Bitter Widow's Veil


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Bitter Widow's Veil
Aura moderate enchantment and divination; CL 8th
Slot head; Price 14,000 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
Description
This delicate black veil is often made from black lace or crepe and affixed to a cap, bonnet or band. Once donned, amorphous shadows swirl beneath the veil across the wearer's face.

Whenever a humanoid creature is slain in combat within 30 feet, the bitter widow's veil gains one charge, manifesting as a small, shadowy tear.

Expending the charge causes the flickering shadows on the wearer's face to coalesce into an inky overlay of a woman's anguished visage and unleash a bereaved scream. An invisible 30-foot cone of terrible grief radiates out from the veil's wearer. Creatures within the area of effect must make a DC 16 Will save or be sickened with sorrow for five minutes. If any of the affected creatures have dealt a killing blow to a humanoid or monstrous humanoid within the last 12 hours, they are stunned in the throes of helpless, weeping grief for one round, after which they are subject to the sickened effect.

While the bitter widow's veil contains an unspent charge, the wearer can see and hear ethereal creatures as described by the see invisibility spell. The veil may only contain one charge at a time. An unused charge dissipates in an hour if not otherwise expended.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, crushing despair, overwhelming grief, see invisibility; Cost 7,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

I already want to dislike this item based on its name.

Poor command over rules language. Incorrect usage of italics, numerals, etc.

Remarkably well balanced item.

I'd like to work with this author based on this item's effects.
I'd hate to work with this author based on this item's flavor.

weak reject

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

Renamed a Banshee Veil, it works better. As it is, it feels a little odd. Bitter widow? I like the grief flavour, but not the "bitter" or the "widow".

Weak keep.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

"Bitter"? Partial fit. "Widow" makes sense in terms of the imagery used. I was worried when I saw shadows mentioned, but like the flavor and how well all the abilities tie in to it.

Weak keep.

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

I liked this item when I first saw it, I'm glad to see it made it to the next step. Congratulations BellaDonna!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

Seems to be pretty col and flavorful item.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really like this item, and voted for it repeatedly. It does something that is difficult to do in a short item: it introduces a new mechanic which is clear enough to use in-game, but simple enough to describe in the item description. This is the kind of thing I look for in an RPG product to use when I'm modifying the mechanics in my campaign. In fact, I think I am going to use this item's charge mechanic in an upcoming class for my game.

The flavor could use a little work, but that is understandable, as you needed to fit the rules into the small space allotment.

This was a strong keep for me,
good luck with your monster.

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

I don't know what to tell you, Victoria. I love this item. I love everything about it including the name. I keep picturing Captain Ahab's wife pacing back and forth on top of a lighthouse on a stormy New England coast.

Creepy, cool, traditionally a woman's item... I voted for it again and again.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

I like this item. Reading it, I had a few moments of "hmm sounds good!" "what? that's terrible" "oh wait, that makes sense now!" "huh?" "oh cool!"

With regards to the name and flavour concerns, I don't understand them. Bitter Widow makes sense to me (more than Banshee even). Although admittedly, in my thought process described above, I did tend to agree with those concerns, until I read the whole thing through.

Nice work.

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

It took me a few votes to come around to this one, but, once I did, I upvoted it every time. The imagery won me over, and I like that you limited the charge to an hour.

Congratulations and good luck in the monster round!

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 7

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Banshee rolls off the tongue a bit more, but it loses the immediate retributive flavor in the name.

Really like this. Could see building a whole character based around this item.

Possibly a medusa...

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 the concept but felt the mechanic was a dangerous one with potential pitfalls, mostly from a villain npc standpoint. Also should specify an allied humanoid otherwise a murder hobo type might start massacring goblins to recharge his veil. Still be proud top 32 is an awesome feat congrats and best of luck.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

I upvoted this more than I downvoted it. It's not quite my flavor, but you totally deserve to be here. :)

Congratulations, and good luck!

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

I think this is a very creative and unique item and that is why it almost always got my up vote. Glad it made it to the top 32, Good Luck.

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

Thank you everyone for the kind comments and for the helpful criticism! I am ecstatic to be here; I thought some clunky mechanics wording and having a gothic item in a sea of shadows would sink me. (I think perhaps it almost did, but I'll accept barely making the cut over not at all.)

I have a history of being terrible at naming things and the trend continues. It's a lucky thing there was another person involved in naming my children.

The original name I had for the item was "War Widow's Veil", but felt that most widows in a fantasy setting were liable to be war widows. It was just Widow's Veil for a while, but that felt too plain; as the mechanics developed, I envisioned an item infused with the bitterness of a widow who lost her husband to senseless war and violence, thus "punishing" those who kill each other with the grief she felt. So the "bitter" aspect came into the name.

I obviously wasn't going to shove any of that into the description, so I hoped it would be conveyed in the name. It fell flat for some, but I'm happy some picked up on what I was going for (JollyRoger, Avatar-1, Mikaze).

The exact wording of the mechanics changed half a dozen times, and a secondary ability to hear the dead was added and removed I don't know how many times. In the end, glad I left it out.

GM_Solspiral wrote:
Also should specify an allied humanoid otherwise a murder hobo type might start massacring goblins to recharge his veil.

I considered that, but then I became concerned that it would make the item too constricting. Like the items dependent on the wearer's death, an item that does a basic crowd control effect and requires a friend to die seemed too restrictive. I hoped the limit of one charge at a time that dissipates in a reasonable amount of time would prevent much abuse from that standpoint.

I also considered having the effect only triggering off of a humanoid's death, but then I considered, I don't know, an angry letter from the Coalition of Monstrous Humanoids or something demanding equal treatment.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Gotta disagree heartily with the judges and you, this thing's name rocks! The theme is downright dark and moody and draws from visceral and emotive longings that course deep within...

