Magrim's Mountain Crusher


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

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rethgaal

Magrim’s Mountain Crusher
Aura Moderate Evocation; CL 6th
Slot none; Price 22,140 gp; Weight 28 lbs.

Description
The head of this earth breaker is decorated with images of mountains, and boulders which glow with a strange green light, and seem to crack apart whenever the hammer is swung. It weighs twice as much as a normal earth breaker, and for good reason. As a standard action, up to three times per day, the wielder of this +2 earth breaker may smash the hammer’s head on the ground causing the earth beneath her to buck wildly. The wielder may either make a trip combat maneuver against all creatures in a 20-foot radius, adding the hammer’s enhancement bonus to each roll, or cause the entire area to break apart and count as difficult terrain. The wielder must be standing on or under the ground, or on a stone surface no further above ground than 10 feet to use the hammer’s ability.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Greater Thunderstomp Cost 11,070 gp

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

Formatting and wording issues. Price/cost don't match. Other than remembering the greater thunderstomp spell to use as a prereq, this is mostly similar to earthcracker with slightly less interesting and poorer quality design in all aspects. However, this was the #2 most popular item in votes, earthcracker made Top 32 for me, and I don't believe in quotas if an item happens to have the bad luck of being very similar to another item that year, so I think this is barely enough still to squeak by with a Weak Keep from me, with the mountain images creating sparks from how closely it swings by under the scythe's blade.

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
It's not anything I haven't seen before: hammer breaks rocks. I'm not fond of using a proper noun in an item, as that tends towards artifact territory, but the particular deity choice doesn't seem to be inspiring the item beyond "dwarf" and "earth."

Usability
This is a straightforward item, but doesn't really do anything to wow me.

Presentation
Lacks proper italics in entry, spell name is capitalized. From a mechanics standpoint, being able to make a trip check against everybody in 20 feet is pretty awesome...but the cost seems low for it. The last sentence of the entry that clarifies where the hammer can be used is not very clear—if I were developing this, I would alter the entry to say, "The wielder must be in contact with solid ground in order to use Magrim's mountain crusher's abilities." This would reference stability, a dwarven trait, which would be in line with the item's name.

Final Thoughts
I'm not feeling this item—the choice of deity to attach to this weapon doesn't work for me, and the mechanic explanation is awkward. I do not recommend this item for advancement.

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 format and mechanics problems... but this is also a huge earthbreaker that lets you break the earth. Difficult terrain is a great way to represent that, and the area trip is going to make some barbarian very happy. Power, mechanics, and rules need tweaking, but the bones of how to handle those issues are present. This one gets a fairly enthusiastic thumbs-up from me on the Rule of Cool.

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, Ben! I'm afraid this didn't do that much for me: It seemed to me like an extended version of the barbarian's ground breaker rage power. But ou're in pretty rarefied territory, being the No. 2 most popular item, so you've obviously got a lot of people who it did appeal to.

I did think you used some great imagery -- cracking boulders, the earth bucking wildly -- so I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do in future rounds.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Congrats Ben! Your item was a later addition to my keep list. While it did not wow me with visuals, the item's mechanical aspects were straightforward and I liked the ability to create difficult terrain.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

Good luck in the future rounds!

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

Congrats!

I really enjoyed the Earthbreakers this year, and tended to upvote them when I saw them. As has been noted here and elsewhere, a lot of Earthbreaker items this year, and largely all with the same general powerset, it made it a bit difficult to really stand out from one another (as much as I enjoyed them!). I look forward to seeing a bit more of what you can bring to the table in the next round!


Well Ben, it appears you and David were in the same place when the winning lightening bolt struck.

I do believe yours is the better item, but Daves is better written.
Step up your game in round two. Show some flair.

Weak Keep

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

A mechanical simple item, it shines in its description and well defined theme. Sometimes it is better to have a simpler well designed item, than a complex mess that could have been great if better executed. I feel like this item would have been even better if it just stuck to creating difficult terrain.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Black Powder Chocobo

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have to admit that when I saw your item in the voting, my heart sank! While I saw plenty of earth breakers (an annoying realization that I technically misspelled the weapon name as I didn't have a space in it), your entry was so similar to mine and in some ways cooler. I can picture in my head the imagery of ground being split with the thunderous slam of the Mountain Crusher and bad guys being tossed asunder. Almost makes me feel that with our powers combined, we could have made the ultimate ground-shaking earth breaker weapon!

