Earthbind Boots

Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Earthbind Boots
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot feet; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Thick iron bands encircle these sturdy leather boots. With a single stomp, their wearer can rip flying enemies from the sky and pull them to the earth.

Once per day, the wearer of the boots may activate them as a standard action by stomping on the ground, causing a sound resembling rolling thunder and crashing boulders. Upon activation, the wearer targets a single creature within 180 feet that is flying, levitating, or otherwise airborne. The creature must make a DC 17 Will save or be pulled to the ground by the force of the boots’ magic. The creature lands upright and directly beneath its former location, taking no damage. It is bound by the boots and cannot fly by any means for 9 rounds, though it can still walk, run, jump, and climb normally. If the target succeeds on its saving throw, it is pulled only half the distance to the ground and is able to continue flying normally. If the creature would land on water or another non-solid surface, it instead lands on the nearest solid surface within 180 feet of where it would normally have landed.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, telekinesis; Cost 5,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

Repetitive and unnecessarily long introductory text. Pretty good from a rules perspective though. Definitely interesting and useful. Fair price. Sensible spell requirement and such.

weak keep

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

Interesting idea. I like it. So if the creature fails its save, it gets pulled halfway directly down and then continues flying? What happens if there is no solid surface with 180 feet?

I like the concept, but I find it slightly confusing.

Weak reject.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

If it fails its save, it's pulled to the ground; it's pulled halfway down if it's successful. (There may be corner cases about how far the target would be pulled if e.g. over a deep canyon, but they shouldn't be hard to address.) A little repetitive at times, but clearly written and useful item.

Weak keep.

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

I thought this was an incredibly evocative item, and I thing there's plenty of room in the anti-flight design space. Great work and best of luck in the monster round!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka primemover003

Welcome back Mike! Earthbind was a nifty spell in 3.5 and these boots are an interesting counter to such a useful combat tactic.

Good luck in round 2!

--Vrocky road

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Welcome back, Mike. Two years in a row, plus a stint as an alternate. Not too shabby. Still gotta tighten the screws a little on some of these designs, but let's see what you've got for a monster.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Mike! Glad to see you in here, buddy. Glad to be in such good company :)

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

One of my favorite boot items!

Nothing to say that hasn't already been said...let's see the tightness being applied to your R2!

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 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Another item I really liked during voting. Congrats, Mike!

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

I'm so stoked to be back this year! Thank you to the voters, judges, and fellow contestants for all of your feedback and encouragement. Like last year, I'll be back later to respond in detail, but for now I'm off to work on that Round 2 monster!

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

Neat idea, I did see some issues with it so it got a mix of votes from me. The name being similar to a magic the gathering spell and the stomping were points against. The image of a dwarf stomping some flying beastie back to earth was definitely a favorable point. Congrats on making it 3 years straight and best of luck.

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

Yay, welcome back!
I'll admit, when I first saw these during voting I groaned because I assumed these were going to be more of the Dwarven Defender-style 'I cannot be moved from my position' boots that I think there were a bunch of last year. So I was REALLY pleased to see the 'earthbinding' effect was vs. flying opponents, not the user. This was another one of those items that, while it didn't make my personal top 32, I upvoted a lot during the voting phase; if I'd bothered to track a top 100, or even top 64, I suspect this would have been on that list. Congrats again!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

This was one of my pet favorites. Not the cleanest, but I liked that you were offering a cinematic alternative solution to flying enemies besides just flying yourself. Congrats!

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

In for another run, huh, Mike? Congratulations!

I didn't get to vote a lot this year, but did come across your item fairly early. It went straight to my keep file and it was one of the two items I saw that I was sure would get into the Top 32 (the other being stormcrusher gauntlets). This is a fantastic, cinematic idea. One of my favorites in the top 32.

Good luck next round! And well, you've been here before, so... you know what you have to do!

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

Welcome back to the top 32! The cinematics of this item are what sells it for me. This design space isn't unexplored (as mentioned with earthbind), but the idea of stomping and increasing gravity around the target is cool. It's also nice to see a save-for-half effect on an item, since most of them with a save are save negates.

Congratulations, and good luck with Round 2!

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

Love these boots, definitely like seeing the flyers stripped of flight and brought to bear.

Welcome back Mike, you've shown you have the goods twice, time to push through the next round!!!

I agree the language needs some elision, but the rules-fu is there, and the concept marriage to flavor is nice.

Congratulations (again) and let's see a cool monster!!!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Just generally speaking - except in ideal circumstances, I'm having a lot of trouble picturing how this item works. They can't fly, but they can jump/climb/walk/run/etc normally? The no land within 180ft question is valid. The creature lands, upright and taking no damage - from stomping the ground?

The item sounds fine mechanically, but I'm suspending my disbelief quite a bit here.

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Congrats Mike!

Amazing to be playing in a PbB with two Superstar contenders!

I liked this item a lot, and saw it a few times while voting. It works by serving a niche in-game that isn't well-addressed.

I'm very much looking forward to your low-level urban monster!

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

Congratulations Mike & welcome back!

This seemed a lot of words for what it did, but otherwise it is a decent item. I can see difficulty at the table for flyers at less than 90 ft. (especially for those of who like me can't do Pythagorean's triangle in his head). Bringing them to the ground is still probably enough for the party to engage them & will provoke AoO when they try and leave. I think <90 feet will be way more common in encounters >90.

