Judges, Please Critique My Item


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Seabyrn wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:


Lachlan Rocksoul wrote:
The ship in a bottle looks just like a normal, clear, 2 inch thick, glass bottle capable of holding about 1 gallon of liquid. But, inside the corked bottle is a tiny ship sitting upon wooden supports. Anyone giving it a cursory glance will see a tiny model of a ship with amazing detail (sometimes even having barnacles on its hull).
A handful of minor quibbles here. First, it should be "2-inch thick" not "2 inch thick" and you've used passive voice ("is") and the word "will" which can almost always be dropped to make your writing stronger (e.g., "Anyone giving it a cursory...
Sorry - just a quibble on a quibble here - "is" is not actually passive in that sentence. Granted, the sentence is a bit awkward, but that has nothing to do with passives.

Call it whatever kind of peeve you want, the statement could just have easily read, "But, a tiny ship sits upon wooden supports inside the corked bottle..." No more use of the word "is"...and that eliminates all concerns about anything even looking like passive voice. In my opinion, it's far better to eliminate it altogether when there's a better sentence that can be used. And, besides, it's really rather pointless to go into a pet-peeve over the full-on definition of passive voice anyway. The point is, strengthen your writing. Eliminate your reliance on as many forms of the verb "to be" as you can. And, as I also mentioned in that critique, take out the word "will" wherever you can. It almost never adds anything to what you're trying to convey. The same can often be said about the word "that" in most written text, as well.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka KissMeDarkly

Neil Spicer wrote:
The same can often be said about the word "that" in most written text, as well.

I can concur on "That." It is the word I most often find myself removing from my own writing.


Eyes of the Past
Aura moderate divination; CL 13th
Slot eyes; Price 93,600 gp; Weight
Description
These seemingly simple eyeglasses look and functions like any other pair until activated. Once the command word is spoken, the wearer can see into the recent past. The viewer can only see the events within the area being observed and within their line of sight. The user decides how far back in time to start the vision in five-minute increments up to 15 minutes maximum with one lens, 30 minutes for both.
Once the user selects when to start the vision, it begins in the area being viewed and continues forward in time to the moment of activation. The viewer can move in any direction to see the area as desired. They can see how many individuals where in the area, what they were doing or read anything that an individual may have written or read. The viewer can fast forward through the vision as they need but cannot rewind or stop the vision to try and see something that they may have missed or see anything that was invisible or hidden from view. To deactivate the glasses, the viewer need just remove them. The viewer cannot cast spells or engage in combat while the glasses are activated do to the concentration needed to see the vision.
These glasses function once per day, any attempt to use them beyond this limit destroys the lenses. If the area being viewed was naturally dark, they cannot make out any details beyond a 10-foot radius centered on wearer. If the area was magically dark or protected from scrying during the time being observed, the glasses do not function but still counts as its daily use.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, vision; Cost 46,800 gp

Marathon Voter Season 9

I have already spotted two issues with it(a Aura faint necromantic should be aura faint necromancy, and b, Cost 5000 gp should be Cost 5,000 gp), but further feed back would be welcome.

Hungry Ghost Mask
Aura faint necromantic; CL 5th
Slot head; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description

Finely crafted from greenish-white porcelain, this example of a Hungry Ghost Mask is in the image of a Jiang Shi, one of the many exotic horrors of Tian Xia. Dots of seemingly ancient blood fleck the mouth of the mask as though, in antiquity, the fine spray from a wound covered the mask. It would appear that no one has cleaned it since.

When worn, the mask has a malign influence on the open wounds of those nearby. Once per day, as a swift action, the mask’s wearer may take a deep breath, activating the mask. This causes spilled blood within 30’ of the wearer to become a red mist that flows to the mouth of the mask. The bloody vapor then burns away, granting the wearer a profane and hollow semblance of health.

Everyone suffering from bleed damage within the mask’s area of effect loses hit points equal to the wearer’s Con bonus (Fort DC 14 halves). The mask’s wearer gains a number of temporary hit points equal to the combined damage caused by the effect.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, vampiric touch; Cost 5000 gp

Shadow Lodge

Clark Peterson wrote:


Boring. Boring name. Boring item. It is, literally a ship in a bottle. Yawn....

Thanks for the feedback Clark. I'll take all you said to heart and present a better item next year!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Standback wrote:
Reciprocity Coin

Semi-interesting name. But a lot of people seem to like doing magic coins. The first year of RPG Superstar was fraught with them. Therefore, as I read it, my shields go up. If you'd done your homework and looked back across prior year threads, you might have seen that coins got called out. But that was three years ago. So, maybe a good one is worth seeing this time around? I'll keep reading and see what we've got...

Standback wrote:

Aura strong enchantment; CL 15th

Slot --; Price 6,000 gp; Weight --

Aura and CL seem appropriate for demand as the basis of the item. I also like that it's a "strong" enchantment, since demand is a higher level spell and this item is basically allowing you to do that twice (i.e., between the two people involved in the reciprocity). Slot and weight are appropriate for a coin. But you're underpriced as compared to a single-activation item of demand.

Standback wrote:

Description

This platinum coin bears an engraving of balanced scales crossed by a feather quill. Both its faces are identical - down to the smallest nicks and scratches.

This is good, up front descriptive stuff. Smart design choice.

Standback wrote:
This coin offers an exchange both eminently fair and inescapably perilous; it can purchase things no mere currency can, and exact payment more dear than gold.

This bit didn't do much for me. Just came off feeling kind of campy. I can almost here some announcer's voice overlaid with ominous undertones...but not in a good way. Plus, I just think it's smarter to set aside the "I'm going to convince you how powerful and awesome this item is with my descriptive text" so you can do it instead by leading directly into your mechanics, which will demonstrate much more powerfully how awesome and powerful it is...

Standback wrote:

The coin is used by giving it to another, in gift or trade. The giver may activate the coin to make a demand of the receiver (as the spell; Will DC 22 partially negates). Once the demand effect ends (or is negated), a whispered voice echoes through the receiver's mind, repeating the words of the giver's demand and compelling him (as a suggestion) to set them in writing, in his own hand and on whatever surface he chooses (no save; 15 hour duration).

If the receiver fulfills this suggestion, then in the following week he may issue a demand of his own to the giver (as the spell; Will DC 22 partially negates) by writing its words beneath his transcription of the giver's demand.

All the effects above are activated by the initial transaction, and do not require the receiver's continued possession of the coin. The coin cannot be activated again until the effect of the receiver's demand ends (or is negated). If for any reason the receiver does not or cannot issue a demand within the allotted week, the coin can never be activated again.

Yeah. Definite plot device item. Mostly just a demand SIAC with some flavor-wrapping to it on the "compelled to write it down" stuff and reciprocal demand placed on someone else. It just comes off feeling like an item no wizard or sorcerer would ever bother to make. Why not just craft a scroll of demand? Or just cast demand on the person you want to perform your task? What's the benefit of having it in coin form with a reciprocal demand that thereby forces you to do something in return for the guy? Just not all that Superstar of an idea.

Standback wrote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, demand; Cost 3,000 gp

You've nailed this piece, other than the price/cost being too low for what it does. Fairly good attention to detail, although your "Requirements" and "Cost" tag need bolding.

Standback wrote:

What I really like about this item is that I see it as a plot device whose trigger is controlled by the PCs....The plot twist it creates - "get something very powerful now; tomorrow somebody'll be able to mess you up good" - would fit a lot of different situations, and could be very interesting depending on the party's situation and who the NPC given the coin would be. I see this item being saved for a moment of sheer desperation, and then having the whole party waiting in dread for the other shoe to drop.

Is this something you think comes across well in the original description? Or is that not an impression you got particularly strongly from the entry itself?

I think that came out very strongly...i.e., it's a definite plot device item, willingly activated by whoever uses it, with a built-in "half curse" of afflicting yourself with a similar demand in exchange for getting someone to do what you want (or need) them to do right now. So, in that respect, you accomplished your goal. It just wasn't a good goal. Read on...

Standback wrote:
Opinions on plot-devices as wondrous items are also gleefully solicited :D

They're bad. Plot device items pretty much only work for the plots in which they have a role to play. Which means they're fairly limited and potentially boring if a particular plot and mechanic by which it gets introduced into the game doesn't resonate all that well with your players or a GM whose trying to craft a game or campaign. Plot device items are always niche items. And that's not a Superstar "box" to playing around in.

Also, player-activated plot device items are probably even worse (in my opinion). As I said earlier, I don't know anyone who would favor spending 6,000 gp for this item when they could just get a scroll of demand and avoid the whole reciprocal thing altogether. That's how a player will think. And, when crafting wondrous items, you need to view your design both from a GM's and a player's perspective to really understand how viable and/or interesting it would be.

Plot device items often appeal to people who are usually the GM, because they envision it helping their storytelling. Plot device items are rarely enjoyed by PCs unless there's some super-cool element that convinces them to keep it around despite the nagging plot device "anchor" that comes with it. This one doesn't have a super-cool element to it that would elicit that kind of reaction. Hence, it runs afoul of the auto-reject advice on plot device items and there's not enough redeeming value to everything else to invoke auto-reject advice #27.

Summary:
Middle-of-the-road name choice
Poor conception/idea (it's a uninteresting plot device item)
Mechanically bland (really just a reciprocal demand SIAC)
Okay flavor/writing
Mostly good presentation and use of the provided template

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Clark Peterson wrote:


Now this is a cool item. I think (2) may have been your problem. I'd love to hear the feedback on this item, too.

