Staff of the Prime Mover


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

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Staff of the Prime Mover
Aura moderate evocation; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 34,500 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

Description
This slender silver cane feels more unwieldy than its low weight might suggest, as if a hidden force impeded any attempts to change its state of motion. It functions as a +1 anchoring mithral quarterstaff and allows use of the following spells:

As long as the staff's anchoring ability is in effect, these spells work differently when cast by the wielder, as follows:
A wielder affected by kinetic reverberation not only damages his attacker's weapon, but also pushes his opponent away from himself. After being hit, as an immediate action, the wielder may attempt a bull rush combat maneuver against his attacker, using his opponent's attack bonus as his combat maneuver bonus. This combat maneuver does not provoke attacks of opportunity and the wielder does not move with his opponent.
A wielder that uses force hook charge pulls the target towards himself, instead of being dragged towards the target. If the target is a firmly fixed object or a creature holding onto a massive object, a successful Strength check is required. For this purpose, the pulling force has an effective Strength score of 30 and can pull a weight of up to 1,600 lbs. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
If the wielder uses force punch against an opponent affected by the staff's anchoring ability, the opponent is not pushed away, but the spell is treated as if it were maximized.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Staff, force hook charge, force punch, kinetic reverberation, levitate; Cost 18,250 gp

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

There's some minor issues here, and the wording could be clearer, but honestly, this is how to connect the spells in a staff to the staff's power in a way that synergizes rather than makes a super SAK. Well done. The connection between the anchoring ability and the spells is really well done. This is a Strong Keep and my favorite item in this year's entire RPG Superstar pool. I'm not sure how this managed to be below some of the other staves in the public vote, but in my opinion, this staff blew all the others away. Bravo, author!

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
Great name, short but focused selection of spells.
Usability
This. This I like. A savvy character is going to use this to push an opponent around the battlefield like a ping-pong ball. Lots of non-combat possibilities too.
Presentation
Adheres to formatting and style guidelines, uses hyperlinks, nothing seems out of place.
Final Thoughts
Very focused, tight mechanics, and bursting with flavor. I do recommend this item for advancement.

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

Kept.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

2 people marked this as a favorite.

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's a lot of stuff to love about this staff, but once again it's hard for a character to get maximum use out of it. Staffs are spell trigger items. That means to use the spells in them, those spells must be on the character's class spell list. Force hook charge is a magus spell, while kenetic reverberation is an alchemist and wizard spell. That means this staff's full potential is normally only accessibly to a magus who has gained a wizard spell, most likely through spell blending.
That's a fairly big deal, because the abilities of the staff are all closely tied together. It would take some time to figure out how to fix that issue... but the rest of the item is worth that effort. It's one of the strongest staffs in terms of thematic links and being more than a SiaC. Keep.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

I voted for this staff a number of times, but still have some issues with it. In particular, do the alternate versions of the staff's powers work against any attacker so long as some opponent is anchored? (Without any limitations in the text, this is how it reads.) Or do the alternate versions work only against the anchored foe?

Moreover, is a spell cast before the anchoring ability is used subject to alternate effects once anchoring starts? Is a spell cast during anchoring going to continue to have alternate effects once anchoring ends?

If I were to use this in a game, I would trigger the alternate versions only when the wielder chooses to self-anchor (note that nothing in the original anchoring ability prevents such use, so you don't even need to make an exception for this staff) and only for as long as the wielder is so anchored. The alternate versions would affect spells cast before anchoring and spells cast during anchoring, but the alternate effects would not occur after anchoring discontinued (but could restart if anchoring was reinitiated).

Occupying the middle of the battlefield and sundering weapons and throwing foes backwards so that only a limited number of foes can come through other routes watched by your allies is bad-ass enough, and makes better use of both the theme and the imagery evoked by your staff's name.

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

Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm not sure how this managed to be below some of the other staves in the public vote, but in my opinion, this staff blew all the others away. Bravo, author!

I'll do a full review soonish, but I can answer this one pretty easily... the name.

No, no, no, no...

Liz Courts wrote:
Great name

Lies.

If you're name put's this song in my head I will down vote you based on name. I am aware of the usage of the term "prime mover" in engineering but I don't quite get it with the execution of this item. So all I hear when I look at the title is "I'm a prime mover you know what I mean, I do my little turn on the catwalk." Ok I'm developing a tick.

