Official 2013 "Critique my item" thread

RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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

Wow, I completely forgot that this was today! I've got a lot of work to do this weekend, but I'll get started tossing out what critiques I can on Monday.

As for my item, this was my first year knowing about RPG Superstar, so I'd love any criticism you have, no matter how obvious it may seem to you. I know that there are a few things I would have done differently if I were to release the item now, but it's difficult to articulate many of the changes I would make in tonality and complexity.

Doppelganger’s Locket
Aura moderate transmutation, conjuration, and divination; CL 9th
Slot neck; Price 26500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This dull silver locket, bearing the image of a doppelganger’s featureless face on its exterior, hides a gruesome secret. The locket contains an extradimensional space akin to that within a Bag of Holding, but of variable volume as described below.

When the locket is opened and placed against a humanoid corpse of small or medium size, the corpse is placed inside the extradimensional space in the locket, which conforms in volume to fit the corpse snugly. The locket then snaps shut. The entire process takes a full round action to perform and provokes attacks of opportunity. While the corpse is inside the locket, the wearer of the locket’s appearance and voice change to match those of the creature inside, including size category (with relevant modifiers) but not racial abilities such as darkvision or orc ferocity. This is not an illusion but a transmutation effect, and thus cannot be disbelieved without the aid of True Seeing. In addition, the wearer receives brief insights of the creature’s disposition, attitude, and mannerisms. Mechanically, the two effects provide a +10 to both Disguise and Bluff checks to attempt to impersonate the creature inside the locket.

Only one corpse can be inside the locket at a time. If the locket is opened while a corpse is still inside, the corpse falls out into an adjacent square and the appearance and mannerisms of the wearer revert to normal, removing the skill bonuses until a new corpse is placed inside the locket.

Craft Wondrous Item, alter self, vocal alteration, share memory, secret chest; Cost 13250 gp

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

Jerry Keyes wrote:
Ethos Swarm Charm

Item in a Nutshell Turns character into swarm.

First Impression: Turns character into swarm.
Template Use: Looks ok.
Critique: Literally turns a character into swarm. You spent a lot of words here listing swarms, which isn’t interesting. I think being able to turn into a swarm would be cool (a top 32 item does this), and an item like this should exist, but think about this from the judges perspective; How is this innovative? How is this new and exciting? How does this show off your creativity? The judges are looking for something more than just turning a player into a monster, or allowing a player to have the effects of a spell. You have to bend the rules in an interesting way without breaking them. There just isn’t enough development risk or innovation in this item.
Would I rather buy this or... I like swarms, so I’d probably buy this.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Ezekiel Shanoax, the Stormchild

Mortal Coil
Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 30,000 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.

This string of bone and wyrwood prayer beads forms a loop decorated with knots, tassels, and sometimes a holy symbol or focus object. Each bead is finely inscribed with cryptic meditations on the ebb and flow of life.

A bearer with a ki pool, the ability to lay on hands, or the ability to channel energy may spend one ki point, one use of lay on hands, or one use of channel energy to imbue the coil with a life point; any bearer may transfer a life point to the coil from a charged wyroot weapon (see Advanced Race Guide or Ultimate Equipment). Either method of imbuement is a full-round action.

The bearer of a coil with a stored life point gains lifesense 30 ft., a +2 insight bonus to saving throws versus death effects, and may use abilities she possesses which require at least one ki point be in her pool even if her pool is empty.

As a swift action, a bearer may absorb a life point from the coil and convert it into one ki point, one use of lay on hands, or one use of channel energy, provided the bearer has the corresponding pool or ability and their pool or number of ability uses is not presently full.

A coil holds only one life point at a time, which remains stored even when the bearer replenishes her ki pool or uses of abilities, though any unspent life point dissipates at dusk. The bearer need not wear the coil in any specific location to gain its benefits, so long as she carries it somewhere on her person.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, deathwatch, ki leech; Cost 15,000 gp

Star Voter Season 6

Thanks all around, Zylphryx. With that range of adjustment, I can see where pricing was off or where it can be abused. I was hoping to give a character with the language being understood something to work with in this item. Maybe a 2 step if Diplomacy effective per GM? Something for me to think about.

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

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verdigris wrote:
Porcine Pendant

Item in a Nutshell Dancing faerie pig fascinates onlookers

First Impression: Are all faerie pigs this jovial?

Template Use: I think someone mentioned that faint only need be used once in the aura.

Critique: You’ve introduced the concept of a faerie pig, and the spell carry companion in the requirements makes this seem like you’ve actually caught a faerie pig and have it trapped in the necklace. Does that mean they have stats? Do faerie pigs always act like this? Can it be attacked or killed, and what happens if it is?

Since you haven’t explicitly said that the hypnotic effect of the piggy functions like the hypnotic pattern spell, it works exactly as you wrote it in the item, which doesn’t list any save vs. the fascination of the pig and there isn’t any limitations as to how many HD of creatures can be affected, and as written this piggy would fascinate blind creatures as well. This means that this little piggy could stop an ancient gold dragon cold, possibly more than one. Since it can only move 20 ft away, I'd be worried about being fascinated by our gyrating porcine friend as well.

There are too many loose ends with this item, and in the end it fascinates creatures for 1 minute, possibly makes them like you better, and you can influence them to do something, which if was there was a thematic connection to pigs might work, but as it is seems a little jokey. With extreme care you might be able to pull this off.

Would I rather buy this or... Bag of tricks? Eh, if the rules were ironed out a bit, possibly, but I’d like to see a better explanation about how faerie pigs got their groove. WOAH, what if the pig caused an irresistible dance-like effect? Makes everyone dance with it. Hmm.....

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

And part of page 2, which is probably it for tonight/this morning.

Amulet of Amended Strategy:

This one seems very similar to my own Time's Tide Pendant and probably falls into some of the same problems. I think it's a good solid item for a book of magic items, but probably just feels a little too meta-gamey and not cinematic enough.

Circlet of Malevolent Eyes:

Anthony, you've heard my criticisms before. I know I've also told you think, but I think you've improved so vastly much over the year I've been following you. This is a million times better than your item last year. Keep your head up!

Immediate Chant:

My first thought is I don't know what the item is. That's a mark against it before I've even looked beyond the name.
Once I get into it, though, I think it's probably just a little too overpowered. It basically gives you an extra spell slot every day, which seems really powerful to me. Template-wise, I think the creator requirements typically go after the spells. I might also have tried to limit the spells you used to two. I start to twitch when I see lots of spells in the requirements.

Nautilus Pack of Tangled Tentacles:

The name threw me on this one. I tend to like really concise names, so that may be more of a personal bias, though.
Moving on, my first reaction is, oh another extradimensional space item. Snooze. Then I get to your real power, and I'm not sure I like the choice of having it be a swift action. That means I can still take my full round action while continually trying to steal my foe's weapon whenever he draws a new one. There doesn't seem to be any limit to how many items it can steal in that minute, which is about as long as most fights go.
I did like the black tentacles requirement, though -- good spell choice, I thought.

The Lonely Man’s Instant Party:

Ugh, HATED the name. I saw someone else said this, but it instantly made me think it was a joke item. I also didn't feel like it fit thematically with most of the adventures I run. A party suddenly appears in the middle of my dungeon? Just seemed like too much of a disconnect to me.
I kind of like the idea of a crowd, though (for whatever reason, the idea of a mob instantly appearing works better for me), but I think it probably needs some more stats. You say they don't flee, but what happens if I fireball them? Are they all dead? I don't know their saves or hit points, so I can't determine that.

Choker of Subtle Sound:

This just didn't quite do enough for me. I think if you'd had it apply Silent Spell to a bardic performance, that could've been neat, but as is it's basically a blindsight spell in a can and a feat in a can. And then the third power kind of confuses me -- he can do a second bardic effect at the same time that only affects him? Just didn't quite fit for me.

Ultimate Adventurer’s Egg:

Never saw this one in my voting.
Unfortunately, it just didn't seem to ultimate to me (and I can't say I'm a fan of that name; doesn't seem like something I'd want to write on my character sheet, which Clark has suggested is a great way to measure your name). None of the powers just seem all that exciting to me, which leaves it just a big SAK.
Furthermore, I don't think adding in the mechanical aspects helped. These are supposed to be wondrous items. I saw several alchemical items that I thought had a similar problem, where I was like these are neat, but I'm seeing more alchemy than magic required for this.