Frankly, I would have voted to keep. Not sure the eventual fate of this one, particularly with the mechanic issue you mention, but it is clearly one I would keep around to think about. That...

Thanks Clark! It sounds like it had just one two many minor issues along with one major issue to overcome its coolness.

But now I know what not to do next year!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka OgeXam

Grafting Clamp
Aura strong necromancy; CL 15th
Slot varies; Price 32,000 gp; Weight 1lb
Description

This circular clamp has small barbed hooks all around its edges. When activated, a freshly removed limb from one creature can be grafted to another willing creature as a full round action. A limb can only be removed from a creature that is dead and must be attached to the wearer within one minute of the donor creature’s death.

The donor creature and the wearer of a grafting clamp must be within one size category of each other.

If a grafting clamp is successfully dispelled with dispel magic or antimagic field the limb falls off. The limb can be reattached within one minute after which a newly harvested limb must be used.

Different limbs can be attached as follows:

Arm: Body Slot; The wearer gains the reach of the donor creature’s arm when using the grafted arm. If the donor creature had a natural attack with the arm the wearer gains a secondary attack equal to the donor creature’s natural attack with the arm. Use the damage dice and strength modifier from the donor creature. The wearer does not gain any special attacks the donor creature had. The arm cannot wield a weapon.

Head: Shoulder Slot; The wearer gains the ability to hear and speak the languages the donor creature knew. The wearer gains a +2 profane bonus to all knowledge skills in which the donor creature had ranks. The attached head is always awake allowing the wearer to be alert while sleeping.

Wings: Chest Slot; The wearer gains a fly speed equal to half the donor creature’s fly speed with poor maneuverability.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, make whole, animate dead; Cost 16,000 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Nazard wrote:
Defending Wisp of the Dying Ember

A long name. Calling it a "wisp" isn't all that concrete for me...but it comes off visually as a "smoky" form curling away from a dying ember. So, it's an okay name. I'm intrigued enough to read on with interest in wanting to know more about it. And that's what you want from a name.

Nazard wrote:

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th

Slot neck; Price 8,000 gp; Weight

Aura makes sense for telekinesis and gaseous form. The CL is two levels higher than you'd need for a 5th level spell like telekinesis, but maybe the bump up is warranted based on what the item can do. Slot and weight are appropriate for an amulet. Price feels a little under to me based on what this can do...but you've also chosen abilities that make it very hard to pin down. Thus, to properly price it, you would be totally dependent on comparing it to other items at the same price level. And that's what makes me think this one is underpriced.

Nazard wrote:

Description

This amulet consists of an obsidian disk with an oak coal set in the center.

Short, simple bit of description. I think you had some room to expound here a bit more and show at least a few more words of evocative prose. Nothing over the top, of course. But something more than the rather bland nature of this statement.

Nazard wrote:

Whenever the wearer gains the helpless condition, the coal emits a stream of smoke which coalesces into the wearer’s image. The wearer can see, hear, and attack through the wisp, but not move, speak, or cast spells – the wisp appears in the wearer’s square and threatens all squares within reach as normal.

The wisp wields smoke-version copies of any weapons the wearer currently possesses – they have the same enhancement bonuses as the originals, but none of their special abilities. Attacks made with these weapons count as touch attacks, but inflict only half damage. The wearer may switch any one weapon each round as a move action.
Once per round, if an opponent attempts a coup de grace on the wearer, the wisp may attempt a special bull rush action as an attack of opportunity, even if that opponent would normally not provoke one. This bull rush is made with a +4 bonus to the wearer’s normal CMB, and, if successful, inflicts 2d6 points of force damage.
If at negative hit points, the wearer receives a -2 penalty to stabilization rolls while the wisp is active. He may dismiss the wisp as a free action, but cannot reactivate it while unconscious.
If the wearer loses the helpless condition, the wisp dissipates, though if he becomes helpless again, he may reactivate it. The wisp is immune to all forms of damage.
Using the wisp during normal sleep prevents the wearer from receiving any benefits from that rest, including restored hit points or spells.

This is an intriguing idea...i.e., a half-spirit, magical "thing" that defends you if you happen to fall in battle or become helpless...or fall asleep. It's kind of like a guardian angel without the celestial trappings. But it feels a little too powerful to me. The thing is immune to all forms of damage? And, yet, it can deal out damage easily enough. Yes, the real you is still helpless, but this thing is still defending you pretty capably with the bull rush AoO. It's infinitely reusable as long as you "reset" it by losing the helpless condition for a round or so.

Your presentation wound up getting kind of garbled and jammed up, presumably because you copied and pasted from a word processor and your carriage returns didn't carry over. Did you preview your item before submitting to make sure it looked as professionally polished as possible? I suspect not. And that too says something about you as a designer. I tried not to ding people too hard on stuff like that, but I am a stickler for detail and presentation values moreso than most folks. And, every little thing you can do better is worth doing. So, take that feedback for what it's worth and apply it as you can.

Nazard wrote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, gaseous form, telekinesis; Cost 4,000 gp

You followed the template very well. Price/cost ratio is right. But I think your spell requirements should be something else. The descriptive flavor and actions of the wisp just don't scream gaseous form (which can't affect the real world very easily) and telekinesis (which can, but feels misplaced in this design). I think I would have rather seen you reflect the shades or even simulacrum spell to define the duplicate, half-real defender. And maybe interject something like forceful hand to explain the bull rush AoO to keep attackers away from the helpless owner.

Summary:
Semi-interesting name
Cool idea
Mechanically suspect (from a balance, costing perspective)
Well-written with decent, but not great descriptive flavor
Decent presentation and use of the template (but need to preview)
Made the Keep pile

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Boots of the Masterful Step

Aura: faint Transmutation Magic; CL 6th
Slot Feet; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 2 pounds
These typical looking black leather boots grant the wearer with the ability to subconsciously control the nature of their footprints and adjust them at will simply by thinking about the creature, animal, humanoid or giant which is within the size limitations they wish to mimic and those tracks are left. The wearer can also decide to leave no tracks at all or stop and start tracks at will. The wearer can also decide to increase or decrease the size of the tracks they leave by 1 size category. (For instance a Medium sized creature wearing these boots could leave footprints of a Troll or Hobbit.) These boots will adjust to fit Small, Medium, or Large sized creatures but are generally found in Medium sizes.

Limitations: The Boots cannot replicate the tracks of magical creatures, outsiders or creatures that are larger or smaller then the size restrictions of the wearer. Example: Someone that is a small size could not duplicate large sized creature’s footprints.

Faint transmutation Magic; CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, Alter Self; Pass Without Trace; Price 10,000 gp.

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

I can't seem to find the copy of the item I submitted, but the name is Allure's Aroma.

Edit:

A near-final draft with no formatting:

Allure’s Aroma
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 11th
Slot –; Price 4,000 gp; Weight –
DESCRIPTION
The liquid contained in this delicate crystal exudes a sweet or musky fragrance, depending on the owner. The bottle provides enough liquid for 50 uses, each of which requires a full round action to apply. For 12 hours after applying allure’s aroma, the wearer gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks and improves the attitude of all creatures of the wearer’s race by one step. Additionally, all of the wearer’s mind-affecting charm spells, spell-like abilities and supernatural abilities become heightened by 1 level—any existing effect’s increased efficacy persists even if the 12-hour limit elapses. Further applications of this item merely reset the 12-hour duration, with no additional bonuses.
Creatures with the scent ability, while within 60 feet of the wearer, take a -4 circumstance penalty to saving throws against these spells and abilities. A creature without a sense of smell, or those which have no need to breathe, is immune to allure’s aroma—the wearer loses her bonus to Diplomacy checks, the creature’s attitude is unaffected, and spells or effects are unaltered with respect to that creature.
The owner of this item may also throw the bottle as a grenade-like weapon, targeting all creatures within 30 feet of the broken bottle with a charm monster effect (Will DC 17 negates). The effect, which lasts 1 hour for every 4 remaining applications, includes the penalty to creatures with the scent ability and immunity by the other aforementioned creatures.
CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, charm monster; Cost 2,000 gp

My opinion: In an effort to take out needless complication, I made a nice, but boring, utility item. Plus the phrase "circumstance penalty" didn't help. :)

Thanks in advance for the critique.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Urn of the Giant Horde

Aura moderate transmutation and conjuration; CL 9th
Slot -; Price 34,000 gp; Weight 8 lbs.

Description
Reliefs of a rioting mob adorn this marble funeral jar filled with ashes of giants. Once a day, upon speaking the command word, the urn vibrates to the uproar of hundreds of savages trapped within.

The area in a 20-ft radius of the urn shakes violently and is considered difficult terrain. Casting spells while in the affected area requires a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level).

After 3 rounds, the forces inside the urn start trying to escape. The urn opens and the ashes explode in a 30-ft cone-shaped emanation unless the bearer makes a DC 10 Strength check each round as a standard action to keep it shut. Two hands are required to bear the urn successfully. While the urn is closed, the bearer may deactivate it as a swift action by speaking the command word. If the ashes are released, the cone becomes the new area of effect and the initial effects persist in it. The bearer can spend one move action each round to redirect the cone.

