Official "Critique My Item" Thread


RPG Superstar™ 2012 General Discussion

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Sly Boots wrote:
Go easy on me please.(Sorry, I'm sensitive :))

I'll try...but there's not much I can do to soften the judges' discussion of this one.

Sly Boots wrote:
Lamb's Bonds

*Poor naming on this item.

*This year, a lot of people really seem to want a pair of magical shackles. I just don't find that a very useful or compelling item to introduce into the game. And I'm put off by the combo build of this item. This isn't how you'd normally present that. Usually, it's a lesser vs. greater version. And, they'd appear as two separate items...not mish-mashed together in the wondrous item template.

*I'm further annoyed by the use of cure light wounds as the spell around which to build this item. And I don't care for the inscriptions in the "common" tongue (which should be Common). Or, the "escape artist" check (which should be capitalized as a skill name). The spellnames are all missing their italics, but this person obviously knows how to use BBCode by italicizing the inscriptions. In addition, the merciful weapon "enchantment" shouldn't be boldface and it should be an "enhancement" or a weapon property instead. It should also be italicized. Several other missteps on presentation, too.

*You add all these things up: poor presentation, poor core idea and name, and lackluster mechanics--and you just don't have a Superstar item.

*Vote to Reject.

*I agree. Kind of a plain, boring item concept. And it doesn't really make sense. You know what you do to violent criminals in a fantasy game? You tie them up and take them back to town. Where they're probably executed. Or the adventurers just kill them right there. You don't need to spend 8,000 gp to make them harmless once you've made them helpless. You just tie them up.

*I need to invent an auto-reject category called "item solves a problem that doesn't really exist."

*Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Henning Zoger wrote:
Impostor's Fan

*Meh. This is a bunch of weakly described SIAC effects without calling out the actual spells.

*Vote to Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Vincent Emond wrote:
Boots of the Relentless

*Kind of a metagame item for chases.

*I don't really care for the item's premise or origin supposition. I can appreciate the designer is trying to play around with one of the new rules sub-systems, but this is way too niche. Many GMs won't ever break out the chase mechanics. And you really might as well have an item that improves your Acrobatics, Climb, and Escape Artist checks all the time, rather than just during a chase. I mean, how do the boots know that wall you're trying to climb is only because you're chasing someone?

*Vote to Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Also agree. Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

David Posener wrote:
Brand of the Amaranthine Cadre

*Eesh. Aura sharing regardless of distance as long as you're on the same plane? Doubles the bonus of all teamwork feats? Seems a bit excessive to me.

*I do like that the designer's attempting to play around with a new aspect of the Pathfinder RPG (i.e., teamwork feats) as well as the various aura abilities. But I'm not quite sure this item is focused enough. Instead, it falls very squarely into the SAK trap for me. If they'd chosen a specific teamwork feat (or even a handful with similar mechanics) and had this item enhance them, I'd have felt better about it. Likewise, allowing all auras and emanation spells to be shared over such distances goes too far.

*I do like the flavor. I like the general direction this magical branding iron was headed. And I even like the attention to detail and use of the template. I just don't get a sense that the designer thought through all the game balance issues that would arise from this item's abilities.

*So, close...but I think I'm going to have to say...

*Reject.

*Good mechanics. The bit about how the brand fails is weak though - everyone heals naturally as soon as a day passes where they get enough sleep. There's no hit point requirement in that healing description, and everyone will get at least 1 point (barring some corner-case). I'd have saved the words and just had the effect last a set time, like 24 hours.

*This does come close to "makes adventuring easy", since it gives benefits even if the party becomes split - the one condition where teamwork feats degrade in value. But I actually see that as a benefit, because I hate feats that become valueless (especially if as a result of actions not taken by the feat-holder). This item ensures that taking those feats is never a bad decision, even if your party has a tendency to go walkabout.

*Vote to Keep.

*I really, really hate the unlimited range of the aura/emanation link to the bearer. That means the bearer can cast globe of invulnerability and all of his minions gain its benefits anywhere. There are probably other auras/emanation that create power combos, but that's the first one I thought of (hmm, fear aura, stench aura... problems).

*I like that they're trying to do something with teamwork feats, but I'm wary of anything that just says "you get double the benefit." Changing +2 to +4 is one thing, but +4 to +8 is a big jump.

*This feels more like a plot device than a useful item.

*Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

CHEERS wrote:
Alseta's Enchanted Bottle

Note: The item as you've presented it here in this thread isn't the item we saw in the judges' chambers. You called it Alseta's enchanted bottle and the descriptive text varies in a few places.

*Who's Alseta?

*It's just a portable rope trick with a ship-in-a-bottle/terrarium flavoring.

*Vote to Reject.

*...::sigh::...

*Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

This post marks the end of every item feedback request on pages 19-20. We're caught up once again.


Great post - Great reply:
FWIW - I thought my item rocked. I get that it didn't fair well by comparison, and that's okay - hopefully I'll get some additional constructive feedback, but - I liked it, I liked the way I presented it, and now I need to own it as "my child" - it didn't advance - kudos to the people who did - it just means their submissions rocked harder in the context of the contest.

Thanks Luthia
And thank you Clark - this whole thing must absorb a huge amount of your team - please know that the myself and the community appreciate it.

Clark Peterson wrote:
Luthia wrote:
I take one lesson away from this commentary, more than anything else: to practice my trust in my own design choices, even over feedback from others, when I like what I'm doing.
Luthia, that is a great thing to learn. I think it is not just key to RPG Superstar but also to life. Trust your gut. It's always better to rise or fall on what you believe in than to do so on stuff others think. We so often say we are looking for "mojo," but really that is mostly just spark, inspiration and passion. That doesn't come from someone else's idea, it comes from your idea. If you dont believe in it, your item wont have that spark or passion. Design comes from the head, yes, but passion from the heart. I want both. And you can tell an item that has that heart in it. The best way to get that is to make choices you believe in and run with them. I'm glad to see you come to this conclusion from this contest. Great insight.


Neil Spicer wrote:
This post marks the end of every item feedback request on pages 19-20. We're caught up once again.

Um, I was on page twenty.

