Official 2013 "Critique my item" thread


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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Marathon Voter Season 6

Saint Caleth wrote:

Spellvoid Mantle

Standard opening, that I forgot on the past two. Praise is great, criticism is useful :)

I expect this item to appear around levels 15 or 16 based on the price alone. This is assuming the price is good, of course, but why not. The DC to cast the highest spell level at this stage will be about 15 + 16, for 31. We can expect about 28 or 30 for the primary casting stat, and a +15 or +16 from caster level alone. So at a minimum we're looking at about +24 to the concentration check. So we're giving people a 30% chance to fail at casting a spell if we're adjacent to them. This affects allies and foes alike. Most casters will probably be slippery, but still, 30% chance of failure for doing nothing but standing next to an enemy is pretty nice. Possibly too nice. Interestingly, it uses up the shoulders slot. What I take this to mean is that you're trading the ability to resist spells and other effects with the cloak of resistance for this wibbly-wobbly-not-quite-anti-magic field around you. An interesting choice, and it does definitely help smooth some of my concerns. I assume GMs won't just allow doubling up on the effects of the slots.

The SR 15 is fairly useless at this level. You can't auto-fail an SR check I believe, so with a minimum expected CL of 15 for most enemies...yea...not too good. I'd be tempted to not even factor this into the price, but I know that the developer would whap me for that. Still, temptation. Sweet temptation.

That swift action to extend the field to 30 feet for a round? No. This is a prime example of an item being a swift action to avoid making characters think hard about their choices in combat. This should be at least a move action, as it is not a weak ability. SKR on cheaper-activation abilities. I agree with this philosophy quite a bit, to the point where my item's secondary ability (draining spells from enemies) was a standard action despite knowing that the interaction between the Will save and the fact that casters have high Will saves made it mostly a waste against CR appropriate enemies.

I like the last ability, although see my above tangent on my item and the not-very-useful saving throw against CR appropriate enemies. I'd modify this sentence to talk about how it interferes with the innate magical abilities of an enemy. That makes more sense given what it actually attempts to disable. The coverage of continuous spell-like abilities and (Su)s showed that you researched the effects of this fairly well. Unfortunately, the portion about the will save negating makes it seem like only the continuous SLA / SU abilities can be negated, which I don't think is the intent. If it IS the intent, then I dislike this ability and find it overpowering.

High-five for having an item that messes with magic!

Marathon Voter Season 6

I guess that last one wasn't so constructive, so much as my thoughts as they formed. Hopefully it was helpful, nonetheless.

I think the primary purpose of that SR was to tie the item together, which admittedly it did well, and to help against some lower level enemies. But even against lowbies, it's not too useful. Despite that, it was probably the right choice, IMO.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Okay... Finished the first page (I'm so behind D:). I'll try to get through some more tonight, but we'll see. I really like using this critique format, but it takes forrrrrrreeeeeeeeevvvvvvveeeeeer.

As always, feel free to PM me with any questions/concerns.

Tabard of Cunning Tactics:

The Good: It’s hard to come up with new combat themed items that really pique my interest, but this one does. I think this is a neat concept. Your writing is pretty tight and clean. This is an area of combat that doesn’t get as much attention, so I think that’s a smart design choice.

Things to work on: I think part of why defensive combat and granting bonuses to allies doesn’t get played with as much is that it’s hard to make it sexy. Your oomph factor might have gone up if you had the flanking stuff at the beginning, but I’m not sure if the end would feel tacked on then. As it stands, I’d kind of like to see the two abilities tied together a bit more tightly. I think it’s missing a little bit of the flash-bang-wow that judges are looking for.

Overall: The writing and overall execution isn’t bad, but I think there are just a few small issues that got in the way of the “wow” factor. I would have liked to see a little more from this item.


Chalice of Communal Dweomer:

The Good: Tight writing, good template use. This was one of the more interesting takes on the chalice item. The duration trade off makes sense to me. This is definitely useful, so I think that’s a big part of what pushed it into the top 89.

Things to work on: The name threw me a bit. I got where you were going, but I think initially it just created some different expectations from me. Your grammar is great, but personally I would have removed the em dash and the semi-colon and just made those phrases separate sentences. There’s nothing strictly wrong as written, but those long sentences packed with information can get confusing. That’s especially true when you’re explaining the mechanics of your item. I think the item needed a little more mojo to push it over the top.

Overall: The concept isn’t bad, but I just feel like this one fell short on the “mojo” and bold design choices that the judges were really looking for.


Vest of Mongrelkind:

The Good: Good on you for cleaning up that sentence. It’s a small fix, but it helps a lot. Being able to catch it yourself is a good thing. In voting, this struck me as a pretty neat idea. The abilities are thematically tied together, so I felt like the core concept was pretty strong. .

Things to work on: This is another item where, while I liked it, I kind of wanted more from it. In the end, it basically boils down to granting bonuses. The racial trait is cool, but it just doesn’t add enough “oomph” for me. I think it needs some other racially themed ability that’s new and exciting. There are a couple areas where I’d switch up your wording a little to make it a bit closer to Paizo’s standards (like the bit about wearing it for 24 hours and taking it off to get a new trait).

Overall: You have some good instincts and you made an item that’s both useful and fun, but I feel like this really needed something totally new and exciting to give it that edge.


Vest of Mongrelkind:

The Good: Good on you for cleaning up that sentence. It’s a small fix, but it helps a lot. Being able to catch it yourself is a good thing. In voting, this struck me as a pretty neat idea. The abilities are thematically tied together, so I felt like the core concept was pretty strong.

Things to work on: This is another item where, while I liked it, I kind of wanted more from it. In the end, it basically boils down to granting bonuses. The racial trait is cool, but it just doesn’t add enough “oomph” for me. I think it needs some other racially themed ability that’s new and exciting. There are a couple areas where I’d switch up your wording a little to make it a bit closer to Paizo’s standards (like the bit about wearing it for 24 hours and taking it off to get a new trait).

Overall: You have some good instincts and you made an item that’s both useful and fun, but I feel like this really needed something totally new and exciting to give it that edge.


First Light:

The Good: I think you did a very good job with your theme. All of the abilities and effects jive and you have evocative descriptions, which is a great start. Your writing is pretty clear, for the most part, and the mechanics seem to hold water as well.

Things to work on: I believe it was already mentioned, but I also drew the Phial of Galadriel connection. That wouldn’t be so bad, but there are a few other issues that I think may have cost you as well. This may be the only time I ever say this, but I think you went a little overboard on paragraphs. I’m not sure why “First light sheds light like a torch” is on its own line. That also feels like something that could have been added later rather than as a starting point. You buried your lead a bit. I feel like the recharge mechanic was smart, but the 1d4 rounds time seems…strange. I would have liked to see something longer.

Overall: A tight theme, but I think you needed to lead with one of the items more awesome abilities to really make it pop. The similarity to something out of LotR may have hurt you as well.


Shadow Sentry:

The Good: I actually loved your concept. This is something I snagged during voting for later. I could think of applications for something like this beyond just camping. The darkness effect with the tripwire struck me as neat and original.

Things to work on: I think a few things needed to be fleshed out a bit more. Your self-critiques bring up some good points. Your phrasing could be cleaned up a little to make it conform more to the general phrasing seen in other Paizo items. The illusory bit is neat, but I think it could have been expanded on a little. I think it might have been neat to consider some other situations an item like this could be useful and expand its abilities slightly based on that.

Overall: I really liked the core idea here. I think it was maybe a little tame for RPGSS, but you’ve got some good instincts. I can’t wait to see what you bring to the table next year.


Tempest Regalia:

The Good: This was probably my favorite “regalia” item this year. Your writing is tight and easy to follow. It reads like something that could easily be found in a Paizo product. Your mechanics are great. I like the windstorm effect. Honesty, this is a really solid item.

Things to work on: You may have fallen prey to the “items that augment/are augmented by other items” thing. The ioun stone bit also just feels really unnecessary to me here. I would have rather just seen it on a charges per day mechanic. It’s really a small thing, but I think if I were to use this in a game I would change that.

Overall: I loved the item, your writing is great, but the ioun stone bit was a turn off.

Tablet of Heretical Lore:

The Good: Seeing as an item that plays with similar mechanics made the Top 32, I think it’s safe to say that the core concept here is pretty good. You had some good instincts to try to make an item like this as useful as possible, but still placing limitations on it.

Things to work on: Items like this do tend to polarize people. Some people really like the utility, some people see it as belittling an important character creation choice. I thought your take on it was fairly well done, but the strict requirements made it feel more like a GM tool than something a player would get a lot of use out of. That may have been a turn-off for several people.

Overall: You have smart instincts as far as keeping your items balanced, but try to avoid inadvertently making your item into a plot device.


Nethian Scroll Tube:

The Good: The imagery is evocative. Your writing is pretty clean and your template use is good as well. I could see something like this being used in a game or appearing in a book of magic items easily.

Things to work on: For me, I think the mechanic of the spell turning to ash was a little off-putting. It’s interesting. I don’t hate it. The fact that you can turn the ash into ink works. I just felt like it was making additional work by causing the player and/or the GM to keep track of what is or isn’t in the scroll tube. Beyond that, I just don’t think this had enough pizazz to make it stand out from the other scroll tubes and related items this year.

Overall: Your writing is good, but for me this fell into the category of “interesting, but not necessarily Superstar.” Next year, swing for the fences.

Star Voter Season 6

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Lady Firedove wrote:
Fan, Dragonscale

Cost: Poorly done. A minor ring of energy resistance costs 12k and uses a slot, that doubles your price alone. Plus your item adds damage on top of that, worth more than the remaining 2k in price difference (again slotless).

Impression: I swear this was an item in a Rokugan(sp?) game I played using 3.0 rules. I liked thfact this item had 3 variations and the dragons accounted for. Disliked "harmless-looking". At least it couldn't be used as a fighting fan or that would have increased price even more.

Thanks for the feedback, Thomas! I'm not familiar with Rokugan. I certainly debated the dragonscale fan's price quite a bit, but decided against raising it more since the fan had to be gripped firmly in a hand to provide the energy resistance, preventing archers, dual-wielders, climbers, sleepers, etc. from receiving its benefits, unlike with a ring. Ultimately, I figured it needed to cost more than the ring despite it taking up the use of a hand, but when comparing it to other items on the wondrous item charts in terms of overall value, I didn't think it should be any higher than I priced it. If you don't mind looking at the charts yourself, I'm very curious how you would have priced the three fan levels. Where do you think they should fit in? Many thanks! :)

Marathon Voter Season 6

Jaerc wrote:

Chiaroscuro Astrarium

So, it doesn't look like you actually posted your item.