Mark of the Leech:

Leeches. Ugh. Having bad flashbacks, and not just to that scene in "Stand By Me." (Though that didn't actually affect my opinion of the item, which I think I only saw once or twice in voting.)
Unfortunately, this just didn't feel that exciting to me. It seemed basically like vampiric touch, with not enough new for me to say "wow." I thought your theme was strong but just didn't do much.
Template wise, your spells should be alphabetized. Also in situations like inflict light wounds, mass, you should write it as mass inflict light wounds (or lesser/greater Xxx, not Xxx, lesser/greater, etc.)


Heroes, I LOVED this item. Completely. I'm sure I upvoted it every time. That said, objectively, I think it was too much of a curse in a can to be Superstar, but I really like the spellblights, so this hit my sweet spot to the point it was in my personal list of keepers.

Mantle of a Thousand Hands:

I think I probably mostly upvoted this because it was a solid item. That said, I personally didn't think it was all that sexy. Still, congrats on getting to alternate status. That's pretty awesome and kudos to you for it!

Skein Helm:

I thought this just felt a little too much like a spell in a can for me. I could certainly see the item appearing in a source book (I was reminded a bit of swanmays, actually) but just needed a little more of a spark, I think, to reach that next level. Also, the name was kind of a disconnect for me. When I see "skein" I think of yarn. I remember seeing you ask if anyone had seen the item during voting and thinking "A yarn helm? That's an interesting idea..." It may have been a little too esoteric of a word, especially since it wasn't strange enough that I'd have thought to look it up (like, say, binnacle was).

Star Voter Season 6

Clouds Without Water wrote:
Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil - Sometimes voted for it. Thought the theme was a little forced. The substance seems to be silver just to make the real-world allusion work.

Point taken. I'm learning that I should have went with my original version despite the SIAC. Still, from others there were some other things to work on. Thanks, Clouds.

Star Voter Season 6

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil

Thank you for the direction of your critique, Garrett. All valid points and some address things that haven't been brought up. I realized I needed to explain how the item worked such as mind affecting or some such that would have been in format. Great thinking out of the box to give me some direction.

Tossing my two cents into the proverbial pot, giving first impressions and anything I notice off the top of my head. I will be reading through all the posts but I will only be basing my critiques on what I see from the item itself. I will also do my best to keep up with the next ones from my last item and keep going from there.

Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil: The template looks good and I easily understood the item and its intentions. My first thoughts on the mask's second ability is that even with the melee touch attack I would of liked to see a fort save to resist the effect. For requirements I would of gone with Suffocation instead of web which could of made the price higher but the second ability is usable once a day so that evens it out for me. I can see my players using this original item, nicely done.

Gentleman’s Ensnaring Cane: The template looks correct, and the description of the cane is nice. The canes ability is powerful with the possibility of dropping them from 100 feet in the air as one example of its use. For its one turn use I can see a player abusing the item to swing their enemies through their teams threatened area for some free swings or off a cliff. I would say the high price, single daily use and save to negate does balance that somewhat. The name led me to think of an honorable duel medium size and maybe limited to a single target usable a a few times a day. I would say its a powerful item that needs a bit of balancing.

More comments for items coming tomorrow

Star Voter Season 6

agirlnamedbob wrote:
Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil

Thanks, Bob. I'll do a bit of spit and polish... Sorry, wasn't thinking there and provide one that is closer to the original idea. You can let me know if I should follow with the original or what was submitted.

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

next up:

orator's torc First, be proud that you took the plunge and entered, and also commit to getting better with every effort, and listening to everyone, even if you don't like them or fully buy into what they are saying. Maybe someone's feedback today doesn't make sense until later. Maybe you're a naturally decent designer that has to address basic things later. Whichever - listen and consider even if you aren't sure you agree. As for the torc, the actual design is not bad. Unfortunately, it only grants a skill bonus and it occupies a design space that I (which is not important, but I am not the only one) don't care for. Influence reactions and attitudes by category is a mechanism for bypassing the in character part opf roleplaying I don't get cranky when other people use those rules, but I'd rather a player actually attempt a rousing speech and let me adjust difficulty any day. So items that allow you to move someone's attitude three steps instead of two uses a ruleset some folk wish there weren;t magic items for. That's a subjective matter of taste I know. In terms of format, always capitalize game terminology to differentiate from regular use of the same words. In your case that means capitalizing skills when listing them off. As for the item getting better in front of a crowd, that's decent. I'd rather Will saves to resist fascinate or other effects increased with a larger audience or something than just a skill check. But I'm not one of those people that asks "how does an item know there's more people" or "how does it know the enemy is evil". It's a game, the ability activates at the right time. We're designing magic items, not computer programs. So I dig the torc getting better as the crowd gets larger. The second ability is great. Not the most imaginative, but an actual magical ability. Good luck next year!

orb of aggravation I like dirty tricks, although I still haven't built a character that makes great use of them. But this little throwaway item only pulls one dirty trick and that doesn't seem very imaginative. If I designed a magic string that only made a single trip attempt, that's be the same thing. You resisted the SiaC, but gave us a CMiaC. I'm betting a lot of people thought of that as interesting but not unique design. I guess another issue might be that a character with a hundred of these would be really irritating to GM. My only other potential gripe would be that the feat shouldn't be required for creating the orb.

elixir of last will I'll be honest, I voted this thing both up and down, but I kinda like it. I was troubled by the super-cheap cost. A desperate +2 luck bonus for 150 gp? That price is so low, that experienced adventurers will each drop one before a tough encounter and then breath of life their way back to consciousness. Also, the price is too small for an auto-stabilize. However, these abuses aside, I think this item is fun, original thinking. If I had kept a top 32 for myself, I think this would have been on it. Good job.

shroud of certain return THis item is simple and succinct. It breaks the rules in a player-pleasing way. It's actually not bad for tables that prefer to play a druid to a cleric. I guess I kind of like it. But some GMs might have thought "I'll never be able to actually kill ANYONE. And some probably wondered how alter self could impact a much higher level spell like reincarnation. The item should probably have reincarnation as a prerequisite and cost a bit more.

findeladlara's brush I had to go looking to seeif you made that name up. I'm pleased you didn't, but I wonder if a few voters looked through the CRB and decided you were giving Golarian a brand new god. Careful with being too esoteric in a publically voted event. The brush itself is a pretty spell in a can. You've given it nice window dressing, for sure. But it's still a delivery system for a low-level illusion spell. Yu describe the loook and use of the item bautifully. Go bigger next time.

hunter's geas You know the item has formatting errors, with the no name. It also has some pretty clunky writing that could be smoother and shorter. But if I put money on it, I'd gamble the real killer of your item is that no one wants to pay 19,000 gp for a +1 bonus on saves from a single creature's ability.

garter of hidden fortune The boring name gives us no real clue as to its function. In fact, you have to give the item away so someone else can enjoy the fortune. The description you give us to point out the garter is really hard to find on a person is weighty. So it doesn't give me blin or invisibility? The idea of sending this SAK of unrelated abilities to another friend within 100 feet is kinda cool...a super teamwork item. But it is a SAK and this contest suffered a number of entries where something teleported to a teammate or communicated to said teammate. Apparently there are some characters out there that really want a closer relationship with their peers. I imagine the awkward SAK abilities and glut of entries in that space didn't help you.

ointment of last sight I think your self criticism is right on. The imagery is great, but you said it yourself - mediocre pizazz. Part of the trouble is I think there's a prejudice against items that take all the mystery out of mysteries. If you just rub your eyes and touch the knife to know who the murderer is, you can skip the whole adventure. I actually don't like items like that at all. Not that they don't have their place or that lots of people don't design them. I just think that keeping the mystery in a mystery encounter is important for the game, and devising an item that solves the mystery prematurely will get you downvoted by a lot of GMs.

that's it this round. Some more tomorrow. Unless we get round three rules.

Star Voter Season 6

RonarsCorruption wrote:

Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil

Thanks, Ronar. I'll take it to heart and see what I can do.

Star Voter Season 6

Nazard wrote:
Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil

Short, sweet, and well put, Nazard. Much obliged.

Star Voter Season 6

Gerrard Dixon wrote:

Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil

Thanks, Gerrard. Someone else is in agreement with you about the use of suffocation, and I'm very glad the Diplomacy rules were clear for you. I can see the point of the save (a couple have brought that up so you are in good company).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 aka Cydeth

Here's mine.