I promise not to respond to the comments--regardless of how brusque. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Wild Gazebo wrote:
Wayfinder of the Unredeemed

*So, it's a reusable delayed blast fireball of 6d6 force damage and no save for those within 10 ft. of the explosion? All woven around a wayfinder theme? Oh, and you've got a darkness SIAC effect, as well. And a regular skill bonus to Survival checks for a normal compass. All for 6,000 gp and a slight chance your ioun stones trigger or exploding wayfinder are destroyed everytime you use it in this fashion.

*Regardless of the Pathfinder Society packaging, is a bomb-on-a-timer wondrous enough for Superstar? Considering the alchemist can already achieve a similar effect with delayed explosive bombs, I don't really feel any innovation here.

*Vote to Reject.

*And you can use a junky 50 gp burned-out or cracked stone to create the bomb effect, which is super-cheap.

*Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

James Thomas wrote:
Phantom Flanking Doll

*Is this anything other than a MIAC? I mean, it literally conjures a menacing flanker with actual stats for a bandit out of the GMG. And then it layers on a whole bunch of power-ups that kind of outstrip what I'd expect such an item to cost.

*Plus, if it's incorporeal, it doesn't have to worry about walking upon any surface or taking penalties with "rough" terrain (which is called difficult terrain in actual game terminology).

*We've also had phantom flanking items in the past. This one gets much more literal with it (and not in a good way). There's really nothing "phantom" about it.

*Vote to Reject.

*What is an "arcane bonus"...?

*And seriously, it's easy to get a flanking bonus, just deal with it. Same-old, same-old.

*Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Rejected.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

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I removed a post. "1000!" isn't any better or clever than "First!"

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Neil Spicer wrote:
*What is an "arcane bonus"...?

Check out this list for bonus types.

Maybe they were trying for an arcane bonus to offset sacred/profane divine bonuses. I think enhancement is the arcane version, but not very sure.

Contributor

When a judge asks, "what is an arcane bonus?," that actually means "that isn't one of the official bonus types."


Thank you judges for your time!
Congratulations to everyone who submitted an item. It's not an easy thing to do. And to the top 32, good luck!
Sorry for the late post, I have been busy.

If I recall correctly, I changed the the price/cost of my item when I submitted it, but it wasn't far from the value presented here.
And now, if you please... Critique my item!

Spoiler:

Rescuer’s Torch
Aura faint divination, evocation and illusion; CL 3rd
Slot --; Price 1,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This torch consists of a rod-shaped piece of silver encrusted with arcane symbols in gold and copper. Its tip is a small piece of crystal. The torch has no flammable materials. Trying to light it like an ordinary torch is useless. However, if the bearer only pretends to light it (a full round action that provokes attacks of opportunity; user must have both hands available and act as if holding imaginary flint and steel), a white flame emerges on the crystal tip. This flame emits light just like a normal torch, but this light is invisible to anyone except the bearer and creatures with the ability to see the invisible. This does not enable the user to see anything else that’s invisible, including the light of another Rescuer’s Torch. By linking hands, the bearer can share the benefits of this item with one more person.
The magical flame can be hidden or covered. It does not produce heat and does not consume oxygen. To extinguish the flame the bearer must drop the item, store it or otherwise let go of it. Handing it to someone else keeps the magical flame alive.
After 1 hour of not necessarily continuous use, the crystal tip blackens and the torch is ruined. Using a Rescuer’s Torch as an improvised weapon breaks the tip and renders the item useless. Either way, it can still be repaired.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, invisibility, light, see invisibility; Cost 500 gp

EDIT: Oops, made it a quote instead of a spoiler. Fixed.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Storycrafter wrote:
...why not improve the submission system so that as the judges enter their initial notes on the item, they are simply recorded and revealed to us privately after announcement of the finalists. if all we are looking for is a quick and dirty accounting of how the judges felt about our submission, we can get that without any judge having to do any extra work after the announcement.

Because sometime unedited judges' comments may not actually be helpful to anyone but the judges.

The judges aren't just copy/pasting here. When the judges post stuff in this thread, they clean up some of the weird references, maybe remove side discussion about things that aren't directly related to the quality of the submission, and often add quite a bit to the commentary (especially if it's Neil).

Would you like to see a *real* raw response? Here's an actual, complete, unedited commentary from an item I looked at earlier today:

Neil Spicer wrote:

Good lord. No.

Vote to Reject.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Reject
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Is this item really worth this price?
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Rejected.

(Clark didn't need to comment because it had already been rejected, and he didn't think it was worth saving.)

This is how the judges have to work if they're going to get through all of the items in time, and if anybody requested feedback and saw exactly that, they'd probably be pretty unhappy about it. A judge responding to a feedback request in this thread, though, can tone it down, and—more importantly—expand on it so that it's actually useful.

That's why we always do it this way, and that's why we will continue to do it this way, even though we have multiple requests every year to make it automatic. Very few people who ask that would be happy if we actually did it.

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Neil Spicer wrote:
terraleon wrote:
Umbral Spike

*You realize of course the introduction of this item will now necessitate the GM measuring all of the lighting angles to determine how long of a shadow an individual creature casts to determine which squares can be targeted by this spike? Creature size would also need to be factored in, as a dragon's shadow is likely to stretch much further than a man-sized creature....

*Yeah, this introduces a lot of issues with measuring/guessing the location of shadows.

Except the item specifically accounts for that, saying:

terraleon wrote:

The surface must be directly above, beneath or adjacent to the target, like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling, but not attended objects.

Which pretty clearly limits the target area to the floors, walls, and ceiling either surrounding the creature or directly above or below it.

"Charges" probably should have been "uses," but I tend to interchange those. Something you can use 3/day has 3 charges. *shrug*

I chose Wisdom because all monsters have Wisdom, but not all monsters have all of the other ability scores. This ensured it affected all monsters with shadows (vampire spawn are the only ones I found who specifically don't cast shadows.) and didn't leave some kind of creature unaffected (like incorporeals which have no Str but might still cast shadows) because it lacked Strength. And shadowy creatures do more than just Strength damage-- an allip does Wisdom damage.

I thought the touch AC mechanic (Per 5+ > Touch AC is complicated? Ok.) was offset by the full round action to remove the spike, or the move action to wrench oneself free, doing damage. Both options allowed the effects of the spike to be mitigated by the target while demanding a cost, which seemed reasonable. (The dragon just moves, takes some Wisdom damage and continues with a slightly lower Will save. Useful, colorful perhaps, but not game shattering.)