Congrats on making the top 32... I'll give you a real review before the end of the week.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Fwiw, the term originally got used in ancient philosophy; Aristotle coined it as his way of referring to god. I thought that was kind of cool, myself!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

I'm not sure I ever saw this one in voting, but I like it! Way to play with those spells!

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

Cleanthes wrote:
Fwiw, the term originally got used in ancient philosophy; Aristotle coined it as his way of referring to god. I thought that was kind of cool, myself!

I have never heard Solspiral's song but knew Aristotle and the use in engineering. What does that say about me?

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

Congratulations, Gabriel. This was yet another of my favorites, though CripDyke certainly brings up some valid points (as does Owen).

Looking forward to seeing what you do next.

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

This is one of the (many) staves that I saw in the competition and thought - "holy crap! I should have worked on my staff a bit more!"

The theme, the powers, and the name all worked together really well (and I don't think the name had anything at all to do with it getting downvoted, at least nothing to do with a song by Right Said Fred?)

Congrats!

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

Mark Seifter wrote:
I have never heard Solspiral's song but knew Aristotle and the use in engineering. What does that say about me?

I'm not sure what hurts more missing top 32 or having that referred to as my song... It was an annoying 1 hit wonder in the 90's that spawned an equally annoying catch phrase uttered by douche bags.

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

I only saw this staff 2-3 times, but I upvoted it at each appearance. Big ideas, big flavor, big design: a successful swing for the fences! For me, this staff felt like it would fit especially well in a Renaissance-themed campaign settting (since the Neoplatonists were big on astrological magic, which this staff implicitly oozes). As a spellcaster, this staff is also particularly attractive for opening up new combat options, which is always nice. Well done, Gabriel!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

2 people marked this as a favorite.
GM_Solspiral wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
Great name

Lies.

If you're name put's this song in my head I will down vote you based on name. I am aware of the usage of the term "prime mover" in engineering but I don't quite get it with the execution of this item. So all I hear when I look at the title is "I'm a prime mover you know what I mean, I do my little turn on the catwalk." Ok I'm developing a tick.

LOL. I think you know the lyrics to that song WAY to well. I didn't even know that term was in the lyrics. Maybe I'm just too sexy for that song.

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

Wow!

Many thanks to everyone who voted for my item! And to the judges for their kind words!

I'd be happy to share my design process and adress any concerns regarding my item once I have a little more time.

And GM_Solsspiral: I'm very sorry if the title triggered a traumatic memory ;)
As others have noticed correctly, it was meant as a reference to ancient philosophy.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not only is a great item (minus the concerns Owen brings up) but its also my original, less than Vrock-tastic screenname (primemover003, but I took from it from a RUSH song).

--Vrock Superstar

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats, I only saw this item once in the polls. cool concept but I swear I have seen or read something like that in a martial arts book or movie but nothing comes to mind. Could use a different name. Good Luck in the next round.

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 8

Nice tightly written item, I had no reservations voting for it. My only question would be the anchoring requirement.

I assume, that you intended the weapon to be anchored like an immovable rod, otherwise the kinetic reverberation alternative effect might have to include some language, that this bull rush might disarm the enemy, if his weapon is anchored (and the enemy doesn't manage the DC 30 strength check).

Other than that a really nice item.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Cyrad

Ah, Amanuensis. I seen you around the Homebrew forum. Congrats.

When I first saw this, I said to myself "could this be an example of a superstar staff?" Apparently so! Well done.

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

Voted this up every time, but mostly because it was rule of cool vs rule of "omigod no that is IMHO quite a bad item". Not that I didn't think it a very cool item that allowed for battlefield (and more!) hijinks!!!

* The name is a terrible gaffe for me because it makes me think of a big D9 earthmover. Happy to know I missed any reference to the classics.

* Very interested to see Owen's breakdown of how staves work, and what that means for this item. It wouldn't be a big deal for me, I'd likely throw a caveat in there to make it work. I guess it shows the flaw in the designer's understanding of staff mechanics, but not enough to outweigh the designer's understanding of the spells utilized, and the creativity necessary to put it altogether in a neat themed package.

Congratulations Gabriel.

