Patternward Spectacles

Open Call: Design a wondrous item

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7 aka ClemCon

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Patternward Spectacles
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot eyes; Price 750 gp; Weight 1 lb.
These spectacles fit firmly over eyes, held by two crystalline stems. The lenses are initially clear and do not hinder the wearer’s vision. When an illusion spell or spell-like ability with the pattern subschool (such as color spray) is used against the wearer, the spectacles absorb the magic and darken, protecting only the wearer from the pattern effect. Once the spectacles absorb a spell and become opaque, the wearer gains the blindness condition until the spectacles are removed as a swift action. Patternward spectacles function to protect against spell effects of third level or lower only. Darkened spectacles no longer function and may not be recharged.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, minor globe of invulnerability; Cost 375 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

This is really cool. A little tweaking required to make sure it's balanced, but not much.


Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

Seems very specific. Protects against pattern-based spells of 3rd level or lower by blinding the wearer?

I don't know whether that's cool or pointless.

I'll go with a weak keep for now.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

The wearer isn't blind, they're blinded (more general term), because their spectacles just turned into blinders. Single-use, pattern-sensitive transition lenses.

Weak keep.

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

Did not make my keep/like lists.

Sorry, not a lot to say here. I never voted for these. I'm not sure what sort of PCs would afford 750 gp a pop for the one-off privilege of being blinded by a spell they can probably resist. This is a flavor item for a very specific character or scenario and just doesn't seem wondrous.

I'm hoping to see something cooler than this in the monster round. Congratulations on making it there, and good luck!

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 one hung around the middle of the pack for me, but I could definitely see people voting for this more consistently than I did. I think you'll need to bring something stronger to your monster.

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 liked these but not top 32 liked them. Judging is subjective and this was well written. Congrats and good luck to you.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There's no flavour text here, but that's this item's only real weakness. This item is simple (less is more!), effectively provides a solid defense for a certain particularly powerful level 1 spell in the game (which wouldn't be enough on its own, and appropriately adds any pattern spell up to level 3), and adds an interesting downside considering what it's protecting against.

I disagree balancing is required here. Depending on how badly you want item flavour, this is either a strong keep or a keep.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I liked this one because color spray can really wreak havoc on low-level parties, but it's kind of expensive for low-levels and not really necessary for higher. It's well balanced and I liked it, but am not sure how often people would actually buy/use it. You found a good spot for an item (pattern spells) and I liked that the item was disposable.

Blow us away with your monster!

Ah yes, the Hitchhiker's Guide shades. I liked the idea, but they really didn't wow me. Congratulations, and best of luck to you in round 2.

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

Huh, that's two top 32 items (so far) that I never saw while voting.
I like these in principle; execution wise, I'd have preferred they be cheaper or non-consumable. But still, it's a nicely done very specific protective item. I wish I had seen these while voting, I'd probably have given the a few votes up along the way. Anyway, regardless of all that, welcome to the contest!

Star Voter Season 7

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I miss Douglas Adams too.

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

Is removing magical gear normally a swift action or are spectacles an exception? If it's normally the case, why bother writing it? If it's a special magical ability of the spectacles then it goes away when they darken and lose all their power right? Kind of makes it pointless if that's the case.

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

These grew on me during voting, but did not make my keep list. I like how focused you are, but I dislike how much versatility that cost this item.

As Brian L Clark says, these instantly reminded me of the Joo Janta Peril Sensitive sunglasses that Zaphod carries.

Keep your focus but work a little more on not paying as much homage to the source. Looking forward to R2.

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

These are somewhat underwritten. A little more flavor text could have gone a long way. The references that other posters are making to the Peril Sensitive Sunglasses seem very on point.

Congratulations, and best of luck in Round 2!

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7 aka ClemCon

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you so much for taking the time to give my item feedback! Your comments are right on and exactly the kinds of comments I was making myself as I judged my own items before submission. This one was the item that finally made the cut. Your feedback was so valuable!

A lot of the motivation for this item came from pathfinder society games where heavens oracles using Awesome Display could use color spray to knock out high level monsters for multiple rounds without batting an eye. This item was created, in my mind, to counteract that abuse of power. If only the boss had a pair of patternward specs! I wanted the cost to be 2PP for society play which is up to 750gp. I run a lot of society games for kids at the local high school. It is a great way to introduce them to Pathfinder!

I'm not sure how much of our thoughts you are wanting to know at this stage but I figured I would share a little bit of the design rational to those who may be curious on what goes on inside the mind of a mad scientist.

Mostly I would just like to say how glad I am to have made the top 32 and I am amazed at the level of talent out there in the community and there were so many great items! I hope to do well in the next round and I wish everyone the best of luck! Thanks again to all the judges!

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

Congratulations Clemcon!
I think this is a must have item for low level party's. Low-level party's GMs will have more fun with it though. I like the effect, including the penalty (blind until your next turn).

Good luck in R2 aim for the fences!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Fantastic to hear your side of the story Clemcon. Good luck for the rest of the game!

