So What are the Better Items Doing Well?


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I thought (keeping it general so as not to identify particular entries) that it would be interesting to post a thread focusing on things we're seeing in the better items that we wish some of the others entries could have done. I think most of this stuff is going to be equally important in the latter rounds as well.

Name
This element is so crucial and it relates to what the item actually is. Lanterns, boots, quills, cloaks and gloves are all OK but when you see so many, it makes it so difficult to make your pair of boots stand out. Unusual items become much more identifiable and this is something that most of the better items have in common. As for the name, alliteration works well most of the time. However, some of the better item names also use good connotative words while also telling me what the item is and cluing me in as to what it does.

Mojo/Wow Factor/Superstar
Most of the best items have a trick or a "thing" that makes them cool and memorable. However, what makes the very best items stand out from the ones that have a neat idea but not much else is that the better items are a more cohesive, unified whole. All aspects of these better items work together towards a single purpose. Rather than a suite of abilities, these items do one thing and do it really well. They don't need the support or padding of extra tidbits of stuff. They don't need the extra line giving you a bonus to "this" or a free "that". They are living or dying by their one cool thing. They are focusing on selling their cool idea and only their cool idea; rather than diluting it with stuff that is not directly related.

Active Voice
This has been said numerous times before but not many entries have taken note of the advice: please use the active voice with your writing, only use the passive when you have good reason to. Have you noticed that some entries are more engaging to read and not just because they are paragraphed instead of a wall of text? Giving your writing access to the complete world of verbs boosts your descriptions, and tightens your writing. Most of the best entries focus on using the active voice. The lesser entries suffer from bloated writing with less clarity, with their designers using the passive voice almost exclusively.

And so what things are you observing that the better items are doing?

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Most of my keep pile are the "wow, wish I had thought of that" ideas, and a few really clever but subtle rule bending items.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

They don't waste time on unimportant stuff like who made the first one (or only one... I have seen a few items that seemed to be unique) or how this item is made in x city from y material.

They know what rule system that they were designed for, and don't include elements that have been changed (listen, spot, tumble checks) or dropped altogether (I have seen items that reference spells that either do not exist in Pathfinder or have had the names changed).

They have a cool effect (or small, logical suite there of), that is (are) unique, with out trying to do too much and bogging it down with extraneous BS and tacked on powers that make no sense.

Star Voter Season 6

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Very, very good advice. Well said. I honestly admit, I never realized how much of an impact active/passive voice had on an item's description until I saw some of items that didn't use active voice at all... dang, that changes things.

Scarab Sages Star Voter Season 6

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a long-time GM, I've seen hundreds upon thousands of magic items pass through my stories, some into the hands of adventurers and some left undiscovered in hidden rooms. To me, a SUPERSTAR item is one that the heroes would never buy from a shop like an extra pint of lantern oil, nor one that would be looted and sold for scrap. It should be an item that will be used time and again when the story most demands it, a dramatic tool in the storyteller's kit. When I read an entry, I imagine how I would narrate the effects to the heroes as either the targets of its power or as its controllers. I vote up the trinkets that I think would make for a story worth re-telling, and for items that would become a part of a character, not just part of an inventory.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Arkos

Every time I read one of these threads, I have to open Google Docs to check whether I did that right or not! That being said, I do have a regret about my submission and I wish I had thought of it earlier! Oh well.

But absolutely, if the name doesn't catch me, I probably won't read it. Which is why I miss so many items in a tome like Ultimate Equipment. They might be useful, but I just can't be bothered.

Marathon Voter Season 6

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's not a game breaker by any means, but it's certainly a tie breaker in my book: Item price.

While I'm not running the numbers on every item, I try to imagine what level characters would get the most mileage out of it. When it would be expected that a PC could buy the item, or find one in a treasure pile.

Some of the items don't make sense at all economically. Like, I read the item and think "oh, hey, that seems useful for a ~5th level Ranger" only to see that it costs so much that you'd be 15th level before you had enough money to get it.

If an item is cool I don't even get that far. A bunch of items just wowed me and I'm excited to see them come up again later. I'm okay with someone getting the price wrong or having minor errors in their entry if the item is just that cool. The details can always be fixed, the core idea behind an item is really all that matters in my book.

When I have two items I don't really like though, my eye jumps to the price and creation requirements.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree with all this advice. I find the best items tend to pick one or two things and do them in a cool and unique way. I get tired of reading a laundry list of powers.