But no matter, as I saved it off.

Praise is great, but criticism is more useful! And this post has a lot of criticism to start out with, but it'll get better by the end.

First thought: I think your writing level is too high. It seems that you hit this item with the thesaurus a bit too often, and that may have cost you some. Going back to Thomas LeBlanc's commentary earlier about people spending 60 seconds on a page and then leaving without really appreciating or researching the item, people will most likely not research the meaning of words they don't know. I know that my first reaction upon reading the name was "What does that even mean?", but after a quick search I was able to figure it out.

Now, this will seem ironic given the previous advice...but you should spellcheck your submission. Orrerry isn't a word, and there isn't a space between "silence,causes". Normally I wouldn't bring this up, but it really clashes with the otherwise higher level of writing. Oh yea, and "16thth" is not the correct ordinal number. :)

Flavor wise, I like it. Of course, I have a weakness for hand held orreries. It's fairly evocative, and is actually fairly similar to the item I submitted last year. High-five for that!

But mechanics. Let's get to mechanics. Because those are fun.

Alright, so it's a skill bonus for one thing, albeit one that's described in a really cool fashion. That's still a knock against it overall though.

The dark tapestry bit...I'm not 100% up with the Dark Tapestry, but it seems like that's just name dropped and the effect it has is simply what would happen in space. It's not really related to the Dark Tapestry, except that the Dark Tapestry is also in space. So that's a bit of a knock against it too, IMO. You have "this area extinguishes", but it should be something along the lines of "this effect extinguishes" and then mention that it happens within that area. Oh, and it suffocates everyone in 30 feet. Suffocate kills in 3 rounds, flat out. The average number of rounds this will work for is 3.5 meaning on average it will kill everything within 30 feet of it.

Needless to say, I disagree with this.

The dark tapestry power doesn't really specify how often it can be used. So it can be used as often as you want, meaning it is literally the best weapon in the game. That's a small problem.

How the two abilities work together is also undefined. The item merely states that if both are activated, you can choose to have a cosmic contemplation thingy-mabober to get Starflight. Except there's a wee problem, in that it doesn't tell us where starflight is. It isn't a universal monster rule, so we can't just refer to it. Oh, and then the item poofs away and is gone forever.

The item refers to silence and even mimics it, but it doesn't actually have it in the requirements. That's a bit weird.

I believe you don't capitalize [Light] in the descriptor. Oh, and Aurastrong is a mess up.

Ok, so that was a bit rough. Here's what I recommend for the future.

Based on this item alone, I think your ability to evocatively describe something is spot on and I'm a bit envious of it to be honest.
I think you should spend some more review time over it, and have someone else read over it as well.
Be mindful of nearly-instant death items.
This item has a few items that are somewhat related, but still falls foul of the swiss-army knife issue.
Saying that it's based on the best knowledge available to the creator, as well as the 8 ranks is clever, although raises all sorts of questions if the creator skips over that requirement.

I think more research into your topics next time would be helpful, and while it's focused well on the topic of the orrery, I think it could be more focused on something a bit more tangible.

I had originally intended to help rewrite the item, although at this point I have neither the time or the energy for that...sorry.

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

Jaerc wrote:


I was curious what you mean about the scaling your referred to?

The scaling I meant was selecting solar system level or galactic, etc. I think that should just auto-happen as needed.

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

Pages 12 & 13!

Monastic Sheathe - I like this idea. The name seems slightly off, the "sheathe" part. It makes sense, but it makes me expect something different. Maybe find a name that better ties in to what it does, while still describing the physical item. I worry a bit about balance issues with it applying to any melee weapon. Not bad, but it's expanding an existing ability to new weapons, which was probably hard to excite the voters about.

Erastil’s Footprints - I wavered on this during voting. It's a cool visual, and ties in with the lore nicely. But it seemed to be of very situational utility, and I never got really excited about voting for it. Not sure when you would use the lesser surge.

Immaculate Raiment - This one puzzled me a bit during voting. I couldn't see what player would use it. It's useful for certain kinds of NPCs, but as a body slot on a PC? Even if you had a courtly intrigue game going, I don't know that this is all that useful. It's nicely done for what it is, though.

Chess Knight Pendant - Thematically coherent. Making the teleport L-shaped, while thematically pure, seems arbitrary. For one thing, the characters know nothing about squares and grids in the world. So for them, they're teleporting in a straight line. It's a little too meta, in other words. Voters don't like the chance to burn out mechanism. You did a good job of locking into a theme, though.

Goblet of Grim Panacea - A disease transfer device. There's probably a better dressing for this idea. This dressing is bloody, and while that makes completely perfect sense in this item, the voters were anti-blood. I think it's kinda sad the acceptable field of items has narrowed, but it has.

Beguiling Bauble - Well, your self-criticisms are all on target. The skill check is probably your deadliest sin. I think this is the rare item that would benefit from another descriptive sentence, describing the object in action. The flavor could help with something like this.

Shard of Necrocyte - Lacks filigree. Next! It's a little basic as an idea. Needs to have some additional suprising twist to it. Interesting that it moves with the holder, could follow people until they are affected.

Dragonstink - I suspect the name was a turnoff to many voters. Very situational. A logical sort of item, but probably too narrow in focus to work for RPGSS.

Inger's Tactical Toadstools - I admire the instinct to create super-low-level items. It's a tough world to work in. Unfortunately, I think these fall a bit short. Needs more coolness, which is why the low-end is hard to work in. Having different types with different effects probably hurt. It's not SAK, but it's related. I don't think you can get away with "see text" in requirements, but I could be wrong. I also believe I've seen Sean or someone say to just make the costs even GP values.

Eyes of the Precognitive - I was prepared not to like these as Yet Another Time Item, but I think the mechanic is actually pretty elegant. The "lose"s in quotes are distracting. Just say something like they expend the spell to gain this ability.

Jaws of Reptilian Thrashing - Probably not something a player would want to use, but maybe it could be attached to the various animals with a party? Hmm. As is, it's a little basic. Needs moar mojo!

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

I now know several of the problems this item had, but any other feedback there is is much appreciated!

Chronicler's Boon:
Chronicler’s Boon
Aura strong divination; CL 13th
Slot hands; Price 27,000 gp; Weight -- lbs.
Description
This single glove is made of worn red leather with small, polished glass orbs embedded in the back. As a full-round action, the wearer may press his gloved palm upon the surface of a structure or wall of a room and attempt to draw out the history of the building. This causes the glass orbs and the wearer’s eyes take on a similar clouded appearance while visions of the past pervade wearer’s mind. This effect persists as long as the glove and structure are in contact. During the first round of contact, the torrid stream of images leaves the wearer dazzled and only gives vague information about the building. Each subsequent round the wearer concentrates, he may make a DC 14 Intelligence check to make more sense of what he sees. After three checks the wearer clearly understands what he sees and “captures” the vision in the glove. While concentrating he is considered fascinated by this effect.

Once per day the wearer may empty the glove of its visions, causing his hand to uncontrollably write every captured vision as a story. Once written, the story and vision are gone from the glove forever, and may never be recaptured (though the wearer may still remember). The glove may hold no more than 10 visions at a time, with oldest visions being replaced by newer ones, as if they were emptied. A chronicler’s boon uses up your entire hands slot. You may not use another item (even another chronicler’s boon) that also uses the hands slot.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, vision, Creator must have at least 5 ranks in Knowledge (history) and Profession (scribe); Cost 13,500 gp

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

Thank you Clouds Without Water for the review!

Your Review of Fireband:

Clouds Without Water wrote:


Page 10 items!

Firebrand of Grandeur - AOE taunt item. The phrase "erratic cacophony of flares" is a little awkward, but I do see this is one loud torch with the -8 to hearing checks. It's a little confusing seeing how this works. I think it's all explained eventually, but the text could be better organized. If I'm reading it all correctly, the user must continue to hold the torch, no? There should be some direct mention of that, along with possible downsides. Clean up the explanations and it might be a item-book-item.

Yeah -- I'm a bit of "an English major" type (MS in Rhetoric & Technical Communication) so I get a bit silly with the thesaurus at times, hence "erratic cacophony" etc.

And I suspect its confusing because I kept cutting out text. I know that's why the "complete darkness" bit stands out. I was trying to play off of how lighting effects work (dim light - light - bright light, etc.)

Finally, if I understand your final comment of "item-book-item" to mean "good filler in the next UE" than thank you kindly.

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

Thanks a lot for the feedback Cheapy! Really appreciated ^^.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

Cheapy wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:

Spellvoid Mantle

Standard opening, that I forgot on the past two. Praise is great, criticism is useful :).

Don't worry. I found a lot of what you had to say very constructive, especially the bit about activation actions. The extension of the aura originally turned off the entire aura for the rest of the day, but I changed it because I have a bit of a bias towards static bonuses and abilities. I am starting to think that it should have stayed the other way. Then the swift action would have made way more sense as a strategic rescouce use choice.

The other big edit was that I added 17k to the price near the end of my editing process. You picked up on some of the repercussions that had, and I think that that was another thing I would have been better off leaving well enough alone.

You were also spot on about the SR being more thematic than practical. I didn't even conciously consider my choice of the shoulders slot beyond the fact that it is essentially a defensive item and thus shoulders is one of the most appropriate slots (wrists would also be ok I think). It is good to know that my intuition was spot on in that regard.

Liberty's Edge

I’d really appreciate anyone’s feedback on this particular item.

Looks like it made the top 89, but so far isn’t on anyone’s list of other serious likes that didn’t make the top 32.

I took a week off of RPGSS so that I could come back this week and clearly discuss things without the taint of my disappointment. So as I have time in the next few days, expect a lot of feedback from me.

Quote:

Swarmbane Gauntlets

Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot hands; Price 7,560 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This pair of light gauntlets, crafted from thousands of carnelian beetle carapaces, hums with a nearly imperceptible vibration.

The wearer may ring a gauntlet against their weapon, causing the weapon to violently vibrate. The vibration acts as an area effect, allowing the wearer to damage a swarm with the weapon for up to 10 rounds per day. The rounds need not be used consecutively. Due to the violent vibrations, the wearer takes a -2 penalty to hit while using the gauntlets.

The wearer, however, must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 14) for the weapon every time it does damage to a swarm or the weapon takes an equal amount of damage. These gauntlets may not be used to cause unarmed attacks or natural weapons to affect swarms.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, kinetic reverberation; Cost 3,780 gp

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Swarmbane Guantlets

First Thoughts
Economical use of your word count, a little too economical. I think you missed an opportunity to add something cool to the gloves in addition to their one main effect. The big killer I think is that while this item has serious usability, its not really "oooooh" so cool.