Master Healer's Satchel
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 8th
Slot shoulders; Price 40,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
This simple leather satchel has a strap to hold it over one shoulder and contains bandages, salves, and the tools a healer might need for most situations. The satchel grants the owner a +5 competence bonus on Heal checks and counts as a healer's kit with five uses per day. Additionally, the satchel has several powers available to a sufficiently skilled practitioner. The following powers each require one use of the satchel as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity unless the base action has a longer treatment time. Each of these powers is part of a standard Heal check, unless otherwise specified.
When treating poison or disease, if the check succeeds by 10 or more the subject is affected as if by a successful neutralize poison or remove disease. When treating deadly wounds, if the check succeeds by 15 or more the subject gains fast healing 1 for a number of rounds equal to its hit dice. Finally, if the owner of the satchel reaches the intact body of a creature within 1 minute of its death, she may attempt to resuscitate the creature. This requires two uses of the satchel and a Heal check with a DC equal to the number of hit points negative the slain creature was reduced to. This ability does not function if the creature was killed by a death effect, but otherwise leaves them at -9 hp and stable.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, breath of life, neutralize poison, remove disease; Cost 20,000 gp

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Cyrad

Dan Jones wrote:

Bracers of Daring Exploits

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot wrists; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.


These bronze armbands are often inscribed with images of rampant tigers.

These bracers protect the wearer when performing perilous deeds in combat. Prior to taking an action that may provoke an attack of opportunity, the wearer can activate these bracers as a swift action, granting the wearer a +10 bonus to AC and CMD against all attacks of opportunity provoked by that action. This bonus also applies against any confirmation rolls made to confirm a critical hit if an attack of opportunity is a critical threat.


Requirements[b] Craft Wondrous Item, Quicken Spell, shield or shield of faith; [b]Cost 4,000 gp

** spoiler omitted **...

I would vote against this item for many reasons.

1) Magic items should never grant untyped bonuses to AC. Any kind of untyped bonus to AC is extremely powerful. This is why untyped AC bonuses are not listed in the item pricing table. It should be a deflection bonus.

2) You underestimate the power of a +10 AC bonus, even if it only applies to AoOs. In a balanced fight, that makes anything short of a critical threat not able to hit you. This also trumps the Mobility feat's +4 AC.

3) The item's way too cheap. A +5 ring of protection costs 50,000gp. You also said that you wanted the item to have a late-game usefulness, but it does not have a late-game price.

4) Allows the user to completely bulldoze everything, all the time. These bracers really have two major uses. They let the user bulldoze enemy mooks to get to a target and it makes the mooks waste their AoOs. This is actually a pretty cool and fun way to start a fight, but being able to do it all the time is not only too powerful, but also doesn't make the charge as exciting. Limiting an item's usage can actually make the item more fun.

5) This is actually better for people other than tanks. This item allows spellcasters to cast a spell without making concentration checks, a very critical mechanic in the game. Since this can save a spellcaster's life and grants them free reign to cast spells, this 'daring exploit' item is better on a frail mage than a reckless brute! This would also make the Magus class absolutely broken.

6) How do the bracers protect its user? Does it create a shield? Does it make them magically lucky? There's no flavor to the item at all, which is half of the fun of wondrous items.

7) The effect contradicts the item's theme. It's not really the "Bracers of Daring Exploits" if the bracers make your exploits NOT daring. An item all about doing risky actions while taking the risk away is not cool. If I see an item called "Bracers of Daring Exploits," I expect the item to make dangerous acts more rewarding, not less dangerous.

Also, from your justification of its balance, I'm not sure if you understand some details about combat rules. Moving is considered a single action. Since the item clearly states it protects you from all attacks of opportunity provoked by an action, this enables you to move through a cluster of enemies with a +10 against every single AoO. If your intention was to only protect against the first enemy, then I would have made it an immediate action that applies against a single AoO.

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

Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil: If an item is going to have multiple properties, I like to see them working in conjunction with each other. A Diplomacy boost coupled with a vomiting suffocation ability work together thematically (silver-tongue) but not mechanically. Couple that with a general dislike for vomit imagery that the suffocation ability wasn't innovative to overcome, and the item loses points. Your writing is very clear and concise, however.

Gentleman's Ensnaring Cane: While the writing is strong and the imagery is evocative, the idea of being able to drag four people anywhere you want in the battlefield created images of dropping people over a cliff, or into a pit of fire, or hoisting them 90 feet in the air over spikes, or into some other insta-kill moment, is problematic. I never felt like there were appropriate limitations to keep it from just prematurely ending one battle early for the entire party. It felt overpowered and less fun, as a result.

Ghoulslayer Gloves: Turning cure spells into missiles to take out undead foes is a solid enough idea, but like a few others have remarked, adding a feat to a spell is safe, simple design. It didn't grab me, and it didn't have that evocative nature that I looked for in a Superstar item. It is tightly designed, and there are no noticeable flaws in the template or presentation. That earned you votes.

Ethos Swarm Charm: The shattered mirror of the insect queen did the turn-yourself-into-a-swarm trick better, I'm sorry to say. As a character, I know I would always think twice about using an 8,000gp consumable, so the second power would seem wasteful. And while turning into a swarm once a day is a neat trick, it seemed limited in power. Turning into my one swarm (unless you share the amulet around amongst the party members) felt particularly combat-unenjoyable, especially since you lose all your other abilities and can't end it early. The mirror was able to spend a lot of wordcount explaining how the swarm power affected you. Whereas he ethos charm... spent a lot of words listing all the types of swarms and their sources, the majority of which won't matter for any single player picking it up who can only get one.

Porcine Pendant: Loved it. Made my top 32. Made me giggle. The whimsy was exquisite. I don't normally like charming or Diplomacy items unless they're done well. This one was. Nice work.

Siegebreaker Cymbals: Hey, I know these.

Amulet of the Grasping Soul: Fine idea, but incorporeality is an avenue that's had a lot of design work done on it, especially in RPGSS. The run-on sentences, missing commas, incorrect capitalization, and poor explanation of rules (if a ghost picks up an object and phases it through a wall and then drops it, does it become solid again? Does it replace whatever portion of the wall it was occupying? Does it shatter?) made this one a miss, I'm sorry to say.

Candle of Distant Assurance: Yeah, you've heard this from others. It's a good item. It's also an NPC item. If a PC is going to use this, he'll just use status and bypass the need to carry around a candle. I have made exactly this mistake before (exploring a neat minor background rule idea with an item most PCs would never really want or use) so I feel your pain.

Fiddle of the Dance: Formatting cost a lot, but you already know that. The rules and further explanations were particularly weak here. And the affected allies can "move half their movement rate" but also "cannot do any other action but move" so... instead of getting a full-round action, they get half a move action? That's not a good exchange rate. If that's not the way it's intended, then there's some writing problems going on. Your name is also very basic.

Handkerchief of the Scoured Visage: I liked this one. My fave wondrous items give you a tool you have to figure out how to use in clever situations. Being able to separate your face from your body (or your enemy's face) is a neat little effect. As usual, the problem is a lack of space in 300 words to describe common problems. Can my handkerchiefed face cast Still Spells? Use breath weapons? Is it immune to sonic attacks? What if my kerchiefed face is set on fire, you never describe that? Can my face take damage for me? Be healed for me? Can I be affected by the same spell twice? I'm sure you could answer all these questions, but the item doesn't and it needs to, in some way. You earned votes for the fun mechanic, though.

Intellectual's Clay Pipe: I wish I had something better than "skill bonus and untrained knowledge check. Pass." to offer you, but honestly, the execution and concept of this item really felt dull and safe. You really need to swing for the fences.

Resplendent Battle Wings: The concept of "I activate the item and everyone else gets to pick-and-choose from a list of various unrelated minor boosts" never grabbed me. I took a lot of guff from voters for naming my item "siegebreaker" when it didn't work as a ballistic siege engine, but I think making your item a pair of wings that have no flying effect is a slightly more egregrious sin. That said, a flying effect isn't necessary if the other abilities are strong enough. But they weren't, because it felt like a SAK you could give to each of your friends for a minute. The thematic connection of what this was coming from, other than "a burst of radiance" never shone through.

