Poltergeist Knot


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

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.

Poltergeist Knot
Aura faint evocation and transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot none; Price 650 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
Description
Hopelessly knotted, this ball of twine defies any efforts to untangle it, new snarls forming out of nowhere just when it appears to be nearly unraveled.

On command, the twine unrolls, one end snaking through the air and touching a target within 50 feet unless he succeeds at a DC 13 Reflex save. At the twine's touch, the bindings on any containers (such as packs, pouches, sheaths, and quivers) the target is carrying come undone and all their contents are pulled into a madcap dance around the target's head.

Anyone trying to grab a piece of equipment as it spins must succeed at a steal combat maneuver against CMD 12. In addition, the spinning objects obstruct the target's sight; anyone he tries to target with a spell, weapon or ability is treated as having concealment. The gear whirls around the target, moving with him, for three rounds before falling to the ground.

A poltergeist knot only affects laces and buckles on exterior containers — potion bottles in a pouch or a bag of caltrops in a backpack, for example, are swept into the whirlwind but don't spill their contents. The knot works on inanimate objects, but cannot undo any locks.

Once used, the knot becomes normal twine.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, open/close, pilfering hand; Cost 325 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

This is a really weird item... I had to read it twice to figure out what was going on.

This seems fine. Could have been abbreviated by quite a bit, but it's unique enough and interesting enough that I'll take a leap of faith on this writer.

weak keep

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

It's weird and imaginative, which is enough for me.

Keep.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

That seems really cheap for how much it screws with you, and the writer is way too fond of gerunds. But I do want to use this on someone. So long, spell components! See ya, arrows!

Weak keep.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes!! I knew it! Way to GO, fellow Jacob!

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

Yay! One of the Jacob's is back in action!

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 dance Jacob #Ihavenoidea! This is something I could see an oracle with the haunted curse making to share her pain with others! Very nice. I imagine this with a goblin or gremlin low level boss would be so much fun, especially against alchemists!

--Vrock the house!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations, Jacob! I fell in love with this the first time I saw it! Good luck in the next round.

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

Thanks, all. I'm thrilled to be back in the Top 32 and hopefully ready to show off how much I've learned about making monsters from two years ago.

Seriously, thank you to everyone who voted for my knot. There were a lot of really good items out there, so I really do appreciate it. Thank you to the judges, as well. I do love my gerunds, so I'll definitely try to watch that I don't overdo them. :)

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

I fell in love with this one right off, way to represent the Jacobs Jacob. You always had my vote! Good Luck.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Good Luck Jacob!

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

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Thanks, all. I'm thrilled to be back in the Top 32 and hopefully ready to show off how much I've learned about making monsters from two years ago.

Seriously, thank you to everyone who voted for my knot. There were a lot of really good items out there, so I really do appreciate it. Thank you to the judges, as well. I do love my gerunds, so I'll definitely try to watch that I don't overdo them. :)

Feel free to tell your fiance how she can get in touch with me, us game design widows have to stick together. We even got a veil this year ;-)

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

This was my absolute favorite item for this year. I thought it was well written, evocative and filled a slot that is not often addressed.

Congratulations on making the top 32 and I at least expect great things from you!

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

This was a very strong keep and won my vote every time I saw it. Great flavor, fun mechanics. Powerful--especially before combat or during a surprise round--but its power is tempered by requiring the target to fail at least two checks to take the full effect.

The only knock I could find on it was a price that's seemed too low for all of its effects, reducing the risk/reward ratio a bit--a rogue would easily spend the 650 gp for the first effect alone.

But hey, it's a Jacob! Congrats, and good luck!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Interesting spin. I like that you went "poltergeist" with it as opposed to fey-themed. I agree with Judy that it screws with the target a little too well for its price. Even as a consumable, it's an item that could be used as a game-winner at low levels against spellcasters and such who need to make a grab for that spell component pouch to stay in the fight, even as a BBEG. Tighten down the bolts on your next design and let's see what you've got for a 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

Awesome! Jacob, you already know I loved this one, so I'm glad to see I was not alone in that. Way to go. Should it just become an official rule that at least one Jacob avatar gets represented every year? (Although it would be interesting if the original three-Jacob pool starts losing representation because one by one they become ineligible for further contests. Here's hoping you're the first to become a Jacob emeritus...)

