Haunting Glass


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

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Haunting Glass
Aura moderate necromancy [evil]; CL 11th
Slot —; Price 11,880 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
Description
This hand-held mirror is set in a permanently tarnished silver frame typically engraved with images of terrified people.

As a standard action, a user can hold up the mirror in a haunt and command it to capture a reflection of the region, charging the item. Upon command, the haunting glass creates a duplicate of the haunt in an area or immediately manifests its effects on a single creature within 30 feet that is reflected in the mirror, expending its charge. The created haunt functions exactly as the original, though it only manifests one time, after which it is destroyed. A mirror-created haunt lasts until it manifests, regardless of any other haunts the mirror creates.

The mirror may only be charged with one haunt at a time; if a user captures a haunt's reflection in an already charged mirror, the previous charge is harmlessly expended. Capturing a reflection has no effect on the original haunt.

The mirror provides no protection for its user against, nor can it be charged by, a haunt it creates. No experience points are awarded for defeating mirror-created haunts.

When found, the mirror has a 50 percent chance of being charged, in which case it shows only the manifested haunt, often emitting barely audible related sounds, such as moaning cries, clanking chains or crackling flames (DC 25 Perception check to hear). When not charged, the haunting glass functions as a normal mirror.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create undead; Cost 5,940 gp

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Interesting approach in playing around with the haunt mechanics. I'm worried about the duplication effect this mirror can achieve regardless of a haunt's CR. That feels a little extreme, broken, and abusive to me. But the designer has seemingly nerfed it down to the fact that you aren't defeating an existing haunt you're attempting to charge the mirror with...instead, the haunt plays out like normal and the mirror simply "records" it, holding onto the charge, assuming you survive, and then lasting until you decide to use it on someone else. Even then, the use of that stored haunt still affects the bearer of the mirror (only, he or she should presumably have some foreknowledge of what the particular stored haunt will do, so they can likely prepare for it way ahead of time).

I don't know. It's kind of savvy to try for something this bold. I'm not sure it all works out perfectly, but they've got very good attention to detail in using the template. The designer is thinking outside the box. They're being innovative with a haunt-related item. And I'm certain there's a lot of fans of haunts out there and this will surely be a hit with the voting public once they get sight of this thing. I say we reward this guy (or gal) by keeping them around and seeing what they can learn (and do) in future rounds of the competition.

Vote to Keep.

Contributor

Another haunt item, hmm, interesting. :)

Pretty solid.

My only concern is you can use this over and over... if you find a haunt you like, you can keep running back to it and copying it (you can only hold one charge at a time, but once you place the copy you can go do it again).

But that's a minor concern, easily fixed and pointed out so the designer doesn't do it again.

Keep!


This is effectively a monster in a can. The item's ability is to bring a haunt into an encounter of the player's choice.

I recommend that you do not vote for this designer.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I've said it before, I will say it again--wondrous items are often at their best when they dont just grant spell effects but instead deal with rules mechanics in some limited way.

Boy does this item ever do that!

This reminds me of the really fascinating (if not quite ready for prime time) [name of other item we thought wasn't quite ready]. Essentially you are capturing an environmental condition (game environment, not atmospheric) and transporting it or using it against someone else.

That is just plain clever.

Is the item perfect? No. Is there some abusability? Yes. But this is what I am looking for.

And, I should mention, GREAT name. Simple and perfect. That name would look great on the wondrous item list and on a PC character sheet.

Keep

RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

This is (at an abstract level) cut from similar cloth to my item from last year – something you use the opposition to charge up, then discharge for your benefit. Such items are a good choice for Superstar because unusual charging mechanisms are uncommon in Pathfinder, and they offer flexibility to inspire players while GMs can fantasize about the trouble the PCs will get into trying to charge them up. The Haunting Glass is clever and well written to boot, so unsurprisingly I'm a fan.