Time's Tide Pendant: I liked this more often than not. One of the better of the time items, and it was a crowded arena this year, so points for that. I could see my characters using this. But the thought of using it to get two actions in a row (yes, I know, the last sentence, but if you act last in the initiative order and then first in the next round, you get two full round actions minus one swift action and all you had to do was delay a little bit or roll poorly on initiative to begin with) gives me pause. It feels abusable. Which I don't necessarily mind, personally? That said, I'm not sure for me this ever came up against something better, so... kudos?

Orator's Torc: Another diplomacy weapon, this one ties the two abilities together well. Honestly, the missing skill capitalizations was often enough to send me spinning over to the other side of the page. Mechanically, it sorta works. Though like others, diplomacy games bore me, because they feel like they're a shortcut around role-playing. That, coupled with the capitalization issue, really turned me off. Otherwise, strong template usage, though.

Orb of Aggravation: No need to give your item two names. A random roll table always gives me pause. It's a fun consumable to cover an escape, and that spirit of whimsy earned it more votes than it lost.

Elixir of Last Will: Made my top 32. The execution wasn't perfect - you can only affect one round? I would've liked to see you being able to spend actions influencing the world around you INSTEAD of making your stabilization throw for that round: make the user still need to make choices while dying - and I'm never a fan of items that require you to plan ahead for your near-death, because really, who wants that? But the writing and the fun this suggested showed enough of a spark that I though I would love to see what you could come up with next. Loved the name, too. Simple, effective.

Shroud of Certain Return: Simple, but too niche. If I'm a PC, the only reason I'm choosing a reincarnate spell over raise dead is because I want the fun of being someone random, not because I want to be someone specific. (I still remember our group's monk coming back as a polar bear. It worked surprisingly well.) Like the Elixir, using the item requires someone to have something really bad happen, which is a bummer to plan for, so I could see not wanting it. And if it's a plot device to transform my party member into X race, then... well it feels like a paticularly heavy-handed device.

Findeladlara's Brush: I agree with others that Nolzur's marvelous pigments feels better. Painting an illusion is fine, but aside from the concentration aspect, casting the illusion just seems simpler. And in the end, that aspect just turns a minor image into something closer to a persistent image, which... seems like a very safe, easy design choice. Again, swinging for the fences is required. Illusions and creation are fun niches to play in, but there's nothing here other than the bare minimum in each category. You can paint an illusion: that feels like the set-up to the effect, not the whole tootin' thing.

Hunter's Geas: It's fun enough for tracking, but unless multiple members of your party dump 20,000 gold and their neck slots for the same simple item, then you're left with a small attack, damage, and saving throws boost, which feels like an effective but safe design choice. The flanking ploy with multiple copies of the item in play is neat, but it doesn't feel like something frequent enough to justify such an expense. Strong, clear writing throughout.

Garter of Hidden Fortune: A package/message delivery system with a morale bonus, a penchant for hiding, a teleportation effect, and a sexy garter skin over it. ("Anyone frisking" the wearer? How many times do friskings happen in the game?) The abilities mostly tie together, but in the end, the primary ability of delivering something in secret felt lost, both amidst all the other delivery items and the item's own lack of verbal flow from sentence to sentence. Reading this one felt clunky. The name was very on-the-nose literal, and didn't grab me.

Ointment of Last Sight: Like you said, mid-pack for inspiration and pizazz. I think I could find uses for 1-use-object telemetry, and the consumable nature means the PCs won't be running around divining everything and pissing off the GM, but it's still niche. I don't quite understand, from a rules perspective, why it only works on mundane items (unless it's to avoid being identify?, and I want it to have an effect when used on a living body. Very simple, very middle-of-the-road. An Item Name mistake would probably sink it for me in the voting, I'm sorry to say, and the item wasn't grabby enough to climb back out from that.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Years of creative writing workshops have prepared me for your criticism. And yes, I know I capitalized flute of silver winds later in the entry when it shouldn't have been...

Flute of Silver Winds
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 7th
Slot -; Price 22,200 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This long silver flute is fitted with small wood inlays and adorned with simple gold etchings. When activated as a standard action and played with a successful DC 15 Perform (wind instruments) check, the Flute of Silver Winds draws the essence of the plane of Elysium onto the Material Plane. In the first round of playing, an area extending 30 feet in all directions from the performer becomes strongly chaos-aligned and strongly good-aligned just as if the area existed on another plane with those traits. Additionally, the area gains the enhanced magic trait for all spells with the chaotic or good descriptors, and the impeded magic trait for all spells with the lawful or evil descriptor. The performer must remain stationary while playing, but each additional round the performer plays, the area extends outward by another 10 feet to a maximum of 100 feet. When the performer moves or ceases to play, the ability ends, the area affected begins to recede by 10 feet/round until fully dissipated, and the Flute of Silver Winds cannot be used in this manner again for 24 hours, though it can still be used as a masterwork flute. A bard may use a Flute of Silver Winds for a bardic performance, even while using the flute’s magical ability.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dimension door, creator must be good; Cost 11,100 gp

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm going to attempt to ensure that no one who wants criticism walks away from the thread empty-handed, or at least make progress into the long list of people who currently fall into that category.

I'm rules-rusty so I'll focus more on language and flavor, but I'll certainly talk about any mechanical concerns I have as well.

Nautilus Pack of Tangled Tentacles:

I encountered this item during voting and was enthralled by the flavor of a living or psuedo-living creature to replace the ubiquitous and metagamey bag of holding. It was one of the two items I saw while voting (along with Roost of Razors) that excited me enough to describe to my friends, which is high praise even coming from a measly Star Voter (on a different alias).

That said, you should work to improve your presentation and language. Your first sentence – "This back pack is similar in appearance to the right half of a nautilus shell with an opening at the top." – buries the idea in an unnecessary logistics diagram. Compare that to something more evocative like "This polished spiral shell hangs from the wearer's neck by four rubbery suckers." ; the reader might be disgusted or fascinated, but either way you've drawn them in.

My top advice would be to get some proofreaders who don't play tabletop games (in addition to ones who do). They're more focused on the wording than the mechanics and can help you catch inconsistencies and poor wording like using both "the right half" and "the back half" (you've just drawn and quartered the poor thing!)

Meddler's Mirror:

The idea is great: it's simple but interesting, with an added spellcasting flair to make it exciting. However, unclear mechanics and language obscure the idea and make the submission much harder to understand and much less appealing. I had to read it several times before I figured out exactly how it worked. Here's an example of a much shorter description that could have replaced everything but the spellcasting:

"This eight inch hand mirror is constructed of elegantly wrought silver, with oval head and short handle. Once per day the user may bind the mirror to an object or creature reflected in its surface, displaying the target as though the mirror were following it from the same perspective for the next 24 hours. Creatures and attended objects may negate this effect with a Will save (DC 18)."

There are a host of mechanical and linguistic problems that need fixing. When you say "location" you really just mean you have the option to make the mirror's image stationary, but that's unnecessary, just target a wall or a tree. Why does it take a standard action to give a command to the mirror, and does the image ever fade if you don't dismiss it? Descriptions of the "sensor" and specification that it can't see through walls are completely unnecessary and difficult to parse. Why is "dimension door" a prerequisite?

Next year, come up with an equally cool idea, then polish, polish, polish, polish, polish!

Disappearing Weapon Cord:

A very solid useful item in my opinion, and proof that a less than flashy item can make it very far in the voting. One serious problem in my book is the lack of rules for what happens to the stored weapon when the cord gets cut. You've left it completely up to the DM with no guidance, besides which a creative effect is both traditional when messing with extradimensional spaces and a good opportunity for you to demonstrate something more cinematic without altering the basic function.

Also, "The stored weapon's weight is negligible." is probably unnecessary, but that's just a nitpick.

I took so long doing these that an indomitable reviewer covered all of them and got through every item on the first 2 pages, but that's fine by me. :)

If anyone else wants to give some unreviewed items some love, here's a list:

unreviewed items:

Page 3:
obi of the ghoul hunter
spellvoid mantle
amulet of construct skin
sea nettle submersible
gloves of silent echoes
gravedigger's lantern
motley gum
paper messenger
laurel of kurgess

Page 4:
dragonscale fan
flask of raging waters
gloves of the confident smith
dawnflower ankh
paint of discerning demise
mantle of the flesh bound soul
sepllcycle medallion

Page 5:
cloak of deepest shadow
quill of the tengu sage
ancestral spirit shroud
master needle of the faerie artisan
clockwork heart
jagged cauldron
listening stone
brooch of the dragon's hoard
halfling swingsaddle of the gorilla
flask of sudden sanctuary

Page 6:
doppelganger's locket
mortal coil
master healer's satchel
flute of silver winds

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

The following is my item, all text after this statement and before the spoilers is as it was in the original submission. Please critique it, as feedback will only improve my writing and ability.