I'm not sure I agree the (Per 5 attack exceeds Touch AC) mechanic is clumsy, but then I hadn't spent four weeks looking at an inordinate number of items. The "per 5 you beat the target" mechanic is something we use for a couple of other maneuvers, like Bull Rushing, but that might be considered clumsy. It's probably the part about pulling the creature to the radius-- which was a corner case I thought ought to be treated given someone might try pinning a creature hovering more than 30 feet overhead.

Still, good notes. I may not agree with them all, and I'd love to know if I'm right about what was considered clumsy, but otherwise, fairly useful. Thank you!

-Ben.

Star Voter Season 6

terraleon wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:
terraleon wrote:
Umbral Spike

*You realize of course the introduction of this item will now necessitate the GM measuring all of the lighting angles to determine how long of a shadow an individual creature casts to determine which squares can be targeted by this spike? Creature size would also need to be factored in, as a dragon's shadow is likely to stretch much further than a man-sized creature....

*Yeah, this introduces a lot of issues with measuring/guessing the location of shadows.

Except the item specifically accounts for that, saying:

terraleon wrote:

The surface must be directly above, beneath or adjacent to the target, like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling, but not attended objects.

Which pretty clearly limits the target area to the floors, walls, and ceiling either surrounding the creature or directly above or below it.

For me the text you point to really doesn't do much at all to clarify the point - "surrounding" can be a very big or very small area.

Imagine how a shadow looks when light is directly overhead - it's a small pool directly at someone's feet. Now imagine the shadow when light is coming from the side and slightly above shoulder height. The shadow will stretch all the way across the floor and up the wall (assuming one is present), and will be larger the farther from the target it is.

In the first case, the spike will be very difficult to use. In the latter case, the spike could be used from 50 feet away or more with ease.

What if there are two or more light sources? Everyone in the room casts multiple shadows, in a variety of angles/lengths. Can any one of these shadow be pinned for a particular creature?

An easy strategy then is to surround the target with torches or magical lights (of any sort), adjust the lighting to move any one shadow to the Umbral spike wearer's feet, then use it. I think that's a very easy way to abuse this item (though it would reduce the GM's bookkeeping, if the players auto-succeed on manipulating where the shadow goes).

edit: for that matter, could a target casting multiple shadows be spiked by multiple Umbral Spikes at one time?

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Seabyrn wrote:
terraleon wrote:

Except the item specifically accounts for that, saying:

terraleon wrote:

The surface must be directly above, beneath or adjacent to the target, like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling, but not attended objects.

For me the text you point to really doesn't do much at all to clarify the point - "surrounding" can be a very big or very small area.

Those are game mechanics-- a surface "above, beneath, or adjacent to the target" creature is a very clear area. Medium-or-smaller creature? Then its square and the surrounding 8 squares are valid, as is the square over the creature with the ceiling (if the ceiling exists in the setting). An adjacent attacker's shield? No, as it's an attended object. That table or the door? Sure.

You're conflating the mechanics of the item with my comment. Only my quoted portion is from the item. A space "adjacent" to a target is pretty clear within the rules and requires no calculation of shadows and light sources. "Above and below" are pretty clear, too.

The item can't target the shadow stretching 90 feet down a hall. It can only target the shadow on a surface "directly above, beneath or adjacent to the target, like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling, but not attended objects."

-Ben.

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Seabyrn wrote:
edit: for that matter, could a target casting multiple shadows be spiked by multiple Umbral Spikes at one time?

Sure. There's no reason they couldn't be.

By this item, your shadow is in the squares surrounding your space, your space, and possibly the space above your character. Heck, even if you had just one shadow, there's no reason you couldn't be spiked multiple times.

Is there any reason you can't shoot a target with multiple arrows? Multiple magic missiles?

-Ben.


Sly Boots wrote:


*This year, a lot of people really seem to want a pair of magical shackles. I just don't find that a very useful or compelling item to introduce into the game.

*I agree. Kind of a plain, boring item concept. And it doesn't really make sense. You know what you do to violent criminals in a fantasy game? You tie them up and take them back to town. Where they're probably executed. Or the adventurers just kill them right there. You don't need to spend 8,000 gp to make them harmless once you've made them helpless. You just tie them up.

*I need to invent an auto-reject category called "item solves a problem that doesn't really exist."

I must not have made it clear enough that these are intended for PCs to wear, so they can use any found weapon and it still be merciful. It wasn't at all intended for using on criminals in the field. My mistake for making them shackles I guess.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Messter wrote:
Rescuer's Torch

*Some weak writing here. Kind of a utilitarian item. The innovation is just the fact that others can't see it unless they can use see invisibility. That means you can move around in the dark without worrying about others seeing your activities unless they have darkvision...in which case they can still see you, but they still can't perceive the light or that you have the ability to see with the torch. I'd imagine rogues without darkvision would find this especially useful, but it would have to occupy one of their hands at all times.

*I don't know. It's kind of okay. Not super-compelling. But better than plenty of other items we've seen.

*Weak Keep?

*Disagree. Not Superstar.

*Reject.

*This is barely more than an alchemical item.

*Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Rejected.

Star Voter Season 6

terraleon wrote:
Seabyrn wrote:
terraleon wrote:

Except the item specifically accounts for that, saying:

terraleon wrote:

The surface must be directly above, beneath or adjacent to the target, like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling, but not attended objects.

For me the text you point to really doesn't do much at all to clarify the point - "surrounding" can be a very big or very small area.

Those are game mechanics-- a surface "above, beneath, or adjacent to the target" creature is a very clear area. Medium-or-smaller creature? Then its square and the surrounding 8 squares are valid, as is the square over the creature with the ceiling (if the ceiling exists in the setting). An adjacent attacker's shield? No, as it's an attended object. That table or the door? Sure.

You're conflating the mechanics of the item with my comment. Only my quoted portion is from the item. A space "adjacent" to a target is pretty clear within the rules and requires no calculation of shadows and light sources. "Above and below" are pretty clear, too.

The item can't target the shadow stretching 90 feet down a hall. It can only target the shadow on a surface "directly above, beneath or adjacent to the target, like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling, but not attended objects."

-Ben.

I think your sentence as written doesn't quite convey what you just described here. Your sentence specifies that the surface must be adjacent to the target, and surfaces can be pretty big. You say "like a 5-foot square of wall, floor, or ceiling" which doesn't really explicitly state an adjacent 5-foot square.

