Fist of Havoc


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

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Fist of Havoc
Aura strong evocation; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 75,840 gp; Weight 15 lbs.

Description
The fist shaped head of this +2 adamantine earthbreaker glows a faint orange and gives off sparks when struck against objects, sounding a deep boom with each blow. The fist of havoc can score critical hits on objects when attempting to sunder or damage them with a critical of 19-20/x3. The critical for sundering cannot be modified by any abilities or feats, such as Improved Critical or the keen weapon ability.

When used successfully against a structure, such as a door or wall, the earthbreaker strikes with such force that a large area around the glowing fist visibly cracks and buckles in. This causes the attack to be an automatic critical threat on the object. Destroyed doors turn to splinters with the door frame severely bent out and ruined. Destroyed walls, floors, and ceilings are opened up with a hole ten feet in diameter centered on the attack. Ceilings and floors that collapse rain rubble onto any creatures below, causing 3d6 points of damage. A successful DC 18 Reflex save halves the damage.

Once per day as a swift action after an object is destroyed, the earthbreaker can cause the object to explode in a deadly spray of jagged wood and hot iron. All creatures within twenty feet of the object, excluding the earthbreaker’s wielder, take damage equal to 1d6 plus the hardness of the destroyed object, and must make a DC 18 Fortitude save. If they fail the save they are shaken for 1d4 rounds.

Construction
Requirements Craft Arms and Armor, break, shatter, sundering shards ; Cost 37,920 gp

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

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Formatting and wording issues, Price/Cost don't match. The ability to bash down the entire dungeon is pretty powerful, but then, so can maul of the titans, and the price is appropriately high. Despite the weapon enhancement and special material not being too huge of a percentage of the price, everything about the additional powers screams that this is a weapon, not just a paperweight that you carry around for the activated ability. The powers all rely on the ability to heft the thing and swing it for massive damage, and I like how the destruction is tied into explosions and specific adjudications for collapses. Despite its issues and some similarities to the maul, I feel right giving this a Weak Keep.

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

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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
Another "X of Y" item! I feel like i need to play a game of Rampage after this.
Usability
It's good at one thing, and does it very well. The perfect choice for the character that sees a locked door and decides to make their own door.
Presentation
Missing some italics in the running text. Adheres to style and formatting guidelines. Not sure if sticking to a defined size for the holes that you make is appropriate, as different materials would react differently.
Final Thoughts
Focused item, doesn't stray too far from its core concept. I do recommend this item for advancement.

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

Kept.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

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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.

Right off the bat, I'd change the name on this. If I am trying to find that awesome earthbreaker I remember being in some book, I am very likely to gloss over a "fist" as too obviously a gauntlet or punch dagger. That's a matter of taste, and not something I really hold against the item, though.
My bigger concern is that this feels very similar to a maul of the titans, and it plays with scoring critical hits against inanimate objects. I'd want to rewrite this to use language of double damage/triple damage, and avoid the weirdness of critical hits on inanimate objects. On the other hand, the visuals and exploding damage when something is smashed is too cool to toss the whole item. I'd revise this and keep it in, and send a note to the writer. Keep.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Thank you very much for the feedback and the opportunity to do more. I am deeply humbled to have made it this far, it is truly an honor.

I look forward to the future rounds.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Rats are dancing the conga all over Golarion for you. Good job.

It's a lot of smashing and not a lot else, but hey, there's a reason "Hulk SMASH!" has made it into the popular culture.

I think people will have fun with it. I'd be happy to see it in a game.

@Liz:
"Another "X of Y" item! I feel like i need to play a game of Rampage after this."

I feel like that after any item that uses some variant of the phrase,

"but the TRUE power of this X is..."

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

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Congrats Taylor! This was the first item on my keep list. Loved the visuals, not a fan of the name and the mechanics could have used a little work, but I really liked it.

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

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Congratulations!

I enjoyed all the Earthbreakers this year, and while they tended towards the same general theme, yours was probably the most standout of them due to the different mechanical approach you took, which is a good thing. I think Owen's point about the name is a good one, but in any event, look forward to seeing what you bring to the map round!

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

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Congrats, Taylor. You've already had my feedback on this, but it was a fun one. Obviously one of the better earthbreakers so let's see what you can do for the rest of this run.

