Voidspun Lenses


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Voidspun Lenses
Aura moderate divination and enchantment; CL 7th
Slot eyes; Price 18,700 gp; Weight
Description
Snipped from the very essence of the Dark Tapestry and given physical form, these lenses are found in matched pairs as thumbnail-sized fragments of obsidian that sparkle with pinpoints of cold white light. Once the wearer places the lenses directly on her eyes, the lenses liquefy, coat the eyes, and give the eyes the appearance of an inky black sky punctuated by sparks of distant starlight. When worn, the lenses grant occasional visions of possible futures foreseen in the stars. Three times per day as an immediate action, the wearer can gain a +2 insight bonus to one of the following until her next turn: AC, attack rolls, or saving throws. Furthermore, once per day as a standard action, the wearer can stare fixedly at a target within 30 feet. If the target fails a DC 16 Will save, he is affected as if by confusion as his eyes are drawn to the endless depths visible in the lenses while his mind struggles to comprehend the nature of the nothingness between the stars. Both lenses must be worn for the magic to take effect.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, divination, confusion; Cost 9,350 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

Weird but kinda awesome flavor. Tight rules, loose writing. Wouldn't take much to develop an item like this.

weak keep

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

Very evocative. Another "nounverb" name, but other than that I like it.

Keep.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

I love the My God, you're full of stars! gaze attack. Shades of black oil too. Nice flavor and clear writing.

Keep.

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

Good job Brian, I upvoted this item a lot.

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

The flavor of this item put it on my like list. It's a bonus/spell in a can, but it's evocative enough to impress me.

Congrats, and good luck in the next round!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

The mechanic is "meh", but hte flavor is really good.

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

Saw this item a lot in my voting and it got a lot of up votes from me. The visuals are fun and my players would get a pair just for the "night eyes" effect! Good luck going forward.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

Judy Bauer wrote:
I love the My God, you're full of stars! gaze attack.

This right here.

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, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

I don't have much to say other than focusing your writing skills technically. I loved the name, the evocative description, and the mechanics. Well done.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

I voted for this one when I saw it, congrats.

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 the item that made me decide I needed a keep folder. Congrats.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

What an honor to be one of the top 32!

Thanks for the kind words and advice everyone; I really appreciate it.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Incredible flavor with this item, and confusion is always fun. It manages to be versatile without being too powerful, and the abilities seem on key with the flavor of of the item. Well done.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

My problem with the gaze attack's save is that considering the cost of the item is 18,700gp, by the time you're able to afford it, that's an easy save to make, which will hurt the item's primary use.

Does the insight bonus last until the beginning or the end of the turn? That's important for AoO's.

Lots of cool ideas here that are fixable.

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.

I thought this was a thematically tight item, and it shows how someone can create a "weird" item without going for the "ick" factor.

Congratulations and best of luck in the monster round!

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

I liked this item - a little safe, but yeah, the visuals are awesome. I'd like to see the monsters and more that come from this brain...

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

Hadn't seen this in voting, but suspect it would have gotten votes from me against most of what was out there. Very strong descriptions, which will serve you well in later rounds.

However, the mechanics were somewhat weak. The confusion gaze attack is thematically appropriate, but isn't that exciting. I would have rather something more unique that an existing spell effect, maybe giving a curse effect that force the target to stare into the sky seeking the alien vistas they were subject to with the attack, and causing them to move at half speed and only be able to see 5 feet in any direction around them other than straight up, or something different!

I'm not a fan of one round static bonuses to die rolls or AC, since they're incredibly hard to use well. If you're going to go this route, make it worthwhile and let the bonus apply after you see the result of the die roll - then you know when you're in the zone of being close but not quite there on your own - that's an item effect I'd pay precious gp for.

That being said, congrats in making the top 32, and can't wait to see what creativity you bring with your monster entry!


I like the flavor of this item.

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

This item is just great. In all fairness, it doesn't do much in terms of mechanics: a +2 bonus to some rolls, and a confusion spell delivered with a gaze attack. And yet, it pulls through thanks to its sheer coolness. I would want this for my character even if it had no in-game effects, just because it makes your eyes look like the freaking cosmos.

Brian, keep delivering these great concepts, but work to make the mechanics as interesting as the idea. Congratulations! I'm looking forward to seeing your monster.

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

There were a number of Dark Tapestry themed items this year, and this one is one that stood out to me during the voting. The cosmetic effects certainly help, and the item is creative without being over-the-top. This strikes me as something that would have a place in an Adventure Path or the like.

Congratulations, and good luck in Round 2.