The ashes shape into a horde of giants that stomps everyone in its path. It attempts to trip huge or smaller creatures using a +15 CMB. Prone creatures in the area take 2d6 subdual damage each round and must make a DC 15 Strength check to stand up.

Before dispersing, the ashes emanate for 4 rounds, during which the bearer can make a DC 10 Strength check as a standard action to close the urn. Success pulls back the ashes and ends all effects.

The urn loses all powers if the ashes disperse before being imprisoned again.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Items, solid fog, telekinesis; Cost 17,000 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Mat Black wrote:
Hunting Cloak of the Great Cats

I like the name. Great visual. Curious to read more.

Mat Black wrote:

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th

Slot shoulders; Price 28,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Aura and CL are appropriate for beast shape III. Slot makes sense for a cloak. Weight is a little more than normal for a cloak, but you did cite it as a "heavy" cloak. Price is probably okay. There's a lot of special abilities being granted that are difficult to sort for an exact amount for what they'd contribute, so you'd have to do some comparison pricing with other items to feel good about it.

Mat Black wrote:

Description

This heavy cloak is made from the hide of a great cat, including the head and limbs, and is infused with the spirit of one of these predatory beasts. The cloak grants a +4 bonus on Climb checks to the wearer. Additionally, the wearer gains the low-light vision and scent extraordinary abilities.

This immediately throws a shield up for the judges when you come with a SAK list of abilities taken straight from a particular monster/animal's special qualities and sense. Items that duplicate monster abilities (and do nothing innovative or new with them) quickly get labeled as a Monster-in-a-Can. And that's how we saw it, because that's how it reads.

Mat Black wrote:
In combat, the cloak's limbs animate, giving the wearer the rake special attack. These two claw attacks deal 1d8 damage each. The wearer is considered to be proficient with the claws for these attacks. The rake attacks may be made up to 9 times per day.

And you're going further with granting a monster ability (i.e., "rake" attacks). While this is thematically appropriate, it does nothing to set you apart from the Monster-in-a-Can label. This is one of those items that could be seen as "good enough for a book of magic items, but not good enough for RPG Superstar." And that's because the purpose of this contest is to look for innovative designers...people who are crafting and creating new and interesting things we haven't seen before...or that haven't been done this particular way before. And there's really nothing all that innovative or new about glomming on a monster's abilities so that an item grants it to the wearer.

We've had some items in year's past that have flirted with this line, but avoided a pure Monster-in-a-Can item by ensuring it did something the monster itself couldn't do. The batrachian helm is a good example of that. It gives you a sticky tongue like effect from a giant toad or frog. But, it also let you use it like a grappling hook to pull and move yourself about...which isn't something the frog/toad "pull" ability can do. That item also had very good flavor and synergy going for it. So, when you do a "monster ability"-granting item, make sure you look for ways to tweak it in a cool, innovative way. That shows Superstar potential. But a straight-up Monster-in-a-Can item just shows more of a workman-like potential. And compared to the hyper-creative/innovative folks, that's just not going to get you into the Top 32.

Mat Black wrote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, beast shape III; Cost 14,000 gp

Price/cost ratio is appropriate. All your formatting and feat/spell listing info is correct. Good attention to detail on your presentation. A lot of people screwed that up. But you didn't. Maintain that and go back to the well of super-cool ideas to bring out something amazing and innovative and you'll be well on your way to making it into the competition.

Summary:
Decent/creative naming
Cool idea (just need to distinguish it from a Monster-in-a-Can with some else)
Workman-like mechanics (but just rehashing stuff, nothing innovative or new)
Okay writing/flavor (though you have some passive voice dragging you down)
Near-perfect presentation and use of the provided template

Star Voter Season 6

My first submission to the contest and I would love some feedback.

Diadem of the Waking Dream
Aura strong illusion; CL 12th
Slot head; Price 48,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This fine silver band laced with obsidian provides a +4 resistance bonus to saves versus sleep-based spells and effects including cloak of dreams, deep slumber, nightmare, sleep, and symbol of sleep.

Once per day, if the wearer sleeps for 8 uninterrupted hours, the Diadem allows the wearer’s mind to focus the body’s energies towards healing, allowing the wearer to benefit as if receiving Long-Term Care during this time. If the wearer’s sleep is disturbed within this time this ability is not expended. Sleeping longer than 8 hours provides no additional effect and this does not stack with any other Long-Term Care the character receives.

Alternatively, once per day, the wearer may choose to enter their dream state lucidly, conversing with their own subconscious to piece together the clues they’ve discovered on a particular subject. The knowledge gained functions as the spell legend lore as if the person, place or thing is at hand. This ability does not come without risk and when used in this way there is a 10% chance (01-10 on d%) that rather than gleaning something useful from their unconscious thoughts, the wearer instead confronts their own subconscious nightmare made real. The resulting combat between the wearer and his created nightmare, using the statistics of a shadow demon (see the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary), takes place within the wearer’s sleeping mind, in a replica of their current physical location. The wearer’s dream form starts at full health and all of the wearer’s gear and abilities function normally. Once finished the dream ends; however any damage or ill-effects sustained in the dream, including death, carry over into the waking world.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dream, nightmare; Cost 24,000 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Shadar Aman wrote:
Moonlight Strands

Intriguing name. Evocative and image-provoking.

Shadar Aman wrote:

Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th

Slot --; Price 500 gp; Weight --

Aura and CL are appropriate for halt undead as a 3rd level spell. Slot and weight make sense for a glass vial that you have to break or open to activate. Low price for a consummable, one-shot item...maybe okay. This works differently than the basic halt undead spell, so it's harder to price.

Shadar Aman wrote:

Description

This tiny glass vial contains a number of wispy, glowing threads. When the vial is opened or broken (as by being thrown at a hard surface), the strands emerge and elongate, moving rapidly to the nearest undead creature. The strands make a bull rush, disarm, trip, or grapple attempt (chosen by the user) against the undead creature using a CMB of +8. If the strands successfully grapple their target, they will attempt to maintain the grapple for 1d4 rounds before dissolving. Any other combat maneuver, or a failed grapple check, causes the strands to dissolve immediately. The strands are usable against incorporeal undead and do not provoke attacks of opportunity.

This comes off feeling a little bit like a Monster-in-a-Can...but not really. It's just a single combat maneuver "grapple"-in-a-can. The +8 CMB is going to get outstripped at higher levels, so this item won't have lasting power as PCs advance in experience. At low levels, it's fairly strong though against weaker skeletons and zombies. But it only lasts for 1d4 rounds...which is different than the 1 round/level of a typical halt undead.

The most interesting and redeeming element to this item is the ability to grapple incorporeal undead. But that's not quite enough to elevate it to the level of innovation we'd want to see out of a Superstar item. And, again, the limited applicability of this item holds it back from a design perspective.

Shadar Aman wrote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, halt undead; Cost 250 gp

You followed the formatting template very well. But, I think you could have used something more than just halt undead as the basis for it. After all, how does it know to how to target just undead creatures? Maybe layer in a detect undead to indicate that. How does it perform grapple and pin combat maneuvers when halt undead works more like hold person? Maybe black tentacles would have helpled...but then layer on plane shift to explain the ghost touch-like ability to affect incorporeal undead. When you delve into the most appropriate spells and include them in your requirements, it gives a hint to the judges about your understanding of all the various elements in the game and how they fit together mechanically to explain what you're trying to achieve with your design.

Shadar Aman wrote:
I already see a couple issues. I should have added a range (nearest undead within 30 ft or something, maybe make it a ranged touch attack?).

Yes. Or, give it a speed to explain how quickly the strands can move into melee range of a particular undead creature.

Shadar Aman wrote:
I also should have determined what happens if the nearest undead is concealed or protected somehow.

Layering in detect undead or deathwatch might help justify an explanation that it ignores concealment. But you had lots of words left to spare, so you could certainly have demonstrated further understanding of the rules of the game by including some type of weakness in the item whereby it can't be as effective if certain protections are in place for an undead creature. Always look for little ways like that to demonstrate further knowledge of the game, while also serving the theme and mechanics of your item...i.e., don't go overboard just to show off a mastery of the rules. Rather, hand select the pieces that work with your item to show you know your stuff and considered everything you could about its use in the game.

Summary:
Decent name
Good idea
Mechanically suspect
Well-written (but could have used a bit more flavor with all those spare words)
Very good presentation and use of the template

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Stygian Fiddle:

joshua pavlisko wrote:

Stygian Fiddle

Aura Faint Transmutation; CL6; Price: 65,000; Weight 3lbs.
Description
The Stygian fiddle is an almost tombstone looking pale grey violin with a bone inlay creating the frame and bow. Said to have been blessed by the Lady of Graves, the Stygian fiddle grants it's user the ability to tap into otherwise mindless undead. Anyone may make a perform (stringed instruments) check against a DC of 15 +2 per undead target that can hear them within 30ft. If the check is successful, apply either Haste or Slow (as per the spells, DC17 on the slow) to all targets as long as you continue to maintain the performance as a free action. A bard using this item may ignore an undeads immunity to mind affecting effects.

Construction
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, Haste, Slow; cost: 65,000 Gold

I too used the word "Stygian" in my item. I wonder if overlapping on name pulled both of us down?

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

Neil Spicer wrote:
Great feedback about the Defending Wisp of the Dying Ember

Thank you for additional comments. I eagerly await Justice Clark's views as well, since he too seems to be going in order.