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

This item never really caught me because it is just so specific. Clearly, it's the brooch of shielding for color spray instead of magic missile, but it feels like an item I'd give to a villain specifically because my PC's kept dropping them the same way every time... which you point out in your own comments. Useful, but not something I'd pick up as a PC.

Regardless, they do fit a niche that is identifiable (Heavens Oracles make me crazy!), so congratulations on fixing it in a way that voters enjoyed! Good luck in the monster round!

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

I only think I saw these during voting, so they didn't wow me.

Simple and evocative though, without major errors, so that puts them well ahead of many items I did see.

Congratulations, and may your monster be more memorable! Keep it similarly simple, or completely amazing or BOTH and I'll vote for it!!!

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 hadn't seen this while voting, and overall, think it's more of a useful but not Superstar item. It makes sense, it's something I can see someone wanting (though I'd price it at 300 gp only more like a 2nd level potion), but it had next to no flavor, and could be hard to use if you don't know your enemy relies on color sprays or hypnotic patterns often.

Finally, while my favorite part of the item was the drawback of temporary blindness, I agree with others than it should be a move action to remove, not a swift action, which would be more in line with other action economy costs to remove a piece of equipment.

Congrats and make sure in the monster round to work on both the description and text that draws the reader in, and the mechanics being solid and having something new and noteworthy.

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

These made my personal keep list. I especially like how you made them a low-level consumable, and used the temporary blindness for balance.

Like it's been posted, this is typically not something a run-of-the-mill PC would pick up, but it gives an extra advantage to both pc's and npc's who do their homework and research what kind of powers their enemies rely on, and take specific measures to counter them.

I could well imagine a greater version that also protected against gaze attacks.

Nice touch about setting the price to match 2PP for PFS play.

I'm looking forward to your monster.

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

I liked these during the voting, congrats!

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 - Casey N Clements - Patternward Spectacles

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 seems quite mundane on first read, having then progressed to the item effects, it does describe what the item does, no more, no less. So in that sense, the name is perfect for the item. The problem is it didn't inpire me, it didn't make me want the item on my character sheet, so work on that aspect as you progress in the competition, add a little more flair, excite and inspire me with your names, whether its a creature name, an ability name, an ecounter area name, always try to inspire.
Template Fu scores you 6/10 on this.

Template Usage: A spotless template on first scan, but it does suffer the often remarked wall of everything in one paragraph of textness. The description, the effect, the benefits, the end of benefits are all in one text block. This makes it difficult to use at the gaming table as you have to scan through flavor to get to the crunch when checking up on the mechanics of the item.
You also have related affects split by other effects, the opaque part of the effect, clear to not clear, see through to not see through could have been merged into a single sentence that follows the cool effect that is the protection against pattern spells. Always lead of with the cool power, the mundane mechanical things always follow the cool.
Glasses that weigh a pound? Lets see if there is an item type already existing - ah-ha Annihalation Spectacles - perfect, and only a quarter pound. Always check your item type against existing items and be consistent.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Game Balance: Ok, first question that popped into my head was "exactly how specific is this item", how many times do I use color spray at my PCs, how many "pattern" spell effects are there? How often do I cast illusions at a PC? What about gaze attacks? So for me, the narrowness of the effect is just too narrow. It is almost an niche, keep it in my bag unless I know I am coming up against casters type of item.
The fact it was one shot made that narrowness even tighter. What you could have done here is have the spell energy captured and then dissipate over the same number of rounds as the spells duration to a minimum of 1 round, allowing the spectacles to potentially provide benefits more than once per encounter.
Now, I don't see how the PC is blinded by the effect, all that is really happening (and how it should have been described possibly), is that when the lenses darken (unless you really mean everything darkens including the stems and frame), the PC's line of sight is blocked until the spectacles are removed.
Myother concern is that it is another "immunity" style of item. Immunities are not great for game balance, so I think if you provided bonuses to the saves against such effects and had the spectacles re-usable, I would have liked them much more than this current build.
Template Fu scores you 6/10 on this.

Sight - check, it's a little close to real world light sensitive glasses, but the imagery is appropriate to the benefits such effects provide.
Sound - not applicable, I don't think this applies, you might have considered some sound effect of the absorption of the spell perhaps, not sure on this one.
Smell - not applicable to this item.
Taste - not applicable to this item.
Touch - not applicable to this item.
Cinematic Summary The imagery is solid with the effects benefits and drawbacks but they don't really fire my imagination. Sorry, but that is my honest feeling on this one.
Template Fu scores you 14/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
I thin I have adequately covered all of my concerns and thoughts in the prior section. The areas of effect of the item are well defined, but overly narrow as mentioned above. I think this is my biggest concern. A lot of entrants (myself included) will try to do too much, however in this instance, this item borders on too little/overly specific.
One way that could have been more fun and inspiring that comes to mind, take your base item one step further - instead of darkening, they become reflective mirror like lenses, reflecting the color spray, etc., back on the caster. So you are protected but a caster suddenly finds he is included among the affected targets! This could have then provided you the opportunity of describing the reflecting spell energies from the mirrored lenses of the spectacles, and thus giving your item much more pizzazz.
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 48/70, or 69% - A good solid item, just needs a little more sparkle.

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