While I think I might get now how you intended the item to work, it is a hard sentence to write, particularly since there is a need to cover the case of airborne targets as well. I would rephrase it or revise the underlying concept. (it would be far simpler, for example, if you just say that shadows can only be pinned on a wall, ceiling or floor within 5 feet of the target. Then it doesn't matter how high the ceiling is or if the target is flying - it's much easier to say.

But, I think the mechanics are still overly complicated, and at least two things still need some thought.

First, it seems a bit weird that a creature can only be pinned from an adjacent square, but can then move up to 30 feet. If they can move that far while pinned, why can't they be pinned from that far away? This also makes the sentence about pinned creatures being pulled towards the spike less clear. Wouldn't a creature only be pulled towards the spike if they were farther away than their allotted distance? If they can't move that far beyond the spike, how would they get that far away in the first place? Also, if the ceiling could be 50 feet above a target, why couldn't a wall 50 feet away be used? If they are flying 1000 feet up, can they still be pinned from the ground?

I think you're also assuming that a creature's shadow will fill all of those adjacent squares. This is not the case (as the judges and I indicated). It depends on the direction of the light source. If the only light is from someone facing me, then my shadow will be behind me. So even if I had understood your sentence restricting the area of the shadow, it still requires a lot of work from the GM to determine which squares the shadow falls into based on the direction of the shadow.

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Seabyrn wrote:
I think you're also assuming that a creature's shadow will fill all of those adjacent squares. This is not the case (as the judges and I indicated). It depends on the direction of the light source. If the only light is from someone facing me, then my shadow will be behind me. So even if I had understood your sentence restricting the area of the shadow, it still requires a lot of work from the GM to determine which squares the shadow falls into based on the direction of the shadow.

I'm not assuming, I'm dictating. I've abstracted the need to calculate light source vectoring and simply indicated adjacent surfaces are acceptable targets-- much in the same way we don't worry about facing.

That said, your revision about surfaces within 5 feet is cleaner, even if it doesn't handle the "directly above/below" option. Thank you.

-Ben.

Star Voter Season 6

terraleon wrote:
Seabyrn wrote:
I think you're also assuming that a creature's shadow will fill all of those adjacent squares. This is not the case (as the judges and I indicated). It depends on the direction of the light source. If the only light is from someone facing me, then my shadow will be behind me. So even if I had understood your sentence restricting the area of the shadow, it still requires a lot of work from the GM to determine which squares the shadow falls into based on the direction of the shadow.

I'm not assuming, I'm dictating. I've abstracted the need to calculate light source vectoring and simply indicated adjacent surfaces are acceptable targets-- much in the same way we don't worry about facing.

That said, your revision about surfaces within 5 feet is cleaner, even if it doesn't handle the "directly above/below" option. Thank you.

-Ben.

No problem. This is intended to be constructive :)

If you're going to dictate something like that I think you need to say it very explicitly - something like: "For the purposes of this item, all adjacent squares [or however you say that] are acceptable targets, regardless of light source or whether the target's shadow actually occupies the area." The assumption may avoid the need for new rules about shadows, but conversely since there aren't any such existing rules as far as I am aware (other than what I assume is the default for most people, which is that they work as in real life), without saying it really explicitly either the GM has to assume your intended meaning (which they may or may not realize), or has to make up their own (potentially very complex) interpretation.

You may also consider the case of overlapping shadows. What happens for a group of creatures standing close to each other, such that a given square may be an acceptable target for more than one creature. Are all of them pinned by a single spike? If so, it's a more powerful effect. If not, how do you choose which target is affected?

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Seabyrn wrote:
terraleon wrote:
Seabyrn wrote:
I think you're also assuming that a creature's shadow will fill all of those adjacent squares. This is not the case (as the judges and I indicated). It depends on the direction of the light source. If the only light is from someone facing me, then my shadow will be behind me. So even if I had understood your sentence restricting the area of the shadow, it still requires a lot of work from the GM to determine which squares the shadow falls into based on the direction of the shadow.

I'm not assuming, I'm dictating. I've abstracted the need to calculate light source vectoring and simply indicated adjacent surfaces are acceptable targets-- much in the same way we don't worry about facing.

That said, your revision about surfaces within 5 feet is cleaner, even if it doesn't handle the "directly above/below" option. Thank you.

-Ben.

No problem. This is intended to be constructive :)

If you're going to dictate something like that I think you need to say it very explicitly - something like: "For the purposes of this item, all adjacent squares [or however you say that] are acceptable targets, regardless of light source or whether the target's shadow actually occupies the area." The assumption may avoid the need for new rules about shadows, but conversely since there aren't any such existing rules as far as I am aware (other than what I assume is the default for most people, which is that they work as in real life), without saying it really explicitly either the GM has to assume your intended meaning (which they may or may not realize), or has to make up their own (potentially very complex) interpretation.

You may also consider the case of overlapping shadows. What happens for a group of creatures standing close to each other, such that a given square may be an acceptable target for more than one creature. Are all of them pinned by a single spike? If so, it's a more powerful effect. If not, how do you choose which target is affected?

To be fair, I don’t think his description was unclear at all. I think the term adjacent is very explicit when looking at Pathfinder game mechanics. To try and read more into it is either trying to justify why a judge may have made a snap judgment error in the mechanics of the item or an unclear understanding of how the rules in Pathfinder work.


Neil Spicer wrote:
Messter wrote:
Rescuer's Torch
Spoiler:
Neil Spicer wrote:
Messter wrote:
Rescuer's Torch

*Some weak writing here. Kind of a utilitarian item. The innovation is just the fact that others can't see it unless they can use see invisibility. That means you can move around in the dark without worrying about others seeing your activities unless they have darkvision...in which case they can still see you, but they still can't perceive the light or that you have the ability to see with the torch. I'd imagine rogues without darkvision would find this especially useful, but it would have to occupy one of their hands at all times.

*I don't know. It's kind of okay. Not super-compelling. But better than plenty of other items we've seen.

*Weak Keep?

*Disagree. Not Superstar.

*Reject.

*This is barely more than an alchemical item.

*Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Rejected.

Well, I actually had that coming. The day after I submitted my item, I realized how not superstar it was. What troubles me most is that I had a handful of other items I had created that had a much more superstar feel about them.