Spectacles of Arcane Insight
Aura moderate divination and transmutation; CL 8th
Slot eyes; Price 17,000 gp; Weight
Description
The frame of this pair of spectacles is gilded in a valuable metal and holds two lenses neither of which impact a wearer's natural vision. It is always the case that some aspect of their construction pays homage to Nethys although the method of expression is limited only by the ingenuity of their creator. The most common technique is etching an open eye in the surface of the frame but other more subtle touches, such as contrasting lens and frame colors to depict dualistic forces, are not unusual. Immediately upon donning these spectacles the character feels a surge run through his body, gaining a +3 bonus on caster level checks when attempting to overcome a creature's spell resistance. Additionally, he can draw upon erudition beyond that which he currently possesses for any discipline he comprehends, gaining a +3 competence bonus to knowledge checks that fall within a field of study he is trained in. When making a check that is eligible for this competence bonus, the wearer may also choose to substitute the ability modifier used to determine the DC of saving throws against his spells for his intelligence modifier. In order to maintain his sanity, however, a character wearing these spectacles expends constant mental effort and thus suffers a -4 penalty on all Will saves.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, moment of prescience, fox's cunning; Cost 8,500 gp

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Wesley Lee wrote:

Grafting Clamp

Aura strong necromancy; CL 15th
Slot varies; Price 32,000 gp; Weight 1lb
Description

This circular clamp has small barbed hooks all around its edges. When activated, a freshly removed limb from one creature can be grafted to another willing creature as a full round action. A limb can only be removed from a creature that is dead and must be attached to the wearer within one minute of the donor creature’s death.

The donor creature and the wearer of a grafting clamp must be within one size category of each other.

If a grafting clamp is successfully dispelled with dispel magic or antimagic field the limb falls off. The limb can be reattached within one minute after which a newly harvested limb must be used.

Different limbs can be attached as follows:

Arm: Body Slot; The wearer gains the reach of the donor creature’s arm when using the grafted arm. If the donor creature had a natural attack with the arm the wearer gains a secondary attack equal to the donor creature’s natural attack with the arm. Use the damage dice and strength modifier from the donor creature. The wearer does not gain any special attacks the donor creature had. The arm cannot wield a weapon.

Head: Shoulder Slot; The wearer gains the ability to hear and speak the languages the donor creature knew. The wearer gains a +2 profane bonus to all knowledge skills in which the donor creature had ranks. The attached head is always awake allowing the wearer to be alert while sleeping.

Wings: Chest Slot; The wearer gains a fly speed equal to half the donor creature’s fly speed with poor maneuverability.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, make whole, animate dead; Cost 16,000 gp

Review-

Finally one I can sink my teeth into! More so then those I see that won. I can visualize how I would use it as a Player and as a DM and can see it in one of my campaigns. In fact (looks around) I might just have to add it to my new one I’m working on with your permission of course.

Wow I see it clearly… a rogue was captured and had his arm cut off to prevent him from stealing anything again but did that stop him? No… He found a street dealer that solved all his problems. Now with the item and that street dealers old arm in place of his lost one, our friend the rogue has returned to his nightly pursuits along with a little revenge.

Tasty~
Thank you for sharing your item.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

I've gotten a lot from reading this thread so far. Its great that so many people are willing to share their items and the judges are so generous with their time. Any feedback from judges or other readers on my item is appreciated.

Thanks!

Golem Fetter
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 7th
Slot —; Price 1,000 gp x caster level; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This 6-inch diameter bronze disk is elaborately etched with runes and bound to its creator. A successful touch attack magically attaches the fetter to a target golem. Once attached, the fetter subverts the golem’s connection to its creator, allowing the fetter’s creator to assume control.

The golem gets a will save (DC 10 + the fetter creator’s spell caster level) to resist this effect. If the golem’s creator is in direct control (within 60 feet, and able to be seen and heard by the golem) then he can attempt the will save instead, to retain control of the golem. If the saving throw fails, the fetter’s creator can control the golem as if he had created it. However, the fetter’s creator never fully rely on his control of the golem. If the golem’s creator is able to meet the requirements for direct control, he can take a move action and make another saving throw to attempt to regain control.

The disk can be removed with a limited wish or similar magic. Once the fetter is removed the golem becomes confused until its creator regains direct control. It removed, the fetter can never be reattached to any golem.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, charm monster, make whole; Cost 500 gp x caster level

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8 aka shiverscar

Gauntlets of Icy Grasp
Aura moderate evocation; CL 5th
Slot hands; Price 2300 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Description
These blue-black gauntlets radiate cold in any climate and frost frequently crystallizes on their edges. They possess two abilities and function only as a pair.
Three times per day, the wearer can sheath one gauntlet in near impenetrable ice as a move action. The icy gauntlet grants a +15 circumstance bonus to the wearer's CMD against disarm attempts. Additionally, any weapon held in that hand gains the frost property; weapons that already possess the frost property gain no additional benefit. Items held in hand are undamaged by the icy sheath, even if their nature would suggest otherwise (a burning coal would not be extinguished, for example). The ice has a hardness of 10 and 10 hitpoints and will only melt in extreme heat conditions (140°+ F). The effect lasts for 5 rounds and cannot be dismissed by the wearer.
The wearer can also use the gauntlets to bind a medium- or small-sized humanoid. Once per day, the wearer may make a touch attack on a target that is pinned, restrained, or unconscious. Success means that the wearer grasps the target's arms or legs (player's choice) and encases them in the same impenetrable ice as above. Treat the icy restraints as masterwork manacles for the purposes of Escape Artist and Strength checks. The restraints possess no moving parts and are immune to attempts to disable device. The icy restraints last for one week, or until dismissed. The gauntlets can only produce one set of icy restraints at a time.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, chill metal or wall of ice; Cost 1150 gp

Thanks for your feedback!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka OgeXam

Pen2paper wrote:

Review-

Finally one I can sink my teeth into! More so then those I see that won. I can visualize how I would use it as a Player and as a DM and can see it in one of my campaigns. In fact (looks around) I might just have to add it to my new one I’m working on with your permission of course.

Wow I see it clearly… a rogue was captured and had his arm cut off to prevent him from stealing anything again but did that stop him? No… He found a street dealer that solved all his problems. Now with the item and that street dealers old arm in place of his lost one, our friend the rogue has returned to his nightly pursuits along with a little revenge.

Tasty~
Thank you for sharing your item.

I am glad you liked it... wish the judges had. oh well. Maybe next year.

Feel free to use it all you like.

Orignal intent would have other limbs to add as well, but 300 word limit put a stop to that. So a DM may allow the attachment of a leg (increased land speed), or a monkey tail (climb speed?), a medium scorpion tail (sting attack?), etc.


Triage Helm
Aura strong conjuration (healing); CL 13th
Slot head; Price 58,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
This ceremonial helm is usually cast in a heavy metal, often copper or iron, though sometimes gold. By spending a full round action to channel at least 3d6 worth of positive energy into the helm, the wearer may target up to five separate living creatures no more than 55 feet away, curing 10 points of damage on each of them. If up to 5d6 worth of positive energy is channeled into the helm those targeted are cured 17 points of damage each. If 7d6 worth of positive energy is channeled into the helm they are cured 35 points of damage each.
Once per day the wearer may cast death knell as a 13th level cleric, on a valid target, granting the Strength bonus, and maximum temporary hit points to themselves and up to four other living creatures within 55 feet. Otherwise the death knell performs normally in all other ways.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, death knell, ability to channel positive energy of 7d6 or more; Cost 29,000 gp

Looking at my item compared to those who made it to the top, I have a good idea what I did wrong, though I would still appreciate comments.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Breath of the Hoarskin Hag

Aura moderate evocation and transmutation; CL 11th
Slot —; Price 23,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

This grisly, shrunken head is said to be made from a hag so hideous that even spells ran away from her. When activating the item by pulling taut its leathery skin, a faint but foul-smelling breath escapes the head's mouth.

A spellcaster who wields this head can inject motion into a spell he has previously cast that is still active. The spell must be one that creates a passable, non-solid wall, whether straight or ringed, such as, for example, wall of fire or blade barrier, but not wall of stone. As a standard action, the wielder can cause the wall to move 5 feet away from him in a direct line, or, in the case of a ringed wall, to expand by 5 feet. Alternatively, by using a full round action, he can increase this movement to 10 feet.

If this puts the spell into an occupied square, the creature immediately receives a new saving throw as if it had walked through the wall, provided that there is a space within 5 feet where the creature can escape to. If it fails this saving throw, or if there is no free adjacent square, it is subjected to the effects of the spell, else it is moved to an adjacent square.

The skull can be used for up to 11 rounds a day. These do not have to be consecutive.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, head of a green hag, animate object, gust of wind; Cost 11,750 gp

Dedicated Voter Season 8

RAIN MAKER
Aura strong transmutation; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 32,760 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description

This strange looking stick is in fact a simple percussion instrument fashioned from the dried husk of a Cactus. Small objects, such as pebbles or seeds, are placed inside the hollow tube and the ends are sealed. The needles of the cactus are removed then reinserted into its core, providing obstacles to the flow of the objects inside. When rotated, the objects inside produce a rich sound as they bounce off the inserted spines. When tilted slowly, this instrument mimics the sound of rain falling.

