Star Cinder


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

Star Cinder
Aura strong abjuration; CL 12th
Slot neck; Price 50,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
This tiny flake of dark and extremely dense material, hung on a simple wire chain, seems to absorb the light around it. When activated, streaks of alien color play across its surface. Three times per day, the wearer may choose one energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). All resistances and immunities to this energy type within a 60’ radius are suppressed.

The innate resistances and immunities of creatures with the elemental type are unaffected, but each such creature possessing innate resistance or immunity to the chosen energy type must make a DC 21 Will save every round that it remains in the area of effect or be forced to return to its home plane (as per the dismissal spell). Even if the save succeeds, the creature is sickened for as long as it remains in the area of effect. The star cinder’s effects persist for 10 rounds.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, antimagic field, dismissal, resist energy; Cost 25,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

Wow, that's one hell of an ability. Without a duration, nonetheless. Oh wait, it's at the end of the item. Organization, dude!

I wish it just worked like normal on elementals. Dismissing them every round is too powerful.

Seems neat, I guess. Kinda torn on this one. Could be really cool, but could be quite powerful. Ho hum. I guess we could use some more really good items in the game.

Weak keep

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

It's OK. I don't love it or hate it. Feels quite powerful.

Weak keep.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

The description's overwrought and the power should probably be toned down, but I like the concept.

Weak keep.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka primemover003

Welcome back to the Top 32 Sam! Cool item, though banishment every round is pretty powerful even for 50k gp.

Good luck in round 2!

--Vrockstar

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

I liked the idea and visuals of this one and you got my vote most of the time. Congrats on making the top 32 and Good Luck.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

I know an evoker or two who wants them this thing pretty bad.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

Thanks, everyone! I'm really excited to be here a second time around.

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!

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

This was one of my favorites. It was in my top 3-5. I'm a little jealous of your repeat congrats and good luck.

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

Congratulations on making it to the top 32! I liked this item, and I appreciate something that can suppress immunities to my characters' most powerful effects. I think a Fortitude save (with the same DC 21) to resist this effect would go a long way to justify the relatively low cost.

Good luck in the monster round!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Seems way too powerful, but the price might justify it. Might. Reducing the range to 30ft and removing the whole last paragraph fixes it, I think.

It's not that exciting, but I like the name of the item and the flavour. I feel like the mechanics should be scrapped and re-thought, because it seems like thee author's on the right track and has some serious item-writing talent there. Maybe a bit lost for ideas this year?

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

I liked this item, though I found that the awesome viuals and flavor didn't really align for me with the mechanics. Cool, simple and evocative name.

Congratulations and I look forward to your monster...

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 didn't see this until very late in voting and I liked it...but didn't love it. I think it was just feeling a bit too overpowered. I don't have any real criticisms on it though...just a gut feeling.

Looking forward to your R2...repeat offenders need to really ratchet up to make the Top 16 :)

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

Welcome back to the top 32! Glad to see another veteran of 2013 at hand. I'm not sure about the link between a mote of star-stuff and banishing elementals, but this is a pretty cool high level item. Definitely useful for blasty-wizards.

Congratulations, and good luck in Round 2!


I love the name and the general idea behind the item but I am not sold on mechanical effects. I would like the mechanics to have some sort of tiered immunities (with tier of immunity would determine which effects could penetrate it and which not).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

Thanks, everyone for your comments! Now that my monster's been submitted, here are a few thoughts on the design:

The original concept was heavily tied into the idea that a piece of a dead star would symbolize the death of energy of all sorts. In the area, flames would die down, light would dim, sound would be dampened, etc. I considered playing with some gravity effects, too.

Then this idea hooked on to another thought that I'd been bouncing around, to wit, that it would be nice to have some way of bypassing immunities to energy, so that (for example) fire spells and weapons wouldn't so frequently run up against creatures who were immune, especially if an energy effect is a PC's thematic schtick. I got the image in my head of a fire giant king looking down in shock at the puny human slashing him with a flame sword and saying, "That...burned!", or a white dragon feeling cold for the first time in its life. I wanted something that could make those scenes happen.

The connection between visuals and mechanics could surely have been more strongly made, since it does indeed take quite a few logical acrobatics to go from star stuff to energy immunities.

The most common critique by far is that the item is overpowered, and it's a point well taken. As I see it, the easiest ways to deal with that, in some combination, are (a) as Mike said, give a Fort save to resist, (b) as Avatar-1 suggested, reduce the range, or (c) as many people suggested, get rid of the elemental banishment.

I'd be quite happy with C, actually. The whole second paragraph emerged from thinking through the weirdness of, say, a fire elemental being hurt by a fireball. It just didn't make sense. So the second paragraph could be revised to just sicken elementals in the area (even allowing a Fort save). They don't like the weird energy effects, but they're not suddenly vulnerable to their own element or shunted off home.

To Drejk's point, this actually did begin with a tiered system: creatures with immunity had that immunity reduced to resistance 10, and creatures with resistance had that resistance reduced by 10 (minimum 0). I scrapped that in the interests of simplification, but that's definitely an avenue that could be pursued.

Thanks, everyone, for all your feedback, thoughts, and votes! It's a wonderful learning experience, and I can't say enough what a great community these boards are.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

Quote:
I got the image in my head of a fire giant king looking down in shock at the puny human slashing him with a flame sword and saying, "That...burned!"