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

This was one of my favorites. I voted for it every chance I got. If I could have one of these in the real world, I would be so dangerous...

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

Jacob! Nice work! This was one of my writing partner's top 10! Hopefully you'll do well in this and still want to write on Into the Breach... I'm crossing my fingers :P

Congrats and good luck.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

I can definitely see the pricing criticism. I always double guess something once I've submitted, and it was definitely the price on this one. I'd probably have added another 50 percent to it, given the opportunity to rewrite.

A few fun (at least, I hope they're fun) facts/design notes, if you're interested:

* I can thank my fiancee for inspiration on this one. We were out hiking and she started to get a blister, so called a stop to pull out the first aid kit. As she dug through the backpack, pulling out everything to find the kit, the concept was born.

* The first draft was called a sesame knot, as in open sesame. My first drafts are notoriously rough, I think, as I just have to get some sort of design down and can then go back and refine it later. I knew it wasn't actually ever going to be called that, but nonetheless I had it made of sesame fiber and even smelling of sesame. :)

* An earlier effect had it undoing all the laces on the target's clothing as well and adding an armor check penalty that lingered until the clothing/armor was retied. It just became a little too much to get into all the possible permutations (noting how long it would take to repair regular clothing, for example, since that's not on the donning armor table) plus plain numerical bonuses aren't all that exciting. It was replaced by the concealment ability, which started as providing cover instead before it seemed counterintuitive to have the items swirl in the target's way but not the way of anything attacking him.

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

Like the demon-vulture above, I immediately thought of an oracle with the haunted curse when I read this item. It also reminded me of a character that my DM allowed to make liberal use of telekinesis for some fun, but not game-devolving, effects.

Good luck in the monster round, and congratulations on making the top 32!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Really, really interesting.

The concealment should work both ways.

I don't know if there should be a limit on the number of flying items? The low reflex save might offset the price - high level characters probably won't want this.

Does it become normal twine if the target makes the save, or is it reusable?

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

Always liked this one when I saw it, a very thoughtful and PC annoying item. Thanks also for the design insights.

Welcome back to the 32, and yes, let's see what you have learned since last time.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sean McGowan wrote:
Awesome! Jacob, you already know I loved this one, so I'm glad to see I was not alone in that. Way to go. Should it just become an official rule that at least one Jacob avatar gets represented every year? (Although it would be interesting if the original three-Jacob pool starts losing representation because one by one they become ineligible for further contests. Here's hoping you're the first to become a Jacob emeritus...)

I'm Jacob, and I wholeheartedly endorse this.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7 aka Belladonna Blue

When I came across this one in voting, it took me a minute to understand what I was looking at. After I did, I contemplated the possibilities, chuckled, and upvoted.

It's fun without being a joke and useful without being ridiculous. I, too, would love to have a character lob this at someone. Good work and congratulations!

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

You already know my thoughts on this :)

Well done and represent well!! I'm excited for your R2!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Congrats, Jacob #.... whichever the frick number you are! Make the rest of the clan proud!

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

I agree with some of the above contents--the concealment should cut both ways, and the effect is a bit strong for the cost. A way to both simplify and balance it might be to have it make a CMB check against the target's CMD.

Welcome back to the Top 32! Best of luck in Round 2.


Congratulations, Jacob. Looking forward to seeing you kick ass in round 2.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Jacob, glad to see you back. Your entry is great this year, and I look forward to your monster.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Congratulations! This was one of my consistent favorites. I'm pulling for you!

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

This is a very sneaky item, which I like. On a related note, I like how its price makes it accessible; what good is a sneaky item if almost no NPC is going to sink a large portion of his or her gear allotment into buying it? Looking forward to seeing your monster!