I decided to submit this one because it's not a combat-oriented item like most I've seen in RPG Superstar. And you do not see many magic items that are torches.
So I'm happy it wasn't an auto-reject or anything like that. Knowing that it's "better than plenty of other items" is good enough.

Neil, could you tell me who suggested a weak keep for my item, or is that forbidden?

Thank you.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

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Messter wrote:
Neil, could you tell me who suggested a weak keep for my item, or is that forbidden?

That was me.

Star Voter Season 6

Andrew Christian wrote:
To be fair, I don’t think his description was unclear at all. I think the term adjacent is very explicit when looking at Pathfinder game mechanics. To try and read more into it is either trying to justify why a judge may have made a snap judgment error in the mechanics of the item or an unclear understanding of how the rules in Pathfinder work.

Actually, re-reading it now given your comment I see how it might be interpreted as intended.

Just to be clear, I was not trying to interpret it uncharitably or unfairly, and it is certainly possible that I have an unclear understanding of the rules, which contributed to me missing the strict game-mechanic interpretation of 'adjacent' (though I'm certain this is not true of the judges). That said though, I do still think that if phrased more simply it might have been even clearer, and might have more clearly avoided this misinterpretation.

I do like the idea behind the item quite a bit, but I still don't think the mechanics or the presentation of the mechanics were fully there.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Seabyrn wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
To be fair, I don’t think his description was unclear at all. I think the term adjacent is very explicit when looking at Pathfinder game mechanics. To try and read more into it is either trying to justify why a judge may have made a snap judgment error in the mechanics of the item or an unclear understanding of how the rules in Pathfinder work.

Actually, re-reading it now given your comment I see how it might be interpreted as intended.

Just to be clear, I was not trying to interpret it uncharitably or unfairly, and it is certainly possible that I have an unclear understanding of the rules, which contributed to me missing the strict game-mechanic interpretation of 'adjacent' (though I'm certain this is not true of the judges). That said though, I do still think that if phrased more simply it might have been even clearer, and might have more clearly avoided this misinterpretation.

I do like the idea behind the item quite a bit, but I still don't think the mechanics or the presentation of the mechanics were fully there.

Granted, in many cases when trying to stand out, many folk use a lot of interesting descriptive text. So I can see how confusing descriptive text with pure mechanical text, even for our professional judges, could happen. And when you combine the two, soas to help your item stand out more, it can make it easy to mistake one for the other.

That being said, I think part of the problem was a snap judgement. But the lesson in that, is to clarify better, as you've suggested, as often the initial snap impression is all your item is gonna get.

Star Voter Season 6

The Grandfather wrote:
I would appreciate the judges' feedback on the Sluggard's Coffer (which is not a gag item)

While I am not a judge, I believe I can show you some issues with your item.

Your description is repetitive. Engraved avian imagery and image of a heron say the same thing.

Do not call something large in its description and then say it is Medium sized.

Weight is 50 lbs (empty) and 450 lbs (full). What happens if the coffer cannot be animated? It's a darned heavy thing to lug around if you lose the key. 50 cubic feet is 25 feet long x 2 feet wide x 1 foot high or some variant of that. Are you sure that's the size you wanted? I think you should have included its dimensions in the text.

Why isn't the size of the heron or its throat related to the size of the objects it can pick up? I get the sense you wanted a Swallow Whole ability but left off the mechanics.

The command word should not be a move action but a standard action. I believe this may have been mentioned before.

If it is commanded to animate, you don't have to repeat that information.

"Medium" should be capitalized. Commas are missing. You have added an apostrophe to "its" where it doesn't belong. You have some awkward sentences. See my edits below:

Sluggard’s Coffer
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot –; Price 7,000 gp; Weight 50 lbs. (empty), 450 lbs. (full)

Description
Engraved feathery patterns and the image of a long-necked heron's head adorn this bronze-plated wooden coffer.

It holds 400 lbs. or a volume of 15 cubic feet (5 feet long x 3 feet wide x 1 foot high). The coffer’s key grants anyone carrying it the ability to verbally command the coffer as a Standard Action.

On command, the coffer animates as a Medium size animated object. A pair of long birdlike legs extend from its bottom. The coffer can be commanded to revert to its inanimate state, to move to a destination within line of sight of the key bearer, to follow the key bearer, to stop in place, and to pick up an object within line of sight of the key bearer. By using the heron's head on its lid, the coffer can pick up unattended objects of up to 50 lbs. Items picked up are deposited inside the coffer as the heron swallows it.

If the key bearer is adjacent to the coffer, he can drop an item into the coffer as a swift action (the coffer automatically opens its lid to catch the item). If the coffer is ever more than 60 feet from its key, it immediately reverts to its inanimate state.

The coffer has the properties of a Medium animated object with the following exceptions: AC 16, hardness 10, speed 20 ft. (cannot run), and cannot attack.

Opening the coffer without the key requires a Disable Device skill check or a Strength check (both DC 30). A knock spell or similar effect also opens the coffer.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate objects; Cost 3,500 gp.

I hope this helps.

Debby

Dark Archive Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Here's my item.

Gloves of Petty Ailment
Aura faint necromancy [evil]; CL 5
Slot hands; Price 5400 gp; Weight 1 lb
These gloves can be found in virtually any style, from course leather, to the finest embroidered silks. Many have the symbol of Urgathoa hidden on the inside of one of the gloves. These gloves give the wearer the ability to inflict a common minor illness such as the flu, diarrhea, or the common cold. The wearer either touches the intended target, or touches an object others will likely touch, and issues a mental command to the gloves. If used on an object, the disease is only able to infect others for 1 minute, before becoming inert. Those who fail a DC 13 Fortitude save become sickened, nauseated, or fatigued (wearer’s choice). Onset is 2d6 hours after contracting the disease, and the victim(s) remain ill until a successful saving throw is made. The wearer is protected from the strain of disease created by the gloves currently worn, but not from any other strain of the disease. The gloves are usable once per day, as a standard action. Both gloves must be worn for the magic to be effective.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Contagion; Cost 2700 gp

Contributor

Hi folks,

I submitted my entry (Soles of the Shadow Trail) from my phone at the last minute - literally after waking up from a dream at 5am (I'm in Australia and entries closed early that morning - I actually had a couple of hours but didn't know that for sure at the time). I wasn't intending to submit, but it was quite a dream.