Reminds me of a D&D based comic I read where a devil-worshipping character used unholy fire to attack a red dragon. There's a beat panel then, "You BURNED ME???" Great visual.

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

Congratulations Sam and Welcome back,

Not an item I saw in the voting and I am impressed. I think it's effectiveness might make it a Plot Device item, but that is a plot I want to play in :)

Well done and good luck in R2 :)

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

While I like the idea, the secondary effect kind of scared me away during voting. Basically this felt like an anti-elemental win button. Still, it's a great theme and description, so points for that. And regardless of whether or not I fell for this time, I felt you went out too early in last year's contest, so I'm happy to see you back. Congratulations!

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

This is a cool item in my book, with narrative and mechanical flair. I’m surprised Judy considered the description overwrought – personally I thought it was quite disciplined, just the right touch of evocative detail without going all out. I think some people may have a point with the power level though.

Like Drejk I love the name, there’s a whole story in just those two words. I like this one more than the Witchwood Comb (which I also liked!).

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

I am leery against removing innate immunities (not resistances). There were ways to damage such creatures with spells in 3.5, like the Searing Spell feat, but it didn't remove all a creature's immunities. The spell ignored resistance and immune creatures took half the damage a spell would normally do.

Where you picture it being cool that a person does an extra 1d6 damage to a fire giant and him going "That BURNT me?!" I picture a group of PCs meeting a red dragon and him rearing his head up out of a pool of molten lava and them going, "Star Cinder! Take 20d6 fire damage every round and another 10d6 for 1d3 rounds after you get out."

I picture salamanders and efreeti bursting into fire when the PCs wander into the City of Brass, watching all these fire subtype outsiders suffer 3d10 damage per round. Yes, the PCs will lose their resistances too, but being able to prepare, they could use elemental creatures to move 60 ft. away from them activating the star cinder or have spells up that halve fire damage rather than giving resistance or immunities.

I don't even want to think of whether a salamander cooks himself with its own innate heat or whether it only takes damage when holding a weapon which causes it to heat up to deal fire damage to anything touching it. Remorhaz have backs hot enough to melt metal and their bodyplates glow red with the heat. That's 8d6 damage they take every round from themselves.

Then, you've got ice golems getting frozen solid. They don't even get saving throws against cold effects, whether magical or not. So even if you say their Immunity to Magic that causes magical cold spells to heal them at a 1 for 3 ratio prevents damage rather than mitigating it, it doesn't help them against non-magical cold effects, like the touch of an ice golem which deals constant cold damage.

What you have is basically an artifact as it's written, it needs way more restriction to bring into line. For instance, only working on the Material Plane, or causing innately immune creatures like energy subtypes and outsiders to take half damage. At the very least it should allow affected creatures a saving throw to resist or the wearer automatically loses all resistances when worn.

Otherwise, I'm giving this one to all my elemental princes for when PCs come to meet them. Drop all the PCs resistance to their plane and the elemental can't be sent home when they're already there and they can just auto-fail the save since succeeding would make them sickened.

Just my opinion on it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

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Hi, all! Thanks again for the comments and critiques. Here are two redesigns that address some of the concerns in rather different ways. The first is basically just the incorporation of some of the common suggestions: reducing the range, adding a saving throw, and getting rid of dismissal.

Star Cinder, version 2:

Star Cinder
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 11th
Slot neck; Price 35,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
This tiny flake of dark and extremely dense material, hung on a simple wire chain, seems to absorb the light around it. When activated, streaks of alien color play across its surface. Three times per day, the wearer may choose one energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). For the next 5 rounds all resistances to this energy type within a 30’ radius are suppressed (DC 19 Fortitude save to resist), and all immunities to this energy type within a 30’ radius are treated as though they were instead a resistance of 10 versus the chosen type (DC 19 Fortitude save to resist).

The innate resistances and immunities of creatures with the elemental type are unaffected, but each such creature possessing innate resistance or immunity to the chosen energy type is sickened while within 30’ of the star cinder (DC 19 Fortitude save to resist).

If the star cinder is ever brought onto an elemental plane, it is rendered immediately and permanently powerless.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, antimagic field, resist energy; Cost 17,500 gp

The following is another idea I had, which takes the item in a different direction, but which I quite like for the reason that it ties the item together better thematically (a dead star symbolizing the literal transformation of energy into nothingness).

Star Cinder, version 3:

Star Cinder
Aura strong necromancy; CL 13th
Slot neck; Price 50,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
This tiny flake of dark and extremely dense material, hung on a simple wire chain, seems to absorb the light around it. When activated, streaks of alien color play across its surface. Three times per day, the wearer may activate the star cinder and choose one energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). For the next 5 rounds, all energy damage of the chosen type that would be dealt within 30 feet of the star cinder is converted into negative energy damage instead.

If a star cinder is ever brought onto an elemental plane, it is rendered immediately and permanently powerless.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, destruction; Cost 25,000 gp

This has its own potential pitfalls and loopholes, but it does not tinker with fundamental immunities, which is understandably a tough sell. I note in passing that a lich with this version of the item would be a pretty evil thing.

Lots of different groups, play styles, and philosophies out there, so take your pick as to which you like best!

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

I like this a lot. There aren't enough ways to overcome resistances and immunities. I agree with the underpricing, and your alternates seem to address this nicely. Welcome back to the competition, and looking forward to your round 2.

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