Good Luck on R2 & R3!

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, cool effect that earthbound melee fighters will surely love.


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 these during voting and still do. There should be more items like this that counter flyers, without resorting to giving flight and moving the combat into the air. The visuals that go with the item are also fun.

Looking forward to your R2 monster.

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

I wanted to stop by and say thank you to everyone who left feedback and comments on my item. I am glad so many of you liked the earthbind boots, and to those of you who didn't like it or who had questions/concerns about the mechanics: your feedback is valuable and has helped me to see some changes I should make! I'm busy working on future rounds at the moment, but I think once the contest is over I'll come back and post a revised version. I'd like to eliminate some of the repetitive wording and clarify the mechanics a bit. That's what feedback is for!

I'm kicking myself for only Googling the phrase "earthbind boots" instead of just "earthbind" before submitting my item. The former search didn't reveal to me that the word "earthbind" had been used in other popular games before, while it seems the latter search would have. And here I thought I was being careful! Thanks for pointing that out.

I'll be in "radio silence" mode while round 2 voting is open, but for now I'll simply say "thank you" in advance for your continued feedback and support.

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 - Mike Kimmel - Earthbind Boots

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 is quite intriguing and pulled me in, that is so good, but my initial impression was that they might be some sort of anti quicksand/bog type of boots, based on binding earth. On discovery that it was to bind flyers to the ground, I found the word choice both apt and at the same time jarring. This is a difficult one, I can't think of a better alternative.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Template Usage: Although you executed the template perfectly, you used a lot of older and clunky phrasing.
For example, "Once per day, the wearer of the boots may activate them as a standard action by stomping on the ground..." - 20 words - just to deal with activation. So how much do we need and did you fall into common traps?
Yes, first one is the dreaded passive voice, "could, may, should, can,... etc" - "may activate", shudder, "activates" - much better, dynamic and stronger.
Other things in that sentence that jar are "wearer of the boots" and "as a standard action".
So how could yo have written that first sentence? This is my stab, it's one possibility, but I hope it is useful to you.
"Once per day, stomping hard on the ground causes waves of thunderous force to roll out to 180 feet, ensnaring airborne creatures in its grip and forcing them to the ground."
I didn't mention standard action, because that is the normal action for activating an item, and I didn't use wearer of the boots as that can safely be assumed. I also replaced the list of how creatures are "flying" with the term airborne as that term covers all.
Your first two sentences - 47 words - my version, I think is cleaner, clearer and only 31 words. One thing I have noticed in the round 1 public voting is that the voting public vote for short easy to read items. I guess this may be due to voting tiredness as one factor, but easy reading is a big score too.
I know removing clunky over wordiness is hard (look at my reviews >.<), so this is something we can both work on :)
The only other feedback, and probably due to the wordiness of the description, is "wall of text" - look for feature breaks - you could have para broken between the landing text and the save resolutions. This would break the description into base effect of pulling a creature down and then special cases.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Game Balance: My first gut reaction was the 180 foot range. That felt huge. I did a quick check against dragon flying speeds, (100ft - 250ft). So a dragon with a 250 foot movement, the great wyrm, if doing a strafing run needs to start more than 180 feet away, but ends only 70 feet past the party - hmmm, this makes the most dangerous of creature vulnerable to the boots range. On reflection I think dropping this to 120 foot would be a better choice - the same strafing run by the great wyrm can now start at just over 120 feet away and will finish with the dragon just out of range again. This is a personal gut feel though. 180 isn't unreasonable in the main, I just felt it was a bit too much is all.
The will save was spot on, but I did wonder if size should be a modifier on this save - pulling a sparrow to the ground should be relatively easy, but a great ancient wyrm - hmmm, maybe not so. Or the type of flying maneuverability - a clumsy flyer would be easier to pull down than a good flyer for example.
I found the 9 rounds slightly odd for keeping the creature on the ground, I would have allowed a Will save every round during this time for the creature to shake of the effects and be able to fly again. Most combats against a single creature do not last 9 rounds, five-six is around the average. I would probably drop the 9 to 6.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Sight - check, wonderful imagery marred by clunky wording.
Sound - check, nice thunderous complement to the effect
Smell - my first reaction was doesn't apply, but thunderstorms and the like do sometimes have an ozone/metallic smell to them, so you possibly could have played off this
Taste - doesn't apply
Touch - missed opportunity - are they comfortable to wear, cushioned against stomping on hard ground etc?
Cinematic Summary The visual and sound aspects combine to a satisfying imagery - very well done.
Template Fu scores you 18/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
The only thing I wondered was if the stomp could also radiate out through the ground, creating a momentary shock wave that could render those already on the ground to save or become prone. I think this might overpower the item on reflection even though it would make the effect seem more cohesive and complete. Something to think about perhaps.
I think all the tweaks mentioned in Game Balance should be examined, as this item is very close to perfect and just needs some small tweaking and a bit of de-cluttering on the wording.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 57/70, or 81% - A very visual and fun item marred only by over wordiness.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2014 / Open Call: Design a wondrous item / Earthbind Boots All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Open Call: Design a wondrous item