It was a ballsy move not to put a limit on how powerful the haunts you can draw in are, but I think it works, especially since it’s balanced out by the lack of protection from mirrored haunts. It’s a niche enough item that I don’t mind if PCs want to keep it with them throughout the campaign – and it always bothers me when wondrous items arbitrarily become obsolete, anyway. Plus, it makes the rules feel much more elegant. As a GM, if I gave the PCs some downtime and they started searching for rumors of a really dangerous haunted house so that they could charge their Haunting Glass, I would be delighted to hook them into some twisted little horror encounters. I also like the choice of discharge mechanisms.

There is one ambiguity in the rules – how close to the mirror is the new haunt created? 30’ like the targeted effect? Or something else?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Jatori

Welcome to the Top 32!

I like the rather liberal interpretation of the create undead spell. It fits the item well.

You've given us one of two haunt-related items and one of several absorb-attack-to-charge items to make it to the Top 32. However, your entry stands out, not only because of the great visuals, but also because of the mechanics involved. I'd love to run a game filled with mildly insane ghost hunters for PCs, tracking and documenting haunts.

I do worry that players might abuse this item. Of course, not every campaign would make it easy to spam haunts, but it is something to watch out for.

Good luck with your organisation.

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

What I like:
Mirror items are one of those things I always look forward to reading; it's just an item type that appeals to me. (And while this doesn't speicfy it's a mirror in the name, I assumed it was, just because it seemed more likely than ghost-infused stemware. And the name is nice and evocative on its own, as well.) And I really enjoy the fact that this carries out the 'feel' of a mirror item as well; capturing and releasing reflections.
What I love:
So this is the second haunt item I've seen so far, and while I liked the first one, I really, really like this one. First of all, I like that it works with haunt rules; that's a cool aspect of the game I like seeing expanded on. I really like the power on this; it doesn't protect you from a haunt, you still have to go through whatever it makes you go through, but gives you the opportunity to unleash that sometime and somewhere else. That's just insanely clever- and potentially a lot of fun for players and GMs alike!
And I also very much appreciate that you took the time to spell out that a reflected haunt isn't a cheap way to earn more xp, since I could see that question being raised otherwise.
What needs a little sumptin' sumptin'...
I don't think you needed to go into the possibility (and percentage chance) of a found glass already containing a haunt; that's something that should, really, be solely up to a GMs discretion. Although I do like that you took that text and used it to describe what a 'filled' glass might look like.
All in all...
Very cool little item. It takes a fairly niche part of the rules and makes it a little less niche. (The party might only come across a haunt in one out of every four adventures, but this then gives them a chance to 'relive' that at a later point in time.) As a player and GM both, I'd love to see one of these in use. Nice job. Congratulations and welcome to RPG Superstar!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Props to you man, this is a lot like the item I submitted, except that you charged it with a cooler effect. And, probably, your writing is a little cleaner than mine, too.

Capture and release is a cool effect, and you did it to a neat effect. Good work.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

*blink* Wow. Thank you so much, judges. I've been daydreaming about this, but kept trying to not let my hopes get up. You've absolutely made my day ... month ... year (and it's still only January)...

I appreciate all the feedback, of course, and have been obsessively hitting refresh to see what everyone else has to say.

Neil Spicer wrote:
I'm worried about the duplication effect this mirror can achieve regardless of a haunt's CR. That feels a little extreme, broken, and abusive to me.

This was absolutely one of the areas I was most concerned about. I played around a lot with making it so the mirror scaled -- it could reflect a haunt with a CR up to whatever caster level it was created at -- but I began running into word problems when I started explaining what it would do when exposed to a haunt with a higher CR than its caster level. (There was also a pricing issue with that: I thought simply saying the price was x times the caster level worked well, but there's nothing similar to that mechanic in the rulebook that I can think of.)

In the end, as you noted, I thought having to deal with a haunt to charge the item would serve to limit a lot of potential abuse.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Firstly, congratulations on making it to the top 32. Another mirror, is it? Well I must say, I like this one better than your discarded one. Actually, I'd say it's probably one of my more liked items this year. I'm having a hard time imagining who would use it, but the creativity and new thinking overpowers that to me.

Good luck in the next round!

Star Voter Season 6

A nice item. My only complaint is that I see it as too situational. Haunts are rare, so I see the players getting to charge this once, maybe twice over the course of most campaigns. I like it though.

