Breach Barrier


Open Call: Design a magic armor, weapon, ring, rod, or staff

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 aka Banesfinger

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Breach Barrier
Aura faint abjuration; CL 3rd
Slot Shield; Price 2,170 gp; Weight 15 lbs.
Description
This +1 Heavy Steel Shield is often stylized by its dwarven crafters to look like an door or archway. On command once per day, the wielder may press this shield against a portal, securing it as per the effects of the hold portal spell. For the next 1 minute duration, the shield will remain adhered to the portal, after which the shield comes free. Before the end of the duration, the wielder may separate the shield from the portal, automatically ending the effect. Or use 1 move action to remove the shield from their arm, thus leaving the shield attached to the portal for the remainder of the duration.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Hold Portal; Cost 1,170 gp

Paizo Employee Designer , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Formatting and wording issues. It may be simple and not giant flashy whizbang, and some people may say that means it can't be Superstar, but you know what? This shield is inexpensive, and it has a good price for it abilities and a good balance of price used on the shield's enhancements and the extra abilities. Even though you aren't wielding the shield while you use the power, it still feels like it is shielding you, which is subtle and well done. In the end, I can't help but feel like it needed just a little something more to seal this in as elegant and fully Superstar, but even so, looking through all the items this year, this one is a Weak Keep.

Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hi there! I'll be one of the judges for this round, and I'll be looking at a couple of key points for your item: flavor, usability, and how the item is presented. For some background, I helped found the Wayfinder fanzine before I started working for Paizo, and I oversee every third-party Pathfinder Roleplaying Game product that makes its way onto Paizo.com.
Flavor
Damn dwarves, always being so clever and stuff. I like it.
Usability
This would be really handy in a dungeon delve, as you could hold a room if needed. Too bad the duration is so short for its core ability.
Presentation
Missing italics on item and spell names. I like the core idea, but I think it could be switched up to keep the hold portal effect, but leave the shield able to stay as a door (so you could secure a place to rest).
Final Thoughts
Core concept is good, but needs a bit more oomph. I do recommend this item for advancement, but with hesitation.

Paizo Employee Designer , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Kept.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

My approach to judging these items is "How would I approach this as a developer?" If I would be pleased by the turnover and not see any reason to give negative feedback to the writer, that's great! If I'd keep it but it would take a lot of work or I'd want to let the writer know what needed improvement, that's fine but not perfect. If I'd scrap the item because it would be faster to write new material myself, that's bad.

There are a few format things I'd like to see the writer do correctly, such as italicizing (and NOT capitalizing) spell names. For one item that's easy to fix, but an entire turnover full of them gets time consuming. That said the core idea is pretty neat. I'd keep this, but I'd also take a little time to add something to it to make it more interesting.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Rats are doing the Conga for you, all over Golarion. Good job.

I truly appreciate an item that can be useful to NPCs and PCs alike. I can see a city guard stationing these shields at each major gate, with the watch officer carrying it and passing it on to the next watch officer. Given everything that goes into building a solid gatehouse (and guarding it) a city ought to be able to afford this for its gates.

But PCs too can use it in many circumstances. I just like it.

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

Congrats, Newton. I really liked how this item played with the shield function in a different way. I haven't quite figured out how to formulate my thoughts regarding form and function, but I found I really responded to items whose function made sense with its form but wasn't too obvious. This, as Mark notes, does that.

Good job and best of luck in Round 2.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This item fit nicely into a very small group of low-level items in the voting pool that I would like to see in the game. Those low level characters need cool stuff too you know.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 aka Banesfinger

Thanks everyone,
The idea of this shield came to me as the group I was GM'ing were trying to escape a horde of monsters in a dungeon complex. PCs were desperately trying to find a way to slow them down at each doorway as the slower PCs continued to run.

I imagined the same condition happening in an underground dwarven city if Drow or other monsters broke through the walls. The valiant dwarven guards would need some way to momentarily hold back this horde so the children and weaker dwarves could have time to escape.

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

This was definitely one of the few items that I always found myself upvoting. Of all of its many strengths, the breach barrier's capacity to create really exciting storytelling experiences is what caught my attention most. Both narrow escapes and valiant stands come to mind when I see this item. Coupled with the fact that its price point is low enough to satisfy the board's PFS players, you've demonstrated great Superstar potential! Good luck moving forward!

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats on the item. It's always nice to see items that characters can use to really interact with their surroundings instead of just means to get pass them.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

This is one of the few items that I feel works perfectly as is. The template could be cleaned up a bit, but the mechanics of this item are solid.

