Phrases that are driving you bonkers


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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

Oh my, I just saw an item that combined two of my strongly disliked item types.

Only...

It's kinda cool. Flawed, but I like it.

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

KatDangerous wrote:
Andrew Black wrote:
Also, a lot of words wasted on the "cinematic" of how the item looks as it is doing its magic something else that can be left to the DM.
Wasting a LOT of words is bad, but I've also noticed that not describing the effects makes an item very boring to read. Some items just don't have enough flavor.

I agree, one or two sentences at most that give a feel for what the item is and sets the thematic tone of the item is important. What is not needed is description of the magic in action, how it feels when operating, or specific generic command words.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Andrew Black wrote:
KatDangerous wrote:
Andrew Black wrote:
Also, a lot of words wasted on the "cinematic" of how the item looks as it is doing its magic something else that can be left to the DM.
Wasting a LOT of words is bad, but I've also noticed that not describing the effects makes an item very boring to read. Some items just don't have enough flavor.
I agree, one or two sentences at most that give a feel for what the item is and sets the thematic tone of the item is important. What is not needed is description of the magic in action, how it feels when operating, or specific generic command words.

Well, YMMV. I agree that specific command words are unnecessary and often quite silly, but a description of visual effects of the magic in action may help you bridge the gap between an otherwise arbitrarily connected mechanical effects. The excellent shadow falconer's gloves, for example would not make sense without the visuals. Shadow conjuration = steal maneuver? The fluff is necessary and makes the item memorable.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka FaxCelestis

Eric Morton wrote:
Ooo! I just saw an item that literally can't exist. The rules for the item contain a logical contradiction that creates an unresolvable paradox.

I've seen several items that don't actually do anything, but I haven't seen any that fit that category yet. Well done.

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

James Raine wrote:
Eric Morton wrote:
Ooo! I just saw an item that literally can't exist. The rules for the item contain a logical contradiction that creates an unresolvable paradox.
I've seen several items that don't actually do anything, but I haven't seen any that fit that category yet. Well done.

I have seen at least one item where its secondary effect cancels out its primary effect, rendering it a very expensive paperweight.

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

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Saw an obvious joke item that survived. That's kinda disappointing.

On the other hand, the average quality definitely feels higher post-cull. And seeing new stuff more often. So I'm happy.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

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I just saw an item with a specific command word, and then did nothing a 0-level spell couldn't do....but used a 4th or 5th level spell in the requirements. I almost get the feeling the author forgot to add the 2nd paragraph or something.


Wolfboy wrote:
I think this thread needs a new example similar to Sean's Hitler-killing greatsword of time traveling, metal-singing awesomeness.

I'd re-post my Sak Sia's "Can" Opener (complete with sodomy joke), but it'd just get deleted again.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 6

He he, sodomy.

Has anybody else noticed that there have been a weird number of enchanted sleeping accessories submitted? Pillows, blankets, beds, sleeping bags; that kind of thing? Sort of odd considering the judges' stated bias against camping items.

Actually, when I go to vote I keep being reminded of one piece of advice that actually came from the SCP Foundation Wiki, but which I think applies pretty well here. I've encountered a lot of orbs and spheres and ellipsoids and the like... but generic geometric shapes are boring. Yeah, the Sphere of Annihilation and the Cube of Force are iconic, but most of the time an item is more interesting if it actually looks like something related to what it does, or at least like something you could use or wear.


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One thing that has been consistent from year to year are those items that break the rules and are still good. Sometimes people want to push the boundaries and that's okay.

A more likely scenario is that a large number of competitors didn't bother to read any rules or advice before plunging headlong into the contest.

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

Shadowborn wrote:
A more likely scenario is that a large number of competitors didn't bother to read any rules or advice before plunging headlong into the contest.

This. A very large number of submissions contain elements that anyone who have read the rules and FAQ carefully and then spent a couple of hours browsing the forums would have avoided like the plague.

The positive of this is, that it is obvious that the contest draws fresh blood every year. Most crash and burn on their first submission. But the good ones stick around, learn, read the advice, vote, and practice. These are the ones that end up breaking into the top 32 on their second or third try.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka FaxCelestis

Gnoll Bard wrote:

He he, sodomy.

Has anybody else noticed that there have been a weird number of enchanted sleeping accessories submitted? Pillows, blankets, beds, sleeping bags; that kind of thing? Sort of odd considering the judges' stated bias against camping items.

Lanterns, cages, and scalpels too, in my experience.

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

Jacob Trier wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
A more likely scenario is that a large number of competitors didn't bother to read any rules or advice before plunging headlong into the contest.

This. A very large number of submissions contain elements that anyone who have read the rules and FAQ carefully and then spent a couple of hours browsing the forums would have avoided like the plague.

