Quicksand Cloak


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

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

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Quicksand Cloak
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot shoulders; Price 30,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
This long, mottled-brown cloak seems heavy and feels damp to the touch. The exterior of the cloak disguises an extradimensional space filled with water, dirt and debris, resembling natural quicksand. Each time a creature of the wearer’s size (or smaller) attempts to grapple the wearer, it must succeed at a DC 15 Reflex save or be engulfed by quicksand (Core Rulebook, 427). In lieu of the grapple attempt, and every round trapped in the cloak’s extradimensional space, the trapped creature must make a Swim check (DC 15 + 1 for each consecutive failed Swim check) to climb out of the cloak, landing prone in a square adjacent to the wearer. Crawling out of the cloak provokes an attack of opportunity from the wearer. A creature that fails a Swim check by 5 or more submerges and begins to drown.

A quicksand cloak left on the ground with no wearer behaves as a patch of quicksand filling two 5’ squares. Creatures trapped in the cloak can attempt to swim out of it whether the cloak is worn or not. Though the quicksand space may contain debris or decayed bits of drowned victims (without increasing its weight), a quicksand cloak of any size only has enough room to trap one creature at a time. If a creature dies and is not pulled out of the cloak, the body becomes a part of the cloak’s debris and remains until removed.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create water, rope trick, shifting sand; Cost 15,000 gp

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

How tremendously cool and original is this weird thing! It feels like an item gone missing from the famous Mud Sorcerer's Tomb module.

This is a fun item with two good uses, not overpowered, and huge props for style. Recommended as a designer to watch.

Strong keep.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

BOOM! Now this is a great item! One of the top, if not the top, item in this year's batch. This is great. Again, people ask me what I mean when I say an item has mojo--well, let me introduce you to the quicksand cloak. This is how it's done, kids. Take note. Interesting, creative item that doesn't try to use a thesaurus for the item name--it's just a cloak, one of the most classic wondrous items--but yet it is still a great item name. Great and fun mechanics. You read this and can't wait to see it on the game table. PCs would love it. Then the writing and formatting are really good. Plus I can just see the squishy muddy mess when someone tries to grapple the wearer. Amazing job.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

It needs a little more explanation that the grappler is pulled into the cloak and that ends the grapple, but other than that... whoah! Very clever idea!

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

First of all, congratulations on making the Top 32! That in itself is a major accomplishment and it’s something you should take great pride in. You rock!

Congrats, Steven, you created my favorite wondrous item for this year’s contest. This thing is cool. I love the sense of alien extra-dimensional wrongness this item evokes. I could see a very creepy evil monk using it to devastating effect. Players would never forget an encounter with this item, especially after their character gets sucked into the extra-dimensional-quicksand-place-of-horror. Maybe it’s just my morbid mind, but you totally won me over with the fact that a drowned victim’s remains are trapped inside the cloak forever, so the next person sucked into it gets to rub up against a bunch of slimy old bones and rotting body-goo from the cloak’s previous victims. That’s awesome.

Ok, I'm officially naming you my front-runner. No pressure. No pressure. ;-)

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

Congratulations on making Top 32, Steven! I know you've been involved in this contest for years, so it looks like your hard work has paid off.

This is a fantastic item, and it gets off to a great start with the description. The visual of a hapless grappler getting sucked into quicksand and drowning is incredible. Additionally, the owner can use the cloak as an impromptu trap? That is a perfectly natural extension to the design, and one many might not have thought of. This is the kind of item I wish I had for the Toad King in Doom Comes to Dustpawn. :)

You've been active in RPG Superstar for a number of years, and I'm pretty sure you've got an idea of what works in the contest. Best of luck to you!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

Two pounds is light for a cloak that “seems heavy.” “Crawling out of the cloak provokes an attack of opportunity from the wearer.”- that is going to be interesting to describe as the wearer attacks a creature leaving it’s backside.
Fun item.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

I have to say that this was one of my favorite items when I was voting. You therefore get my very first comment! :D

I look forward to meeting you on the field of battle. HAAAAH!

*Whips his horse around and rides off in a cloud of dust and the sound of clattering metal*

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

This was my favorite item from the competition, great job Steven. Now keep up the great work!

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

Congratulations Steven!
I am so glad you finally made it in! and I love the cloak. It was an early favorite for me in the voting. I came here first!