Well done making a fairly cheap but really situationally handy item. this item could be useful to any adventuring party.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

Good, thematic item. I too would like the duration to be a bit longer, at least if you left the shield stuck to the door, but I also like how cheap the item is. I'd definitely like to receive this as part of early loot. Especially because you find yourself in situations way over your head more often in the early levels.

It's a bit of a SiaC, but I think that the strong theme and the execution manage to pull it through. Not one of my all-time favourites this year, but I did upvote it more often than not. And the best of luck for the upcoming rounds!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

I really like the concept of this item. I know I voted for it more than once.

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

I don't remember seeing this one in the voting, but the more I think on it, the more I like it.

I love that it's suitable for low level, and I love that it can literally shield the whole party from harm. I would give this item out in a heartbeat.

I think the only danger is that there's a chance this becomes a one-use item; i.e. big bad nasty is chasing you, so you lock the shield and run. I suppose that's the sacrifice you make. Having it teleport back to you or fly through the air would kind of break the low magic feel to it...

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 aka Banesfinger

Again, my thanks to all those star voters!

The low/entry level cost of this item was purposeful: a city of dwarves could not afford to distribute them to their guards otherwise.

I wanted to add a little more "oomph" as Liz Courts mentions; I was going to include an ability that 4 (or more) of these shields could be locked together to 'hold' a portal that did not have a lockable door/shutter (like an open archway, for example). The larger the archway, the more shields would need to be locked together.
Alas, the word-count of the contest prevented this addition.

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 remember this shield!

You've got some formatting issues in your first sentence and some wording issues.

2nd sentence could use some reorganization.

This is pretty short and it could be even shorter because you spend word count talking about things already implied and that could have been edited to be clearer and better flowing.

And that's kind of it...it is heavy, and somewhat disposable (what's to stop an enemy from sundering it from the other side of the portal as part of breaking open the portal). It has a fairly low price point but...well...I probably wouldn't buy it since I'm paying for a way to have AC, but losing that AC bonus to hold open a portal. For at least a minute.

Overall, this was very middling for me. It has a good theme and visuals but some clunky writing and not much else to it besides holding open a portal and sacrificing your AC. You are going to really have to work on your focus, swinging wild, and WOW factor in future rounds. I look forward to seeing your R2, because I want to see you improve significantly.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the Top 32, you are in esteemed company now...and will always have that tag against your name (or even better!!!)

However, I am going to have to say I am really surprised to see this item here...I like it in many ways and can see it getting use in the right kind of game...but, do you know what? I see nothing here that elevates this above a SiaC...the visuals are great but at the end of the day it's still just a Hold Portal. Could I see this in a book of items, yes... Superstar, not for me sorry...

What I will say though is that it is nice to see someone designing items at the lower end of the scale, from the top 32, it is only your item and Hero's breath that go with a CL of 3...the majority of items are at the higher end where, I would argue, it is easier to build something shiny due to the power of spells available to you...

Good luck with your map and onwards.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations, Newton! Very easy to visualize your item, and I could see myself investing in this shield as an all-purpose failsafe. A consistent upvote during my voting, nice work!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Morphemic

This item is an example of a spell in a can that is superstar because of how cool the can is. I like it, though I probably wouldn't have put it in the top 32 myself. One potential problem is that hold portal is actually a pretty weak spell. I anticipate that in a lot of scenes where this shield would be cinematically appropriate, it would hardly slow down the enemy at all. But the imagery and basic utility of this shield are very good.

Congratulations!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka dien

I have only one piece of criticism for the item, which is to say, the name: 'Breach Barrier' just kept throwing me every time I read it because 'breach' can be both a noun and a verb. I kept reading it as "(to) breach (a) barrier" instead of "this is a barrier to fill a breach", and of course those are completely opposite meanings. So each time I saw it in voting, I had a mental hiccup of "wait a second, this thing doesn't let me breach a barrier at all! --oh wait, right."

Beyond that, I think it's cool and flavorful. (I love the idea of the dwarven citadel giving their guards this item.) I like simple, clean, low-level items that fill strategic niches, and this hits that button.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the top 32.

Strangely, I do not at all remember this item from voting, so perhaps it's one I just haven't seen. Weee, new item.

Interesting function, little bit spell in a can. I'm somewhat happy that it isn't tower shield, for some reason.

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

Congrats Newton!

I voted for this a few times, but to me, it's pretty much a spell-in-a-can and also poorly formatted and worded. It has decent utility, but not exactly what I expect from a top-32 item.

Lucky for you, I'm just a schlub on the internet, and not a judge.

good luck in the future rounds!

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Congratulations on making the Top 32! Well done!