Did I Vote For This Item
Almost every time I saw it. The Template was good, the spell and price as smart, the effect was desirable. The only time I ever remember seeing it and not voting for it, it was up against one of the items i considered the coolest in the contest.

What Could You Have Done Better.
I would have loved for these gloves to have unleashed a sonic attack against the swarms 1/day or a poison cloud or done something that made the 1/day use go "whoa" Your main affect should have been a constant affect, that you could do at will.

Like the -2, don't like the Fort Save, making me roll a fort save to use something makes me not want to use it.

Hope this helps.

Good luck next year, congrats on top 89.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

PAGE THREE ITEMS

Cloak of Duality: Though the action management rules were just a bit complicated, you avoided the horrors I imagined. I would have liked some explicit rules about how to handle resource management -- for example, if each counterpart has a copy of every item, and one counterpart drinks a healing potion, does it disappear from the other counterpart as well? Overall, fairly good execution on a tough concept, just needing a bit more nitty-gritty rules coverage. A weak keep.

Obi of the Ghoul Hunter: its, not it's, for the possessive form. Also wearer's and user's. (Pet peeve.) Italicize spell names in the requirements, and lowercase "Monk's Robe" and "Level". Why is heal a requirement? Aside from these nits, I really liked the concept of this belt. It's something I've wished I had a couple of times when a ghoul was *almost* dead before it paralyzed me. With stronger writing and some error correction, this would be a solid keeper, but as submitted it's a weak keep.

Bowstring of Additional Might: Fills a reasonable gap by providing a way to upgrade your magic bow. I didn't like the break chance (though it was very small). Some phrases were a little unclear, like "an additional strength rating" -- at first it sounds as though this strength rating stacks with whatever strength rating the bow already has, though I'm pretty sure that was not intended. For me, not a keeper overall.

Motive Capacitor: Love it as a plot item used by the villain, not so much as a wondrous item. It definitely has mojo. But it's too fiddly, and dark, to see much regular use. Still, the idea and execution are strong enough that it's a keeper.

Spellvoid Mantle: A very effective way to take enemy spellcasters partially out of the fight. This item is so powerful that it needs the high price you gave it. I like that the standard usage requires battlefield positioning; that's a good limiting factor. The only criticism I have about this item is that it's more functional than fun. But it's still a strong keeper.

Amulet of Construct Skin: I admit that I have no knowledge at all of the rules subset this item interacts with, and I wasn't motivated enough to lift myself from ignorance. From what I can tell, the amulet lets you take over and maintain a construct that can be worn as armor. That's a cool idea, and the mechanics appear sound. There were a couple of typos and grammatical errors. I rate this overall as a weak keep.

Stolen Tears of the Winter Witch: Evocative name bordering on "too much". I like the detail about letting the snowflake melt on the tongue. I like the cold-based breath attack. (I have a great mental image of this effect appearing in a TV ad for breath mints.) Good overall writing that could use just a few more commas. Overall, a definite keeper.

Sea Nettle Submersible: Very flavorful transportation device. I liked both the concept and the execution. I wondered what happens when you reach an underwater destination. I didn't see a command to return the submersible to pocket-size, so it looks like you just leave it at the "door" and return to retrieve it later. Could make for an interesting adventuring twist: "I hope our ride is still there when we get back!" Overall, a strong keeper.

Gloves of Silent Echoes: This item needed a line summarizing its typical use, because it took me awhile to figure out how a PC would use it to her benefit. The random duration of sound storage makes it hard to use this as part of battle preparation as described in your designer's notes. Otherwise, it's a pretty interesting idea that does open up soe new combat options. Nits: first line: "bear" not "bare". In the second paragraph, I assume you meant "spellcasting involving a verbal component." Spell requirements should be italicized. Overall, a weak keep.

Gravedigger's Lantern: The idea of trapping undead in a lantern is kind of compelling, but this item fell down on execution. Two separate Will saves is needlessly complex. There's no apparent means of releasing the undead without being attacked, potentially making this a single-use item. The price is too high -- by the time you can afford this, you have better ways to deal with incorporeal undead. Nits: You don't need to italicize "incorporeal undead." The format for DC values does not include a colon between the DC and the value. "Inexplicably drawn" isn't true -- the lantern's magic draws them, which is very explicable and obvious...just say "drawn". "Affected" not "effected." "Its" not "it's" for the possessive form. Overall, not a keeper.

Motley Gum: One of the few items with a really high fun factor. The random nature of the gum has the potential to be really cool or really annoying in play, but I liked it a lot. Didn't mind the passing references to goblins and gnomes since they don't bog down the description. No real complaints here -- this item does a new thing, and does it with panache. A very strong keeper, almost a Superstar item.

Beardforge: I wish I had entered something more like this. Whether you love it or hate it, everyone will remember the Beardforge for a long time. I burst out laughing at the activation method and kept on reading, rapt, incredulous that this item was actually for real. It just got better and wackier with each paragraph. In the end, I'm a supporter. Almost no PC would ever make or use this, but I would love to be in the party with the one that does. The mechanics, though zany, are actually very sound. I'm rating this as a strong keep.

Paper Messenger: A simple yet versatile item -- I love that it can perform basic recon on a location in addition to carrying messages. Great visuals, no doubt helped by everyone's familiarity with the Harry Potter films. Excellent execution on the mechanics, and the writing was lean and clear. A strong keeper.

Laurel of Kurgess: Fairly simplistic, but fits the chosen theme well. I thought it was odd that more than half the description was given to effects that occur when the wrong person dons the laurel; it sort of highlighted the fact that there wasn't much to the item's core use. Clear writing and great economy of words. A weak keep.

Liberty's Edge

P33J wrote:

Swarmbane Guantlets

First Thoughts
Economical use of your word count, a little too economical. I think you missed an opportunity to add something cool to the gloves in addition to their one main effect. The big killer I think is that while this item has serious usability, its not really "oooooh" so cool.

Did I Vote For This Item
Almost every time I saw it. The Template was good, the spell and price as smart, the effect was desirable. The only time I ever remember seeing it and not voting for it, it was up against one of the items i considered the coolest in the contest.

What Could You Have Done Better.
I would have loved for these gloves to have unleashed a sonic attack against the swarms 1/day or a poison cloud or done something that made the 1/day use go "whoa" Your main affect should have been a constant affect, that you could do at will.

Like the -2, don't like the Fort Save, making me roll a fort save to use something makes me not want to use it.

Hope this helps.

Good luck next year, congrats on top 89.

Thanks for the well-thought out reply. Yes, your comments do help, very much so.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Review: Swarmbane Gauntlets
(Just my opinion.) No complaints about the formatting and language. Mechanically there are various things that bother me about the item, and it didn't make my personal top 32 (though it may have landed in my hypothetical top 89). Mechanical problems:

1. "The wearer may ring a gauntlet against their weapon" this does not stipulate an action, so the default assumed in published rules is that this is a standard action - while I'm almost 100% sure that you intend for this to be a swift or even a free action.

2. "The vibration acts as an area effect, allowing the wearer to damage a swarm with the weapon". Again unclear aspects: can the weapon "merely" be used to damage a swarm, or like an area effect, does the weapon even deal 50% increased damage to swarms?

3. The intention on the item is clear, but the implementation as written does not bypass an ability that certain swarms have: immunity to weapon damage. Having your weapon count as an area effect doesn't change that it is an area affect that deals weapon damage and thus is ineffective against those swarms.

4. Another thing that is unclear is whether the area effect of your vibrating weapon only deals damage according to the weapon damage dice - or whether other sources of damage included (strength, power attack, etc). I believe the intention is that all damage dealt on a normal attack is supposed to now also be delivered against a swarm; again this isn't 100% clarified in the item description.

5. Having attacks weapon potentially deal damage to itself is not particularly enticing, especially considering that it is such a relatively rare use-case for the gauntlets. Coupled with the attack penalty there is a lot to be said to not fighting with it.

6. It is cheaper to find other ways of combating a swarm. For example, a 4000gp flaming amulet of mighty fists, or simply a +1 flaming club (that costs about as much as the gauntlets). Admittedly these do a lot less damage than the full weapon damage that the gauntlets offer - but as a rule that is something that PCs can cope with.

In summary, the utility of the item is too restrictive for my liking and too situational to warrant the coin spent. Many rules issues need to be clarified.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
I’d really appreciate anyone’s feedback on this particular item.

I've been curious to know which one was yours. :)

Quote:
Looks like it made the top 89, but so far isn’t on anyone’s list of other serious likes that didn’t make the top 32.

Did better than me, if that's any consolation.

Swarmbane Gauntlets text:
Swarmbane Gauntlets
Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot hands; Price 7,560 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This pair of light gauntlets, crafted from thousands of carnelian beetle carapaces, hums with a nearly imperceptible vibration.

The wearer may ring a gauntlet against their weapon, causing the weapon to violently vibrate. The vibration acts as an area effect, allowing the wearer to damage a swarm with the weapon for up to 10 rounds per day. The rounds need not be used consecutively. Due to the violent vibrations, the wearer takes a -2 penalty to hit while using the gauntlets.

The wearer, however, must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 14) for the weapon every time it does damage to a swarm or the weapon takes an equal amount of damage. These gauntlets may not be used to cause unarmed attacks or natural weapons to affect swarms.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, kinetic reverberation; Cost 3,780 gp

Love that the gloves are made of a swarm of carapaces. That kind of imagery is what was fatally absent from my own item.

There are some functionality issues that were probably your main problems:
1) It's an item to give your weapon a special ability. That's dangerously close to "this isn't actually a wondrous item, it's a weapon enchantment disguised as a wondrous item".

2) It says the vibration acts as an area effect, but what's the area? That sentence goes on to say that the weapon can damage swarms. So do you damage them by attacking? If so, why do you say there's an area effect? Or are you pointing the vibrating weapon at the swarm and dealing sonic damage or something? I'm reasonably sure you're going for removing swarms' immunity to weapon damage for that weapon, but leading off with calling it an area effect confuses the issue. Relatedly, does it cause my weapon to deal +50% damage, like other area effects?

3) What action is it to thwack your weapon with these gauntlets? You say the 10 rounds need not be consecutive, but if we default to a standard action, then you burn your first round without even making an attack.

4) When exactly do I take the -2 to hit? Only while gaining the swarm-damaging effect? That could be clarified slightly. Also, it's a -2 penalty on attack rolls, not a -2 penalty "to hit". And does that apply to attacks made with things other than the vibrating weapon?