But that means I don't have a copy of the item. I've tried checking my post history and I can't see it there either. If that rules me out, fair enough and thanks for reading this far.

But IF someone who can see my entry can be bothered pasting it into this thread along with the comments (or telling me how to retrieve it myself if I'm just being fick), I would be deeply grateful. I was too busy to get comments on my previous entry (Warp Clay) last year, something I really regret because I found the judges' comments on other items gave me so much to bounce off.

Either way, thanks again to all involved for fuelling so much creativity.


You know, there's been so much talk about this item...I just had to give it a shot. I think there is some mojo in there. This is my interpretation of the Umbral Spike that I think would have been more successful. I'm not trying to translate here...I just like the idea...and had some ideas of my own that I thought would fit nicely.

What-do-you-think?

Umbral Spike
Aura moderate illusion and faint evocation; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 26,000 gp; Weight 3 lbs

Description

Jagged and matte grey, the umbral spike is a 13” metal shard tapered to a point on either end that is cool to the touch. The wielder of the spike may use it to strike any unattended adjacent surface that an opponent’s shadow is crossing (adjudicated by the GM). The spike glides effortlessly into any non-magical surface without causing damage. Striking a shadow anchors the spike and shadow onto the surface and effectively seizes the opponent, by his shadow, causing him to become tethered.

Light source modifies the difficulty to hit the shadow and the distance tethered. To strike the shadow the wielder of the umbral spike must make a touch attack against the opponent treating the spike as an improvised weapon (-4 to attack) and modified by the chart below.

.........................Attack...........Radius*
........................Modifier
Bright Light........-4...................5’
Normal Light.......--..................15’
Dim Light...........+4..................30’

An effected opponent outside of the radius is drawn toward the umbral spike to the outer limit of the radius provoking any attacks of opportunity. An effected opponent within the radius is tethered and unable to move beyond the radius until the spike is removed or the shadow disappears. Flying opponents must make a DC 15 Fly check or become grounded taking 2d6 falling damage.

Anyone adjacent to the umbral spike may take a full round action to remove it from its affixed surface (provoking attacks of opportunity) releasing any tethered creature. Casting darkness, freedom, freedom of movement or otherwise removing the shadow releases a tethered opponent.

* Secondary changes in light source change the radius accordingly.

Construction
Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, chains of perdition, shadow step; Cost 13,000 gp

Sorry, I have no idea how to put a table in here. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

thewhiteone wrote:
Gloves of Petty Ailment

Brace yourself. This one didn't sit well with the judges.

*A 5,400 gp item is unlikely to be purchased by anyone who isn't advanced enough in level that the creature's and NPCs they're facing won't be able to make a DC 13 Fortitude save. So, even the contagion SIAC isn't a very useful/compelling one.

*Also, some presentation missteps in a couple of places. Need to lowercase their spell name. Missing commas in their price/cost. And a period after "lb" in the weight. And "th" after the number in the CL.

*Vote to Reject.

*Gloves of diarrhea? Really? That's your Superstar entry? Of course, maybe I'm biased because I'm sick right now and may have some of those symptoms. But still, this one doesn't make it.

*Plus, it's just contagion-in-a-can.

*Reject.

*Rejected.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

P Minchin wrote:
Soles of the Shadow Trail

Full Submission:

Spoiler:

Soles of the shadow trail
Aura moderate illusion (shadow); CL 11th
Slot none; Price 16500 gp (pair); Weight -
Description
These clammy, filmy black footprint shapes are placed on the ground and stepped into while concentrating on two destinations, one false, one true. When the character steps out and begins travelling towards their true destination, their shadow detaches from them, transforms into a shadowy image of them (usual DCs to spot the illusion), and travels at the same speed along a plausible path towards the false destination. The false path is approximately as direct or meandering as the character's path to the true destination. Any purely physical traces of the character's passage fall through the Plane of Shadow and are left on the false path instead. These traces are the real trail relocated to a false path, not illusions; they may not be disbelieved, but may include incongruities (eg suddenly wet footprints in a dry passage if the character has stepped into water on the true path). The effect ends after 1 hour per caster level, if dismissed as a free action, or if either the character or the shadow reaches their destination.

Additionally, when the effect ends, the character may instantaneously plunge through Shadow to their shadow's location on the false path. (This effect confers no more knowledge than they would otherwise have about exactly where that is or what is happening there.) If they travel more than 10,000 feet in this way, they are fatigued by the rapid transit through Shadow's draining miasma.

The soles are consumed upon use, and one sole is required per foot/prosthesis/walking limb.

Construction
Requirements Create Wondrous Item, shadow walk, major image, spend 1 hour per print harvesting footprints while shadow walking; Cost 8250 gp (pair)

*Usual DCs to spot the illusion? What might the "usual" DCs be? Lazy designer can't be bothered to calculate it, much less communicate it. That's a problem.

*True path, false path? Meh. Just cast mislead and be done with it...

*Presentation errors, as well. "Create" Wondrous Item should be Craft Wondrous Item...

*And who's got time to go harvest footprints while shadow walking?

*Vote to Reject.

*Agreed. Reject.

*Also, agree. Reject.

*Rejected.

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

Wild Gazebo wrote:
You know, there's been so much talk about this item...I just had to give it a shot. ...

First off, very cool and I'm flattered...

That said-- you've got the dreaded "GM Adjudication" phrase in there. That phrase immediately means this item enters a YMMV realm I've yet to see hit the top 32.

You use terms as if they were mechanically defined which are not. And this might be simply because you took an off the cuff swing at this here. However, the terms I'd need to scrub on your take (into existing mechanical definitions) would be:
"effectively seizes the opponent"
"become tethered."

The third paragraph uses "effected opponent." Remember: you AFFect AN opponent with an EFFect. It's a homophone slip that'll knock you out of the 32 in the case where you're tied with another item without the error.

Based on your description of the target's shadow and how it's pinned, it's unclear how we'd ever become tethered outside the radius. I also don't see how secondary light sources impact radius-- I'd guess we'd just want the brightest light condition to dictate the effect.

The falling damage isn't scaled to the distance pulled. So if we yank a target from 40 feet up, he only takes 2d6? This also replaces the Reflex save with a Fly check and doesn't indicate what happens if the check is successful.

Editing note: You almost never need the word "that" in a sentence. It usually means you've got a sentence which could be cleaned up.