Regardless, congrats on making it to round 2 and let's see if we're on the same wavelength again :)

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

David Higaki wrote:
Almost makes me feel that with our powers combined, we could have made the ultimate ground-shaking earth breaker weapon!

That's one of the sorts of things developers do. :)

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

Ben I know I saw this item but I think maybe only once or twice early on.

The first thing I notice is that you have 1 pretty short item. Not necessarily bad, just causes warning for me as a reader.

Some templating issues in general.

I like the first sentence! Could use a little rewrite but pretty good!

I'm torn about the second sentence. It is directly speaking to us the readers but doesn't give us any information. I think I'm not a fan the sentence. I can already tell it weighs a lot from the item template.

Good powers, nothing new but...it works well for this item. Although you do need to be more WOW in your next entries.

Overall, I liked this alot, but it is on the lower end of the Top 32 spectrum for me. Swing hard and REALLY pay attention to your format for the next rounds. Looking forward to see what you bring!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rethgaal

Thanks all. I don't really disagree with any of the criticism I've seen about my entry; I've tinkered with it a bit since I submitted, and while it hasn't changed much, the wording is a little better/clearer.

Really surprised to read that this was the #2 item in terms of raw votes.

@TheHeadKase: I think you and I are going to disagree on the length of an item entry. (I think that's what you mean by "short item." If not, my apologies). I've found in a few years of these events that I don't like having to read a long item description. My sweet spot tends to be 150-200 words; almost anything over 250 I find too long.

David Higaki wrote:

I have to admit that when I saw your item in the voting, my heart sank! While I saw plenty of earth breakers (an annoying realization that I technically misspelled the weapon name as I didn't have a space in it), your entry was so similar to mine and in some ways cooler. I can picture in my head the imagery of ground being split with the thunderous slam of the Mountain Crusher and bad guys being tossed asunder. Almost makes me feel that with our powers combined, we could have made the ultimate ground-shaking earth breaker weapon!

Regardless, congrats on making it to round 2 and let's see if we're on the same wavelength again :)

I had a similar reaction, actually! I even saw our items come up at the same time once. I feel like yours gets the tripping thing down a little cleaner though. And it reads nicer, I think. Best of luck in round 2! :)

Once again, thank you all for taking the time to critique my entry. And double thanks if you also voted for it! :)

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

Congrats Ben!

While I admit I didn't vote for this that often (apparently everyone else did to be the #2 item), it still has very cool imagery. Well done!

good luck next round

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

Glad to see that the earthbreakers got their representation in the Top 32. Out of all of them, this was one of my favourites and a pretty cool item in its own right. I'm always a sucker for some good area effects and this one didn't disappoint. Simple yet powerful ability and I like that it allows you two options that both revolve around the central theme.

You falter a bit near the end. The "stone surface no further above ground than 10 feet" seems to imply that if you stand on a floating disk of stone, you can still use this ability, which is just silly. I know that wasn't the intention, but the wording needs to be clearer.

A good item and I'm glad the "filigree" of this year didn't keep you from advancing. The best of luck onwards!

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 is a very solid example of what a magical earth breaker should be. The abilities make sense, have great flavor, and have simple, balanced mechanics. But it didn't seem particularly original, and the wording problems bothered me a bit during voting.

Congratulations!

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the top 32.

Not much to say that hasn't been said elsewhere, I think, but the difficult terrain was definitely the most inspiring part of this item for me. I'm suddenly happy most of my earthbreaker loving players do not vote or pay much attention to the contest.

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

I think most of the item criticism has been largely bought up, but I did want to address something I thought of/noticed: in another thread (I believe the top 32 guildhall?) you mentioned not having known Magrim was a Golarion deity when you designed the item, and just randomly picking a dwarven name, etc.

I am pretty sure you won't be making that mistake again. ;) But I just wanted to point out for anyone reading: as the helpful collated advice on the board states, Google any specific terms with your item name before you submit. Do a "[Term] + Pathfinder" search to help narrow it down if needed, etc.

Even if you had used a different dwarven name, I'd probably still have advised against the [Name]'s Item formula, because to me, that implies a specific dwarf (or whoever) was responsible for this item or had a hand in its history. That should be left for things like artifacts and other unique items, I feel.

Anyway, aside from all that, congrats!

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

Congratulations, Ben! Very similar style as Earthcracker (which I saw first), but I enjoyed the variant ability and the same super-evocative imagery. Best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Amanuensis

Congratulations, Ben!