5) The line about the Fort save at first reads as though you attempt the save every time you damage a swarm and also any time the weapon takes damage, and then doesn't tell you the result of a failed save. Things like that usually mention what triggers the save in one sentence, then start a second sentence with "Failing this save results in..."

6) Does hardness and half-damage-to-objects apply to the weapon's self-damage?

7) Why would I spend over 7 grand on an item that might break my weapon? By the time I can afford that, I've got a CL5 wand of burning hands for half the price and can wreck swarms like nobody's business.

8) Can't use this on natural weapons/unarmed strikes. Okay, cool. How about on a whip? A flail? A sap? A club? Those would seem... weird.

Hope the feedback helps. Let's both rock this thing next year, yeah?

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the well-thought out reply!

LoreKeeper wrote:

Review: Swarmbane Gauntlets

(Just my opinion.) No complaints about the formatting and language. Mechanically there are various things that bother me about the item, and it didn't make my personal top 32 (though it may have landed in my hypothetical top 89). Mechanical problems:

1. "The wearer may ring a gauntlet against their weapon" this does not stipulate an action, so the default assumed in published rules is that this is a standard action - while I'm almost 100% sure that you intend for this to be a swift or even a free action.

Nope, the fact I left out the action type was purposeful, as no need to declare it a standard action, as that is the default. I intended it to be a standard action.

Quote:
2. "The vibration acts as an area effect, allowing the wearer to damage a swarm with the weapon". Again unclear aspects: can the weapon "merely" be used to damage a swarm, or like an area effect, does the weapon even deal 50% increased damage to swarms?

It is exactly as it states. No need to declare the 50% increase, as swarms are vulnerable to area effects.

Quote:
3. The intention on the item is clear, but the implementation as written does not bypass an ability that certain swarms have: immunity to weapon damage. Having your weapon count as an area effect doesn't change that it is an area affect that deals weapon damage and thus is ineffective against those swarms.

Not so, the ability specifically says this weapon does damage to the swarm.

Quote:
4. Another thing that is unclear is whether the area effect of your vibrating weapon only deals damage according to the weapon damage dice - or whether other sources of damage included (strength, power attack, etc). I believe the intention is that all damage dealt on a normal attack is supposed to now also be delivered against a swarm; again this isn't 100% clarified in the item description.

Agreed, this could be clearer.

Quote:
5. Having attacks weapon potentially deal damage to itself is not particularly enticing, especially considering that it is such a relatively rare use-case for the gauntlets. Coupled with the attack penalty there is a lot to be said to not fighting with it.

but nice to have vs. swarms that do ability damage where alchemists fire doesn't kill them fast enough and/or no arcane casters with area of effect spells.

Quote:
6. It is cheaper to find other ways of combating a swarm. For example, a 4000gp flaming amulet of mighty fists, or simply a +1 flaming club (that costs about as much as the gauntlets). Admittedly these do a lot less damage than the full weapon damage that...

Not sure how a flaming anything would do damage against a swarm. It doesn't do area of effect damage, so it would do nothing to the swarm. If you can't target the entire swarm, you can't damage it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
Not sure how a flaming anything would do damage against a swarm. It doesn't do area of effect damage, so it would do nothing to the swarm. If you can't target the entire swarm, you can't damage it.

I believe I've heard that in 3.5, you could attack a swarm with a flaming weapon and get the 1d6 fire damage even though the swarm was immune to the rest. Didn't make it into Pathfinder, though.

Liberty's Edge

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
I’d really appreciate anyone’s feedback on this particular item.

I've been curious to know which one was yours. :)

There are some functionality issues that were probably your main problems:
1) It's an item to give your weapon a special ability. That's dangerously close to "this isn't actually a wondrous item, it's a weapon enchantment disguised as a wondrous item".

2) It says the vibration acts as an area effect, but what's the area? That sentence goes on to say that the weapon can damage swarms. So do you damage them by attacking? If so, why do you say there's an area effect? Or are you pointing the vibrating...

Well obviously the mechanical issues I felt were self-explanatory needed more explanation if more than one person had issue with them.

Next year I’ll keep that in mind and try to explain a little bit better while still trying to keep an efficient word-count.

Yeah, Jacob, we need to rock this next year and represent Minnesota!

Marathon Voter Season 6

Ok, reposting a cleaned up version of my item since most of the issues raised so far were due to ambiguous text in both my item and the rules at large. If people see any design issues, let me know! I didn't keep an eye towards wordcount, but somehow just hit 300 words. Also, there are links for those of us who are lazy (although Sean did recommend only using parenthetical citations. Next year I think I'll ignore that advice to get past the first round.)

Spoiler:

Gloves of the Eldritch Duelist
Aura strong abjuration; CL 13th
Slot hands; Price 32,500 gp; Weight
Description
These black gloves each have a single, quietly humming, violet quartz crystal embedded on their back and allow the wearer to disrupt magical energy. Both gloves must be worn to have any effect, and when their powers are activated, the crystals briefly flare up.

Once per day as an immediate action after successfully identifying a spell being cast, the wearer may attempt a dueling counter (see Ultimate Magic) of the spell, even if the wearer isn’t in a spell duel. When making the caster level check, the wearer uses the item’s caster level instead of their own. This does not limit the sacrificed spell’s level. Regardless of whether the counter is successful, the disruptive energy imparted by the crystals lingers with the caster of the spell, forcing a concentration check to cast any subsequent spells before the end of his next turn. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the modified bonus of the caster level check + the spell level.

Furthermore, as a standard action once per day, the wearer may make a melee touch attack to drain a creature’s spells. The touched creature must make a DC 22 Will save or lose one randomly chosen prepared spell or spell slot of his highest spell level with prepared spells or unused slots. Level 0 prepared spells and spell slots are unaffected and lost slots are regained normally. The wearer may activate this effect in place of casting a spell when using spell combat and may deliver the melee touch attack through spellstrike.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dispel magic, spell turning, creator must have been affected by a mnemonic crystal hazard (see Game Mastery Guide); Cost 16,250 gp


Ego Shroud
Aura moderate varied; CL 11th
Slot none, body; Price 60,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

This embroidered cloth-of-silver band can suppress the mind of an evil item, making it safe to transport, or, usurp.

Upon wrapping one medium or smaller evil, intelligent magic item in an ego shroud, the wielder must make a Will save against that item’s Ego score. Failure means that the intelligent item shrugs off the effects of the shroud, rendering it useless for 24 hours. An item with a special purpose gains a +4 bonus to its Ego to resist this activation. An item that is aware of the shroud’s properties may do anything in its power to avoid being enshrouded. An ego shroud has no effect on artifacts.

A character gains no negative levels for wielding an evil item while it is successfully shrouded, and can activate its powers normally as though it were a non-intelligent magic item of the same type. She can also activate any available intelligent item power, though each try requires another Will save. Failure has the same consequences as failing the initial enshroudment of the item, as well as afflicting the wielder with the appropriate number of negative levels for holding the item.

If used to enshroud a melee weapon, the wielder cannot deal damage with that weapon without also damaging the shroud, which has a hardness of 5 and 5 Hit Points.

Alternately, when worn on the body, an ego shroud grants a non-evil wearer a +2 resistance bonus on saves and a +2 deflection bonus to AC. If the wearer has a personality conflict with any intelligent item, she may roll her Will save twice and take the better result.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, antimagic field, magic circle against evil; Cost 30,000 gp

P.S. I realize I should have posted this earlier (before the new round of judging), but I am both lazy and forgetful, which is not the subject upon which I wish to be critiqued. The item, though, you can critique in whatever way seems most appropriate to its status as not good enough. I'm just funnin'.

Liberty's Edge

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
Not sure how a flaming anything would do damage against a swarm. It doesn't do area of effect damage, so it would do nothing to the swarm. If you can't target the entire swarm, you can't damage it.
I believe I've heard that in 3.5, you could attack a swarm with a flaming weapon and get the 1d6 fire damage even though the swarm was immune to the rest. Didn't make it into Pathfinder, though.

As far as your item goes, I think the thing that turned me off was the fact that you said the undead would receive no save against the effect.

To me that was overpowered.

But then I'm sure you chose to do that to keep it from being essentially a SIAC.

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

Changeling Jack wrote:

Ego Shroud

Aura moderate varied; CL 11th
Slot none, body; Price 60,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

This embroidered cloth-of-silver band can suppress the mind of an evil item, making it safe to transport, or, usurp.

Upon wrapping one medium or smaller evil, intelligent magic item in an ego shroud, the wielder must make a Will save against that item’s Ego score. Failure means that the intelligent item shrugs off the effects of the shroud, rendering it useless for 24 hours. An item with a special purpose gains a +4 bonus to its Ego to resist this activation. An item that is aware of the shroud’s properties may do anything in its power to avoid being enshrouded. An ego shroud has no effect on artifacts.

A character gains no negative levels for wielding an evil item while it is successfully shrouded, and can activate its powers normally as though it were a non-intelligent magic item of the same type. She can also activate any available intelligent item power, though each try requires another Will save. Failure has the same consequences as failing the initial enshroudment of the item, as well as afflicting the wielder with the appropriate number of negative levels for holding the item.

If used to enshroud a melee weapon, the wielder cannot deal damage with that weapon without also damaging the shroud, which has a hardness of 5 and 5 Hit Points.

Alternately, when worn on the body, an ego shroud grants a non-evil wearer a +2 resistance bonus on saves and a +2 deflection bonus to AC. If the wearer has a personality conflict with any intelligent item, she may roll her Will save twice and take the better result.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, antimagic field, magic circle against evil; Cost 30,000 gp

I think that this should have made it. It was unique in the area it explored. The mechanics are generally good, though I don't like the alternate usage ability.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Codex Soma
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 10800 gp; Weight 3 lbs (see description)
Description
This book appears to be a finely crafted spellbook constructed of 100 sturdy paper pages bound in a black leather cover. When held by an arcane caster, the color of the cover changes to match his skin tone. The command word of the Codex is inscribed inside the front cover. When an arcane caster holds the book and speaks the command word, it melds into the holder's flesh becoming a tattoo of an open book upon his chest in brightly colored inks. When in tattoo form, the Codex uses the rules for magical tattoos (Inner Sea Magic 16). If the wearer repeats the command, the Codex appears in the wearer's hand, or immediately in front of him at waist height if he cannot grasp it, and falls if not caught. If the wearer dies while the Codex is in tattoo form, it appears in book form as if he had spoken the command word to release it unless the tattoo was destroyed as well.
Causing a Codex Soma to meld into the holders flesh automatically imparts the names of all spells in the book to the wearer. Once per day he may cast any one spell from that spellbook by sacrificing two of his own prepared spells or spell slots of the same level or higher. He must provide any material components necessary, which are also made known to him. However, the presence of magical traps is not automatically made known, and if he casts a spell from a page which is trapped, the trap is triggered.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Inscribe Magical Tattoo (Inner Sea Magic
16), transfer tattoo (Inner Sea Magic 62), shrink item; Cost 5400 gp

I realize that I failed to italicize the spells, but beyond that, what do y'all think? What could I improve upon?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
Jacob Kellogg wrote:
Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:
Not sure how a flaming anything would do damage against a swarm. It doesn't do area of effect damage, so it would do nothing to the swarm. If you can't target the entire swarm, you can't damage it.
I believe I've heard that in 3.5, you could attack a swarm with a flaming weapon and get the 1d6 fire damage even though the swarm was immune to the rest. Didn't make it into Pathfinder, though.