Nice job!

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

This is one of the items I never saw while voting. Very interesting. It definitely drips flavor and I could certainly see people wanting this item.

Also congrats, Steven, since you've been involved in the contest for so long, it's nice that you get a chance to participate.

I will say be careful on details, though. I notice you don't have the name of your item italicized in one instance, and I believe Paizo spells out feet.

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

Congratulations, Steve! As your DM, I demand partial credit. I'm sure I did something to inspire you. And hopefully being in the Kingmaker campaign has prepared you for your River Kingdoms challenge.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Congrats, Steve. I know you've worked hard and long (with much frustration) to have this opportunity. You always said you felt like you just needed to get your foot in the door. Now you've done so with a really awesome item. So, you'd better make the most of it. Good luck. And I'll be watching your designs with quite a bit of interest from here on out.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

This item is really cool flavorwise. The only thing that botters me is that when the item become avaliable to the Pcs the DC is realative low. and at higher levels the DC is very Low.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka Transylvanian Tadpole

Also one of my firm favourites. I hope I get the chance to use it somewhere down the line, it might mesh very nicely with some upcoming campaign ideas.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

Thematically strong, and doesn't have a ton of complicated mechanics tied to it. Good stuff. Recommended.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

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I am so grateful for this opportunity and everyone's kind words. I'll offer a few responses about the quicksand cloak a little later, and I know for future entries I'm not allowed to say anything at all, so I will just throw out a couple of campaign promises and get back to work.

I love Pathfinder. I love that Paizo inherited the soul of Dungeons and Dragons and I wish Paizo more success than my good friends who work there have ever imagined. I will work hard to offer fun designs that GMs and players will enjoy, and I will do my best in each round to offer something we've not really seen before. Although, many of my idols in game design have really seen it all and have a much deeper knowledge.

I am committed to hard work and good sportsmanship and I wish every RPG Superstar the most fun and the best of luck.

And a little something for my friends who have been on this stage before...

Spoiler:
mythic, maximized explosive runes!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

Well done, just well done.

The only thing that nagged at me was when a person/thing is pulled into the cloak...is their weight added to it?

Other than that...BOOYAH!!!

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

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Congratulations on making the top 32! This was one of the items in my personal keep file and I look forward to seeing your efforts in round 2.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

I did rather like this item. I wasn't quite as taken with it as Clark, but I thought it had interesting imagery and useful applications. It wasn't something I could really see myself using it a game, but it was an item I found myself liking dispite that, so kudos and I can't wait to see what you bring to the table next!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

This was one of the few items I could never make up my mind about. On the one hand, it's got great imagery and mojo. On the other hand, it gives opponents a significant disadvantage on a common combat technique. In that sense, it seems fairly overpowered. The problem for me, I think, was that "each time" an opponent "attempts" to grapple, they face a save or be sucked away. If it was somehow more limited, I might have been in support.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

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I wanted to add that throughout the contest I'm grateful for any kind of constructive feedback. I love looking into the minds of designers as they offer their thoughts, and players as they apply my choices to their styles of play. So be nice to me (it's my first time), but don't hold back!

As far as some of the specific comments, I had some thoughts:

Most cloaks weigh one pound, I think. SO I doubled the weight. When you're trying to get you're foot in the door, you develop weird paranoia about little changes. You see people saying "not bad. If only he had just stuck to the weight of most cloaks". So I had though 2-3 but it was incedental to the actual design, and so I tried not to obsess over it and went with two.

Some really good points about including details for whether the weight of the occupant is added to the weight of the cloak, or clarifying that the grapple ends once the attacker is stuck in the cloak. As you all know, you can really bog down a good idea trying to cover all the rules questions. So really great design does that in as few words with as little language as possible. Defintely an area for me to work on.

I toyed last year with a helmet that lets you remove your head. You got cool bonuses to keep you from dying and had to compensate for some big disadvantage (blindness, unable to speak, etc). The cinematics and theme I really liked. But the sheer number of sentences for controlling all the weird variables I thought of just seemed too heavy. If there's a space in which I want to improve first, it's covering tight rules fu in fewer words.

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

Fantastically weird AND very useful item. I voted it up. Congratulations Steven. Excited to see what you do next Round...

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138

This item is creepy and weird, so of course I liked it.