Bracers of Joy
Aura faint enchantment; CL 3rd
Slot wrists; Price 6,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Often embroidered with scenes of athletic contest these soft leather, fur lined bracers, are usually found to be incredibly comfortable.
Upon donning the Bracers of Joy, you feel a wave of happiness and contentment emanate from the bracers to fill the rest of your body and spirit.

This feeling grant a constant increase in your base land speed of 10 feet, with this increase treated as an enhancement bonus. It further grants you the ability to once per day activate the bracers as part of making a skill or ability check to gain a +3 competence bonus to that skill or ability check. This bonus must be assigned before the skill or ability check is rolled. Activating this competence bonus causes a burst of pleasure to engulf you.

After using the bracers to gain a competence bonus, you find yourself craving the joy they give.

You may choose to activate a set of Bracers of Joy before one day has passed since their last activation. For each time the bracers are activated prior to recharging you take three points of lethal damage that may not be prevented.

After using the Bracers of Joy to gain a competence bonus for the first time, in any situation where you could benefit from the bracers, you must make a DC 13 Will save or activate the bracers gaining both the competence bonus and feeling of joy they confer.

Due to the life-sapping nature of the magic of the bracers, creatures that have fast healing or regeneration find the Bracers of Joy repugnant and the bracers are non-functional for any such creature.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Skill Focus(Any), Delusional Pride, Longstrider; Cost 3,250 gp

Self Critique:

1.) The name is Banal.

2.) Using "You" rather than "The Bearer" or "The Wearer"

3.) Speed enhancement + competence bonus. Very pedestrian.

4.) "this feeling grant", rather than "this feeling grants".

5.) Almost a cursed item.

6.) Could be seen as a plot device rather than a desirable item

Overall very poor and not superstar. I can see why it was culled.

Item Idea:

The core of what I was trying to bring across was a relatively low level item that could make someone better at just about everything. These bracers are based on the idea of supercharging the human mind and body, but with a cost.


I had five items I was working on for the week before the contest opened after I first read about it. Reading more and more of the advice and history, I shot them down one by one.

This item just shows what happens when you panic, as I threw it together in about a half hour and submitted it due to the fact that the submission box had just become available.

While it is my first year, I still should have known better.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Thunderbuckets wrote:
Elixir of Last Will: Made my top 32. The execution wasn't perfect - you can only affect one round? I would've liked to see you being able to spend actions influencing the world around you INSTEAD of making your stabilization throw for that round: make the user still need to make choices while dying - and I'm never a fan of items that require you to plan ahead for your near-death, because really, who wants that? But the writing and the fun this suggested showed enough of a spark that I though I would love to see what you could come up with next. Loved the name, too. Simple, effective.

Cool, thanks! Great idea on multiplying the choices! Just a question, when you say the writing showed spark, you mean the text? It's very encourage if that is what you ment, English is not my first language.

@ Steven Helt: yeah I thought this could be abused by higher level PCs, but I thought one +2 luck bonus to just a few restricted actions and only if you fell would mitigate the cheap factor. I also wanted an item that could be useful at all levels of play. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Thanks to all who commented on my item so far. Very instructive and it's very conforting for next year.

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 6

Ok, here's my item. I welcome all comments, positive and negative. Also, if anyone saw this item after the Cull, please let me know.

Sash of Girding Vitality
Aura modurate conjuration and transmutation; CL 8th
Slot chest; Price 20,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
This heavy leather sash bears sigils and runes of Gorum representing Strength and Battle. You are affected as if you had the Raging Vitality feat (Advanced Player's Guide). If you already possess the Raging Vitality feat, the morale bonus to your Strength increases by +2.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Raging Vitality (Advanced Player's Guide), bull's strength, caster must have the rage class feature; Cost 10,000 gp

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

I'm pretty sure that my item was disqualified from the very start because of an impulsive last minute change that stopped it from being a wondrous item.

Harming Harp
Aura faint necromancy; CL 3rd
Slot none; Price 4000 gp; Weight 8 lbs.;

This murderous two-feet tall harp is light and portable enough for any battle musician and requires two hands to use. Playing the harp properly requires a DC 15 Perform(string instruments) check as a standard action. When attempting to use the harp, a roll of a 1 on the perform check is always considered a failure as the harp wants to murder the performer at that time and refuses to play. On a success, the performer may choose from one of the following effects:

-All enemies within a 30ft. radius must make a will save or be shaken for one round. This is a fear effect.
-One target within 30 ft. takes 3d6 points of non-lethal damage. A successful reflex save negates this damage.
-Everyone within a 30 ft. radius (excluding the performer) must make a fortitude save or be deafened for one round.

The DC of any of the above saves is 15 but it increases to DC 20 if the performer beats the Perform(string instruments) check by 10 or more. Creatures who are mindless or deaf are immune to the above three effects.
If two consecutive Perform(string instruments) checks are failed while trying to use the harp or if the harp gets the broken condition, the strings detach from the harp and attack everyone within a 10 ft. radius dealing 3d6 slashing damage (no save) by whipping around with its suddenly razor sharp edges in a murderous frenzy. The harp and its strings are then considered destroyed.

The harp also has bladed edge along the front so the performer could use it as an exotic close combat weapon (1d6 slashing, 19-20/x2) (the offending line).

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, cause fear, blindness/deafness; Cost 2000 gp

I'm kicking myself because it probably didn't even get a chance to be voted on. On a second glance, maybe having a harp that wants to murder its user wasn't Superstar material in the first place.

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

Thunderbuckets wrote:
Siegebreaker Cymbals

Item in a Nutshell: Swap metals to overcome DR

First Impression: These don’t break sieges.

Template Use: looks ok.

Critique: First of all, the name doesn’t really relate to what these do. The name is your first impression, and the name implies these break down walls or something. A little disappointing. Ultimately the cymbals are a neat idea, but they fall short. As mentioned earlier in the thread, requiring a DC performance check makes these items hard to price, and higher level characters are going to have an easier time using them, but will also likely have other ways of dealing with DR.

There were a few terminology problems (creatures within vibration?) and the strange choice to remove the ability to overcome damage reduction with pure enhancement. This seems good if the party has damage reduction, but not if the monsters do, unless everyone’s packing silver swords or something. And imagine an encounter where he party has silver, and they are fighting two monsters, one with DR cold iron, one with DR adamantine (however unlikely that is) You’ll never be able to get them both.

Bardic performance to increase effect, that seems novel. Having the cymbals become non-magical for an hour seems odd though, why not just X times a day? Does that mean they can’t be detected by detect magic during that hour?

Note: I see where you were going with the spell requirements, and it’s pretty cool. I’m not sure it gets us all the way to what these do, but I like it.

Would I rather buy this or... there are lots of things at these prices which might serve a bard better than these, especially since you have to plop down at least 8,200 for these to work.

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

ulgulanoth wrote:
Amulet of the Grasping Soul

Item in a Nutshell: Corporeal can smash Incorporeal and visa versa.

First Impression: That’s it?

Template Use: missing semi-colons and colons, CL 15th, not 15, Craft Wondrous Item should be capitalized, spaces between price numbers and gp

Critique: As useful as this item is, it’s boring. Everyone who’s ever fought a ghost would have wanted something like this. This item just makes the problem go away. Without restriction. AND ghosts can wear it too. This item doesn’t show off any flair.

Also, what happens when a corporeal creature travel to the ethereal plane? Can they affect items in the material plane? The way this is worded leaves that ambiguous.

Would I rather buy this or... This is a no-brainer item, and to me that’s sad.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tamago wrote:
Candle of Distant Assurance

This item in a Nutshell a little assurance that loved ones are safe.

First Impression: Absolutely fantastic.

Template Use: Looks good.

Critique: This item is great. The name is evocative, and leads the reader right into it’s function. It is items like this that make a roleplaying setting seem more real, with families and people living out their lives with hopes and fears just like us. You didn’t literally tell a story, but your item told a story. I liked seeing your design notes because you achieved exactly what you set out to achieve. And you did it well enough to be voted into the top 20. So why didn’t you make the 32? Most players will never buy this (all my friends play orphaned characters unfortunately). This item is for the folks at home, not the daring adventurers in the world. Wondrous items are about overcoming obstacles, solving problems, shoring up weaknesses, and enhancing strengths, in a way that magic can’t. Next year, set a goal to do one of those things, and make it as believable and captivating as this candle, and you’ll make top 32.