As far as your item goes, I think the thing that turned me off was the fact that you said the undead would receive no save against the effect.

To me that was overpowered.

Lots of people apparently felt the same way (about half or more of the reviews on my item said so). If you do the math and make some relevant comparisons (I have a post doing so earlier in this thread), it turns out to not be overpowered at all, and in fact you're still a bit behind the curve, even when comparing to a wizard who's made no investment in blasting whatsoever. One person even mentioned being persuaded by said math. But of course, that was AFTER I got downvoted into oblivion. Oh well, can't change it now.

Liberty's Edge

chuckle... goes to show sometimes, I think, that no matter how solid the math or mechanics of an item is, we can't expect the judges (or voters in this case in creating the top 89 list that the judges worked from) to actually do the math or remember all the obscure mechanics.

All that argument happens with published items between the GM and players.

The internal argument of all the minutae should never happen with a judge or voter. It should be clear enough that they can enjoy the fluff and instantly know how the item works and why it is powered just right. For the purposes of this competition.

Brevity while assuming that the audience will get the obscure mechanics instead of go "Huh!? that doesn't make sense" probably doesn't make sense.

That was probably my fatal flaw this year.

Stupid fatal flaws! I seem to have one every year!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

Yeah, removing the save was supposed to be bold and exciting, not make everyone immediately downvote it because "no save" automatically means "overpowered". Perhaps we should review each other's items next year. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
Yeah, removing the save was supposed to be bold and exciting, not make everyone immediately downvote it because "no save" automatically means "overpowered". Perhaps we should review each other's items next year. ;)

That might not be a bad idea. At least we could give each-other our expert rules advice and where things aren't clear enough.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

PAGE FOUR ITEMS

Fan, Dragonscale: The core idea didn't strike me as compelling -- just a combination of offensive and defensive elemental energy use, in a single item. But the presentation was done well. I thought the damage was too low for the levels at which these items would be acquired. And I'm generally not cool with wondrous items that require specific exotic components such as dragon scales -- a magic item should be able to duplicate or mimic a dragon's elemental affinities without actually requiring dragon bits in its manufacture -- but that's just me. On the whole, it's a weak keep.

Hand Wraps of Flesh and Stone: I don't think I ever saw this during voting. To me, the opening line is an exception to the rule about avoiding background fluff. Weasel familiars doing the work of carding fabric is a freakin' AWESOME image. But then...but then...you followed with a typical entrant's line about the "true luster as iridescent sheens coruscate blah blah blah..." You should have stopped with the weasel familiars. I would be grabbing you by the lapels and shaking vigorously right now if I could. That's how much I love those weasel familiars. Okay...whew...moving on. The next thing I notice is, no slot? You wear the wraps on your hands, and they give you a touch attack, and there's no slot??? Next: the mechanics are very wonky. Unlimited use is a non-starter and the attempt at balance by subjecting the user to the same effect does not improve things. Dexterity damage even on a successful save is HARSH. Multiple attacks in a round that don't all do the same thing is hard to keep track of and slows down play. The normal result of losing Dexterity down to zero is not that you turn to stone (that's not stated in your description, just implied). And "points of petrification" is not a term you need to invent for this item; just use "Dexterity points lost." And the cherry on top: there's a critical fumble provision too. This is the most beautiful train wreck I think I've seen this year. You had weasel familiars carding fabric! You made me want to love your item in the very first sentence!!! And then it all just goes...oh geez. Please enter again next year and give us something with flavor as cool as this item has, but support it with sound mechanics. Not a keeper...except for the weasel familiars with their cunning little paws, which I will probably start seeing in my dreams.

Flask of Raging Waters: I'm exhausted from ranting about the previous item, so let me try to do this item justice. I really liked the idea of a tendril of water you can wield like a whip. The 2d6 damage seemed just a bit high, but then the price was also high, and this would be a signature weapon for some PCs. Since it is actually a weapon, I'm not sure it's right for the wondrous item round, but I let that slide. Some natural questions go unanswered, such as whether the tendril can extinguish flames, or deal extra damage to fire elementals. Overall, a weak keep.

Gloves of the Confident Smith: Both underpriced and too open to abuse, since the user can often simply attempt a DC 10 (or lower!) skill check to gain the bonus. Thus, the requirement isn't really one. Maybe the mechanics could be reversed? -- the +2 bonus is triggered by first using the power to reroll a skill check? Whether the +2 bonus should be triggered by success or failure on that re-roll, I'm not sure. But it would be a bit more interesting, to me at least. As written, not a keeper.

Dawnflower Ankh: Pretty neat item with flavor and some versatility, and all its powers seem appropriate to the theme. Every instance of "affect" in the description should be "effect". And the price seems just a tad low, but I guess the expense of recharging with holy water offsets that. Overall, a weak keep.

Paint of Discerning Demise: Didn't care much for the name. The +5/-5 modifiers for different painting surfaces seemed too extreme -- maybe just +2/-2. As a single use item, it's too costly. And it's a "spoiler" item that makes it harder for GMs to run a mystery scenario, but it's not a big offender in that regard. I liked that you give examples of details that can be revealed in the painting, making it easier to adjudicate the kinds of questions that would naturally arise. The interaction with see invisibility was a nice touch. Still, not quite a keeper IMO.

Feybone of the Eternal Singularity: A compelling idea with a mechanic that unfortunately slows down gameplay a lot. I think it might be improved by saying that you roll three times and take the middle value, instead of calculating the average. That might not achieve the result you were going for, but it would be less of a burden in play. I didn't think gate was necessary as the required spell, and it bumped the price up far too high. But I still like this item pretty well, even as written, and rate it a weak keep.

Cloud of Gray: My first thought was that my character would not want to have rain, snow, and ice constantly falling on his head. Making those effects illusionary would go a long way to making it more palatable for me. I also wondered how one would handle the cloud (maybe with cloudwrangler's gloves?) to store it or transfer it to someone else. Otherwise, I liked the item's powers, and the writing was clear. A weak keep for me.

Matryoshka of the Planar Cadre: There's no accounting for taste. Some people didn't like the name of this item, but I adored it. The resizing of the summoned creatures was a brilliant tie-in to the stacking dolls theme. The one and only problem I see with this item is that it requires either prep time to stat up the templated creatures you expect to summon, or a pause in the game while you look up info on the fly. But this is a Superstar item in my view.

Mantle of the Flesh Bound Soul: An interesting idea, and I like the visuals, but this item just flat out gives you too much. Even with the 127,500 gp price tag. The mechanics all work and are competently presented. And there's evidence that you strove for balance by including some drawbacks to being in stasis. But it's still an I-don't-die item, and those generally make the game less interesting, not more. Not badly done, but not a keeper.

Relativity Torc: I admire the way your description supports the "transmutation" theme. The torc's very simplicity keeps it out of Superstar territory, but it is certainly a great idea that serves an important need for many PCs. I wasn't sure why mage's lucubration is a requirement, or 10 ranks in Spellcraft. Overall, a weak keep.

Spellcycle Medallion: Great job extending the rules to allow for something new that is not overpowered. You made a good choice in describing the spell as being suppressed as if by antimagic. There are so many things this item would be useful for, but it's not a must-have for anyone. I think you hit the sweet spot of item utility. A strong keeper for me.

Bracers of Daring Exploits: I like that the bracers improve your chances versus AoO instead of simply giving you immunity to them. They do exactly what they should: encourage riskier actions on the battlefield. However, they're always-on. Seems like either the benefit should be smaller (+4, maybe), or they should have limited uses per day. That flaw makes it a weak keep overall.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

PAGE FIVE ITEMS

Cloak of Deepest Shadow: The tone of this item's description was unintentionally comical. I kept reading it in my spooky-storyteller voice: "...rumours ABOUND that the first such cloak of its kind...was woven....from the very stuff of SHADOW ITSELF!!!" I was also grinning like a madman through phrases like "even magical darkness shall not bar the wearer's sight"..."one may bend the very shadows around themselves"..."only then does the true power of the Cloak become known." It was an enjoyable read, but dialing things down a notch will put you closer to Superstar next time. The benefits of the cloak all seemed nicely thematic, but could be improved by inventing ways to bend some of these existing in-game powers to new uses. Much more style than substance here, and it's not quite a keeper, but I think you'll come back next time with something better.

Quill of the Tengu Sage: I *think* this item basically lets you, for a limited set of spells, create scrolls that can be activated by anyone without requiring spell completion or UMD. Is that right? If that's the intent, I like the idea. Seems a bit edge-case-ish. The quill's other property, the one that distorts writing and helps you forge documents, confused the heck out of me. Even reading it again carefully now, I'm still unsure how it's supposed to work. With more clarity, this could be a weak keep, but as-is it's not a keeper.

Ancestral Spirit Shroud: Complete mismatch between what this item does and what the name led me to expect it would do. I like the visual description (but not the fact that the swirling, howling faces are apparently always-on), but the shroud's powers don't interest me much. Cool concept but hard to think of when I'd want something like this. Not a keeper.

Master Needle of the Faerie Artisan: Didn't like that your item states early on that it does all the things this other item does, with differences x, y, and z. I'm unfamiliar with the base item and don't want to go look it up, and I want this item to stand on its own. Okay, the needle helps me craft things: great for tailoring, but very odd if I'm smithing...or painting...or really, just about any other kind of craft. I realize the Brothers Grimm quote is probably there to forestall this kind of objection, but it still just feels weird. The benefits to healing seem more appropriate, and I don't have any complaints about that part other than that the paragraph referencing sovereign glue and universal solvent felt unnecessary. Not a keeper.

Clockwork Heart: Very creepy and cool item. Not one I can imagine most PCs using, but it would be a great option for certain NPCs, as well as a fascinating plot device. Most items with limited utility and limited PC appeal don't rate high for me, but this one's an exception. I'm thinking it's actually a strong keeper.

