Goblet of Liquefied Cognition

Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Evil Paul

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Goblet of Liquefied Cognition
Aura moderate divination and transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 18,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

This ornate oversized silver goblet is wrought with runes and letters in a profusion of languages. When written words are placed in the goblet, for example through a letter, parchment, or runic carvings, the text detaches itself, liquefying into a sweet wine. This liquid can be drunk, granting the imbiber knowledge of the text itself.
This has the following uses:

  • Pages from a spellbook representing a single spell can be drunk, allowing an arcane spontaneous caster to add that spell to their spells known list for a short time (see below). The spell must be on the imbiber’s spell list.
  • An arcane scroll can be drunk, allowing the immediate memorization of the contents of the scroll by an arcane caster who prepares spells. The spell must be on the imbiber’s spell list and still requires a spell slot, though a used spell slot can be refilled in this manner. The caster level of the scroll is not used; the imbiber will use their own caster level and stat modifier (as normal) when they cast the spell.
  • Non-magical writing can also be drunk, granting a complete understanding of the text’s contents. This does not require an understanding of the language of the text. The goblet can consume up to 10 average-sized pages of text at once.

In all cases the originating text/pages are destroyed, and the knowledge gained fades after 24 hours. The goblet can be used 3/day and requires two hands to use.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, comprehend languages, create water, enhance water, mage’s perusal, mnemonic enhancer; Cost 9,000 gp

Paizo Employee Developer

Woah, drinking words! Cool!

The first two bullets represent a really powerful effect. Considering the cost and the fact that you can only use it three times per day, though, it's not incredibly unbalanced. I'd probably still change it so you used the scroll's CL and modifier rather than your own.

+1 bonus point for linking spells.
–1 bonus point for linking to d20pfsrd rather than the PRD.

weak keep

Publisher, EN Publishing aka Russell Morrissey

I love it. What a gorgeous idea! I'll leave the actual balancing issues to people better qualified than myself, but conceptually for me this is a...

... keep!

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Cool idea, coherent set of effects (and I like that it physically consumes the texts). Clean writing, too!


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

This is a very neat concept, fleshed out brilliantly, with some subtle mechanical flaws that kept it off my like/keep list.

An item that destroys pages from a spellbook is a tough sell. Its owner had better hope to find lots of spellbooks worth damaging, or has a class that doesn't care much about spellbooks.

It's a good thing you capped the amount of non-magical text that could be consumed, as there were a rash of items in voting that overpowered the Languages skill in the game, and this came close to being one of them. I'm still leery of this item's ability to be a skill substitute.

I'm not sure what to make of the knowledge fading after 24 hours, either. That limit may be practically worthless if the imbiber can write and has the materials to do so, or is near someone who's able to write things down; you could do away with that limit and practically lose very little.

Does this allow someone to drink a scroll, then use scribe scroll to reproduce it after 24 hours?

In any case, this is a very inventive item drawn up quite well, so I'll be looking forward to your monster entry! Good luck!

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

Judy Bauer wrote:
Clean writing, too!

Can I drink the writing?

I agree with Garrett Guillotte on the substantive subjects related to this item, so I'll just leave a one-liner.

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


I will say that this was my favorite out of the items that made it into the Top 32!

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

THIS! I saw it all of 2 or 3 times in voting and I could never remember what the name was.

I loved this item...despite some of the concerns already voiced here. It was strange, evocative, cool, and just...Superstar. Really focus on the next round with some balance but keep the mojo you have going on.

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

Congratulations! This item was not personally my cup of tea, but I definitely could see this making the Top 32. I look forward to seeing your 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

I liked the idea as a player but my inner GM objected at times. I think almost everytime I saw this it was up against an inferior item. It didn;t make my personal top32 but I'm not surprised to see it here. Congrats and good luck.

This was one of my personal picks for the Top 32 and I'm glad to see it here. Very innovative. I look forward to seeing what you've got in store for the next round.