The positive of this is, that it is obvious that the contest draws fresh blood every year. Most crash and burn on their first submission. But the good ones stick around, learn, read the advice, vote, and practice. These are the ones that end up breaking into the top 32 on their second or third try.

Too true. This is my first year submitting and voting. While my item doesn't break any of the rules or violate the FAQ, after voting on hundreds of items both good and bad I think mine is a little "utilitarian" and lacking that certain spark that would make it Top 32 caliber.

Now that I know better what works and doesn't, my next year's entry will (should) be better.


Don't. Write. That. Two. Different. Bonuses. To. The. Same. Check. Stack. It's in the rules already, dammit.

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

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Jacob Trier wrote:
...the contest draws fresh blood every year.

And quite a few items in the contest draw fresh blood every time they're activated. :P


Eric Morton wrote:
Jacob Trier wrote:
...the contest draws fresh blood every year.
And quite a few items in the contest draw fresh blood every time they're activated. :P

From the readers' eyes.

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

An item whose text is formatted using a spoiler tag!

I have now seen everything*.

*Except for the text in the spoiler tag, which the voting window disabled.

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

Eric Morton wrote:
Jacob Trier wrote:
...the contest draws fresh blood every year.
And quite a few items in the contest draw fresh blood every time they're activated. :P

And various other bodily fluids. I shudder to think of what some people's games must be like.

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

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Well, I have seen one item that might have been a "D--- in a Box" joke...


An observation gleaned from the voting process: scroll scribing is not sexy, and I have yet to see any designer change that reality.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

I've seen a swarm of swarm items.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 6

Sulaco wrote:
Too true. This is my first year submitting and voting. While my item doesn't break any of the rules or violate the FAQ, after voting on hundreds of items both good and bad I think mine is a little "utilitarian" and lacking that certain spark that would make it Top 32 caliber.

I have the same worry; I feel like the mechanics of my item are innovative, and I know I have characters who would want it... I even think its well balanced. I'm just not sure it's... I dunno... interesting enough. Especially to someone who's been looking at hundreds of these items, I think it could be sort of easy to ignore.

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

Eric Morton wrote:

An item whose text is formatted using a spoiler tag!

I have now seen everything*.

*Except for the text in the spoiler tag, which the voting window disabled.

I saw one early in my voting, I'm surprised it made the cull!

On a parallel note are we loving the use of hyperlinks to the spell and effects for the items?

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

Aaron Miller 335 wrote:
...are we loving the use of hyperlinks to the spell and effects for the items?

I know I am.

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

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Eric Morton wrote:
Well, I have seen one item that might have been a "D--- in a Box" joke...

Update: I just had a pairing with the two most suggestive item names I have yet to see. It was hilarious.

Unfortunately, I can't state the names of the items in question, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Lantern Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't love the hyperlinks and mark items down slightly for it (I consider it an error slightly less egregious than failing to italicize the name of a spell). The judges have been clear that you should format your item as it would appear in a book and not as the PRD. I'm of the mind that you get a word count to work with and hyperlinks stretch that word count, even if only as a reference. It isn't illegal, but it also isn't recommended. That said, I think it's an area of confusion that would be best to clear up explicitly in future contests. I'm sure there are others that give a slight bump to those entries for the courtesy of having thought to add the links.

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

I am curious; those saying "competence bonus", is it that phrase or the bonus itself? Would it drive you less bonkers to just see bonus? Or is it the repetition of the word "competence"?

*This in no way reflects on my entry having or referring to a bonus of any sort, competence or otherwise.

Star Voter Season 6

I am mostly just getting tired of items that I've already seen in old back issues of Dragon Magazine. I've seen two already.

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

I actually like the hyperlinks, especially for the rarer spells/mechanics. Yes, you wouldn't have it in the books, but this is a Web-based contest. Now, if they use a hyperlink but don't italicize the spell, I'll mark off for that (though I've found formatting's moved down to basically be a tie-breaker at this point, much to my surprise) but adding in the hyperlink seems like a nice help to me.


Today I have seen two nice things: an Oriental-flavored item that was actually worth voting for, and a swarm item that made me go "WHOA" like freakin' Keanu.

(BTW, I like hyperlinks when they go to something not commonly known such as an obscure spell from a splatbook or a referenced monster stat block, but people hyperlinking huge portions of their entries just to show that they can do it is kinda gauche to me. Most folks reading these entries know what the charm person spell and the dazed condition are, for instance, so why bother? I'm not marking down for it in most cases, but entries that are 50% or, gods help us, more comprised of links are much harder to read.)

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

Eric Morton wrote:

An item whose text is formatted using a spoiler tag!