A rain maker may be used once per day to create rain as per the spell Control Weather.
This requires a ten minute performance of shaking and rotating the rain maker to produce the desired sound. This functions as a command word, but requires a DC 15 Perform check (Percussion instruments) in order to trigger it's ability. Failure of this check prevents you from trying again until the next day.

If successful this rainstorm lasts 4d12 hours and has the same effect on flames, ranged weapon attacks, and Perception checks as severe wind. This produces 10mm of precipitation per hour and may in some conditions, cause flooding.

Genuine rain makers are coveted for their ability to bring rain to even the most arid of landscapes.
A trade in fakes is widespread and popular among tourists.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Control Weather; Cost 16,380 gp


I'd appreciate feedback from judges and anyone else who is interested:

Chalk of Augmented Summoning
Aura moderate Transmutation; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 6,000 gp; Weight 1/2 lb

Description
When a spellcaster draws a rune with Chalk of Augmented Summoning before or while casting a summoning spell, the monster template matching the rune is applied to all creatures summoned by the spell.

The rune must be drawn where the creature(s) will appear. It must be drawn on a level surface, typically a floor. Drawing a rune changes the spellcasting time to at least a full round action. If the spell is already a full round action or longer, the duration is not changed.

The spellcaster may also draw the rune at any time before casting the spell. In this case, drawing the rune is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Only the spellcaster who draws the rune may take advantage of the rune's magic.

The spellcaster must use one stick of chalk per challenge rating adjustment of the monster template. (Minimum 1 stick.) The magical energy of each stick of chalk is fully consumed when drawn. Each rune drawn can only augment a summoning spell once. A rune can not be damaged or disfigured unless dispelled.

Chalk of Augmented Summoning is created in sets of 16 sticks.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Polymorph; Cost 3,000 gp

Spoiler:
In hindsight I think it fell victim at least partially to the "makes GMing harder" guideline in that you have to apply a monster template to the monster on the fly. That and there aren't too many monster templates yet unless you're adding extra sources.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Herremann the Wise wrote:
Chrononaut’s Horologe

Don't particularly care for the name...for a couple of reasons. First, the throw-out to a chrononaut is a bit more sci-fi than fantasy. And secondly, combining that with an obscure word like "horologe" to define the timekeeping aspect feels a bit unwieldy. I can't say it's a name for an item I'd want to see written on my character sheet. I'd pretty much have to explain to most people what a "horologe" is...and, in this case, you've described it as an hourglass, whereas most definitions of a horologe pegs it more as a clock or sundial.

Herremann the Wise wrote:

Aura strong abjuration and evocation; CL 17th

Slot none; Price 132,100 gp; Weight -

Aura and CL look appropriate with high-level spells like miracle and imprisonment in the mix. Slot makes sense, but maybe should be listed as "-" instead? Weight seems off, depending on how large/heavy you intend an hourglass made from silver to be. I'd think it would have at least some weight to it based on the visual I'm getting.

Herremann the Wise wrote:

Description

Activating this intricate silver hourglass of complex design and appearance, chronoports up to seven willing mortals who are in contact with one another, including the horologe’s activator, from where they stand to that same place at a specific time in the past for a single hour. When the sands run out, the horologe swiftly decays to nothing, while safely returning any living chrononauts with their possessions to the place and moment following the horologe’s activation.

While in the past, chrononauts may neither venture further than seven miles from where they arrive nor interact directly or indirectly with their past-self or direct ancestors, else automatically suffer imprisonment within the horologe; returning as usual when the hour expires. Casting freedom upon the horologe releases all imprisoned chrononauts. The horologe’s duration cannot be altered or suppressed by magical effects such as antimagic field, mage’s disjunction or temporal stasis although time stop works normally. The horologe’s duration automatically expires if destroyed, safely returning any living chrononauts. Upon expiry, any dead chrononauts, their bodies, souls, and even the memory of their existence are erased for eternity.

A chrononaut’s horologe requires the daring of a deity sufficiently motivated to manipulate the fabric of space and time. Upon an attempted activation, the deity involved grants or withholds the chronoporting miracle imbued within the horologe. Activity in the past may herald miraculous circumstances back in the future: eradicating a dire threat, altering character circumstances, crafting a new opportunity or menace, the collapse of cities or countries.

The horologe’s creator must designate the deity and exact time to be chronoported to, inscribing these references to the hourglass’ base upon commencing construction.

Really bad idea. Time travel/manipulation items just open up a big can of worms. Without a foundation of rules for time travel, you've got to worry about a whole host of explanations and in-game impacts. It's just not a smart design decision to start playing around here. A Superstar designer should look across the landscape of existing rules and find a neat, tightly-designed concept for a wondrous item that harmonizes and enhances with those rules rather than running headlong into rules considerations that really need their own sourcebook to hammer out.

Herremann the Wise wrote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, freedom, imprisonment, miracle; Cost 78,550 gp

Your price/cost ratio is off. Cost should always be half the price. You got the rest of this stuff right in terms of presentation and using the provided template.

Summary:
Weak name
Inappropriate idea/concept
Mechanical can of worms
Okay writing/flavor description
Decent presentation


Neil Spicer wrote:
Herremann the Wise wrote:
Chrononaut’s Horologe

Your price/cost ratio is off. Cost should always be half the price.

Not to nitpick -- I'm more concerned with making sure I have this right for my own efforts in the future -- but aren't items that require spells with expensive material components, (which miracle is kind of an odd case on) an exception to this?


Thanks for any feedback!

THE MORTEVOYANT EYE

Moderate Divination CL 5th,
Slot empty eye socket, Price 5000 GP, Weight 1/10 lb.

Description
The Mortevoyant eye is an artificial eye made out of alabaster. For the eye to function it must be placed in an empty eye socket of any corporeal creature that had an eyeball. This allows normal sight (cures Blindness in that eye)and allows the user to see through an eye of any one corporeal dead (or undead) creature with in 600'. It takes a standard action to activate the eye and a move action to stop using the eye.

When activated the the user is Blinded (unless he can see himself through a dead eye in which case the penalty is halved.) If a dead creature is in line of sight that creature may be selected otherwise the closest dead intact eyeball will be selected. Each round a new target may be selected as a move action. Note it is not necessary to have line of sight or be aware of the target creature/eye.

The vision received from the eye is blurry and indistinct. Spot checks are at -5 and it is possible to miss something that would otherwise be obvious. No depth perception.

When looking through the eye, only what the target is looking at can be seen. Also no control is imparted over the creature nor any insight (beyond what he can see) as to where the creature is located.
Sapient undead receive a DC 15 Will save to avoid the effects.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Items, Detect undead, Clairvoyance and Remove blindness. A suitable piece of alabaster fashioned into a false eye, 2,500 GP

Dataphiles

Floruit’s Lullaby
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 7th
Slot --; Price 58,800 gp; Weight --
Description
First composed by the bard Floruit when he sought to infuse mystical energies into everything he played, this lullaby draws all who hear it into enchanted sleep. Appearing on fine vellum, this intricately inscribed piece of sheet music displays notes that seem to shift and change when read. When held by someone capable of producing supernatural music, the notation resolves itself into a composition suitable for any instrument the bard favors (including vocals).

Anyone with the bardic performance ability can play Floruit’s Lullaby as if it were a performance type he had mastered. To be affected, creatures must be within 30 feet and able to hear the bard. The distraction of nearby combat or other dangers prevents a creature from being affected. Those failing a DC 14 Will saving throw fall into a magical slumber that persists as long as the bard continues performing and for 2 rounds afterwards. This is a compulsion and mind-affecting effect. Sleeping creatures are helpless. Any attack or damage awakens a sleeping creature, but normal noise does not. Awakening a creature requires an aid another action that provokes an attack of opportunity.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, deep slumber, creator must be a 7th-level bard; Cost 29,400 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Matthias_DM wrote:
Cloak of Adhesion

Interesting name. Immediately has me wondering if this is a grappling cloak or a spider climb cloak, etc. Eager to read on.

Matthias_DM wrote:

Aura moderate conjuration; CL 5th

Slot shoulder; Price 45,000gp; Weight 2 lbs.

Aura is appropriate for a web-based item. Caster level might be off, considering that a persistent version of web would be a 4th level spell rather than 2nd...so CL 7th might have made more sense. Slot makes sense for a cloak. This one is twice the normal weight of a cloak, however. So, some odd choices, but nothing too egregious. Price is kind of hard to compute. You've probably ballparked it okay.

Matthias_DM wrote:

This heavy, lime-green cloak is embroidered with black squares along its edges. Anything coming into contact with the wearer must make a save (Reflex DC 17) or become stuck to the cloak. An item sticking to the cloak requires a Strength check (DC 17) to pry it free. Creatures attached to the cloak immediately become Grappled by the wearer, with both the wearer and the creature gaining the Grappled condition. This Grapple does not provoke attacks of opportunity, allows the wearer to maintain the use of both hands, and requires a CMB or Escape Artist vs (DC 17) to break free (instead of the CMD of the grappler). Creatures may attempt to gain control of the Grapple normally. This effect can be toggled as a standard action, releasing all stuck items and grappled creatures simultaneously (normally you may release a grapple as a free action).

Finally, this cloak also offers a +10 bonus to Climb checks to catch yourself from falling.