I also ding items that put a boring power first, like a +X bonus to a stat or skill, and then go on to describe how it has extra powers.

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

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Things that I've seen that I like...

  • The item advances my game, without being a plot device. More of a "plot helper".
  • The item has choices built-in that players really have to consider.
  • The item is something the bad guy should have, but that the heroes will want too.
  • The item has "staying power", that is, it's useful at more than just a short range of levels.
  • The item is something I can actually envision my players enjoying.
  • The item works with more than one class/race/build.
  • The item has flavor, without being smothered in paragraphs of background and adjectives.
  • The item has mechanics that are easy to understand and don't drag the game to a crawl when activated.

I have seen 12 - 15 really, really good items so far. Perhaps a score or so were nearly there, but had a (fixable) flaw that kept it out of the upper tier. Two items I already stole and will be using in my on-going game this weekend.

Star Voter Season 6

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jerry Keyes wrote:


The item has choices built-in that players really have to consider.

I really like choices as well, because it gives the player something to do with the item other than simply activate it each combat.

I've seen 3 solid items out of the 100+ pairs I've seen. There's been some other interesting ideas with poor execution, but mostly it's been a lot of SAK and SIAC items. I don't know how the judges sorted through all these items each year! I do have to say I'm really looking forward to the Top 32 to see what everyone picked, and if any of the 3 I chose are in there.

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

Jerry Keyes wrote:


  • The item is something the bad guy should have, but that the heroes will want too.
  • The item has "staying power", that is, it's useful at more than just a short range of levels.
  • The item is something I can actually envision my players enjoying.
  • The item works with more than one class/race/build.
  • The item has flavor, without being smothered in paragraphs of background and adjectives.
  • The item has mechanics that are easy to understand and don't drag the game to a crawl when activated.
    [/list]

  • I agree wholeheartedly with each of these. The point about the bad guy having it is how I find myself judging the really hard to decide ones.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Eric Hindley wrote:
    I agree with all this advice. I find the best items tend to pick one or two things and do them in a cool and unique way.

    I just saw one that did this. Tight, evocative writing that stuck to two core ideas and didn't use the extra wordcount to add on more fluff or junk abilities. Great item and the first time I've seen it this competition vs. one item that I don't really like that I've seen 3 or 4 times tonight already that goes on and on and on.

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

    Sean H wrote:

    I don't know how the judges sorted through all these items each year!

    By simply consigning the items that pain us to look at again and again to the rejection pile and never glancing at them again.

    While I give mad props to the judges, and all of the great work that they have done (and will do this year as well... remember we are just giving the judges an order to look at the items in). The job that they do is nothing like the one that we are doing. I am positive that well over half the entries that come in every year get crap-canned with out so much as a second glance, where as we have to keep seeing them pop up.

    Champion Voter Season 6

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Formatting seemed like a major hurdle this year IMO in the first round of voting. Kind of like a reality show. The judges will probably review all submissions for a Golden Ticket Diamond in the Rough or Two IMO but probably concentrate on the top 10 - 25% since it is Paizo's bread and butter working their way top down from what has been voted up. Judges only have to look at a item once or twice to put it in their own keep file and see which make the Top 25+ Consensus or equivalent. :)

    The Actual Top 32 after the judges are done evaluating along with the Actual Top 16 advancing to the next round after public voting will probably be the actual standard for 2014.

    What did those 16 items do better than All the other items you saw voting? One of the best reasons to vote this year. To see lots of actual submissions.

    Fine line appealing to the public and the judges?

    From the items I saw before and after the cull an item seemed to need some kind of mojo that resonated with large numbers of the public with correct formatting or overcoming minor formatting flaws.

    Major mojo with formatting problems probably got some items voted down on formatting since it was a voting criteria and not many survived the first cull.

    Expensive items tend to have more initial Wow factor since they usually utilize more expensive and more powerful spell effects.

    Most names are middle of the road. A Good Name seems to help an item more than a bad name hurts an item since both make an item stand out from the pack.

    Wow items seemed to have an initial edge making the first hurdle if properly formatted but get tougher looks after the first cull with pricing becoming much more of a factor especially if way off.

    This includes rule breaking and game breaking infinite wealth items. I'll be really curious to see if the judges advance any of those items.

