Choker of the Siphoning Scorpion


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Choker of the Siphoning Scorpion
Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 6,000 gp; Weight
Description
This choker consists of a thin gold chain with a small scorpion charm that presses snugly against the neck when worn. The wearer of this item may forgo her saving throw against a poison effect. If she does so, the wearer suffers no effects from the poison and the scorpion charm siphons the poison from the wearer, filling to its maximum capacity of one dose. Once the scorpion is filled, it offers no protection against further poisoning.
As a full-round action, the wearer may remove the choker and affix it to her melee weapon by simply pressing the scorpion against the weapon, allowing the chain to automatically secure itself, wrapping tightly around the hilt. Upon a successful melee attack, as a free action the wielder may choose to magically deliver the full dose of poison in addition to any damage or effects the weapon normally has.
Once a choker of the siphoning scorpion has delivered its poison, it may not be refilled until worn for 8 consecutive hours. Only poisons without an onset time are able to be siphoned.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, greater magic weapon, neutralize poison; Cost 3,000 gp

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

I enjoy the siphoning aspect. I find the image of then attaching it to a weapon a little less convincing.

Weak keep.

Paizo Employee Developer

Great ability, but ho-hum rules language. "Magically deliver" the poison? Is this meant to be the same as though the weapon was coated in the poison? Does the target get a save? (Answer should be yes.) It also seems odd that there's no per-day restriction on either of the abilities.

Nonetheless, really cool idea for an item.

weak keep

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

This item's usefulness is clear, and its abilities fit together very logically. I agree that the flavor and mechanics for the poison delivery need tightening, though.

Keep.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

Honestly, I had trouble justifying the in-game mechanics on this one. Why would somebody purposefully design a necklace that protects against poison that then needs to be attached to a weapon to deliver the poison? How about just a glove or armband that does both? It seems more plausible.

Still, you clearly had enough fans of this item, so congrats on making the top 32. Good luck in the monster round!


Very evocative item. The flavor fits the ability nicely. Congratulations!

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.

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

The name is good and the images it conjures up in describing it are also good.

I don't like the full-round action, I think it's a bit harsh for what is essentially a reusable one shot poison (minus any risk of poisoning oneself). I wasn't necessarily a fan of the design space either...poisons are fun but don't come up so often that this would be useful once adventurers get access to their first neck slot items they can buy.

I would work really hard on tightening up the mechanical language for your monster entry...it's a mechanics heavy bit.

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 thought this was a pretty good item, and liked that it was more versatile than simply protecting from poison or delivering a poison attack.

As for Patrick's comment about the not having a x/day restriction, the item does have a once per 8 hours restriction, so it is limited as to how often it can be used.

My biggest concern is that it's under priced. Comparing to the dagger of venom (+1 weapon that can cast the poison spell once per day for a +6000 gp value above a standard +1 weapon), the Choker costs the same 6000, but it a) protects from poison and b) can be used up to 3 times per day potentially if they're spread 8 hours apart.


The idea of touching the weapon with the scorpion medallion is *fun* and cinematic. That's why it works. Personally, I might not require the chain to be wrapped around the weapons, maybe just touch it.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

A thousand votes and I never saw this one. Huh. I was initially concerned that this might be too much of a 'poison ceases to be a threat' card, but you allayed that with the 8-hour downtime period. I normally dislike attunement periods, but in this case it's justified. Welcome aboard, Andrew! (So many Andrews this year; should they all adopt identical avatars as a counter-Jacob movement?)

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 7

Really dug the thematics behind this one.

It inspired a number of potential Osirian/Mummy's Mask characters during voting. :)

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

Guy in my writing circle made a very similar item but missed that he lost his formatting in the preview button. I liked it as his idea and yours. Goes to show that small differences make a large impact on both voting and judging.

Congrats and best of luck.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This eventually became one of my favorite items as voting progressed. I liked that you thought this out beyond something that would merely soak up poison.

Congratulations and good luck in the monster round!

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

I Ioved this item when I saw it during voting - very evocative of hidden power and sneaky return attacks on the unsuspecting, using what should be a painful effect into a plausible ability.

Congratulations!!!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Andrew, I think your item's abilities match your theme very organically, and that is perhaps the strongest thing about it. I would have liked it better with it was a cheaper, one-use item that got destroyed after delivering the poison.

A nice item, but keep working on your rules-language and be careful to keep things balanced. Good luck on the next round!

Dark Archive

Another of my favorites. It has a cool scorpion king sort of vibe.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Pedro Coelho Mendes Bueno Barbosa wrote:
[...]I would have liked it better IF it was a cheaper, one-use item[...]