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

I loved this item. It's hilariously annoying for the victim. I find it remarkable that the item has such evocative flavor and incredible usefulness, but yet it has very few mechanics involved. Just having the inherent problem of your items spilling out and dancing around your head is very powerful. The things I didn't like was that the name and item's form do not match its function. The name and twine makes me think it has to do with tying up ghosts. Also, shouldn't magical containers get a save or something? That would be really bad for my character, who carries three bags of holding full of stuff!

Either way, good job, Jacobs! I'm cheering for you!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Avatar, I felt one-sided concealment worked. The items are flying around the target's head and blocking his/her vision, but everyone else can see him/her just fine. (Also, I didn't want to make it in part a benefit to be hit by the knot.)

As for number of flying items, that was one of the most difficult parts in the design because there's no way to know what this will be used on. A monster may be carrying around next to nothing while an archer may have a ton of stuff. That actually played big roles in the secondary power (the concealment) and what I ended up having it do.

--

Thanks, Garrick. Earlier versions DID have a separate save for magical containers, but I took it out for simplicity's sake. I certainly wouldn't object to a GM house-ruling that in, though. :)

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

Garrick Williams wrote:
... with tying up ghosts...

but you dinnae see a ghost UNtying things?

Congratulations Jacob, and welcome back.

This is so mischievously fun. Way to capture that feeling. On my keeper list, but you already knew that.

On to R2 & R3. And yes, I expect your title will soon be Jacob Emeritus! :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

I thought this was pretty cool during the voting. An interesting effect sure to baffle the victim.

Congrats!

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

Great item - never saw it in voting, or it would have catapulted to the top of my list. The descriptions were fun, the effect is cool, and it fills the under represented low price consumable niche.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your entries in future rounds, since I'm pretty sure you'll go far this year.

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 - Jacob W. Michaels - Poltergeist Knot

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: Ok, I will admit now, I was on the review circle for this item, so I am having to dig really deep on this one >.<. The name is very evocative of the effect, but on reflection - you can kill me later ;) - it's not really the knot that is the core of the effect, it's the whipping strands, so I do wonder if it should have been strands rather than knot.
The other disjunction is that poltergiest also hints at etherealness, which isn't in the effect, more on this point in game balance...
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Template Usage: Perfect template use, and how I would have come down on my review circle member if it wasn't! :P Pricing is good too! You broke the wall of text into sensible paragraph breaks for ease of scanning at the game table.
There's not really a lot else to say here.
Dash it, I have to award full marks. Sorry Template Fu, you go hungry this time.
Template Fu scores you 10/10 on this.

Game Balance: OK, as intimated in the name - the leaping strand of twine - why can't I the target react to it and slash at it with my cutting weapon. is the twine ethereal, unbreakable, or better still - why not give it some AC, hp and hardness type of stats so that I get a chance to do it some damage before it touches me?
This is pretty much all I can find worthy of comment and that, to be honest, was a stetch for me.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Cinematics:
Sight - check, very good imagery - this evokes a very strong scene with lots of comedy potential "I say fellow Rogue, what are you doing with my xyz floating around you?" - busted!
Sound - missed opportunity, does it make a sound when unravelling or whipping out to touch the target?
Smell - not applicable - unless it's a musty old ball of twine ;)
Taste - not applicable - unless it's a cheese string twine :P
Touch - I can imagine easily what a ball of twine feels like, so you are good here I think.
Cinematic Summary What happens after the touch, does it re-ball or fall lifeless to the floor? And why didn't I catch that when reviewing it?! >.<
Template Fu scores you 17/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
This is the hardest part to review, but I did wonder why the twine after it's touch attack couldn't grab one of the items now dancing around and retrieve it back to the owner. I think this would have made even more viable thing for use in combat situations - I'll just have your potion bottle, thanks.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 59/70, or 84% - I expect nothing less from you!

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