Jagged Cauldron: This item is a bit of a Rube Goldberg device to me -- it offers a complicated and expensive way to get a fairly simple benefit. I'm struggling to come up with even a single situation in which this item makes sense even for the bad guys to have. Maybe the BBG compels his minions to sacrifice the needed HP? I dunno. For me, it fails the verisimilitude test in spectacular fashion. If the cost is unhealable damage, I want the big creepy jagged cauldron to give the villain something he can really use in exchange for that. Not a keeper.

Listening Stone: I dunno. If the PCs really need to spy on someone, it's a lot more interesting when they try to do it in person. And the language of recording and playback is so modern as to be a bit jarring. The part where the stone can be used as ammunition seemed pointlessly tacked on just because, hey, it's a rock, you should be able to throw it. Unless maybe you meant that striking a target could be the condition that triggers the release of a stored sonic spell. Nits: Try not to use "nondescript" (maybe "featureless" in this case). Spell out "hours". Not a keeper.

Brooch of the Dragon's Hoard: Too meta-gamey for me, converting magic items and money into "worth". If you strike it so rich that you can't even cart away all the loot in your bags of holding, why then you have an interesting new phase of the adventure ahead of you. However, assuming that the game group is comfortable with this kind of item, it does do something very useful in a reasonable way. The price is so high that ideally, you'd want to get this item as treasure instead of making or buying it, because it'll be a long time before it pays for itself. The execution is good enough that it's a weak keep for me even though it's not to my personal taste.

Halfling Swingsaddle of the Gorilla: The most specific-use item I can recall seeing this year. I wondered why it needed to be a magic item rather than just an exotic kind of saddle. But I like the notion of ape-riding halflings -- not something that would ever have occurred to me, but it's the right flavor of gonzo for me. Still, probably not a keeper.

Flask of Sudden Sanctuary: Wonderfully vivid imagery here. I was left wondering about the physical properties of the chapel and how long it takes to form. I imagine it being used more often as an emergency defense than as a place for religious ceremony. What happens if it's summoned in a space too small to accommodate a four-story structure? What happens to creatures occupying the same space as, say, an interior wall when the chapel appears? And how long does it remain? The chapel-creating effect also seemed like an odd fit for a water-themed item, but I can let that pass. The item's other powers are okay. But the item itself is woefully underpriced considering all that it does. Still, there's a fair amount of mojo here. It's a weak keep.

Marathon Voter Season 6

Ariax wrote:


Clockwork Heart: Very creepy and cool item. Not one I can imagine most PCs using, but it would be a great option for certain NPCs, as well as a fascinating plot device. Most items with limited utility and limited PC appeal don't rate high for me, but this one's an exception. I'm thinking it's actually a strong keeper.

Thanks Ariax! I kind of knew it would have a limited appeal, but I liked the imagery too much to change that.

A friend of mine I showed it to had the idea of starting a campaign where the first session would be having been revived by one and having to find the keys.

Marathon Voter Season 6

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Tivilio wrote:

Codex Soma

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 10800 gp; Weight 3 lbs (see description)
Description
This book appears to be a finely crafted spellbook constructed of 100 sturdy paper pages bound in a black leather cover. When held by an arcane caster, the color of the cover changes to match his skin tone. The command word of the Codex is inscribed inside the front cover. When an arcane caster holds the book and speaks the command word, it melds into the holder's flesh becoming a tattoo of an open book upon his chest in brightly colored inks. When in tattoo form, the Codex uses the rules for magical tattoos (Inner Sea Magic 16). If the wearer repeats the command, the Codex appears in the wearer's hand, or immediately in front of him at waist height if he cannot grasp it, and falls if not caught. If the wearer dies while the Codex is in tattoo form, it appears in book form as if he had spoken the command word to release it unless the tattoo was destroyed as well.
Causing a Codex Soma to meld into the holders flesh automatically imparts the names of all spells in the book to the wearer. Once per day he may cast any one spell from that spellbook by sacrificing two of his own prepared spells or spell slots of the same level or higher. He must provide any material components necessary, which are also made known to him. However, the presence of magical traps is not automatically made known, and if he casts a spell from a page which is trapped, the trap is triggered.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Inscribe Magical Tattoo (Inner Sea Magic
16), transfer tattoo (Inner Sea Magic 62), shrink item; Cost 5400 gp

I realize that I failed to italicize the spells, but beyond that, what do y'all think? What could I improve upon?

This is one that I voted down the first couple of times I saw it simply because I'd seen a bunch of spellbooks before the cull and it didn't grab me all that much.

However once I gave myself a little back from voter fatigue and came back I really liked it. The utilitarian aspect of it and the visual of the tattoo becoming a spellbook was pretty awesome. I kept it in my folder to use in some of my home brew games.

The rules seem solid as far as I can tell, but it just doesn't have that wow factor. It seems like it's been done before or at least the basic idea "something useful that turns into a tattoo" had been. I did however love the detail of it turning back into a book after your died.

Star Voter Season 6

Clouds Without Water wrote:
Eyes of the Precognitive - I was prepared not to like these as Yet Another Time Item, but I think the mechanic is actually pretty elegant. The "lose"s in quotes are distracting. Just say something like they expend the spell to gain this ability.

Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it. I tried to borrow from precedent language where I could, and I took the "lose" from the cleric's casting of Cure spells. After reading your post though, I would have to agree that expend is a much cleaner term.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Ariax wrote:
Spellcycle Medallion: Great job extending the rules to allow for something new that is not overpowered. You made a good choice in describing the spell as being suppressed as if by antimagic. There are so many things this item would be useful for, but it's not a must-have for anyone. I think you hit the sweet spot of item utility. A strong keeper for me.

Thanks for the feedback!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

I am happily surprised I made it into the top 89, and not the least surprised I did not make the top 32 + 4. The item as submitted was very boring, in part because it is supposed to be boring looking while in active use. I've made a few edits to try to make it a little more cinematic.

Mage's Battlecloak as submitted:
Mage’s Battlecloak

Aura faint illusion; CL 1st

Slot shoulders; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

This item appears as a nondescript cloak with a rusty metal broach. Upon command, the Mage’s Battlecloak creates the illusion that the wearer is clad in slightly rusty medium or heavy armor, the specific armor depending on the whim of the creator. While the Mage’s Battlecloak is active, the wearer also appears to be a nondescript warrior to other creatures and is no more (or less) likely to be attacked than a common soldier.

While under the effects of the Mage’s Battlecloak, the wearer appears to be standing still while casting spells and does not provoke attacks of opportunity when casting a spell. The Mage’s Battlecloak does not hide any other action which provoke attacks of opportunity apart from spell casting.

When a creature hits the wearer with an attack of any type, or is hit by a spell cast by the wearer, it gains a DC11 Will save to disbelieve the illusion. A successful saving throw ends the Battlecloak’s effect for that creature.

The Mage’s Battlecloak and wearer return to their former appearance with a second command.

[Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, change self, illusion of calm; Cost 1,500 gp

First, I'm showing my age by accidentally using the AD&D Illusionist level 1 spell name from 1980 (change self) instead of the 3.5 name (disguise self). Even after re-reading and proofing the item over several weeks, it took me reading the item the third time during voting to notice the mistake. I really do know that it should be disguise self....

With a few very helpful comments in PM already, here is a second try:

Mage's Battlecloak as edited:

Mage’s Battlecloak

Aura faint illusion; CL 1st

Slot shoulders; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

The mage’s battlecloak is a fashionable rusty colored traveling cloak with a slight metallic sheen. Upon command, the mage’s battlecloak wraps itself around the wearer and creates the illusion that the wearer is clad in slightly rusty heavy metal armor. While the mage’s battlecloak is active, the wearer also appears to be a nondescript warrior to other creatures and is no more (or less) likely to be attacked than a common soldier.

As a swift action, the wearer does not appear to cast spells or initially move for one round, and does not provoke attacks of opportunity for doing so. Another creature views the wearer as flourishing a weapon, gesturing wildly, yelling unintelligibly or other mundane action. The mage’s battlecloak does not hide any other actions which provoke attacks of opportunity other than spell casting and moving from the first square during a move action.

When a creature hits the wearer with an attack of any type, or is hit by a spell cast by the wearer, it gains a DC11 Will save to disbelieve the illusion. A successful saving throw ends the battlecloak’s effect for that creature.

The mage’s battlecloak and wearer return to their former appearance with a second command.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, disguise self, illusion of calm (Ultimate Combat); Cost 1,500 gp

Thank you in advance for any feedback! If anyone wants to use this item or variants thereof, I would be honored and please feel free to do so.

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

Page 10 items:

Wheel Caps of the Geist March:

Interesting name. I'm not quite sure what to make of it at first glance. It doesn't seem like something I'd want to write on my character sheet, which I think is a great measurement Clark uses of names.

Template seems mostly OK, though you've got the aura and strength incorrectly capitalized; spells shouldn't be capped and should be italicized; slot should be "none." Price seems very arbitrary -- my first reaction is this seems like something that's perfectly able to follow the price guidelines, which speaks to your eye to detail but makes me wonder if it's just going to be a spell in a can.

"usually look to be made of oxidized copper" isn't a very strong description. I like oxidized copper, but just make them all of that. If someone wants to change it for themselves, they can, but usually is a weak word in this case. "Looks to be made of" is very strange phrasing; why not just say "are made of" or "look like"?

You've got some great imagery here, which I like a lot. And I like that you're sort of playing with the vehicle rules; not enough to throw people but certainly involving that.

However, mechanically, there are some issue. You repeat rules (the effects of concealment). Most importantly, you say any creatures in the fog. Does that include the driver and propulsion? You don't mention that it omits them, but that makes it FAR less useful.

Chiaroscuro Astrarium:

Wow. That's certainly a name.

And a big item to go with it.

I think you also led off with a less exciting power -- the map -- instead of what most people are going to think is cool -- the Dark Tapestry stuff.

You've certainly got writing skill: "nacreous globe" pulls me right in.

I think this one may have just been a little too science-fictiony, maybe? Part of me is just not liking it, but I'm sorry I can't tell you exactly why. I think the name's a bit off-putting and maybe it's just playing in an area I don't play in a lot, with the 3-60 days of starflight. Maybe it's something I'd pull into a Reign of Winter game, since it's leaving Golarion, but just didn't feel like this fit into most of the games I play.

Sorry I couldn't give you more coherent criticism.

Firebrand of Grandeur:

I liked this being an everburning torch already; neat way to add to a different magic item. Having a fire item affect emotions is also neat; reminded me of a scene from Jim Butcher's Furies of Calderon series.

