Crest of the Fallen

Open Call: Design a wondrous item

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Tamago

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Crest of the Fallen
Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 2,000 gp; Weight
This fist-sized silver badge bears a stylized painting of an animal. The first time a character wears the crest, the animal changes to match the wearer’s heraldic symbol. If the wearer does not have a heraldic animal, it takes the form of an animal appropriate to the character’s personality, determined by the player. The animal depicted must be one of the options available as a druid animal companion.

Once per day, when the wearer of the crest gains the dying or dead condition, the painted animal jumps out of the badge and becomes a creature, which appears in the wearer’s square. The creature has the same statistics as a 1st-level druid’s animal companion of the same type that was depicted on the crest, except that its hit points are equal to one quarter of the wearer’s maximum hit points. If the wearer is high enough level, the creature also gains the 4th or 7th-level advancement as described in the list of animal companions. It does not, however, gain any further bonuses from Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics.

The creature is controlled by the player, and will guard the fallen character. It protects the character by taking actions such as attacking enemies, assisting allies using the Aid Another action, or using the Heal skill to stabilize the character. The creature cannot move more than 50 feet from the badge. It cannot use equipment or magic items, including potions.

If the creature is slain, it disappears, and the crest remains blank and is no longer magical. After one minute or if the wearer regains consciousness, the creature becomes a painting once again.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, deathwatch, summon nature’s ally II; Cost 1,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

I shudder at any item that uses exactly 300 words.

But neat! I really like this item, actually. I was freaked out when we started talking about a 1st-level druid's animal companion and all that, but the author handled it well.

I like the flavor and think this is a useful, creative item.


Paizo Employee Associate Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wait, go back to the point where your animal companion can use the Heal skill... It's otherwise reasonable and well-written, but WHAT? (Now imagining a velociraptor maintaining pressure on a wound with those claws and just making it worse. :P)

Weak keep.

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

I like it; the protecting fallen character aspect swung it for me.

Weak keep.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There were a lot of "keep me alive after I die" items this year and except for this one I didn't vote for them. This one I felt had the right idea and I loved it the first time I read it and voted for it every time i saw it. Congrats on making it to the top 32 and Good Luck.

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

Sorry--while I liked the imagery, which gives me hope that your monster round entry will be a fun read, I rarely voted for this item.

I'm with Andrew that, of all the activates-on-death items, this was one of the better ones, but it's still a miserable use of a slot from a player perspective and it's the sort of thing that frustrates GMs. It's a bookkeeping nightmare, as the player and/or GM may need to stat this familiar (or even sheet it, considering the advancements option) at a moment's notice and for a very brief amount of time.

The price would be better if it were a consumable, but once per day? Everyone who so much as sniffs a dungeon will buy one, find one, or have it handed down to them. This practically, if not explicitly, rewrites the rules on death, which is a very, very hard sell.

I'm hoping to see the sort of character that's in this item's writing in the monster round, as it really is charming. Good luck!

EDIT: Re: the Heal issue, it's feasible, particularly considering it's being statted as a familiar and not a critter.

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

The imagery associated with an animal protecting its master really resonated with me, and I voted for this quite often.

Best of luck in the monster round!

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 loved and hated this. Concept was cool but there were so many you died and this item activates items this year. IT got quite a few upvotes despite that prejudice.

A side note I'm noticing the judges have different voter fatigue issues then the voters.

I digress congrats and good luck.

This one was in my keep folder. I like the concept and I'm interested to see what you can do in round 2. Congratulations and good luck.

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

Eh, I actually like this a lot.

Nice emotive tie to a regrettable condition and the loyalty of companions (real or summoned).

Evocative and intriguing name.

Well reasoned effects and shows diligence with judicious hyperlinking. Though hyperlinking feels like it adds a kabazilliontonne more words to the wordcount and I didn't know that was even allowed at first...

Nice work. Congratulations on making it to the top 32, and let's see some cool monsters defending your creativity...

Dark Archive

I feel like this item would work better as a heraldic device on a tabard or shield, than as a neck slot item, but, other than that quibble, it's definitely one of my favorites.

It's kind of neat in that it's a rare item that only becomes useful when the user no longer has an action, so, unlike most other summoning-related items or effects, it doesn't impact action economy as much. Being able to run the beastie also gives a fallen PCs player something to do in rounds in which he or she would otherwise be stuck watching everyone else play the game, so that's a plus right there.