    My standard for those items is "Do you want the BBEGs to possess those items but not the PCs in a game?"

    The first 50 - 100 votes are probably the harshest while everyone gets a feel for the submission quality.

    Cost is a factor in many but not all games. From the posts in general the minor niche items had utility to price using the default wealth by level. More than a few would you craft it or keep it for the price or sell it for half price.

    Not everyone is equally familiar and knowledgeable of the setting so that actually seems to be a strike from some of the posts I have read. Correctly citing PF campaign material still reads like home gibberish to people not familiar with that campaign aspect.

    Although there seem to be exceptions. In general items that possess one or two clearly understood core item powers that do not make the game more difficult for the GM or Players seem to be faring better.

    Basically can you read it once and get a good handle on what the item does?

    The more complex or needlessly complex an item was the more it seemed to be a negative strike or vote down from a lot of the posting.

    Brevity just one to three sentences of fluff describing item and item operation seemed to do the trick. Most back story seemed to be more of a negative strike against an item than a positive from the posting.

    SIAC almost every magic item in the game is a Spell In a Can IMO. Everyone has a slightly different standard for what constitutes a SIAC.

    Fine line but Items that do something just a little different from a standard spell seem to be faring best.

    Interesting I have seen numerous items that have items doing things that have nothing remotely connected to the spells used to create the item effect when numerous other spells exist along that theme. Probably costs a few votes to some degree which just seems like a SIAC dodge.

    Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

    For me a cool effect > all.

    If the item has an effect that in this way has never been seen before and thats actually helpful yet still balanced then I am all sold.

    If the items short description manages to conjure a great mental image then all the better.

    Alas almost all items concern themselves with +x to n.

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Alright, these are a few of my favorite things I've noticed during voting:

    Name: Shorter names are better. Generally, I like of the types xxx's yyy (eg. Seducer's Bane) and xxxyyy zzz (eg. Feywhisper Crown). Sadly, most items have the clumsy and long xxx of the yyy or xxx of the yyy zzz. Moreover, the name has to be descriptive, ie. it hints at the item's theme and function. And it's gotta have magic in it - but this doesn't mean you have to use big or obscure words! For example, Ghostlight Crystal would be a lot better than Stone of Ethereal Illumination even if it's a tiny wee bit more vague. (these latter examples mine) (also, note to self: there are too many items related to illumination and ghosts already, don't go there next year if you submit an item)

    Description: Much like the name, the short bit of description (one or two sentences are preferable) should be alluring and have some magic in it. And maybe also hint at the item's function (thematic linking). Imagine your PC gets the item as an Xmas present. Would you prefer a "nondescript gray piece of rock" or an "clear eye-shaped crystal with a more opaque iris that emits a soft glow matching its user's eye color"? (examples mine) Well, perhaps some people would prefer the piece of rock, but you get my drift.

    Function: The item should have its function(s) built around a single theme (though it may have several ways to activate or use it). Although thematic linking is better than effects arbitrarily lumped together, I think multiple effects should also build upon one another or form a cycle of some sort. For example, an item lets you cast fireball and invisibility is a the most boring SIAC and SAK you can imagine. But if the fireball only affects visible creatures, you're building upon the other effect, and you've got a slightly better item. (I cannot think of any thematical link between fireball and invisibility, though.)

    And as someone mentioned above, I think scaling / usefulness over a wide range of levels is good. But it shouldn't be automatic scaling unless there is a way to scale the price as well. Instead, any kind of scaling should be the result of some kind of effort. The Poisoner's Retort is a great example of this, you actually have to kill a monster to get the benefit. Or, for example, an item that boosts all your fire spells (of any level) in some creative way. It scales with level because it also affects higher level spells, but it makes you pick a certain type of spells to get the benefit, so there is an opportunity cost beyond the price you pay in gp. Or you have to spend a point of ki/rage/whatever to get the more powerful version of the effect.

    And yeah, I don't like gross items. If your item is evil, it's ok for it to be creepy or eerie (these I often like), but gross is bad.

    Sorry about the wall of text. ;-)

    Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

    KatDangerous wrote:

    ...

    Description: Much like the name, the short bit of description (one or two sentences are preferable) should be alluring and have some magic in it. And maybe also hint at the item's function (thematic linking). Imagine your PC gets the item as an Xmas present. Would you prefer a "nondescript gray piece of rock" or an "clear eye-shaped crystal with a more opaque iris that emits a soft glow matching its user's eye color"? (examples mine) Well, perhaps some people would prefer the piece of rock, but you get my drift...