Would I rather buy this or... Yes. I’d buy a handful.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Prizrak wrote:
I took so long doing these that an indomitable reviewer covered all of them and got through every item on the first 2 pages, but that's fine by me. :)

My ears are burning... Yes I am crazy enough to eventually get every single person that posts an item here a review even if it goes over 1k!

This contest is important and everyone that took the time to submit an entry deserves feedback in my opinion but I don;t write checks for other people that am unwilling to cash myself...

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

Duskrunner1 wrote:
Fiddle of the Dance

Item in a Nutshell Give allies an extra 5 ft step per round, or can walk on walls

First Impression: A “good” irresistible dance.

Template Use: unknown, but if it’s only missing message board tags, this is pretty bad

Critique: Wondrous items can be made by player characters. When you say things like “Of elven make” but don’t list “creator must be an elf” in the requirements it means that one of those two things is incorrect. Requiring a DC to use an item should be avoided if possible, as it only really make things bad for low level characters, and it already costs almost 17,000 gp.

Anyway you make your allies dance, which ends up manifesting itself as “a five foot step as an extra swift action at the end of the round” This is a little confusing, as each creature on the battlefield has a turn during one round, so do all the allies take the extra swift action at the same time at after the last creature in initiative order has acted for the round? I don’t think that’s what you intended.

Take a look in the “phrases that drive you crazy” thread, and you’ll see “the item’s true function is revealed” is one of them. It’s not neccessary to say this, simply list what happens when a bard uses the item.

In any case, I’m not really sure how dancing has anything to do with climbing walls and ceilings, and taking extra steps. These don’t really fit any kind of theme, and end up feeling mashed together.

Would I rather buy this or... a headband of alluring charisma? broom of flying? Both of these seem more useful.

Gloves of Life Siphoning
Aura moderate necromancy; CL 6th, 12th, 18th
Slot Hands; Price (I)21,550 gp, (II)43,100 gp, (III)64,670 gp;
Weight -
The wearer of these gloves can three times per day make a touch attack, typically with their right hand. Upon making this touch attack it drains the target a number of hit points [(I)3d6, (II)6d6, (III)9d6]. You can't gain more than the target's current hit points plus the subject's Constitution score (which is enough to kill the target). This damage is then stored within the gloves. The wearer then has three rounds to touch another subject with their left hand, this provides healing (a willing subject does not require an attack roll) equal to the amount stored within the gloves from the previously drained target. The subject cannot gain more hit points then its maximum. If the wearer does not distribute this healing within three rounds the wearer takes the stored hit points as damage to himself. The gloves can never be used to heal the wearer.
Construction Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, Vampiric touch; Cost (I)10,775 gp, (II)21,550 gp, (III)32,335 gp

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

Jerett Schaufele wrote:
Handkerchief of the Scoured Visage

Item in a Nutshell: A handkerchief that steals someone’s face.

First Impression: Why would I want to steal someone’s face?

Template Use: Looks good.

Critique: The name is singularly appropriate. Your writing needs work. The first sentence describes it as nondescript and appearing like a rag or cloth, and belies it’s true nature. Not all magic items have to be clean. You can just say it looks like a dirty rag, we know it’s magic.

You are doing fairly complicated stuff here, removing a face, transferring locus of senses to rag, removing need of faceless body to breathe, and it reads like you dealt with them as you thought of them, not as would make most sense to the reader. You need to organize the consequence of these actions in a logical way.

So, I wipe a corpse’s face with this handkerchief. Now what? The body can’t be identified? Ok, so I wipe a living persons face with this handkerchief. Now what? I carry it around, and they can see and smell and speak from my back pocket? Again, why would I want to steal someone’s face, and why might someone be willing to have their face stolen?

Long story short, this is a really imaginative idea. You were let down by your writing, and the items limited usefulness, especially for it’s cost. Read more wondrous items and magic spells and look at the way they word things, as there are often standard way of dealing with consequences of effects like the one you’ve invented.

Would I rather buy this or... Crystal ball? Orb of storms? No, I’d rather control weather than control faces.

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

theheadkase wrote:
Intellectual's Clay Pipe

Item in a Nutshell +5 to a potentially untrained knowledge check.

First Impression: That’s it?

Template Use: spell in requirements should be italicized and lower case

Critique: What’s not to like? Simple and useful. But this doesn’t really show us what you a really capable of, since a +5 bonus to X skill is one of the easiest things to have an item do. Bend the rules harder!

Would I rather buy this or... brooch of shielding? Yeah, I’d buy this pipe.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Evil Paul

The Canvas of Half-Hidden Truths
Aura moderate divination; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

This normally blank canvas is about 8 ft. by 5 ft. in size (the ‘golden ratio’) and made from fine-quality artisan’s linen. When not within a frame, it allows the user to depict a scene from their life in intricate detail. The scene, which must be in the past, appears as a painting of exceptional quality on the canvas itself. The painting is not from the point of view of the user, rather they are placed within the scene.

As well as showing the events of the scene, the canvas often reveals previously unknown truths through the artwork; for instance, faces, items or people unseen by the user at the time may be shown. Emotions, motivations, or situational truths may also be depicted through the stylistic form of the art; for example, if the user was unknowingly in danger, looming shadows and leering faces might be shown.

The canvas can be used 1/day. Once activated a painting lasts for up to 24 hours or until a new one is created. When placed within a frame, the painting is permanent until removed from that frame.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, divination, share memory, creator must have at least two ranks in Craft (paintings); Cost 5,000 gp


All comments greatly appreciated. I was very pleased with the item, yet didn't make top89 - so presumably people didn't like it. I want to know why.

Continuing through the ranks of the unreviewed:

Obi of the Ghoul Hunter:

mistake: "it's" should be "its"
mistake: "users" should be "user's"
mistake: "turn" should be "round"
mistake: "1st-Level" should be... something else, look it up :P
mistake: spell names in prerequisites should be italicized

Clearly, you should get a friend or two to proofread your work; you're giving yourself a huge handicap by including so many easily corrected errors. Make sure to review the formatting rules and advice threads as well, which will remind you of italicization standards, etc.

As for the actual design, it's a cinematic idea (good) that tries to do too much (bad). It has effects that only apply when you're incapacitated, when you're near undead (the glow), when you're a monk, when you're not a monk, and when you want to kill undead. It's an overwhelming number of abilities, and it's difficult to comb through and figure out how exactly it works in a given situation. They interact non-intuitively as well: if I'm a 16th level wizard, this belt lets me punch like a 1st level monk, and when I'm paralyzed it punches like a small 16th level monk.

Keep the belt that fights for you when you're paralyzed: that's the most exciting ability, and lets you keep on doing something when you would normally have to sit out a few rounds, so it fills a good niche as well. An additional ability or two that tightly fits the theme would be acceptable to make the item useful in more situations or fill more design niches. Avoid cluttering even more additional abilities, and especially avoid abilities that are simply straight number buffs, like "Become a better monk."

Finally, I'm pretty sure it's way too cheap for all the benefits it grants, another problem that would be mitigated by taking your one awesome idea and sticking to it!

Man, every time I try to do this I get distracted by something happening. More tomorrow!

EDIT: I'm unfamiliar with these forums; apparently I can't edit the list of unreviewed items I posted higher up this page, so, uh, sorry about that. It's going to get inaccurate as I go through it and other people add their own reviews. But people could always use another critiquer, so go for it anyway!

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

Guy Russell wrote:
theheadkase wrote:
Intellectual's Clay Pipe

Item in a Nutshell +5 to a potentially untrained knowledge check.

First Impression: That’s it?

Template Use: spell in requirements should be italicized and lower case

Critique: What’s not to like? Simple and useful. But this doesn’t really show us what you a really capable of, since a +5 bonus to X skill is one of the easiest things to have an item do. Bend the rules harder!

Would I rather buy this or... brooch of shielding? Yeah, I’d buy this pipe.

Thanks Guy! I am determined next year to make it more interesting and Superstar. I'm gonna bend those rules to an inch of breaking!

Star Voter Season 6

Ok, at the moment I cannot find my original notes - the curse of working and going to school full time - too many papers to keep track off. But I created a magic item called the Mending Needle. Maybe some of y'all saw it, but I followed the full format for posting - sorry that this is a little incomplete.