Dark Archive

Easily one of the more evocative visual effects. Also a pretty cool mechanical effect for a prepared *or* a spontaneous caster, so that opens up the number of people it can benefit quite a lot, which is also cool.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats, Evil Paul.
This was one of my favorite items. Once i saw it, I knew it was top-32 worthy.

Good Luck next round!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Evil Paul

Many many many thanks to all who voted for my Goblet. I am both humbled and excited!

To answer specific questions:

@Garrett Guillotte
1) Spontaneous casters' almost by definition don't care about spellbooks (unless they are an Arcanist). This allows them to make use of spellbook loot that they find.

2) The knowledge fades after 24 hours, because, well, have you tried keeping a large glass of wine in your body for longer than that? :) In all seriousness, effects 1+2 needed to have a duration and it made sense that the duration would apply across all effects. Plus you want to avoid people claiming they can get free languages by drinking dictionaries, etc.

3) Using effect 1 or 2 is mechanically identical to having a spell known (for spont casters) or a spell memorized (for prep casters). So, yes, they can use it to create a magic item such as a scroll so long as they know that spell for the duration of the craft.

Anyway, I'm off to work on my monster now. Catch you all in round 2!


Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Patrick's being generous. Adding links that are going to the wrong place is actually worse than not having the link at all - because it requires having to detect and remove the link before the new link can be added. -2 bonus points for linking to somewhere other than the PRD, really.

Other than that, the balancing comments all make sense. You're effectively making customisable staff-like effects with this single wondrous item with potentially very little downside.

For the third bullet point, 24 hours is too soon for the reason you've described in your comment above. It probably needs a different mechanic, like x amount of non-magical pages per day. For a PFS scenario, "a week" would be the duration of the scenario, where this item would be fantastic. 24 hours might be a dealbreaker for it.

It really is a fantastic idea though, and other than - or even despite - the points above, it's pretty well constructed. Expecting great things here in future rounds.

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

Certainly one of the most powerful mental images of the opening round, as several people have said. Well done! Looking forward to your monster!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You had me at 'drinking text'. Seriously cool image. Early favorite that I never grew tired of seeing. My only peeve was that the destruction of mundane text somehow seemed wrong to me. Kind of a horrifying thing for a loreseeker to do, really. 'It's the lost apocrypha of Aroden! It's written in an insanely difficult cypher! Let's just guzzle it down even though it's a one-of-a-kind book.'
But that's just me grimacing at the thought of a frat party chugging down an ancient library in an evening. It's a seriously cool item regardless. Good job, enjoy the contest.

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

This one got some of my votes. The fact that it's a caster item that benefits both spontaneous and prepared casters, and in different ways, is hugely appealing to me. It also turns spellbooks into something more than just portable cash if the party has a caster but not a wizard.

Congratulations, and best of luck in Round 2!

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

While I guess it is a very imaginative concept this left me cold. I just don't get it, and that's mostly my non-caster fan nature. I definitely saw this a bunch of times, and usually down voted it if it was up against an equally well written item.

Regardless of my personal distaste, the judges clearly see your flair, and I'm willing to be wowed by your monster, so Congratulations!!!!

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

Congratulations Iain,

This is a keeper for me. Tight writing and a great niche. I have long struggled with wordcount limits directing writers toward spontaneous casters. This will be a small use to wizards/witches being able to add spells to their books, but it is even more useful to spontaneous casters. The third power is logical and cleanly fits the rest of the theme, which nicely avoids it being a sorcerer fanboy's grab for power.

Good luck in 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 upvoted this on many occasions, congrats for making it to the to 32. :)

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

While I liked the visual and that it was a well written item, overall I was thinking that it didn't bring a lot new to the game. It seems to have filled the same niche as the Ring of Spell Knowledge and the Mnemonic Vestment, both of which let a spontaneous caster cast spells from other written sources, and at a lower price.

At the very least I'd want to lower the price on this, especially since it destroys the source, which the other items I mentioned didn't.

Congrats on making the top 32, and looking forward to your monster.