Congratulations on making it into the Top 32, and I'll see you in the archetype round!

Liberty's Edge

Congrats, Steve! Good to see you make it this year.

I have a question for Steve, any of the judges, or really anyone who cares to weigh in. Is the Oxford comma not recommended in RPG writing? I've edited a few documents lately where it's not been used, and I'm seeing it here in this submission: "[...]filled with water, dirt and debris, resembling[...]"

That wouldn't leave my desk without being changed to water, dirt, and debris.

I guess what I'm saying, lest I come off too haughty, is: don't worry about this at all, Steve - professional writers are doing the same thing. As an editor, I'm asking, "why?"

Please feel free to DM me, so as to not clutter up this thread, which should rightly be reserved for congratulations on what is really a freaking awesome item.

vivat Oxoniae distingue

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Pretty good question, Jeremizah. I have to confess I don't know. I seem to remember being told ages ago that you add the comma for every item when there are four or more items, and omit it if there are only three. But then like most aspiring writers, things like Oxford commas and em-dashes are something I have to learn. I've always gotten by as a gamer on good taste and big ideas. Pristine grammar and an exhaustive knowledge of every supplement out there are not on my list of gifts, as much as I might covet both.

This is a great example of feedback I crave. I really want to be someone who knows these things instead of having to be told them. Thanks!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

Steven this was one of my favorite items among the top 32! I'm really looking forward to your round two archetype. Congratulations.

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

Creative design chops and imagery here, and tons of opportunity for emergent gameplay. (Need to sneak into a coatroom? "Here, hold your breath and give me a hug! I hope you can swim!") Easily one of my favorite concepts in the Top 32; the tight writing and great images are icing.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka squidfeatures

I bumped into this once or twice during voting, and for some reason had a hard time wrapping my mind around wearable quicksand. I kept visualizing how a person would look if their cloak literally looked like the surface of quicksand, and it made me dizzy.

It's a tight item though.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka RainyDayNinja

I really liked this one too. I had actually toyed with the idea of quicksand-in-a-bottle, but now I'm glad I wasn't competing with you for that design space, since yours is way cooler than what I had planned.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

Never saw your item in my voting. Really wish I did this is definately one of my favorites this year. I love the concept.

Slight nick though- I would love to see this interact with a sword and cape style concept that perhaps allows for disarms. When I homebrew this item into my games (and I will) that will be something of an option.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I wanna credit Isaac Duplechain and Dan Clark, who both run absolutely excellent pbp campaigns here on the Paizo boards, as well as my good friends here in Tulsa, Oklahoma who keep our gaming great and are always willing to let me playtest stuff on them (except Daniel, who is always playtesting stuff on me), and of course my good friends in Indianapolis and Terre Haute, which is this great corridor of gaming that sharpens players and raises expectations. Gaming would be less fun and I would be less imaginative without the influence of my longtime gaming friends.

Plus, maybe Isaac will let me have a belt +4 as sponsorship. :b

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

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Okay, Steven, I will confess: during voting when you said that you'd only seen two or three items you thought were better than yours, I thought you sounded arrogant.

Problem is, you were right. So if it was arrogance, it was earned. So let's just call it supreme self-confidence and a discerning eye.

Anyhow, this was easily in my top five favorite items during voting, and probably my second favorite out of the top 32. Alongside of the many-layered veil, this was one of the few items that i both loved and was almost certain would make the top 32. (The items I loved more but wasn't as certain about probably can be chalked up to some slightly offbeat tastes on my part.)

This is an absolutely awesome entry, and while I know it's been a long road to being a contestant for you, I have to say I'm glad that when you finally got in, it was with an item as truly superstar as this one.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I am really flattered by some of these comments, and Sean in particular. I'll say in my defense that I meant to imply I only saw a couple of items I would vote for over my own, allowing myself the option of declaring a tie and pimping my own entry if I thought other items were just as good.

Still, I really like the cloak and consider it my best entry ever. Still fond of the prescience pillow, though. :b

I can only pray my archetype is as well-received, becuase I know there's great competition and I'm excited to see how the [REDACTED] stands up!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

This is awesome and my favorite item by far this year. Looking forward to seeing your future submissions.

The Exchange

I do love this item. As others have said, the imagery is definitely compelling.