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

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Huh. Now this earth breaker I like - probably because it acts much more like a maul, which seems to be what earthbreakers actually are.

I like the name - evocative of The Gauntlet from UK2 The Gauntlet. This item variously

Fist of Havoc wrote:

...gives off sparks,...

sounding a deep boom with each blow...

strikes with such force that a large area around the glowing fist visibly cracks and buckles in. ...

Destroyed doors turn to splinters with the door frame severely bent out and ruined. ...

Destroyed walls, floors, and ceilings are opened up with a hole ten feet in diameter...

Ceilings and floors that collapse rain rubble onto any creatures below...

the earthbreaker can cause the object to explode in a deadly spray of jagged wood and hot iron.

All in less than 300 words. That is some nice writing.

You have caveats to make this work in your game, which shows you are thinking about the mechanics of the system, and not just what keel things your item can do. And this item is incredibly badass. It smashes everything, with style and not panache, but punish!!!!

Nice work Taylor. Even if you didn't like my Doomcoiners. ;P

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

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HAVOC SMASH!

I think what I like best about this is the sheer destructive ability makes me think how much I want to give it to a bad guy rather than a PC. Like... a minotaur besieging the castle where the PCs are defenders.

The first time I read it, it seemed a little... IDK, OP is not quite the word I want, but more just that I could see every single fight with it quickly turning into the same 'I hit the wall', and a GM fairly quickly tiring of these encounters, and being like "okay, for the next leg of this campaign, you guys are out in the g*&#!$n wilderness and you won't have a fight inside of an engineered structure until I've stopped being sick to death of calculating what destruction-of-this-load-bearing-pillar will accomplish".

So yeah, as a PC-wielded item, this thing would, I think, get old... but as a one-shot to be used by the bad guy as a living siege weapon, aw man, sign me up.

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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This item does its thing very nicely, and I'm glad it's got through. It's great to see a simple idea done effectively. I could absolutely see this living in a book.

The name is a bit misleading though. Thinking about it, I'd prefer it to be a giant Hellboy-style gauntlet with all the same powers :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

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dana huber wrote:

HAVOC SMASH!

A true story about the name. I asked my wife what he thought the name should be and her first response was yelling over the phone, "HAVOC SMASH!"

Things progressed from there.

Star Voter Season 8

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Congrats, I thought it should have been a weapon. It sounded like one by looking at the name. Maybe make a set of gauntlets that do the same thing on a less powerful scale. Good luck in the next round.
Here is another item I never saw in the polls.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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I like that this earthbreaker isn't about how awesome it smashes the ground, but about how awesomely it breaks everything. I feel like a CE villain is out there just begging for this weapon so he can go on a rampage of smashing things before he watches the world burn.

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

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Congrats Taylor!

I liked the visuals you created with this item.

Good luck in round 2 and beyond!

Marathon Voter Season 8

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Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

Very well-written item that can convey a lot of uses for the weapon in a very tight space. Points for that. As a whole this is a weapon with an excellent feel to it and you can definitely imagine the badass character wielding it and watching the world shatter around them.

That being said, boy do I hate sundering items. The reason was summarized excellently by Dana a few posts up. They are the pain of every GM in the hands of players. And a sundering item this powerful? Every encounter indoors or underground would lead to "Well, I drop the ceiling on them." And then you have to pull stuff out of thin air when you start to think how that will change the battlefield. Because there are preciously few rules for that. The combat comes to a screeching halt and the GM can be seen grumbling into his notes.

So yeah, a good item and deserving of its advancement. I just have a really strong pet peeve against its niche. Nevertheless, the best of luck!

Dedicated Voter Season 8

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Congratulations on making the top 32...one of 3 earth breakers so you did well to get your item recognised as something different...who knew there would be such love for earth breakers this year?!?!

I find myself conflicted with this item, the imagery is great and it is undoubtedly well written... Yet, as one or two others have noted, this could start off great and then suck the fun right out of the game as every carefully crafted dungeon, castle, labyrinth, etc is apocalyptically destroyed... The only thing that seems to rein this back is the cost but, once you've got past that...you are 'at will' ruining the GM's day!!!

So, this is one for the players maybe (and someone else mentioned it would be a pretty cool item for a rampaging monster...which is true I guess)...but not something I would ever, as written, allow near my game...

Best of luck for the next round, I look forward to seeing how you fare in the map round...