I have now seen everything*.

*Except for the text in the spoiler tag, which the voting window disabled.

I have seen at least 3 that had spoiler tags. One, I am pretty sure should have been over word count it it had been formatted correctly. Also the words next to the spoiler tab do not seem to be counted by the submission tool, which I discovered during a copy-pasta.

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

Power Word Unzip wrote:
BTW, I like hyperlinks when they go to something not commonly known such as an obscure spell from a splatbook or a referenced monster stat block, but people hyperlinking huge portions of their entries just to show that they can do it is kinda gauche to me. Most folks reading these entries know what the charm person spell and the dazed condition are, for instance, so why bother? I'm not marking down for it in most cases, but entries that are 50% or, gods help us, more comprised of links are much harder to read.

Hyperlinks are unnecessary, but maybe a helpful touch. A hyperlink does nothing for an item that breaks design standards in more important ways. It should have been the last thing for the author to think about or add.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

I like the hyperlinks. All of my books are digital now, and hyperlinks make my job as GM massively easier.

The judges were actually pretty clear that hyperlinks were acceptable (although not all judges liked them) and that you would not be marked down/up for them, if you chose to use them.

As a voter, I have used them more than once to double check an entry's facts. But I have not marked up or down for them (or the lack of them).

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

From Sean K. Reynolds most recent statement about hyperlinks:

Sean K. Reynolds wrote:

[T]he book wouldn't have a hyperlink, it would have a parenthetical reference. If you make the effort to build the hyperlink and don't bother to add the parenthetical, you're not formatting it as we would in a book...

If you add the parenthetical and a hyperlink, whatever. I'm just saying the hyperlink is not necessary.

While judging, I've been following SKR's lead and adding no weight to hyperlinks whatsoever. They don't effect which item I vote for. They just effect the speed at which I am able to make my decision, which means I enjoy judging pairings with hyperlinks in one or both items more than I enjoy judging those with no hyperlinks.

Also following SKR's lead, I am counting it against items that reference material from outside the core rules without including a parenthetical reference, whether they have hyperlinks or not. The absence of parenthetical references to non-core rules is the part of the item SKR seems to consider improper formatting, not the presence of hyperlinks.

And I'm absolutely marking entries down for using spoiler tags. Those aren't used in the books, aren't used in the PRD, and have been disabled in the voting window, so I'm pretty sure those count as improper formatting. (Also, why include text in your item which is so extraneous, the reader will do just fine if that information is hidden from view? I can't believe there are spoiler tags in multiple items.)

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

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So bored with:

-Makes food.
-Makes camp.
-Makes better sleep.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Breelo Babblebock

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Ah.... my nemesis... you survived the cull. You continue to return to the voting window expecting a different result... but NO! I will not cast a vote for you no matter how many times you appear.


I find some items a bit irksome because the word count is bulked up explaining things that don't need to be explained. Flavor is good. Mechanics is good. Detailing the obvious is not good.

In other words, if your (hypothetical) item makes a sandwich, you don't need to define what a sandwich is, or how one is supposed to eat it.

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Shadowborn wrote:

I find some items a bit irksome because the word count is bulked up explaining things that don't need to be explained. Flavor is good. Mechanics is good. Detailing the obvious is not good.

In other words, if your (hypothetical) item makes a sandwich, you don't need to define what a sandwich is, or how one is supposed to eat it.

Or mention that sandwiches that use other types of bread may exist...

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

I'm starting to get suspicious of all of the purses, make-up, perfumes, day spas, wardrobes, and knitting needles. For every one of those items submitted by a gamer who's actually interested in such things, I suspect at least two have been submitted by anonymous dudes trying to pass themselves off as women in an effort to ride SKR's pro-female-gamer vote into the Top 32.


Eric Morton wrote:
I'm starting to get suspicious of all of the purses, make-up, perfumes, day spas, wardrobes, and knitting needles. For every one of those items submitted by a gamer who's actually interested in such things, I suspect at least two have been submitted by anonymous dudes trying to pass themselves off as women in an effort to ride SKR's pro-female-gamer vote into the Top 32.

I've been harboring the same suspicions. Some of those items are...well, insipid. They're definitely not anything the ladies at my gaming table are going to call dibs on, especially not if there's other phat lewt to be had. Of course, there are others that are actually fairly decent items.

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

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If that is the case, let me say to those hypothetical dudes - If a girl did actually design it, that doesn't mean that it was about hair or makeup or sparkly shoes.

I am an actual girl. I am an actual gamer. I am annoyed now (not with Eric) that the thought is in my head that guys would try that.