    You've nailed this one. I suppose some designers reach for the Clark Kent/Superman thing with their "wondrous" item; it's not just a rock, even though it "seems" or "appears" to be just a boring rock.

    When designing for RPG Superstar, it makes sense to make your wondrous item extra wondrous with further awesome sauce on top. The items that are obviously magical resonate with readers while the "boring rock" ones get skimmed, relying solely on their mechanics.

    Best Regards
    Herremann the Wise

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Core

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    MicMan wrote:
    For me a cool effect > all.

    This is my inclination as well, so long as the mistakes are not overt. The best items have a certain je ne sais quoi.. Sometimes its a great effect, or some great flavor, or the item is just damn useful, perhaps the visual of the item/effect is great, or a 'its so obvious and cool why didn't anyone do this before', or maybe the total package is just very elegant.

    If an item has that certain je ne sais quoi, then I look for reasons to overlook the faults. Whereas in other item, I am drawn to the faults and look for a reason to salvage it.

    After 1200+/- votes I'd say I've run across 15 or so of these items. I would be surprised if they don't make it in. I doubt I will see anymore at this point since new items are rare and I have a bit of voter fatigue, but I enjoyed the process.

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

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    • Item is low CL, appropriate cost, useful, flavorful. A wondrous item that I can hand out as a GM and enjoy as a low-level PC is a real treasure in new campaigns, and balancing a low-level item while keeping it interesting is tougher than blowing out the ceiling.
    • Item is always at least a little handy. It provides a lovely rule-bending effect that isn't affected by (or scales with) level without compromising balance with its price.
    • Item offers a clever resource management mechanic. It stays in my pocket as a PC because sometimes I have too much X and not enough Y; I like it as a GM because it keeps PCs in an encounter when they might not be able to participate. It expands tactical options but is neither a Win button nor cursed. (Double points if the resource you're sacrificing isn't designated by a number on the character sheet.)
    • Item offers appropriate rewards for PCs who refuse to min-max. Item plays off less useful skills, traits, and feats without narrowing its audience. Item makes level-up decisions more interesting. "I was just gonna dump all my skill points into X, Y, and Z, but now I want to throw some at Q to use this really cool item."
    • Item enables big damn epic game moments. The item makes me imagine awesome scenarios where this one item allows me to be (or, as GM, select) the hero.
    • Item finds a gap in the rules and fills it. If I'm running your item through a playtest to see whether it doesn't imbalance the game to do something so basic, you're on my keep list.
    • Iem turns a spell into a spell-like effect with well-written, strongly thematic flavor.
    • Item is not a joke item, but it's still hilarious. An item that makes me laugh without needing a punchline, either through flavor or extremely clever mechanics, gets a keep.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Overall, making fewer mistakes for the most part.

    In some cases, not being too corner on rules interpations.

    Not being overly stuffed with "If, Then" mechanics.

    Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 8

    Herremann the Wise wrote:


    Active Voice
    This has been said numerous times before but not many entries have taken note of the advice: please use the active voice with your writing, only use the passive when you have good reason to. Have you noticed that some entries are more engaging to read and not just because they are paragraphed instead of a wall of text? Giving your writing access to the complete world of verbs...

    I am not an native English speaker. How would you describe the "active voice"?

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

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Cinematic moments are key for me. The game, whenever I've played it, has been about key instants and grand, sweeping turns that live on in your memory. Last year's Spellbreaker Gauntlets were my favorite wondrous item because they perfectly captured the visual of punching a spell to make it go away. How can that compare with a set of skill bonuses or a spell effect?

    I don't play Pathfinder to win; I play Pathfinder for the sheer joy, and any item that directly increases that joy is a winner in my books.

    Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

    goldomark wrote:
    Herremann the Wise wrote:


    Active Voice
    This has been said numerous times before but not many entries have taken note of the advice: please use the active voice with your writing, only use the passive when you have good reason to. Have you noticed that some entries are more engaging to read and not just because they are paragraphed instead of a wall of text? Giving your writing access to the complete world of verbs...
    I am not an native English speaker. How would you describe the "active voice"?

    The active voice is where the subject performs the verb. The passive voice is where the subject receives the verb's action. The passive voice uses "is", "are", "have been" and other forms of the verb "to be". The active voice uses all the other verbs. [This is not to say that the passive voice is bad or inferior, just more suited to explaining things than describing them.]