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

I get sort of a Guillermo del Toro vibe from this item in my head--the scorpion animates and drains the poison out with its stinger, then excretes it onto a weapon. I like it. Flavorful and useful without being a must have.

Congratulations! Best of luck in Round 2.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I'd like to thank all the voters who liked my item.

Also thanks everyone for the great feedback, I will comment further on my item if anyone cares after I've submitted my round 2 entry.

-AU

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

Joel Flank wrote:
My biggest concern is that it's under priced. Comparing to the dagger of venom (+1 weapon that can cast the poison spell once per day for a +6000 gp value above a standard +1 weapon), the Choker costs the same 6000, but it a) protects from poison and b) can be used up to 3 times per day potentially if they're spread 8 hours apart.

I thought about this as well during voting. It's clearly cheaper than the periapt of proof against poison (27k), but really, how often does one get poisoned in an 8 hour period? If I only get poisoned once a day, this little item is a bargain and a half, with added utility to boot.

I like the thematic concepts here, and I think being able to boomerang a poison is a great addition to certain characters! Great job!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Joel and Arkos are right; prevention of being poisoned 1/day is a big deal, and this item doesn't look like it was compared to similar items. Especially considering it has another ability alongside that.

Also, once you siphon a poison, the GM will usually have to give the player all the details of that poison since it's now yours. That's a bit of metagaming potential that would sometimes get this outright banned.

Now if I was to ignore those points and similar items, this item sounds seriously cool. If rule particulars be damned, I want my martial characters to own it. I'd probably prefer the name "Choker of the Scorpion Siphon".

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 - Andrew Umphrey - Choker of the Siphoning Scorpion

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: One of the more over used name formations in my book, but that said, it is very descriptive of the cool ability. This means that when I think of your item name, it will be really easy to recall what it does and what it effects, namely poison - this speeds play for everyone around the gaming table.
Template Fu scores you 9/10 on this.

Template Usage: Spotless template adherence, including reordering spell name words that have commas to avoid extra commas in the requirements making things confusing - very well done.
Template Fu scores you 10/10 on this.

Game Balance: As most adventures go, it is rare that you get poisoned in successive encounters, so the utility of the item could have been a little better. As a suggestion, you may have thought of this yourself, consider the duration of a poison, or it's lethality/DC, these could have been factored into the reset time - delivering a poison that lasts for 4 rounds, would mean 4 rounds before it could siphon again.
I also wondered about neutralizing poisons by magic, if I get poisoned by two different poisons in the same round (you never know), and then some nice healer removes poison from my person, would that also flush the item as that is also on my person and full of poison?
Another way you could have increased the utility is to think of potions, liquids, acids, etc and relate this to splash damage, imagine if it could siphon acid as well as poison, the utility and how often it can have an in encounter effect increases even for encounters that are poison free!
The item as it stands is quite well balanced, I just wish it could have that touch more utility to warrant it taking my neck slot the whole time.
The timing of release for the poison seems off with how quickly a scorpion tail strikes, if you use fast imagery, make the effects fast. Instead, as a standard action, a scorpion shaped mist could leap from the necklace into my target within melee range, striking them in the throat - greater cinematics and still allows me the option of moving should I need to, preserving my rounds action economy.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Cinematics:
Sight - check, the item look and the effects are quite appealing and easy to picture in your minds eye, this helps make encounters memorable. I would have liked it to have more utility to warrant being on my neck all the time, so you missed an opportunity by not including acid, or splash, or liquid based attacks (or even breath attacks, gas can be siphoned just like liquids!)
Your cool first power is included in the first sentence. The opening sentence is usually reserved for what things look like, feel like, sound like, taste like, etc with the cool power leading from the beginning of a new paragraph - this is so that in game play, you can scan to the powers skipping the description rather than scanning a sentence or two to find where the powers start.
Sound - missed opportunity, imagine if the scorpion chitters when it has poison to deliver? Any item using some sort of creature, miniature or to scale is a great opportunity for sound to play in the cinematics of the item.
Smell - missed opportunity, poisons sometimes have smells, this could have been reflected by a faint odor being emitted when the scorpion has poison to deliver - again, no mechanical effects, just that extra cinematic wow.
Taste - n/a - doesn't really apply as it is jewelry that takes nasty stuff out of the body and is never imbibed, licked or eaten.
Touch - missed opportunity - what is the charm made of, a real scorpion in amber, a dried scorpion husk, gold? I'm assuming gold like the chain. This would also lead on to tell me about the other touch sensations, a gold scorpion would be fairly weighty, cold and smooth, a dried husk completely different again. Use your base item to play off all the senses, it makes things so much more real and memorable.
Cinematic Summary The base mechanical imagery is fine and easy to picture, I just would have liked a little more polish and the description of the item to be fully separated from the powers. This means in game, if I am reading the description to the players when they find the item, I can't accidentally read too far ;)
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
The functioning of the item is very complete, has limitations and has tried to cover all the bases. The only thing really missing is a little more shine and pizzazz, fire our imaginations and you will do very well.
I can see why it was tied to scorpions, but there are other insects that poison too - arachnids, wasps, etc. It might have been worth considering making it more flexible somehow by allowing variant creatures.
I still think the wrapping onto your weapon is a problem, I certainly wonder if that full round action might provoke or make disarms easier while you twirl the chain around your hand and hilt.
I am personally very pro mythic at the moment, so you could have allowed your item to have a small mythic nod, maybe allowing mythic power to increase the DC or duration of the poison being delivered by the item for example, or have it leap off the chain to grow to giant size and attack your foes independently in true Ray Harryhausen style.
Overall, a very solid item with the odd mechanical concern that dampens how cool the main effect really is.
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 56/70, or 80% - Very nice!