I made the remark that this item reminded me of the mimic's adhesion special attack. The idea felt somewhat innovative, but also a little Monster-in-a-Can-ish, too. You don't need to capitalize Grapple; it should be lowercase. I thought the ability to maintain the use of both hands while also grappling someone with the cloak is open to abuse. Lastly, the +10 bonus to Climb checks made some initial sense, but then it only helps to protect against falls...which felt a little strange. Why not elevate the item so it increases your Climb skill, period? Maybe not with a perpetual elixir of climbing +10 bonus equivalent, but something.

Matthias_DM wrote:
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, web, persistent spell; Cost 22,500gp

You need to capitalize your feat name for Persistent Spell and it should be sorted alphabetically behind Craft Wondrous Item. Your spell name needs to be italicized.

Summary:
Decent name
Cool idea (but duplicates a monster ability to some degree)
Mechanically open to abuse (with the free hands)
Decent writing (but missed an opportunity at more flavorful, evocative imagery)
Flawed presentation (lots of missteps in using the template)

*Despite these issues, the cool idea helped this item hang around in the Keep folder for a bit. So, you're close. Just need to rethink your mechanics and work on your writing/presentation.


Please let me know how this faired. Thanks for putting on such an amazing contest!

Goblin King Mask
Aura strong enchantment, necromancy and transmutation; CL 15th
Slot head; Price 70,000 gp; Weight 3lbs.
Description
This wide and ungainly mask, made of bone or hard wood, is fashioned into the likeness of a ferocious goblin’s face wearing a crown of chains.
Once per day, after the mask has been worn for at least 1 hour, the wearer may attempt to permanently polymorph any small humanoid creature into a goblin with a successful touch attack (Fort DC 19 negates). Goblinoid subtypes within 30 feet of the wearer, at the moment he performs a successful polymorph, can be charmed for 15 days (as the spell charm monster, mass, Will DC 22 negates). The newly polymorphed goblin is automatically charmed as above and gains the following attributes: –2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, –2 Charisma, darkvision and base speed of 30 feet.
Any creature not of the goblinoid subtype wearing the mask begins to take on the facial features of a goblin. Every 3rd day of consecutive use causes the wearer to permanently take -1 Charisma (up to -6), but +1 (up to +6) on Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks as they relate to dealing with goblinoid subtypes.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Baleful Polymorph, Bestow Curse, Charm Monster Mass; Cost 35,000 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Dire Mongoose wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:
Herremann the Wise wrote:
Chrononaut’s Horologe

Your price/cost ratio is off. Cost should always be half the price.

Not to nitpick -- I'm more concerned with making sure I have this right for my own efforts in the future -- but aren't items that require spells with expensive material components, (which miracle is kind of an odd case on) an exception to this?

Yes. The miracle and wish spells get used in all the ability boosting tomes and manuals. So, the 25,000 gp of diamond dust gets added on top of both the underlying price and cost. Regardless, the chrononaut's horologe price/cost ratio is off even if you factor in such a cost for its use of the miracle spell. That's a very niche case, as well.

And, on a sidenote, we also had a lot of people spell out the material components in their construction requirements alongside the list of spells and feats it required. That's really not necessary. Cost for something expensive like the miracle and wish spells can impact the numbers. But you don't need to call out the actual physical component. That's implied already and rolled up into the base cost/price of the item.


I'd really like to hear feedback, even if it's rough.

Cape of the Night Stalker
Aura Moderate Evocation and Transmutation; CL 11th
Slot Shoulders; Price 27,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This lightweight cape is fashioned from pitch-black cloth and has a clasp decorated with obsidian. The cape grants the wearer 60 foot darkvision so long as the cape is worn and also draws upon the power of darkness and shadow to enhance the wearer’s physical and mental abilities. When the wearer is in an area of dim light they receive a +2 enhancement bonus to both Strength and Charisma. In areas of darkness the bonus increases to +4. Treat these as temporary ability bonuses.
Once per day the wearer may speak a command word that causes the cloak to dissolve into an insubstantial fog of pure shadow. This functions as a deeper darkness spell which radiates from the wearer continually until a second command word is spoken, causing the cape to reform around the wearer’s shoulders. While transformed the cloak ceases to grant any other bonuses to the wearer.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, deeper darkness, darkvision, bull’s strength, eagle’s splendor; Cost 13,500 gp

Scarab Sages Star Voter Season 6

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Neil Spicer wrote:
Modera wrote:
Bracers of transfiguration

Summary:

Uninspired name (not really appropriate for what this item does)
Poor idea (weapon property stacking injects very real game balance issues)
Flawed mechanics (doesn't properly account for exponential costs of weapon property stacking or curbing abuse potential)
Decent flavor/writing
Presentation issues (missing construction feats)

Thank you Neil. I really appreciate your and Sean's notes on my item. Looking back, I have to agree on the name being a miss. I had hoped that the item only working for 1 minute and only being 1/day would balance it, however I have to agree it's still a little too powerful.

Scarab Sages

Thank you all in advance for any assistance to help me improve my entry.

Earth Bread
Aura faint Alteration; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 1250 gp; Weight - lb.

Description
Earth Bread appears as small rounded pebbles ranging in size from peas to marbles and is much prized by travelers. When the stones are placed in the mouth, and gently sucked like a piece of hard candy they will either provide the sustenance of an average meal of food and drink, or will provide the affects of an Endure Elements spell for 24 hours. The user chooses the effect when they place the Earth Bread in their mouth. The Earth Bread must be sucked on for one minute before the effect will be realized. The Earth Bread maybe be shared between individuals with no ‘wait time’ between uses, but each user must suck on the Earth Bread for one minute to activate the effect. After five total uses, sustenance or Endure Elements, the Earth Bread Grows sour and no longer provides sustenance or Endure Elements. Sucking on an Earth Bread for less than one minute will have no effect and does consume a use.
After an Earth Bread has grown sour it can be ground with a stone mortar and pestle and mixed with an equal portion of pristine rock salt to produce a powder with medicinal properties. One piece of Earth Bread, regardless of size, will produce a powder with the effect of a single ‘Cure Light Wounds’ potion CL 5 (1d8+5) when sprinkled on a wound. Using the powder obeys all the rules of potion use.

Earth Bread is believed to occur naturally in underground areas where the earth magic is strong or the first world lies near but they can also be created magically.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create food and water, Endure elements, Cure Light Wounds; Cost 625 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Elora wrote:
Gloves of Dragonfly Eyes

An interesting name...but seemed a little odd to have "eyes" be associated with gloves rather than maybe magic lenses or something.

Elora wrote:

Aura faint divination and evocation; CL 3rd

Slot hands; Price 1800 gp; Weight --

Aura and CL are appropriate for an item based on magic missile and see invisibilitiy. Slot and weight makes sense for gloves. Price is a little too inexpensive for what this does. Also, you need to include a comma for your 1,800 gp. A lot of people excluded those for some reason.

Elora wrote:

Description

These pale gloves are embroidered with azure thread in the outline of five dragonflies on each hand. Faceted obsidian stones are set as the eyes of each dragonfly...

Very good descriptive text. Smart design to lead with that and this is some cool, evocative, image-enhancing prose.

Elora wrote:
...and as a free action the wearer can use one pair of eyes as an extra material component while casting an illusion spell of the glamer or figment subschool. At any time during the duration of the spell, the caster may point at a target and mentally will the gloves to activate (requiring a move action). The eyeless dragonfly immediately unravels and reforms in flight, carried by magical force to the intended target as per the magic missile spell. Rather than damaging the target, however, the dragonfly alights and allows the target to discern the illusion just as if a successful Will save had been made.

I got a little confused by this mechanical description initially. It started off by saying you use these eyes as an "extra material component"...but I'm not sure what effect that extra component has on your illusion spells. So, that left me with a question in my mind as I moved into the next mechanical piece...i.e., the eyeless dragonfly's ability to let a target of your choice automatically disbelieve the illusion. So, this item only lets your companions (or people you like) see through your own illusions? That gave me pause as I tried to sort out what could be seen as innovative and Superstar about the concept.

Elora wrote:
Should anyone other than the spellcaster don the gloves after a set of eyes is consumed but before the dragonfly is triggered, the gloves immediately activate with the new wearer as the target.

Now I'm switching focus to a new possible use for the item. Assuming a spellcaster uses the eyes as an extra component in their own illusion, their ally can strip off these gloves, put them on, and immediately discern the illusion. I'm still left with trying to understand the situations in which this item has really important applicability. I suppose if you put down a silent image of a pit behind you to discourage would-be followers and you used a pair of dragonfly eyes to "enhance" it...then later, you and your party got ambushed and needed to hightail it back along your original path, maybe then you'd need to help your allies see through the illusion of the pit so they don't "fall" behind. But I'm just not seeing the Superstar applicability of the item's in-game use.

Elora wrote:
The gloves can only be attuned to one spell at a time; attempts to use a second pair of eyes fail until the earlier spell ends. When all ten dragonflies have been expended, the gloves serve merely as plain adornments for the hands.

This makes it a consummable item...which causes me to go back and immediately reassess the pricing. Granting allies the ability to see through your own illusions...probably makes sense to make it 1,800 gp? I don't know. It's hard to price. There's more "art" to pricing this than solid mechanical considerations.