    For example (italicizing the verbs), compare the passive voice:

    Several glistening jewels are on the gold band.

    To the active voice:

    Several glistening jewels decorate the gold band.

    While a simple example, it highlights how the active voice is more direct, livelier, and concise; all properties of good writing. I think there was a good thread on this a couple of years back.

    Best Regards
    Herremann the Wise

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Herremann the Wise wrote:

    For example (italicizing the verbs), compare the passive voice:

    Several glistening jewels are on the gold band.

    To the active voice:

    Several glistening jewels decorate the gold band.

    Umm.. Both of these sentences are in the active voice. The passive voice requires the auxiliary verb "be" (in your example it's used as a copula) and the past participle of the main verb.

    But you're right, "decorate" is a lot more dynamic than "are" and thus better.

    Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Also check out Seabyrn's excellent post about passive voice vs. active voice.

    Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

    KatDangerous wrote:
    Herremann the Wise wrote:

    For example (italicizing the verbs), compare the passive voice:

    Several glistening jewels are on the gold band.

    To the active voice:

    Several glistening jewels decorate the gold band.

    Umm.. Both of these sentences are in the active voice. The passive voice requires the auxiliary verb "be" (in your example it's used as a copula) and the past participle of the main verb.

    But you're right, "decorate" is a lot more dynamic than "are" and thus better.

    You are completely correct. I'm not much help when I get a simple example wrong. :(

    Trying again, the passive (I think ;) ) would be:

    The gold band is decorated by several glistening jewels

    versus the active:

    Several glistening jewels decorate the gold band

    And thanks Sean for digging that particular thread up. It's a good discussion on active vs. passive where I think your advice is perhaps the most cogent:

    SKR wrote:
    Yes, there are times where passive voice is better or sounds better... but writing in passive voice is a trap for far too many writers, and recognizing both types and knowing when to pick one over the other is a step toward being a better writer.

    Best Regards

    Herremann the Wise


    Technically speaking, passive voice is when you have the object of the sentence take precedence over the subject, or when you leave the subject out altogether.

    "This glittering ruby pendant was created in ages past." Passive.

    "In ages past, a cabal of epileptic albino sorcerers crafted this pendant." Active.

    "The bank was robbed." Passive.

    "Baldo the Great and his band of rabid halflings robbed the bank." Active.

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Shadowborn...NOOOOOOOOO :::waving arms in slow motion:::

    Now we will see a ton of items using that kind of crappy back-story next year because it is "active and there for good" :::sighs:::


    Except that as Sean pointed out, passive voice isn't always bad. He's also pointed out that excessive backstory is also bad. Hopefully they're smart enough to listen to one of the judges over what I have to say.

    If not...well, at least next year's run will be entertaining. :)

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

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Shadowborn wrote:

    Technically speaking, passive voice is when you have the object of the sentence take precedence over the subject, or when you leave the subject out altogether.

    "This glittering ruby pendant was created in ages past." Passive.

    "In ages past, a cabal of epileptic albino sorcerers crafted this pendant." Active.

    "The bank was robbed." Passive.

    "Baldo the Great and his band of rabid halflings robbed the bank." Active.

    I would like to see the mechanics for this pendant.

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    You just had to ask...

    Pendant of Doom
    Aura moderate evocation; CL 10th
    Slot neck (does not take up slot); Price cursed type I - VII necklace of fireballs; Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    In ages past, a cabal of epileptic albino sorcerers crafted this glittering pendant of copper spheres on a bronze chain to avenge themselves against those who would seek to "cure" their 'inborn connection with certain spirits' by explosively violent means.

    The pendant of doom functions like the necklace of fireballs that it corresponds to, with a catch. At the moment that the first sphere is detached and thrown the other spheres begin to detach of their own accord, one per round, detonating in their own space on an initiative count of 6 until the pendant's compliment of spheres is depleted. If the owner discards the necklace, the spheres throw themselves as close as they can to their former owner until that creature is no longer within throwing range. If there are undetonated spheres remaining when the former owner is no longer in range, they hurl themselves randomly at the nearest corporeal creatures.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fireball; Cost identical to the corresponding type I - VII necklace of fireballs

    Marathon Voter Season 6

    Turin the Mad wrote:

    Pendant of Doom

    Totally stealing this and using it.