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

Congratulations Andrew,

I voted for this though not always. It almost fell into the wondrous item that's really a weapon but I think you actually handled this well. I would prefer the wearer to be affected by the poison first (he/she did fail the save). The sentence about securing the scorpion to the weapon could be tighter, it felt like it was rambling. Sentence after that could use similar work.

I like the item and wish you luck in R2. :)

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

I liked this, make the assassin taste their own poison. :)

Congrats!


Hey, thanks for all the comments.

I am a fist time entrant with no real writing experience, so I appreciate the feedback on getting the language tighter.

I was shooting for a fairly simple effect, but I really wanted to try and inspire the imagination with a cool visual. And it seems that I achieved at least that much.

On the price, I pretty much just ballparked it. I knew the item that gave permanent poison protection was 27k, so I figured 6000gp for basically 1xday and an attunement period was about right. But some of your comments have convinced me that maybe that was too low.

Personally, I like scorpions, so I went with that theme, but I think any reasonable GM will allow their players to re-skin with whatever charm they like (spider, imp, etc).

I went with neck slot and a choker because I liked the image of having the charm tight against your skin, so it can absorb the poison.

I guess I could have re-thought the delivery method/mechanics. I envisioned that maybe you face a spider in one encounter, and in a future encounter, you would already have the weapon ready to go with the poison. Since a lot of the creatures that poison you are immune to their own. And some targets are more susceptible than others, so you may want to wait before delivering it.But I agree it can be a challenge to absorb and deliver in the same encounter.

The Gm would have to keep track of the poison stats. I think that with a knowledge check, the character could get a good idea of the strength of the poison.

Anyhow there were so many great items out there, that mine could easily be on the outside, so I am truly thankful to all the voters and judges who liked this enough to make it top-32

-Andrew


Andrew Umphrey wrote:

Hey, thanks for all the comments.

I am a fist time entrant with no real writing experience, so I appreciate the feedback on getting the language tighter.

I was shooting for a fairly simple effect, but I really wanted to try and inspire the imagination with a cool visual. And it seems that I achieved at least that much.

On the price, I pretty much just ballparked it. I knew the item that gave permanent poison protection was 27k, so I figured 6000gp for basically 1xday and an attunement period was about right. But some of your comments have convinced me that maybe that was too low.

Personally, I like scorpions, so I went with that theme, but I think any reasonable GM will allow their players to re-skin with whatever charm they like (spider, imp, etc).

I went with neck slot and a choker because I liked the image of having the charm tight against your skin, so it can absorb the poison.

I guess I could have re-thought the delivery method/mechanics. I envisioned that maybe you face a spider in one encounter, and in a future encounter, you would already have the weapon ready to go with the poison. Since a lot of the creatures that poison you are immune to their own. And some targets are more susceptible than others, so you may want to wait before delivering it.But I agree it can be a challenge to absorb and deliver in the same encounter.

The Gm would have to keep track of the poison stats. I think that with a knowledge check, the character could get a good idea of the strength of the poison.

Anyhow there were so many great items out there, that mine could easily be on the outside, so I am truly thankful to all the voters and judges who liked this enough to make it top-32

-Andrew

@Andrew: Don't sell yourself short, your item definitely brings an interesting visual appeal and has cool effects. I'm looking forward to seeing your monster.

Dark Archive

I like the scorpion visual, but this would also totally work as an articulated gold and jade serpent (or centipede) bracelet that you unwrapped and put around the hilt of your sword, or a spider-charm that clung to your neck or wrist, and the legs could be pried open and closed around a weapon haft, as well.

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