The thing about this item is that it's playing with a target space which is otherwise pretty much description-- the target's shadow-- and making it something which can be affected. It plays off shadow themes of changing travel distances and the idea that things-hiding-in-darkness-can-drive-us-mad, as well as alluding to the scene of Peter Pan. Then I tried stuffing a very subtle hint of Golarion lore in there-- which even caught one of the judges off guard, probably having him thinking I was trying to stuff my own background language in there (and coloring his perception further). It tries to graft a bit of the tactical movement control more common in other versions of D&D in to this system. (They mentioned other 'pinning' items; I'm curious to see how those items executed the concept.) I was trying to push that space by virtue of the unusual target combined with the option of a consequential choice for the target-- stay in place, take a full round to get free, or suffer 1d6 Wisdom to get free. There's a lot going on here, and I had to use the full 300 words to do it. That's my own foible; if you've given me a wordcount, and no other requirements to consider, I'm going to use that wordcount.

I think the lesson taken from this is exactly what Seabyrn said-- your innovation needs to be elegant and uncomplicated, and (in my opinion) catch the fancy of a judge who views the item very early in the evaluation pass. With an early advocate, it looks like an item enters a more complete discussion. (looking at the flask of liquid sunlight or the scent of the favored sting discussions)

I'd be intrigued to see it, but I'm guessing items with first posts of unadorned "reject" see a much higher rate of overall rejection, as the tone is set. I wonder how it would effect the outcomes if judges "spoiler'd" their votes until two votes were cast and simply worked off of comments? That's easily more effort to implement than it's worth when there's a hojillion items to review, but I think it'd be helpful in many cases. (or maybe just wishful thinking in the case of my item. ;) )

-Ben.


After reading through the entries that did make it and a lot of those who didn't, I think I have a good grasp of what I got wrong... and there was quite a bit wrong, possibly into the area of auto-reject. Live and learn. I'd like to know if there was anything I got right in there though...

Lesser Cloak of the Nightmare:
• Once per day, wearer may become ethereal as ethereal jaunt for one round as an immediate action. If this is done in response to a trap or attack it provides +4 to the wearer's armor class or saving throw (if being ethereal would provide protection against that attack or effect)
• Once per day, the wearer may cause his eyes to glow with sulfurous blue flames as a move action and gain a gaze attack to affect opponents as with the fear spell (Will save, DC = 10 + ranks in intimidate). This does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the wearer elects to make an active gaze attack, and the target fails the will save, the fear effect is prolonged for that creature and it is forced to cower in place for 5 rounds as if affected by lock gaze
• Once per day the cloak may make an attack of opportunity for the wearer (this does not use up the wearer's AoO). Fiery hooves lash out, striking as a touch attack with a bonus equal to the wearer's level or HD + charisma modifier for 2d8+4 fire damage.
• Three times per day the wearer can surround himself in a toxic, sulfurous mist for one round. A 15' radius around the wearer is obscured as obscuring mist. Everyone in this area (except the wearer) must make a DC 16 fortitude save or be sickened for 1d6 minutes.
• The wearer is protected from Abaddon's alignment traits.

CL9
Price: 18,000gp Cost: 9,000gp
Requirements: ethereal jaunt, fear, lock gaze, flame blade, animate object, stinking cloud, endure elements

The version that got submitted was edited to include a description (I think) and to fit the word count and template, but the hard drive that I had that saved to died on me...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

loimprevisto wrote:
Lesser Cloak of the Nightmare

*Over word count. 305 words.

*Auto-reject.

*Too bad, seeing as how they put so much effort into it. If they'd spent some of that time they invested in giving us URL links into checking their word count instead, maybe it would have been a nice item. I can't say, as I didn't bother reading it.

*Rejected.


(after some digging)

Quote:
Using 'Preview' in the official submission tool will tell you the word count of your item. This is the same word count the judges will use.

I was unaware of this, I guess I used a different wordcount tool than the official one- I remember it coming it at 298 words. Thanks for looking up my item, and I'll definitely remember this for next year.


Debihuman wrote:
Sluggar's Coffer ...

Thank you for your observations. Thank you for the alternate rewording.

I must point out the following:
- The heron is not an engraving, but a fixture on the lid.
- The coffer is larger than the dimensions you provided, it is more likely 3'x4'x5'. I did not provide specific measurements as I wanted GM and player to be able to customize exact appearance.
- Commanding the coffer was intended to work more like directing a spell, than activating a command activated item; much like animate objects works.


terraleon wrote:
First off, very cool and I'm flattered...

Wow. I can't believe I posted this. I'm so sorry, it really was kind of rude. I'm classifying this as a 'late night' post. Thank-you for being very good about this.

Looking at this with fresh eyes I see some clarity issues…again.

Either way I’m going to use this in my campaign. So, kudos on great flavor!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

loimprevisto wrote:
(after some digging)
Quote:
Using 'Preview' in the official submission tool will tell you the word count of your item. This is the same word count the judges will use.
I was unaware of this, I guess I used a different wordcount tool than the official one- I remember it coming it at 298 words. Thanks for looking up my item, and I'll definitely remember this for next year.

Even if the official word counter *had* said 298 words, you neglected to put the item name into the submission itself (note that it's present in the premade stat block, and the rules also specifically say "The entire submission, including the title, must not exceed 300 words"), so we'd have added those five words to word count, and you *still* would have been over. As it is, you really came in at 310 words.


Alright! Well, because Terraleon is being so good about this I thought I'd take another stab--this time with clear eyes!

Now this item, as I've come to realize, is different than Terraleon's item. I must confess I didn't quite understand the original entry.

I can't see a way to avoid the 'GM adjudication' because we are playing with a descriptor and thrusting it into a mechanic realm...so I'm just outright saying it. I'm not sure how Terraleon thought he avoided this, or perhaps he didn't...but I don't see a way short of some sort of concealment mechanic applied--that seems wonky. So...just ask your GM 'how close is his shadow to me?'...you don't need a protractor he'll answer depending on the situation. Seems like an acceptable ad hoc.

I avoided the word 'pinned' like the plague. I guess that is what confused me the most about the original entry. How can the creature move if it's pinned. I mean, it is a specific combat condition. If it couldn't move, why list distances...and what initiates the pulling? So, mechanically I really liked the idea of a creature tethered to a radius...rather than bound.

