Amulet of Reverse Incantation

Open Call: Design a wondrous item

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

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Amulet of Reverse Incantation
Aura faint abjuration; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 20,000 gp; Weight

An ivory cameo of a bearded, old wizard with identical faces on either side of his head hangs on this amulet’s delicate silver chain. Three times per day, the amulet allows its wearer to recite spells with verbal components backwards and achieve an inverse effect under the following circumstances:

    Diametric Effect: If the wearer casts a spell that can counter or dispel another specific spell, he may activate the amulet to spontaneously convert the spell being cast into the spell which it specifically counters (for example, haste would be converted into slow).

    Alignment: If the wearer casts a spell that detects or affects creatures of a certain alignment, the spell instead affects creatures of the opposite alignment instead (for example, chaos hammer would damage and blind chaotic creatures and outsiders instead of lawful).

    Cure/Inflict Spell: Lastly, if the wearer casts a cure or inflict spell, she may activate the amulet to spontaneously convert the spell being cast into the other type of the same spell level (for example, cure moderate wounds would be converted into inflict moderate wounds).

Activating the amulet is a free action.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dispel magic, tongues; Cost 10,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

That physical description. I'm not sure what I'm even supposed to be looking at.

Woah, neat ability! I wish it mentioned how this affected clerics and/or characters whose alignments might have something to do with their spells. I feel like Abadar would be kinda PO'ed if his cleric turned a dictum into a word of chaos.

Pretty balanced, strong rules text. Tongues is dumb.

weak keep

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

I keep re-reading sentences, and they refuse to parse in my head. "If the wearer casts a spell that can counter or dispel another specific spell, he may activate the amulet to spontaneously convert the spell being cast into the spell which it specifically counters." That's not the most elegant of writing there!

OK, so I get what it's supposed to do, and I like the idea. Those sentences are killing me, though.

Weak reject.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Wizards ain't always guys. -_- Took me a while to parse, but interesting idea.

Weak keep.

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

Cool item, and I like the nod to the old [reversible] spell type from earlier editions. I agree that tongues isn't the right pre-req though - when it doubt for weird meta-magic effects like this, I always gravitate to limited wish. You could also make a case for misdirection and an additional one since it fools alignment detection.

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

Like many others, I had to reread this a few times to get what this item did, but I absolutely loved the idea. I hope you tighten up your writing for the monster, and you keep up the same level of creativity!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

I liked this item the first time I read it. I've seen a lot of items in the past try to "do the opposite of X spell you cast!", but I've never seen it executed so well.

This makes sense and has just enough constraints, but is still useful.

Congratulations, and good luck!

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'll admit I have a personal distaste for items that manipulate spells. I think I reflexively downvoted this a few times based on that personal preference but I can see how this one maintains balance and can appreciate that.

Well played, congrats and good luck.

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

Man, I miss reversible spells from 1st edition days...

I think part of my upvoting for this was that nostalgia effect, but I also think you did a great job of summing up what could be some complex rules text in the room you have. It might make the rules language you've got a little twisty and bendy, but when I think about how much time I would take staring at the page and trying to think of a succinct way to describe those effects, I give you complete credit for getting it across as well as you did. I'm also usually opposed to the use of 'for instance' in item text, (my standard feeling is that if you need to use that phrase your item is already too complex) but in this case I think it's well used.
Congratulations on your top 32 spot.

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

I guess my non-casting prejudice makes me lukewarm on this, BUT the visual is clear (it's a cameo) and the effect (or group of effects) is actually pretty cool. Nice work, and I hope to see a cool monster to complement the creativity shown here.

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 was very pleased with this when I finally saw it. It just...sparked as cool in me. Plus...reversing spells alignment or types (cure/inflict) is pretty cool and could be a nasty surprise if this was tweaked to be a cursed could work as one too.

Let's see what you come up with for R2 and please...tighten up that writing :)

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

I like the idea, the "3 times per day", and it's formatted well, but that's about all I like.

The big flaw I can see is clerics, who have to choose to be able to spontaneously cast cures or inflicts, suddenly get the ability (thank god only 3/day) to spontaneously reverse them. I'm not sure, but that feels like a huge imbalance. Maybe spontaneous spells should have been written out as an exception?

Patrick's on the money about alignment issue, tongues and appearance, and Russell is on the money about the difficult wording. Dispel is good to "remove" magic, you need a new spell to create new magic, and it's certainly not Tongues. Maybe Shadow Conjuration/Illusion? Something like that.

Hold the item to its strengths though, and I think you're onto a pretty seriously cool idea of an item.

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

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Should be a meta magic feat, but you did it real well. Congrats!

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

There are a lot of Top 32 items I didn't see during voting. This one is cool!

Congratulations, and best of luck in Round 2!

Dark Archive

I love the mechanical nature of it, playing on reversible spells (which were more of a thing in 1st edition, with stuff like comprehend languages / confuse languages and detect magic / undetectable magic).

With the reduction in those types of spells, or even that sort of thinking in design philosophy, this item feels a little limited in utility, although I could see it being a must-have item for an evil cleric who wants to be able to cure himself or his allies without having to fill his spell slots with cure spells (and therefore never get to 'cast anything fun,' and just be a healbot, at utter odds to his good cleric kin, who can memorize all fun spells and turn them into heals, making the evil cleric, un-intuitively, more likely to pray for beneficial cure spells every day, to the utter consternation of evil gods).