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

Congratulations Jacob,
I just finished reading Dreamdark and the queen had a mirror she trapped a demon (and later the protagonist) in. I think your 'trapping' is a fun and appropriate use of a mirror and a haunts need some expanding. Keep up the well thought-out entries and the good work. I hope you go far. :)

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka OwlbearRepublic

Really cool basic idea. Most of the details are well-thought-out, too, and a mirror is a good choice flavor-wise.

I'm a little fuzzy on the wording, but I think a lot of that has to do with the frankly wonky haunt mechanics. You can hold up this mirror "in a haunt" to charge it. But what does that mean exactly? Does it have to be an active haunt, or just an area within which a haunt is dormant? I'm thinking of my playthrough of Harrowstone... as a player with that mirror, I wouldn't have known where and when to point the mirror to capture a lot of those effects.

Assuming you can spot and catch a haunt, you can then duplicate it "in an area." At this point, the adjudicating GM may feel that he is eating his soup with a fork. :) Again, I don't hold this against you, it's just the nature of haunts that you can't be much more specific. Players will need to know how far away they can drop the haunt effect, though, and that should really be specified.

I'm curious whether you playtested this item. I'm not saying that sarcastically or as a criticism, I'm really wondering how it would go. I imagine myself as a GM doing a lot of fudging trying to turn haunts into a portable phenomenon.

All in all, an interesting and bold choice. You earned your win. Good luck.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Thanks so much for the comments, everyone. Taking a quick break from working on my organization...

Luthia, yes, another mirror. I don't know why they were stuck in my head this year. My original item was a crown and then in the middle of the night, my first mirror (from the reject thread) just came to me. It eventually morphed into the haunting glass.

Caineach, I think it will definitely be more popular for certain campaigns, but I don't think it's a huge limit. It would certainly be a natural for a Carrion Crown game, and might not feel quite that way for Skull and Shackles. However, undead are probably one of the most common antagonists in the game, showing up at least once in any campaign, and anywhere there's undead, there could be a haunt, which shouldn't take too much work from a GM to drop in somewhere.

I know I'm getting ready to add some into my PBP campaigns (Kingmaker and Savage Tide, neither of which are very haunt-focused). And, as Sam mentioned, the players can always go looking for rumors of haunts, which gives GMs a lot of freedom to come up with some adventures.

Curaigh, I'd never heard of "Dreamdark," but it sounds very interesting based on a quick look at Amazon. I'll have to check it out -- though hopefully will have a couple months before I can get back to reading solely for pleasure. : )

Owlbear Republic, you (and Sam) are quite correct that I did miss a range for putting the haunt in an area: Because I wanted the area to be visible in the mirror, I was thinking it would basically be done from an entrance/exit to a room/cave, but it should be spelled out. 30 feet feels right to me.

You're right that haunt mechanics can be a little wonky (last year, David Vigil caught dinged for calling for a "notice check" in his haunt-related item, but that phrase comes directly from the rules). I figured that most players would want/need to defeat (or survive) the haunt before pulling out and charging the magic item, which could then be done. As you note, they also might not even realize the haunt was there before it manifested, so wouldn't have the mirror at hand until after the haunt's affects.

Area did have to stay vague as well, because the size of the haunt changes depending on the CR, but that could also be limited to a room. My thought was someone using that application would set it in a room or a cave as they left it. (Though I could also envision someone noticing a room filled with some monsters and sneaking the mirror up to set the haunt in that room before bursting in.)

And, no, I didn't get a chance to playtest the item. It was a late switch from what I had been thinking about submitting, and my RL group wasn't getting together to game leading up to the holidays. Now that it made the Top 32, I'm thinking of where I can get it into some campaigns so hopefully we'll see how it works. And if anyone else does end up using it in their campaign, I'd love to hear how it goes.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Well, I like this mirror some bit more than the other.

I'm going through a systematic analysis of everything, so here you go.

That critical, first impression
Haunting? Shiny. I like haunt rules, and using them is taking a less used, new and more difficult road. Not a bad idea.

Analysis
Name: It's okay. Not much to say to it. It tells me approximately what to expect, and it's not x of y. I kinda like it, or at least, I'm growing to like it.