I'm only partially surprised that this item was so well-received by the voters - it has cool visuals and simple mechanics. I would have preferred if you had created a stronger connection between the weapon and the thunderstomp ability (in other words: this concept would have worked well as boots of the mountain crusher - it's not clear why it has to be a weapon).

Good luck in the next round!

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!

OK, this is one of two earthbreakers with almost the exact same design space in the Top 32 and my comments for earthcracker apply here as well: seems kind of obvious and a well made weapon. Some additional effect with the bucking earth could have made this weapon stand out more.

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, pretty much everything I didn't like about the earthcracker entry applies to yours - I don't feel that smashing the ground to trip people is very special at this point. I do like the option of creating difficult terrain, but feel it should be part of the special ability of the weapon, rather than an option.

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

Not seeing what the judges are here - this seems completely underwhelming, unless of course you mean to use it on me.

I agree with Feros, there is plenty of room here for more...something. Not that simple isn't sometimes enough, but this feels a little too sparse.

[EDIT - oh, and giving it a person's name feels like a serious design misstep...]

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 didn't have this on my keeper list, but I do think it was the best earthbreaker in the competition. The effect is simple, but useful. The trip attempts are kind of pointless (as CMD scales too fast and trip is "eh" as a maneuver), but I love the AoE difficult terrain.

I think the last line about being within 10' of he ground is kind of silly and pointless, though. You specifically mention smashing the hammer's head on the ground to generate the effect, so, you didn't need further clarification.

It looks like it's maybe a little pricey, but not too bad. If my party found this item, we'd probably be equally likely to sell or keep it, depending on our builds, but there's a real audience here for custom ordering. I can see characters built around this concept. I only wish the actual base item were a little better. A +2 Earthbreaker isn't especially exciting, and the difficult terrain would be far more beneficial for a reach fighter--maybe if it were a Lucern Hammer or something like that?

Otherwise, it's a beautifully simple item. I really appreciate that. It didn't wow me, personally, but it totally works and deserves the win.


Ben Parkin wrote:

Magrim’s Mountain Crusher

Aura Moderate Evocation; CL 6th
Slot none; Price 22,140 gp; Weight 28 lbs.

Description
The head of this earth breaker is decorated with images of mountains, and boulders which glow with a strange green light, and seem to crack apart whenever the hammer is swung. It weighs twice as much as a normal earth breaker, and for good reason. As a standard action, up to three times per day, the wielder of this +2 earth breaker may smash the hammer’s head on the ground causing the earth beneath her to buck wildly. The wielder may either make a trip combat maneuver against all creatures in a 20-foot radius, adding the hammer’s enhancement bonus to each roll, or cause the entire area to break apart and count as difficult terrain. The wielder must be standing on or under the ground, or on a stone surface no further above ground than 10 feet to use the hammer’s ability.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Greater Thunderstomp Cost 11,070 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?
Well, some artistry seems to have been put into the decoration of the 'business end' of this oversized hammer, although it's not specified exactly what material said 'business end' is fashioned from.
Decorative score? 3 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
It's a large unwieldy hammer which causes localised 'miniature earthquakes', so no. Its sole useful purpose around a home is as a decorative item on a wall or sideboard.
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?
Not much. Except as a big, unwieldy, hammer, it seems to me to depend on having 'solid ground' underfoot for its function, which is going to be in short supply in naval battles, aerial combats, or in advances across beaches - and if used on the Nasties side, this item is unlikely in my opinion to see them get far enough ashore that they might get some use out of it on/in bunkers. Oh, I dare say that the leader of the Nasties would love to see some of these distributed amongst his troops in the rather over-optimistic hope that they did have some positive effect - it has 'impractical wonder weapon' written all over it, as far as the world of an 'Operaton Sealion' is concerned - but it would be unlikely to actually achieve any net gain for the Nasties.
'Sealion' score? 0 out of 7.

Total: 3 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.

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

Congratulations for having made it to the Top 32, sorry you didn't move on.

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!"

Publishable -- So many earth breakers made it into the Top 32, but they were all really well done. Yours is no exception and I like it's basic style.

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

Ben Parkin wrote:
Magrim’s Mountain Crusher

Congratulations Ben!

This is on my keeper list. It solidly reminded me of Bobby the barbarian's ability. I liked the radius effect of the trip. I am not as keen on the difficult terrain ability, but I like the fact that the wielder must choose between them. It shows a good eye for design. I think the writing could be cleaned up, but I appreciate that this did not try and add any more to use up the word count. I am unclear on the above ground limitations as written, but as intended it seems that you must be near the earth to use it.

Well done, I hope we see you next year! :)

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