And I'll bet that SKR would be annoyed as well, that contestants would presume that he would throw all of his ACTUAL DESIGN KNOWLEDGE, JUDGING EXPERIENCE and NOT BEING A TOOL out the window and promote an item just to be nice because he thinks a girl wrote it.

At least my girl nerdrage is a nice break from camping item judging...

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

theheadkase wrote:
I am curious; those saying "competence bonus", is it that phrase or the bonus itself? Would it drive you less bonkers to just see bonus? Or is it the repetition of the word "competence"?

I think it's more that an item that makes your character a little better at something he or she can do already is not really that exciting/superstar. Getting a +x bonus to do something is not as fun as being allowed to do something completely new that your character/NPC/monster could not do otherwise.

I've found with voting that when you have a plethora of items that give bonuses here, there and everywhere, it makes the items that actually DO something different stand out more. Items that glom on these extra bonuses in latter paragraphs (or worse the first one) feel diluted. When the bonus IS the whole purpose of the item, it obviously weakens the submission compared to others.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise

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

Magical_Beast wrote:
If a girl did actually design it, that doesn't mean that it was about hair or makeup or sparkly shoes.

In fairness to gamer girls who do like "hair/make-up/shoe" items mixed in with their kewl lewtz, I should observe that there's nothing inherently wrong with a believable, well-written "hair/make-up/shoe" item.

The "hair/make-up/shoe" items that are making me suspicious are the ones that read as if they were written by someone analyzing demographic data, not someone who actually enjoys and understands such items. Several of the "hair/make-up/shoe" items I've seen so far are giving me the inauthentic vibe of someone looking to score points, not the genuine vibe of someone who believes in her item.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Breelo Babblebock

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After many votes, I'm starting to wonder if the Paizo staff, former winners, or former judges have added their own bad items just to mess with us. It could explain some of these items that drive us bonkers.....

Nah.... They wouldn't do that....

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Eric Morton wrote:
Magical_Beast wrote:
If a girl did actually design it, that doesn't mean that it was about hair or makeup or sparkly shoes.

In fairness to gamer girls who do like "hair/make-up/shoe" items mixed in with their kewl lewtz, I should observe that there's nothing inherently wrong with a believable, well-written "hair/make-up/shoe" item.

The "hair/make-up/shoe" items that are making me suspicious are the ones that read as if they were written by someone analyzing demographic data, not someone who actually enjoys and understands such items. Several of the "hair/make-up/shoe" items I've seen so far are giving me the inauthentic vibe of someone looking to score points, not the genuine vibe of someone who believes in her item.

There is definitely nothing wrong with hair or shoes 'sparkle lewt'...if it does something cool and is well-designed. And to any ladies (or gentlemen) that submitted sparkle-lewt - I sincerely hope you did an awesome job with it.

I was just being irritated (partly because I'm insomniac voting at 1:50am) at the thought pattern of, 'If a girl submitted something, it would have to be sparkly, so I'm going to try and get the judge's attention by creating my own lame sparkly.'

As soon as I read your post, I got the same vibe. I've seen some items that I thought were just weak attempts, but in the light cast by your comment, I realized that they might be insipid instead.

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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Breelo Babblebock wrote:

After many votes, I'm starting to wonder if the Paizo staff, former winners, or former judges have added their own bad items just to mess with us. It could explain some of these items that drive us bonkers.....

Nah.... They wouldn't do that....

Even if they were that Machiavellian, I'm sure the beauty of it all is this:

they don't have to.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

It's driving me bonkers when spells have a paranthetic link to the CRB, APG or other book and a specific page number where the spell or description of a mechanic is described to reference. For "3PP anything" the license prevents ever mentioning a page number to a Paizo book, since errata for updated reprints might move content to a different page, it's never wise to list a page number in a spell or mechanic. I have seen too many spells of the contest that do that (and almost always vote a spell down for doing that).

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

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Breelo Babblebock wrote:

After many votes, I'm starting to wonder if the Paizo staff, former winners, or former judges have added their own bad items just to mess with us. It could explain some of these items that drive us bonkers.....

Nah.... They wouldn't do that....

I saw at least one that made me seriously suspect deliberate mockery. It seemed to take the auto-rejects one by one - a randomized SAK of SIACs, with an alliterative name and an introductory backstory...

My theory is that they've put placeholders in to check that the mathed-up ranking produces reasonable results :P

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

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gamer-printer wrote:
It's driving me bonkers when spells have a paranthetic link to the CRB, APG or other book and a specific page number where the spell or description of a mechanic is described to reference.

gamer-printer,

That's the exact format Sean K. Reynolds told contestants to use:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

In a book, we'd normally say something like this:

"When controlling a ship, the wearer gains a +2 competence bonus on ship combat rolls (NameOfRelevantBook, page ##)."

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