    Liberty's Edge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    One thing I really liked about some items, is if they had a unique way of activating the item.

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
    One thing I really liked about some items, is if they had a unique way of activating the item.

    Totally. Command words are so 1978.

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    The best designed items push past the fine line from Utility to Useful and invoke a sense of backstory and history with out spelling it out.

    Star Voter Season 6

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
    One thing I really liked about some items, is if they had a unique way of activating the item.

    I agree with this 100%. Cool recharges are nice too, as opposed to a simple X/day thing.

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

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    It depends... if that item's "unique way of activation" requires a character to slit his own wrists or eat a baby or something like that I am not really interested.

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Shadowborn wrote:
    Technically speaking, passive voice is when you have the object of the sentence take precedence over the subject, or when you leave the subject out altogether...

    If you want to get really technical, active voice is when the subject of the sentence is the "agent" (the "more active" argument of the verb), and the object is the "patient" (the "more passive" argument of the verb). Passive voice, on the other hand, has the patient as the subject and the agent as the object.

    So in the following two sentences...

    "The Dread Wizard Mackenzie crafted the Redundant Bauble of Certain Redundancy."

    "The Redundant Bauble of Certain Redundancy was crafted by the Dread Wizard Mackenzie."

    ... the agent is the same in both cases, as is the patient. The difference is that the first sentence is active because the agent is the subject, while the second is passive because the patient is the subject.

    *Chris scurries back off into his little linguistophilic hole.*

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Best way to ID the passive voice? (and I'm stealing this from a twitter post that got passed around a while ago)

    If you can insert the words "by zombies" after the verb and have the sentance still make sense, you probably have passive voice. If not, you probably have active voice.

    Ex.

    The bank was robbed (by zombies). <----Passive

    He robbed (by zombies) the bank. <----Active

    Though, like was previously pointed out, the passive voice has a time and a place. The trick is learning when that is.

    /Aside

    For me, I really think (like several people have said) mojo trumps all. Several of my favorite items are very simple, but they're useful and the description actually makes me want to buy the item. I also love it when people make utilitarian items interesting.

    Magic item descriptions are kind of like sales pitches...When done well, you read it and even if it's not something you'd normally buy, you're at least kind of intrigued by it. When done poorly, even if the item is something every adventurer would want, it feels boring and lifeless.

    Maybe I've just spent too much time in marketing...

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

    Doesn't always work.

    "Sean walked by zombies." complete active sentence.

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    Touche, sir.

    I did say "probably," as there are exceptions to every rule.

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

    cwslyclgh wrote:

    Doesn't always work.

    "Sean walked by zombies." complete active sentence.

    In the rubric provided, "by zombies" suggests that the action is performed by zombies; in this case the word "by" indicates instrumentality, that is, it points to the cause or means by which the verb occurred (zombies). This use of the word "by" is as a preposition.

    "The bank was robbed" indicates that something robbed it. "The bank was robbed by zombies" reveals the agent of the verb.

    The sentence "Sean walked by zombies" does not use the word "by" in its sense of instrumentality, however; in this sentence, the word means "near" or "past". This use of the word "by" is as an adverb.

    Since the sentence "Sean walked" is in active voice, and the sentence "Sean walked by zombies" where "by" is a preposition makes no semantic sense, and requires you to change "by" from a preposition to an adverb in order to make sense, the rule of thumb in fact remains true for that example!

    Dedicated Voter Season 6

    *slow clap*

    ...Well, I've been out English Major'd. Time to call it.

    Night, folks! ;)

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

    One thing I wish I had done this year was re-read the comments about the item I submitted last year. But it from what I've read in the comments in this thread, it looks like the item I submitted this year has lots of positive traits. :-D

    Hopefully I make the top 32 again! :-D

    Grand Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6

    Strong themes are great. I love reading a paragraph that describes a secondary power that fits and is useful.

    I have had a few "Of course it does that, and wow, that's exactly how it should function mechanically!" moments.

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

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

    And... I'm done.

    The word count is under 450.

    The last review came back on the last version of my possible entry. It consisted of a missing apostrophe.

    I can now have another go at getting my head around the monster creation guidelines in Bestiary 1 - They made my brain leak out of my ears on my first read.

    Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / General Discussion / So What are the Better Items Doing Well? All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.
    Recent threads in General Discussion