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

Heh, so many opinions about the name. I missed all the references, though I was fairly sure it was a reference to something and just wasn't arsed to Google it.

This item has strong cinematic appeal-- who doesn't love the idea of casters throwing people around the battlefield like dolls? If it has a weakness, it may be just in that I'm not quite sure who would use it and get use out of all of it? The magus/wizard thing was already touched on, but specifically, it seems like your squishier wizard would want to send people AWAY from them, never drag them closer (well I suppose there's exceptions to every never), so, aside from it being a magus spell, I don't know when wizards would use one of the three major abilities of this staff. Well, I guess I can think of scenarios if I try, but they are definitely sort of circumstantial and contrived. Conversely, if it's a magus using it, then the two abilities that send people away will get (probably) rarely used, because magus usually wants to be in close, in my experience.

Still, this is a relatively minor nitpick. I've heard many, many people say this is their favorite item of the competition. I can't give it quite that ringing an endorsement-- I think it's very cool, just not THAT cool. :)

Good work though.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Others have pointed out the useability issues, but I think this is one of best mechanically put together items this year. The way the staff modifies its spells is well done and its use as a weapon and the bonuses it has feel like part of the item instead of just a tacked on feature.

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 saw this staff a total of 3 times while voting. I liked it and always upvoted it.

I don't have much critique for this one other than I didn't like the sentence structure of "As long as the staff's anchoring ability is in effect, these spells work differently when cast by the wielder, as follows: " It felt clunky to me and could use a couple revisions.

Also, the name for me was so-so. I also hadn't heard GM_Solspiral's linked song, but like Mark knew about it in philosophy and engineering, and while I appreciated the nod, the name itself just fell a little flat. Totally subjective though.

The last little picadillo is that I have to look up the spells, then look at the item's description to see how it differs from those spells. Do objects receive saves? Unattended?

Overall, well done and I REALLY liked the opening sentence. Looking forward to seeing your R2 (and beyond hopefully).

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. I know I voted for this a few times, but not necessarily every time I saw it. Overall, it's a good way to play with what a staff normally does to make it stand out, great job there.

However, I had several issues with it overall. First, I think the weapon anchoring ability is a bit silly and hard to visualize actually working the way it says it does. If it works like an immovable rod every time you hit someone with the weapon, how does it actually stop them from moving? Can't they simply walk away in the other direction? I guess it magically glues itself to them as well as becomes immovable, but it doesn't really say it does that.

On to what your staff actually does, in short, I found it confusing to figure out. Not only does it use 4 abilities that are all non-core and I had to look up, but then it modifies 3 of them. It therefore took a lot of effort to figure out, which isn't a good thing overall.

Finally, two of the staff abilities that modify the spells when the anchoring effect is in place state they move the target. However, the anchoring ability indicates that it pins the target in place, preventing movement. To me, that's a confusing paradox, and I'd simply not use the item in my game. Even with errata that says it moves them even though they're anchored (and presumably the staff moves with them then, disarming the user, or ends the anchoring effect, neither of which is mentioned) it seems very counter-intuitive to what the staff is supposed to do - keep a target from moving, or moving that target?

Dedicated Voter Season 8

First, I just want to join everyone saying congratulations on making the top 32. I would definitely consider it deserved, though I don't remember seeing the staff more than once it does have one major advantage on me: particularly, I'm presently translating a different part of Aristotle's metaphysics into Danish, one which the entire "prime mover" argument relies heavily on. I am ever so happy the inspiration was Aristotle and will instantly forgive any incidental side connotations, because obviously, his ideas has influenced so many thoughts that avoiding them is... difficult.

So congratulations.

I do find the spell selection and theme very nice. I very much enjoy that it changes the spells it casts, something I considered very essential for staves to do, to avoid being mildly boring. It was not, I will admit, my nr. 1 favorite staff, maybe because I only saw it once or so, so it never got time to grow on me.

The first line of text is probably the single thing about this item that annoys me the most. "This slender silver cane feels more unwieldy than its low weight might suggest, as if a hidden force impeded any attempts to change its state of motion." That feels like it does something - as in somehow effectively weighs more or otherwise is not what it seems, which would be neat but... isn't there? Also "it's state of motion" is - while a very Aristotelian turn of phrase - somewhat exemplary of why Aristotle is sometimes considered a little weird to read - in other words the Platonist in me wants to ask "But what is a state of motion even?" And how does a staff have a state (somehow a constant attribute) of motion (meaning moving) when it is consistently carried around and such - does it somehow try not to be carried in anything but one particular way? I would go insane over that particular piece of flavor. I want to like it, but it confuses me.