In fact, for evil clerics, the option of being able to cast a protection from evil spell (great when you worship Asmodeus, and you are fighting demons!) or transform an unholy smite or unholy word into a holy smite or holy word (again, when fighting demons, daemons, etc. who are opposed to your LE god and his aims) allows the evil cleric (or neutral cleric of an evil god, such as a LN Hellknight Signifer) to not be totally handicapped by mechanics designed to make good mechanically stronger than evil in many encounters.

In a game in a setting with something like the Blood War of Planescape, with plenty of evil-on-evil violence, this sort of item would be very useful. (Or one with law-on-law violence, where Formians are expanding into Axiomite or Inevitable territory, or chaos-on-chaos violence, with Besmaran pirates clashing with Andoran anti-slavers, or even good-on-good violence, in some 'war in heaven' scenario.)

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

Congratulations Mikael,

I like what you did with this. It felt like three different items to me, but they are thematically close so I get it. It did get an upvote or two from me. The visual is difficult to follow, work on giving the reader concrete images in the future.

Good luck in R2!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka Transylvanian Tadpole

Although I very much liked the physical description of this item, appreciated the nod to the old school and acknowledge the interesting design space Orsino’s going for, I can’t help but feel this might be a bit of a pain for GM to adjudicate in game. I also agree with Russell that the mechanics took me a little while to extrapolate.

Still, there’s certainly some imagination at work here, good luck in the next round. By the way, Orsino’s a great name to have.

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

Hi everyone!

With the item round closed for some time now, and having received the go-ahead from a RPGSS veteran, let me just say thank you to the judges and voters for your critical, thoughtful feedback. Rest assured, I read all of your comments and taken them to heart!

There are many amazing items and monsters this year, so I hope you have a chance to check them all out!

Thanks again!

Mikael (Orsin's real life alter ego)

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

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

Template Fu Review 2014 - Mikael Sebag - Amulet of Reverse Incantation

Template Fu boilerplate: I have yet to make Top 32, therefore much of what follows is from someone learning from your item and may include suggestions you might agree with or not. Please consider anything suggested with your critical designer mind and know that nothing here is personal, it is about your item not you. I try to be thorough every year, taking an hour or more per item, so I hope you find something of value in the review that follows.

Name: The name is very evocative of the effect of the item, it reiterates the base function in a simple easy to recall manner - that is very good, but for me, it was not an exciting name. I don't know how it could be made more exciting as it is so closely tied to the item function though, so I think it is as good a name for this item as you are likely to get.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Template Usage: You executed the template perfectly, including the alphabetical ordering of the spells in the construction. I like the simplicity of the breakdown by paragraph on the description, but like the judges found the sentences within those paragraphs clunky, requiring me to scan them two or three times to be sure of my understanding. An example of this is in the Diametric effect - I initially wondered about normal counter spelling where, with a readied action, I can spellcraft check the other casters spell and cast the same spell as a counter spell. I think what you mean is that the amulet affects only those spells that specifically counter different spells to itself as listed in its description, but it took a few reads to fully get this.
You can remove tongues from the construction requirements, it isn't needed at all, you already know the words to cast the spell so casting them in reverse order is not an issue.
Template Fu scores you 9/10 on this.

Game Balance: I do wonder, on diametric effect, if it could allow for future spells and greater flexibility on the conversion, for example, expeditious retreat increases speed for the round, so it could be argued that the diametric opposite could be slow, which would then allow that also to be used to counter a haste spell. Another example, a fireball countering a cone of cold? This would provide greater flexibility for counter spelling when you don't have the specific spell in memory. I suspect word count would be an issue down this route, so I think settling on only specific spells with specific counter effects was a wise choice.
Alignment effect, I can see why detect was included here, its a very obvious completeness thing, but I do find myself wondering if it is truly necessary. Effectively my detect good would become detect evil, but as a PC fighting the cause of good, why would I not go around with detect evil as my spell of choice? Now that said, if it also worked on spell like abilities, this opens the item for use by other non casting classes. For example a paladin could three times a day detect goodness when he normally detects evil for example. I do wonder if there was a reason that it did not include spell like abilities, I suspect due to being tied to the act of spell casting.
The third effect, Cure/Inflict, was for me a little munchkin, it basically allows the spontaneous casting choice of a cleric to be circumnavigated. I personally found this one a little cheesey.
The very last line I think can be disposed of as well - the casting of a spell forwards or backwards is still the cost action of the round, so the amulet allowing this to be done as part of the spell casting cost can be assumed part of that cost.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Sight - check, the imagery is good but the description was clunky indeed.
Sound - missed opportunity - does it sizzle/crackle etc as it reverses the spell energies and effects?
Smell - doesn't apply
Taste - doesn't apply
Touch - missed opportunity - does it feel warm / cold, change in weight or anything based on the conversion taking effect?
Cinematic Summary The item imagery is well defined, but I think the item imagery when actually effecting spells being cast is what is missing here.
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
The one thing I would like this item to do, is to be able to be used as a readied action to reverse another casters spell. Imagine a caster who casts a devastating "enemies only" spell finding it suddenly affecting his allies instead. This would effectively give another option to countering another casters spell. I'm not sure how I would integrate it, as I suspect some sort of backwards spell as part of the readied action would ensure game balance is preserved, but the possibilities this would have given in game...
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 54/70, or 77% - A very clever item marred only by sentence complexity.

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