This is a well constructed shield, doing a relatively cool function that fits with defence. The visuals don't grab me or make me say wow, but otherwise very well made.

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

Much as I dislike dwarves, this is a very finely crafted, simple item that makes a great deal of thematic sense.

Nice name too.

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

Congrats on making the top 32.

Unfortunately, not only is this effectively just a SIAC, but it's actually worse than one. To actually use the item's power, you need to keep it stuck to the door, making it not function as a shield. This feels like it was a wondrous item that was retro-fitted to be a shield. I'd want this way more as some slotless item, like the stone of alarm, but for hold portal, and just have a regular +1 shield, which would still give its shield bonus to AC while the door is being held. I'd actually rather have this as a wondrous item and a regular non-magical shield for that matter.


Newton Philis wrote:

Breach Barrier

Aura faint abjuration; CL 3rd
Slot Shield; Price 2,170 gp; Weight 15 lbs.
Description
This +1 Heavy Steel Shield is often stylized by its dwarven crafters to look like an door or archway. On command once per day, the wielder may press this shield against a portal, securing it as per the effects of the hold portal spell. For the next 1 minute duration, the shield will remain adhered to the portal, after which the shield comes free. Before the end of the duration, the wielder may separate the shield from the portal, automatically ending the effect. Or use 1 move action to remove the shield from their arm, thus leaving the shield attached to the portal for the remainder of the duration.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Hold Portal; Cost 1,170 gp

Disclaimer:

This post constitutes the views of a CE inclined Very Advanced succubus. For those uncertain what that should imply, congratulations, you're at least thinking along the right track, but probably not worried enough. No: almost certainly, not nearly worried enough. Unless you happen to be that glovier from Magnimar that I had for tea last weekend, in which case it's a bit too late now anyway, but my apologies to your next-of-kin for the scorch marks on your hall carpet (but I *DID* put the tablecloth in to soak in good time, so the wine stains *should* come out).

Is the Item Decorative?
It might have some vague decorative value in homes which go for a 'coats of arms on walls' motif in some rooms.
Decorative score? 1 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
Not really. Even in the event, say, of an unexpected home-invasion by uninvited and unwanted 'guests', the magical effect doesn't last long enough for it to be useful in turning a storeroom into a temporary emergency dungeon facility.
non-Decorative Domestic Use score? 0 out of 7.

Does the Item seem Likely to be Helpful in the Fantasy Setting of an Imaginary World where 'Operation Sealion' is taking Place?
So the (for simplicity's sake) Nasties are lining up with all their little boats to launch an invasion-attempt across a strait upon a nation of perfectly (socially) harmless tea-drinkers. And then there's this item.
So what impact is this item likely to have on proceedings?
Well since there aren't a lot of doorways the blocking of which are important in epic-scale naval conflicts or in aerial battles (or on beaches, either, for that matter, unless one considers fortified positions - but most of those latter in an imagined 'Sealion' scenario are likely already fairly heavy-duty anyway) the 'magic power' of the shield isn't going to have much utility. And to be frank not many on the invader side of any such business are going to be enthusiastic about hauling a fifteen pound lump of metal up a beach, on top of all their other gear, after a choppy sea-crossing, whilst being shot-at and bombarded, or not if said lump of metal doesn't have any especial powers focused on specifically deflecting lots and lots of missile weapons and 'explosive surprise' packages.
'Sealion' score? 1 out of 7.

Total: 2 out of 21.

Further Disclaimer:
Sighting of a post by 'Ask A RPGSupersuccubus' is by no means a guarantee that any further posts will be forthcoming anywhere, in this contest. Voters should obviously vote for whomever (if anyone) they feel like voting for.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Disclaimer:
So, I am making a point to comment on every item in the competition now, and I it is no longer kosher to start a thread just for your own comments. So, here we are.

Why am I critiquing every item? Well, frankly, I love this sort of thing. I sincerely enjoy editing and the art of the critique. I have long considered starting a blog to that end, and maybe this will be the kickstart I need. Speaking of which, if you want to hire an editor, I'd be happy to help ;)

Regardless, the point of my criticism is always to help. Nothing is perfect, so everything can potentially be made better. My comments will often be less than flattering, but they will never come from a place of malice. The point here is to make your item better, not to make you feel bad.

So, what am I looking for, here, when I judge these items? My primary focus is on rules knowledge, clarity/simplicity, and usability. You can come up with the most creative item on the planet, but if nobody is going to actually use it in a real game, who cares? And it doesn't matter if nobody uses it because it's obviously too strong, too weak for its price, too confusing/complicated to actually adjudicate at the table, or just too niche to have an actual target audience. What I am generally not looking at is flavor text. Descriptions of your item will only hurt if the item evokes imagery I dislike. I care about theme, of course, but a crow item with blind and pilfering hand in it is thematic enough--I don't need to read about different kinds of dark wood were used and how many crow parts are sticking out of it.