I might also agree a bit on the spell selection needing to match class better. Could be circumvented, but... it's not neat.

But in total, I really do like this item. Congratulation again.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the top 32, I don’t think I ever saw this staff during voting but, if I had, it would have been pretty much guaranteed my vote. Thinking about how this item would be used evokes some pretty cool imagery; also, I totally appreciate the care and attention taken by the provision of links to the relevant spells / weapon qualities.

One of the few items in the top 32 that I would absolutely use as a GM or as a player…this one does have that indefinable Superstar quality, well done!!!

…that name though!!! I think enough people have called it out as a bit jarring that you’d consider something different if the item was ever further developed?

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 it to the Top 32! Well done!

I liked this item and did up-vote it a lot. Thematically it is tight and the powers flow together well. My one problem was that the power mechanics are somewhat detailed. While tactical players would love this, casual and simple style play is hindered by the complexity.

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I thought this was a bit too Naruto for me, as it very much copies the powers of a segment in that show. Still, congrats on advancing.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

Wow... that's detailed and really, really nuanced. I applaud your mastery of the rules, if nothing else. Especially if you had to scrape this together after the reveal of the twist, like most of us. And I'd say that this is the prime example of how to make a staff be more than a huge SiaC stick. The anchoring ability beautifully enhances the spells and ties the theme together nicely.

Yet I don't really like this item. It's rapidly approaching the point where it's overly complex and thus unappealing. My eyes literally blurred the first time I tried to muddle through this item and I'm not a huge fan how it uses such obscure spells, abilities and rules. Then again, this is pretty much textbook Johnny Player item, and I'm anything but, so I guess I don't belong to its target demographic.

Nevertheless, it showcases your skills as a designer and it more than deserved to be advanced. Just remember the rule: Keep it simple. And the best of luck!


Firstly: congratulations! The staff is a very interesting concept and I like that you've pulled ideas for it from a lot of sources.

That said, I find myself wondering how I could actually use this staff in a game. One of the spells is magus only, one is alchemist and sor/wiz, and the third is magus and sor/wiz, which means that unless a PC or NPC multiclasses there's no one who can use all three spells and hence all three of the neat abilities :(

Actually, having just typed that, it occurs to me that if you need all the spells on your list to create the item, that pretty much means that the creator has to be a multiclass magus/wizard or magus/sorcerer >_> Though there may be some way out there to let players ignore some of the requirements, I'll need to double check :D

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

Congratulations, Gabriel! I loved the synergy between the weapon abilities and the spell effects, super insightful and flavorful. Looking forward to more of your rulesmithing in subsequent rounds!

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

Congrats Gabriel!

I thought this was a very well written item, with lots of interesting abilities. Not thrilled with the name, but I see where you were coming from now after reading all the comments.

good luck in the next round!

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

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to comment on my item. Your praise has kept me motivated and your helpful critique has shown me where I need to improve as a designer. I wish I could have responded sooner, but the round 2 deadline was brutal.

Originally, I wanted to elaborate a bit on my design process, but it turned out to be a long rant about staves, which I'll refrain from posting here and now. Instead, I want to address your concerns regarding my item's mechanics.

Owen already mentioned the most glaring flaw of my item: I chose spells from different spell lists, which means that most wielders would be unable to benefit from all of its functions. That is a big oversight on my part. Since I imagined this item as a magus staff, kinetic reverberation is the main offender here. Originally, I wanted to include a spell like mountain stance (from the 3.5 spell compendium) that protects against bull rush/overrun/trip attempts, but I couldn't find a similar low-level spell in Pathfinder that fit thematically. I thought kinetic reverberation was a nice choice for what I had in mind and the use of an uncommon spell allowed me to expand player options – after all, sundering an attacker's weapon after being hit is not the best way to defend yourself, especially compared to other useful defensive 2nd-level-spells like mirror image. However, the ability to potentially disrupt an opponent's full attack with an immediate bull rush maneuver seemed like an interesting option for a magus. I fell so in love with my idea that I totally ignored the fact that the spell list didn't match with the other spells.
If I were to rework this item, I would replace kinetic reverberation with ablative barrier. It seems like a good fit, because
- it's a second level spell on the magus spell list,
- it's defensive in nature,
- it has a force descriptor, and
- it works with the 'rebounding' effect that I originally created for kinetic reverberation. Since ablative barrier has a duration of hours (compared to the mere rounds-duration of kinetic reverberation), I would add that using the 'rebounding' effect ends the spell.