Elora wrote:

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, magic missile, see invisibility; Cost 900 gp

You presented everything well here. But I remember thinking to myself that magic missile still felt like an odd spell to include. The never-miss streaking dragonfly certainly cites that mechanic. I just don't know that the reliance on magic missile needed to be there. Also, see invisibility feels like a strange inclusion, too. Illusions aren't invisible. And, if you wanted to play around with vision-enhancing stuff, I might have looked more toward arcane sight or true seeing as the basis for how this ability works. I think those spells are far more relevant to what you're trying to convey.

Summary:
Intriguing name (but maybe should have been something other than gloves)
Strange idea (just had difficulty seeing the Superstar innovation of it)
Mechanically okay (but is granting others the ability to auto-succeed against your illusions Superstar?)
Well-written (you've got excellent prose/writing ability)
Near perfect presentation (just needed a comma in your price)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Modera wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:
Modera wrote:
Bracers of transfiguration

Summary:

Uninspired name (not really appropriate for what this item does)
Poor idea (weapon property stacking injects very real game balance issues)
Flawed mechanics (doesn't properly account for exponential costs of weapon property stacking or curbing abuse potential)
Decent flavor/writing
Presentation issues (missing construction feats)
Thank you Neil. I really appreciate your and Sean's notes on my item. Looking back, I have to agree on the name being a miss. I had hoped that the item only working for 1 minute and only being 1/day would balance it, however I have to agree it's still a little too powerful.

Agreed. Think of it in these terms when you're assessing potential game-balance issues: If it can be used 1/day for a length of time that would last an entire battle, will that let the PC pretty much always activate against the BBEG and give themselves an easy victory? In the case of this item, I think the answer to that would be yes. Hence, it's going too far in what it allows PCs to do.

I seem to recall a similar item being proposed that did this with a 5-round limitation...and the rounds didn't have to be consecutive. So, that may or may not offset some of the concerns...as again, 5 rounds may be enough to see you through most battles. And, if that one happens to be against the BBEG, pretty much every adventure's ending is going to come off as less challenging than some of the intermediate encounters. Plus, you start factoring in spells like true strike to ensure your vorpal bane weapon of doom lands in each of those individual rounds and it again skews the power-balance further out of whack than you'd want to see.

Stacking weapon special properties is a big can of worms that threatens game-balance (in my opinion). It's possible an item could play with such a combination of powers, but it would have to really nerf itself and safeguard against abuse to come off as Superstar quality, in my eyes.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 8 aka Sect

Neil Spicer wrote:
Elora wrote:
Gloves of Dragonfly Eyes
An interesting name...but seemed a little odd to have "eyes" be associated with gloves rather than maybe magic lenses or something.

'Sup? :D

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

Neil, you are a machine. Thank you for all this insight.

Scarab Sages

Neil Spicer wrote:

Reciprocity Coin

Plot device items pretty much only work for the plots in which they have a role to play. Which means they're fairly limited and potentially boring if a particular plot and mechanic by which it gets introduced into the game doesn't resonate all that well with your players or a GM whose trying to craft a game or campaign. Plot device items are always niche items. And that's not a Superstar "box" to playing around in.

Also, player-activated plot device items are probably even worse (in my opinion). As I said earlier, I don't know anyone who would favor spending 6,000 gp for this item when they could just get a scroll of demand and avoid the whole reciprocal thing altogether. That's how a player will think. And, when crafting wondrous items, you need to view your design both from a GM's and a player's perspective to really understand how viable and/or interesting it would be.

I can see this item being made; just not by either of the two users.

A crime lord, a fiend, or demigod of anarchy, could see this as a means to set two noble families, merchant houses or guilds against each other.

But that relies on the initial user being unaware of the reciprocal nature of the item. No-one will create this to use themselves, only as a trap to lure those too greedy for their own good.

Once Stooge No 1 has milked his rival for whatever he can get, the word 'slips' out about the curse of the coin. The two rivals throw their militias at each other, one to force a showdown, the other to prevent one. Assassins are hired to murder their opposite number, or in a futile bid to steal the coin back before it 'recharges'.

So, yes, it's a plot device. An interesting one, but still a plot device. No-one will buy one or craft one for their own use, and if one is gained as loot during the above turf war scenario, it's likely to be hammered flat and melted down.


Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Here's roughly the middle of page 2.

To be clear, I'm an amateur designer, and have no delusions to the contrary. I can't say for sure why an item was rejected and in some cases won't even try to; I'm just providing feedback from my own point of view, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Circlet of Serpentine Tendrils

Passive voice everywhere. If you submit next year (and you should!), either read up on passive voice, or try to find someone with a good eye for English or a little bit of amateur writing experience to edit for you (you probably know a lot of people who can help you with this). Either way you'll find it's fairly easy to avoid once you realize what you're doing, and your stuff will look SO much sleeker. Also, writing about people's aptitude for English makes me self-conscious, because I know I'm going to stick my foot in my mouth and make some elementary mistake of my own; luckily for me I'm dating one heck of an editor.

Items which make attacks should either let the wearer use his own attack bonus (if it's like a weapon that you use) or should just have a +X bonus to matter who uses them (to make it seem like the item has a mind of its own). You can mix it up a little, like using your base attack bonus plus the item's strength, but there's no reason to create a separate level-based progression. The same goes for the improving poison. It might feel wrong that everything else in the game gets better and your items don't, but really, that's what items are for: things that are just tools to be bought and sold. They don't have to get better because you can just buy better items.

I don't think a monstrous bonus is a real bonus type. Since its from an item, it should probably be one of the basic bonus types, like enhancement. The price looks pretty high to me (even though all-around vision is very useful and hard to get otherwise), and I don't see any reason for it to break when you take it off.

Thanks for the advise, it is exactly what I was looking for! :)


Cloak of Adhesion Remarks:

Neil Spicer wrote:
Matthias_DM wrote:
Cloak of Adhesion

Interesting name. Immediately has me wondering if this is a grappling cloak or a spider climb cloak, etc. Eager to read on.

Matthias_DM wrote:
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 5th
Slot shoulder; Price 45,000gp; Weight 2 lbs.

Aura is appropriate for a web-based item. Caster level might be off, considering that a persistent version of web would be a 4th level spell rather than 2nd...so CL 7th might have made more sense. Slot makes sense for a cloak. This one is twice the normal weight of a cloak, however. So, some odd choices, but nothing too egregious. Price is kind of hard to compute. You've probably ballparked it okay.

Matthias_DM wrote:
This heavy, lime-green cloak is embroidered with black squares along its edges. Anything coming into contact with the wearer must make a save (Reflex DC 17) or become stuck to the cloak. An item sticking to the cloak requires a Strength check (DC 17) to pry it free. Creatures attached to the cloak immediately become Grappled by the wearer, with both the wearer and the creature gaining the Grappled condition. This Grapple does not provoke attacks of opportunity, allows the wearer to maintain the use of both hands, and requires a CMB or Escape Artist vs (DC 17) to break free (instead of the CMD of the grappler). Creatures may attempt to gain control of the Grapple normally. This effect can be toggled as a standard action, releasing all stuck items and grappled creatures simultaneously (normally you may release a grapple as a free action).

Finally, this cloak also offers a +10 bonus to Climb checks to catch yourself from falling.

I made the remark that this item reminded me of the mimic's adhesion special attack. The idea felt somewhat innovative, but also a little Monster-in-a-Can-ish, too. You don't need to capitalize Grapple; it should be lowercase. I thought the ability to maintain the use of both hands while also grappling...

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Matthias_DM wrote:
Cloak of Adhesion

*This item lets the wearer take on certain aspects of a mimic's adhesive ability...in that items coming into contact with it (i.e., weapons) get stuck and require Strength checks to pry free. That's a little bit of Monster-in-a-Can, but I'm more worried about the creatures getting grappled by this thing while leaving the wearer's hands free. So, a spellcaster finds it infinitely easier to still cast spells while under the grappled condition? What does that mean?

*All in all, I'm just not quite seeing this as a Superstar item. I sense the direction the author was headed. I just don't know that he brought it home well enough. Also, the Persistent Spell feat is out of order. The web spell requirement isn't italicized. So, it's got some other small nagging problems, as well.

*A very similar item just popped up, mimicking (HA!) the abilities of a cloaker instead of a mimic. Looking at the two side by side makes me want to reject both, as I don't think either of them successfully executes what looks like a somewhat popular concept.

*this is a Letterman velcro body suit joke.

*I'm not particularly excited about this item, and I think it's a little too much (in that it affects every single attack). And it lets the wearer keep his hands free. While clearly this was intended for casters, it's really good in the hands of the front-line fighter--everybody attacking him may get stuck. Also, if the cloak is sticky, I'd think it should have an effect on swarms, even though you can't grapple swarms.

A quick Explain and Thank:

I want to offer these statements as a quick peek into the mind on the other side of the item.

LOL @ Letterman and ability to grapple swarms. Why didn't I think of that... I even had the imagery of flypaper going in my head while creating.

I added the ability to use both hands at the last second. CRAP. I didn't take away the increased difficulty to casting. I wanted the ability to use Somatic components... so the increased difficulty of casting is still there.
I was trying to do away with part of this: grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform.

Lastly, I thought that a cloak that sticks to things would harm a character trying to climb, just as much as it would help them. Similarly, the ability to take control of the grapple as normal would be a large disadvantage against large creatures hehe... I had the image of a person being stuck to a dragons foot and pounded into the ground.