Finally, know that I did not read any critiques of your item yet. These are all my first thoughts based only on the item itself, so, I apologize if I repeat things others have said already.

Now, let's get to the critique!

As always, congratulations on making the top 32. No matter what I thought of your item, you won, and you should feel awesome!

I saw lots of people talking about this item like it was the holy grail, and, honestly, I was stunned to see it in the final. I just don't understand. This item just seems so completely useless to me.

Not only does it just cast Hold Portal, which is, kind of worthless in general, it doesn't actually cast it, it becomes it. So, you cast a pointless spell allowing you to run away slighly better (sort of), but have to ditch the shield to do it.

Why? I...why would I throw away 2000 gp to maybe delay the bad guys a round or two if they bother with the break DC of a door, rather than just dealing damage to it? I could just get a Wand of Hold Portal and a +1 Heavy Shield for less than 2k. Am I really going to use this shield's ability more than 50 times? Considering that, realistically, if I need to use it, I'm either abandoning the shield or sacrificing myself, I just can't figure out this item.

Is there some use for Hold Portal that I'm just not thinking of?

If my party found this item, we'd give it to the heavy shield guy, since selling it would only give us enough to buy a different, powerless +1 Shield, but I can't see anyone using the power, nor can I see anyone custom ordering one.

Look, I can visualize what almost assuredly is supposed to be going down here--tanky dwarven hero and his party is in over their head. They need to retreat through the dungeon, but the enemy is hard on their tail. The dwarf knows his team needs more time to get out, so he valiantly throws his shield up against the door and holds the portal strong, knowing he's just slowing his party down anyway.

But, the thing is, as classic as that image is, it's just not going to happen in a Pathfinder game. For one there are soooo many other ways to make this scenario work. Like I said, a Wand of Hold Person could work (but the spell is nowhere near useful enough to need 50 castings of it), but just a simple Grease spell will work, too. Or a Silent Image of a wall in the way. Or a pit spell. Or some Caltrops. Or lots of things that don't waste 2k or you tanky dwarf in the process.

Sorry, don't get it and its competition had to be really bad for me to vote for this, but congratulations nonetheless.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 aka Banesfinger

I take no offense by any of the critiques. Indeed - I hope to use the criticism to improve my next round submission.

As for other options for slowing down the enemy (wands, grease spell, etc), dwarves have never been known for abundant arcane skills. Items that fighters (most typical defenders) could use would be best.

Others have commented on the short duration. There was little wiggle room to increase that and keep the price-point of the item down.
However, even delaying an enemy for a round or two can help a defender re-group and put up a stout defense.
(In game terms - the defenders can use a few rounds to stand back from the door/barrier, aim spells/missile weapons and hold (ready action) for the first invader to break through - - imagine the LotR scene in Mordor).

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

Congratulations for having made it to Top 32 AND Top 16!

Sorry I'm late to the party, I hadn't realized how big a task commenting on everyone else's items was going to be in the Official Critique Thread!

Seeing as how many other people have commented above me, and you've moved well on from this point... I'm going to keep my comments brief. To understand my rating system, see my larger post on my critique thread.

As an overall comment, each and every one of you that made it to the Top 32 must have had a "Publishable" item in my opinion because you appealed to not only the voters but also the judges -- so if I say "Rewrite" it's more to be "rewriteable to be SUPERSTAR!"

Rewrite -- This is a very simple shield design that I would have liked to see more go on with, but your write up is fairly solid. That said, you do a solid job defending your design and I appreciate that!

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

Newton Philis wrote:

Breach Barrier

Congratulations Newton!

Interested or not, I am finally getting back to offering feedback for the rest of the items. Hopefully this will be of some use.

I was mostly upvote on this. Despite staves being called out as 'hard mode' I really think to avoid SAK one has not to add onto the items main function. You did this hands down. Shields protect the wearer. Which this does, but it can also protect a group, a vault or as someone pointed out the town gates. I wish the duration were longer (allowing for a night's sleep for example), but it is balanced cost-wise for what it does and doesn't need to do more so you've done well here. It is a little SiaC and is missing some bang on the visuals, but again it seems appropriate for the item.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2015 / Open Call: Design a magic armor, weapon, ring, rod, or staff / Breach Barrier All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Open Call: Design a magic armor, weapon, ring, rod, or staff