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

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Congratulations, Taylor! I only saw this item a couple times during voting, but I cracked a grin each time. Very cinematic, useful, and thematically accurate. Well done!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

I totally understand the reservations people have about the item in how it destroys everything.

In fact, I agree that it should be an NPC item. The points made are totally valid. There is also one rule (it may be a house rule, as I can't find the source,) that says that once a building or an important part of a structure are 75% destroyed there is a high chance that it collapses and damages everything inside.

In fact, one of my local players had a character die when part of a mountain was sundered by his own magic and buried him alive.

I doubt a player would play with it long once they realized just how much it could harm them. Especially when they find out they are in the area of a collapsing floor beneath them.

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

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Congratulations on being in the Top 32! Great work!

Solid weapon design with a very good visual. There are other magic items that fill a similar niche (maul of the titans) but this has been kept solid and focussed in design. Not bad, just wish it had carved out new territory.

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

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Nice job Taylor. Even though I hadn't commented, I did look at the Flying Pincushion shared drive and I knew that this was your item going into voting. I'm pretty sure I would have voted for this regularly anyway. Collapsing ceilings on your enemies and spraying them with shrapnel it too fun not to vote for.

Congratulations!

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

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Taylor, I'm fairly certain I critiqued this privately before you submitted so I don't have much new to add.

That said I WILL harp on the fact that you did an "automatic" something.

And I've given you my thoughts on your next entry (after you had already submitted), good luck and I really hope to see you in R3!

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

Taylor Hubler wrote:
Fist of Havoc

Congratulations Taylor!

I did not see this one in voting so I can only offer what I see now. The auto-crit raises my 'broken' flags which is usually a where my downvote starts. The lead feels buried (but I think that is a problem with weapons, not the writing). I really like the third ability, that is what I look for in SS and I wanted more of that kind of creativity.

Good luck!

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.

On one hand, this is a weapon which has powers tied to using it as a weapon, which makes it instantly better than almost all other weapons I saw submitted this year.

On the other hand, the fact that there's already a classic item that pretty much does the same thing with the maul of the titan, this simply isn't very exciting as a new magic item. Sure, the fist gives you a once per day shrapnel spray, at the level you'd be able to afford one, that damage is trivial - I'd rather just full attack my foes. Then, when they're all smashed to a pulp due to my huge strength bonuses with a two handed weapon while power attacking, I can smash the object at my leisure.

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.

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 love this item. It's not bad, but, not great either. There were definitely other earthbreakers, even, that I liked better.

Let's look at the powers. First, you get, basically keen against objects. That's cool, except, any serious weapon user is going to have Improved Crit anyway, which doesn't stack. Oh, apparently it also auto-crits against "structures," which means, what, that the keen effect is only relevant when Sundering? In my experience, Sundering is just not done. It's important for Barbarians because of Spell Sunder (for which the damage is irrelevant), but otherwise, GMs sundering PC stuff or PCs sundering future loot are not held in high favor.

Sidenote: isn't an auto-crit on structures triple damage? Isn't that basically identical to a Maul of the Titans? Except that the Maul can also crit on top of that?

Why is the size of the hole standardized? It's always a 10' diameter? And it drops 3d6 damage on people? I'm kind of having a hard time imagining how the wielder of this weapon could avoid that damage. I think the answer is "they can't." Is that right? You'll always be right in the middle of the effect after all.

Finally, once per day, when you break something, you get some weak damage in an AoE. Eh. And they're shaken? Huh? I understand in the general sense, that "shaken" can mean just being shell-shocked or whatever (that's how it's used in Savage Worlds, for example), but in Pathfinder, isn't it strictly a fear/morale thing? Why would some junk breaking and spraying me with rubble make me afraid?

So, ok, let's boil this item down. When compared to a regular Adamantine Earthbreaker (it doesn't even need to be magic), you get:

1) a slightly increased threat range when sundering
2) triple damage against structures (which, out of combat, usually just means you can break stuff 3x faster)
3) you can use your attacks during combat to (maybe, depending on the strength of the ceiling) deal 3d6 damage to enemies standing next to you, assuming you are medium (and you take the damage, too)
4) you can do a weak aoe once per day after wasting your turn hitting an object in combat

That's not super impressive, but ok, as long as it's not too expensive. A +2 Adamntine Earthbreaker is in the 11k range. And triple damage vs. structures is like a watered down Maul of the Titans which costs 25k. So, this costs...holy crap, 75k?! No way, too much. Way beyond what I'd ever want to pay.