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

Congratulations Brian,

I was 50/50 on the votes for this item. It is mechanically balanced and well written, but I thought the +2 was too small an effect and confusion to SiaC. Some of the descriptions

Brian Duckwitz wrote:

Voidspun Lenses

.... Once the wearer places the lenses directly on her eyes, the lenses liquefy, coat the eyes, and give the eyes the appearance of an inky black sky punctuated by sparks of distant starlight...

This writing will turn some readers off. YMMV Skip to the wonderfully concrete image (my bold) for maximum punch.

Good luck. :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

This is neat and like others said, the imaginary is very evocative. I think imaginary is just as important as the mechanics and something I commented about in an earlier thread (and probably in past years). Plus, I like using confusion on my players!

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

I'm a sucker for madness beyond the stars stuff, so you started out on a high note for me right off the bat. The actual effects of these I was a bit more 'meh' on, but it was an interesting enough item that it got multiple upvotes from me regardless. Congratulations, and welcome to the real madness that is the contest.

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

I especially liked the flavor on these and upvoted them several times.

Congrats!

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

I’m not sure what the issue with ‘nounverb’ names is. Voidspun sounds great! Love the flavor; thought confusion was a little obvious as an effect, and whilst the insight bonus initially sounded pedestrian, applying the bonus where you like is an appealing idea. I think I’d love to see what Greater Voidspun Lenses do!

Nice one Brian; this one has really grown on me

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

I really liked the gaze attack on these. The insight bonus thing is nifty and gives it broader appeal. Good luck in the upcoming round!

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 - Brian Duckwitz - Voidspun Lenses

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: An intriguing name, I initially pictured some sort of arachnid spinning lenses from the darkness around them. It does kind of fit with the theme of the item, but a void is a nothingness, a totality of absence, whereas a starfield night isn't completely empty. This miss-match between the name and the cool visual is an area that you can tighten in your designs going forward.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Template Usage: The price concerned me, it looks like a calculated price without comparison to the wondrous item tables. When you hit the 18,000 mark in the tables, do you notice a pattern? All of the items from 17-19k are listed in round 1,000s.
I think when I look at the items in this price range, that for me, your item could drop a few places pricewise, but that's just my design feelings. When pricing, always look at where your item resides, how those prices are generally rounded and their respective power, e.g. at 18k, I can have an "always on" +3 AC bonus compared to a 3 times a day +2 AC bonus.
The only other obvious mistake on the template is the spells should have been listed in alphabetical order, confusion first.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Game Balance: Ignoring the price concern already covered, this item is quite tight in game effects and ties very nicely with Golarion lore.
Your item suffers on clarity because it's a single paragraph with every effect and benefit buried instead of being broken out by paragraph breaks to enable scanning of the item during game play.
You also started with the "ho hum" bonus to x, y, z when the really cool thing that your item provides is left to last. Always lead off with your coolness, closing with the boring bonuses.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Cinematics:
Sight - check, the visuals are very strong, albeit for me a little meme, dark eyes filled with starlight - seen that in a few places, "Bad Willow" eyes in Buffy, the baby kidnapper who fills the void at the end of the Mallorean books by Eddings are two that immediately spring to mind. I don't think this imagery is overused enough that it is a major problem here (setting aside it is often a sign of evilness), but it is something that is used often enough in the fantasy and horror genres that you should be aware of it.
Sound - not applicable, for this item, sound doesn't really apply.
Smell - not applicable, for this item, smell doesn't really apply.
Taste - not applicable, for this item, smell doesn't really apply.
Touch - missed opportunity - What does it feel like putting them in? What about as the darkness spreads across your eyes, any disorientation even if momentary?
Cinematic Summary The visuals on what is seen are strong, but the senses or effect on the eyes of the user is lacking. I think the what is seen is strong enough that it isn't a major issue though.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
Can they be taken out again or will you always have void sockets for eyes? If they cannot be taken out, the adventuring PC becomes easily identifiable, allowing those who wish the party harm a much greater chance of finding them.
I personally wouldn't want to put something in my eyes and have it be permanent, it kind of creeps me out a little.
The rules are so tight, there is not really any room for tweaking or taking the item further. This really marks this item as tight in design, so very well done on this.
It is very much a gaze attack, so you might want to look at other gaze attacks and gaze attack avoidance. For example, if the target is blind, he should be immune to the confusion effect because he cannot see into the eyes to be drawn in. When fighting humanoids without dark vision in a dark place, does that count as being blind for the item? "The target must have line of sight with the wearer's eyes." would have resolved this.
Template Fu scores you 15/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 55/70, or 79% - A very tight design!

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