Template: I don't see any problems, so fine work there.

Description/Clarity: Text is clear, easily understood and well-written. You deal with most issues that might come up when using this item, which I like.

Effect: Capture haunt, use mirror, release on enemies. As I said before, I'm not positive it would see a lot of use, but it's a good idea, for using haunts a little extra, and it might give the players some fun releasing a haunt the were really troubled by on some hated nemesis.

I can't actually think of a lot more to comment on here, so I'll leave it with a good luck!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Thanks, Luthia. Again, I appreciate the comments.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

I love the concept of haunts, but then I love all things connected with ghosts. An item that might encourage a DM to use the haunt rules is a good thing, in my view. Also, this item offers excellent visuals and a neat concept that gets me thinking about alternative uses and possibilities.

Wonderful stuff, and congratulations!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8

First of all, I love the imagery. A mirror with a captured scene of horror visible on its surface is really creepy.

I see it as a great item to drop on the PCs somewhere. Hanging up on the wall of some gothic mansion, waiting to be triggered by a curious adventurer. Watching them argue over whether they take the discharged mirror away with them or just get the heck away from the horrible thing would be super fun.

Good job, Jacob!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

As the creator of Clark's alluded-to similar item, congratulations and great job!


Looks like I need to read up on haunts because i'm unfamiliar with them and this is the 2nd haunt related item I've read. I do get the idea though and it's pretty original. Almost seems kind of anachronistic, like a video camera that captures ghostly images, then plays them back.

Good luck

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

Threat Analysis

You could be serious competition because.... you're extremely clever. You've got one of the more inventive items in the Top 32, if potentially a bit unbalanced as written.

You could become an even bigger threat in future rounds if... you remember to think through the consequences of your mechanics to insure that they don't allow for effects that are potentially more powerful than intended.

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

It's great to see items that play with rules outside the norm. This one elegantly handles all the scenarios between the item and haunts.

Excellent work, and best of luck in the next round, Jacob! (so many Jacobs...)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka artofcheatery

There are not enough mirror related items in RPGs considering how much mythology surrounds them. You get bonus points just for that.
-X

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I like how this item takes something specific to Pathfinder--in this case haunts--and does something cool with it. Good job!

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

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

Ant Health Warning: this year, I really worked hard on technical execution of my item, so these reviews will likely reflect template use. Brace yourselves for the template fu - it can sting.

Template Use: 9.5/10

template fu pulls a strange face at the Aura entry - "What's a square bracket?" he asks me. "I think it's not the rounded one", I answer. "Cool!" he says, happily eating a half point.

Slot affinity: 9/10

There is no slot as such, so I will give a general assessment score here so it balances with other reviews.

The only thing that I wondered about here was size. If it's a hand held mirror, how much of the haunt needs to be in the mirror's surface area before it is duplicated? This lead to me questioning range and haunt size. My brain then span away into adding vampire to haunts - which begged the question, can the mirror dupicate a haunt that casts no reflection?

There is also an element of plot device unfortunately - if my campaign doesnt have any haunts, the item is kind of useless unless pre-charged.

My brain is weird, especially when flu ridden.

Abuseability: 9/10
As it only creates copies, it cant be used as a hanut destroyer which is good.
As a GM, I did also wonder if destroying the haunt image would count for 7 years bad luck :D

Desirability: 8/10
I actually quite like it, the range/size issue niggles me still but apart from that, I would have one in my backpack for those haunt encounters.

Originality: 8/10
I absolutely love things that do stuff with undead and this deals with undead in an unusal manner.

Ant Score: 43.5/50 (87%)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Thanks, Anthony, I was waiting for my template-fu review, especially since even though this was my first year entering, I was determined to nail that part of the challenge.

My thought -- since haunts can be a little nebulous -- was that as long as the mirror is in the haunt and reflecting part of it, it could absorb a charge. Good question on the vampire haunt, though. : )

As for what happens if your campaign doesn't have any haunts, I think that's an easy fix as a GM. Simply add them in. I just dropped one of these into my Kingmaker PBP*. There are no haunts (at least so far) that I'm aware of in the module, but it's simple enough to insert one at the first location they run into undead, for example. I would need to take another look, but I could see adding one into the Staglord's fort as well, though I want to be careful not to suddenly OVERLOAD the module with haunts.