In my item the creature isn't pinned...he is simply confined to a space. so this is really more of a combat modifier rather than a capture item like the iron bands of binding.

The falling mechanic I thought a long time over. I figured that the flying creature (in my item) is only moved to the end of the chain giving it the chance to hover (DC 15 Fly check) and if they are maneuverable enough, and small enough, could circle at the length of the chain--albeit a poor strategy. So, at most they could suffer 2d6 damage and at least 1d6. My item doesn't pin...it pushes and tethers.

I thought about damage for breaking the bond...even associating it with an extradimensional conduit at one point...but the flavor felt wrong for 'shadow' a predominantly illusionary composition.

I really like the flavor of a chain you can't touch or strike that still binds you in place while not putting any other pressure on the surface or detainee...shadowy...

I didn't like the 'skill style' attack roll, but love the light conditions altering the difficulty and size of the chain...and the ability to change the conditions--like through a light spell to rein them in further...heheheheh

So, here it is, the final version, I think, of the item I will be putting into my next session! I can honestly say I would only consider adding one...possibly two of the current top 32.

Thanks so much Terraleon...there is a lot of great flavor here!

Umbral Spike
Aura moderate illusion and faint evocation; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 26,000 gp; Weight 3 lbs

Description

Jagged, matte grey and cool to the touch, the umbral spike is a 13” metal shard tapered to a point on either end. The wielder of the spike may use it to strike any unattended adjacent surface that an opponent’s shadow is crossing (adjudicated by the GM). The spike glides effortlessly into any non-magical surface without causing damage. Striking a shadow anchors the spike and shadow onto the surface turning the opponent’s shadow into an insubstantial murky chain: tethering him to a confined radius that can’t be forcibly broken until the spike is removed or the shadow disappears.

Light strength modifies the difficulty to hit the shadow and the length of the chain. To strike the shadow the wielder of the umbral spike must make a touch attack against the opponent (treating the spike as an improvised weapon, -4 to attack) and modified by the chart below.

Light____________Attack__________Chain
Strength________Modifier__________Size*

Bright Light________ -4______________5’
Normal Light_______ --______________15’
Dim Light__________+4_____________30’

An affected opponent beyond the length of chain is forcibly dragged toward the umbral spike until he is at the end of the chain (provoking attacks of opportunity). Flying opponents must make a DC 15 Fly check or become grounded taking 2d6 falling damage.

Anyone adjacent to the umbral spike may take a full round action to remove it from its affixed surface (provoking attacks of opportunity) releasing any tethered creature. Casting darkness, freedom, freedom of movement or otherwise removing the shadow releases a tethered opponent.

* If the light strength changes, the chain size is readjusted (possibly forcing another drag).

Construction
Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, chains of perdition, shadow step; Cost 13,000 gp


Vic Wertz wrote:
Even if the official word counter *had* said 298 words, you neglected to put the item name into the submission itself (note that it's present in the premade stat block, and the rules also specifically say "The entire submission, including the title, must not exceed 300 words"), so we'd have added those five words to word count, and you *still* would have been over. As it is, you really came in at 310 words.

Ah, thanks for the clarification. Next year I'll be sticking to the template religiously.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

Wild Gazebo wrote:

Alright! Well, because Terraleon is being so good about this I thought I'd take another stab--this time with clear eyes!

Wild Gazebo I feel your pain over the table format. You can see my approach to the table format in my Cantering Stilts on the 3rd page of this thread.

I wish the powers that be would create format tags for tables. Without them it has a negative effect on the visual appeal.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Even if the official word counter *had* said 298 words, you neglected to put the item name into the submission itself (note that it's present in the premade stat block, and the rules also specifically say "The entire submission, including the title, must not exceed 300 words"), so we'd have added those five words to word count, and you *still* would have been over. As it is, you really came in at 310 words.

In all fairness the word counter should include the title box.

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

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The Grandfather wrote:
In all fairness the word counter should include the title box.

This kind of discussion seems to be in a loop. This has been addressed. As has everything about wordcount, correct use of template, limiting the number of words in the submission tool, including your item's name in the submission, etc. The rules are pretty clear and there's plenty of clarification in the boards. All rules and clarifications are equally available to anyone wishing to enter the contest, so I think that's fair enough.

I'm sorry if this is coming across as rude, but it's just always the same complaints about how the submission tool should prevent people from messing up. It's the contestant's job not to mess up; the handholding has got to stop at some point.


If the tool is not providing a correct word count, that function should be deactivated.
I don't read every thread for the contest and am surprised about this. I don't think I was a victim of this, but I simpathize if anyone was rejected for relying on a foulty tool.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

The tool wasn't faulty at all (it matches MS Word pretty accurately). Instead, it's the people who didn't use it...or follow the rules...who were at fault. All you have to do is include your item's name in the actual post. The word counter then includes it in the tally. That's what the contest rules tell you to do. Sean took especial care to spell that out for everyone. And some people still didn't do it.

Even so, we tried to be nice to those who didn't follow that rule...i.e., there were a handful of people who still didn't put their item name in the actual post. Instead, they just dropped it in the title of the thread and left it out of the post entirely. When that happened, we chose not to discard the entry in its entirety. We basically viewed it the same as any other misstep in following the template. And, instead, we still assessed the submission on the item's merits (as long as it remained under wordcount after we mentally added the words from the item's name). That said, I don't think any of them made it through to the Top 32. One or two might have made the Keep folder. I honestly don't remember.

However...if, in the course of assessing one of those items, we mentally included the item's name in the body of the post and that carried someone over wordcount, we had to auto-reject it. We had a very small handful of items fall into that conundrum. Pretty much all of them would have been rejected for a variety of other reasons, though...and not just the wordcount issue. And, in the case of the example above, it was already over wordcount even before we mentally included the item's name in the post.

So, bottom line, I think you're imagining a problem that doesn't actually exist. The rule for putting the item's name in the body of your post wasn't a deal-breaker...just like failing to italicize, lowercase, and alphabetize your spell names wasn't a deal-breaker...at least, not on its own. But, going over wordcount is a deal-breaker, regardless of how it happens.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Neil,

I wasn't going to do this, but I've had a change of heart while reading this thread.

Is it possible to look up my incendiary pipe submission? I know I don't have the most up-to-date version of it here at work. If you'd rather, I can repost this request later tonight when I have my final draft available.

Thanks.

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