I think you may have been hurt a bit by the looseness of the powers in the first paragraph. Focus on hindering or helping the torch bearer just isn't quite specific enough. I don't know exactly what it means. If he's advancing, do I have to attack him or try to dig a ditch?

And I think the last graf really hurts -- it makes it almost seem like a cursed item. I feel like it means I could toss it into a dungeon room and all the occupants will fight to the death to get it until only one's left and I can go get him.

Corpse Coffer:

Sorry, raphael, I didn't like this item at all.

At 302 pounds, it's obviously not something I'm going to be dragging around with me while adventuring.

Then it's powers are to keep things from being brought back to life; how often am I going to need that as a player?

To me, this was a huge plot device, to let your players (or some hapless NPC, I suppose) release Imhotep or some other great evil back on the world so that they have to go stop it.

Spirit Glass:

David, this seemed like an awfully expensive item for me, considering its main purpose is to give ghost touch. Which in and of itself isn't that exciting.

You've also got some strange mechanics going on. I like the idea it only works on night, though it doesn't necessarily make that much sense. Ghosts come out during the day too, especially if you're in an underground dungeon, where the PCs may often be. I think I'd much rather have seen a duration of 8 (or even 24) hours, with the sunlight draining it away. That latter bit is also a touch odd, but it's so flavorful that I like it in spite of that, I think.

Also strange is your 10 uses per day (which should probably be 10 uses per night). That seems really high, considering the thing lasts potentially 8-12 hours. Since I can touch someone else when I use it, that means I can get 20 uses per night of it (after I've looked into it and done a friend, I can simply hand it to the person next to me to do the same, repeat ad nauseum), and I can't imagine WHY I'd need to give that many people ghost touch (though I suppose that could explain the high price). I think I'd either give it 10 uses ever or drop the duration down to like 5 minutes. Otherwise, it's simply not a restriction at all.

Finally, I see "once-living things" as if they were alive. I suspect you just meant for undead (and maybe even incorporeal undead) but what happens if I look at my leather belt? Am I seeing a cow wrapped around my waist? Am I seeing all my paper as trees? It's a neat affect -- I could see some small magic item doing just that, though that's probably not that useful -- but I don't really know how to adjudicate it.

I think you had a lot of ideas with this item, but I think they just didn't translate to the page, unfortunately.

Gnomish Humming Spanner:

Welcome to the competition, Matthew. To start with, you’ve got a few template issues, with your aura and requirements especially. I’d suggest taking a look at Anthony Adam’s template thread for lots of good advice on how you should be doing it. Following Paizo’s style may seem like a minor issue – as Sean would say, he can teach that – but it’s an easy mark against you before I’ve even read a word of your entry.

I’d also try to bring a little more “mojo” next year. Your spanner’s a list of skill bonuses, which just isn’t very exciting. Let your imagination run wild! Try also to use a bit more description in your writing – paint a picture of your item in the first sentence or two and really draw me into it.

Finally, I thought your theme felt a little odd. Gnomes in Pathfinder don’t really have the tinker feel that they used to, so this felt like a really odd match to me.

Record of the Fallen:

I wasn’t a big fan of this one, I’m sorry to say, so I may be the wrong person to ask. For me, I just wondered how often I would use this item. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the need to store corpses (OK, maybe once in a while when a PC died), and certainly not 100 of them. I guess I thought it was an answer to a problem I haven’t had.

Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

Mantle of Terror:

I think your self-criticism is pretty spot on, Draco; though I’d also add that even if it weren’t a bit more niche, it’s still just giving numerical bonuses. I might’ve liked this a bit more if it had generated a fear affect or – though this would probably get dinged as being a huge pain in the ass to adjudicate – let you transform into/generate the object of something’s fear (a la what Marvel Comics’ Mirage/Dani Moonstar’s used to be able to do). I wonder if you could maybe do it with some lesser form of phantasmal killer, though?

Gloves of the Eldritch Duelist:

I think you’ve pretty much got it down in your self-criticisms, though I’d add using a less common spell subset (the dueling) is probably a bigger issue than a wonky requirement (which I can just ignore should I choose to). I also kind of feel like it may be missing a touch in the cinematic department. They seem like a good solid item, but there’s nothing there to make me really go, “wow, that would be COOL to use!”

Redeemer’s Sash:

I think you nailed your self-criticism pretty aptly, though I think you may have been a little hard on yourself. I certainly voted for this on occasion. I think I was most bugged by the variable slot possibilities, which felt munchkinny to me.

Pacifier Manacles:

In last year’s critique thread, the judges talked about seeing a lot of “capture” items and how it wore on them. I don’t think there were that many this year (two or three that I recall), but I imagine that biased some people against it.

That said, I do think it was some interesting mechanics to use the encumbrance. It wouldn’t cripple someone wearing it, but would probably be an effective item. Still, it needed some tightening in the language, I think. I think someone would be treated as carrying a medium load, not being on medium load.

I also think – and this may have been part of the judges’ complaints last year – there’s just not that much need for magical containment devices like this. Most of the time when I’m adventuring, I’m just killing, not going out capturing things.

Spectral Saddle:

“The Spectral Saddle is cool to the touch and expertly crafted out of soft white leather and cold iron” is a rather dull lead in. Try to avoid using forms of “to be” if you can, as it’s not the most exciting verb. Pick more action verbs and find a way to really get me excited about reading your item.

Beyond that, it’s basically a couple spells in a can. I’m not sure I like the taxing effect and while the color adds a visual element, it’s otherwise unremarkable. I’m not sure if it was intended to make me look like a ghost/specter for a bit but if so that didn’t quite come across.

I think there’s some possible design space in make you and your mount a ghost – or seem like a ghost – but you didn’t quite find it.

Hand of Eternal Remorse:

This was a strange one, I thought. I get poisoned, which has no effect other than making me be the center of a fireball – which I get a second save to avoid. (Basically, you’ve nerfed the fireball so I’ve got a good chance to avoid it if I’ve got a good Fort OR Reflex save.)

And it’s sort of got a curse (though I do like the flavor for something that’s not meant to just be a wondrous item).

I can get a wand of fireball for about 60 percent of the cost of this, so why would I want this instead?

On the bright side, I think you’ve got some nice possible writing ability. I like your use of “unctuous” and I thought your first sentence was strong – just perhaps not suited well to the wondrous item task.

Star Voter Season 6

Ariax wrote:

PAGE FOUR ITEMS

Fan, Dragonscale: The core idea didn't strike me as compelling -- just a combination of offensive and defensive elemental energy use, in a single item. But the presentation was done well. I thought the damage was too low for the levels at which these items would be acquired. And I'm generally not cool with wondrous items that require specific exotic components such as dragon scales -- a magic item should be able to duplicate or mimic a dragon's elemental affinities without actually requiring dragon bits in its manufacture -- but that's just me. On the whole, it's a weak keep.

Thanks, Ariax! I appreciate the feedback. I didn't want to make the damage too high since it's a move action that could be combined with a different standard action attack. Also, I didn't list the scales as a crafting requirement; they're mostly the flavor ... but I do see your point. Thanks, again! :)

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Ariax wrote:

PAGE TWO ITEMS

Immediate Chant: My initial reaction was "holy cow, this is powerful!" And so it is. But I think the limited usage and the price are enough to achieve balance. The idea is simple, the applications are numerous. You foresaw possible abuses and forestalled them. This is a strong keep for me.

I'm happy to see you thought it a strong keep. It is powerful by design and I hoped to balance that with a high cost and a specific set of Creation requirements. Thanks for the critique!

Star Voter Season 6

Clouds Without Water wrote:


Spirit Glass - Some good ideas here. I like imbuing people via reflection. I like that it expires when you hit sunlight. But there were a few spirit related mirrors...

That's a very good assessment; I'd not thought about the "effectively endless" when I put the uses at 10/day.

What I had in my mind was a device that could help an entire party for one night.

But you're quite correct: I was in my head, so much, envisioning the "optimal usage scenario" I didn't notice the average, everyday use for the item.

Thank you for your comments!

Yours,
Sylvan

Star Voter Season 6

Thank you for your assessment; your comments were dead-on.

I think the biggest problem was that I envisoned a scenario in which it could be used and got so focused on that, I never zoomed out to consider the more general applications.

Thank you!

Yours,
Sylvan

The Exchange Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks for the review! I'll try to remember this for the next contest. If having a 6 month old leaves me any time I'll make something great.

Actually I'll start planning now so ill be ready even after he arrives. So it won't be a bag of holding turned into pants or fatigue removing device, or a SIAC that deals with pup shape.

Star Voter Season 6

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My item was the Toastmaster's Glass. I think I tried to do too much with it and it is a real world item. It definitely wasn't superstar quality but it was my first attempt in entering. I hemmed and hawed over entering for a while. Unfortunately, my laptop died and until it is fixed, I don't have a copy of my item. A review would be welcome. Thanks.

Star Voter Season 6

I’m going to ensure that I follow through on my promise to review those who reviewed mine own item. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get to some of the others that don’t get a lot of attention, but time seems to be greatly limited for myself. My hat certainly goes off to those power houses that have been plowing through page after page reviewing hundreds of items. Your dedication astounds me!
I’m not great at mechanics or pricing or anything like that so I’ll focus on what I liked creatively and why I think it didn’t quite make the 32 creatively speaking.

Time's Tide Pendant:
You’re a brave soul entering into anything relating to “time” given what the judges have said about it in the past. I myself thought of doing something that played with “stealing time” but shied away from it.
I really liked the first part. The imagery was solid, and I pictured the item as I read it. Such cinematics in description are a big win for me.
As far as mojo is concerned I think the item is tactically useful. Does it allow for new and interesting gameplay by bending the rules a bit? Yep. I can think of lots of times when players might want to bump up their initiative to get a spell in, or bump down a BBEG so that they get in all their attacks before it can and potentially take it down early. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that a party that works well together (read: the people I game with), with this item, could set themselves up to really alter the way some encounters would normally play out.
Why didn’t you get a lot of votes? Well, to be frank, initiative is boring. Sure, we know that it’s a tactical part of the game, but that doesn’t necessarily make it an interesting part of the game. I think that’s likely the reason why there are items that I feel aren’t incredibly well designed that made the top 32, they aren’t necessarily filling mechanical game space, but they are a little flashy.
The other side, and this is a personal think regarding how I like to play, is that I think this item tends to promote meta-gaming to some degree. Personally, I cut my players off when they start plotting the next three rounds of combat, “okay you delay, then I’ll cast, you ready, then together we’ll do this together….” If it takes 3 minutes to work out a plan around a table, it likely takes longer than 6 seconds in the heat of battle, but that’s a personal thing.
I really liked your Haunting Glass from last year, and you were one of the individuals I was pulling for as a result. Both items take mechanical space and do something new with it, I just think last years item was using cool, mojoerific mechanics whereas initiative lacks the cool factor. I look forward to seeing your item next year!