* Of course, the PCs' Spellcraft checks failed, so even though the players know what it is, the PCs don't. Fortunately, they're about to level up.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I like this one, very cool and creepy item to carry—plus fun to inflict terrors you’ve experienced on your enemies. Good attention to detail on the charging/charged mechanics for the item I think. I have several characters who would definitely love this item.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Thanks, David, much appreciated.

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

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

No worries, I'm getting to them again now Im getting better - but have started the organisations to try and get those reviewed by end of play Sunday.

I only mentioned the round brackets because thats what everyone else seems to be using but on reflection, I can see you probably got the square brackets from the spell descriptions.

So the question I guess is, should we use square brackets or round ones moving forwards? At the moment, it's rounded, but if I'm wrong, I will update the template write up.

I will let the judges answer that if they get time to.


Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Haunting Glass

Aura moderate necromancy [evil]; CL 11th
Slot —; Price 11,880 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
Description
This hand-held mirror is set in a permanently tarnished silver frame typically engraved with images of terrified people.

As a standard action, a user can hold up the mirror in a haunt and command it to capture a reflection of the region, charging the item. Upon command, the haunting glass creates a duplicate of the haunt in an area or immediately manifests its effects on a single creature within 30 feet that is reflected in the mirror, expending its charge. The created haunt functions exactly as the original, though it only manifests one time, after which it is destroyed. A mirror-created haunt lasts until it manifests, regardless of any other haunts the mirror creates.

The mirror may only be charged with one haunt at a time; if a user captures a haunt's reflection in an already charged mirror, the previous charge is harmlessly expended. Capturing a reflection has no effect on the original haunt.

The mirror provides no protection for its user against, nor can it be charged by, a haunt it creates. No experience points are awarded for defeating mirror-created haunts.

When found, the mirror has a 50 percent chance of being charged, in which case it shows only the manifested haunt, often emitting barely audible related sounds, such as moaning cries, clanking chains or crackling flames (DC 25 Perception check to hear). When not charged, the haunting glass functions as a normal mirror.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create undead; Cost 5,940 gp

Disclaimer:

This post constitutes the views of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus. Being such, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is at complete liberty to change her mind on anything without giving any notice whatsoever. For those of you who missed last year (or as a reminder for those whose memories have failed) Ask A RPGSupersuccubus subscribes absolutely to balance, fairness, and logic in these reviews – in the sense that balance is what a couple of mortals on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire above a drop of several hundred feet into a pool of molten basalt frantically try to do, fairness is a term applicable to assessing either hair colour or more general beauteousness and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.

Note:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus acknowledges the efforts of the ready supply of willing victims on the ‘Nine Blazing Months’ items thread, who inadvertently contributed to the development of weapons-grade questions for use in this round.

Fair is foul and foul is fair supposedly (trust a mortal to make up a piece of complete mumbo-jumbo – it is of course generally impossible to get anything much fairer in any context which actually matters than a succubus). Basically, though, does this item have any useful application in a spa?
Whether it's useful comes down to a toss up between the embarrassment being seen with a tarnished silver mirror, and the pranking potential the item offers, for dealing with uppity erinyes.

Assuming for a moment that it’s more convenient to pay taxes than to circumvent the system, does this item look likely to be a tax-deductible business expense for a succubus art-dealer?
No. Not because it's not useful, but because if you declare it, I guarantee someone will be round to 'confiscate' it. Either that or legislation will be forthcoming - or conceivably a combination of confiscation and legislation will result.

Is the item useful in a strawberries-and-cream-tea context?
Probably not, no.

Other Comments?
Oh yes, this is abusable. It would be abusable at double the price. Time to dig out that rating from last year again...
World Domination Potential: Bwahahaha!

Gollum Rating:
Ratings of items are prosaic and unfashionably conventional this year. Although rules are there to be broken (so long as they do not involve the dread lord, Orcus) as a general rule no items will thus be rated this year.

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