I love the mechanic approach. Definitely some deep design pool of creativity drawn from for this one. A big congrats to you, and I definitely look forward to seeing your monster - keep up the dread and you'll go far...


Belladonna Blue wrote:
I also considered having the effect only triggering off of a humanoid's death, but then I considered, I don't know, an angry letter from the Coalition of Monstrous Humanoids or something demanding...

You left that part in, and I'm glad you did.

Great job - as Patrick said, very well balanced. At will crushing despair comes in at 4x the price, but as a cone, and requiring a death to charge, cutting that down just makes sense. Toss in a partial see invisibility gratis just works, since while you have that up you aren't actually using the veil's primary ability.

As someone else mentioned, I'm stealing this mechanic for my own homegame items. Well done.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Gotta disagree heartily with the judges and you, this thing's name rocks! The theme is downright dark and moody and draws from visceral and emotive longings that course deep within...

Yeah I didn't like the item at first, though it grew on me, but the name I always thought was awesome. Welcome aboard.


This was one of those items I had to warm up to, but once I did it went in the keep folder. Congratulations, and good luck in the second 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 was so very torn on this item. I wanted to like it a lot but I just didn't like how it was charged and the name was...ok. I liked the idea and thinking behind it a lot though. I'm not sad to see this here but I really hope you notch it up for the next round!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

You definitely have to work on your presentation of rules, but the moko of this veil is undeniable. I don't remember seeing it in voting, but I wish I had. Would have made my keep list for sure.

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

I'm a fan. Didn't see it in voting, because I would have remembered it if I had. I disagree with the judges--keep the widow flavor.

Congratulations, and good luck in Round 2!

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

I got stuck on the term "charge" too, but otherwise I think this is a really tight item. I kind of like the widow imagery, but I agree with Russell that the banshee veil would probably make more sense. Looking forward to your monster!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Belladonna Blue wrote:
I also considered having the effect only triggering off of a humanoid's death, but then I considered, I don't know, an angry letter from the Coalition of Monstrous Humanoids or something demanding equal treatment.

Well, I'm going to steal this idea. I already have an angry coalition of sentient plants, so now they have one more thing to be angry about!

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 pretty sure I saw this within my first five votes, and it came back often during the voting period. While it didn't quite make my favorite list, it was still a solid and evocative item that 9 out of 10 times I'd upvote without even having to debate the issue too hard. Good job, congratulations!


I saw it a few times and liked the general idea but felt that it needs more work to develop.

Good luck.


Belladonna Blue, congratulations on a wonderfully evocative entry! I took all the above feedback and spent 2 hours revising the item to take that into account, make clarifications, and review the humanoid vs. monstrous humanoid component.

It would be great to hear your take on other people's refinement of your item.
(285 words)

Bitter Widow's Veil
Aura moderate enchantment and divination; CL 8th
Slot head; Price 14,000 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.

Description
This delicate black veil is often made from black lace or crepe and affixed to a cap, bonnet or band. Once donned, amorphous shadows swirl beneath the veil across the wearer's face. The veil is infused with the bitterness of a widow who lost her husband to senseless war or violence and uses her grief to try and "punish" those who kill each other.

Whenever a humanoid creature is slain in combat within 30 feet, the bitter widow's veil gains one charge, manifesting as a small, shadowy tear. The veil may only contain one charge at a time and an unused charge dissipates in an hour if not otherwise expended. While the bitter widow's veil contains an unspent charge, the wearer can see and hear ethereal creatures as described by the see invisibility spell.

The shadowy tear may be shed as a standard action which causes flickering shadows on the wearer's face to coalesce into an inky overlay of a woman's anguished visage. The visage unleashes a bereaved scream that can be heard for some distance. In addition, an invisible 30-foot cone of terrible, mind-affecting grief radiates out from the veil's wearer. Creatures within the area of effect must make a DC 16 Will save or be sickened with sorrow for five minutes. If any of the affected creatures have dealt a killing blow to a humanoid within the last 12 hours, they are stunned for one round due to helpless, weeping grief, after which they are subject to the sickened effect.

Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, crushing despair, overwhelming grief, see invisibility; Cost 7,000 gp

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

Congratulations Victoria,

I love the visuals of this, nice work. 'Killing' could take some adjudication. I think the widow aspect is a bit of a disconnect, since an adventurer will be out to kill things in a typical campaign, but not enough of one to ruin the item.

Good 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

During the voting, I thought this was very evocative. :)

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

A well written item, but there's a few issues I had with it. First, is that it's primary effect is pretty much a spell in a can, combining crushing despair and overwhelming grief. You may argue that a difference between the spells and the item are that the item subtly changes the effects of those spells to cause sickness and stunning, while the spells instead describe the details of those conditions, while not actually labeling them so. I think that's a mistake however, since one of the benefits of those spells is that they cause those conditions even on creatures that are immune to poison or stunning (as long as they're susceptible to mind affecting spells). Also, the veil doesn't mention that these are mind-affecting, which based on their requirements of the item, they should be.

Another issue is the requirement of knowing what creatures have killed a humanoid in the past 12 hours. Sure, you'll know if the PCs did, but what about a goblin they're fighting? It might have, and might even have been likely to if it recently was in a raid, but it might not have. That's a kind of GM work I wouldn't want to have in my game.

I did like the theme of the item, and how it all fit together, as well as the side effect of being able to see ethereal creatures if you don't expend the charge.

Good luck in round 2.

Star Voter Season 8

I know this post is well after the fact and may I start off by saying congrqats. Just wanted to add my two cents but I think it would have been more aptly named along the lines of a Mourners Veil or Veil of the Mourning. Just a few ideas is all. Otherwise a very sound and well balanced item to which I say good job.

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