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 - Iain Reid - Goblet of Liquefied Cognition

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: This was one of the more intriguing names. My initial thought was it was quite mundane and scientific rather than magic / high fantasy. Apart from that gut reaction, on reflection it does hint at the magical effect of the item so is a good aide de memoire.
I also think it is heading into verbose name territory where it sounds too long when telling your GM what item you are using, again, this is personal gut feel. I think this is a general consideration that should be made for names with complex terms, there can be a tendency to take the complexity too far and be too obtuse, but I think you fell the right side of this danger and stopped before falling into this trap.
Template Fu scores you 7/10 on this.

Template Usage: Excellent template use, correct slot from 5th edition errata, very well done! My eyes were drawn immediately to the links. I noticed you had linked spells, not to the PRD but to d20pfsrd - this forced me to check that every spell came from a Paizo product because it would be so easy to use 3rd party spells by mistake.
The two that concerned me were enhance water (found in Faiths of Purity) and mage's perusal (in Pathfinder Society Primer). Not everyone has access to both of these products and so it may make them wary of using the item if they cannot find the spells on the Paizo PRD. I seem to recall that when linking was discussed in last year's competition, linking the d20pfsrd was regarded as a big no-no.
I personally found on Chrome that the bullet point list actually hampered readability of the submission, this makes me wonder if you should have stuck with white space. That aside, by using bullet points, you have introduced some repetition into each point. I wonder if the last line should be bullet pointed for consistency of presentation, one bullet for the fading and one for the uses per day. Similarly, I think the "caster level of the scroll is not used" should be a bullet point such that it applies to both spontaneous casters and non spontaneous casters.
The number of pages consumed limit should be brought out to its own bullet point, and if the "must be on the imbibers spell list" is brought out, you save having to repeat it in the first two bullet points.
Template Fu scores you 8/10 on this.

Game Balance: Let's see, I have a 3rd level caster who finds a 3rd level fireball scroll. Now, I can't normally cast this scroll without possibility of things going awry at my current level, but aha, turn it into a drink and cast it that way - no spell failure and beyond my normal limit of 2nd level spells? A single line of "you can only liquefy and drink spells of a level you can currently cast." would have solved this.
There is also no time limit on the liquefying, I don't think it's a major issue but for game balance, it could liquefy spells in the same time it takes to cast them perhaps?
What is an average sized page of text? Far better had you specified a word limit as that would remain tightly themed with liquefying and drinking the words, not the pages.
Also be careful on stating something needs two hands to use - this could be misinterpreted as you have to hold the goblet with both hands and then need a third or a helper to put the scrolls/pages into it.
Watch your uses per day vs reset periods. If it was say, noon, I know we are going to a dungeon on the morrow, arriving just after noon, so I use the goblet to make three potions, back to noon the next day, I enter the dungeon with 3 liquids in flasks and the item now resets allowing me 3 more. Actually, I just realised! I could do this every day and create a wine cellar of spare spell goodness - there isn't a limit on the liquid and neither do you stop me pouring the liquid into other containers once created!
Template Fu scores you 6/10 on this.

Sight - check, very good imagery slightly marred by the bullet presentation and needing another pass to ensure all related points affect both types of casters.
Sound - missed opportunity, what sort of wine, rose, red, burgundy, white, mead?
Smell - missed opportunity, what does the resulting liquid smell of?
Taste - missed opportunity, what sort of wine - deep robust and sweet red or fruity chardonnay? Still or sparkling?
Touch - not applicable to this.
Cinematic Summary A real gem of a visual effect slightly marred by the presentation. The creativity of the item gives me great hopes for your monster entry.
Template Fu scores you 17/20 on this.

Musings, Meme, and One Step Further:
I so wish this item had one more effect (maybe even only available for mythic spend perhaps), that affect to be pouring the liquefied words from the goblet back onto blank pages, say in a spell book, and the writing is restored!
This did need another editing pass, or two, to review and extrapolate the limitations that affect both caster types, and I suspect another pass and you would have spotted the game balance issues too.
Template Fu scores you 16/20 on this.

Your final score for this item is 54/70, or 77% - A solid entry.

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