It might be a reading comprehension fail on my part, but I'm not seeing any sort of duration for this effect. If the bearer of the crest wakes up, does the creature vanish? Does it only remain a number of rounds equal to the CL 5 summon nature's ally that went into it's creation (5 rounds)? Does it remain indefinitely, until slain, even after the wearer awakens, possibly hanging around for days, or even weeks, if it isn't killed in that time? In the latter case, can someone have several of these creatures, if they go to Dying while a pre-existing creature from a previous near-death experience remains alive?

Most intriguingly, from a story perspective, could the creature still remain guarding a corpse, possibly even for years, so that a party might discover the bones of someone long-dead, with a faithful hound still guarding his body?

I like the idea.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Tamago

Hi, everyone! Thank you so much for voting for my item; I am thrilled to have made it into the Top 32!

And, of course, thanks to the judges for selecting my item and giving me the opportunity to compete in the next round. I appreciate the opportunity. I will try not to let you down!

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 not a fan of any of the keep me alive items. This is no exception.

I DID like the name (reminded me of Dark Souls or Demon's Souls).

Out of the items that protected against death...this had the best flavor and ideas.

I'm hoping to see something more terrifying or cool as your R2 entry!

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

Set wrote:
It might be a reading comprehension fail

It is. last line reads "After one minute or if the wearer regains consciousness, the creature becomes a painting once again. "

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

I never saw this one during voting, so these are my first impressions on it. This is an... odd one. Although I do like the idea of keeping a fallen character's player in the game with something to do, the fact that this is so versatile is a few strike against it. For one thing, not all animal companions are created equal (alack! alay!), so there's a mechanical impact on roleplaying. I expect to see a game with this item where everyone claims that their personality most closely matches a tyrannosaurus or an elephant. And then there's the need to stat. Any item that requires homework to use is on thin ice with me.

The writing is evocative and the concept creative, but the effect is too wonky, especially at that price range. If it was an item that simply made attacks against enemies approaching a fallen character, or providing cover bonuses or something, then it'd be more standardized.

Still, based on the pure writing of it, rather than the mechanics, I'm excited to see what you whip up for the monster round. Congratulations, and best of luck in Round 2!

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

Congratulations Emmanuel,

I only saw this once and it got my vote because it was very well written. This does not have enough innovation for me. The hardest sell was bringing the player into it, breaking the fourth wall. Like I said it still got a vote and is very well written, keep it up I look forward to your critter.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Pretty cool item, though Heal is obviously a big oversight. 2,000gp is way too cheap for 1/day. This item is capable of a lot. The character is unlikely to drop more than 1/day, making it a bargain for any character. Probably still a bargain at 10,000gp.

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

Cool, this was one of my favorites. I think what set this apart from the various other postmortem items (honestly, I didn't even lump it into that category while voting) was that, yes, it gives the player something to do while his character is dying 9which isn't itself a bad thing) but it's not a cheap effect; you don't become more powerful in death or auto-rez, you have to work to benefit from this. That critter on your chest is way less potent than your character was, and while it certainly gives you options, it's unlikely to be a game changer in combat unless you really work at it.
And I disagree that it's terribly underpriced; maybe a bit, but given that when this activates there's a good chance the animal spawned will die (what with 1/4 of the users HPs), and since unlike figurines of wondrous power and similar items, dying while in animal form doesn't reset it, but basically breaks the item for good, this really shouldn't be a significantly more expensive item, IMHO.
Anyway,I digress. Loved the item, happy to see you made it in based on the item's strength. Congratulations.

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

The title gave me pause; I was expecting some rather gimmicky item making a wordplay with crestfallen. Of course, it’s nothing of the sort. What it is is all kinds of awesome. Lovely imagery in this item, something a PC would love to have for the cool factor as well as the utility (as long as that velociraptor isn’t making heal checks as Judy pointed out.

Although as a GM, I think this item would make me even for inclined to go in for the kill with a PC just for the fun or seeing the item triggered.

All in all, a super use of your word count, and for me really innovative.

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 liked this one quite a bit. I agree it's the best of the post-mortem items I saw, since a) it's lower priced and can be used before you have access to long range healing magic or raise dead options, and b) it gives you a chance to save your PC and stay in the game.