Tempest Regalia:
I didn’t see this one in initial voting, so this is my first look at it.
I likely would have voted it up, though initially the part about ioun stones and the circumstance bonuses didn’t thrill me, as I pressed on I thought the wind mechanics for CMB type stuff was neat. It wasn’t overwhelming as far as cool factor, but I could visualize a swirling tempest adding force to a bull rush, and that kinda sparked for me.
You spelled out what effect the windstorm has in creatures passing through the users square, but does it have any other effects? After reading the description (which I still had to do, despite my own item being about a blizzard!...which I’ve realized is a downfall to public voting, making voters read obscure rules, but I digress) I wondered how that windstorm would affect a ranged attack made against the user?
The Ioun Stone didn’t jive with the feel of the item for me, and the circumstance stuff seemed a bit tacked on, although I thought that part would have fit really well if you were writing this item up as part of say something about Sylphs.
Again, I dig cinematics. Given me a sentence about how this looks when used, do the silks begin to swirl and whip around, what does it sound like, does the air pressure change. All that stuff would have really drawn me in as a voter.
I liked metamorphosis saddle from last year. In fact, I liked it so much that I initially wrote up an item that was almost exactly the same this year, and had sneaky thought that I’d read something similar in previous years, went back to the boards, and found you’d beaten me to it! I look forward to seeing your item next year!

Skinthief’s Fetish:
First of all, I dig the name. I think it’s simple, but evocative, and that’s obviously a good thing. It also clearly gives you an idea of exactly what this item would do.
I hadn’t read this spell before, so I had to do a bit of digging, and that would certainly have been a deterrent in voting, not a big one, but it’s there. After reading the spell I was a little surprised it was in there, as a spell that allows you to tear your own skin off is not something I’d typically see in one of my games. Maybe a cool NPC villain spell, just for the creep factor, but certainly nothing any of the people I play with would actually use.
So, for me, I think that’s where the mojo falls flat. I understand the slight bending of mechanics in allowing you to use a spell that would normally be personal only and instead being able to get that affect by using a defeated enemy’s corpse, but…I don’t see the point. Really, the biggest thing is that you gain compression and a few construct traits while everyone else hangs out and protects your body so you don’t outright die.
So, kinda cool in a creepy sort of way, but my players would sell it (if they could find a buyer for such a creepy item!)

Hunter's Geas:
I’m not sure if I saw this item, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing.
After getting to the end of the description I started to get the idea, and worked around to the visual of a ranger stalking some giant chieftain that had pillaged some town and placing a few droplets of the blood of a fallen giant guardian as he approaches the lair. That was cool. It took me a while to get to that place though, and I imagine if I was voting item after item I wouldn’t have taken that long to think about it.
My initial reaction as a GM was to think about exactly what the limits of this are. I think it was implied, but specifically stating it works as per locate creature would have cleared up some confusion. As written it’s not clear of the target creature has to be in my line of sight (then what would be the point), or if I have to know what they look like, or if I just need a name.
So, it’s really locate creature with a few advantages and some neat teamworky stuff (though at that price, I’m not sure parties would all be picking one up) and that to me doesn’t quite push the limits of creativity. Again, as a voter cinematics for me are part of the voting, so give it a cool descriptor for how the locate works; perhaps as the user gets closer the amulet gets hotter, or begins to pulse like a heartbeat, or speeds up the users own heart like they’re getting a rush of adrenalin.
I look forward to seeing your submission next year.

Beguiling Bauble:
I saw this one a number of times. At first, I’ll admit that I didn’t vote for it, but after a while I saw it so often that it started to grow on me! Many of the critiques you addressed yourself were the reasons for the no-votes, but I’ll elaborate a bit on my thoughts.
First, I thought the very short descriptor, despite being very short, was actually quite good. I could see the item in my mind’s eye and that paired with the name was already giving me something to think about.
I’m actually totally okay with it being a Sleight of Hand check. Do I know players who would abuse this? Almost certainly. Do I think it’s necessarily good designing? Yep. But I also think it makes good thematic sense, and so I didn’t dock it too much for that.
As you pointed out, the DC was low, making it likely almost un-useable at that price, and the scaling DC checks didn’t fit right.
So, mechanically it needed work. Creatively, lots has been done with the fascinate stuff. Flavor-wise I still kinda like it. It has sort of a steampunk-clockwork-curio vibe to it that I kinda dig. I’m not sure it would ever be top 32, but to be honest I’d really like to see you re-write the mechanics, tinker with the bauble a bit and see what else comes out of it.

Listening Stone:
The name initially screamed boring to me, as did the first effect of being a tape recorder. I thought the changes appearance to fit environment thing was pretty neat, although not entirely superstar.
I think the spell storing, or sonic effect storing component had some creativity to it, but as you indicated in your self critique it was so complicated that I had to read it a few times over in order to figure out how it actually worked. This wouldn’t necessarily be bad if it was a magic item, but for voting, I know that I wouldn’t have taken the time to read it through a few times to really understand the item. If it wasn’t readily apparent what it was doing, it got the downvote.
After thinking a bit more about the contingency part of it, I think it would actually have quite a few cool uses. Could I, for example, cast a sonic based spell or something of that nature into the stone and then use it as a sling stone with the contingency that the stone replay the sonic effect on a successful attack? What about collecting a monster’s sonic abilities? Could I capture a Mobat’s Sonic Screech, only to use that on future enemies?
Leading with the capturing of sonic spells/effects/abilities would have made it stronger and more interesting off the hop, simplifying the item’s abilities would have made it easier to understand, and with simpler mechanics making it more accessible cost-wise would have all lead to getting more votes for sure.
I look forward to seeing your entry next year as well!

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

PhineasGage wrote:

After thinking a bit more about the contingency part of it, I think it would actually have quite a few cool uses. Could I, for example, cast a sonic based spell or something of that nature into the stone and then use it as a sling stone with the contingency that the stone replay the sonic effect on a successful attack? What about collecting a monster’s sonic abilities? Could I capture a Mobat’s Sonic Screech, only to use that on future enemies?

Leading with the capturing of sonic spells/effects/abilities would have made it stronger and more interesting off the hop, simplifying the item’s abilities would have made it easier to understand, and with simpler mechanics making it more accessible cost-wise would have all lead to getting more votes for sure.
I look forward to seeing your entry next year as well!

Finally someone gets the cool factor. Yes that was part of the intent of the design. In seeking to make it balanced I added that stupid -1/hr mechanic. Other cool in game uses where when my people hired a highlevel part to sing into the thing for an hour and used that to get a +4 Inspire courage.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

I'll take you up on the offer PhineasGage. You'll find the Monastic Sheathe here.

Review: Stolen Tears of the Winter Witch
(Just my opinion.) Good use of language, evocative and not tired. A small spacing issue with "and442" which would be caught in editing. Making this a limited use item was, I think, the right choice. The effects are particularly potent for characters build around taking advantage of the defenses provided by the item - even at very high levels most foes (other than specific cold/ice based creatures) would not overcome the weather-based effects. Paying 1500gp for 5 rounds of this priviledge may be balanced - but my concern is that while there are other potent defensive magics/items, those tend to have generally accessible counters as well. In the Stolen Tears the effect is pretty much a guaranteed perfect defense.

There's one additional cause for concern, for me, in that having to look-up and apply the rather involved weather-based effects in any situation now (rather than only when running a winter-based campaign/session) is a bit of a downer for me.


Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Page 10 items:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

I really appreciate the time you took to review my item, Jacob, and thanks just as much for the warm welcome.

I fully agree with what your saying about needing more descriptive text to "sell" the item to the reader. My entry is overly lacking in that area, and the tinker gnome concept was definitely a foul ball. I should have labled it as something from Numeria, but that would have only fixed one issue and still not made for a superstar item.

It seems that the goal with creating an item for the competition is a lot like coming up with a new product you want to sell on the open market. 1) Find a need that is not already being addressed by the currently available products, 2) Make it sparkle, and 3)Describe it in such a way that makes the masses want ten of them. Not always an easy goal.

I wasn't as aware of the template issues, and I'm really glad that you pointed those out. I will look over them, as well as, checking out Anthony's thread. He is a great source of advice, and I will do my best to take that information and everything you said to heart for next year. I have been brainstorming more "mojo" filled concepts, and I think I have some pretty good ideas, so hopefully between now and next year I can present a highly polished gem for the competition.

Thanks again, Jacob. It has been a pleasure rubbing shoulders with all of the other very talented people who participated in this contest, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Lantern Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Page 10 items:

Redeemer's Sash
I think you nailed your self-criticism pretty aptly, though I think you may have been a little hard on yourself. I certainly voted for this on occasion. I think I was most bugged by the variable slot possibilities, which felt munchkinny to me.

Thank you for the review, Jacob. It's highly appreciated. I usually am pretty tough on myself sometimes, but it only serves to better myself rather than anything too detrimental.

As for the variable slots, I was using the Dawnflower Sash as my comparison piece and I should've just reserved it to chest slot as some of the similar items in Ultimate Equipment do.

Thank you again.

Side Note:

As a side note, if anyone else is parallel designing alongside the Superstars like I am, and would like to share criticisms over our archetypes or monster designs, please get in touch with me. I'm not creating a separate thread for this because it's really disrespectful to the Superstars in my opinion. Right now, it's their time to shine and I think some of them really are shining right now.

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

Severed, there's usually a post-round "What would you have done" thread. It tends not to be the most active, but I assume a Round 2 one will be, since we all knew the twist beforehand.

Marathon Voter Season 6

Ariax wrote:
Gloves of the Confident Smith: Both underpriced and too open to abuse, since the user can often simply attempt a DC 10 (or lower!) skill check to gain the bonus. Thus, the requirement isn't really one. Maybe the mechanics could be reversed? -- the +2 bonus is triggered by first using the power to reroll a skill check? Whether the +2 bonus should be triggered by success or failure on that re-roll, I'm not sure. But it would be a bit more interesting, to me at least. As written, not a keeper.

Thanks for taking the time to review.

This is different enough from the other reviews I've gotten, that I'd like to ask for some clarification, though.

What abuse are you anticipating? It's only a +2 bonus to a single skill check, so it's not an "Auto-succeed" type of item. You can't swap out the bonus for a different skill until you release the charge AND wait until the following day.

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