Other posters have pointed out that the reference to the anchoring weapon special ability was confusing and I think they have a point. An anchoring weapon has basically two abilities: 1) it can be used as an immovable rod (that can be activated as a swift action) and 2) it can be used to anchor an opponent in place. When I wrote the spell modifications that take place while the anchoring ability is in effect, I should have made clear which of these two effects I was referring to. In the case of force punch it's clear, but in the other cases not so much (my intent for these was that they work differently when the wielder uses the immovable rod's self-anchoring ability, not when these spells are used against anchored opponents – that would have made little sense in my eyes).

Then, there is the problem with the interaction between kinetic reverberation and the anchoring ability. Does the modified version require the anchoring to be in effect only at the time of casting, during the whole duration of the spell, or whenever the anchoring ability is activated? Since the spell has only a duration of several rounds, I didn't pay much attention to this question, but I should have made it clear (my intent was the third option).

Also, despite the fact that no one has pointed this out, I think it's only fair to admit that I messed up pricing (especially since Mark has been very strict with other entries regarding this point). Like many other staff designers, I totally forgot to double the cost of the staff part. By the rules, this item should have a price of 49,500 gp instead of 34,500 gp – not totally out of the price range, but still significantly more expensive.

Finally, there are some template issues. Since Template Fu is on his well-deserved vacation, I'll point them out myself:
- aura should include transmutation (I followed the style of UE, but the CRB is more strict in this regard);
- in the spell section, between 'charges' and the spell's source, a semicolon is used as a separator instead of a comma;
- I should have referred to the Maximize Spell in the last sentence („as though using the Maximize Spell feat“).

To summarize what I have learned from you:

1. Names are difficult. That's especially true for non-native English speakers like me. Still, I feel like I made an important mistake: despite being liked by some voters, my subtle reference to Aristotelian philosophy was too elitist. A name should have a primary meaning that is clear to anyone, if only to avoid unfortunate mis-associations.

2. Pay attention to the details. I wanted to show that I could create a complex item despite any restrictions, but I still stumbled over several mistakes that could have been avoided. In the future, I will have to put my own work under sharper scrutiny.

3. Keep it simple. While I mostly succeeded in creating a complex item, I seem to have lost some voters over unclear/ambiguous language and the use of non-core spells/abilities. It has been pointed out to me that too much complexity hinders a more casual and simple play-style, and I think that is an important point to remember.

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

Luthia wrote:
I'm presently translating a different part of Aristotle's metaphysics into Danish, one which the entire "prime mover" argument relies heavily on.

That is so cool! You gave me a big smile.

Luthia wrote:
The first line of text is probably the single thing about this item that annoys me the most. [...]

Its really nice to see somebody being so passionate about this! I have to admit that I am more of a dilettante concerning metaphysics. The reason why I added this sentence is very mundane and probably a bit boring, but I think you deserve an answer:

Spoiler:
I imagined this staff as a cane at first. In my original write-up it was a club, but I soon found out that all staves were quarterstaves (unless they had an alternate form) and it seemed unwise to set a precedent. However, I kept the cane-design. I also knew that an anchoring weapon would be prone to sunder and break attempts, so it should be made of a more durable substance than wood. Changing the substance from wood to metal should increase the weight significantly, though there are no rools for this. I tried out some cane fighting moves with my own cane (made from ebony with a silver knob) and I was under the impression that you needed a lot of strength, especially for the single-handed techniques to be used effectively (I'm not a very strong person though). So I decided against adamantine and settled for mithral. However, going strictly by the rules, the staff's weight turned out to be very low - as a bludgeoning weapon, it probably wouldn't cause a lot of damage. So I added the paradox of low-weight/high-inertia in the item's description. I used the phrase 'change in state of motion' to describe inertia, because that is the textbook definition (I would assume that Physics language is heavily influenced by ancient philosophy, but I'm no expert on that).
Probably not the answer you would have expected, but that was my line of thought.

