use such effects immediately ends such movement at the edge of the area and must pass a DC15 Will Save or be stunned for 1 round.
The protective perambulator of the paranoid has the following characteristics in animated form: hardness 8; hp 60; Spd 20; AC 14; CMD 15.

Requirements Craft Wonderous Item, animate objects, dimensional lock, creator must have 8 ranks in Craft (carpentry); Cost 70,000 gp

Once again, congrats to the winners, and thanks judges for taking the time to judge, critique and be there for us!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Okay....here is my item. If you guys still have time, I'd appreciate a critique. It's not 100% exactly as it was submitted....I wound up having to retype it and submit it from another computer because I was traveling at the time and was stuck where I was due to severe snow, and could not make it home in time to get my original entry in. Let's just say that alone was a learning experience that I will keep in mind next year.

Sorry it's not identical, but I would appreciate any feedback that might have been given.


Pipe of Pleasant Palaver
Aura Moderate Transmutation; CL 7th
Slot - ; Price 15,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Finely crafted yet plain, this smoking pipe can be used to influence those around the wielder. Once per day, when tobacco or any other type of leaf is burned in the pipe’s bowl, the smoke compels those within a 30 square foot area (centered on the wielder) to listen to what the wielder has to say. This effect lasts as long as the user concentrates, up to a total of 10 minutes. The wielder gains a +10 bonus to all diplomacy checks made to shift an individual’s attitude toward him. Anyone whose attitude improves by at least one category is considered to be affected by the pipe. Anyone affected is treated as being under the effect of a calm emotions spell, and depending on their new attitude toward the wielder, are subject to additional effects. Those with an attitude of indifferent are subject to a -4 penalty on saves against suggestion or mass suggestion spells, so long as they are cast by the wielder of the pipe. Those of friendly or better attitude are subject to this save penalty, and additionally treat the wielder as if he is under the effect of a glibness spell. The pipe and its magical smoke replace the material components required for suggestion and mass suggestion, so the DC for any attempt to recognize the casting of these spells through use of Spellcraft is increased by 10. Casting either spell does not count as a break in the wielder’s concentration.
Requirements Craft wondrous item, calm emotions, glibness, 7 ranks in Diplomacy; Cost 7,500 gp

Azmahel wrote:

Spell Syphon

Aura moderate abjuration and transmutation; CL 7th
Slot –; Price 17,500 gp; Weight –lbs.
Fine, floating particles of black and white sand fill this delicate, but unbreakable crystal vial. A simple, round stopper seals the vial, fastened to its neck with a thin silver cord.
When a Spell Syphon is opened, it can be thrown as a splash weapon with a range of 20 ft. The sand then whirls out of the vial, filling a 20ft radius with a fine, sparkling cloud of sand.
The cloud concentrates on all creatures capable of using spells or spell-like abilities in its area, whirling around them in a dazzling pattern, draining their magical energies. All affected creatures suffer a 1d4 penalty to their caster level for 1 minute, but may attempt a DC 17 Will save to end this effect every time after they've successfully cast a spell.
One round after emerging, the sand whirls back into the vial, collecting the harnessed energies and after the sand returned the vial reseals itself.
The sand then transforms into a multi-hued liquid, granting the creature drinking it a +4 bonus to its caster level for a number of rounds equal to the total penalty the sand applied.
Once the Spell Syphon is empty the sand will slowly reform over the next 24 hours, after which it can be used again.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dispel magic, greater, transformation;Cost 8,250 gp


Ask A RPGSuperstar Succubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus – fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire above a drop of several hundred feet into a pool of molten basalt frantically try to do, and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.
Dear Azmahel,
In recognition of your valued assistant judging work (you're already getting worried, aren't you?) here comes one of my RPGSupersuccubus item reviews:
Is the item Pretty?
Black and white sand in a crystal vial tied with silver thread? Is this one of those minimalist pieces of art? The description says that the sand is 'floating' (though it doesn't say in what) so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume it's pretty if you shake it up and down...

Does the item help a demonic seductress to keep a paladin house pet?
It depends if Mr. or Miss. Paladin decides to get frisky... Unfortunately, though, it's not going to do anything in the face of a desperate attempt to smite you, which is the direct attack nine out of ten paladins try first. (Of course they don't stop to think that it's the thing that nine out of ten paladins making a direct attack try first and that therefore the prudent succubus already has countermeasures in place to turn such an attack to her advantage...)

Is the item otherwise useful?
It's an unbreakable crystal vial!!!! Heck, yes, this is useful!

Other Comments? (including World Domination potential on the evil laughter scale, where appropriate)
Do you have any idea how few ostensibly 'unbreakable crystal' items actually are just that? Do you know how many of them you can use to reliably wedge the winch mechanism of a portcullis when there are a horde of muscle-bound Kurgess worshippers (and no, I didn't know he had that many in town, otherwise I would have been more tactful in the first place) grunting and heaving in a combined effort to lift that very portcullis? Let me give you a clue. It was less than five and assuming exhaustive testing confirms that your item is indeed partially fashioned of authentically 'unbreakable crystal' I'm still not going to need all the fingers of one hand to tally them up. (Obviously it was more than zero, otherwise I might not be recounting this to you right now, but let's just say it was a pretty close run thing...)
Anyway, unbreakable crystal (when it is) is exceptionally valuable and as a door-stop alone this item is thus tremendously useful.
Which is really rather fortunate, as I'm not a spellcaster myself, and (except for the odd bard or sorceress) not very many succubi are. This item doesn't even act as a glitterdust when the sand is out of the vial and whirling and swirling, showing up any invisible creatures in the area.
It feels really a bit of an anticlimax to point out that a lot of powerful (and thus dangerous) spellcasters tend to be quite good against things which ideally require weak willpower to resolve against.
Anyway, the unbreakable crystal vial gets a recommendation...

Gollum Rating:
So juicy-sweet.

Hoping you found those thoughts Helpful. ;)

Ask A RPGSupersuccubus.

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