It costs just over 14K gold and had the basic capability to mend a broken item 3 times a day. It also had the capability to make whole one magic item - but this drained the magic of the needle making it useless after that. It could only use the make whole ability when it had all three charges not used for the day.

Feats: Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, Spells used mending and make whole (make whole was maximized).

So any thoughts or feelings about this submission would be most appreciated.

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 6

Thank you all for your critic of my item, much appreciated

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

I have to say that the Porcine Pendant was definitely one of my favorites. Even if it was basically a fascinate effect, it was a fascinate effect with STYLE! I'm not entirely sure why it wasn't in the top 32.

I'm going to have to come back and comb through these submissions. I just never seem to have the time to do the critique ritual each year. :(

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

Correlon wrote:
Wings, Resplendent Battle

Item in a Nutshell Burst of good lets allies do handful of things for a minute

First Impression: I kind of like it, but something’s amiss...

Template Use: Looks good

Critique: Ok, on the face of it, this seems pretty cool. You make a shout or something, and for the next minute your allies can gain a different benefit each round. The writing is clear and these wings certainly are resplendent. I think what let you down here is it does way too much. It’s like the swiss army knives of swiss army knives in that it’s exactly what each character needs for one entire combat. It’s a combination of thematic abilities without much restriction or down side, which while interesting and desirable as an item, isn’t very exciting or difficult from a design perspective.

Would I rather buy this or... headband of alluring charisma +6? belt of giant strength +6? It’s a toss-up, but I think the +stat items are going to push this out more often than not.

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

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Time's Tide Pendant

Item in a Nutshell Player takes two turns in a row.

First Impression: Messing with initiative orders is messy.

Template Use: Looks good.

Critique: This is a very weird design space to work in, not just because it’s time related. I just took a quick look at magic items, class abilities etc, and couldn’t find a single reference to affecting initiative order once it has been established, except for delaying or readying an action which always moves down initiative not up. So on that note, you found something completely new! But I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing in this case. I would be very nervous inventing mechanics like this as a freelancer.

It’s a swift action to activate. Mechanically, I could activate this as the last action of my turn, but it says it works like Delay which isn’t an action at all and you don’t take your turn. What happens if I activate this at the end of my turn? Does my initiative order become last, and if so, what about all the people that had turns between the original initiative position and the new one, since my turn was "the last in the round”

There is no compelling reason why an these must be made by an oracle since the slow or speed time revelation is just slow or haste spells. This makes the item more restrictive, but not an equal amount more flavorful.
Would I rather buy this or... anything else? I wouldn’t buy these. I would be afraid of blowing up the world with a time paradox.

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

theheadkase wrote:
Thanks Guy! I am determined next year to make it more interesting and Superstar. I'm gonna bend those rules to an inch of breaking!

That's the Superstar spirit!

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

Joseph Wilson wrote:
Orator’s Torc

Item in a Nutshell Moderate bonus to Cha skill checks, bigger auditory range

First Impression: Deserves to be in the top 89, needs a little umph

Template Use: Looks good

Critique: This is good item. The item’s description is clear, and it is easy to understand what it does. You paid attention to a lot of details and covered a lot of the various way this item could be used based on it’s powers. It's obvious that you thought about this item carefully.

But it’s kinda boring. Giving +X to Y skills is very, very easy to do, and doesn’t require a lot of design acumen. Same for doubling spell and ability range. You are bending the rules, but not in a new, exciting or compelling way. Almost every bard is going to want one of these, but they just make bards “win more.” Next time, make an item that gives characters interesting opportunities, rather than letting them do what they already can better.

Would I rather buy this or... something else? If I’m a bard, I’m buying these.

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

Randall Newnham wrote:
Orb of Aggravation

Item in a Nutshell 4 rounds of ranged random dirty tricks

First Impression: not very exciting, to good for it’s cost

Template Use: Looks ok.

Critique: So you fling this ball at an enemy, and for the next four rounds it gets dirty tricked. Your first sentence is a problem. Item’s shouldn’t tell the reader who favors them. Leave the reader to decide who favors it. You also say that rogues call this item by a completely different name than the actual name of the item. You’d think that if they were favored by rogues, either they would call them by their actual name, or the name would be what they call them. All of this is “backstory” that doesn’t really add to the item. This item also hits one of the snags listed in Sean’s Consolidated Advice Thread, namely #8 “The random item.” An item with a random effect is lazy design.

Creating these seems difficult too, because wizards get telekinesis at level 10, and I’ve never known a wizard to take Improved Dirty Tricks as a feat, and I don’t know a lot of rogues who take Create Wondrous Item. Either way, the DC to make these would almost always be +5 due to not meeting the requirements.

This item could work, but even if the writing was improved and the results were less random, it still isn’t a superstar item. It just isn’t very interesting.

Would I rather buy this or... whip feather token? Actually, these are kinda similar... I didn’t notice before my review, but perhaps you used this as a model? If so good on ya.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Witchfrost Heart – 266 Words


Witchfrost Heart
Aura faint enchantment; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 7,000 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
This hollow, human heart-shaped glass sculpture pulses excitedly when held by a warm, living creature. Tiny ice crystals continuously form on the surface of the witchfrost heart, but even the slightest touch can melt them away.

Three times per day as a standard action, the user can draw a pattern on the surface of the heart to create a layer of frost on up to four co-adjacent 5-foot squares within 30 feet. The squares become slippery as per the grease spell (Reflex save DC 11). The frost evaporates in one round unless the user spends a swift action on each subsequent round to keep her finger firmly pressed against the heart.

When a living creature dies in any of the affected squares, swirls of blood fill the hollow inside of the heart. The more potent the blood, the darker the swirls and the more fervid their motions. If the heart already holds blood, only the blood of the creature with more HD remains stored.

Anytime the user draws a new pattern, she may expend the stored blood to imbue the frost with its potency. This increases the DC of the grease effect by one-half the HD of the slain creature (round up). Furthermore, anyone attacking a living creature lying prone in any of the affected squares gains a morale bonus on damage rolls equal to one-half the HD of the slain creature (round down).
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Heighten Spell, death knell, frost fall, grease, rage; Cost 3,500 gp

In hindsight: The [evil] descriptor is missing. "morale bonus on damage rolls" should be "morale bonus on weapon damage rolls". "one-half" and "one-half" should probably be "one-third" and "one-fourth", respectively, since the price is only 7,000 gp.

Still, despite its minor flaws, I think I did a good job and I'm glad it made the top 89. It is slightly disappointing, though, that my design-fu didn't shine through enough to make the top 32. Personal tastes, I guess.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Lonely Man's Party

First Thoughts
Your name was probably a hindrance to many people. It did have a hint of joke item feel to it, but when I read the description, I didn't get joke item. I got whimsical obstruction, but not joke.

Did I Vote For You
Yes and no. I made myself read the description of your item a few times and I liked it, but it wasn't a top item for me. Typically I voted for you against the more mediocre items, because I thought your item was on the good side of the scales, but when it ran up against other items I considered good, I had a little trouble coming down on your side.

What I think was a mistake
No AC to the party, I know saying the party won't defend itself is pretty self explanatory, but a chair (unless it's animated) won't defend itself either and I still have to roll a 10 to hit it.

No HP per square or understanding if the party worked as a swarm (in terms of HP) or if each member of the party had to be hacked through. If you'd giving every member of the party 5 hp or every square 5 hp or the whole party 50 hp, it would have improved your design immensely. And made it a top item for me.

Final Thoughts
One of the clones made a good point that in a dungeon a party breaking out would be weird. I think weird in a good way, but I think you could have spent a few words giving more serious gamers the option to make it a mob or crowd, so that they could put it in their game.

Good luck next year, I think you've got the creativity to do this, just work on the nuts and bolts.


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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Page 2 items!

Amulet of Amended Strategy - Not a bad item. It does feel a little limited in its applications, but it does what it does well. Could use some more excitement.

Immediate Chant - The name is the issue here. It implies what the item does, but not what it is. Every time it came up, it stood out as an off-kilter name. I'm suspicious that allowing *any* spell to changed to a standard action cast might cause exploitation issues. Also, why wouldn't every spellcaster want one of these and use it daily? Items of universal appeal are iffy.