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.

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!

Staff of the Prime Mover
First, I kind of groaned at the name. The Prime Mover is basically God to Aristotle, but then, the item just has force stuff, nothing divine or whatever, making the name more of a pun type than anything else. Not something I'd vote something down for or anything, but still something I wanted to mention.

Anyway, I considered this item to be better than most, but hardly top 32. Again, no offense intended, but, I feel like there are a lot of problems with how it works.

First, all of the spells are designed to work differently against someone that is anchored by the weapon. However, the anchoring property seems to suggest you can't actually use the item once it's been anchored. You're not able to attack with it, you certainly aren't wielding it. If you can just put your hands on it while it's immobile like that to use it, what stops your opponent from doing the same thing back at you? Actually, I suppose this is an issue of the anchoring property itself being unclear--an immovable rod, for example, can just be moved with a button press.

Kinetic Reverberation doesn't seem to make much sense. You need to have the staff anchoring someone in order to knock them back, but, well, they can't be knocked back if they're anchored, so it only works against enemies other than the one you anchored. Or are you supposed to anchor the weapon just in mid air somewhere when you cast these? Yeah, I guess you are because Force Hook Charge's special change only works on enemies not anchored. Weird. Maximizing Force Punch feels like the lamest, but also the strongest of the altered spells.

Finally, who is supposed to use this staff? Two of the spells are Magus spells, two are sorc/wiz spells. Neither should use a staff to actually fight. I am well aware that the Staff Magus archetype exists, but I also know it's kind of crappy, and they'd still need UMD to use Kinetic Reverberation. The Magus is only really up to snuff when either crit-fishing (and a weapon that only crits on a 20 is not a good choice) or stacking debuffs, and none of these spells are debuffs. Oh, and you'd need to take the Wand Wielder arcana to really make use of this anyway during Spell Combat.

Oh, and the good spells take 2 charges, so you can't even expect to use it once per day of continuous use.

If my party found this item, we'd sell it, likely even if we had a Staff Magus (which we wouldn't have if I had any say). I don't know anyone that would try to acquire one specifically.

Overall, it's not bad, obviously, but I am just not especially impressed, either. I like the concept of your spells changing based on a toggle of some kind, but the specific toggle and the way the spells change didn't really interest me.

Edit: Apparently, this is some reference to Naruto? I had no idea, as the show holds no appeal to me whatsoever.

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

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

I addressed some of these points in my post above, but I can understand your critique and, as stated above, I think many points are valid.

mplindustries wrote:
Maximizing Force Punch feels like the lamest, but also the strongest of the altered spells.

The idea here was: what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

mplindustries wrote:
Edit: Apparently, this is some reference to Naruto? I had no idea, as the show holds no appeal to me whatsoever.

It is not. I am not familiar with that show and despite some Internet research, I still don't get the connection. However, I did aim for a 'cinematic' item, so it wouldn't surprise me if a similar item exists in fiction.

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

Although I usually voted for this item, I think it's a little past my preferred threshold for complexity. And I say that as someone who likes complexity. I feel like a lot of the modified spell effects you produced could be put in the game in a more simple manner by creating a rod that generates exactly the effect you want, instead of finding existing spells and twisting them to make them do something different. It's only in a game like Pathfinder that an item with these effects would be written in such a convoluted way. I would prefer an item that just tells me what it does directly. That said, this was fantastically creative and cinematic. Despite my concerns, I do think this item deserves to be in the top 32.

Congratulations!

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

Yeah, this is gold.

Edit: That said, I'm not into the name. Bringing Aristotelian teleology into the mix feels way overblown.

Star Voter Season 8

Disclaimer: I don't offer critique/analysis on items unless it is explicitly requested by the author. In this instance there is some discussion on mechanics and design choices, so while I'm not going to offer critique on the item, I'd like to offer some commentary on the mechanics that are under discussion.

First off: Congratulations on the Top 32! It's an achievement to be proud of, and an opportunity for all players to see fresh blood and new ideas in our Pathfinder products.

And now numbers! (Yay numbers! What? Can't a man like obsessing over numbers? Why is everyone running away?)