Thanks guys.... I appreciate the input and next years item will be better. I look foreward to voting for the upcoming entries.


I apologize, but I couldn’t recover the final submission version after an operating system crash. This is the last version I had, which I know is about 40 words or so less than the final version. Thank you for any feedback!

Cincture of Horrific Emaciating
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot belt; Price 1,800 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This frayed rope is knotted onto itself, creating a loop that allows one end to hang down. When put around the wearer’s waist, it tightens uncomfortably. When the command word is spoken, the cincture causes the wearer to shrivel, taking on a grotesque nearly skeletal form. This effect lasts for five minutes.

The emaciated form have three effects. First, the wearer gains a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks due to their grotesque appearance. Second, the wearer gains a +1 size bonus to armor class that stacks with other size modifiers. Third, the wearer can squeeze through tight spaces as though they were one size category smaller than they actually are.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, reduce person Cost 900 gp


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


*In reassessing this one, I've been going over the project image element that's built into the incorporeal duplicate of the caster. If you have a sorcerer (who already has Eschew Materials) that takes the Silent Spell feat, they can spontaneously boost all their spells (except their highest tier spells) with the metamagic of Silent Spell and absolutely rock against an opponent that can't touch an incorporeal creature. And, by the time you can afford this item (170,000 gp), that's still some potent spellpower to bring down on someone. Of course, at that point in your adventuring career, maybe you're facing opponents with a high enough CR to rock you back even if you are incorporeal.

In reading the judges' comments on my item, I noticed this discussion involving incorprealness.

I don't think this judge understands that incorporeal is a specific quality a creature can have. The gaseous form spell makes a creature's body insubstantial (made of mist, but in the case of this item smoke) but does not make it incorporeal. These are very different. An incorporeal creature is much more difficult to damage than one in gaseous form.

Star Voter Season 6

Neil Spicer wrote:
Seabyrn wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:


Lachlan Rocksoul wrote:
The ship in a bottle looks just like a normal, clear, 2 inch thick, glass bottle capable of holding about 1 gallon of liquid. But, inside the corked bottle is a tiny ship sitting upon wooden supports. Anyone giving it a cursory glance will see a tiny model of a ship with amazing detail (sometimes even having barnacles on its hull).
A handful of minor quibbles here. First, it should be "2-inch thick" not "2 inch thick" and you've used passive voice ("is") and the word "will" which can almost always be dropped to make your writing stronger (e.g., "Anyone giving it a cursory...
Sorry - just a quibble on a quibble here - "is" is not actually passive in that sentence. Granted, the sentence is a bit awkward, but that has nothing to do with passives.
Call it whatever kind of peeve you want, the statement could just have easily read, "But, a tiny ship sits upon wooden supports inside the corked bottle..." No more use of the word "is"...and that eliminates all concerns about anything even looking like passive voice. In my opinion, it's far better to eliminate it altogether when there's a better sentence that can be used. And, besides, it's really rather pointless to go into a pet-peeve over the full-on definition of passive voice anyway. The point is, strengthen your writing. Eliminate your reliance on as many forms of the verb "to be" as you can. And, as I also mentioned in that critique, take out the word "will" wherever you can. It almost never adds anything to what you're trying to convey. The same can often be said about the word "that" in most written text, as well.

Yes, your correction is far better than the original. But even "The ship is sitting upon wooden supports..." still has nothing like a passive in it.

The point is not about the definition of passive as much as it is that if you give advice along the lines of "avoid passives in writing" and neither you nor the person you're advising can identify a passive, the advice is not going to result in stronger writing. And extending it to just 'eliminate the verb to be' strikes me as just overkill.

I agree absolutely with your main point (strengthen your writing). The devil is in the details though - how do you get someone to recognize what the problem is and then fix it? Vague or misleading advice is bound to be counterproductive. Along these lines, Strunk and White is a miserable failure as a guide to better writing (a much better guide is Joseph Williams' Style: Toward Clarity and Grace).

Pedantry aside, there is a real point here. We agree on the goal - I just wanted to give you a heads up that you were perpetuating a particular vagueness about how to get there (and it is a pet peeve, otherwise I might not have been bothered enough to post; but my point was not just to give you a hard time).

Scarab Sages Star Voter Season 6

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Neil Spicer wrote:


Agreed. Think of it in these terms when you're assessing potential game-balance issues: If it can be used 1/day for a length of time that would last an entire battle, will that let the PC pretty much always activate against the BBEG and give themselves an easy victory? In the case of this item, I think the answer to that would be yes. Hence, it's going too far in what it allows PCs to do.

Good points all around. Thanks again for all the feedback, really appreciated.


Tome of Deadly Pranks
Aura strong evocation; CL 17th
Slot - ; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This book looks exactly like a tome of understanding yet hides a powerful curse. Whenever the book is read, roll 1d10 on the following table to determine the result.

  • 1 - Every time the reader speaks the word, "Help," in any language, she slips and falls prone.
  • 2 - The next item the reader touches shrinks as per the shrink item spell, except that the duration is permanent and the reader cannot expand the item.
  • 3 - The next member of the opposite sex the reader speaks to explodes, as if that person had just read explosive runes.
  • 4 - The reader can only verbally communicate in chicken clucks. He can still understand any languages he knows.
  • 5 - The reader’s weight doubles, causing him to take a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity.
  • 6 - The reader, along with all her gear, is instantly transported to the nearest occupied bedroom.
  • 7 - The reader is polymorphed into a sheep.
  • 8 - Whenever the reader draws a weapon, that weapon shouts an embarrassing fact about that character's childhood.
  • 9 - A army of goblins declares war on the reader. This army is always within 20 miles of the party, and consists of any combination of gobliniods that add up to the party’s ECL +2. The army tracks the party consistently and aggressively, yet non-magically.
  • 10 - Roll twice and keep both results.

All effects are permanent unless removed with a successful remove curse spell. Although Tomes of Deadly Pranks are created by error, many more are created by insidious Arcane Tricksters.
Construction
Magic Items any book or tome.

Dark Archive

RE: Pharaoh's Periapt of Pestilence critique by Nicolas Quimby:

Nicolas Quimby wrote:


This is super-niche, yea, and I feel like it does too many things within that nitch-ey space. You have three effects, all of which have completely different (somewhat complicated) mechanics, one of which is redundant with the item's constant effect, and all of which boil down to "your diseases happen faster". This would be okay if we were dealing with, say, attack rolls ("1 charge- +2 damage, 2 charges- +2 attack, 3 charges: double crit range"; all boils down to "you hurt them more"), but attack rolls are more central to the system. One elective way to make your diseases stronger is probably enough for one item.

It does too much things now that I look back, yeah. My idea was, that due its niche nature, I should at least make sure it covered the niche well, but this backfired. Especially as it does some stuff that's really not all that interesting from a mechanical point of view (DC increase, empowered ability damage), or is kind of redundant (halving the frequency...again). In fact, it likely drags the overall quality down. Even if all mechanical effects would be interesting though, I'd think it still wouldn't be a good idea. I did consider having the periapt make the wearer able to bestow diseases if he didn't already have a way to do so to make it a bit less niche, but again, this would have only added to the item doing a lot of things.

Nicolas Quimby wrote:


One direction I might take this item in is to have it boost ANY affliction you cause- that will make a lot more players sit up and pay attention.

I think that's a good idea. From a thematic point of view, it would also be very much appropriate if it would cover both diseases and curses. This ties it into the curse of the Pharaoh concept and also that Mummy Rot is both a disease and a curse. It certainly could cover poisons too, although then it would need to be refluffed.

Nicolas Quimby wrote:


Another would be to keep one or two of the disease-enhancing effects (probably the 'failed treatment' effect; that's pretty devious), but then come up with a secondary power that does something different-but-complimentary, like giving you some sort of power over creatures suffering from diseases that you've caused, or improving your ability scores as those of your victims deteriorate.

This is also an interesting suggestion. The control example fits well with the concept of a Pharaoh. With some added fluff, the concept of the wearer benefiting from the suffering of his victims; is a nice way to explain how a ruler could seemingly remain fit and healthy throughout the ages.

Nicolas Quimby wrote:
Also, yea, super freaking expensive.

Quite. While an item that can more easily cause a (more lethal) plague is scary, I should have kept in mind that there are far more cost effective ways to do so. Scribing several scrolls of contagion, for instance.

Thanks for the review!


Oyster of Ricochets

Aura faint conjuration; CL 9th
Slot -; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 1lb

Description

This oyster-shaped wooden box produces a ricochet (very dense and rubbery pearl about 3 inches in diameter) per day. Once thrown, a ricochet travels 100 ft in a straight line. If there are any small-sized or smaller targets in its trajectory they are knocked prone and take 2d4 nonlethal damage (DC 14, Ref negates both). If there is a wall or a medium-sized or larger target it deals 1d6 nonlethal damage (DC 16, Ref negates) and bounces in a random direction. Roll a dice to determine the direction that the ricochet go excluding the ones that the target grants cover. The ricochet continues its trajectory in a straight line until it bounces again or all its movement is over, when it simply vanishes. The attacker may try to control the bounces with a dexterity check: DC 14 allows you to control the first bounce and each +2 over that threshold grants you control of one subsequent bounce. The oyster does not produces another ricochet if one is still inside it. A ricochet dissolves after 9 hours outside of its oyster.

Construction
Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, major creation; Cost 2,500gp

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