The only real downside is the stating up the critter, but if you have this item, you should do it ahead of time, and just keep it's stats up to date when you level, just like a real animal companion, so you have it ready at the table.

I would consider changing the matching heraldry to simply having the GM pick the animal that's the best fit. That would a) remove any issues with odd heraldry that isn't animal based, like a tower, or three spears, and b) avoid players min-maxing their heraldry just for this item.

Great job, and looking forward to your monster.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Tamago

Judy Bauer wrote:
Wait, go back to the point where your animal companion can use the Heal skill... It's otherwise reasonable and well-written, but WHAT? (Now imagining a velociraptor maintaining pressure on a wound with those claws and just making it worse. :P)

Judy, your comment is exactly the sort of effect I was going for. Yes, having an animal companion try to heal is probably not a very good idea. However, the skill can be used untrained, and most ACs have a somewhat decent Wisdom score. With a DC of 15 to provide first aid, it's at least possible (if not likely) for the animal to stabilize the PC.

It probably wouldn't be my first choice, but if it's between that and the character dying, at least you have a shot. Plus, I like the imagery of the companion licking the wounds of the fallen character.

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 - Emmanuel Greene - Crest of the Fallen

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: Your name acts as a reminder to the base theme of the item, very nice. I did like your use of crest rather than badge or symbol. There was a bit of a bump in the opening description, you refer to the item as badge in the first sentence and then as a crest from the second sentence onwards.
A slight rewording would have fixed this, something like "The heraldic crest on this fist-sized silver badge depicts a stylized painting of an animal. When worn for the first time, the animal changes to match..."
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Template Usage: Excellent template use, including use of emdash for no weight and capitalising the II roman numerals on the spell name but keeping the rest lowercase. Well done!
Now, in the opening description, we have the phrase "determined by the player". I believe in this instance, that this is superflous, the players and GM can mutually agree on the image taken, so 4 words dropped there.
Re-arranging paragraph 3 could also eliminate the guarding/protection statement effectively repeating itself as currently written.
My first reaction on price was it was quite low for a save from death item, but then I realised that if you go straight to dead, you aren't saved from being dead, your body just has an extra protector for a short time, so I think that this is priced about right.
Template Fu scores you 9/10 on this.

Game Balance: Hmmm, my family heraldic crest is a multi headed dragon, so that means a 1 HD multi headed dragon leaps out to protect my body?... or a massive Rhino, or a Basilisk (hah, look towards my body now! :P), Or a Roc that picks up my body and flies it away for a minute to safety. We are not specifically excluding magical beasts. As written, the animal type restriction appears to be such that it only applies when I don't have an animal based heraldic symbol as we only choose the animal when our symbol isn't depicting an animal - this whole paragraph could be restructured making this the limit, if your heraldic symbol is an animal on the companion table, you get it, otherwise you have to choose from the companion table. It would likely have cut your word count by some margin taking that route.
What about if my heraldic symbol shows two animals - lion and unicorn for example... do I choose between them? With mythic, we could have allowed you to get both protect you.
Companions, summoned creatures are always under the control of the summoning player unless they are specifically called out as not being so, so the phrase concerning control of the creature is surplus to requirements as it is the default behavior.
I believe you have covered the bases very well and game balance is not overly taxed, it's just the word volume I struggled with. I am also guilty of being overly wordy at times, and it is a hard habit to break. Work on this though and your should go far.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Sight - check, very good imagery buried under a weight of words.
Sound - not applicable to this item, but possibly applicable to the animal when it is summoned?
Smell - not applicable to this item.
Taste - not applicable to this item.
Touch - not applicable to this item - or possibly the painting could be so life like, you get the feeling of stroking the animals fur/scales/etc as appropriate perhaps.
Cinematic Summary The visual of an animal leaping out and beside a fallen master is very strong. It did get a little buried in all the what-if's and catch all game balancing.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
The item is very tight and I don't think you could have taken it much further in the word count allowed for round 1. I did wonder though about taking the leap and making it a companion vessel, extending beyond the druid list. It could have "stored" your companion (or familiar!) rather than being a created on the spot creature.
The last paragraph, again, I think it's just ordering issues, but it kind of reads that it becomes non magical, but if you regain consciousness or a minute passes, it reverts back to being the magical item again - watch for how you end things when you are close to word limit, I think this phrasing resulted from word count pressure.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 57/70, or 81% - Excellent.

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