Gabriel Almer wrote:

If I were to rework this item, I would replace kinetic reverberation with ablative barrier. It seems like a good fit, because

- it's a second level spell on the magus spell list,
- it's defensive in nature,
- it has a force descriptor, and
- it works with the 'rebounding' effect that I originally created for kinetic reverberation. Since ablative barrier has a duration of hours (compared to the mere rounds-duration of kinetic reverberation), I would add that using the 'rebounding' effect ends the spell.

One one hand, while a magus can pick up kinetic reverberation via the Spell Blending arcana, they only get 1 arcana per 3 levels. On the other hand, with the price tag of 34,500gp that would be around 9th level and you'd expect to see the item, by which point Spell Blending would let the magus snag kinetic reverberation and a second spell. That said, yes, ablative barrier would definitely make this item easier to use (and less irritating for the GM when his bad guys weapons keep exploding :P).

Gabriel Almer wrote:
Also, despite the fact that no one has pointed this out, I think it's only fair to admit that I messed up pricing (especially since Mark has been very strict with other entries regarding this point). Like many other staff designers, I totally forgot to double the cost of the staff part. By the rules, this item should have a price of 49,500 gp instead of 34,500 gp – not totally out of the price range, but still significantly more expensive.

I'm pretty sure the judges noticed, but felt the creativity easily offset a slight gaff on the numbers. As you're discussing pricing, though, my math is as follows:

  • 3rd level spell x CL10 x 800gp / 2 charges = 12,000gp
  • 3rd level spell x CL10 x 600gp / 2 charges = 9,000gp
  • 2nd level spell x CL10 x 400gp = 8,000gp
  • Mithral quarterstaff is a double weapon, so pays 3,000gp each end = 6,000gp
  • One end is +1 anchoring (+3 equivalent) = 18,000gp
  • Assuming no cost for special, total = 53,000gp
  • If both ends are +1 anchoring, total = 71,000gp

Notes:
  • Were this item merely a mithral staff and not also a quarterstaff, the mithral cost would be merely 500gp per pound of original weight. Staffs are normally 3 to 5 lbs, so 1,500gp to 2,500gp.

  • Also, the formula given in the staff creation section of the CRB is listing the cost not the price, which is the reverse of pretty much everything else... but it's just how its written. I wound up using the wrong numbers for... gods... four years, before I noticed?

  • Combining weapon abilities into a staff is tricky, as the caster level of the item determines the caster level of the spells that go into it and thus the cost. So even if you wanted CL8 spells, if the item has CL10, then the staff component becomes CL10.

  • My math could also be simply wrong. It wouldn't be the first time :)

Gabriel Almer wrote:
I imagined this staff as a cane at first. In my original write-up it was a club, but I soon found out that all staves were quarterstaves (unless they had an alternate form) and it seemed unwise to set a precedent.

As far as I am aware, this isn't actually the case. Staffs are (by the description) a generally stick-like thing that is typically (but not always) between 4-7 feet long, 2-3 inches thick, weighs about 5 lbs, and can be made from almost anything. And then to quote the CRB "A typical staff also functions as a walking stick, quarterstaff or cudgel." The description of the greatclub states that, "like simple clubs, greatclubs have many names, such as cudgels, bludgeons, shillelaghs, and more.", which basically states greatclubs get the OK to be staffs, and implies that clubs do to, so it's not exactly a stretch to argue RAW permits it.

Ramble on weaponized staves:
Noting that the above is only "typical". In my mind at least, I think you could argue quite reasonably have a weaponized staff be any of the following: club, greatclub, quarterstaff, light mace, heavy mace,

Or with some extra bits for spiking or chopping: spear, shortspear, longspear, morningstar, javelin, battleaxe, heavy pick, trident, warhammer, almost any polearm, earth breaker, waraxe, slingstaff, or mancatcher. Swords are probably out, both due to form and the fact they have the best critical ranges going which would get a bit much.

So you could have stuck with your original concept of it being a club, and it would have opened the staff up to a lot more magus, given that as-written they would need either the Quartertaff Master feat (taken as a feat or via the Staff Magus archetype) to wield it in one hand and thus use spell combat, and the Wand Wielder arcana to use spells cast from the staff as part of spell combat.

