Death Mask


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 aka Peter J

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Death Mask
Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th
Slot head; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
This elaborately carved wooden mask is styled in the image of the god of death. When placed upon a corpse, the user may ask the corpse up to three questions, as if the user had cast the cleric spell speak with dead at level 5. As long as the head of the corpse is intact enough to fit the mask onto it, the spell will work, no matter how damaged the corpse is.
Additionally, if a living person dons the mask, their appearance changes to that of the person whose corpse was most recently used to speak with, when the deceased was still alive, as per the alter self spell.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, disguise self, speak with dead; Cost 4,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

Clunky language (we can already assume the caster is level 5 because that's in the item's stat block). The dual function of this mask makes it worth it, and is pretty neat. Construction requirement spell is incorrect (disguise self should be alter self, or vice versa). Priced about right for what it does.

weak keep

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Clunky writing (overuses commas, bad modifier). Clearly useful, though I don't envy the living wearers, and the power and price seem balanced. I'm on the fence between weak keep and weak reject.

For now, weak reject.

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

I like this one. It's a keeper for me.

Keep.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

Congratulations and Good Luck in the next round!

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

This was one of the few death-related items I liked, mostly because a character can use it to become a pseudo-doppelganger, making it useful for NPCs and PCs alike.

Based on the criticisms above, you'll want to make sure you give your monster additional editing passes before you submit it. Good luck to you in the next round!

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

I liked the idea of this but you got a mixture of up and down votes from me. Find your harshest English snob of a friend proofread your work. I've learned the hard way to do the same. Judges and voting public likely look really close at your monster, don't make the some errors.

That said this was still cool as sh*t, so congrats and good luck.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Somebody doesn't like the removal of jaws to defeat speak with dead! There was a lot of that in one AP. This could have been quite helpful to the Children.

Good luck with your monstrous entry.

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

I really enjoyed the theme and utility of this item, but I didn't upvote it often because it doesn't have a limited number of uses. Speak with dead is a pretty useful spell for gaining information, and this just allows me to be very casual with "kill them first, ask questions later." Especially for just 8k gp. Sure you can't use it on the same corpse that often, but battlefields are littered with them...

Again, I think this is a great theme and concept! I'm looking forward to an equally interesting monster!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138

I like the ability of this item to get around the mutilation limitation of the speak with dead spell, but this item otherwise doesn't sing to me. The confusion of disguise and alter self is a pretty big mistake for writing at this caliber. Make sure you double check your language in future rounds, then check it again to be safe.

Congratulations, and best of luck in Round 2!


One of the better death-related items, true, but still middle of the pack for me. Congratulations on your spot and good luck in the next round.

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

I wasn't a fan of this to be honest. It felt too much like a plot device item. Other than though...it was underwhelming to me mechanically. Speak with the dead 3 times and then alter self (in which you listed the spell requirement as disguise self.

Hope you ratchet up the cool in the next round!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

The problem with this item (clunky writing aside) is that secondary function (the alter self effect) should be the primary function, but it doesn't come across that way. It's almost a footnote. The rest of it appears to be a spell in a can with little flavour.

"Death Mask" is screaming for a new name.

Good luck for future rounds.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

I like the dual function of the item, it has lots of potential to be used both earnestly and nefariously. Should it use a disguise self effect instead of alter self, since the former is the spell used in the item's construction?

Looking forward to your monster!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

Simple is good, and you keep this down to a simple pair of functions. It's actually similar to an item I toyed with designing recently, so it gets my interest on that alone. That said, it's not the smoothest designed item and the writing could be cleaner. But, for what it's worth, I saw this only once during voting and did upvote it. (Pretty late in the process too, probably in the last two or three days of the vote.) Welcome to the contest; show us what you've got in round two!

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

Very simple if a little uninspired for my tastes. However I think it does a fantastic job of marrying the theme with effects.

Congratulations on reaching the Top 32 - I'd like to see a fantastic monster to follow this item up!!!


A good concept Peter J., but ordinarily written. I love the simplicity and versatility of this item and the fact you used "god of death" so it's not Golarion specific.

I'm surprised the author, judges or others haven't commented that "the user may ask the corpse up to three questions" does not compute for an item with CL 5. Speak with Dead states "You may ask one question per two caster levels."

After reviewing above feedback I have rewritten the item as follows...
(218 words)

Death Mask
Aura faint necromancy; CL 6th
Slot head; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

Description
This elaborately carved wooden mask is styled in the image of the god of death. When placed upon a corpse, the user may ask it up to three questions as if the user had cast speak with dead, (if the dead creature's alignment was different from yours it gets a DC 14 Will save to resist). As long as the head of the corpse is intact enough to fit the mask onto it, the spell will work no matter how damaged the corpse is. The mask may be used to speak with up to 3 corpses per day but a particular corpse may only be questioned once per week.

Additionally, if a living person dons the mask their appearance changes to that of the person whose corpse was most recently used to speak with, as per the disguise self spell. The wearer appears as the deceased did when they were still alive, though a creature that interacts with the disguise gets a DC 11 Will save to recognize it as an illusion. The disguise lasts until the mask is removed or it is used to speak with another corpse.

Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, disguise self, speak with dead; Cost 4,000 gp

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

Congratulations Peter,

This is an interesting item for an assassin. Not quite Mystique, but cool enough I can see a party slaying a guard, asking a couple of questions and then put on the guards mask to escort a wookie to the detention block. This way you CAN shoot first and ask questions later. :)

Good luck!

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

While it's a thematically appropriate item for a funerary death mask, I felt this was too much SIAC, and only had a very limited difference with mutilated heads being able to be spoken too. In addition, while it does provide a difference from the spell as written, it seems more like a cheat. The spell has that limit so careful killers can remove that angle of divination, but this just breaks that. Too much breaking the mystery capabilities with this item for my tastes.

Good luck in R2.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2014 / Open Call: Design a wondrous item / Death Mask All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Open Call: Design a wondrous item