My one minor issue with it is this: It's a 30,000gp cloak, so most people won't be able to afford it until fairly advanced in levels. By then, a DC 15 Reflex save is hardly what I'd call scary.

But that is, again, a minor issue. So proud of you for advancing, look forward to where you go next. :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Mattrex

First of all, congratulations on making Top 32! Good luck in round two.

This was easily one of my favorite items in the contest, and though I only saw it once, it was a no-brainer to vote for. The mind-bending mental image of someone being sucked into (or trying to crawl out of) a cloak attached to someone's back was a bullseye.

I'll be honest, I liked the idea so much that I didn't even pay very close attention to the specific mechanics. The only thing I'd say is that with such an expensive cloak, the DCs should be slightly higher. (Or the cloak should be cheaper.) It's otherwise a very solid item.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I dunno...a 12th level fighter with a +2 cloak and a 14 Dex still has a 35% chance of falling. If he's in heavy armor and didn't buy Swim...he's a goner!

EDIT: Aw...I forgot my avatar is locked up on this thread. I found this awesome cartoon avatar that says "Shut up, Wesley!" I had it ready just for you, Weasel.

Sorry folks...thought I was gonna be funny.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

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I just want to see congrats to Steven Helt. You've done excellent work in the past and I look forward to see what you do in the future.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Steven Helt wrote:
I am really flattered by some of these comments, and Sean in particular. I'll say in my defense that I meant to imply I only saw a couple of items I would vote for over my own, allowing myself the option of declaring a tie and pimping my own entry if I thought other items were just as good.

Sean brings up a really good point, though, Steve. You really have to be conscious of the persona you project both within the competition and outside of it...especially via internet message boards and other online social media. That's because the humor you so clearly perceive and understand and mean in what you post or say isn't as easily perceived or understood or even appreciated by others who miss it or completely misinterpret your intent. And the danger is that even if they misintepret it, they may never tell you and hold onto a grudge you can never defuse because you don't even know about it.

That's actually part of the game within the game of RPG Superstar. And it really isn't even a game. It's part of how people need to conduct themselves in everyday life. Make sure you're clear in your communication. Make sure you've considered all the various ways it could be misinterpreted by someone. Always...always...make sure you view things through another person's frame of reference. Only then can you really determine if it's worth saying or writing something, as opposed to remaining silent and doing far more listening than talking.

Just a bit of advice and good luck,
--Neil

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

And here I am designing for......River Kingdoms! Thanks, boss!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Neil - that is invaluable advice. We're in an environment based on text instead of speech and I wouldn't want Sean or anyone else to get the wrong idea about me or any contestant. I'll have to be careful and work hard and let that speak for me!


Good job Steve. Very cool item. Definitely far better than what I was considering for my submission (had I noticed the earlier deadline this year). A+ for style, and I LOVE the fact that you found a seldom-used rule in the core book and incorporated it into your design. Quicksand. Awesome. Guess I've got to bring my "A" game next year.

Iron DM winner, Gencon mega-event GM, RPG Superstar contestant... You, my friend, have nerd-cred. :)


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Clouds Without Water wrote:
The problem for me, I think, was that "each time" an opponent "attempts" to grapple, they face a save or be sucked away. If it was somehow more limited, I might have been in support.

This. I'd rather see the cloak only activate when an opponent succeeds at a grapple check. Every time someone tries to pat you on the back or shake your hand they have to make a save or get sucked into your cloak as written.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

That is a Super suggestion. Great eye. Maybe if we're clear to still discuss items later I'll draft a director's cut that makes the cloak table-ready.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

I love this item, too. A couple mechanical gripes, but I would swipe this for my game exactly as written and adjudicate later. One gripe: why rope trick? Also, the save DC is too low for a 30K gp item, but that's my gripe about most of the Core Rulebook list as well, so I can't really fault you there.

Looks great, and good luck to you in round 2.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka MythrilDragon

I feel in love with this item early in the voting. It was the first one that I came across that I thought, "yeah this is top 32 worthy." I am glad it made it and it's nice to know it belongs to a name I recognize from the boards. Good Luck, I can't wait to see what you have in store for round 2.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

The version I post given everyone's feedback might not have rope trick. I was thinking threads and extradimensional spaces. In fact, I was thinking "generally, people don't like 3-4 spells as prerequisites, but I MUST have rope trick for the extradimensional space bit." Silly me.

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