See, the core problem here is that, out of combat, the difference between spending 6 seconds and 18 seconds when you're bashing in a wall is mostly irrelevant. And well, the Maul of the Titans already triples damage for those purposes (and it can crit on top of that). The Maul of the Titans also deals triple damage to items you sunder, making for a possible niche build with Greater Sunder where you just break your enemy's stuff to deal triple damage to them, as well, whereas the Fist of Havoc just crits slightly more often on a sunder.

So, out of combat, this has almost nothing over just a regular Admantine Earthbreaker for 1/25th the cost, or a Maul of the Titans for 1/3 of it. That means the difference needs to be IN combat, and the only difference there is that it's worse at Sundering, but has a couple of weak AoE options (including one that hurts you).

If my party found this item, yeah, that's a lot of money--we'd sell it in a second and maybe buy a Maul of the Titans if we wanted something like that. Nobody would pay 75k to have this made when you could pay 25k for the MotT.

Overall, it's ok. It's one of the better written items, with only minor formatting errors. The big problem for me is that it looks like a pure "Timmy" trap item. It creates really big, dramatic effects, but it doesn't look like you considered what it would really look like in play beyond "HAVOC SMASH!"

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it into the top 32. Sadly I do not like earthbreaker, sundering or the somewhat misleading name. Great visuals and such, but... well, good work but the name itself is too much of an annoyance.


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Taylor Hubler wrote:

Fist of Havoc

Aura strong evocation; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 75,840 gp; Weight 15 lbs.

Description
The fist shaped head of this +2 adamantine earthbreaker glows a faint orange and gives off sparks when struck against objects, sounding a deep boom with each blow. The fist of havoc can score critical hits on objects when attempting to sunder or damage them with a critical of 19-20/x3. The critical for sundering cannot be modified by any abilities or feats, such as Improved Critical or the keen weapon ability.

When used successfully against a structure, such as a door or wall, the earthbreaker strikes with such force that a large area around the glowing fist visibly cracks and buckles in. This causes the attack to be an automatic critical threat on the object. Destroyed doors turn to splinters with the door frame severely bent out and ruined. Destroyed walls, floors, and ceilings are opened up with a hole ten feet in diameter centered on the attack. Ceilings and floors that collapse rain rubble onto any creatures below, causing 3d6 points of damage. A successful DC 18 Reflex save halves the damage.

Once per day as a swift action after an object is destroyed, the earthbreaker can cause the object to explode in a deadly spray of jagged wood and hot iron. All creatures within twenty feet of the object, excluding the earthbreaker’s wielder, take damage equal to 1d6 plus the hardness of the destroyed object, and must make a DC 18 Fortitude save. If they fail the save they are shaken for 1d4 rounds.

Construction
Requirements Craft Arms and Armor, break, shatter, sundering shards ; Cost 37,920 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?
The item is an unwieldy hammer. Some vague effort has been made to make it decorative, by casting the business-end in the shape of a 'fist', but that is detracted from by the fact that the weapon glows a gaudy shade of orange.
Decorative score? 1 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
Apparently the item possesses the capability to transmogrify any object into a mixture of 'wood and hot iron', irrespective of what the material was beforehand, but only once a day and only whilst destroying said object. This seems hardly useful around the home. Neither do the generally destructive powers it exhibits when used 'on' buildings.
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?
'Operation Sealion' is a majestic vista of desperate naval battles, and dogged aerial combats. In neither circumstance is a 'wrecking hammer' likely to prove useful. And once (and only *if*) proceedings arrive on a beach, there's the small matter of a beach to cross before any structures come in range for potential wrecking.
I suspect that the item is likely to have no practical impact during any 'Operation Sealion', although the leader of the Nasties might like the look of it sufficiently to make the hugely impractical mistake of equipping a few of his soldiers with these.
'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.

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!"

SUPERSTAR -- There were many earth breakers this round, but you're was easily my favorite. I'd tweak a half dozen little things, but their little things. Things so small, I could tweak them on my character sheet even sometimes (like the fist aspect). The story of why it's a fist made me laugh.

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