Nautilus Pack of Tangled Tentacles - Pretty good item. Theme works with given powers and is cinematic. Useful in combat situations. Seems like a solid attempt with a decent shot at the top level. It does seem like all items in the pack are subject to being stolen when the tentacles are active, which is possibly a drawback. I voted for this one when I saw it.

The Lonely Man’s Instant Party - I confess I thought this was a joke item, or near to it. It's silly, and could spoil the mood of nearly any encounter. I think there are some mechanical issues with it in terms of it being attacked, a likely event which is not described in enough detail. How does the party handle various types of terrain? Lastly, it seems there should be a save vs the whole thing, not crazy about an unavoidable movable area distraction.

Choker of Subtle Sound - Maybe best to focus on the bardic performance aspects here. The echolocation seems the odd man out of what you have. Not a bad item, but doesn't leap out at me.

Ultimate Adventurer’s Egg - Probably best to leave "Ultimate" out of the item name. That kind of thing fences everyone in for later developments in the same field. The item itself is pretty Swiss Army Knife- lots of little powers. They're themed pretty well, actually, there's just too many of them. Cutting the powers in half is a start, though that may still leave too many. Pick a tighter focus and work with that.

Mark of the Leech - Feels like a spell-in-a-can. Needs more mojo packaging, or an additional "wow" power. Also, the math for the HP transfer seems a little wonky. On avg, all the temp HP will be transferred anyway, so it might be best to just eliminate the random portion and let the wielder transfer them all at once.

Blightstone - SIACish. Would need better packaging to succeed. Also, when is the specific blight/curse determined? When it shatters? When the save fails? I like that it's an item of low-end utility.

Mantle of a Thousand Hands - Mojo-y. Cinematic. Provides utility in a minor rule-bending way. I can see how you came close. Seems really cheap, but maybe I'm overvaluing its utility. I also wonder if the sleight of hand is what kept it out of the top 32. I see why it's in there. It fits. But maybe it diluted the impact of the main effect a little.

Skein Helm - Well named and themed, though I wonder if people felt geese were exciting enough. The contest likes combaty items. I think making it a helm would cost it with judges, it doesn't have traditional head slot effects. Also, it could use some additional mojo. Play up the avian theme with a stronger visual?

Meddler’s Mirror - This feels like a tech item, like a little invisible hovering drone. I think the use of the word "sensor" plays a role in creating that feeling, maybe best to find another way to describe it. It's a decent enough item, but the basic idea is kind of common.

Disappearing Weapon Cord - I voted for this a couple of times. It's a neat, logical idea. It is a little plain, but I think it opens some interesting options. I think you mean to say that only one can be used at a time since it occupies "the entire wrists slot", but it would help to have to fluff explaining why, or what happens if you try to use one on each wrist. Also, what happens if you have a stored weapon and the cord is cut or removed?

Escapee’s Spoon - Usually voted for it when I saw it, but mostly because I liked that it played in an unusual space and I wanted to reward that. It's not very combat oriented and is actually pretty niche. That probably cost it votes from most people. Also, I assume you meant 2 *cubic* feet of material, but it's not spelled out.

Octavo of Perseverance - A few minor effects that don't excite very much. A little too much description. The bonus for retrying failed rolls is what seems to be the core based on the item name. Maybe focus on that direction more.

Fleshwarping Unguent - Swiss Army Knife, contains the dangerous phrase "GM's discretion". I get why this one has a lot potential effects, that's kind of inherent in the idea of fleshwarping, which is about opening new possibilities. But for this contest, people like to see more focused effects.

Glove of Saturation - The basic idea is cool. It feels like it could use more mechanical detail, there are all kinds of liquids that could be used with this. At the same time, it seems like they could be fairly limited use. Would a character wear these all the time? Would they know ahead of time when they would want them so they could put them on? Also, the bit about the waterskin not being consumed makes sense, but seems like an odd detail to include.

Sash of Singularity - I get the name, but it somehow feels a little out of place in Pathfinder. This feels like it has mechanical issues by adding the 5000 pounds. What if I sit on someone while wearing it? And watch the fun as I run side to side on a ship!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

Here are some notes on the items that stood out to me when voting. These critiques come from notes I made while voting and contain both the lauditory and the more critical.

Chelish Silver-Tongued Devil
I know that a lot of people reacted badly to this item but I really liked it. The abilities fit the name and theme really well. I am a little bit leery about allowing diplomacy through a language barrier. The suffocation power, however, is one of the most clever and cinematic that I saw. It evoked a clear image in my mind of its use and also had robust mechanics behind it.

Verdict: Personal Keep. I voted for it nearly every time it came up.

spoiler=Candle of Distant Assurance
This was beautifully executed and an elegant idea. Really made me think “how is this not already an item”. On the flip side, I found it rather tame and I put a lot of weight on mojo and the willingness to go balls to the wall with something weird and inspired.

Verdict:Elegant and more than Magic Item Book worthy but insufficient mojo to be Superstar. I was ultimatley ambivalent about it.

Wings, Resplendent Battle
The first thing I noticed was that comma in the name. It is really jarring since wings are not a common tyoe of item like boots or gloves or cloaks that you can name with that style. Check your aura line, I don't think you can just slap the good descriptor in there like you did. I really liked the visual of this item and the fact that it is a wing item with nothing to do with flight did not bother me. I also understand the analogy to the spell blessing of fervor in the mechanics, but giving the choice of bonus from the list each round for ten rounds is too much. I suggest it be changed to up to ten rounds per day which need not be consecutive per day and the bonus cannot be changed once chosen. The sacrifice ability is too much and clutters up the item. The drawback is appropriate and thematic.

Verdict:Your concept and imagery are solid and have some mojo. Work on your mechanics and balance. Not quite personal top 32 but close. I cosistantly voted for it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

OK, got a second wind. Let's see if I can't get through the rest of Page 1 tonight. Then on to Page 2, 3, 4...

Vest of Mongrelkind ** spoiler omitted **

thanks Jacob (and everyone else who has offered feedback on my item), your comments were really helpful. i'm sure the judges are busy right now critiquing the archetypes but i really hope they pop in to offer some critiques as well. and, where's neil spicer when you need him? his posts were so prolific last year i thought for sure he'd be posting comments by now.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

Here are some more of my notes. More to come eventually. If I have time I will double back and critique some of the other items.

Time's Tide Pendant
This was great. It had definite mojo and a ballsy mechanic which wound up being reasonably sound rules-wise. It took me two or three reads to figure out exactly what was going on with the initiative counts when it was activated. I was not a fan of how specific the construction requirements were. Logically it follows, but overly restrictive construction requirements rub me the wrong way.

Verdict: Personal keep. I would drop this as treasure for the characters in a game I was running to see how they would use it. I voted for it several times.

Elixir of Last Will
Another mechanically sound, innovative item. Well priced as a consumable "just in case" buff.

Verdict: I would uses this item routinely. Book of Magic Items worthy, but maybe not superstar. I still voted for it twice though.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Clouds Without Water wrote:
Sash of Singularity - I get the name, but it somehow feels a little out of place in Pathfinder. This feels like it has mechanical issues by adding the 5000 pounds. What if I sit on someone while wearing it? And watch the fun as I run side to side on a ship!

Thanks for the input. I was attempting to write an item with a Numeria feel to it but that wasn't actually technology, just something created after studying strange alien tech. I knew it was a risk. :)

I was also trying to give it a cinematic feel. So when you picture someone sitting on someone else or running side to side on a ship, I consider that a win. But maybe that is a byproduct of the type of group I game with, since I was also trying to make an item that would be used in ways for which it was not necessarily intended (yet another byproduct of the culture of my regular group, for better or worse).

My initial inspiration was having a Halfling wizard get bullrushed by an Orc only to have the Orc surprised that hitting the Halfling was like hitting a tree stump.

But I've had a blast and can't wait for next year! Thanks again.

Liberty's Edge

Amazing Aviary
Aura strong transmutation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
This small bird cage is crafted of precious gold and mithral, with several swings and bobs and ends to keep any occupant entertained for hours. It can hold four birds at maximum capacity. When a bird exits the Amazing Aviary, it instantly grows until it is equal in size and ability to a giant eagle, though otherwise retains its appearence. The bird retains its free will, and will only obey an imperative given by someone who succeeds on a Handle Animal check. The bird (or birds) can return to former size as a standard action and return to the cage if successfully commanded to do so.
craft wondrous item, enlarge person; Cost 2,500 gp

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