And while a club isn't an ideal weapon for a magus (keen scimitar + spellstrike = wheeeeeeeee!), the abilities of this staff to ping-pong people around the battlefield are easily worth it.


Gabriel Almer wrote:

Staff of the Prime Mover

Aura moderate evocation; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 34,500 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

Description
This slender silver cane feels more unwieldy than its low weight might suggest, as if a hidden force impeded any attempts to change its state of motion. It functions as a +1 anchoring mithral quarterstaff and allows use of the following spells:

As long as the staff's anchoring ability is in effect, these spells work differently when cast by the wielder, as follows:
A wielder affected by kinetic reverberation not only damages his attacker's weapon, but also pushes his opponent away from himself. After being hit, as an immediate action, the wielder may attempt a bull rush combat maneuver against his attacker, using his opponent's attack bonus as his combat maneuver bonus. This combat maneuver does not provoke attacks of opportunity and the wielder does not move with his opponent.
A wielder that uses force hook charge pulls the target towards himself, instead of being dragged towards the target. If the target is a firmly fixed object or a creature holding onto a massive object, a successful Strength check is required. For this purpose, the pulling force has an effective Strength score of 30 and can pull a weight of up to 1,600 lbs. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
If the wielder uses force punch against an opponent affected by the staff's anchoring ability, the opponent is not pushed away, but the spell is treated as if it were maximized.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Staff, force hook charge, force punch, kinetic reverberation, levitate; Cost 18,250 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's a 'slender silver cane'. It has decorative value, but minimal decorative value.
Decorative score? 1 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
The fact that it has only the physical dimensions and apparent reach of a cane, but an apparent effective reach of a quarterstaff leads me to conclude that there is some sort of projective force effect usually surrounding the item. I considered carefully whether this might have any obvious useful function around the home, but concluded that it does not. Thus the sole obvious non-Decorative use this item has is for retrieving visiting nieces' necklaces (or other carelessly managed personal effects) from down drains.
non-Decorative Domestic Use score? 1 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?
I see some scope, albeit highly limited, for possible use of this item during the 'beach' phase of 'Operation Sealion'. That is, if the Nasties get as far as the beaches.
'Sealion' score? 2 out of 7.

Total: 4 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.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 8

Gabriel Almer wrote:
Staff of the Prime Mover

Congrats on making Top 32. As part of learning how to design items, I'm trying to take the time to review as many as I can and learn from the experience. Take anything I have to say with a grain of salt, because you clearly already have what it takes to impress the community and the judges.

I didn't care for this item. The description (a cane) seemed like it would fit a rod better, and the weight seemed off for something of that size made of solid silver/mithril. Maybe you should have made it a +1 anchoring sword cane, that functioned as a staff when sheathed? I very much liked the choice of anchoring. I thought it went really well with the theme of the item, and I thought the spells fit, as well. I noted your comment about substituting ablative barrier for kinetic reverberation and I agree it would help tie it together as a magus item. I saw someone mention that you had messed up the pricing, but your cost looks right to me. You halved the cost of the enchantments and kept the 2,000gp cost of the mithril staff. Maybe I'm missing something, though. I see now, nevermind.

My main issue is the complexity of the interactions between the anchoring property and the spells. From a GM perspective, I can see this slowing down the table as the player has to explain the differences between anchored and not. I think the theme is great, and the abilities all tie into the theme well. In that respect this is clearly a Superstar item. I just don't see it getting much actual playtime, and what good is a Superstar item that never sees action at the table?

I see that you made it to Top 16, so congrats again, and good luck! ^_^

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 appealled to not only the voters but also the judges -- so if I say "Rewrite" it's more to be "rewriteable to be SUPERSTAR!"

Publishable -- I was glad to see a staff make it into the Top 32 , and yours was a solid staff build that I liked well enough.

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

Gabriel Almer wrote:
Staff of the Prime Mover

Congratulations Gabriel,

I tried to spend more time on staffs than usual, but I never quite got the connection on this one. The anchoring seemed counter to the spells it offered and it seems like the special abilities when it functions would take some table-time to adjudicate. (Anchoring seems like it will take time to adjudicate which is not your fault) Still, the spells were themed, it is well written so often got up-voted.

Good luck. :)

EDIT: I read comments after making my own, I can see you have already worked to address these issues. :)

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